Daily Archives: 24 October 2005

Japanese Soldier’s Diary, Okinawa, 13 September 1945

September 13, 1945 (Thurs.), clear and windy

We talked all day, half-believing and half-doubting what the pacification team members told us last night. I lay down alone and dozed. No matter how much we talked about it, without seeing the evidence the pacification team said they’d bring, conversation was pointless. I didn’t like talking.

It was around eight in the evening. The same two members of the pacification team who had come last night arrived with conclusive evidence of imperial Japan’s surrender.

First, letters from our war buddies in units that had been attacked and surrendered were distributed to each of us. The letters explained Japan’s unconditional surrender and urged us to surrender right away. Then they showed us copies of the “Potsdam Declaration,” which Japan had accepted; the emperor’s “Surrender Rescript”; and the “Surrender Instrument” from the deck of the USS Missouri. There also were orders from Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, the top official overseeing the occupation of our country, and issues of the Asahi, Mainichi, and Yomiuri newspapers that had pictures and articles about the August 9 “Soviet Invasion of Manchuria,” the “Damage from the Atomic Bombs” dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the “Failed Suicide Attempt of Prime Minister Tojo.

The seven of us stared silently at the evidence–its meaning was all too clear. I felt as though my whole body had suddenly collapsed and I were being attacked by a dark loneliness.

Then after recovering from this feeling of loneliness, I was assailed by an inexpressible anger. Who or what in the world was the object of my anger? I couldn’t say.

I stamped my feet on the floor like a child and screamed words of anger. I felt the urge to run like a cannonball right into the center of the American camp.

In the end, even as I was being attacked by these violent feelings, I agreed with everyone else that we should surrender.

Frankly, even if I acted alone and raced out of the bunker, the surrender of Japan as an actuality wouldn’t change, and the mop-up operation the American troops would launch in the wake of such an action would be directed continuously at all the Japanese soldiers in the vicinity of the military field warehouse bunker.

Rather than rant and rage, I kept my thoughts to myself, left the group, and slowly walked to the back of the bunker.

SOURCE: Leaves from an Autumn of Emergencies: Selections from the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary Japanese, by Samuel Hideo Yamashita (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2005), pp. 154-155

This soldier, Nomura Seiki of Kochi City on Shikoku, surrendered the next day, but didn’t retrieve his diary until later, after which he wrote a long and poignant account of his actions and feelings on his final day as a soldier of Imperial Japan. It was too long to excerpt here, but here’s his subsequent and final diary entry on 10 November 1945.

Today, with the help of American soldiers, I visited the field storage bunker at Shuri and was able to recover the diary I left in the back of the bunker the night before I surrendered on September 14. This was a wonderful find. I have followed and recorded my memories of that day that brought things to an end for me as a Japanese soldier, and this is the end of this diary.

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Marines (and Sox) on a Roll

Canada.com carries an AP report on Game 2 of the Japan Series.

TOKYO (AP) – Saburo Omura, Matt Franco and Lee Seung-yeop all homered in the sixth inning Sunday, leading Bobby Valentine’s Chiba Lotte Marines to a 10-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers in Game 2 of the Japan Series.

The Marines, bidding for their first Japan Series title in 31 years, take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championships.

After scoring single runs in the first two innings, the Marines blew the game open in the sixth with five runs.

Read that lede once again, savoring the names as they stumble off your tongue. Okay, now let’s compare the AP lede for Game 2 of the World Series in frosty Chicago.

CHICAGO Oct 24, 2005 — Scott Podsednik made it two electrifying home runs for the White Sox and two World Series wins. Podsednik’s home run off Brad Lidge in the ninth inning gave Chicago a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday night and put the White Sox halfway to their first World Series title in 88 years.

“I don’t think anyone in the ballpark was thinking about me hitting the ball out of the ballpark,” Podsednik said.

After yet another questionable umpiring call, Paul Konerko capped a momentous week with a seventh-inning grand slam on reliever Chad Qualls’ first pitch, giving the White Sox a 6-4 lead and sparking the crowd of 41,432 to life on a drizzly, dreary night.

A few old-fashioned MLB names there.

Just to rub it in, here’s a 2004 profile of the White Sox by the Yankeecentric YESNetwork‘s Steven Goldman.

THE BEST: Nothing. Okay, Paul Konerko, maybe Aaron Rowand, Shingo Takatsu.

THE WORST: A random starting rotation — pitchers to whom consistency is a dirty word, an outfield without much pop, a manager who thinks he’s living in the dead ball era. To be more specific, Orlando Hernandez won’t feel up to making a third of his starts, Jose Contreras will run up the white flag like he thinks the French Foreign Legion is attacking. Trading for Scott Posednik is risking getting exactly what you think you need, and Ozzie Guillen apparently slept through his entire career, which involved increasing numbers of baseballs being whacked over his head.

EX-GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND: The one whose vanity far outweighed any realistic appraisal of their charms.

FINISH: Fourth in the Central.

And here’s YESNetwork contributor Will Weiss rubbing it in, too.

World Series showcases what could have been

Jose Contreras and Roger Clemens will start Game 1 of the World Series Saturday night in Chicago, Andy Pettitte will start Game 2 for the Houston Astros, and lurking in the Chicago White Sox’ bullpen is Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez.

And the Yankees will be watching them on TV like every other baseball fan.

Following Contreras’s complete-game, pennant-clinching victory for the White Sox in Anaheim, numerous message board threads on YESNetwork.com and other Yankeecentric Web sites popped up about the possibility of Contreras, El Duque, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens squaring off in the World Series. The Astros’ win in Game 6 of the NLCS in St. Louis made that notion a reality (Pettitte stood as the winning pitcher in Game 5, until Albert Pujols’ monster shot sent the series back to Busch Stadium).

Yankees fans have every right to stew at the fact that what could have been 80 percent of the 2004 rotation will have a say in who wins the World Series, albeit for teams not bearing an interlocking NY on their caps. A majority of fans might look at the postseason performances of Contreras, El Duque, Clemens and Pettitte, and the way they led the White Sox and Astros to the World Series and say, “This figures.” In Contreras’s case, countless fans said, “Where did this come from?”

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