Japanese Views

Pacific Paratrooper

'Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm' by Tosuke S. ‘Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm’ by Tosuke S.

Despite some common belief and wartime propaganda, not all the Japanese people wanted war with either America or England.  Here are some quotes located to help clarify that misconception.

The following quotes have been taken from Saburo Ienaga’s “Pacific War” (Taiheiyo senso) translated by Frank Baldwin.

51KgN7bTlSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

In the midst of the excitement and successful sinking of the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, Onozuka Kiheiji, former president of the Tokyo Imperial University, whispered to a colleague, “This means that Japan is sunk too.” ___ Ienaga Miyako

Onozuka Kiheiji Onozuka Kiheiji

This was true for even those members of the political elite who belonged to the cautious school of thought, made their point of view at the Senior Statesmen’s Conference by, Wakatsuki Reijiro: “Do we have adequate resources for a long war or not?  I am concerned about this problem.”  Yonai Mitsumasa added, “In attempting…

View original post 468 more words

June 1942 (6) – Tribute

Pacific Paratrooper

Flying into Sand Island, Midway Atoll Flying into Sand Island, Midway Atoll

Admiral Yamato ordered Nagumo into a night battle with the American ships.  US Admiral Spruance knew the enemy was out there, but felt he shouldn’t venture too far from Midway Island.  This decision ultimately avoided the trap the enemy had set and ultimately led to the following decision….

The Japanese Combined Fleet’s flagship signaled out at midnight, “MIDWAY OPERATION IS CANCELED.”  This massive defeat for the enemy was only worsened when 2 of Admiral Kurita’s force collided with each other.  The IJN Mogami was damaged and the Mikuma sank from further air attacks.

The result of the Battle of Midway was a definite shift of balance of the naval power in the Pacific.   The Japanese Combined Fleet of 145 vessels had burned more fuel for this operation than the entire Imperial Navy had used in the previous year.  The enemy had lost 4…

View original post 521 more words

December 1942 (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

US Marine engineers repair the bridge over Lunga River US Marine engineers repair the bridge over Lunga River, Guadalcanal

Having the Australians out-fight the poorly trained American troops on New Guinea did not sit well with MacArthur.  He summoned Lt.Gen. Robert Eichelberger, recently promoted as I Corps commander, and ordered him to fire any officer who did not show a fighting spirit.  The general’s parting words were: “Go out there, Bob and take Buna – or don’t come back alive.”

Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey & LtGen. Robert Eichelberger in front of a captured enemy bunker in New Guinea Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey & LtGen. Robert Eichelberger in front of a captured enemy bunker in New Guinea

1 December – Eichelberger flew to the 32nd Division HQ at the Dunropa Plantation, 2 miles north of Buna.  He discovered that the collapsing morale was NOT an exaggeration: “… it was obvious the Japanese would win, for they were living among coconut palms on the coast… while our men lived in swamps… There was no front line discipline of any…

View original post 483 more words

Japanese Eye Witness Account

Pacific Paratrooper

Captain Mitsuo Fuschida Captain Mitsuo Fuschida

Capt. Mitsuo Fuschida, Imperial Japanese Navy, pilot

Fuchida was the first pilot to fly over Pearl Harbor when the attack of 7 December occurred – here he describes his view of the Battle of Midway from the deck of the IJN Akagi;

“The first enemy [U.S.] carrier planes to attack were 15 torpedo bombers.  When first spotted by our screening ships and combat air patrol, they were still not visible from the carriers, but they soon appeared as tiny dark specks in the blue sky, a little above the horizon, on Akagi’s starboard bow.  The distant wings flashed in the sun.  Occasionally one of the specks burst into a spark of flame and trailed black smoke as it fell into the water.  Our fighters were on the job and the enemy again seemed to be without fighter protection.

IJN Akagi IJN Akagi

“Presently a report came in from a Zero…

View original post 795 more words

Eye Witness Account (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

rearden200x231

The following has been condensed from an article by author Jim Reardon.

In the raid of 4 June, 20 bombers blasted storage tanks, a warehouse, hospital, a hangar and a beached freighter, while 11 Zeros strafed at will.  Chief Petty Officer Makoto Endo led a 3-plane Zero group whose pilots were Flight Petty Officers Tsuguo Shikada and Tadayoshi Koga, 19 years old.  Koga’s Zero, serial number 4593, was light gray, with the Imperial Rising Sun insignia on its wings and fuselage.  It had left the Mitsubishi Nagoya aircraft factory on 19 February, only 3½ months earlier, so it was the latest design.

Tadayoshi Koga Tadayoshi Koga

Earlier that day, soldiers at an US Army outpost had seen 3 Zeros shoot down a lumbering Catalina amphibian.  Most of the 7-member crew climbed into a rubber raft and began paddling to shore.  The soldiers watched in horror as the Zeros strafed the crew until…

View original post 671 more words

Intelligence

Pacific Paratrooper

The Dozier Family in Japan, circa 1920's The Dozier Family in Japan, circa 1920’s

The Japanese altered their pre-war message codes after the Coral Sea (6 May 1942), and a few weeks before the Aleutians and Midway ( June 1942).  The changes were enough to send US Naval Intelligence in Honolulu scrambling.

The Secret Service brought in a well-known Southern Baptist missionary who had recently arrived in Hawaii after being booted out of Japan along with the other undesirable westerners.  Reverend Edwin Burke Dozier, who became part of the Olivet Baptist Church in Honolulu, was the son of S.B.C. missionaries from Georgia.  He had been born and raised in Japan – the Nagasaki-Fukuoka area of Kyushu’s west coast.

main-qimg-c8274766cbe1722fbb2ee93b1ac1b403

Rev. Dozier’s masterful ear for the Japanese language discerned that the enemy was using Japanese baby-talk in the key parts of their altered code.  These were not words found in any dictionary and a person would have had to…

View original post 416 more words

Eye Witness Account (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

Doolittle_Painting_Final

The Doolittle Raid was launched on the morning of 18 April 1942, 150 miles further from mainland Japan than originally planned. At 0843 hours, Lt. Ted William Lawson took flight in “The Ruptured Duck” B-25B # 40-2261, of the 95th Bomber Squadron/17th Bomber Group.

Lt. Ted W. Lawson Lt. Ted W. Lawson

“A Navy man stood at the bow of the ship with a checkered flag.  He gave Doolittle [the lead plane] the signal to begin racing his engines again.  Doolittle gave his engines more and more throttle until I was afraid he’d burn them up.  A wave crashed at the bow and sprayed the deck.

leaving the USS Hornet leaving the USS Hornet

“The man with the flag was waiting, timing the dipping of the ship for it’s take-off.  The man gave a new signal.  Navy boys pulled the blocks from under the wheels.  We watched him like hawks, wondering what the wind would do to him…

View original post 425 more words

Halloween WWII Style

Pacific Paratrooper

1320044177

This story is condensed from: EVERY VETERAN HAS A STORY_______

The other morning I woke up and looked out the window and saw pumpkins smashed and some decorations strewn.  “Ah, good,” I said to my daughters, “someone has done their research on the history of Halloween!”
motherjones
 
They rolled their eyes and kept reading the comics over their bowls of cereal.  After 13 years of fatherhood, I’d lost the ability to shock them…or they were hoping by their indifference to ward off the inevitable history lecture to follow.  If so — it didn’t work.
Foe much of our history, Halloween wasn’t about trick-or-treating or going around in costumes – it was about vandalism.  Halloween celebrates the dark side, the side we reject and fear – all that we try to deny.  Mischief making has historically been a part of that.  If you look at newspapers 80 or 90 years ago…

View original post 449 more words

New Year’s Day 1942

Pacific Paratrooper

Carl Mydans, "Life" mag. photographer Carl Mydans, “Life” mag. photographer

While the people of Japan celebrated New Year’s Day in their usual fashion, debts were paid, people thronged to the Meiji Shrine to throw coins at midnight and for good luck, red daruma dolls were purchased, all this was topped off with the news of military success against the Allies.  But all this gaiety did not please the military.  They were aware of just how arduous the war was going to be and strict discipline must be maintained.  General Muto said:  “The first step is to replace Tojo as Prime Minister.”  (Tojo had been opposed to the military aggression.  He had to go.)

Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year's period. Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year’s period.

The Japanese in the Philippine Islands celebrated differently.  They closed in on Manila from two directions.  The southern troops were slowed about 40 miles out due to the amount of bridges that had…

View original post 285 more words

East and West (3)

Pacific Paratrooper

FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940 FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940

If Manchuria was controlled, the Japanese felt they would have the advantage over Russia.  Since the Chiang Nationalist government did wish to spend the money or the energy to combat Japan – but – still have communism squelched in the country, Manchuria was given up.

When the US started economic sanctions in 1939, Japan required new territories to supply their resources.  They issued a request to the French  for permission to enter Indo-China.  In September 1940, the Vichy government agreed.  The southeast portion of Asia was occupied, without incident, by the Japanese on 27-29 July 1941.

Vichy government, 1939 Vichy government, 1939

The US was incensed and proceeded to convince other countries to freeze Japan’s assets; the ABCD, (American, British, Canada, Dutch), power’s economic blockade began.  By mid-1941, relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return.  The New York Times newspaper…

View original post 459 more words

East and West (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

There are centuries of information on this subject, but I’ve done my best to shorten the data, and maintain  the gist of affairs as they occurred:

A lithograph of Cmdr. Perry's fleet in Japan A lithograph of Cmdr. Perry’s fleet in Japan

Japan’s involvement with the West began early in the 16th century.  The Western missionaries and the contrasting firearms trading caused a disruption of the feudal lord system.  Later on, Dutch trading at Nagasaki became an avenue of scientific and political knowledge.  After which, the US naval mission and “Black Ships” of Commodore Matthew Perry in the mid-1800s basically forced Japan to open its doors.

Commodore Matthew Perry Commodore Matthew Perry

By the end of the 19th century, the views of the Asian world by the Anglos were of “Manifest Destiny” (global supremacy).  The British Union Jack flew over nearly one-third of the planet and the US wanted in.  But, after teaching the island nation how to conquer territory, the…

View original post 555 more words

Intermission Stories (19)

A truly extraordinary and inspiring story from WWII.

Pacific Paratrooper

The 414th Squadron, 97 Bomber Group The 414th Squadron, 97 Bomber Group

WWII B-17 SURVIVAL STORY

This amazing story of courage, ingenuity and survival of the B-17 “All American” 414th Squadron, 97BG Crew was given to me by my dear friend Scott Brady, who also gallantly served in the U.S. Air Force.

 A mid-air collision on 1 February 1943 between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of WWII.  An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot, then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named “All American” piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg.  When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17.  The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away.The two right engines were…

View original post 938 more words