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Winner of the prestigious Mainichi Shuppan Bunkasho prize, and the subject of an acclaimed film by Ichikawa Kon, Harp of Burmais the story of a company of Japanese soldiers who are losing a desperate campaign against British forces in the jungles of Burma during World War II. In the midst of overwhelming challenges they discover the power of music to make even the toughest situations tolerable, and though they face inevitable defeat, singing the songs of their homeland revives their will to live.
Michio Takeyama (1903 - 1984) spent his early years in Seoul, Korea, then a Japanese colony. Primarily an essayist and a scholar of German literature, he was for a time professor of German at elite universities in Tokyo. Takeyama won the prestigious Mainichi Shuppan Bunkasho prize for the Harp of Burma, and its publication propelled him to fame.