Bataan, Corregidor and Japan
Battery G was moved to the Bataan Peninsula just north of Corregidor Island prior to the start of World War II. The Philippines were bombed by the Japanese on the same day that Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was bombed.
We fought there on starvation rations, living partly off of what we could obtain from the jungle until Bataan was captured on April 9, 1942. The night of the capture, our Battery was returned to Corregidor to rejoin our 60th Battalion, where we continued the fight until the Philippines were captured, on May 6th, 1942.
We, who had survived this far, were herded into the Corregidor 92nd garage area without food or water. From there we were moved to Bilibid prison in Manila, then to Cabanatuan Prison Camp #1. In this camp malnutrition, flies and disease took a heavy toll. I worked on a detail in Leap then back to Cabanataun -- this time Camp #3.
From there, on the hellship Canadian Inventor to Fukuoka Camp #17 in Omuta, Japan, where I worked until the end of the war. We were eye witness to the explosion of the Atomic Bomb dropped on Nagasaki which I tell about in detail in the book I have written and published entitled Under The Samurai Sword.
Under The Samurai Sword
This is a true story of the experiences of just one military man in
his life and death struggle while in the Pacific Theater during World
War II, the war that has been recorded as being the greatest and perhaps
one of the most tragic wars in the history of the United States. It is
the war in which some 55 million died and some 3 million more are unaccounted
for. It is also the war in which the United States suffered its greatest
and most humiliating defeat -- that of the loss of the entire Philippines.
In so doing it gives the reader an insight into that period not covered in most U.S. history. It points out the confusion that led to the "writing off" of the entire Allied forces in that far-away theater. It is this part of history that some of our great leaders would like to forget.
Those who erred are not to be blamed, for we all do make mistakes. It is however, only by revealing them that we can avoid such in the future and hope that it will be knowledge helpful to generations to come.
This book has been well received. It tells of many war atrocities in a light and casual way. It is used in a few High School History classes and even in some Sunday Schools.
Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC tells of my story in his second best seller book The Greatest Generation Speaks, pages 4 through 7.
Upon returning to the States after the war I married a girl, Doris Lueders, whom I had known in my high school years, attended the Nebraska Ag college on the GI bill and obtained a job with the US Soil Conservation Service. I worked for them for twenty five years, retired and then worked for the Oregon State Parks as a park ranger.
My wife and I have been married for over 55 years, have four children, a son and three daughters and ten grandchildren. I speak to school children about Freedom and what it has cost.
We have a wonderful country of which I am very proud.
I was born in 1922 in a tiny village on an island off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. All the thirty households in the village were the descendants of the persecuted Jesuits. Of the thirteen students in my grade school class, only two-myself and one girl- survived World War II. I did not suffer the atomic blast, but went to Nagasaki and saw the devastation only a few weeks after the second atomic bomb was dropped on that city. The indescribable scenes of destruction and suffering of the victims were forever carved into memory.
Even as a devout Christian, I was a soldier of the emperor's army. Many years later I became the mayor of Nagasaki and issued an annual Peace Declaration sixteen times. During those days I often thought about a line from the Book of Job, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Today, I firmly believe that the post-atomic bomb era and the 21st century must be an age of forgiveness and reconciliation.
What should Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki do to contribute to realizing such a world? Bear witness to the horror of nuclear weapons as the only nation or cities who suffered the actual use of a weapon of mass destruction? That is an important job. But before we do even that, there is a serious task we have to finish, a task crucial for the forgiveness and reconciliation. That is to apologize, genuinely apologize, to the victims of the Japan's fifteen-year-war of aggression.
The Bataan Death March and many other atrocities were clearly violations of international law at that time.
If Japan is to be in the forefront in the nations of the world in their efforts to call for abolishing all nuclear arms and world peace, it must first apologize to its former victims. Moreover, that apology must come from each and every citizen's heart. Many people may argue that responsibility of the Japan's wartime crimes belongs to the government, and therefore it is the government of Japan that should issue an apology. Yet, I have to challenge my fellow Japanese to ask themselves whether such an official apology alone would be enough. I believe that responsibility rests not only on the military or on soldiers but on all of us including citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even those who were too young at the time of the war to remember anything or those who were born after the war cannot escape from shouldering the legacy of the past. Only by showing our willingness to take responsibility and to apologize genuinely will we be able to ask for forgiveness and understanding from the people whom we once victimized.
I fervently pray that Nagasaki will remain the world's last city to suffer from an atomic blast and that the 21st century will be a century of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Hitoshi Motoshima was the mayor of Nagasaki from 1979 to 1995.
Mr. Graham in a recent photo