Friday, April 10, 2009

Yamato

As an amateur military history fan, I am particularly interested in World War II for I believe that whatever made our world today is originated from the outcome of that terrible war ended sixty-four years ago. Even the recent missile launch incident in northeastern Asia is a long side-effect of it.

One question always puzzles me is why the Japanese would not give up when everyone knew that the defeat was inevitable? Why the Japanese military kept sacrificing their young men in the war effort instead of saving them for the national reconstruction after the war?

Part of my puzzlement was resolved in the movie Yamato, or Otoko-tachi no Yamato (2005), directed by Junya Sato, a film about Imperial Japanese Navy's giant battleship Yamato. She was ordered to attack U.S. landing forces at the eve of the Battle of Okinawa in early 1945. Knowing that the ship only carried fuel enough for one-way trip and was totally without air cover, some officers and sailors questioned why they were doomed to carry out this suicide mission when the outcome of the war was obvious. The captain told them that it was for the dignity and future survival for their motherland.

Indeed, unlike Germany, which surrendered in early May 1945 and soon was divided and ruled by the victorious US, Britain, France and the Soviet Union, the Japanese, though defeated, had maintained their sovereign integrity of their country after suffering from the attack of two atomic bombs and surrendered in August 1945. Possible reasons for the Allied not to divide and occupy Japan may be attributed to their understanding of the Japanese's willingness to fight and die to protect their emperor and their country.

Owing to the sacrifice of the military and civilians alike, Japan has won the respect of her enemies and become a strong global economic entity after the war.

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