Four-day Japanese-American Pilgrimage – The Internment Camps of World War II

Under a cloud-filled sky, the Japanese-American pilgrims sat on folding chairs facing a vast, flat and dusty landscape whose monotony was broken only by two oddly shaped mountains that rose to the east and west. For the souls of the hundreds buried in a long-vanished cemetery here, a Buddhist minister offered prayers and rang a bell, though its invocation was almost lost as a propeller plane took off from a nearby airfield.

Nearly 400 Japanese-Americans journeyed from June 30 to July 3 to this remote corner of California, where 18,789 people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II. The turnout was one of the highest ever for the four-day pilgrimage, which occurs every other year around the Fourth of July, organizers said. They surmise that as the number of the camp’s survivors dwindles, there is a growing urgency to understand — and reinterpret — what has been a hidden subchapter in America’s history.

Read the rest of the story: Japanese-American Pilgrimage to Internment Camp — Tulelake Journal.

Why did Japan surrender?

For nearly seven decades, the American public has accepted one version of the events that led to Japan’s surrender. By the middle of 1945, the war in Europe was over, and it was clear that the Japanese could hold no reasonable hope of victory. After years of grueling battle, fighting island to island across the Pacific, Japan’s Navy and Air Force were all but destroyed. The production of materiel was faltering, completely overmatched by American industry, and the Japanese people were starving. A full-scale invasion of Japan itself would mean hundreds of thousands of dead GIs, and, still, the Japanese leadership refused to surrender.

But in early August 66 years ago, America unveiled a terrifying new weapon, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a matter of days, the Japanese submitted, bringing the fighting, finally, to a close.

On Aug. 6, the United States marks the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing’s mixed legacy. The leader of our democracy purposefully executed civilians on a mass scale. Yet the bombing also ended the deadliest conflict in human history.

Read the rest of the story: Why did Japan surrender?.

Imperial Japanese Army research institute opened as museum – Displays top secret devices of World War II

An Imperial Japanese Army research institute that developed poison gases, balloon bombs and other top secret devices during World War II opens as a museum Wednesday.

Among the 800 exhibits at Meiji University’s Noborito museum for peace education in Kawasaki’s Tama Ward are cylindrical filters designed to purify air during a germ warfare attack and pictures that encoded messages in the form of tiny dots.

The fabric of the museum’s one-story 360-square-meter concrete building has been left largely untouched since the war.

It was part of a complex of buildings, originally opened in 1937. The clandestine army research institute employed about 1,000 people at its height.

The full range of the institute’s activities during the war is still unclear, due to the secrecy that surrounded it. But it seems to have been involved in a wide range of top secret operations, according to former workers.

It is the first former Imperial Army research facility to be made into a museum.

For more about the museum visit: Secret World War II research center reopens as a museum

Opening hours are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

For further details, telephone 044-934-7993.