Tag Archives: nagasaki

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.”

Leaders first meeting

26 Sep

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, went to New York yesterday and had his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama and U.S. President Obama

For the U.S., the issue of Japan continued help with the “War On Terrorism” is of top concern.
For Japan, it’s the issue of reducing the number of the U.S. military stationed in Japan…and abolishing nuclear weapons in the world.

But for this first meeting, the only major issue raised was about ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
Both Hatoyama and Obama said that they’d like to see an end to the nuclear threat in the world.

As the only country that has ever been attacked by nuclear weapons, this issue is important to Japan.
Prime Minister Hatoyama reiterated Japan’s stance that all nuclear weapons should be abolished and invited the the American president to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki when he comes to Tokyo next November.

No U.S. President has ever visited Hiroshima or Nagasaki .

Summer of ’69

15 Aug

As I’ve mentioned before, I was born in 1969.

◆ 1969 was the year that Led Zeppelin released their debut album

Led Zeppelin I

Led Zeppelin I

This album is forty years old now. The members of Led Zeppelin who are still alive, have become old…but this album is still excellent.
If you don’t own a copy, you should buy one.

◆ Also, on 1969 July 20, the first astronaut landed on the moon (I wrote a post about it…click here).

I wasn’t born until November 1969, but I’m sure that this was a momentous event for those that witnessed it.

◆ August 9th was the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan

but it was also the 40th anniversary of the 1969 August 9 grisly murders of Sharon Tate and others by the notorious “Charles Manson Family” in California.

Charles Manson in custody.

Charles Manson in custody.

The late sixties changed America in many ways and took away it’s “innocence”.
The Vietnam War, hippies, drugs, Woodstock…and the Charles Manson trial.

I heard that many Americans only began locking their house at night after the murders by the Manson Family. Even the judge in the trial began carrying a gun under his robe after Manson tried to stab him with a pencil in court. (The court officers intercepted him before he reached the judge and they escorted him out of the court room…as they did, Manson yelled to the judge: “In the name of Christian justice, someone should chop off your head!”)

Once Charles Manson showed up in court with an “X” carved into his forehead, and the next day his “Family” had matching “X”‘s in their foreheads. (Years later, Manson carved more into the “X” and turned it into a swastika).

Also, tomorrow, a member of the “Manson Family” who went to prison in 1975 for an assassination attempt on then-US President Richard Nixon will be released from prison.
Her name is Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, and she is the only member of the Manson Family who is still loyal to Charles Manson. And she’s getting out of prison tomorrow (2009 August 16) after serving 34 years of a life-sentence.

◆ Today is the 64th anniversary of VJ Day

but today’s also the 40th anniversary of the first day of “Woodstock“, the three-day rock / folk music festival in New York that went from 1969 August 15th to 17th.

3-day ticket for Woodstock Festival, 1969 August 15-17

3-day ticket for Woodstock Festival, 1969 August 15-17

A three-day outdoor concert in the mud and rain with little food and water…I don’t think it sounds enjoyable. Maybe I’m just not the right generation to understand the appeal of Woodstock.

Forty years ago this summer America went through alot of changes.

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]