Bilateral: Survive

Taiwan didn’t know Japan could box. Japan promised to teach her.

When they sparred, Japan felt the brunt of Taiwan’s punches much harder than usual. There was a force behind the other’s strides–something beyond mere muscle power. When a fist crashed into Japan’s jaw she staggered backward to catch her breath.

“Sorry,” Taiwan apologized quickly after she must have realized the blow was far too harsh for a simple spar.

“You need to take control of your emotions,” Japan told her as her tongue caught the taste of blood.

Japan could see the other’s jaw tighten before Taiwan lowered her fists and looked away. “How do we conquer our enemies?” She asked after a moment.

“With fists,” Japan said, standing up straight. “Or swords, or guns, or bombs.” She paused. “But those are not the only ways.”

“Is there something else?” Taiwan’s cynical gaze bore into her. “You seem to have always used the more conventional methods.”

“Yes, I know,” Japan said softly. “I will not deny that. But, there have been times when I could not fight, and there will be times when you cannot fight.”

“What should I do then?”

Japan looked down at her clenched fists. Memories both new and old burned behind her eyes like hot embers. The taste of blood dissolved into the taste of fury. But she killed it then like she had every other time.

“You survive,” she finally said in a steady voice. “You let them know that whatever they did to you did not kill you and will not stop you from being happy and successful.” When Japan looked up, it was to show Taiwan the intensity in her eyes. “That is how you conquer your enemies when your fists are not enough.”

Author: Allison Black

Allison is an author, nerd, and international relations major who loves bad political jokes. When she's not writing or gushing about global affairs, she's playing video games. One day she will have a Ph.D., speak Korean fluently, and command an army of chihuahuas.

4 thoughts on “Bilateral: Survive”

    1. Not exactly; I didn’t specify what this was about because I wanted to leave that up to the reader so they could interpret things according to their own knowledge and understanding of history and politics. But, I did have WWII in mind while writing this.
      I’m not sure what you mean by history revisionism. Care to elaborate?

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      1. I thought “Memories both new and old burned behind her eyes like hot embers”
        was related to how the Japanese government have been re-writing textbooks to cover up their WW2 war crimes.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_history_textbook_controversies

        Here’s a simple Wikipedia article to describe the issues.

        Taiwan used to be a colony of Japan, so the relationship is very tense among the older folk. The younger folk are more relaxed about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s actually an interesting (and dare I say creative) way to interpret this, and I know that the textbook issue is a huge problem that deserves discussion. However, when I wrote about the “memories,” I was thinking of the atomic bombings. The overall message of this was resilience. Every country (certainly not just Japan) has overcome war, disaster, and the unthinkable. We can relate this to our personal lives by choosing to be happy in spite of people who have hurt us.
        Indeed, Japan’s relations with many Asian countries are tense and certainly strained. That’s why I had Taiwan bring up colonialism cynically.

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