Thursday, October 24, 2013

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day - IJN Battleship Fuso

Seen here is a rare colorized photo of the IJN Battleship 扶桑 Fuso. As one can see she was one of the early WWI Dreadnaught Class Warships outfitted with 14" guns. She was launched in 1914 and refitted during the 1930's where her unmistakable high Pagoda Mast was installed which became the hallmark of Japanese Battleships. Now how these high pagodas changed the boat's high center of gravity in rough seas is anyone's guess. For a detailed look at what went into a pagoda mast please see the illustration below.
While being older and outclassed b other IJN ships by the opening of the war, she maintained an auxiliary role. She would later meet her end in the Battle of Leyte Gulf October 25th 1944.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Iconic Ship Bids Farewell

The Decommissioned (CV-59) USS Forrestal, another iconic ship from our youth embarks on one last final voyage to the scrapyard. First commissioned in 1955, "The FID" as she was known saw action during the Vietnam War and is best known for an incident where a Zuni missile accidentally fired from a parked F-4 Phantom into a line of fueling A-4 Skyhawks. Among the pilots of those Skyhawks was John McCain. The blast and resulting fire killed 134 of her crew, injuring another 161, destroying 21 aircraft and costing the Navy US$72 million. She would see service until her decommissioning in 1993. The former multipurpose carrier will be towed from her berth in Philadelphia to Brownsville Texas for her final dismantling.
So long!

To learn more of the 1967 tragedy, watch the video below:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

America's Newest Ambassador to Japan

It's now Official. President Obama has appointed Caroline Kennedy as the new US Ambassador to Japan. She had been nominated by the President last July and was confirmed Wednesday. She will be replacing John Roos who had made the notable distinction of being the first US Ambassador to attend the annual commemoration ceremonies marking the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She is the last surviving member of President John F. Kennedy's family with degrees from Harvard and Columbia who campaigned for Obama during the last election. We at American Mishima wish her much success in her new post. We're sure she will make a great Ambassador and friend to Japan.
So as they say in Japan:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Akira Kurosawa Dreams & Autumn Rains in LA

It is often said that magic occurs when it rains in the City of Angeles. That saying is ever true as it transforms the palm tree lined streets of the sun drenched cityscape into something else as the season has left Summer behind and embraced the Autumn hues. We could not help but recollect such imagery of when morning mists rise from the morning rains and not think of some place magical like that of the Dreams of Akira Kurosawa.
With that, we'll share you are favorite scenes of a Fox Wedding that can only happen under such conditions. Albeit the rains have now gone and the sun has returned, we are reminded of the beauty of nature.
But be warned!
Foxes do not like to be seen on their wedding day!
And should they get angry...
Make sure your apologies are indeed sincere!
Please enjoy!

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day - Bakumatsu Samurai

Seen here in this rare photograph is a group of Samurai from 1860.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap Dead at 102

One of the most legendary underrated generals of the 20th Century, General Vo Nguyen Giap of Vietnam has passed away at the age of 102. A self-taught general who had fought a successful guerrilla war against the Japanese in WWII, defeated the French Army in Indochina, and ultimately forced the United States to abandon it's futile crusade to save Vietnam from Communism was considered a national hero in Vietnam and by many an inspiration to anti-colonial fighters the world over. Known for his ruthless tactics and brilliant strategy, General Giap never defeated American forces in battle but he ultimately won the war. It's a curious note that CNN and other US based news sources have chosen to deliberately ignore the passing of General Giap. In our opinion we would like to take a cue from Francis Ford Coppola film "Apocalypse Now" where Colonel Kilgore says "Any man who is brave enough to take on our boys can drink from my canteen anytime." While Sun Tzu would have not agreed with his tactics, we'll agree he was a noteworthy adversary whose passing should not be ignored. This 'Red Napoleon" as he was once dubbed broke the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and destroyed American confidence in the Tet Offensive in 1968 where veteran CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite declared the war in Vietnam un-winnable. While his tactics absorbed atrocious losses, he ultimately defeated the US Backed South Vietnamese Government and later served as Deputy Prime Minister of the first truly independent Vietnamese nation it has known in over 1000 years. Despite losing over three million losses in the war against the Americans, he encouraged warmer relations with the United States which re-established ties in 1995. "We can put the past behind," Giap said in 2000. "But we cannot completely forget it." And neither shall we.

 General Vo Nguyen Giap
25 August 1911 – 4 October 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

HK Protesters Go Back to the Future?

Seen here are Hong Kong Protesters staging a protest to mark the 82nd anniversary of the Invasion of Manchuria by Imperial Japan. Holding up banners of burning Imperial Japanese battle flags emblazoned with the image of convicted wartime prime minister Hideki Tojo (who ironically was not even prime minister when the Manchurian Invasion even occurred), this small group of protesters wanted the Japanese Embassy to know of their history. While we can not defend or endorse the actions taken by Imperial Japan of that time, we don't see a point in rehashing what has already been addressed time and time again. How long will China throw WWII in Japan's face while they sabre rattle over petty uninhabited islands while turning a deaf ear to international protests over what we view in the West as a deliberate form of "ethnic cleansing" of Tibet which the PRC calls "An Internal matter." Neither argument over what was right, wrong, or what seemed to one party or another necessary in their respective histories is going change the past. Sure, this may be calling the kettle black but the point is you can't go back to the future if you expect to get ahead. While Japan has been owning up to it's wartime past, it serves no purpose to re-fight the wars of the 20th century amidst current tensions. While this may only be a small group of people with a legitimate gripe against Japan, such protests there and elsewhere in the former occupied nations of Asia are at best in our opinion counter-productive. While we encourage them to honor their dead, we hope that they find the wisdom in working for peace than spending such energy re-fanning the flames of a long dead war.