College Students from Japan and the U.S. Attended the POW Reunion

Two winners of the essay contest held by US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc., Miss Asako Yoshida from Saitama, Japan and Mr. Adam Donais from Washington state, attended the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (ADBC) 2006 Convention held in Phoenix, Arizona from May 18 to May 21.



Asako and Ms. Yuka Ibuki, Tokyo Representative of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc., arrived in San Francisco. They visited Mr. Hap Halloran, former B-29 navigator who became a POW when his plane was shot down over Tokyo in January of 1945.

 

 

 


                                                  
                                                                                      Mr. Halloran and Asako with  his POW number plate
 

 

On May17, Asako, Yuka and Kinue Tokudome visited Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who is the advisor to US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc.


 





 

In Phoenix, Asako and Adam met Directors of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, Inc.


With Dr. Lester Tenney, Mrs. Betty Tenney, Mr. Clay Perkins and Mrs. Dorothy Perkins
 

Asako and Adam met with many former POWs and listen to their personal POW stories.

      

   With Death March survivor Mr. Jim Murphy              With Death March survivor Mr. Abie Abraham   

    

          With Corregidor POW Father Phillips                              With Corregidor POW Mr. Don Versaw

During the last evening's banquette, Asako and Adam were introduced by long time ADBC leader, Mr. Edward Jackfert, to more than 300 attendees.

 
 


Their thoughts after the Convention

Adam Donais

I am immensely grateful to have been able to meet the former POWs, their families, Asako, and everyone involved in organizing this opportunity. Meeting the former POWs allowed me a much deeper sense of the reality behind that which they endured.

Asako and I heard directly from the POWs regarding the Bataan Death March, Corregidor, the O'Donell and Cabanatuan prison camps, the hell ships and the struggles these men encountered since the end of WWII. These experiences are much more than stories, they are insights into a world of atrocity and inhumanity that challenged the right to existence and dignity of many people. A recurring message to Asako and I during the convention was that we are the future and should do what we can to prevent the lessons of the past from becoming a forgotten memory so that such atrocities may never again be visited upon human society. I am deeply impressed by their desire to embrace the future while encouraging others to learn from the past.                                                                                          
-- Adam is interested in pursuing a career in Journalism.

Asako Yoshida

I am sincerely grateful to have been able to meet the former POWs, their descendants, Adam, and all the people involved in organizing this opportunity. Hearing directly from the former POWs made their experiences even more real to me. Even though they endured tremendous hardship, they were very kind and generous. I was very touched by their telling stories to young generations to sustain hope for the future. As I learned the past, I came to realize their greatness. Learning from their past gave me real insight into both negative and positive power that human beings possess. To receive their story and its lessons well, I need to know much more things. Now I am very motivated to learn more. Thank you again.   
                                                                                         
-- Asako is planning to become a teacher.

Their essays can be read at: Essay Contest winners
 

*This Essay Contest was made possible by the generous support from Dorothy and Clay Perkins of Ranch Santa Fe, CA.