I picked up the Morning Edition of The Asashi Shimbun newspaper on August 15, the 71st anniversary of the end of World War II, while thinking, “I wonder what Asahi will have to say today?” The content of the Vox Populi column was as I expected, yet I was still astounded. It began with the sentence, “This is certainly not an anti-war article; rather, it extols the heroism of the soldiers.” It ended with the story of an old man, a former army mechanic who worked on the airplanes of the Special Attack Unit (known in English as the “kamikaze”). He visited Masayasu Hosaka, the author of this piece. It read:
“We army mechanics took them in our arms and helped them into their planes.” (Between War and Natural Disaster)
Up until now I have read the last letters at Yasukuni Shrine of many kamikaze pilots who gave their lives. I have also listened to former kamikaze pilots who survived, and viewed films and plays about the Special Attack Unit, including The Eternal Zero. However, I have never seen such a horrible description of them before – I feel it desecrates the heroes who gave their lives for Japan. If the army mechanics had to put the kamikaze pilots into the airplanes, would they have been able to operate the planes and fly away? And if so, why didn’t they escape somewhere? Is there any proof to this claim that most of these pilots were in a stupor, with just a few that spoke fine words? It should be clearly stated just who this army mechanic is and what troops he was talking about. This ambiguous article by The Asahi Shimbun is disrespectful to the bereaved families of the kamikaze pilots.
When Japan was deciding whether or not to open hostilities, Admiral of the Fleet Osami Nagano stated, “If we do not fight, the country will be ruined. If we do fight, the country will be ruined. Yet if we do not fight and the country is ruined, our ethnic group will be forever ruined body and soul. If we fight to seek for a way out of this desperate situation in order to defend our country – even if we are not victorious – as long as the Japanese spirit of protecting our nation remains, our descendants will certainly recover.” I believe that precisely expresses what was in the hearts of the kamikaze pilots. After the war, few people have talked about how these pilots contributed to military gains. They damaged a huge number of warships and inspired fear among many American soldiers, which made them hesitant to engage in landing operations. I think the pilots believed that if Japan had been defeated without fighting, it would have been an eternal defeat. I feel these men willingly sacrificed their lives because they believed that doing so was essential to Japan’s resurrection.
I received a copy of Cherry Blossoms in the Wind, which was compiled by the Gekkan Nippon Editorial Department (Masakuni Murakami was the head of the Compilation Committee). This book includes documents, such as the last letters of officers and men from World War II, together with English translations and beautiful photographs of Japanese scenery. Sohachi Yamaoka, a member of the Navy Information Department, asked Japanese Navy Major Takamitsu Nishida, a kamikaze pilot who died at the age of 22, about his current mental state. Nishida replied:
Japanese Army Captain Ryoji Uehara, another kamikaze pilot who died at the age of 22, wrote as follows in his last letter:
I was chosen to become a member of Special Attack Unit, which represents our glorious homeland of Japan. I keenly feel that there is no greater honor than this.
I no longer feel the ambition to make my beloved homeland of Japan into a major power like the former British Empire. I believe that, if the leaders of Japan truly loved their country, it would not be in the position it is today. My ideal that I dreamed of is for Japanese people to be able to go anywhere in the world with a sense of pride.
This letter by a young man of 22 indicates the high level of Japanese people at that time. I recommend that the author of The Asahi Shimbun’s Vox Populi column read this book.
I started my business 45 years ago with custom-built housing. I then expanded the scope of my work into residential land development, rental condominiums, condominiums, hotels, and comprehensive urban development. Today my main focus is the hotel business. The East Wing of the 50-story APA Hotel & Resort Tokyo Bay Makuhari will be completed in October of this year, bringing the total number of guest rooms to 2,001. We are currently designing APA Hotel & Resort Yokohama Bay Tower, which will be opened in Yokohama in 2019. It will have 2,400 guest rooms, making it one of the largest hotels in Japan. In July we acquired a corporation with 39 hotels and 4,828 rooms in Canada and the United States, with a target closing date of September 6. APA Hotel Woodbridge in New Jersey had its soft opening in November 2015 and grand opening on June 20, 2016. It is a franchised hotel that is a re-branded Hilton Hotel and marks APA Hotel’s first expansion into an overseas market. Our recent acquisition brought APA Hotel’s number of hotels to 40 in North America, with a total of 5,028 rooms. Now, our hotel chain has a presence from the East to the West Coast of the U.S.
This is the 307th issue of Apple Town magazine, which I have been publishing for the past 25 years. It includes the 303rd Big Talk, an interview with Minister for Reconstruction Masahiro Imamura, and my 289th essay. For American APA Hotels, the contracts include the requirement that copies of Apple Town be placed in all rooms. That is why the main articles in Apple Town – Big Talk, my essays, and Wine Tasting and Discussion About Japan articles – are now printed in English as well. The APA Hotel network currently has 413 hotels with 66,926 rooms inside and outside Japan, including hotels under design and construction.
Up until now, I have provided copies of Apple Town at no cost to all National Diet members, embassies in Japan, friends, and acquaintances (excluding those who declined). I have also sold some copies through bookshops. I started the “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest in 2008. The winner of the first Grand Prize (Fuji Seiji Prize) was Toshio Tamogami, then chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, who is currently being unjustly detained for the issue of illegal campaign payments. He was dismissed from his position, causing a great uproar that inspired a trend of growing conservatism in Japan. This year is the ninth annual contest, and the quality of the submitted essays has increased each year. I also founded the Shoheijuku school in 2011. In August the 63rd monthly meeting was held in Tokyo, the 45th in Osaka, and the 52nd in Kanazawa, for a total of 160 meetings. The number of students exceeds 11,000. The speeches from the monthly meetings are posted on YouTube. In this way, my activities have contributed to growing conservatism in society. However, information strategies in the fields of speech, history, and ideologies are fierce, and many people in other countries believe that Japan massacred 300,000 people in Nanking and forcibly transported 20,000 Korean comfort women.
On August 15, the top of the Sankei Shimbun Morning Edition’s front page contained an article about the incident in which a total of nine Dutch people (including a Catholic bishop) were killed in Zhengding, Heibei, China in 1937. It repeated the groundless theory that the Japanese Army perpetrated this killing. It said the Japanese Army killed these men because they were protecting Chinese women from being forced into military prostitution, but contemporary letters from people in related countries made no mention of this at all. The Japanese Army had very strict military discipline; a soldier who killed even one nonresistant civilian, let alone a woman or child, was court martialed and given the death penalty. What this article describes simply could not have happened, yet the Japanese left-wing and anti-Japanese Japanese people have long brought up such falsehoods at the United Nations and in foreign countries, and also help install comfort woman statues in other countries. That is why many people across the world believe in these fabrications, and Japan’s sense of pride has been lost. The conservative faction is also responsible for this because it has shared little English information in the past. One reason I decided to expand APA Hotels in Canada and the U.S. is because I wanted to convey my conservative way of thinking, in the English language, throughout the English-speaking world via Apple Town.
I published Theoretical Modern History: The Real History of Japan in June of last year. In this book, I assert that the 1928 Huanggutun Incident, which is regarded as the beginning of Japan’s invasion of China, was not the work of Colonel Daisaku Komoto as the prevailing view claims. If the bomb had been placed as Komoto described in his testimony, the side of the railroad car would have been destroyed, and the car would have been derailed. This is contrary to existing photographs of the bombing, showing the wreckage of the car with a destroyed ceiling. Having a correct historical viewpoint means being able to explain an event, with no inconsistencies, based on actual photographs and other facts, rather than just swallowing the commonly accepted theory.
There are records stating that the population of Nanking was 200,000 people before the Japanese Army entered the city, and then grew to 250,000 one month later. Therefore, the Nanking Massacre story – which says 300,000 people were slaughtered – cannot be true. I suspect that the Japanese Army arrested and executed some members of the defeated Kuomintang army, who broke into private houses; massacred citizens; stole clothes, money, and goods; and exchanged their uniforms for ordinary clothes as a means of escape. Besides, there was absolutely no reason for the Japanese Army, which had successfully captured Nanking, to slaughter civilians. If such a massacre had taken place, there should be photographs and records of the names of the victims, but no such materials exist. Professor Zhu Xueqin of Shanghai University recognizes that there is not one person on a list of the victims. Other incidents are concealed in the shadows of the fabricated Nanking Massacre. These include the Tungchow Mutiny, a grotesque massacre of 223 Japanese residents by the Chinese. Another is the assassination of Captain Takeo Oyama.
Another major historical falsehood is the comfort women story. In 1944, the U.S. Forces questioned Korean comfort women in Burma. The record of this questioning contains testimony by these women stating that they received large amounts of money, enjoyed sports events and picnics with the Japanese soldiers, and also attended concerts with them. The conclusion was that these women were simply wartime prostitutes who were following the army. There are also records of advertisements soliciting military prostitutes at high wages. The claim that these women were forcibly transported is a historical falsehood, yet it is talked about and spread around as truth by The Asahi Shimbun and anti-Japanese Japanese people. It is certainly true that the enemy of the Japanese people is the Japanese people. I have had some degree of business success, and I believe it is my duty to reveal these hoaxes and share the truth in the North America area through the expansion of APA Hotels and by having many people read this magazine, Apple Town.
The American presidential election is approaching this November. The approval rating of Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, is suddenly losing momentum due to his extreme statements that have not slowed down even after gaining the official candidacy. To summarize the August 14 report by Jiji Press, Trump thrice asked a foreign policy expert why the U.S. cannot use its nuclear weapons:
It also said, “The U.S. secretary of the air force announced her concern regarding the ‘no-first-use’ policy that is currently being considered by President Barack Obama.” I am also entirely against this.
To make a pragmatic forecast, in this circumstance I think the army and Congress would put up strong opposition to Japan having nuclear weapons and the U.S. Forces being withdrawn from Okinawa, no matter how much Trump wished for these things, to maintain hegemony in the Pacific Ocean. However, Japan should have a more long-range view. It should amend the constitution to become a truly independent nation and gain offensive weapons as deterrence in readiness to ensure a balance of power in East Asia, where the American military is being withdrawn. And to maintain balance against the expanding China, Japan should join the nuclear sharing arrangement as a way to possess nuclear arms that the U.S. may just barely approve. The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty must be made into a bilateral agreement like the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of the past. In this way, I suspect the American public opinion – which is turning towards isolationism – would approve of Japan taking over the American position in East Asia.
The American yoke is actually becoming more relaxed. I have long asserted that Trump should pick a running mate who has a different character and can gain the support of the main Republican faction – a woman who is young and wise like Nikki Haley, the female governor of South Carolina, or Sarah Palin, the female governor of Alaska.
However, on July 16 the Morning Edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported as follows on Mike Pence, Trump’s choice: “Pence was a member of the House of Representatives for six terms from 2001, totaling 12 years. He became the governor of Indiana in 2013. He is known as a conservative controversialist. Like Trump, he also has an unyielding stance on immigration policy. He has strong ties with the main Republican faction, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Trump, who is not a member of Congress, hopes Pence will play a coordinating role in the party.”
In the presidential election, Trump’s inability to gain votes from minority groups such as female, Hispanic, and black Americans is seen as a shortcoming. Pence is a white man – the group of Trump’s base support – as well as a conservative Christian. Almost no one predicts that he will help earn Trump votes. Indiana has long been a red state with a strong Republican presence, not a location in which Trump will fight a fierce battle. Trump announced his choice of Pence before the GOP Convention after he was turned down by a series of other candidates he wanted, until only Pence was left.
Trump, who was unable to choose his preferred vice president, now needs accomplished and intelligent people in his camp more than anything else. The next battle will be a fight between organizations: the Republican Party versus the Democratic Party. He was chosen as the Republican candidate through his strategy of gaining support from many non-elite citizens with little education, but I am sure he sees that he will not be able to win simply as an extension of this.
The Trump camp announced that it had designated Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of the conservative news website Breitbart News, as the campaign’s chief executive officer. They resumed TV commercials, which they had been abstaining from. In his August 18 speech in North Carolina, Trump said he “regretted” his past statements. He showed his remorse while reading prepared remarks from a prompter, saying, “Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing.” He has switched to a strategy of fully joining forces with the main Republican Party faction and solidifying party unity to wrest the government from the Democrats.
However, this showdown will be decided by the televised debates. In the 1960 debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Kennedy looked good on TV because he was well rested and carefully made up. As a result, he overturned the rumors and was elected president. In the same way, I think Trump’s victory will be decided by whether he can gain the upper hand over Hillary Clinton in the televised debates.
An American friend told me that, even though Trump’s approval rating is falling, Clinton’s approval rating isn’t very high either. It is certainly true that more and more people don’t want to vote for either. But if the pro-Chinese Democratic Party is in power, I doubt Japan will be allowed to gain nuclear arms or join the nuclear sharing arrangement. In contrast, Trump’s presidency would be a chance for Japan to become a truly independent nation. As he says, we must change the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty into an equal one of mutual benefit. Japan must also acquire offensive weapons based on advanced science and technology and gain nuclear deterrence by joining the nuclear sharing arrangement with the U.S. Today it would be unthinkable for Japan to become a militarist nation, invade another nation, or the like. Japan is surrounded by the nuclear states of China, Russia, and North America, and is standing off against China, whose ambitions are being exposed in the realm of maritime interests. That is why we must enhance our military to achieve a balance of power. The Soviet Union collapsed after 73 years, and now that 71 years have passed since the end of World War II, I feel that Trump’s presidency would be a type of shock therapy for Japan that inspires it to enact an independent constitution and start enhancing its military strength. I hope that Trump will be able to regain his momentum.
August 19 (Friday), 2016 6:00 p.m.