Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Royal Affair in Japan : Caroline Kennedy Meets Heisei Emperor

America's newest ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy arrived via horse drawn carriage in an elaborate procession full of pomp befitting royalty to the Imperial Palace to present her credentials to Emperor Akihito. People lined the downtown Tokyo streets to get a glimpse of the lone surviving member of the Kennedy Family of former US President John F. Kennedy. As reported in Japan Today, many well wishers greeted her with "Kennedy-san!" While she may have her critics for her lack of Diplomatic experience what she represents is far more significant.

What many people do not know is that her father was supposed to visit Japan shortly after leaving Dallas. He would have been the first US President to do so but tragically this never happened. For many Japanese of the Post War Era, their first glimpse of the Kennedy's on television was through the live broadcast of the slain president's funeral procession that was viewed around the world. The image of his grieving widow and two heartbroken children made a lasting impression on the people of Japan many will never forget.

Ambassador Kennedy carries more than her father's legacy, she represents just how far Japanese-American Relations have come since the end of the Pacific War. It had been 70 years since that moonless night of August 2nd, 1943 when then LTJG. John F. Kennedy's PT-109 was sunk killing two of his crew mates after colliding with the Imperial Japanese Destroyer Amagiri in what best could be described as being one of the most famous small boat engagements of the war. Kennedy of course, survived the war and would enter politics. While the war might had ended, his back injuries from the collision plagued him for the rest of his life. And despite his experience, he sought to put the war behind him. Just prior to his assassination, it was proposed that the surviving crews of the IJN Amagiri and PT-109 reunite late 1963. We do not know if this ever took place but we do know JFK could not have made it. And so it is that JFK's lone surviving daughter would represent him and our country before His Majesty so that they together can open a new era in Japanese - American friendship. As an American, I can not state how proud I am of Caroline Kennedy. She has come a long way since losing her parents and her brother John Jr. and so has our country. While there is still much to improve in both our relations with Japan and problems here at home, this sole survivor of Camelot represents that spirit of hope so long lost on that fateful day in Dallas 1963. The people of Japan understand this and are happy to receive her.

 We at American Mishima wish her all the best and say:
We love you and がんばってください- Kennedy-san!

No comments:

Post a Comment