Saturday, October 29, 2005

Remember Pearl Harbor, Remember Fuchida, and Remember DeShazer

Remember Pearl Harbor, Remember Fuchida, and Remember DeShazer

In the summer of 2001, the movie “Pearl Harbor” was screened here and there. It was interesting in that it also featured the "Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.”

However, I was disappointed to see that American paradigm on “Remember Pearl Harbor” did not change favorably to peace of the world, even in the summer of 2001. And, some others might feel very uncomfortable seeing that.

And then the Al Qaede’s attacks on American civilians and Pentagon were reported at the beginning of autumn of 2001.

To our astonishment, they associated the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 with the Pearl Harbor military attacks in 1941.

In first place, the phrase “Remember Pearl Harbor” should mean a misstep or an omission of then President Roosevelt because he neglected a need to have informed American citizens that a war was so near and imminent due to his administration’s strategy to drive the Imperial Japan into a corner where she had no choice but surrender without fight or war without hope.

Japanese pilots were ordered to destroy American navy and army facilities in Hawaii but not to intentionally kill American citizens, just like American soldiers now in Iraq and Afghanistan being ordered so. The attacks were intended to inform American people that if their government continued to drive so unfairly Imperial Japan to a corner, they had to suffer a fierce war she tried to proclaim just in time, however, unfortunately in vain. And, this is the last chance to resume negotiations on restoration of sound relationships between Imperial Japan and the United States that is expected to take this message in earnest now that their past policy brought destruction on the military bases in Hawaii.

But, this naïve anticipation with an irresponsible strategy was completely betrayed. In first place, Imperial Japan had been allied with Nazis Germany that killed six million innocent Jews. Moreover, Imperial Japan had long interfered in civil wars in China, mainly, between the Communist Party and the Nationalist Party, deciding that she had take on control of the long-plagued mainland China after all.

The atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima in 1945 was intentionally aimed at killing Japanese civilians, which could not balance with pure military operation against the opposite military in the Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The Pacific War ended long time ago. And now, Japan and the U.S. have been maintaining reasonably sound relationships, owing to so many victims some of whom on Japan’s side have been enshrined in that famous and controversial Yasukuni Shrine of the Shinto religion in Tokyo.

Navy Commander Fuchida who had led the entire air squadrons from aircraft carriers to the Pearl Harbor in 1941 converted to Christianity after the war. It is because he met with and was highly moved by former U.S. bombardier DeShazer who had participated in the Doolittle Air Raid on Tokyo in 1942 which had been conducted as a heroic retaliation to the Pearl Habor attack as depicted in the movie.

When former navy captain Fuchida met Jacob DeShazer, Mr. DeShazer was working as a missionary in Tokyo since he had been freed from a state of prisoner of war follwoing unconditional surrender of the Empire of Japan.

To our astonishment, Mr. Fuchida also became a Chiristian missionary in Japan and further traveled to the United Sates preaching there for several years.

Coming back to Japan, Mitsuo Fuchida died in peace at age 74 in 1976 in his home town in Nara Prefecture.

Can we expect any such story from the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Anyhow, the two “surprise attacks” are so different as Islam and Shinto-ism are. Nonetheless, eventually there might appear such hidden heroes even when the war on terror ends.


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Monday, October 24, 2005

EPISODE X of Panasonic with a joke on Sony

EPISODE X of Panasonic with a joke on Sony

There is a joke about Sony. One day somebody in Japan came to think that most Americans should think that Sony was originally founded in the U.S. by a certain American. So, a crew of TV reporters and staff members flew to American and asked people there what nationality they think Sony Headquarters has. One jogger, a young lady, answered “American” and ran away, while smiling at and hinting to the crew that she knew it is "Japanese" just like the crew is. So, they gave up and came back to Japan to report it as was.

In Japan, Matsushita, known by its logo “Panasonic,” is regarded as a rival company to Sony.

The founder of Matsushita conglomerate was a unique person. Even while he was alive and active in business, business people called him “a god of sale and management.”

One day when Kounosuke Matsushita, who had established his first Matsushita company in 1918, was traveling by super-express train from Tokyo to Osaka where its headquarters is located, he happened to sit next to a person who said that he had come back from America recently.

The person said that he had learnt a lot in Harvard Business School. So, he went on explaining various modern economic theories to this prominent business leader.

When the Shinkansen express train arrived at Osaka, Mr. Matsushita, as a strict grader, said coolly to the proud person, “After all, what you have learnt is do it smart" and left him without offering anything.

This story was recently introduced in a booklet a research body founded by Mr. Matsushita issues periodically.

The Matsushita conglomerate has 20,000 employees in the U.S. There might be some who learnt a lot in Harvard Business School. So, this episode might be interesting to them.

The late Matsushita also founded a special institution aimed at fostering politicians. One graduate of this institute was selected by vote as new leader of the largest party in opposition in its plenary meeting consisting of all the National Diet members of the party, which was held after defeat in September 11’s election.

As Harvard Business School is not appreciated by some top executives, such an institute for fostering politicians, especially founded by a business tycoon, might not be appreciated.

But, of course, in a despotic state like former Iraq, the Soviet Union, and present China, such an institute for fostering politicians must be a must.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tsunami Lessons in 1964 and 2004

Tsunami Lessons in 1964 and 2004 for Reconciliation

On March 28, 1964, an earthquake occurred in Alaska. It caused a Pacific-wide tsunami that took the lives of more than 122 people. In May of the year, PLO was founded in Palestine; in August, the Ton Kin Gulf incident occurred in North Vietnam; and the summer Olympic Games were held in Tokyo, Japan.

In a sense, the tsunami in 1964 looks like having given a special sign of the age.

Apart from the cold war against the Soviet Union, the U.S. had had to take on three major international issues for decades since then: the Middle East issue, the Viet Nam War, and the competition against emerging Japanese economy.

All these tree elements of the challenge the U.S. would have had to face had emerged clearly after the tsunami in Alaska.

Now, Chairman Arafat was gone, the unified Viet Nam was trying to be friendly, and Japan is well cooperating with the U.S. in the war on terror proceeding in the oil-rich Middle East.

In October of 1964, as Tokyo Olympic games started, a new super-express train “Shinkansen” was commercially introduced in Japan. It ran at 200Km/h then, though nowadays it runs at 300Km/h or 187 miles per hour.

To operate this then-most-advanced railroad system, they needed not only hardware but also software which should run on an IBM general-purpose computer available in that age.

U.S. engineers in those days did not expect Japanese engineers to write codes, by their own ability, necessary to control the bullet train. But, they succeeded in making programs, which put U.S. engineers on alert. And, in America, one technical periodical featured an article titled “Tsunami” in which they discussed how threatening the ability of Japanese engineers was in terms of computer technology competition.

Though two countries are still severely competing in the field of supercomputers, neither Japan-originated OS nor Japanese-originated processors have become a mainstream of the global industry just like its language.

In 2004, the great tsunami occurred near Sumatra Island in the Indian Ocean.

However, I have not heard of any article, with a title of “Tsunami,” being issued in these days, to my and Indian’s relief.

But, it is interesting to know that Indians are now making big success in computer-related jobs in the U.S. They account for 30 percent of NASA engineers, 40 percent of Microsoft Company engineers, 28 percent of IBM engineers, 17 percent of Intel engineers, and 13 percent of Xerox engineers.

The U.S. might learn a lesson from the tsunami in 1964, and they might be handling the similar case more conciliatorily in 2004 and up to this day.

This is an example of tsunami lessons. But still we may have to argue about earthquake lessons as well as hurricane lessons, if God wishes.