ASIA212Varley

Depending upon which version one believes the husband

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Unformatted text preview: ose responsible for his conviction and unusually harsh sentence and to see once again the prostitute he loved, but who may also have betrayed him. As the true story of Kitani’s case is gradually revealed, we are shown the horror-filled inner workings of a totally corrupt system of military life whose every official act is shrilly justified in terms of military reverence for, and selfless devotion to, emperor and nation. In the confessional words of his chief accuser, the lieutenant, whom Kitani finally tracks down: The army is cruel. . . . There’s nothing to keep me from saying it now. The army of the interior is rotten to the core, to the very core. When I was overseas, I used to hear it said that the army of the interior had preserved the old traditions of honor and dignity. . . . Unfortunately, when I returned I realized that this was completely untrue, that everything was worse than I could ever have imagined. At first, I did what I could, as an officer, to maintain standards. That’s what caused my downfall. I loved the army with all my heart. It was impossible for me to tolerate the people who jeered at it and besmirched it, but then I found myself coming up against powerful obstacles, colonels, majors . . . the regiment . . . the division. . . . It’s all a matter of pleasing your superiors. And not only the officers, but even, if I may say so, their families. . . . I once knew a quartermaster sergeant who was regarded as the most level-headed noncommissioned officer in the entire corps. . . . Well, his wife was unable to leave the house of the battalion head . . . because her presence was indispensable to her husband’s advancement. . . . That kind of thing filled me with shame. . . . The supplies that are delivered go straight to the commanding officer, who uses them for making personal gifts. . . . You know Lieutenant Shimorai, don’t you? He had a house built for himself, the one he now lives in. I was unable to put up with such corruption. I tried to do some- Culture in the Present Age 317 thing about it, but I was beaten. It’s too big a job for one man . . . I w...
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