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.

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