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.