Sixty nine years ago today, my grandparents were on a fishing trip to the Marin County, California town of Tiburon. Fishing has always been a big deal in my family, which should probably be no surprise to any Japanese American. I have no idea how they did, but by the time they returned to San Francisco that afternoon, that was probably the least relevant thing in their world. They returned to the city to discover that Japan had attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor.
Within a matter of weeks, they had sold most of their possessions at fire sale prices, lost their home, and were living in the horse stables at the Tanforan racetrack. Within months, they were living in the middle of the desert, behind barbed wire, where they would stay for the next four years. Incidentally, they were both American-born U.S. citizens.
Two years ago, while doing the tri-weekly links at War Is Boring, I came across a brief article about the then-ongoing Keen Sword exercise. I was struck by the fact that, 67 years after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. and Japanese were conducting anti-submarine warfare exercises. How much things had changed, I thought. Those exercises were a catalyst for the creation of Japan Security Watch.
I am a firm believer in the U.S. – Japanese alliance. As an American, I believe it’s good for America. Secondarily, as someone of Japanese descent, I believe it’s good for Japan. And I also believe that it’s better for the two to be allies, because the alternative is a rivalry that…well, I think we all know how that goes. And like a lot of families, especially those who had loved ones killed in the Pacific theater on both sides, my family knows just how much one could lose if the United States and Japan were to one day face off again. I personally doubt that could happen ever again, but you never know.
So, with this post I’m going to come out and say it: this is primarily a news aggregator blog, but if it’s going to take a position on anything, it’s that the U.S. – Japan alliance is a good thing. My grandfather, before the war, was on track to learning four languages and joining the foreign service. Enough people like him, in the right places, could have avoided war. I may not be in the right place, but I can still try to further U.S. – Japanese relations in my own way. Let’s remember the past and work toward a future, together.
A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch