Tag Archives: ww2

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.

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70th Anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki

9 Aug

Today is the 70th anniversary of the 1945 August 9th atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

The 「平和祈念像」 (Peace Statue) in the 「平和公園」 (Peace Park) in Nagasaki.

The 「平和祈念像」 (Peace Statue) in the 「平和公園」 (Peace Park) in Nagasaki.

I first came to Japan in 1990, the year of the 45th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Just as there is every year, there will be a memorial service in Nagasaki today to mark this solemn occasion…and a moment of silence across Japan at 11:02AM, the time that the bomb was dropped on the city seventy years ago.

70th anniversary of Hiroshima bombing

6 Aug

Today is the 70th anniversary of the 1945 August 6th bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

The 「原爆ドーム」 (Hiroshima Peace Memorial).

The 「原爆ドーム」 (Hiroshima Peace Memorial).

When I first came to Japan in 1990, it was the year of the 45th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As always, there was a special memorial in Hiroshima today…and a moment of silence at 8:16AM across Japan.

Paper lanterns were set afloat near the Peace Dome in Hiroshima today in a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

Paper lanterns were set afloat near the Peace Dome in Hiroshima today in a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

Birthday of Anne Frank

12 Jun

Anne Frank (アンネ・フランク) would have turned 84 years old today, June 12th 2013, if she were still alive.

Have you ever read “The Diary of Anne Frank” (アンネの日記) ?

She received the diary as a present from her parents on her thirteenth birthday.
She began writing in it immediately and continued for two years until she and her family were captured by Nazis in early August 1944 when she was fifteen.

Her father was the only member of her family to survive the hard-labor concentration camp.
He had her diary published after the war when a family friend, who had kept Anne’s diary safe, returned it to him.

The Diary of Anne Frank” wasn’t immediately successful in Europe, and  it was mildly successful at first in America…but it was an immediate bestseller in Japan!

In her diary, Anne wrote:

“I want to be useful to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

and:

Will I ever be able to write something great?

She definitely wrote “something great”…and she’ll go on living forever!

– Anne Frank, RIP
June 12th 1929 – March ?, 1945

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.”

70 years after the day of infamy

8 Dec

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
It was 1941 December 7th in Hawaii when the attack occurred…but, due to the time difference, it was December 8th in Japan.

So in Japan, December 8th is considered the anniversary of 「真珠湾攻撃」 (the Pearl Harbor Attack), but in America it’s December 7th.

Here are some American World War II propaganda posters made after the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor.

(the images in the post were found on “Google Images”)

Pictures of Hiroshima in autumn

20 Nov

Last Wednesday to Friday, my second daughter took a three-day field trip with her high school class to 広島 (Hiroshima).

Hiroshima is on the other side of the country from 東京 (Tokyo). I imagined that they’d go there by 新幹線 (bullet train)…but they took an airplane flight.

Here are some of the photos she took. (She took many more photos, but I’m not including any of the pictures that have her or her classmates in them.)

This is a famous landmark and symbol of Hiroshima. Before 1945 August 6th, it was an industrial exhibit hall.
The atomic bomb dropped in WW2 detonated directly above it, killing everyone who was inside…but the building was still standing.
It remains exactly how it was after the bombing but the name was changed to 「原爆ドーム」 (“Atomic Bomb Dome”). It’s now a peace memorial and a World Heritage Site.

「原爆ドーム」 ("Atomic Bomb Dome")

This (below) is a statue of Sadako Sasaki who died of leukemia when she was twelve caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (her hometown).  While she was in the hospital, she tried to fold 「千羽鶴」 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes) which are a symbol of health and luck in Japan.
She died before she could complete them.
Click here to read a post that I wrote about her story (and another young Japanese girl with a big story, too).
(Some of young Sadako’s paper origami cranes are in the WTC Momument in New York. Click here to read my post about that.)

"Children's Peace Monument" with statue of Sadako Sasaki.

The 「広島平和記念公園」 (“Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park”):

In the Peace Park, there is the “Peace Flame” which will remain lit until there are no more nuclear weapons in the world, “Peace Bells” which can be rung be visitors to the park in a wish for world peace, and the “Cenotaph (empty tomb) For The Atomic Bomb Victims”…this monument lists the names of all of the victims of the bombing of Hiroshima and has the words 「安らかに眠って下さい 過ちは 繰返しませぬから」 (“Rest in peace, for we will never repeat this mistake”).

The "Cenotaph For Atomic Bomb Victims"

Looking through the Cenotaph For Atomic Bomb Victims, the "Peace Flame" and the "Atomic Bomb Dome" can be seen.

My daughter’s class took the ferry to nearby 宮島 (Miyajima), which is called the “resting place of the gods” and is another World Heritage Site.

The ferry to Miyajima that my daughter's class took.

There are deer on Miyajima.

Miyajima is most famous for 「厳島神社」 (“Itsukushima Shrine“) and it’s wooden Torii gate in the water:

Another landmark of the area is the wooden 「錦帯橋」 (Kintaikyou Bridge) with it’s five arches:

My daughter’s class also got to visit a cave. When they exited the cave, they saw this magnificent view:

All of the photos in this post were taken by my daughter. Please do not use or duplicate any of them without her express permission (which can be obtained through me).