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Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 15:00 - 16:00

Remembering the Kamikaze
Kampei Shimoide
Mayor of Minamikyushu City in Kagoshima
Mutsuo Kuwashiro
Counselor of Minamikyushu City Office
M.G. Sheftall
Historian, Professor of Shizuoka University
Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese and English with simultaneous interpretation

 If not for the tragedy the southern Japanese town of Chiran experienced in the closing months of the Second World War, few people outside of its home prefecture of Kagoshima would likely have ever heard of this quiet tea-farming community. In the spring of 1945, Chiran (now part of the city of Minamikyūshū) was the site of the Imperial Japanese Army’s main forward airbase for launching kamikaze tokkō suicide attack missions during the Battle of Okinawa.

 In this capacity, the town bore witness to – and participated in – the last major clash of arms in the last “total” war in human history fought between fully industrialized modern states in a murderous and destructive conflict. Chiran’s experience during those dark days is a microcosm of Japan as a whole during the final year of the war, when women, students and even children were mobilized in pursuit of its increasingly desperate war efforts – efforts that spawned the military tactic and philosophy of kamikaze tokkō.

 With seventy years now passed since, this period of human experience is quickly vanishing from the realm of living memory. It is in this solemn spirit that the city of Minamikyūshū is submitting for UNESCO “Memory of the World” recognition its collection of documents related to the tokkō campaign in Chiran. This is not an attempt to glorify or rationalize Japan’s kamikaze legacy. Rather, it is an attempt to share with the world this unique documentary record of a unique human experience to serve current and future generations of all nations as a permanent reminder of the horror of war and as a contribution to the cause of world peace.

 The Mayor of Minamikyūshū, Kampei Shimoide, will explain the UNESCO submission. Chiran Peace Museum curator Mutsumi Kuwashiro will discuss the contents of the document collection and the project’s historical adviser, Professor M.G. Sheftall of Shizuoka University, will explain their historical significance.Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee


May 13 15 PC Kampei ShimoideMutsuo KuwashiroM.G.Sheftall Ueno025May 13 15 PC Kampei ShimoideMutsuo KuwashiroM.G.Sheftall Ueno036May 13 15 PC Kampei ShimoideMutsuo KuwashiroM.G.Sheftall Ueno056May 13 15 PC Kampei ShimoideMutsuo KuwashiroM.G.Sheftall Ueno073

Kampei Shimoide             Mutsuo Kuwashiro          M.G. Sheftall                   Katsuro Ueno

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