The reality of dreams and imaginations: everything is upside down, and words float in the air.
Two actors are at center stage at a comfortable distance, talking simultaneously or alternately. The recorded voice
is heard clearly, but in a quality that is not from this world.
My grandmother says that Tokyo
was a big city with many small
wooden houses. When the B-29
arrived from the East, everything
burned. Not missing a single spot,
it was like a red carpet thrown
from the sky.
When Ken-san from the third
block noticed the attack, the siren
was screaming at its fullest. He
carried his elderly neighbor to the
riverside, but she did not make
it. She burned away. So Ken-san
jumped into the river and silently
watched the sky turn red.
Hana-san from the fifth block
had two babies to take care of. So
she stayed in her house with the
father’s photograph and slept in
silence. She probably did not even
feel the heat of the flames; the
father protected their souls.
In the morning, everything was
gone, some people were left and
some empty ashes remained. But
that was a long time ago
Home to many small military
industries, Tokyo was the key to
ending the war. All targets were
struck from the Eastern side of
the city: the carpet-bombing of
The belated siren warned citizens
just in time for some to run to the
river. But many perished as they
tried to escape. Up to 100,000
deaths estimated. The wooden
houses caught fire too easily; 16
square miles were burnt to ashes.
Some did not have the strength to
escape. 1700 tons of bombs were
dropped in one night, some places
experiencing heat up to 1800
degrees. By the end of the war,
so many men were taken to the
battlefields, women had to run the
*(More) Direct Translation of the Recorded Voice:
Once upon a time, there was a big city. Small wooden houses stood in a row, and many small people lived their small
lives together. One day, a big red carpet fell onto the city from the Eastern sky. When the small people touched this magical
carpet, they blazed up into bright flames, and became stars in the night sky.
When Ken from Block 3 found the carpet, the city was surrounded by a loud sound. Ken carried the grandmother, who
lived next door, on his back and went to the riverbank. “It’s beautiful,” muttered the grandmother, and suddenly, a phoenix
appeared, and flew away from Ken’s back. Ken jumped into the river, and silently watched the carpet cover the sky.
Hannah from Block 5 was on a small futon mattress in a small house, holding two children in her arms. The baby did
not stop crying, so Hannah took out the candy she had been saving from the cupboard and softly held it against her chest
together with the old photograph of the father. “A little later,” whispered Hannah, and the baby swiftly fell asleep. Suddenly, the
roof of the small house popped in brightness, and the red night sky spread in front of her. Black birds flew low, and dropped
many candies. Without noticing, Hannah’s body became lighter and floated up into the red sky. When she glanced below, the red
carpet was shining over the whole city.
The small people in the big city were hidden by the red carpet, and became invisible. When the dawn came, the big city
was gone, and a few small people and the cinders of the empty shells remained.
土井すみれ (Sumire Doi)