Japanese Storyteller Takes A New Approach To War Stories


Photos By Ari Beser

Fumioki Okayama, founder of the blog “70 seeds,” stands in front of his office building in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo.

Tokyo, Japan – This year marks the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II. To commemorate this event, Fumioki Okayama, a designer from Nagasaki, founded “70 Seeds,” a new Japanese blog to spread the stories of Post War Japan. His stories, like seeds, start out small, with topics as general as food, sports, places, romance, or culture, but as you read through each one, their wartime messages grow and become clear.

“Our aim is for young people to learn the lessons of a war they may not care about,” said Okayama, “Not everyone is interested in the war, but the survivors of the war are so much more than their terrible experiences. They fell in love, they have lives, they have interests.”

If you are interested in business, you may be drawn to the story of Mrs. Kohinata (first name not given), an atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima who years after her childhood trauma inherited her husbands futon company when he passed away. She was a trained nurse and had no idea how to run a store, but was able to keep it afloat and turn a profit.

If you like art, you may be interested in the story of Ryukyu Glass. Okinawa, the island chain south of mainland Japan, is famous for its artisanal glass. Craftsmen have been making the glass in a factory on Okinawa’s main island since the Meiji Era. “During the war everyone shifted their businesses to support the war effort, but in post-war Okinawa, they were allowed to resume their previous crafts and trades. However, the glass factory was destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa and supplies were scarce. —> Read More