Tag Archives: 長崎

65 years ago in Nagasaki

9 Aug

Today is the sixty-fifth anniversary of the atomic bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan).

Last year I wrote a post (click here) about the peace memorials in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And three days ago, I wrote a post about the 65th anniversary of the attack on Hiroshima.

In Nagasaki today there will be a peace ceremony just as there was in Hiroshima last Friday.
I believe the U.S. ambassador to Japan will attend this ceremony just as his attended Hiroshima’s ceremony.

After the atomic bombing of Japan in August 1945, many U.S. military soldiers and marines were stationed in Japan for the U.S. occupation of Japan that lasted until after the Vietnam War.

One of those U.S. Marines was Joe O’Donnell.

Have you ever heard of him?

He was a photographer in the U.S. Marines and was stationed in Japan to photograph Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings.

What he saw there deeply affected him and convinced him that the atomic bombing of Japan was a mistake.

For many years after he returned to America, he tried to forget what he saw in Japan.

But finally about twenty years ago he decided to share his photos with the world so that maybe the mistakes of the past won’t be repeated.
He showed the photos he took to his son, who then had them published in a book and he also started a MySpace page for his father.

He 1995, Joe O’Donnell was interviewed by Japan’s NHK TV station for a documentary about the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings. (I remember watching that interview on NHK fifteen years ago).

In that documentary, Joe O’Donnell apologized to the people of Japan, especially the victims of the bombings and their families.

…I want to express to you tonight my sorrow and regret for the pain and suffering caused by the cruel and unnecessary atomic bombings of your cities…No more Hiroshimas! No more Pearl Harbors! No more Nagasakis!

—  (Joe O’Donnell, 1995)

This boy in Nagasaki, Japan is carrying his dead younger brother on his back and he's standing at a cremation pyre, trying to prepare himself to cremate his brother. (photo by Joe O'Donnell, 1945)

These three brothers were orphaned by the bombing of Nagasaki. (photo by Joe O'Donnell, 1945)

As fate would have it, Joe O’Donnell died three years ago today. On 2007 August 9th…the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki!

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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.

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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.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

14 Oct

The day before yesterday (Monday, 12 October) was a Japanese holiday…「体育の日」 (“Sports Day“).
Click here to read my short FAQ about it.

Every year on this day, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) has an archery ceremony called 「草鹿式」 (“Kusa-jishi-shiki“).

靖国神社の「草鹿式」

靖国神社の「草鹿式」

My wife and I watched this ceremony last year and I wrote a post about it.

This year, a French couple who visited and commented on my blog many times are in Tokyo until next week.
This is their first visit to Japan, so I met up with them and took them to watch the 「草鹿式」 (archery ceremony) at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

I didn’t take many photos of it this year, but please read my post about last year’s ceremony. On that post, there are photos and videos that I took (click here to read it).

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As I wrote in an earlier post (click here), Tokyo was a candidate city to host the 2016 Olympic Games but lost out to Rio De Janeiro.

Well, it has been announced that Tokyo plans to submit a bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games!

But Tokyo isn’t the only Japanese city that wants to host the 2020 games.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki have announced their plan to submit a bid to co-host the 2020 Summer Olympics!

Other cities that have expressed interest in hosting the 2020 games are South Africa, Busan (Korea), Delhi (India), Rome (Italy), St. Petersburg (Russia), Warsaw (Poland), Toronto (Canada), Boston (America), and a number of others.

The candidate cities for the 2020 Olympics will be decided next year and the host city will be chosen in 2013.

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Speaking of 「広島」 (Hiroshima, Japan) and 「長崎」 (Nagasaki, Japan), the city council of Rome, Italy announced their plan to rename a street in their city “Hiroshima Nagasaki Street“!

Their reason is because a 78-year old Japanese man named Hiroshi Nishioka gave a speech in Rome recently that left much of the audience in tears.

Mr. Nishioka is a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He was only fourteen at the time of the bombing and in his recent speech in Italy he recalled how he refused to share the water in his canteen with any of the dying people in the streets of Nagasaki for fear that he wouldn’t have enough left for himself.

Even now, the memory of that, he said in his speech, is “like a splinter in my heart.”

Peace Memorials

9 Aug

As I mentioned a few days ago (Click here for the post), August 6 marked the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan) and today is the 64th anniversary of the bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan).

Today in 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan) there will be a memorial service and a moment of silence will be observed all over Japan at 11:01 AM.

In 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan), there is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial to remember the bombing of the city and help prevent another atomic bombing from happening anywhere in the world.
In Japanese, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is called 「原爆ドーム」 which literally means “Atomic Bomb Dome“. This building was the only building to stand nearly intact in Hiroshima after the bombing. It was originally a museum, now it’s a peace memorial.

原爆ドーム (Hiroshima Peace Memorial)

原爆ドーム (Hiroshima Peace Memorial)

Here’s a photo of  Hiroshima in 1945 after the atomic bombing. The museum that is now the 「原爆ドーム」 (Hiroshima Peace Memorial) can be seen:

hiroshima-1945

長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan) also has a peace memorial. It’s called 「長崎平和公園」 (“Nagasaki Peace Park“) and, just like Hiroshima does on August 6th, there’s a memorial service in 「長崎平和公園」 (“Nagasaki Peace Park“) every August 9th.

The "Peace Statue" at 「長崎平和公園」 ("Nagasaki Peace Park").

The "Peace Statue" at 「長崎平和公園」 ("Nagasaki Peace Park").

On this day in August…

5 Aug

◎ Forty-seven years ago today (1962 August 5), Marilyn Monroe died.
Did you know that in January 1954, she and baseball legend Joe DiMaggio traveled to Japan for their honeymoon?

◎ Tomorrow (August 6) is the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan) by the U.S.
August 9th will be the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan).

Last year at this time, I wrote a post about the anniversary of this sad event that includes the last letter written by a kamikaze pilot to his young daughter. (Click here to read it).

◎ 2009 August 15 will mark the day that Japan surrendered and ended World War 2 sixty-four years ago.
Last year, I wrote a post about this day too. (Click here to see it.)

War is terrible. And it’s known that Japan did many bad things during World War 2, but so did every country involved. Including the “Allies”.
Most people agree that it’s best that Japan lost World War 2…but dropping an atomic bomb shouldn’t have been done, and definitely should never be done again.

This is the BBC documentary “Hiroshima” (89 min):

Have you ever heard of 山口彊 (Tsutomu Yamaguchi)?
He’s the only person known to have survived both the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

tsutomu_yamaguchi

山口彊 (Tsutomu Yamaguchi)

His hometown is 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan), but on 1945 August 6 he went to 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan) on a business trip.
He suffered burns, ear and eye damage when the “Little Boy” bomb was dropped on Hiroshima while he was there.
Because of his injuries, he was sent back to a hospital in his hometown. So he was in Nagasaki when the “Fat Man” bomb was dropped on that city!
He had misfortune of having been in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki when they were atomic bombed. But was lucky to have survived both times.

◎ August 15 – 17 will be the 40th anniversary of the “Woodstock Music & Art Fair“.

Woodstock promo poster

Woodstock promo poster

That famous three-day music festival occurred the year I was born. 1969.
I understand it was a major era-defining event for Americans who were teenagers or young adults at that time.
Personally, I don’t think I would’ve gone to Woodstock even if I was my parents’ age.
I’m not a big on music festivals. I like concerts…but all day music festivals with numerous performers seems too much to me. (Summer music festivals are currently very popular in Japan right now. The three-day “Summer Sonic” is scheduled for this weekend near Tokyo and Osaka. Others are “Fuji Rock Festival“, “Rock In Japan“, “Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival“, etc., but I have never gone to one.)

Also, I wouldn’t have gone to Woodstock because I don’t like the “hippie folk music” that was performed there. The only bands on the set-list that seem half-way decent to me are Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix.

If I went to a music festival, it’d be the “Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival“, “Crüe Fest“, or “OzzFest“.

Ozzy Osbourne's "OzzFest"

Ozzy Osbourne's "OzzFest"

63年前

4 Aug

This Wednesday, August 6, will be the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima) and on Friday, August 9th, will be the 63rd anniversary of the bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki).

Both cities will have ceremonies this week to mark the solemn occasions, as they do every year.

Of course as an American, I know that next December 7 ( 2008 ) will be the 67th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

I guess it should come as no surprise that both Japan and America observe the anniversary of the date that they were attacked, not the date that they did the attacking.

War is terrible and I don’t want to get into politics or which country (if either) was justified or not.

I just wanted to put something on this site to commemorate the anniversary of the somber dates.

I consider adding quotes from the online journals of the atomic bomb survivors, but as heart-wrenching as they are to read…I decided to post about someone who is often demonized in the West (especially America) but seen as a tragic hero in this country (Japan).

The 神風 (Kamikaze pilot).

The word 神風 (Kamikaze) literally means divine wind, and it’s actually the name of a 台風 (typhoon) that is said to have saved Japan from attack by Mongolia in the 13th century.

The official Japanese name for the 第二次世界大戦 (WW2) fleet of pilots that intentionally crashed their aircraft into Allied ships when Japan was low on ammunition is 特別攻撃隊 (Special Attack Units).
Common people began to refer to them as 神風 (Kamikaze). (By the way, the correct pronunciation is kah-mee-kah-zeh (not a “long E”)).

Unlike their image overseas (which is often one of faceless lunatics with a death-wish crashing their planes rather than fighting the conventional way), in Japan 神風 (Kamikaze) are viewed as having given the ultimate sacrifice. Japan was low on ammunition and many pilots were called on to join the “Special Attack Units“…and for the honor of themselves, their families, and their country, they agreed.

As I mentioned above, I don’t want to get into the politics of it. But the 神風 (Kamikaze) were allowed to write last letters home to loved-ones.
These letters are kept in the same places that the “souls” of the 神風 (Kamikaze) and all warriors who died for Japan are enshrined: 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

Here’s a translation of one letter from a 神風 (Kamikaze pilot) to his infant daughter:

Motoko,

You often looked and smiled at my face. You also slept in my arms, and I gave you your baths. When you grow up and want to know about me, ask your mother and Aunt Kayo.

My photo album has been left for you at home. I gave you the name Motoko, hoping you would be a gentle, tender-hearted, and caring person.

I want to make sure you are happy when you grow up and become a splendid bride, and even though I die without you knowing me, you must never feel sad.

When you grow up and want to meet me, please come to Yasukuni Shrine. And if you pray deeply, surely your father’s face will show itself within your heart. I believe you are happy. Since your birth you started to show a close resemblance to me, and other people would often say that when they saw little Motoko they felt like they were meeting me. Your uncle and aunt will take good care of you with you being their only hope, and your mother will only survive by keeping in mind your happiness throughout your entire lifetime. Even though something happens to me, you must certainly not think of yourself as a child without a father. I am always protecting you. Please be a person who takes loving care of others.

When you grow up and begin to think about me, please read this letter.

Father

P.S. In my airplane, I keep as a charm a doll you had as a toy when you were born. So it means Motoko was together with Father. I tell you this because my being here without your knowing makes my heart ache.

[Lieutenant Sanehisa Uemura
Kamikaze Special Attack Corps, Yamato Unit
Died on October 26, 1944
25 years old]