A man in a boat inadvertently dropped his sword into the current. Intending to retrieve it later, he scratched the gunwale to mark the spot where the weapon went overboard. But this was obviously pointless. By the time he started looking for the sword, the current had already carried the boat far away from the spot where he had dropped it.
This is an old cautionary tale, told to point out the foolishness of ignoring the changing times and sticking obstinately to the old ways.
The Japanese expression “taikan kyoho shugi” (belief in big battleships and big guns) connotes a similar mentality. During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy continued to believe that its victory depended on the presence of big battleships fitted out with big guns, even when the superior efficacy of fighter planes was becoming obvious.
A sunken ship, presumed to be the wartime battleship Musashi, was photographed earlier this month in the Sibuyan Sea off the Philippines. A Yamato-class vessel, Musashi was among the largest in the world and considered unsinkable. But it did not survive a concerted attack by U.S. fighter planes in October 1944.
Musashi’s wreckage was reportedly found at a depth of about 1,000 meters.
A story that ran in The Asahi Shimbun on March 4 made me solemn.
Kiyoshi Watanabe (1925-1981), a crew member who survived the attack, wrote in his book “Senkan Musashi no Saigo” (The death of the battleship Musashi): “As if thoroughly exhausted, Musashi capsized, its exposed bottom jutting sky-high.”
Watanabe managed to swim through a sea of heavy oil, but many officers and soldiers were trapped inside the vessel. The ocean floor became their final resting place.
I was acutely reminded of what a truly wasteful war that was. Innumerable lives were sacrificed, and the nation was thoroughly drained materially as well as emotionally.
The main guns mounted on both Musashi and Yamato were said to have a maximum firing range of 40 kilometers.
The wartime belief in big battleships and big guns ultimately doomed the vessels. Both Musashi and Yamato were sunk, helpless to save themselves. And Japan was defeated mercilessly.
The war ended only 70 years ago, and we cannot allow ourselves to forget it so soon. Musashi’s wreckage serves as a “grave marker in the sea.”
--Vox Populi, Vox Dei on The Asahi Shimbun, March 5 2015
故事：an old cautionary tale / a (chinese) allegory
Cautionary tale は子供向けの教訓昔話。呂氏春秋はそういうものではないだろう。一般的な「寓話」allegory を使うべきである。
重油の海：sea of heavy oil / the sea covered with oil
「重油」＝ heavy oil なのは確かだが、原文では「ひどい油の海」に見える。意味は通るが、原意を明確にするなら説明すべきではないか。
将兵：officers and soldiers / officers and sailors
遺骨は今も海底に眠ったままであろう。：The ocean floor became their final resting place. / Their bodies are still on the bottom of the sea.
大艦巨砲主義の到達点は、しかし悲劇のどん底でもあった。：The wartime belief in big battleships and big guns ultimately doomed the vessels.
意訳しすぎのわりに英語っぽくない。どうせならThe saga of battleships ended in deep tragedy. とかはどうだろう。
そうした諸々（もろもろ）を、戦後わずか７０年で忘れるわけにはいかない。：The war ended only 70 years ago, and we cannot allow ourselves to forget it so soon.
意味が違うだろう。英文では「戦争が70年前に終わったことを忘れるわけにはいかない」という意味になってしまう。 The time of seventy years after the war is not enough to forget the fate of the ship and our country. くらいか？