Thursday, December 31, 2015

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day: Sticking it to the Man!

Seen here are Filipino students who camped out on a disputed island which the PRC claims is their own drawing the ire from both Beijing and for some bizarre reason, Taiwan. Beijing claims their little camping trip is illegal but the kids beg to differ and are there to protest the Chinese Navy's recent sovereign claims to Filipino territory. Both the Philippine Government and the PRC claim these little specks of land in the South China Seas as their own. There is a small Filipino military presence on these islands but it's those damn "Meddling Kids" ala Scooby Doo that are driving Beijing nuts. Now that's sticking it to the Man! For a poor 3rd world country with a tiny military and no real means to stand up to the Chinese Navy, it's left to the Philippine Youth taking a stand for their country. Sure, it won't change much but you have to admire them. Be safe out there You crazy kids!

Upping the Ante: China to build 1st Domesticly Constructed Aircraft Carrier?

As 2015 readies to enter the history books, 2016 looks ahead to more tension in the South China Seas as rumors circulate on the internet of the PRC building it's first domestically produced aircraft carrier. Word has it the Chinese Navy is looking to construct four of these large carriers in addition to the recently deployed former Soviet Navy carrier now renamed Liaoning into service. While many are calling this latest development a potential nightmare for the U.S. Navy, rest assured that while the Chinese have money they do not have the experience or technical know how to build a carrier that could rival our new Ford Class carriers. This none the less will present a challenge to the the U.S. Navy and Japan's JMSDF who at present have two Izumo Class carriers (Izumo & Kaga) but lack the capability to launch fixed wing aircraft due to the restrictions of Article 9 of Japan's American imposed post war constitution. This is exactly what the Abe government needs to emphasize to the the people of Japan that their country and national interests are for the first time since WWII under serious threat from across the sea. In our opinion, the defeatist attitudes of Anti-Abe / Anti-War Pacifists currently protesting the slow re-arming of Japan's small yet capable "Self Defense Forces" are not in tune with the alarming developments on the part of the Chinese Navy. Beijing is counting on the Anti-Abe protesters to instill fears of a certain catastrophic defeat like the one Japan endured at the end of August 1945 should any confrontation with China's Navy happen. This of course is Baka! They do this because while they may not fear today's small  JMSDF, they do fear the idea of Japan's small military becoming powerful enough to resurrect the fears of Japan's aggressive past that saw a brutal occupation of Mainland China. But that was then and this is now.
While China's new rumored carriers are years away from completion, they still have one capable carrier that has already put out to sea. Neither the Governments of the Philippines or Vietnam have the muscle (or in Vietnam's case the political will) to meet these challenges poised by Beijing. So like it or not, it is up to the United States Navy and Japan's JMSDF to keep the peace and freedom of movement in the air and on the high seas of the international waters of the South China Seas.While this problem will most certainly get out of hand, we at American Mishima will pray for peace and hopes that Japan continues to upgrade it's SDF so that cooler heads will prevail.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

China Sends New Message

As if things could not make a tense situation on the South China Seas any more tense, the Chinese Navy has equipped their Coast Guard with three former warships including a frigate armed with 20 and 35 millimeter auto-cannons as seen in the photo above. This spells trouble for Japanese commercial fishing and international commerce. Evidently, Beijing is trying to send Tokyo a message which furthermore rises tensions in an already escalating tit-for-tat series of provocative moves on the part of the PRC ruling government in Beijing. That or the Chinese Navy is pissed at Japan's SDF forces lining up anti-ship missile batteries on islands that sit between the Chinese mainland and their recent man made island claims which has created this whole mess in the first place. This latest incident marks the 139th incursion into Japanese waters near disputed Senkaku islands since 2012 which Beijing claims is its sovereign territory. Strange, in China's 3000+ year history only now are they claiming islands in the last 4 years? Pretty convenient timing as the PRC flexes it's muscles in an attempt it's growing naval might in an attempt ti both intimidate and dominate it's surrounding neighbors. We'll continue to monitor this situation and give you our take on the ever growing dangerous game being played out now on the South China Seas.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Japan & South Korea Reach Historic Deal

Seen here in the above photo is South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se shaking hands with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Seoul this week as the two countries reach an historic agreement to resolve decades of animosity and distrust over the treatment of Korean "Comfort Women" during the war who were forced to work in brothels as sex slaves. The break in the decades long impasse represents a new willingness on the part of the Abe Government to compromise in order to settle these longstanding differences. PM Abe is said to have “expressed anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.” If that's not a sincere apology, I don't know what is. What this deal entails is one billion Japanese Yen that will go to help what few surviving Korean victims who would now be in their late 80's and 90's. For Japan's part, PM Abe called South Korean President Park Geun-hye and reiterated his apology. He said Tokyo would implement the deal and called the issue settled irreversibly. Park said she hoped the two countries will build mutual trust and open a new era in ties based on the agreement. The final caveat of this deal was an agreement to stop future demands for Tokyo to apologize as they have been doing for generations. Both nations are staunch U.S. Allies. We wish both countries a new peaceful era of mutual trust and friendship as they will need it as they both live under the threats of a nuclear armed North Korea and an ever encroaching Chinese Navy who lately seems to be on everyone's grievance list.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Video Guide for Shinto Shrine Visits

With the upcoming New Years festivities fast approaching we thought you might find this video helpful. It is narrated in Japanese with English translations on how to conduct a visit to a Shinto Shrine. If you are planning to visit for the first time or haven't been to one in a long time this refresher course will help make your experience both insightful and spiritually rewarding.
We at American Mishima wish you all a Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Heisei Emperor's 82nd Birthday

Today is Tennō Tanjōbi - Emperor Akihito's 82nd birthday. The Heisei Emperor seen here at the Imperial Palace with Empress Michiko was born on this day in 1933. He acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 7 January 1989. We at American Mishima wish him a long and continued happy reign. 

New American Mishima Audiobook Release!

Just in time for Christmas! We are happy to announce that we have released (albeit two months late) our latest Audiobook in English language of our earlier historical epic The Soldier and the Samurai written by American Mishima author Louis Edward Rosas and narrated by Zach Davis. This is perfect for people who travel or do lots of driving that do not have time to read books. This is the third American Mishima Audiobook following HATAMOTO and Ichiro Dreams in Color. We hope you will enjoy them!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Nadeshiko Soccer Legend Retires

In a week that saw American Women's Soccer Star Abby Wambach retire, Japan's greatest Women's Soccer Star Homare Sawa also announced her retirement from professional sports this week at Age 37. Like her good American friend and rival Abby Wambach, Miss Sawa has had an incredible run representing Nadeshiko Japan with 205 international caps with 83 goals. In 2011, she helped Japan win the FIFA Women's World Cup over the United States and was named MVP.The following year she would lead Japan in the 2012 London Olympics where she would help Japan win the Silver Medal. We at American Mishima would like to wish Miss Sawa much success in her future endeavors. She will be missed on the world stage but like all good players including our own Abby Wambach, there comes a time when we must hang up our boots and and call it a game well played. 
As a fan of Women's Soccer, this has been a hard week to see two great players leave the pitch but we are happy to say they both leave on a high note. We thank Homare Sawa and Abby Wambach both for all their spectacular plays and their continued friendship. To Miss Sawa we at American Mishima would like to say ども ありがとう ございまして! Thank you and Good luck!

China Crys Foul Over B-52 Flyby

Just when you thought things could not more tense in the South China Seas, Beijing is crying foul over a recent USAF B-52 flyby that took place on December 10th near one of their many newly built militarized man made islands which China claims as a violation of their national sovereignty. Mind you, these islands did not exist a few years ago. As far as calling this a provocative act that violated their airspace, there are no Chinese now or at any time in their 3000 year history to assert such claims to exact such a swift reaction from China. From our perspective building islands in the middle of international waters under known flight paths our planes routinely take then crying foul is just ludicrous. Yet Beijing has vowed to take whatever military actions to defend what they claim is rightfully theirs in the middle of international waters and still accuse us of fanning the flames and making provocative acts. These recently constructed man made islands are 400 miles away from the Chinese mainland yet they accuse the United States, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines each of violating their sovereignty when it is clear to everyone else that it is the PRC themselves who have created this tense situation and then have the nerve to play the victim. As far as the U.S. is concerned, our planes did not fly off course nor is China entitled to the 12 mile international boundary that defines their national sovereignty. In response to Beijing's protests,  Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright is quoted in saying that the Dec. 10 mission was not a "freedom of navigation" operation. The United States routinely conducts B-52 training missions throughout the region, including over the South China Sea to maintain readiness." As far as China's other complains Wright said, "We're looking into it." In other words, we'll get back to ya."

Friday, December 18, 2015

Turning the Tables in the East China Seas

Over the last two years we have seen the PRC's Navy build artificial islands in the East China Seas in what could be best surmised as a militarization of international waters on the part of a naval expansion of China's Navy and Beijing's military power in the Pacific In an unexpected move, Japan's small yet capable Self Defense Forces have pulled a brilliant tactical ploy by adopting a strategy of deploying 200 + anti-ship missile batteries along Japan's small island chains. This strategy is being called "Anti-Access / Area Denial or A2/AD for short which forces China's Navy seeking to access their new man made militarized islands to pass through the cross hairs of Japan's missile batteries. This strategy also puts Beijing in the same missile cross hairs putting a monkey wrench in any plans to access the greater Pacific Ocean literally turning the tables on Beijing's Island building scheme to claim such artificial islands smack in the middle of international waters as their own sovereign territory. Two can play it that way ね? 

Japan Times reporting on this turn of events have stated that Japan intents to beef up it's forces by 10,000 personnel manning these batteries over the next five years. They will be backed up with submarines, amphibious craft, and F-35 fighter planes. Then of course there is the U.S. 7th Fleet. While there continues to be opposition the PM Abe's military buildup, US demands of Japan taking a greater role in regional security and the on going situation with Chinese military expansion in the East China Seas make it necessary for Japan to expand it's military capabilities. While we at American Mishima are not in favor of war, we do believe Japan has the right to defend itself and should have the legal right to aid it's allies in the event of trouble. On a strategic level, PM Abe is taking Japan's SDF on the right course. We wish everyone serving in the SDF and our USN 7th Fleet safe sailing. We're counting on you!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day:

Seen here at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino California: A group of War Re-enactors led by Mr. Alex Chang posing with one of the world few remaining Yokosuka DY4 Suisei (彗星, "Comet") aka "Judy" dive bombers of the former Imperial Japanese Navy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kawaii Army or Identity Crisis?

Seen here in this 2012 photo are American built AH-1S Cobra Helicopters of Japan's 4th Anti-Tank Helicopter Squadron based at Kisarazu Chiba painted with colorful Anime characters. When we first came across an article written in the New Yorker about Japan's Cute Army we were like なんだいよ!?! For a moment we thought the SDF must be going through some identity crisis as the article erroneously suggested until we found another article that better explains this photo. As it turns out, this was part of a promotion marking the 20th anniversary of the squadron's founding in March 27th, 1992. The characters were the result of the "Dousenaru Pro ni Design wo Tanomou” project. There are four of these squadron "mascots" known as the Four Sisters of Kisarazu. They are Kisarazu Akane (the eldest, First Lieutenant)Kisarazu Aoi (second, Second Lieutenant) Kisarazu Wakana (third, Leading Private) Kisarazu Yuzu (youngest). These Cobras participated in festivals and military air shows until 2014. While there are female pilots, none resemble or dress like the characters due to SDF regulations. Despite it's popularity with the masses, the Cobras eventually returned to their normal camouflage to resume operations.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bomb Explodes at Yasukuni Shrine

In an event we never thought we would ever see happen, someone deliberately detonated a bomb at Japan's Yashukuni Shrine. The revered Shinto Shrine which houses Japan's war dead going all the way back to Japan's Boshin War of the 1860's has long been the subject of controversy due to the enshrinement of a handful of convicted war criminals who are enshrined there, most notably Hideki Tojo - Japan's wartime prime minister. While being a private institution and not a public one it still receives heavy criticism from China and the Koreas. The bomb itself is reported to have been a small device that was dropped through a drilled hole in a public toilet ceiling near the South Gate did little damage, no one was reported hurt. As of latest reporting from Tokyo has relayed, damage was contained to the toilet and did not cause destruction to the Shrine itself. So far no one has claimed responsibility for this attempted desecration of this sacred site akin to our own Arlington National Cemetery. There are over 12 million war dead enshrined there, too many to justify any such action in protest of the 12 Class A convicts there. We at American Mishima believe this is unlikely the result of any of the current terrorism that is taking place around the world at the hands of extremists. Until more is known about this attack, the Shrine has temporarily closed its gates to visitors until further notice. If you are planning to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, please check with their website at Yasukuni Shrine to ensure hours and conditions of operation.

Friday, November 13, 2015

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day: Our Bookstore Debut

Seen Here: American Mishima author Louis Edward Rosas unveils our latest Samurai Action/Adventure novel THE SETTING SUN: Death and Deception on the Bakumatsu Trail at Vroman's Bookstore & Hastings Ranch in Pasadena California. in our first ever bookstore debut for any of our American Mishima titles. This book is available in both store locations for the next three months (or longer depending on the popularity) and on their website. You can also find our book on Amazon but if you live locally, please support us at Vroman's. Thank you!
Please enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Dangerous Game: PRC Sub Stalks US Carrier

The Chinese Navy has been making bold aggressive moves in the South China Seas as of late and this week's stalking of a U.S. Navy Carrier the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan was no exception. Sources around the internet say the Russian built Kilo Class submarine tracked the Reagan for half a day off the Southern Coast of Japan. While some may argue that the PRC is out to prove they are not afraid of our Navy, we're sure that if you are a 19 year old sailor aboard that sub and you hear there are Anti-submarine choppers shadowing your every move from up above, whatever confidence the skipper may have instilled would have likely went up the blow hole. Just as the Chinese Navy wanted our Navy to know they were there, we're confident our response was made loud & clear the minute our sub hunting radar let them know where we stood on the matter. 
While we don't like these rising tensions, it's up to the PRC to decide where they want to go with these moves. 50 years of playing cat & mouse with the Soviet Navy brought only years of tense encounters and an unknown number of widows for a war fought with no battles and only bodies at the bottom of the sea. China is new at this and this is dangerous business. Nobody wants a war and we sure hope it doesn't come to that. That being said, our Navy is there to keep the peace and international shipping lanes open no matter who builds what island where in international waters. We hope cooler heads in Beijing prevail.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Introducing Japan's Newest Submarine: KOKURYU

This last October 31st 2015, Japan launched it's newest Sōryū-class Attack submarine the Kokuryo (Black Dragon) SS-506 in what has been described as a festive ceremony in Kobe reminiscent of the recent launch of the Izumo helicopter carrier launch of the KAGA. Sticking with the Dragon naming convention, the Kokuryu is the 6th Sōryū (Blue Dragon)-class submarine built of the nine planned diesel powered vessels by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. After extensive sea trials, the 84 meter attack submarine is expected to enter service later in 2016. The Sōryū Class is the largest Submarines built by Japan since the end of WWII. We at American Mishima wish the future Captain & Crew of the Kokuryu many safe voyages ahead!
To learn more about the JMSDF,
Please visit their JMSDF English Page here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Final Tribute to a Remarkable Man

Over the last few days we have been mourning the loss of our dear friend Mr. Shoji "Stogie" Kanogawa. We had talked many times with him to learn about his personal experiences during the 1930's - 1940's. Over this last week we learned a few more remarkable details about a man while not famous lived a full life. We are thankful that the surviving Kanogawa family shared these rare photos of Stogie during his three year enlistment in the United States Army during the years of 1946-1949. Like my own father, the skills he acquired in the Army as a radio repairman - technician helped pave the way for his early post war career as a Television install repair technician. He would do this until his father's passing in 1965 by which he took over his father's gardening business and stayed with it until his retirement in 2006. 
Much like my own father's wartime photos, these three grainy black & white photos are quite revealing. Mr. Kanogawa always had a smile on his face and was just one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever meet. Throughout his life he always found the positive in everything even through troubling times. Nothing was going to bring this man down. Not even what happened next.
On December 7th 1941 the day the Empire of Japan declared war against the United States, Shoji's father who owned the 12th Street Market in Seattle was arrested by the FBI. Being an Isei, the feds wasted no time rounding up Japanese men. Shoji was then a junior in high school and a Ni-Dan in Judo. He along with his mother, brothers & sisters would be rounded up like many other Japanese American families in Washington State and sent to the Minidoka "War Relocation" Camp in Idaho as seen in the above photo. They would not see their father again until 1945 at Ellis Island. We can not begin to imagine how difficult this must have been for the Kanogawa family yet Shoji could speak of it without bitterness. His father, the Senior Kanogawa was considered a Prisoner of War despite being a civilian and was to be exchanged for American POW's in Japan. But that's not what happened. Shoji and his siblings were American Born and begged their father to keep the family in the United States and this is where they stayed. It was curious note how he became known by his most famous nickname "Stogie." He once told me that was what they called him in the Army but as it turns out the name originated during his time at Minidoka before Shoji actually took up smoking cigars. 
Having chosen to stay in America, the Kanogawa family was transferred to Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas as seen in the above photo. They would remain there until the end of the war. Sadly, the Kanogawa family never returned to live in Seattle. Having their 12 Street Market and the family home taken away from them we suppose there was nothing to return to. They instead moved to Los Angeles where in 1946 just one year after being released from America's Concentration Camps, Shoji now a free man and a United States Citizen once more was drafted into the United States Army. 
What a transition this man had made! He had just missed WWII and managed to get out before the outbreak of the Korean War. He returned back to Los Angeles in 1949 where he would meet his future wife "Massie" and would live a beautiful life with two daughters and scores of grandchildren. He loved to go hiking up in Mammoth Mountain and fish while smoking his famous stogies which we never saw but we'll take their word for it. Through it all Shoji kept his infectious smile. They said in his final years he and his wife had traveled the world and had gone on the Shikoku Island "Henyo" Pilgrimage. But all that would end after he suffered a stroke during elective surgery to replace a heart valve in 2013. He spent his last two years unable to walk and in steep decline. It was hard to watch because he had been so full of life. It was said during his funeral that in the Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo on it's 75th Anniversary that he had been given a Buddhist Name and title of Bodhisattva for the enlightenment of all beings. This is one hell of a commitment and very difficult for someone in this complicated world to live up to yet Mr. Kanogawa achieved this and more. We were so fortunate to have been his friends. Thus we pay tribute to our dear departed friend and hope to see his smile again across the sea of birth and death on the shores of liberation. Much like the fictional characters he inspired for our epic novel The Soldier and the Samurai, we hope somewhere out there he's smiling right back at us from heaven. 
Shoji Kanogawa

Friday, October 30, 2015

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day:

Marking the passing of former Koyasan Buddhist Temple President Shoji Kanogawa. 

Mr. Shoji "Stogie" Kanogawa was both a dear friend and the inspiration for the Soji Nishida character in the American Mishima epic The Soldier and the Samurai.
In Gassho.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Behind the Scenes look at the IJN Fleet of Tora Tora Tora

Every now and then we come across some gems on the internet that give us a look how such great films are made. For this edition we have a small collection of photos of the full scale mockups of the Imperial Japanese Navy that were constructed for the 1970 film TORA TORA TORA. As history recalls, the film was a joint American-Japanese production with famed master film maker Akira Kurosawa initially leading the Japanese side of the production. But just after two weeks of filming Kurosawa backed (or more accurately fired by 20th Century Fox) out of the film citing it just wasn't his style of film he was used to making with American producers making him accountable for his every move. While Kurosawa worked the first two years of pre-production and oversaw the filming of the dramatic "picture shots"m of the Japanese fleet, his mark on the film's opening scenes are unmistakable with his use of the natural elements such as big sky shots and the genius to build his full scale mockups of the Flagship Nagato and the Aircraft Carrier Akagi on a beach facing the ocean. Considering there was no CGI back then, this was a brilliant move on the part of the master director. That being said, here's are some of the photos of the set under construction. As with the later 2005 production of Otoko no Tachi no Yamato (Men of the Yamato) attention to detail was done with great precision to ensure the believability of the film. 

They made the Nagato look so real, this wooden mockup looks like she could take to the seas!
 Carrier Akagi mockup under construction.

Seen here is the Carrier Akagi brought back to life!
Here's a rare photo taken at some distance of the set where the full scale mockup of the Nagato and Akagi sit at the waters edge for filming. It's a shame we couldn't find a clearer photo in color. 

On the American Side, Director Richard Fleischer built only one mockup of the USS Arizona for principal photography. The rest was done using model miniatures. 
Seen here are the Nagato and Akagi miniatures in the water for the later Japanese scenes.
 Here's the same model out of the water.
Considering the technology of 1970, it's fair to say they did an amazing job for their day. If you haven't seen this war classic, it's worth it. But don't take our word for it, see it yourself!

To learn more of Director Kurosawa's role please watch the second video detailing the behind the scenes controversy surrounding the Japanese side of the production.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Loss of a Remarkable Man: Shoji “Stogie” Kanogawa

It is with great sadness that our dear friend and one time Koyasan Temple President Shoji "Stogi" Kanogawa has passed away. A Washington born native, Shoji was the inspiration for the Soji Nishida character in our epic novel The Soldier and the Samurai. It was with his detailed recollections of  pre-war Seattle of the 1930's-1940's that we were able to create a literary facsimile of the world he grew up in. Like other Japanese Americans of his generation, Shoji along with his family (who owned the 12th Street Market in Seattle) were sent to the War Relocation Camps. Despite this unjust experience he proudly served in the US Army in the interim years between WWII and the Korean War from 1946-1949. Mr. Kanogawa as we knew him was a jolly old fellow who was one of the first people to welcome us to the Koyasan Temple. He had always been a friendly, lively, energetic man but then he suffered a debilitating stroke two years ago and had been in a steady decline yet remained a dear friend to the very end. He is survived by his wife Masako, two adult daughters Lori & Nancy Kanogawa. He was 88 years old at the time of his death. For us, Mr. Kanogawa was our friend and he will be missed but never forgotten. 

Sayonara old friend and Rest in Peace Mr. Kanogawa.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Japan PM Shinzo Abe Boards U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier

Current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first sitting Japanese Prime Minister to board a United States Navy Aircraft Carrier, the newly deployed USS Ronald Reagan weeks after it arrived at its new home port at Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture. This comes one month after the Japanese Parliament (Diet) voted to enact new laws expanding the role of Japan's "Self Defense Forces" in a time of crisis to assist Japan's allies if needed. After the 3/11 Tohuko Disaster, the USS Ronald Reagan participated in Operation Tomodachi. Such good will on the part of the US Navy has not been lost as PM Abe declared the USS Ronald Reagan a Tomodachi (friend) who was there to help the people of Japan during it's time of need.
To the Ship and its crew, PM Abe wished to give a "hearty welcome" and a continuation of what he calls the US-Japan "Alliance of Hope."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Marking a Milstone: Obata Toshihiro @ 67

Seven time All Japan Sword Champion, Author, & Shinkendo Founder Toshihiro Obata celebrates his 67th birthday as seen here in this photo Honbu Dojo Los Angeles, Little Tokyo 10-20-2015.  

We at American Mishima wish Obata Kaiso a continued long happy life.  

おめでとう たんじょうび ございます!

Monday, October 19, 2015

PM Abe JMSDF Fleet Review 2015

This last week, Japan's JMSDF showcased it's fleet for its tri-annaul review before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Fleet conducted its review in Sagami Bay which included its modern armada of missile guided cruisers, destroyers, submarines, aircraft, and the fleet's largest vessel since WWII the new helicopter carrier the Izumo. While smaller than it's IJN predecessor, Japan's JMSDF is powerful capable force that will soon see the addition of the Izumo Class Helicopter carrier KAGA that will meet the growing security challenges in the region.
The following is a direct speech from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:
Surrounded by the sea, and living thanks to the sea. Japan is a nation that regards the safety of the seas as its own safety. Today I attended a naval review. I was all the more impressed seeing the valiant figures of our “personnel defending us out on the sea,” whose accuracy and precision are unrivaled in spite of the large waves out in the open sea. The Self-Defense Forces, who single-mindedly continue to defend the peace of Japan while braving the angry seas, overcoming air turbulence, or becoming covered in mud. Those who join the SDF take their own decision to walk down paths where they take up difficult posts. They are the pride of Japan.As the Commander-in-Chief of the SDF, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the families of the SDF members for sending their beloved spouses and children out into the field.

Monday, October 12, 2015

What if Harada Sanosuke Survived Past 1868?

This is the premise we explored in our earlier epic The Soldier and the Samurai. To read more Click Here

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Japan Passes Controversial Security Bills

After many months of debate amid vocal angry protests in the streets of Tokyo, the Japanese Diet passed through new security bills that would allow Japanese Self Defense Forces the ability to render aid to an Ally such as the United States or participate in military actions in defense of Japanese interests abroad. Many Japanese people estimated around 50% of the population do not support these measures and contend that this will lead to the militarization of Japan and dictatorship. To those pacifists who really believe PM Shinzo Abe is a Dictator we say ばか! This is not 1946! This is 2015 and the PRC and North Korea are taking full advantage of Japan's American imposed Article 9 which restricts Japan's ability to defend itself in international crisis in addition to being restricted from rendering aid to allied nations. This defeatist attitude suggesting that if Abe has his way there will be another war and a certain defeat for Japan is nonsense! Mr. Abe is no Hitler nor is he a dictator otherwise these protesters would have disappeared by now. By supporting such measures, we are not endorsing the extreme right wing Nationalists of Japan but rather endorsing the urging of the United States Government for Japan to take on a greater Security role in the Far East particularly in international waters where Japan's own fishing fleet by which Japan depends on for its very survival is being threatened by the PRC's growing naval presence in the South China Seas and elsewhere that if hostilities were to break out and Japan would have to wait until it was directly attacked would be too late. The entire nation would literally starve into Chinese submission. This we know may sound extreme but that is a realistic scenario the Pacifists are ignoring. Having a deterrent like a stronger SDF will discourage such hostilities which is why the United States has the largest carrier bound fleet in the world. 
Japan has a small yet capable fleet that is well trained and well equipped. It's SDF and air crews are up to the task but have been restricted for the last 70 years by Article 9. What people fail to realize is that the Japan of the 1930's is not the Japan of today. The Pacifists demand that their government not turn its back on 70 years of pacifism yet are okay to turn its back on Japan's long 1000 year history and focus on the dark years of WWII. Japan has learned some painful lessons by waging a war of aggression that will not be repeated. Modern Japan is a mature responsible country that can be trusted in times of crisis and as we write this opinion piece the Chinese Navy is militarizing international waters Japan depends on for commercial traffic and fishing. While many of Japan's neighbors are not ready to or willing to get past the atrocities of Japan during WWII of which Japan's apologies have fallen on deaf ears, we in America can be sure that Japan's quest to expand it's military capabilities can be trusted as a true partner in the Pacific. This is our opinion and not one to glorify war or empower the far right Nationalists nor is it a call for a new militarist Japan of old. This is 2015 and in order to protect Japan's future, we believe that Mr. Abe is doing the right thing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Here's the latest Video presentation of the JMSDF's newest Izumo Class Helicopter Carrier KAGA. Isn't she a beauty? While alarmists protest PM Shinzo Abe's slow military buildup throughout Japan and further object to talks of scrapping Article 9, it is ships such as the Izumo Class carriers that must meet the growing challenge presented by the Chinese Navy's latest Island building ventures and aggressive moves in international waters. It is in Japan's best interests to focus on the threat at hand and not dwell on the catastrophic mistakes of the past. We at American Mishima do not see this as a return to ultra right wing militarism as the pacifists will claim but rather an awakening to Japan's role in global security it can no longer afford to avoid because of its wartime past. What you thought the US Navy could do it all by itself? With our 273 ship Navy stretched around the world, we need Japan to step up its game and join the 21st Century. Billions of Yen alone will not counter Chinese aggression or threats from rogue nations such as North Korea who also threatens Japanese interests on the high seas. While many Japanese citizens accuse the Abe Government of being some kind of new Hitler, Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no ethnic cleansing or plans for invading it's neighbors. This is not the Japan of WWII. After the defeat in 1945 the issue was Feudalism that held the people from progressive thinking. Today it is defeatism by pacifists who believe that any involvement by Japan will end in defeat, Some have asked if PM Abe has heard the protests of mothers who are against war. Protecting Japan's future does not guarantee war. This is about protecting the peace and we believe Japan is a step closer to being up to the task. We applaud PM Abe's efforts to equip the JMSDF and further applaud the men and women who as members of the JMSDF represent some of the best forces for peace in the region.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Japan Launches 2nd Izumo Class Carrier

This week Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) launched it's second Izumo Class Helicopter Carrier KAGA DDH-184. It is the first ship top carry the name Kaga since the original IJN aircraft carrier Kaga that was lost at the Battle of Midway Island. Like her older sister the Izumo, the Kaga's primary mission will be anti-submarine warfare and humanitarian aid /disaster relief. Critics will say this will carry F-35 strike fighters but this is all rumor with little technical evidence to back that up. Neither Izumo Class "Helicopter Destroyer" carriers have steam catapults for launching fixed wing aircraft. Vertical Takeoff & Landing while possible is not practical in combat conditions. With it's current configuration, this can not be considered a first strike offensive weapons platform so those demonstrating against PM Shinzo Abe's military buildup can relax. But with Red China propping up man made islands in the South China Sea conveniently making international waters off limit military zones of the PRC, Japan has to meet this challenge and we at American Mishima will support it. So to the Captain & crew of the Kaga: がんばって ください!

Friday, August 14, 2015

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day: One Flag. Two Generations of U.S. Marines

Seen here is the 1961 U.S. Marine Detachment at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba who lowered the American Flag for the last time passing the Stars & Stripes to a new generation of Marines who raised the flag as the U.S. Embassy in Havana reopened today.