Yesterday’s enemy, tomorrow’s friend

Contributor: Nam SangSo

“If we knew each other. If we understood each other as a friend. This foolish war would never have happened. I sincerely hope that a day would come where everyone could overcome their differences through talking and not fighting. Finally, we are friends now,” the former Imperial Japanese Navy pilot who had dropped the first and only bomb onto the American soil, wrote in his diary.

Topic: Education, History, People, Yongsan Legacy
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The latest inter-Korean summit in mid-September has opened a wide array of possibilities in enhancing relations between the two Koreas. While many of the South and North Koreans, both militaries and civilians, still consider each other enemies, they have agreed to strengthen cooperation first in quarantine and healthcare to prevent an influx of diseases that could spread through frequent interactions. (It reminds of the first contact between the Europeans and the Native Americans in 1492 at San Salvador)

The land mines buried during the Korean War are being removed from the both sides of DMZ and a plan to connect the railroads between south and north are progressing. Fortunately, the gauge of the both rails are the same international standard width of 1,435 mm.

Someday, sooner or later, the two Koreas will be unified as it’s the unified wishes of the most peoples in the South and North, and no nation in the world so far is against dismantling of the barbed-wired boundary transecting the peninsula, after the North’s nuclear weapons have been completely disbanded and when the North joins with the free democratic world.

Then curiosities over various free societies in the South would quickly motivate North Koreans to peek in through internet websites. And an NGO without having a political stance, “yongsanlegacy.org,” or YSL, would be among them. As YSL is getting loaded with the histories and the influences of cultural impacts imposed upon the South Korean societies not only by the U.S. Army Yongsan Garrison but also U.N. and U.S. Military Facilities located in South Korea, it’d be natural for North Koreans to find the website fascinating.

The North Korea has been a country where residents do not have free access to the internet, but the country’s science-priority policies are leading to an expansion in the number of new users, as reported by The Korea Times October 25, 2018.

And then they would realize that the U.S. Forces personnel are not brutal people as they had long been brainwashed, just like Japanese Imperialism had taught their people during the Pacific War, but just normal human being like their brothers and sisters, and they are just stationing in the South to maintain a peace in the Far East.

The Northern people would also learn how to forget and forgive the former enemy. Among many other war stories about “Yesterday’s enemy, tomorrow’s friend,” this particular World War II story that follows, would open up the hearts of the soldiers and civilians as well of the both Koreas. This article, not “Yesterday’s friend, tomorrow’s enemy,” is contributed to YSL for that purpose.

 

NobuoFujita-flight gear Source: wikipedia

Nobuo Fujita 藤田信雄 (1911-1997)

was a Japanese naval aviator who had flown a float plane from a long-range submarine aircraft carrier and dropped two incendiary bombs in the continent America, making him the only pilot in history to bomb the United States during the Pacific War. His mission was to start a massive forest fire in the Pacific Northwest near the city of Brookings, Oregon. The operation was planned as a retaliation of the Doolittle’s first Tokyo Raid on April 18, 1942.

 

On September 9, 1942, Japanese submarine E-25 came to the surface some 25 nautical miles off Branco lighthouse of Oregon shore and quickly catapulted a small seaplane piloted by Fujita. His plane was holding two 60 kg of incendiary bombs. Fujita dropped them onto the Oregon forest where fire extinguishing would be most difficult. Making sure his incendiary bombs had caught a fire, he returned to the rendezvous point on the Pacific Ocean and safely splashed his seaplane down by the waiting submarine.

Japanese submarine I-25 Source: wikipedia

After the war, Fujita was invited by the City of Brookings in 1962. As the Japanese government assured Fujita that he would not be tried as a war criminal by dropping the two bombs, he went to his former enemy country for the second time. And he gave the City of Brookings his family’s 400-year old Japanese sword in friendship. Fujita who had been a fighter pilot against the United States had at first intended to use the sword to commit seppuku (a Samurai style suicide by cutting his own belly) if he were given a hostile reception in the former enemy country.

Sword of Fujita given to Brooking, Oregon Source: Internet

On the contrary, the town people treated him with respect and affection. Impressed by his welcome by Americans, he planted a tree at the bomb site as a gesture of peace, and invited Brookings students to Japan. Later he was made an honorary citizen of Brookings several days before his death in September 1997, at the age of 85. His daughter buried some of Fujita’s ashes at the bomb site in Oregon.

“If we knew each other. If we understood each other as a friend. This foolish war would never have happened. I sincerely hope that a day would come where everyone could overcome their differences through talking and not fighting. Finally, we are friends now,” the former Imperial Japanese Navy pilot who had dropped the first and only bomb onto the American soil, wrote in his diary.

 

 

(Source: Kurata Kouich, Sapio 2018.7.8)  By Nam Sang-so/YSL Team