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Am I Kazuya Shikava?

by Kazuya S.
(Chiba)

The COLD conditions of Siberia

The COLD conditions of Siberia

In Russia, pronunciation of the “w” sound is written as “v”. For example, the first character of “vodka” sounds like a “w”. So, in Russian my name would not be written as “Shikawa,” but instead “Shikava.”

My grandfather has a story related to this.

My grandfather lived in China and worked as a soldier in Japan’s now-defunct army. But my grandfather was caught by the Soviet Union’s army and taken to Siberia after WW2.

In Siberia he was forced into hard labor and endured a hard life in very cold lands. Several years passed and some Japanese hard laborers were finally allowed to go back to Japan. But my grandfather's Japanese name wasn't called from the list of names receiving permission to leave.

In fact, the list didn't call “Shikawa,” but rather “Shikava.” He realized his real Japanese family name was called “Shikava” by chance, so he was able to return back to Japan.

If my grandfather hadn't realized the difference in names, I never would have been born.

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