井の中の蛙

6/8/2013

Modern Japan in Anglophone Historical Fiction

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 5:25 pm

ASPAC 2013
Jonathan Dresner
Pittsburg State University

“But writers of fiction do not stumble onto locales or times: they choose them and they use them to serve their narrative and aesthetic ends.” — Jonathan Dresner

“…flaws typical of the genre: a carefully set but very selective milieu; characters cobbled together from cultural and psychosocial fragments; wildly unlikely encounters and inappropriate behavior. … I don’t ever use historical fiction in my teaching, and I rarely read it (especially in my own field!).” — Jonathan Dresner

Roughly Chronologically:

  • Gai-jin (James Clavell, 1993): 1862-1863
  • The Apprentice (Lewis Libby, 1996): 1903
  • The Teahouse Fire (Ellis Avery, 2006): Bakumatsu and Meiji.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden, 1997): subject born in 1920, lived until after WWII.

(more…)

1/12/2013

Japanese Counter-Insurgency: Strategy or Tactic?

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 12:44 pm

Robert Farley’s article on Japan’s WWII Counter-Insurgency planning and implementation begs the question of whether COIN, as it’s called now, was a strategy or a tactic. (Though it also illustrates something I’d like to see more of: blogging on journal articles and book chapters. Yes, I should do more of that, too.) Farley says

[retired Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) Lieutenant General Noboru] Yamaguchi suggests that elements of the Japanese Army and a variety of hybrid civil-military organizations took the problem of COIN quite seriously from a strategic point of view, appreciating that the only way to victory in China was the establishment of a self-sustaining, pro-Japanese Chinese government.

Farley goes on to cite some examples, but he also notes some of the atrocities associated with the Japanese military in China (and elsewhere), and also that resources for “hearts and minds” operations were decidedly lacking. Comfort Women are notably missing, which is too bad: it’s a fantastic example of an attempt to solve the “hearts and minds” problem that goes horribly wrong.

But what struck me about the discussion is the use of the term “strategy”, which suggests a substantial goal, guiding tactics and training. I don’t doubt that there were Japanese who saw the necessity of developing real ties with China, building relationships, any more than I doubt that some Japanese authentically believed the pan-Asianism which underlay the rhetoric of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. What I don’t believe is that Japanese military, political or economic leaders were at all serious about the GEACPS, or that pan-Asianism was more than a theoretical and rhetorical fig leaf for aggressive imperialism. And I don’t believe that “hearts and minds” COIN really rose to the level of “strategy”: military training and tactics routinely ignored priorities beyond raw domination and control. Farley’s right that resource issues and circumstances mitigated against long-term relationship-building, and our colleague Konrad Lawson has been doing fascinating work on Chinese who did develop strategic alliances with Japanese occupiers. But just as Manchukuo illustrates the hollowness of Japanese claims to support Chinese autonomy, the realities of the battlefield and occupation make it clear that winning over Chinese support was far from a serious strategic consideration.

That said, I was also struck by a comment on the article from one “John Chan”

Japan is an unapologetic war criminal; Yamaguchi’s quote is the tip of iceberg of how Japanese systematically white wash their war crimes and gloss over their atrocities.

Thru history Japanese are pirates; barbarism, deceitfulness, and brutality are their way of life. Using atrocity to overcome any resistance is their default choice of action; the conformity nature of the Japanese makes them particular wicked, they will compete in cruelty as an honour, it makes Yamaguchi’s quote about Japanese COIN theory an outright shameless lie and evidence of Japanese has no remorse about its war crimes.

This is not, as I understand it, an uncommon view of Japan from a Chinese mainland perspective. The historiographical accusation is a familiar one — Japan has a long history of denying, downplaying, ignoring, and justifying modern atrocities which is rivaled only by a few other countries1 — but the idea of wartime Japan as an authentic representation of Japan’s essential historical character is something I hadn’t seen before.2 Connecting the wako pirates (I assume that’s what he means) to WWII is an historical and cultural stretch that boggles the historical imagination. But if you’re looking at Japan solely through the lens of Chinese victimization, perhaps it’s not as much of a leap as all that.

  1. China’s official amnesia regarding the Great Leap Forward Famine and Cultural Revolution purges; America’s denial that westward expansion was imperialist and effectively genocidal; the rehabilitation of Stalin in Russian historical memory; etc. []
  2. and obviously, not something I think is historically or culturally supportable as a thesis []

9/20/2012

Senkaku Islands: New Sources, New Clarity?

NYT reporter Nick Kristof brought in a guest blogger, Han-Yi Shaw of Taiwan, to examine some new mid-Meiji documentation about Japan’s relationship with the contested Senkaku/Daiyou islands. The core of Shaw’s findings is

the Meiji government acknowledged Chinese ownership of the islands back in 1885.

After several abortive attempts to survey the islands, the Japanese government declared them incorporated Japanese territory during the Sino-Japanese war, despite recognizing that it should have been negotiated with China. As territory seized in 1895, it should have been reverted to China in 1945, but for a variety of reasons, including an administrative shift of the islands from Taiwan to Okinawa prefecture, it remained outside of negotiations until a few years later.

It’s a reasonably persuasive presentation, historically, though I don’t think that these details are going to shift Japanese nationalists, even mild or moderate ones, to support politicians who would abandon Japan’s claim to these useless rocks which sit in such valuable territory. And as long as there’s no particular cost to maintaining the claim — Chinese hostility to Japan is not predicated on this issue sufficiently that abandoning the claim would eliminate anti-Japanese sentiment as a nationalist motivational tool of the mainland regime — it seems unlikely that anything will change, except a few American lectures.

8/8/2012

Atomic Bomb Symposium at Federation of American Scientists

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 11:50 am

Atomic Bombing 50th Anniversary - Ground Zero Dome zoomThere’s almost no new historical content here, aside from some biographical ruminations. Stanley Kutler’s, reprinted at HNN, is the most historically interesting, highlighting the “all or nothing” fallacy in many debates about the use of the bombs versus other tactical options.

Milton Leitenberg’s rejoinder (right after Kutler in the alphabet, by chance) recaps the “saved Japanese lives” argument, but misses something important, as this argument always does.1 Given that the Japanese did surrender after 2 bombs and the Soviet entry into the war, on what grounds does he think that a successful conventional invasion wouldn’t have produced surrender?2

I liked this one, though.

Dr. Richard A. Frankel, government analyst for energy and the environment

My memory of the first use of atomic weapons goes back to my 7th year. At that time, I was a rather precociously educated student of science, so I was able to understand the workings of nuclear weapons and thus recognized the damage done by the Hiroshima bomb.

My political sense wasn’t as advanced, so I wasn’t, at the time, susceptible to the questioning raised then and subsequently by involved scientists and then, later, by writers like Gar Alperovits. But my sense of simple fairness was distressingly violated when, less than one week later, on my 8th birthday, another bomb was loosed on Nagasaki.

Even to a then 8-year-old child, it was clear that once was enough. There was no possible reason to justify doing it again. The arguments about having to show we had more, about convincing the Japanese military, about advancing peace negotiations simply made no sense to me then, any more than now.

There are some odd errors, which you’d think the editors would have caught. One participant says that “The Japanese barely had time to digest what happened at Alamogordo before the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.” But the Alamogordo test was secret: nobody outside of the scientists and military involved, and up the chain of command, knew about it.

All in all, not a bad collection of arguments if you want to engage students. But I’m mostly not impressed.

  1. And calling this argument “a neglected consideration” is just absurd, given that I’ve seen variations of this argument going back to about 1947 []
  2. For an interesting take on this kind of argument, see Chris Bertram on drone ethics. []

5/18/2012

Diaspora And Diplomatic Communities Memorialize Conflict

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 4:49 pm

A memorial plaque was dedicated in a park in Palisades Park, New Jersey in 2010 which reads

In Memory
of the more than 200,000
women and girls who were
abducted by the armed forces of
the government of Imperial Japan
1930′s-1945
known as “comfort women,”
they endured human rights
violations that no peoples should
leave unrecognized.
Let us never forget the horrors
of crimes against humanity.

Two things struck me about this article from the NY Times. The first is in the headline: “New Jersey Town’s Korean Monument Irritates Japanese Officials.” There have apparently been two official attempts to convince Palisades Park to remove the monument, presenting two very different approaches. The first emphasized Japan’s past apologies and attempts to stage reparations as justification for de-emphasizing the sexual servitude issue:
(more…)

4/26/2012

Real History, alternate possibilities: Nuclear Weapons Edition

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 9:38 am

Not much of a post, given the nature of my frenetic academic life these days, but Alex Wellerstein’s post at Nuclear Secrecy raises fascinating question about the WWII-ending atomic bombings: what if the Japanese hadn’t surrendered after Nagasaki?

According to the documentation he offers, a third bomb would have been ready to go in a few weeks, with the likely prospect of about three more per month after that for the remainder of 1945. Given how narrowly the decision to surrender won the day after Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Soviet entry into the war, and how elements of the military tried to forestall the surrender after the decision, it’s a much more plausible (and frightening) discussion than the “what if we hadn’t dropped the bomb” question.

(Thanks to Brett Holman for the tip. Brett’s liveblogging WWII, mostly the Blitz, but some interesting Japan material popped up today)

12/6/2011

SHAFR Roundtable on Pearl Harbor (Plus HNN Bonus Article)

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 10:44 pm

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US at Pearl Harbor, the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations has published a series of essays on the event and historical memory issues; HNN has reprinted it (with a useful index post). John Gripentrog’s “The Road to War” is a solid discussion of the political and ideological differences which put the US and Japan on a collision course. HNN’s supplemental piece, by Rupert Colley, tracks how the attack brought the US into the European conflict. And Emily Rosenberg discusses how iconic attacks like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 and their rhetorical and cultural resonances.

Those are fine, but the articles I find most interesting are the other two. Greg Robinson writes about the effect of the Pearl Harbor attack on Japanese Americans at that time and the way in which it becomes part of the rhetoric of race and bias in the decades to come.1 Finally, Yujin Yaguchi describes an intercultural teachers’ seminar which brought together Japanese and American teachers with time to explore their biases, perspectives, and to encounter new ones. The historiographical issues aren’t terribly new to academic historians, but for teachers working in a national curriculum context, it was quite enlightening.

Update: This article by Jonathan Parshall and J. Michael Wenger is the first interesting new scholarship I’ve seen on Pearl Harbor in years. Mostly it’s about the development of the Japanese aircraft carrier group as an operational unit, an unforseen shift in naval tactics.

  1. The twitter chatter as the disaster this spring unfolded frequently, shockingly, referenced Pearl Harbor with a vicious karmic glee []

8/1/2011

Feeling Like an Empire: Colonial Radicalization

What makes Louise Young’s Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism such a fascinating, troubling work is that she details the way in which the Manchurian experience, and the strategic vulnerability of the Manchurian adventure, rebound into the politics and culture of Japan itself. It reverses, in a way, the traditional narratives of colonialism which see influence flowing from the metropole to the periphery rather than the other way around. And as consciousness of Manchuria became increasingly central to Japanese political and cultural identity, Japanese politics became increasingly radical: nationalist, racialist, expansionist, militarist; in a word, imperialist. Not that Japan wasn’t an empire before that — Taiwan, Korea, Liaodong, and a large swath of the South Pacific attest to Japan’s willingness to take control of other peoples — or that the cultural elements weren’t in place. But under the influence of the ongoing crisis in Manchuria, a crisis experienced by many who travelled there, worked there, and seen and heard through music, movies and other outlets, liberal alternatives like internationalism became unpalatable, even unacceptable. If you’re tied to the usual nation-bound histories of culture and politics, and the one-way influence of the standard metropole-periphery model, this is a paradigm-shifting piece of scholarship. As Albert Szent-Gyorgyi said, “Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.”

I thought of Young’s work when I read this NYT profile of David Yerushalmi, one of the architects and driving forces behind the anti-Shariah movement in the United States. Yerushalmi’s radically political and hostile view of Islam have become common-place opinions in certain segments of the US political spectrum — primarily Republican, Tea Party, Buchananite Isolationist, Dominionist and similar groups — and have been put into legislative form in Oklahoma, as well as as other states. Especially in the context of US involvement in the Middle East, the specific focus of the xenophobia against the very kinds of people who are the target of US policy, the anxiety about subversion by global networks of muslims based on the statements and actions of a radicalized few, really does remind me of the Japanese turn in the 1920s and 1930s against communism, socialism and anarchism, against the Korean and Chinese activists, and their Japanese allies, who were the strongest proponents of those theories.

What really fascinated me about the profile, though, was Yerushalmi’s background. Or rather, a combination of his background and the way in which the article glided over the interesting bits.

His interest in Islamic law began with the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, when he was living in Ma’ale Adumim, a large Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

At the time, Mr. Yerushalmi, a native of South Florida, divided his energies between a commercial litigation practice in the United States and a conservative research institute based in Jerusalem, where he worked to promote free-market reform in Israel.

After moving to Brooklyn the following year, Mr. Yerushalmi said he began studying Arabic and Shariah under two Islamic scholars, whom he declined to name.

He is an American Hasidic Jew — literally the third thing we learn about him after his name and age — and lawyer, hostile to the secular socialist roots of Israel1 who suddenly became troubled by the nature of Islam after the 9/11 attacks.

Maybe. But I don’t think that it’s coincidental that Yerushalmi was an American living in Israel — a state often described as an agent of American power in the Middle East2 and in particular living in an areas which is easily (and I think fairly) described as an Israeli colonial territory. I think it’s more likely that the experience of living in occupied territory radicalized him, hardened his views on Islam. He was engaged in a struggle at the frontier of civilization, in his own mind, when members of a group he already percieved as the enemy struck at his homeland, to which he returned to share his hard-won perspective on the issues. And because of the shock of that attack, compounded by the ongoing challenge of war overseas and economic troubles, he found people receptive to his message of a subversive force at work in the world, an existential conflict.

Being an empire means having peripheries, and those peripheries are going to have troubles, in no small part because of their relationship with the metropole. But mistaking the tensions of the periphery for an existential crisis is the kind of lack of perspective which signals weak leadership, a distorted public sphere, and a high probability of escalating sunken cost fallacies driving policy.

  1. Note that the “conservative research institute” isn’t named, begging the question of whose definition of “conservative” the reporter is using in this description. []
  2. though I think “stalking horse” or “scapegoat” might be more precise []

2/9/2011

The Hicswa Court-martial: a Double Murder in Nara, 1945

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 2:07 pm

The US occupation of Japan after World War II was not, relatively speaking, a violent one and though the behavior of occupation troops in Japan did lead to many complaints, there is also a surprising amount of praise for them in various Japanese sources I have come across. They certainly did not live up to the propaganda images of savage American beasts that were expected to arrive in Japan after surrender.

There were, however, many cases of violence, including killings and rape.1 Censorship of the press beginning in September makes any count of these cases difficult to make. Terese Svoboda, in her book Black Glasses Like Clark Kent recounts in great detail her own difficulties in finding US national archival material related to various courts-martial from the occupation period.2

Some records can be found online though, if your library or university subscribes to the digital collections of the Law Library Microform Collection. Also, individual volumes of the Judge Advocate General’s Department Board of Review Holdings, Opinions and Reviews can be searched and purchased directly from Google Books.3

Many of these cases give us an interesting perspective on relations between US troops and the nations they occupy. One interesting case is the November, 1945 murder of two Japanese civilians in Nara. An American soldier, Private First Class Joseph E. Hicswa was accused of the murder and court-martialed in early January, 1946. Hicswa was convicted of stabbing the victims to death with a bayonet and sentenced to death “with musketry.”

I have uploaded the 24 page review of the trial and the appeal to the president for commutation of the sentence to the Frog in a Well Library:

Joseph E. Hicswa General Court Martial – Opinion of the Board of Review – Murder Trial 1946.1.8-11

His two companions report that, on the evening of the murders, Hicswa had jumped and beaten two random Japanese civilians they came across in Nara park, but claim they did not see him armed with a weapon at the time. They did not contest the fact that the approximate points where the assaults took place correspond to where the bodies of the two victims were found. They also reported that, as he walked away from his first victim, Hicswa said something along the lines of, “There is one Jap who will never walk or talk again.”4 Later, Hicswa’s bloodied clothes and a bayonet were found in a latrine pipe. The Private admitted the clothes were his, but refused to answer whether or not it was his own bayonet.5

Though barely remembered today, at the time, this case was given considerable media coverage in the US.6 The town of Wallington, NJ, population 8,946, mobilized to defend their 20 year old local boy.7 The mayor called a mass meeting on January 14, 1946 and a resolution was passed and sent to President Truman demanding clemency. 1,500 students reportedly gathered at his old high school and the principal also passed a resolution calling for the same.8 US senator Albert Hawkes became the leading politician to lead calls for a retrial. Hicswa received more sympathy when it was reported he had denied the killings in a letter to his girlfriend, saying that, while he fought with some Japanese, he had had not used a knife, “I was planning to be home Christmas to surprise you but I guess I’ll have to wait about twenty or thirty years…”9 Despite his death sentence, it appears he was already confident of a less lethal sentence. The Mayor reported he received word from the public officials of ten states they they had promised to seek the help of Congress and the War Department. Some 600 letters had been received as well as a telegram on behalf of the 45,000 New Jersey Legionnaires, all by January 17th, the mayor claimed.10

MacArthur, who ran the occupation in Japan, announced on January 18th that he would review the sentence and the acting Secretary of War Kenneth C. Royall said the case would be subject to final review in Washington D.C.11 Hicswa’s mother wrote an eloquent letter to the supreme commander, saying that her son “was torn away from his home to serve his country at the age of 18, taught to kill, had heard of many of his friends being killed, and was under the emotional strain of a delayed homecoming—all factors to which might be attributed, to some extent, the cause for such abnormal conduct as is alleged in this case.” MacArthur replied to the letter, saying that he was “moved” but that the case was out of his hands.12 Shortly after, his headquarters announced that no letters received about the case from Japanese civilians had asked for the death sentence, and a letter from “citizens of Nara Prefecture” had asked for him to be free and claimed the two victims were “no good.” One letter, it was claimed, said Hicswa should be acquitted “because the Japanese people are all guilty for disturbing the world’s peace.”13 Time wrote a sympathetic case history about the tragic “chubby-cheeked” private and Newsweek also covered the case.14

In March, Hicswa escaped from the Yokohama Army stockade but was caught less than an hour later.15 Terese Svoboda’s uncle said Hicswa was in the stockade where he served as a guard, in Tokyo, and after his escape, Stars and Stripes reported he was found in a local brothel.16 Svoboda’s uncle claimed he was asked to take the blame for the escape and plead guilty to neglect of duty.17

In May, Thomas H. Green, Major General, Judge Advocate General issued a recommendation to president Truman that Hicswa’s death sentence be commuted to 30 years of hard labor, which was apparently acted upon by President Truman. Green’s reasoning went as follows:

While the two murders committed by the accused were brutal, unprovoked and unjustified, and from a legal viewpoint were premeditated, there is nothing in the record to indicate that when accused left his quarters with two companions, on the evening preceding his departure for home, he had actually planned to take the life of two Japanese civilians of any one or to commit any other crime. The unexpected appearance of two Japanese civilians, one of whom he chased, overtook and killed, seems to have brought into existence or to have unloosed a sudden desire to kill, probably aggravated by his indulgence in strong liquor during the afternoon and early evening, a desire which seemingly persisted uncontrolled until the commission of the second homicide or was recreated when he undesignedly came in contact with the Japanese civilian who became his second victim.18

Before Hicswa was returned to the US to begin his sentence at McNeill Island, Washington, he swallowed two nails in an alleged attempt at suicide and was admitted to an Army hospital, from which he escaped.19 About a week later, he was again recaptured when found without pass or dogtags in the 8th Army headquarters area.20

What do we make of this case? Even with the court documents and the press that followed, there is not much to go on when it comes to Hicswa’s motivations. We might be tempted to say that he was driven to a murderous rage by the horrors he witnessed on the battlefield during the Pacific war. However, Hicswa first enlisted in 1943 and had no record of combat service during the war. He was assigned to Headquarters Battery for Division Artillery, 98th Infantry Division where he served as a radio operator and later as a bugler.21 In fact, he may be an example of the kind of case I have seen mentioned in many wars: soldiers who had yearned to participate in the action and kill some Japanese, only to have the war end without ever having been given the opportunity for such glory. Scheduled to return to the US the following day, did Hicswa want to make sure he could claim at least a few enemy kills from the war?

A more mundane explanation may be to link Hicswa’s drunken violence to a pattern of violence in his own family. In 1947 his father was arrested in Wallington, NJ for assault and battery. He attacked two police officers who went to his home in response to a complaint by his wife that he had become violent while drunk. After arrest, he attempted suicide.22 However, I find nothing to contradict another possibility, especially given the attempted suicide: that his father developed such behavior in the aftermath of the horrible shock of their son’s conviction for a double murder.

From the perspective of US-Japan relations though, are other points that are worthy of note. Though perhaps unsurprising for a country emerging from a “war without mercy,” completely absent from any of the US media coverage was any sympathy shown for the two Japanese civilians who were stabbed to death. Indeed, the announcement put out by MacArthur shortly after the movement for clemency gets underway goes out of its way to malign the victims through quotations from anonymous letters, as I have noted. The only place I have found their names mentioned, were in the board review opinion where the private was accused of having “with malice, aforethought, willfully, deliberately, feloniously, unlawfully, and with premeditation kill” SUGITA Yasuichi and NISHIMOTO Choji, “a human being by stabbing him with a sharp instrument.” Though I suspect this declaration of the humanity of the Japanese victims is standard legal language, it is comforting to see the Americans acknowledging it. Only a few days earlier, Japan’s emperor was busy declaring his own humanity to the people.

In the board review opinion, there is nothing mentioned about any report of a Japanese witness mentioned who escaped the first attack and called the police. Was his testimony even taken? Interestingly, a Japanese physician, KUBAI Nagamichi performed the autopsy and a Nara city lawyer and judge TAKEDA Seiko was permitted to investigate the crimes. However, a US Captain Jerome Schwartz, who was called in to examine the bodies, only made a superficial examination since because, he said, he had “no interest in the dead Jap.”23

Despite the reputation of militaries everywhere of guarding their own forces when accused of crimes against civilians, it is admirable that the sentence Hicswa was ultimately given in that first year after Japanese surrender was so long, especially in the face of huge public and political pressure for his release in the US.

In the end, though, the most interest part missing from this story is the Japanese side. Did anything get reported on this in Nara at the time? Did rumors spread? Did Kubai and Takeda leave any writings behind about their involvement in the case? Did the families of Sugita and Nishimoto take any action? What actions were taken at the government level between the US and Japan to handle the fallout from the case?

Any readers here know more?

UPDATE: In the comments Nakanoshima points to a 2008 speech in Congress by 8th District Congressman Bill Pascrell honoring WWII vet Hicswa as a “a proud American, willing to do whatever was needed to defend and protect the freedoms and liberties that make this country so grand” and makes no mention of his conviction for two murders. I haven’t contacted Pascrell and it is possible he didn’t know about this fact, but given the huge support for Hicswa in his local community, it would not be surprising if he was aware of the details of the case. If it is the same Hicswa, he has surely long since served his time for the crime, but to be honored in Congress is, at the very least, awkward.

  1. See Eiji Takemae, The Allied Occupation of Japan (New York: Continuum, 2003), 67, and Terese Svoboda, “U.S. Courts-Martial in Occupation Japan: Rape, Race, and Censorship,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 21-1-09, May 23, 2009. []
  2. Terese Svoboda, Black Glasses Like Clark Kent: A GI’s Secret from Postwar Japan (Saint Paul, Minn: Graywolf Press, 2008). []
  3. Since these are US government documents, they cannot be copyrighted and if you find such claims being made of scanned versions of them, you can and should ignore them as spurious. Keep in mind that you may be bound by terms of license agreements you enter into when you access online archives containing such documents – a devious way online collections now get around the whole copyright issue altogether. []
  4. Opinion of the Board of Review, War Department, Army Service Forces, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 98th Infantry Division Trial by G. C.M. of Private First Class Joseph E. Hicswa 171 (5). []
  5. ibid., 179 (13). []
  6. Does anyone know if there was any mention at all in the censored Japanese press of this case? Or of Japanese historians who have looked into it? []
  7. “Home town tries to save soldier condemned for killing Japanese” New York Times 1946.1.15, 15. []
  8. Doesn’t that seem like a lot of high school students for a population of around 9,000 plus surrounding villages? []
  9. “Murder in Japan denied by Soldier” New York Times 1946.1.17, 16 []
  10. “Move for Hicswa Grows” New York Times 1946.1.18, 5. See also this photograph of the Hicswa family under a “Welcome Home” sign. Getty Image 99s/36/HUTY/13630/43 #3137252. []
  11. “M’Arthur to review GI’s death sentence” New York Times 1946.1.19, 6. “Review for Hicswa Case” New York Times 1946.1.24, 4. []
  12. “M’Arthur writes to Hicswa’s mother” New York Times 1946.1.30, 4 []
  13. “Japanese plead for GI” New York Times 1946.2.1, 2 []
  14. “The Press: Case History” Time 1946.1.28. Also somewhere in the Newsweek 1946.1.28 issue, with a report on the commutation of sentence in May. []
  15. “Hickswa escapes, caught” New York Times 1946.3.4, 10. []
  16. All references I find to Hicswa during his imprisonment is in Yokohama, not in Tokyo. []
  17. Svoboda ibid., 82-84. She also writes that pressure from Hicswa’s mother’s had forced an inspection of the stockade, resulting in more lax security. []
  18. See the uploaded document above, 189 (23). See also “Hicswa Sentence is cut to 30 years” New York Times 1946.5.8, 10. []
  19. New York Times 1946.9.21, 6. []
  20. “Hicswa recaptured by army in Japan” New York Times 1946.9.29, 53. Despite his two escapes, in 1952, his prison term was cut to 25 years. “G.I.’s sentence cut to 21 years” New York Times 1952.3.18, 9. []
  21. See the uploaded file linked above, 187 (21). []
  22. “Hicswa Sr. is Seized” New York Times 1947.7.30, 23 []
  23. 174 (8) []

12/17/2010

When desperate to stabilize the currency

Filed under: — sayaka @ 9:06 am

I encountered these pages when I was flipping through a thick, unsorted bunch of materials regarding the industrial campaigns that the youth associations conducted in the immediate postwar period. Apparently this is a song promoted by the headquarters for the currency stabilization (通貨安定対策本部).  You can tell how desperate they were to persuade people to make savings in banks during the flaring inflation. The lyrics go (sorry for the rough translation):

What does that girl wait for at the counter of the bank? What are the bundles of bills that flow out every day doing? With whom are they now? Why are they coming home so late?

Bank Girl is alone, worried.

What does that girl look at during the lunch break? The bundles of cash that flooded into the city raise the price of what she wants. A shadow is cast over the shop window.

Bank Girl is alone and sad.

What does that girl do at the counter? The more cash flows out, the deeper the value goes down. Why do you not deposit that cash? The calculation does not make sense.

Bank Girl is alone, concerned.

Who does she wait for at the counter? The gentleman who always comes to deposit money. He is truly reliable — I wonder if he is single. I would love to see his bank statement.

Bank Girl is alone, longing for him.

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