Monday, August 7, 2017

Sayonara Gojira

It is sad news that we must share the passing of Haruo Nakajima. During WWII, he served as a gunner on a GM4 bomber and later was assigned to Shinyo suicide boats. Fortunately for us, he survived the war and found a new career in film where he was a stuntman and actor in Kurosawa films. From 1954 to 1972 he was the man in the rubber suit that played Godzilla. A charming, genial man, he was adored by his American fans in his many convention appearances here, even as recently as a few weeks ago. He will be missed, and long remembered. We at American Mishima offer our condolences to his family. 
Sayonara Naka-chan.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Obon 2017

Those who have passed on in 2017 at the Koyasan Temple.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Back from the Dead: Texas Flying Legends Zero Restored

It was in 2016 that a taxiway accident involving an F-4U Corsair and the Texas Flying Legends A6M2 Model 21 Japanese Zero nearly cost the Zero community another plane. The Corsair crashed into the tail section of the Zero nearly obliterating it with its propeller.
We are happy to announce that the Zero has now been fully restored with a new tail. It is expected top take back to the soon.
Great Job Restoration Team!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Lost Earheart Evidence Debunked

Earlier this week, the History Channel aired a special claiming that lost aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were captured by the Japanese. The show alleged that they were taken to Saipan and died in there captivity. Further, they show claimed that the United States Navy knew about it and covered it up! Their big evidence came from the above photo that through recognition software was able to establish the identities of the doomed aviators. But it took a Japanese blogger by the name of Kota Yamano to dig deep and find the truth that this photo was taken in 1935 and not 1937 as the History Channel show concluded. The one thing that troubled us here at American Mishima was that if the above photo had merit to a capture by Japanese military forces of the Empire of Japan, then why were Earhart and Noonan not under guard by the Kempeitai of the IJA? And if Japan had indeed captured her and held her as a spy, then why didn't the Japanese use her as a propaganda tool like they did with some many captured airmen during the war? Why? Because it didn't happen that way!
It's widely believed that Earhart ditched her Lockheed Electra just short of Nikumaroro Atoll aka Gardner Island. It is uncertain how they wound up off course but this is where they believed this tragic tale ended. Based on bone fragments matching a Caucasian Woman and other items such as a woman's compact and a women's shoe sole, it is believed that she survived the crash. It's likely Noonan did not. The evidence suggests she likely held out for five months and ultimately succumbed to exposure and dehydration. Such a tragic end to a brilliant career but not at the hands of the Japanese. We are ever thankful to Kota Yamano for debunking this poorly researched story. It is an embarrassment for the History Channel to have aired this without further research. Mr. Yamano said of this: "I find it strange that the documentary makers didn't confirm the date of the photograph or the publication in which it originally appeared," he told The Guardian, "that's the first thing they should have done."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Kaga: Then and Now

Here's a comparison view of the Imperial Japanese Navy carrier KAGA from 1928 and her modern day descendant the JS KAGA (DDH-184) today. They've come a long way!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

American Mishima Remembers Kaz Suyeishi 1927-2017

There are few opportunities in life to meet such an extraordinary being. It is said when such people leave us, they leave their burdens behind for us to carry in their memory. Last night, it was learned that our long time resident Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Attack Survivor) Kaz Suyeishi had quietly passed away at the age of 90. The Atomic bomb dropped on the City of Hiroshima that had forever changed her life had finally claimed her. She was a kind gentile soul and an advocate for peace. We will be forever grateful for generosity, kindness, and message of peace and forgiveness. Her personal story helped inspire our Children's book Ichiro Dreams in Color and became the subject of the animated film HIBAKUSHA. The annual A-Bomb Rememorial Service held every year at the Koyasan Temple will not be the same without her. We at American Mishima will forever treasure her memory and sincerely wish Miss Suyeishi safe passage to the land of liberation. May her legacy continue on so she may smile upon us who remember her from heaven. 
Arigatou & Sayonara
Mary Kazuye Suyeishi

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Former Princess Becomes Supreme Priestess at Ise Jingu Shrine

Mrs. Sayoku Kuroda formerly known as Princess Nori (daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko) is said to have assumed to post of Supreme Priestess at the Ise Shrine in Japan this past Monday. She replaces the 86 year old sister of Emperor Akihito Atsuko Ikeda who had held the position for the last 29 years. This is an important position that serves as the representative for the emperor. 
We at American Mishima wish her great success.

South Korea's Moon Renegs on Japan's 2015 Comfort Women Settlment

South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in recently stated in an interview that he wants the reject the 2015 Settlement Agreement made by his predecessor and the government of Japan. In the Agreement, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe formally apologized for Japan's wartime mistreatment of Korean women who were forced to work in Imperial Japanese Army Brothels during WWII. As part of that agreement, Japan has paid 1 Billion Japanese Yen (Equivalent to 9 million USD) in compensation to the few aging survivors and their families. As part of that agreement, the government of South Korea had declared the matter settled and agreed to end once and for all calls for any further apologies from Japan. So what happened? Japan has met its part of the deal disbursing the agreed funds into a South Korean fund and the PM has expressed his apologies and remorse for the suffering of these women. But then South Korea impeached their former President Park Geun-hye over corruption and now the new president feels the agreement made under the former president is not enough. This of course opens a whole new can of worms and both countries have been down this road before. The past cannot be undone but Japan has taken responsibility and settled the issue with South Korea. New demands for greater compensation and more apologies may impact bilateral relations. On the course of greater instability by the DPRK, South Korea will need Japan as an ally. No dollar amount cannot erase the crimes of the past. From our perspective, the dollar amount in the 2015 settlement does not adequately compensate for the scale of the crime. But that's what South Korea Agreed to. When you consider how few elderly Comfort Women are still alive, it is not within reason. That being said, call for new apologies will serve no purpose. We hope Moon will find a way to back down from his own campaign rhetoric and either agree to the terms of the 2015 settlement or find a better solution to a problem he chose to champion.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tragedy at Sea: Seven American Sailors Killed in Collission Aboard USS Fitzgerald

As many of you may well know by now, the American Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer U.S.S. Fitzgerald (DDG-62) was involved in a major collision with the Philippine flagged container vessel ACX Crystal that resulted in the deaths of seven American sailors. The incident was reported to have taken place at 0230hrs in busy shipping lanes 60 miles from the Izu Peninsula. While no crew members of the larger ACX Crystal were reported injured, the damage to the smaller destroyer trapped sailors in their berthing compartments as they slept injuring scores of crew members including the ships captain Cmdr. Bryce Benson who was later airlifted by Japanese Maritime SDF helicopters back to Yokosuka. 
During the first 24 hours, the seven dead sailors were initially listed as missing which prompted a massive air sea search & rescue operation on the part of the JMSDF and Japanese Coast Guard. Sadly, the seven missing sailors were later discovered in the flooded berthing compartments. 
Dramatic photos reveal the severe damage to the hull, what's not seen is the damage below the water line. As one can see from the above photo of the ACX Crystal, it has what is called a "Bulbous Bow" below the waterline. The impact of which cannot be seen above the waterline is what caused the most damage to the destroyer. It is there where much of the flooding occurred. 
The following names listed below are of the seven American Sailors who lost their lives. We at American Mishima respectfully a raise them a slow hand salute in tribute to these seven souls who will join those countless American Sailors still on patrol. 

Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia
Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California
Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut
Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California
Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland
Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Japananese Whalers Resume Hunt

It was announced in Tokyo last Wednesday that the Japanese Whaling Fleet will put to sea and resume their hunt only this time in Japanese waters. They say their quota for 2017 is to "Capture" 43 Minke Whales and 134 Sei Whales to examine their stomach contents. Note the key phrase capture in place of kill. Their primary factory ship the Nishhin Maru is noted for its catch & release program BECAUSE IT DOES NOT EXIST! What possible research can be gained from examining stomach contents of so many whales? In the last ten years alone, the Japanese Whaling fleet has killed close to 700+ whales per year on the grounds of examining stomach contents. Who are they kidding? After each hunt whale meat suddenly appears on Japanese market shelves. This is consumed by less than 3% of the population largely older people who indulge in this holdover from the lean times of the American Occupation.
There's simply no excuse for it at the same time little can be done about it. While this blog is largely Pro-Japan, this is one issue we cannot support. This is not to say we object to some remote Japanese fishing village looking to feed its people with a single whale. In those situations we know its what they have to do to survive. But on a large scale commercial level, Japan has no excuse. Japan is no longer starving like they were at the end of WWII thus there is no need for this. Those who understand the issue know we are not ranting in the defense of some stupid fish. These are intelligent species and if after spending years examining stomach contents of thousands still requires scientific research with no real scientific value, then they ought to stop lying about their intentions and abide the international whaling committee's ruling suspending commercial whaling once and for all. You don't have to agree with us but that's just our opinion and we're sticking to it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Picture of Things to Come?

Seen here is is Impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye doing the walk of shame to the courthouse in handcuffs. She is South Korea's first female president who has been put on trial for abuse of power and corruption. She faces Life in Prison if convicted. While there is much talk of impeachment of the current American Resident of the United States for similar conflicts of interests and abuses of power, it is unlikely should the current FBI investigation turns up any evidence of collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice would result in a prison sentence. That being said, current and former members of the Trump Regime may face criminal indictment. Their positions does not put them above the law. Just ask former convicted members of the Nixon administration. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Collission Course! U.S.S. Lake Champlain collides with Korean Fishing Boat

Somewhere east of the Korean Peninsula, the American Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser U.S.S. Lake Champlain collided with a 65 foot Korean fishing vessel 502 Nam Yang. This occurred at 11:50 am local time on May 9th. While there were no injuries reported, the extent of the damage to the port side of the ship the cruiser has not been released to the public. Both the U.S. Navy and the South Korean Coast Guard are investigating. It is reported that poor visibility, a lack of a working radio and GPS system on board the Korean boat, and failure to heed warnings played a part in the incident. Both ships were able to get under way and safely head to port. U.S.S. Lake Champlain is currently operating as part of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.

Replica Zero Makes Appearance at Planes of Fame Air Show

This last weekend of May 6-7th 2017 saw the 60th anniversary of the Planes of Fame Air Show. It is one of the premiere vintage war bird airshows in the world. It is one of the only airshows where you can see up to two Japanese A6M Riesen Zero fighter planes that actually fly including one that is 100% original complete with its Sakae 12 engine. But this year saw the addition of a 3rd Zero that for reasons not stated did not fly.
This particular A6M3 Model 22 Zero is somewhat of a curiosity. It's tail code is A1-112. This plane was last seen flying over Kumamoto Japan to help uplift the spirits there after the recent natural disaster there.
There was no sign or any owner present that could tell us anything about this plane except for this small flyer written in Kanji taped to one of the propeller blades so we did some research. 
According to the Pacific Wrecks website, they noted that there have been some false claims including having been recovered from a wreck in Papua New Guinea in the late 1980's and another stating it had been built by Mitsubishi in 1943. But it turns out this was one of three replica Zeros that were built in Russia during the 1990's for the Santa Monica Museum of Flight. 
So as the story goes, this replica Zero which is powered by a Pratt & Whitney engine was constructed for around $300,000.00 USD. Mind you, that's 1990's money. She was last sold for $1.9 million USD. It is currently under private ownership and is said to be based in Mojave California.
While it is not a true original, it still retains the aesthetic of Jiro Hirokoshi's vision and remains a delight for Zero fans world wide despite not having it's familiar yellow stripe painted on it's forward on its wing.
We hope to see her fly in formation with her two original older cousins at a future.
Until then please enjoy this footage we found of this plane flying in Japan.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rare Operational B-29 FiFi Upclose

Recently, the B-29 "FiFi" made it's return to the Camarillo Airport's WWII Aviation Museum for a one week visit. The vintage bomber built in July 1945 was recently featured in the AMC drama Better Call Saul. It is one of two B-29's in the world that can still fly. 
For those who may not be familiar with this plane, it entered service too late for WWII. She served with the Navy was later slated to be used for target practice until she was recovered from China Lake in 1971. 
Using parts from other B-29 wrecks at China Lake, this B-29 was eventually brought back to life.
 And here's yours truly doing his best "Major Fudge Talbot" impression.
We are told that members of the cast of Better Call Saul made an appearance on Sunday April 23rd. If you have not seen the show, its about a shady lawyer who will stop at nothing to get new clients. In the following clip, we see Bob Odenkirk's character Jimmy McGill, (also known as Saul Goodman) films a commercial with a retiree posing as a WWII hero. While we do not in any way endorse STOLEN VALOR , this still made for great comedy and provided a spotlight for this amazing vintage aircraft. Please enjoy!

To learn more about this aircraft, visit FiFi on Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trump Team Misplaces Carrier?

There are times one must ask what kind of crazy world are we living in today? Seriously! After a week that saw North Korea call out the Trump Regime's bluff by launching a missile (which failed), tensions on the Korean Peninsula nearly reached a boiling point with the announced deployment of the USS Cal Vinson's carrier group. It's hard to guess if this is more laughable or just plain reckless to make such an announcement of sending force when in fact the fleet went somewhere else. While this must have made for great laughs by the Anti-Trump Resistance movement here at home, Koreans on both sides of the DMZ are likely not laughing. It's still not certain if the White House deliberately intended to fool the North Koreans or just simply did not know themselves. In any case, it's embarrassing considering Trump himself declared he knows more than his generals do. Chances are this won't be the last SNAFU on the part of the Trump Regime. Hopefully it does not get anyone killed. Then again, consider who we are talking about with his finger on the button. A position no man-child should wield yet here we are, watching two overgrown children armed with nuclear weapons toying with people's lives. You just can't make this shit up!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lawsuit Against Chino Air Show May Ground Zeros

In what has been called an unwarranted underhanded move, Chino Airport tenants Yanks Air Museum and Flying Tigers Aviation have filed a lawsuit to stop the annual Planes of Fame Air Show. This was filed 30 days before the event. This air show has been held every year for the last 30 years at the Chino Airport. The annual event attracts military aviation enthusiasts and warbird history buffs alike from all parts of the country to see the rarest collection of WWII & Korean War fighter aircraft take to the skies and dazzle crowds. Yanks allege that they lose money each year and further claim the event obstructs their ability to do business. This of course has angered many in the warbird community who regard this as a frivolous lawsuit to ground the beloved air show which features two of the world's only flying Japanese A6M Zero fighters. Yanks has no flying aircraft in their museum nor has participated in the air show years. All parties in the suit claim they love aviation but those suing POF claims they don't like how the air show is being run. One could guess they want a bigger piece of the action for themselves. Internet reaction has been fierce and Yanks has become very unpopular as a result. While we do not expect the air show to be canceled, we call this suit  for what it is. Frivolous and Underhanded. 
POF has an on-line petition SAVE OUR AIRSHOW which at last count has over 14,650 signatures in support of the POF Air Show. We hope this case is thrown out of court and look forward to seeing over 40 vintage aircraft take to the skies and the Zeros fly once more. Please show your support and sign their Petition. Thank you!

Pyongyang Posturing

This week has seen the U.S. Third Fleet change its plans. In the recent wake of increased tensions with the DPRK, the Navy canceled the scheduled port of calls in Australia and re-directed the U.S.S. Carl Vinson (CV-70) and it's carrier group to take up station within the sphere of the Korean Peninsula.  Under normal circumstances this would seem like routine posturing to let the rogue nation and it's "Dear Leader" that the United States stands ready to defend it's South Korean & Japanese allies. What is troubling is not so much the threats coming out of Pyongyang but rather from our own new regime of amateurs whose sole foreign consistency has been its own unpredictability. Particularly when Trump claims to know more than his generals and takes his foreign policy advice from his handbag designer daughter and inexperienced son in law. This makes for a dangerous mix especially when you count the PRC's recent deployment of 150,000 ground troops along North Korea's northern border. We at American Mishima are counting on Secretary of Defense "Mad Dog" Mattis and our Naval Commanders in the Third Fleet to use caution and not indulge the impulsive whims of our unpredictable part time leader who spends more time golfing at his Florida resorts and Tweeting threats than actually governing. This should make for interesting conversation in Beijing and nervousness in Seoul & Tokyo. As we have said many times, may cooler heads prevail.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Putting Out to Sea

Seen here are Japan's two JMSDF Izumo Class Helicopter Carriers Izumo & Kaga at port. Earlier this month, the Izumo put out to sea to participate in extended exercises in the Indian Ocean and the contentious South China Seas. As expected, Beijing objected as they do any time one of these 249 meter long warships leave port. Given the recent construction of aircraft hangers and radar installations on the artificial islands under their control, such moves on the part of Japan's maritime force should be expected. These modern carriers are as large as the aircraft carriers Japan used in WWII. But make no mistake, there are no catapults or angled deck for fixed winged aircraft. Thus their role is largely confined to helicopter Anti-Submarine and relief missions. Their current three month mission is in participation with American Naval forces.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Fools - Tillerson Threatens DPRK

This week in Seoul South Korea, Exxon Executive turned U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson openly threatened North Korea. Really? Oh yes he did! He is quoted as saying that the Trump administration might be forced to take pre-emptive action “if they elevate the threat of their weapons program” to an unacceptable level.Worse, he's said "the policy of strategic of patience is over." This was not only foolish, but down right dangerous. We would expect this kind of foolish talk from Pyongyang not from Washington but there you have it. 
While the DPRK lacks the military ability to bring the United States to its knees, they certainly have the ability to start a bloody war that will get a lot of South Koreans and American Troops stationed over there killed and turn the entire far east into turmoil. This is not the actions of a career diplomat. This is Amateur Hour on the world stage and its reckless actions are beneath the dignity of both the Secretary of State and the United States. This is what happens when a non-politician with the temperament of a four year old assumes office. They appoint equally unqualified people into positions of power. Tillerson has no business representing this country and the spineless Republicans who approved this man with no diplomatic experience are equally complicit in their quest for power. With so much scandal plaguing the Trump Regime in its first 100 days, it's likely they want a war just to distract us from the truth. While we don't expect restraint from the Hermit Kingdom, we hope the PRC will get them to listen to reason and ignore our temporary lapse in judgment. Wishful thinking right? In any case, tough talk means nothing without action and with the clowns running the circus inaction will be for the best so no one has to die. But who are we kidding right?
It's sad that Americans who are aware of what's really at stake must endure this embarrassment.  Somewhere out there, Kim Jong Un must be laughing his ass off that he's no longer the world's craziest leader. Good Job America! Not!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kawasaki Ki-61 Flying Swallow Restored

This last October news outlets revealed that Kawasaki Heavy Industries LTD. had restored a 75 year old Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien fighter in commemoration with the company's 120th anniversary of its founding. The Type-3 Fighter was nicknamed "Hien" (Flying Swallow) by Kawasaki Aircraft and made its first flight in 1941. She is currently on display in Kawasaki's Legacy Technology Hall in Kobe Japan. They say around 3000 of these planes were built during WWII and currently this is the last one in Japan making this a very rare plane. The story of this particular plane is that this aircraft was requisitioned by the U.S. Military after the war. She later sat on display at Chiran Air Base for many years until her recent restoration. Most of the original instruments had to be replaced and the engine is restored but she is not flyable. At present there are no plans to restore her to flying status. She is to join a warbird collection at Kagamihara Aerospace Science Museumin Gifu Prefecture. While we are sad to see she will not take to the air, we are happy to see that she will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Picture of the Day

Seen here is traditional Hinamatsuri doll display celebrating Girls Day in Japan.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Heisei Emperor's Vietnam Visit

This past Tuesday saw the arrival of Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko in Vietnam. He is the first Japanese Emperor to visit there since the end of the Japanese Occupation during WWII. It has been the mission of the Emperor to visit many of the countries Japan once occupied to help heal old wounds and pray for both Japan's war dead as well as for those who fought against them in hopes of promoting lasting peace. What makes this trip so significant is one of purposes of this visit relating to WWII. It is said that at war's end in 1945 that some 700 Japanese soldiers chose to remain in Vietnam to stay with their Vietnamese wives and families. The Emperor is said to meet with a dozen or so surviving widows of those Japanese Soldiers. History records that when the French returned to Vietnam that many of these former IJA soldiers helped the Viet Minh fight the French offering their military expertise. By the time Communist forces of Ho Chi Minh defeated the French in 1954, half of those Japanese Soldiers died from fighting or illness. Another group of 71 left Vietnam without their families. By 1960, all former remaining IJA soldiers were forced to leave Vietnam. This is a curious story that we wish we could find more information for but happy to share this story here. We at American Mishima continue to wish the Emperor success in his enduring peace mission so that all souls lost from the Showa Era and the war that consumed is be at peace.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gentleman Warrior Lt. General Hal Moore Passes Away at 94

As many of you may now have already heard, a true American Hero has left us. Lt. General Hal Moore (who commanded the 7th Cavalry during the Battle of the Ia Drange Valley of Tears November 1965) has quietly passed away just shy of his 95th birthday. He has now boarded the last chopper for a final flight out of the LZ with his beloved wife Julia and his trusted friend CSM Basil Plumley to a better place where he will be greeted by formations of his former Sky Troopers who stand at attention awaiting to salute his arrival. He represented the best of us during the worst of times.He was a true Gentleman warrior. He will forever bear a special place in the heart of this proud son of a former 1st Air Cavalry Sky Trooper and many others who descend from them. Like his best friend Joe Galloway, many of us owe Lt. General Hal Moore a debt of gratitude. For if he had not told his story many of us whose fathers served there and could not speak while they were alive we would never have known of the sacrifice and bravery of the American Soldier at the base of the Chu Pong Massif. For now that he is gone, there will never be another Gentlemen Warrior like him. Godspeed General and thank you for a lifetime of service and the example you set of which we could only dream of emulating. God Bless & Godspeed.

Garry Owen