As the history has been dominated by adults, the children and their view on what is going on are always marginalized, and their voice is often silenced, especially in wars and conflicts. Children’s literature is one of the most important media to convey their otherwise silenced voices and to memorize their experiences. In this paper, how Miyoko Matsutani (1926-2015) gave voices to the obscured and buried sufferers and victims of the World War II is discussed.
Matsutani wrote a wide range of books for infants and children, collected legends and folklore, and created fantastic and realistic stories. Among the war-stories of Matsutani, Naoki and Yuko series will be focused in this paper. Matsutani coped with serious themes related World War II such as atomic bomb, refugees from the continent, the internment and Holocaust, and clandestine activities of Japanese military to develop chemical and biological weapons. It is examined how Matsutani used the voice of ghosts of the past to make them linked with the new generations. The boy named Naoki and his little sister Yuko encounter the past they do not know in Futari-no Iida(Two Little Girls Called Iida, 1969), Shinokunikara-no Baton(The Baton from the World of the Dead, 1976), and Watashino Anne Frank(My Anne Frank, 1979). Matsutani lets her post-war young readers know the hidden aspects of the history. These are often embodied as ghosts, and encountering them enables Naoki and Yuko recognize something adults often avoid disclosing to them. The previous four books might rather focus on the views and experiences as the victims. However, Matsutani dared show the Japanese not only as the victims of the war but also as the aggressors and criminals. The children such as Naoki and Yuko are expected to listen to the obscured voices from the past and pursue better future.