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How a novelist dodged military conscription

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Yamada Takaichi of Nagano Prefecture was a conscientious objector before the term was even coined. He faked his own death to avoid military conscription in the Pacific War. He died in 1990 at the age of 82. Only then was his son Shigehiko able to put the pieces of the puzzle together, decades after he first realised things about his family life didn't add up.

He figured something was amiss when was he was in the third year at junior high school and asked for a copy of the family's registration in preparation for taking a high school entrance exam. The document provided all those years ago by local authorities had an "X" in the space to specify his father. This meant his father was already dead as far as officialdom was concerned. How could this be, he wondered, thinking about his father working in front of a desk with a cigarette in his hand. “Huh?” Shigehiko asked his mother. She replied to her son's amazement that the authorities regarded his father as dead “for various reasons.”

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