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Thursday, March 11, 2010

In Memory of 100,000 Victims of Tokyo Air Raid, March 10, 1945

March 10 is the 65th anniversary of the Great Tokyo Air Raid(Tokyo Dai Ku-shu). Compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not much is said about the Tokyo Raid and firebombing of over 100 other cities of Japan during the last several months of the Pacific War. My heart goes out to the victims of all indiscriminate bombing of the last bloodiest century. Last time I wrote anything about the firebombing was August 24, 2009, in which I referred to the special exhibit at the Center of the Tokyo Air Raid and War Damages that displayed photos of air raids in Chongqing, Tokyo, and Guernika. (See also Yumiko Kikuno's article upon her visit to the Center.)

Daniel Ellsberg, in his memoir dedicated to the Hiroshima Day of 2009, says:
  • Most Americans ever since have seen the destruction of the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as necessary and effective—as constituting just means, in effect just terrorism, under the supposed circumstances—thus legitimating, in their eyes, the second and third largest single-day massacres in history. (The largest, also by the U.S. Army Air Corps, was the firebombing of Tokyo five months before on the night of March 9, which burned alive or suffocated 80,000 to 120,000 civilians. Most of the very few Americans who are aware of this event at all accept it, too, as appropriate in wartime.

(Photo: Tokyo after the firebombing on the night of March 9 - 10, 1945, from the website of the Center of the Tokyo Air Raid and War Damages. The green mark on the lower left corner is where the Center is located. )

I was surprised to learn that the Tokyo Raid was the largest single-day massacre in history. In this case, it was not even a single day; it was about two hours, starting shortly past the midnight of March 9.

I was at this Center on July 29, 2009 with my 81 year-old father, whose house was burnt down in "Yamanote Air Raid," another big air raid of Western Tokyo on May 25, 1945, among the total of around 100 air raids of the city that started at the end of 1944. At the Center, we met a man who experienced the Air Raid as a child. I was surprised to hear that it was his first time to visit the Center. He could not visit for a long time for fear of remembering the deadly night so vividly. He told us he and his mother jumped into the swimming pool of this elementary school to escape from the fire. His mother was horrified to know that she survived instead of drowned because she was standing on the corpses at the bottom of the pool. As he talked, he started shaking and began to cry. We didn't know what to say. I thanked him for sharing his story and suggested that he would keep telling it so that the young generation could learn from his experience. We were standing there for over a half an hour and I was worried that my old father was getting too tired, but the man's story was so intense. I asked him for his name and whether I could get in touch with him in the future. He told us his name, which was an unusual one and I regret I could not hear well enough to remember, and soon left, saying that his story was not that much worth telling. I blamed myself for asking too much of him in our first encounter.

Ms. Uehara, another survivor of the Tokyo Raid who spoke to us, a group of US and Canadian students who came to Tokyo after visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the summer of 2008, said that she thought the reason why the Japanese government, its education and the media do not say or teach as much about the Tokyo bombing and other bombing incidents as Hiroshima and Nagasaki was that the government did not want people to know that Japan could have surrendered long before the two atomic bombs were dropped and hundreds of thousands of more civilians were killed. I do not know if it is really the government's intention, but it was valuable to hear that view held by a survivor of the raid and perhaps many others.

With prayers,

PeacePhilosopher

*********************

Here are some reports of the 65th Anniversary of Tokyo Air Raid, March 10, 1945

Mainichi Shimbun

NHK (with video report of the 65th anniversary memorial ceremony)

Asahi Shimbun Editorial

2 comments:

  1. This article is awesome. A while ago I was surging Wikipedia and came across information about the Tokyo fire raids and was just horrified at how severe it sounded. Just out ofcuriosity I compared the numbers to the war in Europe and the two bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.. More were killed in Tokyo alone than in anywhere else in Japan, more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, and more people where killed in JAPAN than ...well, I can't remember the nbers bow, bt basically the US attempted to commit genocide on the Japanese people. What really angers me is how they covered it up. They established a new government that is still in operation today, and rebuilt the whole country. I mean, what are you gonna do? A country bombs over half of your country killing a VERY large percentage of your population without any remorse at all, and to cover their asses from criticism from the rest of the world, they offer you alliance and offer to rebuild your entire society basically. You can't say no to that. You would be scared out of your mind to deny their offer, not to mention you wouldn't have the man power to do it yourself anyway. And then the whole reconstruction period seems like a blur to everyone. Like there is some kind of amnesia. They have their Sazae-san, and people are just silent about it. Granted the Japanese really haven't a clue about the crimes that went on in China Korea and other places on East Asia, but I feel that they would at least listen and feel some kind of remorse. Most Americans Ive talked to justify it all because of "Pearl Harbor", when we all know that not only were people informed of that attack, bit that the US was asking for it by cutting off oil supplies to Japan. not to mention, the numbers are totally different. What's the most disgusting of the air raids is that the majority of that places raided were ENTITERY residential, and were carried out late at night while people were asleep. It was a holocaust from above as none of the people killed had anything to do with the war at all! Also, Japan was more or less a matchbox. Back then, everything was made our of wood, and they already had experienced a devastating earthqake only a decade or so earlier. It wasn't the earthquake but the fires that followed that caused the most damage. Anyway, sorry to be talking on for years but I live in Tokyo and I am just so disgusted in my country (the US) for their silence on this, and their ignorance. America is actually probably one of The Most Facist countries on the world. I hope you don't mind of I send the link to this article around, people need to know his stuff. It's the biggest scam of the century. Also you'll have to excuse the typos, I'm on an iPod touch. Thanks again for this article!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This article is awesome. A while ago I was surging Wikipedia and came across information about the Tokyo fire raids and was just horrified at how severe it sounded. Just out ofcuriosity I compared the numbers to the war in Europe and the two bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.. More were killed in Tokyo alone than in anywhere else in Japan, more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, and more people where killed in JAPAN than ...well, I can't remember the nbers bow, bt basically the US attempted to commit genocide on the Japanese people. What really angers me is how they covered it up. They established a new government that is still in operation today, and rebuilt the whole country. I mean, what are you gonna do? A country bombs over half of your country killing a VERY large percentage of your population without any remorse at all, and to cover their asses from criticism from the rest of the world, they offer you alliance and offer to rebuild your entire society basically. You can't say no to that. You would be scared out of your mind to deny their offer, not to mention you wouldn't have the man power to do it yourself anyway. And then the whole reconstruction period seems like a blur to everyone. Like there is some kind of amnesia. They have their Sazae-san, and people are just silent about it. Granted the Japanese really haven't a clue about the crimes that went on in China Korea and other places on East Asia, but I feel that they would at least listen and feel some kind of remorse. Most Americans Ive talked to justify it all because of "Pearl Harbor", when we all know that not only were people informed of that attack, bit that the US was asking for it by cutting off oil supplies to Japan. not to mention, the numbers are totally different. What's the most disgusting of the air raids is that the majority of that places raided were ENTITERY residential, and were carried out late at night while people were asleep. It was a holocaust from above as none of the people killed had anything to do with the war at all! Also, Japan was more or less a matchbox. Back then, everything was made our of wood, and they already had experienced a devastating earthqake only a decade or so earlier. It wasn't the earthquake but the fires that followed that caused the most damage. Anyway, sorry to be talking on for years but I live in Tokyo and I am just so disgusted in my country (the US) for their silence on this, and their ignorance. America is actually probably one of The Most Facist countries on the world. I hope you don't mind of I send the link to this article around, people need to know his stuff. It's the biggest scam of the century. Also you'll have to excuse the typos, I'm on an iPod touch. Thanks again for this article!

    ReplyDelete