Dropping the Bomb (part 4)

War is strange, and its aftermath can be just as strange. In the case of those connected with the pivotal events of the war in the Pacific, we see a snapshot of this reality in the lives of four key players.

Minoru Genda, one of the planners of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was awarded the Legion of Merit by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. The medal was bestowed in recognition of Genda’s work on a security treaty between Japan and the United States. Twenty-one years after helping to draw the U.S. into a war against Japan, Genda was honored by an American president. To the day of his death in 1989, Genda expressed no regrets about his role in the attack on Pearl Harbor except that the attack was not repeated.

Mitsuo Fuchida, the leader of the raid on Pearl Harbor, converted from Buddhism to Christianity after the war. The only code he had known was one that dictated revenge, and he could not understand the kindness and forgiveness that he saw displayed toward Japanese prisoners of war. This led him to investigate Christianity, and after reading the Bible he became not only a Christian but a missionary. His ministry was based in Seattle and he traveled throughout the United States proclaiming the gospel.

Perhaps strangest of all are the intertwined stories of Mochitsura Hashimoto and Charles McVay. McVay was captain of the Indianapolis, the American warship that had been sunk by a Japanese submarine commanded by Hashimoto (who had also participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor). In a bizarre twist, McVay was court-martialed for neglecting his duty and Hashimoto was summoned to the U.S. to testify against McVay. Imagine being an American naval officer who survived such an ordeal, only to be blamed for it and even have your government bring in the enemy commander who killed your crew and have him testify against you! About four and a half months after Hashtimoto destroyed McVay’s ship, he testified in the sailor’s trial in Washington, D.C. McVay was demoted and his career followed the path of his ill-fated cruiser. Hashimoto went on to become a seaborne merchant, often spending time in American ports. McVay, however, never recovered. Years later, after suffering the death of his wife and having endured years of hate mail from family members of his doomed crew, he put a pistol to his head and ended his life. In 2000, due in large part to a collaborated effort between Hashimoto and surviving members of the Indianapolis, McVay was officially exonerated by President Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile, the Japanese emperor Hirohito continued to reign for four and a half decades following Japan’s surrender. His son Akihito is Japan’s emperor today.

Published in: on February 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. The aftermath is more than strange; it is bizarre! Mankind seems incapable of justice; part of our fallen nature?

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