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74 Years Ago

7 Dec

Today, 2015 December 7th, is the seventy-fourth anniversary of the WW2 attack on the U.S. Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (In Japan, because of the time difference, it was December 8th here).

The JapanToday.com website has a nice story about the ceremony in Pearl Harbor today that united former enemies:

Former U.S. airman Jack DeTour, 92, and Japanese fighter pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, sworn enemies during World War Two, together poured whiskey from a battered canteen into Pearl Harbor on Sunday to commemorate the 1941 attack on the U.S. naval base.

As the sun rose over the USS Arizona Memorial, the two former enemy pilots joined the “Blackened Canteen” service on the eve of the 74th anniversary of the Dec 7 attack, which took 2,403 lives and drew the United States into World War Two.

Standing side by side after meeting for the first time ever, retired Air Force Colonel DeTour and former Imperial Japanese Navy Zero Pilot Wakita together gripped the war-torn U.S. military-issue metal canteen and poured whiskey into the watery grave of the U.S. Navy ship sunk by Japanese bombers.

Now a symbol of friendship, the scorched war relic was recovered in 1945 in Shizuoka, after two B-29 U.S. bombers collided overhead. The 23 Americans killed were buried alongside Japanese citizens who died in the bombing raid. Found among the wreckage was the blackened canteen, filled with whiskey, and it was kept in Japan to remember loved ones lost.

Since the 1980s, Japanese residents have regularly brought it to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony aimed at maintaining peace.

“To know we have this friendship is great. It’s fantastic,” said DeTour, who wore a purple flower lei over his dark suit.

DeTour now lives in Honolulu and was a young man from Oregon when he joined the military in 1942.

There were no Pearl Harbor survivors among the World War Two veterans attending this year’s canteen ceremony, said Gary Meyers, spokesman for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The last surviving officer from the USS Arizona, Joseph Langdell, died on Feb 4 in California at age 100. An internment service for Langdell, who was a 27-year-old ensign sleeping in quarters on shore when the surprise attack was launched, will take place at Pearl Harbor on Monday.

At the canteen ceremony, Dr Hiroya Sugano, director of the Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club, said he keeps the canteen in his possession and carries it to the ceremony each year because it is a powerful symbol.

“The blackened canteen is an inspiration for peace,” said Sugano.

U.S. Ambassador Kennedy

14 Nov

On November 12th (2013), it was confirmed that the new U.S. Ambassador to Japan is to be Caroline Kennedy.

She is the daughter of the late former U.S. president John F. Kennedy.

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Caroline Kennedy as a small child with her father, John F. (“JFK”) Kennedy.

She and her family will move into the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Tokyo tomorrow…one week before the 50th anniversary of the 1963 November 22nd assassination of her father, JFK.

Caroline Kennedy and her husband are reportedly very fond of Japan…they spent their honeymoon in 1986 in Kyoto, Japan.

終戦記念日

15 Aug

Today, 2013 August 15th, is the sixty-eighth anniversary of the day that Japan surrendered to the U.S. in 1945.

It’s called 「終戦記念日」(“VJ Day”), and it was the event the signified the end of World War II.

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Cherry Blossom Queens

29 May

Did you know that there are Japanese 桜 (cherry blossom) trees in Washington DC?
And that they have an annual Japanese-style cherry blossom festival when the flowers bloom in the spring?

And did you know that those trees were a gift to America from Japan about sixty years ago?

Well…did you know that both Japan and America crown a Cherry Blossom Queen every year?
It isn’t a beauty contest type of competition. Each state in America and each prefecture in Japan enters a young woman into the competition based on community service that she has done.

And then the country’s Cherry Blossom Queen is chosen by a random draw.

Every year the U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen comes to Japan and meets the Japanese Prime Minister along with the current Japanese Cherry Blossom Queen.

Last year, the 2012 U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen was an African-American woman for the first time.
She made headlines in Japan!

The 2013 U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen, Mary Anne Morgan, just came to Tokyo and met Japanese Prime Minister Abe and 2013 Japanese Cherry Blossom Queen, Chiori Kobayashi yesterday.

The Boss meets the Emperor

26 Mar

First of all, today (2013 March 26) is the fifth anniversary of my blog.

I wrote the first post on 2008 March 26.

As of today, my blog has gotten about 1,600,000 hits … that averages to about 895 hits per day over the five years – – but that’s not really accurate because my blog averages 1000 hits a day now, but less than 50 a day when I first started it in 2008.

Thanks to all my site’s visitors … especially you! Please leave a comment!

Anyways, I found out about a new movie about post-WW2 Japan titled “Emperor” starring Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. Army General Douglas McArthur.

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Do you know who Gen. McArthur was?

He is very well-known in Japan.

General McArthur was in charge of the U.S. military  during the war against Japan … and also during the occupation of Japan after the war ended.

Japanese people respect McArthur because he respected the Japanese people.

Tommy Lee Jones is also respected in Japan.
He is known to everyone here as the “face” of Suntory’s Boss Coffee.

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  In the Boss Coffee TV commerials, Tommy Lee Jones acts and sounds like a Japanese man.
He’s an excellent actor.

Have you seen the movie “Emperor” ?

Silly political games again …

16 Aug

Yesterday (2012 August 15), was the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II.

And, as is done every August 15th in Tokyo, some Japanese politicans went to the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)… which is the shrine in Japan that honors all who died defending Japan in war… to pay tribute.

All who died in Japan’s defense are enshrined there … including those who were found guilty of war crimes by the U.S. war tribunals.

For that reason, many of Japan’s neighboring countries don’t like Yasukuni Shrine … and get upset when Japanese politicans visit it.

But really, the shrine doesn’t exclude war dead based on another country’s war court verdict … in the same way that all of America’s soldiers who die in battle can be buried at Arlington Cemetary, all of Japan’s soldiers are honored at Yasukuni Shrine.

But that isn’t the only political debate neighboring countries have with Japan.
China, Russia and South Korea have border disputes with Japan.

After their victory over the Japanese team at the Olympics,  a player on South Korea’s Olympic soccer team held up a sign declaring that the disputed Takeshima Island is Korean territory.  The Korean team almost lost their medal because of that.
Then, the South Korean president visited the island – – unannounced visits to disputed land by a political leader isn’t probably a wise move.
And then, yesterday … the anniversary of the end of World War II, some Korean men attempted to swim to the island. They didn’t make it there, so Japan didn’t need to take any action … but their attempt made the news.

And then yesterday, a Chinese boat was intercepted by the Japanese Coast Guard as it tried to head to the Senkaku Islands … which is disputed land between Japan and China.
The Chinese people onboard are currently in a Japanese jail. China is demanding that they be freed.

This seems to happen every year at this time.

Truman’s grandson visited Hiroshima

7 Aug

Yesterday (2012 August 6th) was the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (August 9th will mark the same anniversary of Nagasaki).

Harry Truman was the U.S. President in 1945 who ordered the atomic bombings of Japan.

Every August, there are ceremonies in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki to remember those who died in the bombings…and to try to ensure that no other nuclear weapons are dropped on any other city in the world.

Yesterday, for the first time ever, a member of former U.S. President Harry Truman’s family attended the ceremony in Hiroshima.

Harry Truman’s grandson laid a wreath of flower at the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.

Harry Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, is an anti-nuclear weapons activist. When he attended the ceremony in Hiroshima, he said ““I’m two generations down the line (from former President Truman). It’s now my responsibility to do all I can to make sure we never use nuclear weapons again.”