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