The number of people over 100 years old in Japan has gone over 80,000 for the first time, and 88% of them are women

People are unable to see themselves as parts of history.

I have a great-uncle who was a POW during WW2. He’s my personal example of this idea.

Looking up newspaper articles about him, I came across notices from his family in 1942: “our son has gone missing, but were hopeful for the best.” From 1943-1945: “our son has been captured, but we hope he’s in good health and will be with us soon.”

My uncle died sometime in 1943, on the Burma Railway. And we know what his life as an Allied POW on the Burma Railway would have been like.

We look back in hindsight and can do the maths on what his chances were of survival, we can look at photos of survivors and read their stories and watch movies, and visit the War Memorial and Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery.

But his family, living in the moment and writing those notices and hoping for their son’s safe return. I wonder if they realised what their part in history would be.

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