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Archive for the ‘December 7’ Category

Norma Loudenslayer of Citrus Heights, CA posted this letter to the editor in the Sacramento Bee.

And I quote:

“Japan owes America the apology, not the other way around.”

“I vividly remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Thomas Lea Owsley from my hometown…went down on the USS Arizona.”

“I  commend President Harry Truman for having the guts to end what Japan started.”

I also commend FDR for the internment camps for the Americans with Japanese heritage.”

“It is easy for survivors of the bomb to cast blame, but those who would consider that America apologize are not looking at the full picture….”

This is why even the Japanese Americans lost their lives in war, to help preserve our Democracy so we can all express our views, conflicting or otherwise. And here are mine:

Under the rising sun,

The enemy came,

Wearing my face.
from my Kapoho: Memoirs of a Modern Pompeii

After Pearl Harbor, we too  lost something, we  lost our identity along with our dignity and honor. My ancestors, too, are buried, buried  in Hiroshima.

Masahiro Sasaki, survivor and brother of Sadako of the thousand cranes story, in his addresses before UN and in America faced a child who asked him, “Mr. Sasaki, which country dropped the atomic bomb?’

Mr. Sasaki answered, “ It’s been more than sixty years since the  bombs were dropped… So, I forgot who dropped the bomb.”

The adults looked puzzled but the child understood his response . Looking at  the boy, he said, “Children! Teach your parents!”

The survivors asked not to be called victims. As Mr. Sasaki explained, “To say ‘victim’ requires a victimizer, and the victimizer is led to blame; and that starts the cycle of blame. For example,if we say ‘victim of Hiroshima,’ the next sentence that comes up will involve Pearl Harbor and the blaming chain gets stuck all the way in the past. Then we are completely derailed from the lesson that war itself is humanity’s Pandora, and that nuclear weapons are something that came out of Pandora’s Box.”

(The above quotations are lifted  from To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino)

How long do we wait to get ourselves unstuck from blame and political discourse  before we’re able to  use our knowledge and experiences to create a nuclear free world of peace?  We don’t need any apology or blame  to help create this world.We owe this to our children.

 

 

 

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swim book
This review is from: The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory (Hardcover)
The amazing part of this review is, author Checkoway emailed me to thank me for my review and we have even made plans to meet in Sacramento. I can’t believe this. I’m still flying high. To members of my book club, shall we select this book for our next round of titles and I assure you, I will invite the author to  join us over our monthly dinner.
Here’s my review:
I sent this email to all my nieces and nephews and to their children:
I highly recommend this book to all of you.
I see why my publisher recommended this book to me. I feel we all need to read this to see how it was with the Japanese Americans way before you and I were born. I also think people born on Maui ought to read this book, along with the non-Maui born residents, so they will appreciate and honor the history of that place.

It’s about Soichi Sakamoto, swimming coach who trained plantation kids to go national by letting them swim and practice in the ditches on Maui. Interestingly, I grew up with his name Sakamoto, Keo Nakama, and others mentioned in this book, yet they were in their prime before I was born so they had become legends by the time I could read. Then the story continues after Pearl Harbor. This is a touching part of our history if you are Japanese from Hawaii, Okinawan, Haole( Caucasian), or  just a human being. I’m sure you’re one of these…ha.
Sakamoto ended up at UH as swimming coach. Won’t tell you if his dream of sending one of the kids from the ditches to the Olympics ever became a reality.

In the book, the author mentions how people were named by their character. One swimmer was called Halo Hirose…pronounced hallow because sometimes he seemed to act as though his brain was filled with too much space.
Reminded me of how my own village Kapoho folks were also called. Our Uncle Jun was called Pe-lute, a Filipino word meaning throwing up from drinking too much. One man was called ke-sha…train in Japanese because his teeth protruded like the front of a train and these became permanent names. So one doesn’t have to be from Hawaii or from Maui to be able to find one’s own history in the story.

At the end, one is left with this feeling that one’s own humanity to another is still, why we are here.

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December 7

Under the rising sun,

The enemy came,

Wearing my face.

I met her at the Pahoa Library. I will call her Mrs. I. She was a child when Pearl Harbor was bombed and she was taken to the Internment camp with her family. She has kept that part of her history from her children.

The writer in me kicked in and I asked her why. Shouldn’t her stories be preserved for her children? Will she tell me her story?

Her answer stunned me into silence and I put my pen away.

“No,” she explained. “I never told my children about being in the internment camp because I didn’t want them to feel badly toward our country. I wanted my children to love and honor America and to live as good citizens. If they heard about what happened to us in the internment camp, I was afraid they would have come to hate this country who took us away. I didn’t want this to happen.”

 

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