Japanese Views

'Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm' by Tosuke S.

‘Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm’ by Tosuke S.

Despite some common belief and wartime propaganda, not all the Japanese people wanted war with either America or England.  Here are some quotes located to help clarify that misconception.

The following quotes have been taken from Saburo Ienaga’s “Pacific War” (Taiheiyo senso) translated by Frank Baldwin.

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In the midst of the excitement and successful sinking of the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, Onozuka Kiheiji, former president of the Tokyo Imperial University, whispered to a colleague, “This means that Japan is sunk too.” ___ Ienaga Miyako

Onozuka Kiheiji

Onozuka Kiheiji

This was true for even those members of the political elite who belonged to the cautious school of thought, made their point of view at the Senior Statesmen’s Conference by, Wakatsuki Reijiro: “Do we have adequate resources for a long war or not?  I am concerned about this problem.”  Yonai Mitsumasa added, “In attempting to prevent Japan from being gradually weakened and reduced to a minor power, the government should be very careful that the result is not our rapid defeat and destruction.”  Premier Tojo tired of such talk and refused to listen any further.  He gave his standard reply, “Please, trust in the government.”

Yonai Mitsumasa

Yonai Mitsumasa

Concerning Midway – “…defeat was unthinkable in the early months … Disaster was equally swift and overwhelming.  The attack on Midway Island, planned by Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, Yamamoto Isoroku, an instant military genius after his Pearl Harbor feat, was carried out despite strong staff objections.  An American carrier squadron surprised the Japanese fleet and sank 4 irreplaceable carriers on one day… a catastrophic loss. ___ Fuchida Mitsuo and Okumiya Masatake in “Middoue”

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Fuchida Mitsuo

Fuchida Mitsuo

 

 

 

 

 

 

“US Forces landed on Guadalcanal 7 August 1942.  The Japanese garrison, its air supremacy gone and its food supplies cut off, was reduced to starvation.  After suffering enormous casualties, Japanese forces abandoned the island on 31 December 1942.  The retreat was disguised as a ‘strategic withdrawal.’ but this still gave the public the first sign of defeat.” ___ Saburo Ienaga

Saburo Ienaga

Saburo Ienaga

The following poem was taken from “Gadarukanarusen shishu,” (Poems from the Battle of Guadalcanal), by Yoshida Kashichi, a non-commissioned officer who survived.  It was published in “Showa senso bungaku zenshu“, Vol. 6

 

No matter how far we walk

We don’t know where we’re going

Trudging along under dark jungle growth

When will this march end?

Japanese POWs on Guadalcanal

Japanese POWs on Guadalcanal

Hide during the day

Move at night

Deep in the lush Guadalcanal jungle

Our rice is gone

Eating roots and grass

Along the ridges and cliffs

Leaves hide the trail, we lose our way

Stumble and get up, fall and get up

Covered with mud from our falls

Blood oozes from our wounds

No cloth to bind our cuts

Flies swarm to the scabs

No strength to brush them away

Fall down and cannot move

How many times I’ve thought of suicide.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Murphy_080105

Relax-Dude

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Brodie – Palm Bch Gardens, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 533rd Heavy Tank Maint., Bronze Star

Farewell

Farewell

Frank Bogard – AK; US Army, Korea, Vietnam, Bronze Star, Med-Corps

Charles Farrell – Indianapolis, IN; US Air Force, Korea

Frank Jarvis – Hamilton, NZ; FAA # 8739, WWII

Gordon Keats – Victoria, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

Lloyd Martin Sr. – Fayetteville, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-47 pilot, POWFUNERALPICKET-610x406

Frank Quinn – Denver, CO; US Army, WWII, PTO

Joseph Riley – Grove City, OH; US Army, 1 Batt/508 Parachute Inf.Reg/3rd Brig. Combat Team/82nd A/B

Leroy Tilley – Greencastle, IN; US Army, WWII & Korea

Edward Wojtowicz – Joliet, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO Alaska & Korea

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 22, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 124 Comments.

  1. Hi GP Cox,
    I teach Japan’s motives on December 7. I agree they all didn’t want war. I was in Pearl Harbor where they explained the Japanese felt threatened. They feared we’d cut their oil supply, so they attacked us first.
    I read your comment that you wished to “pick my brain.” I would love that! I am looking to expand my readership, and there is a free incentive for signing up. Here is my link http://wp.me/P5jxvv-hM
    Thanks for your interest.
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

    • What are your thoughts on the argument that Hideki Tojo was naive to think that Hitler would continue to honour the Pan Fascism Pact had Japan succeeded in either defeating the US or creating a sufficient diversion in the Pacific so that the Third Reich could focus on conquering Europe, the Balkans and Russia with little opposition? It’s not often spoken about anymore but it is an old argument that because of Hitler’s racist views, he believed that the Japanese were not Aryan descendants, were inferior to the Germans and he intended to eventually invade Japan and the rest of the world.

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      • Tojo looked down his nose at Hitler too. What he wanted out of the Germans was for them to keep Russia busy while they dealt with the US. Japan and Germany were more or less thrown together because of their trade agreement that was in effect when the war began – there was no love loss with either one. IMO – if the Axis powers HAD won the war – they would have ended up battling each other. Thank you for bringing up that point, Allan.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree. I think they would have up against each other eventually, and I am sure that it would have been most bloody. Try to imagine the impact that would have had on world history today.

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          • Would we be speaking German or Japanese?

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’ve actually studied both. 3 years of German way back in high school (I’m not fluent), and far less Japanese for my interest in karate. Regardless, being that I’m born in 1970 — probably long after that conflict would have run its course, I question if I would have been allowed to live long under either regime.

              I’m black.

              Japan and Germany of today are far different than what either would have been had either one usurped the world. That is a colossal impact on world events. On everything.

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              • I knew you were black, but did fail to take that into consideration. Though, after Hitler saw Jesse Owens win 4 Gold Medals, I think he might have thought twice before eliminating the race. I admire you studying two difficult languages as you have. I tried, but didn’t have the knack.

                Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, I have not heard this theory but it makes sense. Knowing Hitler, I think Hideki Tojo was naive. Thanks for the discussion!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for visiting my blogs.You have here a very interesting post

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    • Thank you, Lou. This website is dedicated for my father Smitty and his 11th Airborne and he always told me to look into every side of an altercation. And I think the Pacific War qualifies. I appreciate your visit and hope you’ll return for more.

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  3. Letters home from troops give another remarkable perspective.

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  4. EmilyAnn Frances

    Thank you for this! I recommend “Bridge to the Sun” by Gwen Terasaki. Prior to the outbreak of WWII her husband, a Japanese diplomat, was working for better understanding between Japan and the U.S. She vividly describes the heartbreak and suffering the family endured when they went back to Japan as the war progressed. I don’t remember the rest since I need to reread this excellent book again. But it puts a human face on the suffering and shows the complexity of emotions and thoughts amongst everday people like Ms. Terasaki and her family. I highly recommend this book as it complements what you’ve written here.

    Also, thank you so much for your continued support of my blog at http://www.throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com

    During the war one of our relatives was a POW in Italy. He was Italian-American fighting on the American side. My grandmother used to buy medications to send to him. He always asked her to include some candy and other treats which he gave to the guards for their children. Again, a complex situation.

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    • War is complex on any level, but unfortunately politically orientated far too much. I know the atrocities that occurred are not the true nature of the people, but brought on by the horrors and often incomprehensible events of war. I’ll add your book to my list, but I’m afraid it will be awhile – I am always researching and just received 4 more books. Another good book is “Three Came Home” by Agnes Keith.
      No need to thank me for supporting your site, EmilyAnn – it is worth the visit every time! And thank you for your grandmother’s story!

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  5. Fascinating as always. Happy Fourth of July.

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  6. I was stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan from 1996 to 1999. I loved living in Japan and the Japanese people I met and came to know. I like your post and your blog. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your comments. I hope you will enjoy more of our site here. I’ve tried to have this blog belong to everyone – the stories of their relatives and neighbors; links to further information and discuss points of view with each other – not just me – and it’s worked out great!! We have a great bunch of people here from all walks of life.
      Thank you for your many years of service to our country and I hope you’ll stick around and meet everyone else!! Great to meet you, Chris.

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  7. Great post as usual!

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  8. Interesting to read a few perceptions on the war from the enemy angle.
    Some obviously had foresight to prophesise the beginning of the end.

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  9. Wow! i had never read about the war from the Japanese point of view before except of course “Tora Tora Tora.” Well done. Would be interested in reading more.

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  10. This man Sabaru Ienaga tried for many years to get his truthful textbook into the schools of Japan, but was continually refused by the Japanese Education Ministry….he was finally censured by the Japanese government. It’s really too bad Japan cannot seem to come to terms with the true history of WW2 and Japan’s actions. One very recent “incident” shows that even today they have a hard time with the truth, the Mayor of Osaka very recenty told the “Osaka Peace Museum” to remove and throw away any and all exhibits showing or that deals with the aggression or invasions of any given country by Japan and to concentrate on the people who died and survived the bombings by the Americans…..revisionism is alive and well in Japan…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am very troubled to hear this. To have any history just thrown away is equal with sacrilege. I know there has been much debate about the Korean ‘Comfort Women’ and some other issues, but the Osaka mayor I missed.
      Thank you for keeping me informed.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Nice read. A change from the usual dark stories of the Japanese in WWII. How about stories from the “collaborators” side. How and why they did what they did. Interesting and rare dont you think sir

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  12. Thanks for the interesting post on the Japanese point of view. I don’t know that much about the war, but I am sure like most of us, except the Military powers themselves, no one really wants war and when forced to fight, of course they will fight for their country. We had a neighbour when I was growing up, and I remember my mum saying, “never mention the Japanese to Mr. X” When I asked why, she said he was in the war and hated them. I guess we all have our ways of fighting as well. A lady I worked with many years ago, told me her father was a doctor in WW2 and was captured by the Japanese. She said he was made to dig his own grave. Then beheaded. It was apparently considered an honourable way for a doctor to die. She said her mother never got over it when she found out how he died, and that she suicided some years later when this lady was still a teenager. As awful as that was, and of course would have been utterly heartbreaking for the wife, I guess all cultures have their own ways of doing things. Not to say they are right or even fair, but who are we to say?? The Nazis of course were brutal and what they did can not be excused in any way. My mothers family were Jews so I do have an understanding of that. But for the average person it must have been the same. Luckily for me I was not born when WW2 was happening, but then we now have the wars in the Middle East with Australians and Americans and English affected. War is just tragic, and mainly the tragedies are the common person, caught up in either the fighting or the destruction of their homes and cities. Humankind can be so cruel and yet so beautiful at times as well. I don’t think wars will ever end, until we destroy ourselves. It has always been and always will I guess…..oops sorry for this rather depressing post. But you see, you make us think and discuss. And that is not a bad thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never apologize, your opinion is important around here and we all want to see it. I repeatedly ask people for stories they know of and, etc. I agree with most everything you’ve said, except for Military powers being the ones who want war. If you have two people in the world, there WILL be a disagreement and the military, especially after seeing war, do not wish to re-enter it – that lands on our politicians, money, power and greed.

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      • Hello again, I think you were saying in your reply to my comment that it is not the military powers but more so the politicians wanting power, greed etc. If that is what you were meaning, then yes, I agree, and probably what I should have written rather than the military powers who would also be following orders. And sadly so true that our politicians do seem to be that way inclined. Just look at Tony Abbot our Australian Prime Minister. A very sad and sorry indictment of an Australian I think. The likes of him have no concern for the citizen, but in his own agenda. Anyway, it’s always interesting to see others points of view on all of this. Thank you again.

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  13. I had a Japanese girl in my History class and I still have a quote from one of her answers to an exam question. “It was a big mistake when the Americans dropped the bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They should have dropped them on Tokyo and killed all the bastards who stated the war. Excuse my language Sir.”

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    • That definitely indicates how she felt about the war, but Mac Arthur warned about ever getting too close to the Emperor. Without him, I don’t believe we could have walked in so easily. We eventually executed the people she mentioned. Thanks for your story.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I will bet almost anything that Japanese girl knew next to nothing about the war other than the atomic bomb drops. If she did, I doubt very seriously she would have said that. The difficult part of telling Japanese the certain parts of the war is that they rarely believe anyone who isn’t Japanese that in my opinion by talking with many Japanese people is that their arrogance and superiority complex keeps them from believeing their WW2 era soldiers were as brutal and sadistic as I know they were in many instances. I have been told by this Japanese man that the “Bataan Death March” was an ALLEDGED event, even when I posted numerous survivor testimonies. Japan is heavy into revisionism at present……Japan has a long way to go….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually she stood up in class and made a very heartfelt statement about the way she thought it would take forever for people to comprehend the enormity of Japans crimes.

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  14. As in all conflicts, dissenting opinion is usually dealt with as negative thinking, or worse.

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  15. There were some stories I’ve heard saying that the Koreans were those who committed the most atrocities during the Japanese occupation of manila. I understand that Koreans were drafted as part of the Japanese military. These stories may or may not be true….

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  16. Sadly, I think until this nation cohesively devises a plan we need to stay out of the Middle East. This back and forth nonsense is nothing but failure, not by our troops, but by our elected officials.

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    • BINGO – you said it, Texas!! This was my opinion in Nam and ever since – either win it or get out out!! Why shed American blood for people who don’t even want us there? [unless they own an oil rig or poppy field]

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for sharing these men’s thoughts GP Cox, some Christian Germans hid Jews risking their own lives because they too valued people as being of worth regardless of who they were but sadly the value of Life is becoming less today as we see with the increase of Abortions, Suicides and Christians being Martyred.

    Without Trust in God, life will seem pointless to some, others find out later what they thought was fulfillment just leaves emptiness. When man lifts up we will fall but when God lifts us up we never do.

    Blessings – Anne.

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  18. As always and it is good that it is so. There will always be those that don’t want war. I thank God for the other voice. It keeps us balanced sometimes. I enjoyed this very much.

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  19. Always enjoy hearing both sides of the story. Wars are not very pleasant things.

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  20. In my small experience in such matters I can only say this.

    It is only those who have seen war, those who have participated in it, who most strongly oppose war. They are the first to insist that all other measures must first be exhausted, before turning to such a costly last alternative. They do not shrink from war if or when it becomes inevitable, but because they know the truth of war, they are the last to seek it.

    But let’s not confuse anti-war sentiment (on either side of a war) with the wisdom learned by those who have experienced it. They are the only one’s who know the truth of war, and they are the one’s who most strongly oppose it. Well intended or not, opposing war in sentiment, is in no way equivalent to opposing war in its reality.

    In Koji’s eloquent example, many might gather the impression that his Grandmother (an actual witness to horrific war in her own home country) was reflecting on the tragedy of war, the wasteful loss of so many young lives, the futility of war. And no doubt she was, in a way that only witnesses such as herself ever could. But she also remembered and spoke as if to imply that now (for the first time in her life) she fully understood the “vast resources” of America as the reason for the defeat of the Japanese Empire.

    Every story has two sides, especially war stories. Koji’s Grandparents certainly had their story to tell. But I also detected a sense of regret in Koji’s Grandmother’s quote. Not just the regret of the horrors of war , but also the regret of having been vanquished in war as a Nation. A national “sentiment” that is still very much present today in Japan. And I hear the mantra of it increasing.

    As for myself, I choose to see Koji’s comment in both lights. The truth is surely in his Grandmother’s words, but it speaks of the regret of both kinds. I can’t help but wonder what “sentiment” Koji’s Grandmother would have expressed had Japan succeeded in their war campaign.

    You see, I also knew someone who was there and I can assure you,

    There are always two sides to every story.

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    • Thank you very much for sharing your sentiments on this post. From my father, I learned that there are usually even more than 2 sides [ever hear the testimonies of eye witnesses to a crime?] – different eyes see different sides to each cube. I can understand if Koji’s grandmother felt regret for being vanquished as a nation, the 187th/11th Airborne Div. were the first conquerors to step on Japanese soil in 2,000 years – it HAD to hurt them badly, yet most received the troops according to their Emperor’s wishes. I highly commend them for that – would we react with such grace?

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      • Thanks GP for the interesting and thoughtful reply, I do so enjoy learning in this way. The exchange of thoughts and ideas is a key to understanding. And I am much like you in another regard, I tend to be rather blunt and I don’t often “sugarcoat” my statements. You are correct in saying that human perspectives are as varied as they are unreliable, especially those under stress, but perspectives have no bearing on reality, except to skew it. Perspectives can be altered, but facts do not change.

        As Sir Winston Churchill once said; “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is”.

        Which goes to your question; “would we react with such grace?”.

        Despite the propaganda and misinformation we were all fed by multiple sources, the end result is what proves out the truth. And to my understanding, America went far beyond “Grace” in their “reaction” to the war with, and surrender of Japan. Sure, we vanquished them in war, and war is never “pretty”, both “sides” had to do horrible things. Often just to survive. But let us not forget the Japanese launched a preemptive attack against America that they already knew was highly risky and depended on total surprise to be successful. They knew they had one shot at success and their aim was to cripple American Forces in one sudden blow. They knew in advance that if their plan failed, Japan had already lost the war.

        Upon witnessing the devastating attack Japan inflicted against Pearl Harbor, (while his comrades celebrated victory) Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Combined Japanese Naval Fleet, was heard to say; ” I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.” Yamamoto had long warned the Japanese that war against America and Great Britain was doomed to fail, because he too understood the truth of war, and he knew their only chance of success was a swift and total victory. Much like Koji’s Grandmother, Yamamoto was one of those wise souls who did not want war. But when he knew it was inevitable, he did not shrink from it. He did what all smart warriors do when war is inevitable, he went on the offense.

        Well before the attack on Pearl Harbor Yamamoto said; “In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.”

        Each knew what the other was up to, and each knew the costs involved. The Japanese gambled on a long-shot, and they lost. They had no choice but to accept the terms of unconditional surrender, there was no “grace” in their compliance, they were forced to submit. And it took nearly 4 years of war and TWO Atom Bombs to force them to finally submit to surrender a war campaign they knew they had already lost as soon as it began. Forgive me if I have trouble accepting “grace” as part of the description.

        As you so correctly stated before, “War leaves a scar on the world”.

        I recently heard an interview that was recorded just last month. The man being interviewed was a survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March who was held for 3 1/2 years in a Japanese POW camp. Although they might not have known each other, I had a dear friend who accompanied him from Corregidor to Liberation. In retrospect, the survivor summarizes that in the end (where the truth is proven out) Japan had in effect won the war after all. He pointed out that Japan is now a First World Country, an Ally to the United States, with a thriving economy, and they are a Nuclear Nation. In fact of the matter, Japan has far more now than they would have had even if their war campaign had succeeded.

        In my opinion, the “Grace” you eluded to was more truly shown in the response of America, after we forced Japan to surrender. After first paying the high costs of war with Japan, America then set about reconstructing and restoring the very nation they had vanquished. Political elements aside, I feel confident in saying that without the treasure and reconstruction that America poured into Japan after the war, they would still today be a third world nation struggling to survive the effects of a war that literally nearly annihilated their entire nation.

        In sharp contrast, The Philippines (Which was considered by the world to be “The Jewel of The Pacific” immediately prior to the Japanese invasion) still struggles to recover from a war that brought with it horrific atrocities committed against 100’s of thousands of innocent Filipino citizens. And they were not the only country to suffer under Japanese occupation.

        “Would we” you ask? The man in the interview I mentioned never received a single Red Cross package during his entire tortuous ordeal as a POW in Japan, nor did any of the other POWs in his camp. They were delivered as per the Geneva Convention, but they were stolen and used by the Japanese. Three days after receiving his first Red Cross package which US Forces delivered by parachutes in advance of the actual liberation of his camp, the survivor walked two miles on bare feet to the nearest Japanese village where he shared the little he had with the local Japanese people who were themselves, starving.

        “Would we”? We did my friend. We are Americans.

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        • When I mentioned accepting the conquerors on the soil with grace, I was talking about the civilians, not the officers that caused the atrocities. If we were to be conquered – would we [even as civilians] just let that happen with very few incidents? You know very well – we would not; we’d get our guns out.
          Japan never signed the Geneva Convention, so they could not be held for failing to deliver the Red Cross packages. I’ve researched enough to know what all the POWs went through, although no one can understand as the people that lived in it.
          I would not quote Churchill either, I’ve read his memoirs and his memory fails against that of the Facts.
          I appreciate your opinion.

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          • Yes sir, I understood your initial meaning. All civilian victims of war have my deepest sympathies, no matter what “side” they may be on. I must also say, that I apologize for taking this thread a bit off track. That was not my intent.

            Regarding Churchill. I chose his particular quote because he was a man of the times. But whether it be Gandhi, Jesus Christ, or a complete stranger you’ve never met before, the messenger is not important.The truth remains the same no matter who speaks it. The truth literally speaks for itself, and always presents itself as a final result.

            Now, where I think I’m having trouble understanding the meaning of “grace” in your references above is; As I’m sure you well know, the entire Japanese military operated under a rather twisted form of the historical Japanese Bushido Code. To them, their “Honor Code” system was as much a religion as it was a set of ethical rules. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the entire Japanese culture was structured and based on this principle. This included all citizens.

            There is a cultural element involved here that seems to be being blended with “grace”. And that is what I want to guard against. For the Japanese, surrender was an absolute and utter disgrace. For them this was the most cowardly act imaginable, which is exactly why so many of our POWs were treated so cruelly after the surrender of Corregidor. Many a Japanese soldier would commit suicide during the war, rather than be captured by an enemy that would shame them eternally. Iwo Jima comes to mind. In 1944 after the largest “Bonzai Charge” of the Pacific War, (over 27,000 Japanese KIA vs 3,000 US KIA) Thousands of Japanese citizens living in Saipan, were directly ordered by Hirohito to commit mass suicide rather than be captured. The US had already declared the battle over, still they jumped to their deaths. Some with their own children in their arms. Although not well documented, there were also many cases of suicide among Japanese civilians during the final days and weeks of the war. Such was the fervor and the fear of their beliefs.

            My long departed friend who was there to see the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki and the ensuing surrender of Japan, once told me that his prison guard thought of him as less valuable than a dog, because a dog could be eaten.

            So as I see it, the act of civilian surrender was strictly an adherence to their own cultural “honor code” much more than it was an act of respect to a conquering power. I strongly suspect many Japanese civilians thought they would soon be rounded up, imprisoned, and treated like our POWs were at the hands of the Japanese. Not to mention the fact that they had just witnessed two of their largest cities evaporate right before their eyes.

            As a nation who had surrendered in the face of an overwhelming enemy, the entire nation felt a great sense of shame, and they were directed by their Emperor to submit to the conquering power in a fashion that was fitting with their customs.

            Yamamoto also once said, “Japan could never invade the mainland of America because there would be a gun behind every blade of grass”. He was right about that. And so were you.

            The fact that Japan didn’t sign the Geneva Convention, was both a calculated tactical move, as well as a violation of their own Bushido Code. Although it may not be recorded in the annals of history, I believe the Japanese knew from before the beginning that their resources were extremely limited, and they would have to depend on slave labor to continue their war effort. In other words, I believe the avoidance of the Geneva Convention was intentional. And every POW they ever captured was destined to either be killed, or sent to slave for the Japanese war machine.

            If memory serves, Japan did eventually sign the Geneva Convention 2 1/2 years or so into the war. Finally granting POW status to the prisoners they had formerly described as “invaders of Japanese territory”. But that was just a political ploy designed to conceal their true purpose, the newly designated POWs never received any change in status, except that conditions would get much worse.

            I will be the first to admit that the sentiments expressed by those who have been touched by war, are the most sincere and most true words ever spoken. No matter the language used. And it is that very “sentiment” that must never be forgotten.

            War leaves no one untouched. I have the greatest compassion for those who truly know the “sentiment” of war. But as for my Filipino wife and I, the “sentiment” of the Japanese view, will serve only as a constant reminder of the scars left by war.

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            • The Japanese knew their resources were low – YES – that is the reason they invaded China, Indochina – and when the US cut them off and froze ALL assets, yup they kinda knew. You and your wife may be too close to the subject to be objective and able to see both sides and I say this with the utmost respect, but discussing the actions of both sides in piecemeal fashion like this – it is hard for anyone to get the whole picture. A person needs to actual start back about 1860 and come forward to get the whys and wherefores of World War II.

              Liked by 1 person

            • PS. actually it was Manila that was considered the Pearl of the Orient, not all of the P.I.

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            • Doc & Cj….

              I am married to a Filipina woman as well. I am an American who has been a lifelong amatuer WW2 historian with the emphasis on the Pacific Theater. I have a few differing opinions in your above response. This “code” the Japanese lived by in my opinion harmed them way more than it did any good for them, during battle, the Japanese wasted so many valuable soldiers in senseless “Banzai” charges when all thought was lost, a good leader knows when to retreat and live to fight another day. I have written an opinion type piece on my blog that explains why Japan lost the war, I think you may find it most enlightening. After many long drawn out bloody battles of attrition the US and Japan fought across the Pacific, and those same US servicemen hearing of how the Japanese were treating the POW’s they captured, I think it only human nature to be extremely angry considering the US for the most part treated Japanese POW’s rather well, this is where this “code” harmed the Japanese. Many times a Japanese tried to surrender only to be cut down where he stood by a US Marine or Army soldier, as an American and how I know how the Japanese treated POW’s, I really can’t blame them in any way. The Japanese used this “code” as an instituional policy as right. A right to abuse, starve and many times execute US servicemen. One instance during the Battle of Midway comes to mind, two naval aviators whose plane was damaged, they were forced to ditch in to the sea and were subsequestly taken prisoner aboard a Japanese destroyer, their names were Sean O’ Flareghty and Bruno Guido. They were taken aboard this Japanese ship, interrogated and tortured and then taken back on deck, had weights tied to their bodies and then thrown overboard to drown. I can also tell you of incidents of cannabalism of US and Austrailian servicemen by their Japanese captors to impress their supieriors. The Japanese as a military had to be defeated at all costs given their nature. The Japanese war of terror and invasion was completely and TOTALLY different to the US’s war of liberation, the US steeled themselves for a costly war and the US Navy performed spectacularly against the veteran IJN Navy. The war had ened, the US proved themselves magnanamous victors, the US rebuilt Japan’s destroyed cities and rebuilt the devastated industry. Japan emerged as world economic superpower and has been a great ally, but their recent revisionism of late is something that bothers me greatly, the Japanese government has outright lied to its people since wars end of Japan’s actions….anyways, just wanted to add my thought and opinions to this great discussion…

              Liked by 2 people

              • Thank you Sir, you stated with authority what I was trying to say in my ignorance. I fully agree with you and greatly appreciate your thoughtful reply. I look forward to future talks.

                Doc’

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                • I read your long letter describing your life and feelings on Japan and I appreciate your openness and candid opinions (especially at that hour of the morning). I deleted it because I was not certain just how much of it you would want on-line. A willingness to learn and continue to do so, is all anyone can expect – whether it’s done in school or or ‘the hard way’, as you said. I’m sure, if you continue to read here, my father Smitty, always said – “The day I stop learning – do me a favor and please close the lid.”
                  Your dad, mine and the two of us would have had many a long discussion – of that I’m very positive!!
                  Get some rest, enjoy these posts and those of my many learned friends here.

                  Liked by 1 person

        • The Philippines was “The Pearl of the Orient”..I know this, I lived there and married a Filipina woman…and Yamamoto never said that Japan had “awakened a sleeping giant”….sorry, but not even close, that was from a movie. Sorry but this really bothers when someone says that…..he really said, “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack”………he NEVER said anything in regards to waking a “sleeping giant”….THAT WAS A MOVIE!!!…and was at the end of Tora Tora Tora….

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you for helping in replying to Doc & CJ.

            Liked by 1 person

            • [Be Advised: If eating crow offends you, please skip to the next post.]

              Gentlemen,

              Thank you! And I say that again, Thank you! This is exactly why I enjoy GP’s blogs so much, and this is exactly why I came here. To listen and learn from those who know the truth. In the same breath, I must also extend my most sincere apologies. For gentlemen such as yourselves, my “piecemeal”understanding of the history of WWII must not only be very obvious, but potentially even offensive at times. My ignorance precedes me. And for that, I most sincerely apologize. I am admittedly, way out of my league.

              GP, I want to thank you personally for recognizing my ignorance for what it was, and your very patient and thoughtful replies. Your actions clearly demonstrate the wisdom of a sage, and your consideration does not go unnoticed. In all honesty, I am both humbled and embarrassed. But it feels good to know, that I am in fact at least, learning.

              As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, I have a tendency to be far too verbose when I try to express my thoughts and questions in written form, not the best of qualities when writing blog posts. I have great admiration for those who can express themselves accurately, with short, concise sentences. A skill I fear I will never master. Speaking in my own defense, my skills as a speaker, far surpass my skills as a writer.

              I came here to learn, and I can see that is exactly what is happening in my case. I don’t ever want to be guilty of quoting a movie or in any other way misquote the truth of the facts of history. I’m a big believer in the truth, and as such I know it is often brutal. For me, the truth is all that matters, even if it is embarrassing at times.

              Speaking again in my own defense, some of my previous posts eluded to specific events or places in a broad sense of the term. I knew very well that the Philippines was considered the “Pearl of the Orient”, and I concede that Manila was actually referred to as “The Jewel of the Pacific”. Unjustifiably, most likely, I did this in an attempt to counter my own verbosity. Another display of amateurism. Ironic that my attempt to be brief, has led to further discussion. But it is my sincere hope, that through mistakes like these I can learn the truth of the details I seek. And maybe even how to be a better writer. If only by the graciousness of patience.

              I deliberately used broad terms in my previous comments when describing the Philippines, not out of some misplaced sense of anger or malice, but to emphasize the fact that the Philippines and especially Manila, was a rare place of natural beauty with a growing international community, and a prosperous future. While much of the Philippines outside of Manila at that time was still “undeveloped” by modern standards, all of the over 7000 islands which comprise the Philippines were deeply affected by the Japanese invasion. Many of those places may have been “undeveloped”, but their names are burned into the annals of history. My emphasis is, (and I do have one, not an agenda) is that the Philippines was a vibrant country with a very bright future. Before the Japanese invasion. And the strategic location of the Philippines, was not the only objective of the Japanese Empire. This of course is probably not new information to you, but for us, it plays a critical role in our search for the truth.

              Regarding being “too close to the subject”. As just established I am a relative rookie to the history of WWII in the Pacific, furthermore, my wife is far too young to know anything other than what she was briefly taught in school in the Philippines. For our purposes, these are important factors that are directly connected to the history of WWII in the Philippines. My wife attended High School and College in Japanese schools that were established in the Philippines. At the high school level, she was taught rudimentary basics of what they termed the “Japanese occupation of the Philippines”. She knew who MacArthur was, she had heard the term “Bataan Death March” but she didn’t know what it was, and she knew that America had liberated her country, but that was about it. To the best of her memory, the only information provided at the college level was a single viewing of a video which focused on the infamous “Rape of Nanking”, which had absolutely nothing to do with the atrocities committed in the Philippines. She was also instructed in, and taught to speak and write, Japanese. Like myself, she too is seeking the truth. She is sitting here beside me, we are learning together.

              But let me make this very clear. We do not act out of emotion of any kind. We seek knowledge in the form of the truth, whatever it may be. We both have very personal connections and interests in the Philippines, but we are not compelled by malice nor do we allow subjectivism to distort our views. In my wife’s opinion, the truth has been deliberately hidden from her and countless others. She resents that fact on many levels, and so do I. She has a Right to know the truth, and I intend to help her discover it. As you are aware, current events in Japan cause us even greater concern.

              We welcome your constructive criticism and thank you sincerely for your advice, it is well received. And we understand how you might easily have misunderstood my poorly delivered comments, but please never doubt that we are somehow “unqualified” to think and act critically. That simply is not the case.

              We very much admire men such as yourselves who have taken the time and done the hard work required to learn the truth of history. And then share it with others like my wife and myself. This is an invaluable contribution that benefits the entire world, and shines the light of the truth into some of the darkest corners of human history. We thank you both for your tremendous contributions (and patience) and we extend the same thanks to the many others who contribute their own knowledge here as well.

              With Appreciation,
              Doc’ & CJ

              P.S. Any suggestions on this verbosity problem?

              Like

              • Frankly – I am far from a professional writer, so if writing too much is your problem I think you need to consult one of the pro-writers we have visiting here; such as: Jacqui Murray and Matthew Wright, just to name 2, (cutting it short). No apologies necessary, we have all been corrected in the past about something – we are always learning ourselves.
                For your wife’s case of schooling – I have yet to find a school system that DIDN’T cut the teaching down to a bare minimum. Do you think the US schools taught about what some of our soldiers did? The textbooks are written by the country you are in and some embarrassment is going to have an atrocity or two or more eliminated.
                Please note that I do my utmost to keep my own personal feelings out of the posts and just state the facts as I discover and confirm them. But watch out in the comments, because then you’re dealing with me!! 😈 Just joking with you, I want to put you at ease and to feel free to come back.
                In the future, when you have a question, simply ask it – I’ll try to answer – and then we can discuss. Maybe that will lower the amount of typing.
                Have a great weekend you two!

                Liked by 1 person

  21. Very good insight on Japanese view at that time.

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    • Besides having my own father’s opinion to go on, my research has taken me into the many different sides and issues concerning this war. Nothing is ever really written in stone, when it comes to policies and human personalities.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. There is humanity in every war, in every theater, every war. Thank you for a terrific bo…

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  23. “They sacrificed themselves for a hopeless cause.” Koji’s grandmother. While war may at times be necessary, I doubt that it is ever hopeful.

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  24. GP, I know your focus is on the Pacific war. I like your balanced approach that offers glimpses into the hardships of the common soldiers, who had to do their patriotic duty on both sides. Your post today shows that there was resistance from influential Japanese who could see the insanity of attacking Pearl Harbor. The same can be said about Germany. Hidden behind the German propaganda machine that created the impression to the world of One leader and One people there was active resistance from the beginning to the very end of the war against the Nazi regime from common people to the highest ranking officers. Thank you for sharing this and other posts with us!

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    • Very true, Peter. In my comments with Hilary, you’ll see us discussing that nothing was black and white about this war, but many shades of grey. I have no doubt about what you’re saying of Germany. If everyone agreed with Hitler, there would not have been people fleeing out of Europe and no one would have tried to kill him. I’m glad you were able to see my ‘subtle’ point here. Thanks for coming.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I am not surprised by this, so many black/white versions of war have proved false in the past. Recently I have been coming across some rare, but long-term friendships between Far East prisoners and their guards.

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  26. I’m assuming, given the times, there were few naysayers . . . much like here in times of nationalistic fervor.

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    • I thought I would press that point since so much propaganda at the time made it look as though the entire country and Emperor wanted it. Thanks for dropping by.

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  27. Very interesting article. Laughing at the 1 weekend a month humor 🙂

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  28. Alway love to read your posts. So much WWII history happening when I was a small child and had little understanding of what was really going on. Christine

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Interesting quotes. I never doubted that there were dissenters. Look how long it took America to enter. I wonder if we would have if not for Pearl Harbor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • FDR was trying to get Germany to declare war, but Hitler knew better. Hence the ‘choke-chain’ on Japan’s resources from the West was tightened. I believe the FDR administration would have found an entrance in sooner or later. He had stretched the Lend-Lease for England above and beyond what Congress knew about – he HAD to get us in.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. My Tokyo grandparents came to visit America for their first time in 1982. After greeting them at LAX then driving my grandmother home in my car, we went through the four level Downtown LA interchange and emerged on the other side, still on I-10.

    Remembering they survived the firebombing of Tokyo and while she was normally talkative, she paused as the eastbound freeway expanded into seven lanes albeit briefly. While noticing the huge width of the freeway, she then said and I remember this clearly, “America is so vast with tremendous strength in resources. All those countless young men…died in vain. It was impossible to have won. They sacrificed themselves for a hopeless cause.” She began to cry.

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    • The sad memories that she must have been seeing in her mind’s eye at that moment, all the men she had known that never came home – and the bombings. War leaves scars on the world.
      Thank you for sharing the story of your grandparents, Koji. It must have been difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @Mustang Koji…Admiral Yamamto while working as Japanese Naval liason in the 1930’s US knew of the US capacity to produce…and he did try and tell his superiors of this capability. I am sorry of the devastation wrought on Japan by the US aircraft for your mother, and tell her they did not die in vain, neither sides young men died in vain…they both fought for what they thought was right, there is no better reason to take up arms than in the defense of your ideals and country…..we in the US merely did the same….but the US had been attacked, and the people of the US took the war against Japan personally and did what was needed to be done to win…both sides did things regrettable….best we learn with the benefit of hindsight….

      Liked by 1 person

  31. A good example as to why it is unwise to paint entire peoples with the broad brush of generality.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Interesting view from the other side.

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  33. Always good to hear the other side GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is interesting and true. At first and for most of the program – it was voluntary. Not until the very end were the men involuntarily “volunteered.”

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