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  #81  
Old 12-20-2018, 06:08 AM
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Thanks, Prisma.

Most interesting.

Well, prior to WWII and during WWII, many mainland Japanese did not see Okinawans as true full-blooded Japanese. (there was a similar sentiment to Japanese living on say Saipan.) They were more soft, less reliable and certainly less unflinching in their duty to Japan and the Emperor.
When the American occupation of mainland Japan was eventually lifted and reduced to military bases, there was a call in Japan, pretty much across the political spectrum, for USA also to lift it's occupation of Okinawa.
Okinawa did get autonomy based on mainland Japanese legislation - albeit subservient to an American veto.

From Okinawa the US can quickly deploy to and control most of the Chinese Sea. And the island being semi-occupied means there were not that many local political considerations to take into account. In other words: It would be politically easier to bomb and blockade Chinese coastal cities from Okinawa than from mainland Japan.

The continued American presence on Okinawa has been a thorn in the side of the Japanese.
I can't say to what extent sexual attacks occurred, but there were such attacks and at least some of them were atrocious enough to be politically useful. One such attack, a girl aged eleven or twelve, who was gang-raped, caused a massive outrage in Japan back in the 80's! And it was a serious strain on the US-Japanese relationship.

That the Emperor back in 1947 requested USA to continue occupying Okinawa is hardly a surprise. The Japanese government back then didn't have a choice.
That was an American wish, the Japanese government could not refuse to request... - To be graciously accepted by the American government.
Hence the letter from the Emperor.

Even today the legislation on Okinawa differs in a number of details from the main Japanese legislation.
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  #82  
Old 01-03-2019, 02:05 PM
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The general public visits for New Year greeting and Emperor's birthday started in 1948.

Initially, visitors signed guest books on January 1 and 2 with Emperor Showa (Hirohito) observing from the roof of the IHA building. Then the celebration moved to a government building balcony and special stands before settling in the current format at the Imperial Palace's balcony since January 1969.

Heisei era's general public greeting has been held annually since 1991. 1990 was cancelled due to mourning for Emperor Showa. CP Masako's first appearance in 1994 saw an increase to 111,700 visitors.

Source: Mainichi

Number of visitors for general public New Year Greeting at the bottom of New Year's Greetings - The Imperial Household Agency
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  #84  
Old 01-25-2019, 05:23 PM
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Imperial Guard members show determination in Tokyo parade:The Asahi Shimbun (includes photos)
Quote:
About 250 Imperial Guard Headquarters members paraded solemnly through central Tokyo on Jan. 25 with unwavering determination ahead of the upcoming historical events in accordance with Emperor Akihito’s abdication of the throne.

The members of the Imperial Guard Headquarters, dedicated to the protection of the emperor and his family, marched in perfect unison with 12 guard horses and three guard dogs during an annual parade through Higashi Gyoen (east garden of the Imperial Palace) to mark the beginning of the year.

[...]
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  #85  
Old 01-25-2019, 09:43 PM
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That looks like an amazing exhibit. What time period are the clothing and crowns from, Prisma?
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  #86  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:34 AM
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Some clothes are reproductions from Empress Kōken (aka Empress Shōtoku) who reigned 749 - 758. One crown style refers to Empress Go-Sakuramachi in the Edo period (1603 – 1868)
Source: Sankei

There's a festival / re-enactment with the clothes January 26-27. The attendants' costumes especially remind me of China's Tang Dynasty (618–907) clothing.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DxzvnxoU0AEkaCF.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dxz2vr2UwAAPWMG.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dxz2vr3V4AArwHq.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dxz2vr2UUAAfxA9.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DxzqNKiUYAIIFNJ.jpg

https://twitter.com/tokikogin2/statu...78093060976642
https://twitter.com/tokikogin2/statu...58710436446209
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  #87  
Old 01-26-2019, 06:31 AM
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Interesting.
I wonder if the reenactors will blacken their teeth as courtiers did prior to and during the Edo period.
I have no idea why though.
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  #88  
Old 01-28-2019, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Interesting.
I wonder if the reenactors will blacken their teeth as courtiers did prior to and during the Edo period.
I have no idea why though.
A very good question! No smiles in evidence, so I suppose we'll have to wonder.

I see some interesting parallels in the style of these ancient garments and the development of the Korean clothing during the Goryeo period. I would have loved to see this exhibit, so thanks for posting Prisma!

Edited to add: And I agree with the similarities to the Tang dynasty clothing. There must have been a lot of cross-cultural contact during this time period.
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  #89  
Old 01-29-2019, 03:40 AM
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I recall reading somewhere blackened teeth was considered beautiful and a mark of adulthood. In addition, white faces were desired but the rice powder makeup made teeth look yellow so teeth were blackened.
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  #90  
Old 02-02-2019, 11:37 PM
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Rare screens of Edo Period enthronement on show in Kyoto: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
A pair of treasured "byobu" folding screens from the Edo Period (1603-1867), one of which depicts the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Reigen, are being displayed for the first time at the Kyoto National Museum here.

[...]

The right panel, which is about 1 meter high and extends about 3 meters, features Emperor Reigen, who sat on the throne from 1663 to 1687.

The left panel features Emperor Gosai, who held the position from 1654 to 1663. He is depicted attending the abdication ceremony.

The panels were both drawn by Kano Eino (1631-1697).

They are considered priceless as the face of Emperor Reigen is clearly visible. It is rare for the face of an emperor to be depicted so vividly.

[...]
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  #91  
Old 03-20-2019, 02:09 AM
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Former Prince Nobuhiko Higashikuni died on March 20 at age 74. He was the eldest child of former Princess Shigeko, Emperor Hirohito's eldest daughter. The Ōke Imperial branches and nobility were abolished in 1947.

Nobuhiko Higashikuni graduated from Keio University, worked for Mitsui Bank, served as managing director of the Japan-Thailand Association, and was honorary president of the All Japan Baseball Conference. Other positions included honorary adviser of the Japan-US Friendship Bridge Executive Committee, honorary chairman of the Society "Togo Association" and honorary president of the Association to Protect Japanese Tradition.

Source: Kyodo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobuhiko_Higashikuni
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  #92  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:12 AM
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what is known about Yukihiko Higashikuni's family?
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  #93  
Old 03-21-2019, 04:40 AM
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Apparently, Yukihiko Higashikuni has a son, born in 2010.

Naohiko Higashikuni, a younger brother of Nobuhiko, has 2 sons with the eldest having a son. (born 2004)

Hidehiko, another brother of Nobuhiko, was adopted into the Mibu family as "Motohiro Mibu". He has 2 sons and each of them have a son (from around 2010)

Sources: Japanese Oke: Higashikuni - Wikipedia and English Shigeko Higashikuni - Wikipedia

Funeral and burial are scheduled for March 26 and 27th at Toshimagaoka Cemetery. Nobuhiko Higashikuni's wife Yoshiko is chief mourner.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited their nephew at his home in Minato, Tokyo on March 8th. The IHA reported Nobuhiko had been receiving medical treatment recently and died around 3am on the 20th.

Sources: news.tv-asahi.co.jp
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  #94  
Old 04-06-2019, 05:59 PM
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Japan Society of the UK - Prince and Princess Chichibu, Two Lives Lived Above and Below the Clouds - Japan Society of the UK
Quote:
Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

[...]

Princess Chichibu was most reluctant to accept the proposal that she should marry the young prince and in her reluctance she was supported by her parents, but the pressure from the Empress Dowager forced her acceptance. Once she became a princess she was not allowed before the war to do anything for herself, but she had to follow all the antiquated protocol. She recalls with embarrassment some of her ‘blunders’ arising from her ignorance of absurd rules: “The first one was when we returned to Tokyo after the enthronement ceremonies [for the Showa Emperor] and visited the Tama Imperial mausoleum with Their Majesties. I should have ascertained carefully beforehand how many times I was expected to bow, but the prince had assured me that all I needed to do was to copy him, which I did – only to hear someone’s discreet chiding voice behind me, ‘Since Your Highness is on the distaff side, you should have turned once more, stopped, and bowed. Remember to do so next time.” I was cut to the quick. Moreover, I had no idea what was meant by ‘the distaff side.’ Later, back in my own room I remember how downcast and dejected I felt.”

Later in the war years at Gotemba, where the Prince who was suffering from tuberculosis had gone in the hope of a cure, Princess Chichibu apart from ministering to the Prince, developed her gardening skills in growing vegetables and farming. [...]

This charming memoir makes it clear why Princess Chichibu became the British Royal Family’s favourite member of the Japanese Imperial family. Prince Charles apparently always called her his Japanese grandmother.

[...]
Crown Prince Naruhito on Princess Takamatsu (Kikuko) at his 2005 birthday press conference

Press Conference on the occasion of His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince's Birthday (2005) - The Imperial Household Agency

Quote:
I was most saddened at the passing of Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamatsu in December last year. From my childhood, Princess Takamatsu was always most kind and after our marriage she would often invite us to her residence, where we would talk about various things, including the old days. She once told us with relish of a story of how shortly after her marriage she visited the United States at the time of Prohibition, where, DURING a banquet she asked President Hoover, "what would you say if I told you that at a luncheon the other day I was served wine?" and President Hoover's laughter in response was reported in the newspapers, because the President was someone who never usually laughed. I shall also never forget how she also told us with the look of a mischievous child, "immediately after that incident I received a rebuke from the Imperial Household Ministry, now the Imperial Household Agency, telling me to 'take caution in what you say.'" Princess Takamatsu was also concerned about Princess Masako's health and she wrote a "waka" poem in celebration of the birth of Princess Aiko. I am most grateful for all her kindnesses.
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  #95  
Old 04-10-2019, 01:42 AM
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A few reasons why Japan’s new emperor still has to carry a sword: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...]

Akihito's eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will receive the Imperial Regalia consisting of the sword, “magatama” (comma-shaped beads) and other items during the "kenjito shokei no gi" on May 1. The government says, based on the Imperial Household Economy Law, these are non-religious “time-honored objects that ought to be passed along with the imperial throne.”

[...]

“Weapons made from metal, which didn’t exist in the Jomon Pottery Culture (c. 14,500 B.C.-1,000 B.C.), could instantly decapitate human bodies. I think ancient people were shocked at the sight. They must have felt a divine presence behind the spectacle,” said Mamoru Saso, a professor at Kokugakuin University specializing in religious archaeology.

[...] The weapons became important items for creating political clout. When the swords were melded with politics, they took on even more of an aura of a “divine nature,” he added.

An entry in the “Kojiki” (Records of Ancient Matters) dating from the eighth century describes how a god of war gave Emperor Jinmu, thought to be Japan's first emperor, a sword called “Futsu-no-mitama.” The sword itself was considered a god and was enshrined at Isonokamijingu shrine in Nara Prefecture.

In a scene in the chronicles portraying “Tenson Korin” (heavenly descent), a magatama and a mirror are introduced along with a sword--the so-called Three Sacred Treasures. The sun goddess Amaterasu-omikami orders that the mirror should be enshrined as her soul.

HIROHITO'S DETERMINATION TO 'SHARE DESTINY'

[...]

Koichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, wrote in his diary dated July 25, 1945, that if the regalia were lost, “we wouldn’t be able to safeguard and maintain the imperial household and ‘kokutai’ (national polity).”

According to Teruomi Yamaguchi, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo specializing in modern Japanese history, debates over the nature of kokutai entered a new phase after the Public Security Preservation Law was enacted in 1925.

But as Japan’s defeat began to seem certain, a consensus emerged that kokutai's core consisted of a “monarchy headed by the emperor of the unbroken imperial lineage,” which needed to be safeguarded and maintained, and the regalia became the symbol of that system.

[...]

Half a month before Japan’s defeat, Kido mentions in his diary these words uttered by Hirohito about the mirror enshrined at Ise Jingu in Ise, Mie Prefecture, and the sword located at Atsutajingu shrine in Nagoya: “After all, I think it is best to bring the sacred treasures at the Ise and Atsuta shrines to a place near me to protect them ... If anything should happen, I think I have no choice but to protect them myself and share the destiny.”

[...]

“I had the impression he cornered himself to the point that he would fulfill minimum obligations so as not to let others say he caused kokutai's collapse,” Yamaguchi said.

[...]
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  #96  
Old 04-22-2019, 03:27 AM
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On April 21st, Atsuko Ikeda attended a ceremony celebrating the new entrance of Ikeda Zoo in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture.

Atsuko Ikeda is Emperor Akihito's older sister and formerly titled Princess Yori.

The zoo had a deficit of 250 million yen due to declining visitors. Experts, business circles and government officials created a reform plan to save the zoo. Besides the entrance and building renovations, new animals will be added. A white tiger will debut on April 26. Nippon Kabaya Ohayo Holdings donated for the zoo's survival. The reforms expect an increase of 8000 visitors and stable management going forward.

Photos: fnn.jp, sanyonews.jp

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D4vH1lGUEAAGgtJ.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D4vH3d0UwAAGW7A.jpg
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  #97  
Old 04-26-2019, 01:02 PM
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'Superfan' of Japan's royals has followed them for decades | The Wider Image | Reuters (includes fun photos of the writer following the fans!)
Quote:
Wherever Japan's royals go, there too goes Fumiko Shirataki: in summer heat and winter cold, to the ocean and to the mountains.

[...]

Shirataki's passion for "okkake," as the pursuit is known in Japan, began in 1993, when she followed then-Masako Owada after her engagement to Crown Prince Naruhito but couldn't get good photos.

"I wasn't used to carrying such a heavy camera, so I'd shoot the tyres, or the back seat, or the driver," Shirataki said in the kitchen of her home in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, decorated with a photo of Masako and an Imperial Family calendar.

[...]

Shirataki won't reveal how she and her fan friends figure out the royal schedules. But once she has the details, she loads a backpack, takes a collapsible chair and a rice ball to eat, and heads out.

[...]

Shirataki and her fellow chasers, nearly all of whom are female, say their main focus is the royal women and their clothes. [...]

Shirataki says Masako is her favourite and has even appeared in her dreams. But Shirataki worries how she will fare as empress after the stress-related illness that kept her out of the public eye for many years.

"There could be a lot of times where Masako won't go with the emperor," she said. "If it's just him, we won't go. Her alone? Yes."

Shirataki may already have reached the pinnacle of okkake success: this year, she shook hands with the empress.

[...]
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  #98  
Old 05-10-2019, 01:48 AM
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Gifu items shed light on imperial tradition of using wet nurses: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...] Akihito, who abdicated on April 30, is the last emperor who had been cared for by a “menoto,” [...]

One discovery was a black-and-white photo that shows a crowd of people looking at a kimono-clad woman standing in the center. She was Toshiko Takenaka, a former menoto who breast-fed Akihito.

Toshiko was born and raised in Yawata, present-day Ikeda, in Gifu Prefecture.

[...]

The picture was apparently taken when all the villagers greeted Toshiko when she returned home after finishing her role as a nanny. The photo had been kept by Toshiko’s family after her death.

[...]

Yohei Mori, 54, a Seijo University professor, said two women were usually recruited for a one-year term as menoto during the time of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.

[...]

A survey conducted by Mori confirmed that Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako had 18 menoto in total for their two sons and five daughters, including Akihito.

Toshiko was among three nannies assigned to Akihito. She started her service as a “supplementary nanny” at the Imperial Palace in May 1934 when she was 20 years old. Just a few months before that assignment, Toshiko gave birth to her eldest daughter.

She moved to Tokyo with her daughter and kin to live at the palace and served as a nanny.

Akihito was about six months old at the time, and Toshiko breast-fed him for about seven months.

[...]

But Hirohito and Nagako apparently wanted a “modernization” of family. The empress breast-fed her children herself during the day, and menoto wet-nursed them on early mornings, late at night and on other occasions when Nagako was out for official duties.

[...] it was an auspicious occasion for people to see a member of their community singled out as menoto. They would organize going-away and welcome parties to celebrate the honor.

When Toshiko was picked as a nanny, a local women’s association built a stone monument in May 1935 to commemorate her service as menoto. The inscription read: “Supreme honor.”

[...]

In addition to the photo, a “kosode”-style kimono apparently worn by Toshiko when she served as menoto was recently found. She is believed to have bought the white silk robe at a department store in Gifu before she moved to Tokyo with the robe as a service suit.

[...]
http://www.asahicom.jp/ajw/articles/...01691_comm.jpg
http://www.asahicom.jp/ajw/articles/...01692_comm.jpg
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  #99  
Old 07-13-2019, 04:09 AM
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8th-century biwa lute reproduced - The Japan News
Quote:
The Empress Emerita has helped create a replica of a five-string biwa lute believed to have been used by Emperor Shomu in the eighth century.

The Imperial Household Agency unveiled the accurate replica of “Raden Shitan no Gogen Biwa” to reporters on Thursday, before it is displayed at the Museum of the Imperial Collections in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo from Saturday.

The replica’s strings are made of silk from koishimaru silkworms, an indigenous species in Japan, raised by the former Empress at the palace.

The original lute, made of shitan red sandalwood with mother-of-pearl inlay decorations, is one of the treasures donated by Emperor Shomu to the Todaiji temple in Nara about 1,200 years ago and kept at the Shosoin [...]

In 2011, the agency’s Shosoin office started replicating the only surviving ancient biwa of the kind, 108.1 centimeters long and 30.9 centimeters wide, to learn the manufacturing techniques and reproduce its sounds.

The project was completed in March this year.

During their visit to Kyoto on March 27, the then Empress and then Emperor saw the completed work at the Kyoto Omiya Imperial Palace.

[...]
Mainichi gallery comparing the real biwa (left) to the replica (right)

Replica:
https://www.sankei.com/images/news/1...7110030-p1.jpg
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  #100  
Old 08-06-2019, 01:49 AM
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When a child's life was nothing so long as images of Hirohito lasted: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...]

“We gathered up portraits of members of the imperial family from schools across Okinawa and stored them in the bunker,” recalled 88-year-old Hiroshi Yabiku, a resident of Kita-Nakagusuku in the prefecture. “Then we built a shack of sorts in front of it so that we could maintain a vigil, taking turns with teachers.”

Yabiku was a member of the “Goshinei-hogotai,” a special squad formed with the express task of protecting portraits of Hirohito and his family members during the waning months of World War II.

[...]

In 1943, the ministry formally notified schools about the course of action teachers should take in the event of an air raid.

It called for maximum priority to be given to the “protection of the imperial portraits, a copy of the rescript and copies of imperial edicts.”

The “protection of students and children” came second.

U.S. air raids across Okinawa Prefecture on Oct. 10, 1944, caused widespread damage and also leveled much of Naha's city center.

This prompted prefectural authorities to decide to bring all of the imperial portraits kept at schools in the main Okinawa island to one venue in order to save them from destruction.

A special nine-person squad consisting of school principals and teachers was established for the project.

Ten or so students were also designated to serve as “assistants.” Yabiku was one of them.

[...]

Yabiku and fellow members transported more than 100 imperial portraits to the bunker.

They were mounted on rectangular cardboard and stored in a box made of paulownia wood.

Yabiku and the other assistants wrapped the boxes with white cloths and carried them on their backs.

Each box, also containing copies of the Imperial Rescript on Education, weighed about 20 kilograms.

“Don’t you dare put it down on the ground! Never,” the students were ordered.

Yabiku and the other assistants were not even allowed to touch the portraits, because, they were told, “Goshinei is the emperor’s other self.”

“I thought we had been given an extremely special and important mission,” Yabiku said.

On April 1, 1945, U.S. forces landed in the central part of the main island and quickly advanced to the north, forcing Yabiku and the squad to abandon the bunker.

They buried the copies of the rescript in the grounds of a nearby shrine.

Carrying nothing but the portraits of Hirohito, who died in 1989 and is posthumously called Emperor Showa, and other imperial family members in their knapsacks, they fled to the mountains.

Their food provisions soon ran out, forcing the team members to forage for hibiscus shoots and other plants.

Yet, they never skipped the morning ritual of making profound obeisance to the portraits.

'WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET'

Yabiku and his fellow portrait guardians spent more than 80 days in the mountains.

[...]

At the end of June, the squad burned the portraits to deprive enemy forces of getting their hands on them.

[...]

Having witnessed changes in imperial eras from Showa to Heisei and now Reiwa, Yabiku wistfully observed that Japan now "exists in a peaceful time indeed.”

“We deluded ourselves into thinking that the portraits were truly more important than our lives,” he said. “We should never forget that there were times like that.”

Akira Kawamitsu, who has done extensive research on the special squad's endeavor and collected oral testimonies about the mission, noted that prior to World War II, Japan developed as a militarized nation in which "everybody was ready to die for the emperor.”

[...]

Kawamitsu is determined to keep memories alive of the special squad Goshinei-hogo-tai because he fears that Japan is gradually shifting to a course that could find itself in a war situation.

On June 9, two weeks before the annual Memorial Day to remember the victims of the Battle of Okinawa that claimed more than 200,000 lives, including U.S. troops, Kawamitsu spoke to 70 or so high school students.

[...]
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