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.

Japan's PM No More Apoligies Stance

Over the course of our lifetime, we have seen one Japanese PM after another make countless apologies for Japan's wartime atrocities and human rights abuses. While critics from across Asia and elsewhere feel Japan has never truly owned up to it's wartime past, we are inclined to disagree and so does Japan's current PM Shinzo Abe. In a recent speech the PM addressed this issue by expressing his profound grief and remorse for the countless millions killed in WWII and deep regret for his country's actions but noted that Japan can not keep apologizing and he has a point. 

In his speech marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, The Japanese PM said in the following words as both reported on CNN and Japan Today: "Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war," Abe said, adding the country "engraved in our hearts" the suffering of Japan's Asian neighbors through its actions, including China, South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines. Mr. Abe went further to note that postwar generations now exceed 80% of Japan's population. "We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize," Abe said at his official residence in Tokyo."Still, even so, we Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history of the past. We have the responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future."

It should be noted  that previous Japanese prime ministers have personally apologized for Japan's actions in the war, including for using Korean women as "comfort women," or sex slaves, for the Japanese military.Abe hinted at this, saying Japan needed to remember the "women behind the battlefields whose honor and dignity were severely injured." He said Japan will help make this century one in which "women's human rights are not infringed upon." While there are people will say he didn't go far enough, this issue complete with an acknowledgement of this sensitive subject has been both acknowledged and apologized for. Yet, for some people this will never be enough. People will hold onto grudges while others will have to make the choice to judge Japan for it's past or accept the reality that the Japan of today bears no resemblance to the Japan of yesterday. While many people protest Mr. Abe's slow military buildup and calls for the scraping of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, such fears of a return to feudalistic militarist attitudes and actions of 75 years ago are over handed. Even the Heisei Emperor has chimed in with fears of Japan's current rise based on fears of another war started by Japan. While we agree that Japan should own up to it's past and should do something about it in it's history textbooks, and appreciate the recent apologies by individual companies (as they should) such as Mitsubishi for using prisoners of war for slave labor, the calls for never ending apologies should stop. People of that era are almost gone and there's no point in making their descendents feel ashamed for being Japanese. No one blames the Germany of today for the Germany of Hitler and his Nazi party and neither should people continue to demand apologies from Japan who has apologized repeatedly over our lifetime. You don't have to agree but that's just our opinion and we're sticking to it.

But he said Japan took the wrong course in going to war and that, across generations, Japanese must squarely face their country’s past.
“We have engraved in our hearts the histories of suffering of the people in Asia as our neighbors: those in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and China, among others,” he said.
- See more at:
But he said Japan took the wrong course in going to war and that, across generations, Japanese must squarely face their country’s past.
“We have engraved in our hearts the histories of suffering of the people in Asia as our neighbors: those in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and China, among others,” he said.
- See more at:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Nagasaki at 70: Message from Japan PM Shinzo Abe

Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:
I attended the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony and expressed my sincere condolences to the souls of the great number of atomic bomb victims.

I profoundly contemplated how precious peace is and once again pledged to firmly uphold the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles" and lead the international community towards realizing a world free of nuclear weapons so that the horror and devastation caused by nuclear weapons are not repeated.

This year the average age of atomic bomb survivors is for the first time over 80 years old. We must not allow the aging atomic bomb survivors’ wishes for peace to fade away. At the Peace Memorial Ceremony, survivor of the atomic bombing told the younger generation about the harsh situation after the bombing and conveyed their strong wishes for peace. I was really struck as the blue sky was filled with the beautiful singing of young people, who heard those words and will later shoulder the future of Nagasaki.

Monday, August 3, 2015

American Mishima New Book Release!

We at American Mishima are pleased to announce the release of our latest historical fiction novel THE SETTING SUN - Death and Deception on The Bakumatsu Trail. Set in 1966 Japan, this story traverses time going back to the Mexican-American War, to the adventures of John Manjiro, and ultimately to the seeds of revolt in the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate! Please read our story Synopsis below:
When William Merrick of the U.S. Consulate in Hakodate Japan is tasked to rescue a group of shipwrecked Americans en route to the Shogunate Capital of Edo, he unwittingly becomes swept up in a deadly plot by the secretive Itabashi Faction in their scheme to overthrow the Old Order of the Tokugawa Shogunate whose dwindling 266 year rule is under threat from open rebellion and all out civil war. In a feudal land ruled by powerful Samurai Warlords divided by loyalties between their Emperor and Shogun, the balance of power and the future of an Empire rests with one man under The Setting Sun.

To Order your copy, please visit: The Setting Sun on Amazon

Reflections on the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Memorial Service 2015

This year marks the 70th year since the A-bomb attacks that devastated the cities of Hiroshima & Nagasaki Japan during the closing days of World War II. As done for the previous 35 years, a solemn memorial service was conducted in Little Tokyo at the Koyasan Temple hosted by photo journalist Darrell Miho in association with the ASA American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors which included guest speaker Mr. Junji Sarashina (ASA Director, Hiroshima Survivor & Korean War Veteran) who we have had the pleasure of speaking with in years past. (See below 2014 photo)
With each year, prayers and candles are offered to the over 100,000 civilians who were killed in these twin bombings and for those Hibakusha who are still suffering. Each year we hear a survivors account of what it was like to see so many people dead and dying in graphic detail. Such accounts are important to understand what took place there for as Mr. Miho had reminded us that there are many Hibakusha left who still can not or will not speak of the horrors they experienced 70 years ago. In this years closing speech of appreciation, Mr. Sarashina took us by surprise when he altered his planned speech and mentioned our little girl Mia who could be seen running around the Temple. He had over heard how her birth defects and developmental delays are linked to my father's exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. In a heartfelt moment, Mr Sarashina had connected the suffering of our family to that of his own family to illustrate the negative lasting effects of war that continue on long after the last bomb had dropped. We've always been asked by Japanese people what was our connection. For the last six years it had been to pray for the souls lost but since learning of our own war legacy, we've come to understand the legacy of our war had deeply connected us to their war. We are all victims of events that happened beyond our control and at the same time we are all advocates for peace. We wish Mr. Sarashina and the rest of the surviving Hibakusha and their families peace. 
To find out about the ASA please visit Hibakushas Legacy

Sunday, August 2, 2015

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day: New Monument Dedication

Seen here is Filmmaker Jeffrey Gee Chin, left, and sculptor Miles Endo, holding the far end of veil, reveal an 8-foot-tall steel lantern in Little Tokyo's Japanese Village Plaza. The monument is dedicated to the Japanese-born late civil rights activist Sei Fujii. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)