WW2 Allies will attend ceremonies in Japan

27 Jul

Yesterday was 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“).

This is a day that occurs once or twice every summer. It always falls on a date in late July, and when there’s a second date it’s usually in early August.
Last year was the first time in 213 years that this event occurred twice in July.

This year there won’t be a second date.

It is tradition in Japan to eat うなぎ (freshwater eel) on 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“).
Eel is said to give stamina to withstand the grueling summer heat.

So, as we usually do on 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“), we ate 「うな丼」 (grilled freshwater-eel on rice).

It was delicious.


Every year on August 6 in 広島 (Hiroshima) and on August 9 in 長崎 (Nagasaki) there are peace ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of those cities in August 1945.

And every year, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invite the U.S. president to attend or at least send a representative.
The reason for this invitation is in hopes that America will attend the ceremonies as a statement against war and nuclear arms.
It is extended as an ally to America not necessarily to attempt to get an apology from America…just an acknowledgment that war is bad and should be avoided.

Every year America declines the invitation.

But last year, U.S. President Barack Obama made a speech in Prague in which he expressed his desire and plans for a world without nuclear weapons.
He always said that he would like to attend the peace ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
His words made the survivors of the nuclear attacks in Japan happy. It was quite the opposite for the statements Washington has always made in the past that the bombings were necessary to end World War 2.

Well, it seems that this is the year that America has finally accepted the invitation from Japan to attend the peace ceremonies.

Next month will mark the 65th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, although U.S. President Barack Obama won’t be attending the ceremonies himself, it has been announced that the U.S. Ambassador to Japan will attend the ceremonies in his place.

Also, Britain and France will be sending their ambassadors as well.

It will be the first time anyone from the governments of those countries have attended these events.

When I came to Japan in 1990, it had been 45 years since the bombings. I remember the fiftieth anniversary in 1995…it was a big event and it was hoped that then-U.S. President Bill Clinton would attend, but he declined just as every U.S. president before and since (until Obama) has.

It has been twenty years since I first came to Japan and now early next month will mark the 65th anniversary of the bombings and I’m sure it’ll be a big event again…especially since the Allied ambassadors will be in attendance.

6 Responses to “WW2 Allies will attend ceremonies in Japan”

  1. Donovan July 27, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    The first part of this article makes me feel embarrassed to be an american. I dont like telling people that I am from america because of things like this. However I have seen such a great change, I saw the entire world unite in celebration when Obama was elected and that made me feel proud. I am very happy to hear that Obama accepted the invitation to this years ceremony. It is a great shame that it has taken this long!


    • tokyo5 July 28, 2010 at 2:36 am #

      I don’t think there’s any reason to apologize or feel shame for being an American.

      As with most acts of war, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrible. But, that aside, Washington’s refusal to attend the peace ceremonies in Japan has to do with politics.

      I’m actually surprised that any U.S. president expressed an intention to attend.


    • Blue Shoe August 5, 2010 at 9:34 am #

      I agree with Tokyo 5 here. I understand how you feel – I’m a bit uncomfortable any time I visit Hiroshima, despite it being one of my favorite places in the world.

      However, every country has bad history. Do you hold anything against Germans or Japanese for the horrible things some of their people did during the war? Probably not. In which case you shouldn’t feel bad either. It’s one thing to regret things that happens in your country’s past. It’s quite another to take that guilt upon yourself and other people who had little or nothing to do with it.


      • tokyo5 August 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

        Yes, that’s what I was trying to say.


  2. Blue Shoe July 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Interesting – as far as I’m aware this story hasn’t really gotten any coverage in American media. Guess there are bigger things going on there. =P

    I don’t know how I’d feel about America apologizing, but it certainly was a horrible (and as the Japanese tend to say about many things) regrettable thing.


    • tokyo5 July 28, 2010 at 2:32 am #

      Yeah, I agree that an American president could never apologize for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, regardless of his personal feelings.

      It’s politics and as the leader and representative of America, he would naturally be more concerned with the feelings of American veterans and their families than those of other countries.

      So, although I understand why the bombing survivors and relatives of those who didn’t survive would want an American official at the peace ceremonies, I also understand why America would decline.


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