Pearl Harbor Raid and Forgiveness

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Posted by BH

More than two years ago, we traveled to Hawaii to attend my husband's 40th college reunion. After the reunion cruise, we decided to visit Pearl Harbor. While watching a historical film that vividly depicted the Dec. 7, 1941, raid on Pearl Harbor, I couldn’t help but think that if Japan had not raided Pearl Harbor, perhaps my dad would not have lost his life at the young age of 32. Tears streamed down my face as I thought that if the Japanese hadn’t attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States might not have entered WWII and there would not have been war in the Pacific Ocean between Japan and the United States.

I do not harbor hatred against the culprits of Japan or the Americans who sunk the ship “Shinsei Maru” on which my father served as a military physician, It was not until recently by this blog, I learned that the Task Force 38 had sunk “Shinsei Maru”, thus I lost my dad even when I was still in my mom’s womb. Back then, the vice Admiral of the Task force 38, John S. McCain SR. happened to be the grandfather of the Republican candidate for President of the United States this year, (Note: now he has lost the election) . This discovery hadn’t made me not want to vote for Mr. McCain, unless there are other legitimate reasons for me not to. No, I could still have voted for him because I think that in international affairs and wars, he should have a better understanding and insights, because he had been a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Generally speaking, Republicans care more about international security issues and perhaps more favorable towards protecting Taiwan’s democracy. What I am trying to say is “I have neither hatred against those who caused my dad to die untimely, nor hatred against their descendants. ” ( p.s. I wrote this part long before the election took place)
Recently, a friend of mine in her e-mail to other friend (c.c. to me) mentioned that my father was a former military doctor, serving the Japanese imperialists…etc. She didn’t criticize my dad purposely, yet I felt my feelings was hurt. Her comment was extremely unfair for those who had been drafted by the Japanese government to the Pacific War. Just as Eye Doc. said in this blog:
『Taiwan's post-war phase was kind of being awkward. After the defeat and the withdrawal of Japanese government from Taiwan, there came Chinese Nationalists. It was like changing dynasties, the new political power liked to judge beyond time and history: those who survived "Shinsei Maru" were sometimes called Chinese traitors or Taiwanese traitors, because they had served China’s enemy Japan. They were not able to argue and defend themselves since they were simply politically incorrect. Just think, after Japan had governed in Taiwan for 50 years, if the people of Taiwan identified with Japan as their own country then, was it unreasonable? They had been through Japanese education, all their lives. Should we criticize them if they had developed a kind of mentality of being Japanese citizens? How can we criticize and blame them then?
Although my father had the opportunity to run away from the Japanese Navy, he did not run away. Although some people had urged him to escape long before he went to serve as a military doctor. For example, my maternal grandpa had told him that when his ship landed in Hong Kong, he should run away. Because my grandpa's generation started far before Japanese rule in Taiwan, of course, he could not identify with Japan as his own country. In Dr. Wu Ping Cheng’s book “ A Military physician’s Diary”, he mentioned that my dad, as well as a few others had the opportunities to see their relatives or acquaintances in Hong Kong or Vietnam, they certainly had a great opportunity to run away. (Of course, if the escapees were captured, they would be condemned to death penalty.) However, Dr. Wu also mentioned that if anyone ran away, the rest of the comrades in the ship, would all be punished to lose their freedom. Therefore, I think my upright law-abiding dad, wouldn’t violate any military laws, let alone escape. My dad wouldn’t like to penalize his comrade-in-ship, and most likely, he probably thought it was his duty to defend Taiwan and Japan, he had to do it that way, no turning back at all. (Now, we may consider that they had been brainwashed by a foreign government Japan and had developed silly loyalty to Japan. That was unfair to them.) I happened to know that some people used “red envelope” money to avoid being drafted; it is an unfair world, honest people died as victims, but bribers got to keep their lives. I heard that Dr. Kuo Hong-Wen was not originally on the drafting list, however, another doctor used red envelope, to avoid being drafted, and recommended Dr. Kuo as his younger substitutes. Once a cousin cheerfully told me that it was his father’s luck, not to be a doctor, or else his dad should be the one who died, not my dad, because his dad was my dad’s eldest brother, and only one doctor would be drafted from a family.( He had to hear this drafting information from his dad, my big uncle, as each regional physician bureaucracy has slightly different priorities of drafting.) I listened with sadness, because my dad was determined to be a medical student out of being a filial son, in order to take care of his father's clinic, so that his father could have an early retirement. I heard my dad’s eldest brother wouldn’t study but fooled around all the times so he couldn’t get into any medical school at all. You wouldn’t think the one who was filial and studied diligently would harvest early death, while the prodigal son would keep life as his reward.
Furthermore, I have never thought of my father and the "Yasukuni Shrine" being connected, until China protested former President Lee Teng-hui’s visit to "Yasukuni Shrine" to commemorate his brother, I thought then perhaps my dad’s name was in that famous shrine too? Later on, Eye Doc. Confirmed my guess was correct.
Just as Eye Doc. said that those who survived the sunken Shin-sei Maru were seen as traitors to Taiwan, because KMT then took over Taiwan. Such a serious charge against them, was very unfair indeed.
However, people shouldn’t continue to live in the past and keep thinking, "If something had not happened that way, how nice would the world be! …etc." or "what if something happens this way or that way…etc.”, the "what if" monsters will create unfounded, unnecessary fears for the future. To keep living in the past with endless regrets, remorse and "what ifs" is very unwise too. What is more important? Isn’t it "the present" ? what does God want us to do now? Shouldn’t we treasure our time now to do something to glorify God and benefit others?
I used to think that it was very unfortunate that I was born posthumously. But now I think I have been very fortunate to be born as if to catch the last train before my dad left for the war. During the air raids of WWII, I brought so much troubles to my mom and grandpa. It was fortunate that grandpa was a doctor and I could be born at home in his own clinic. However, my grandpa had to blacken the windows of a delivery room just in case if I was born in the middle of night when there were air raid sirens, a light could still be on inside the dark delivery room. Of course, I could also be born a worm, right? The evolutionist wants us to believe that we humans are not different from other animals . (In one of Kafka’s novel,” Metamorphosis”, he described the terror of the main character waking up one day in the morning only to find himself having turned into a bug.) From another point of view, since we are all born humans, we have already won the lottery, because we have defeated the odds of not being born, being aborted or just being born a worm, not a human being.
Torpedoes, bullets, bombs don’t have eyes, they kill anyone passing through their paths. Task Force 38 didn’t know my dad’s ship was a medical ship because there was no red cross mark or flag on it. Or else, perhaps they wouldn’t have bombed the ship. I do not harbor any bitter resentments towards Japan or US, but I am well aware of the pain and sorrow the war could bring to any family just like my family. I’d hope that there is no more war in our world and no longer there is any family who suffers the loss of their loved ones as a result of the war. However, it is easier said than done; people do have different religious beliefs, there is racism, bigotry and so on ..., it is really hard to have real peace on earth. Only by looking up to the cross, listening to how He forgave those who nailed Him to the cross, that we would be able to forgive our enemies with the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Jesus said: "Father, forgive them because they did not know what they did."

6 則留言:

BH 提到...

Dear Jhen:

Thank you for your kind comments in response to this post left in other post.

Remember, Jesus is the reason for the X'mas season.

May there be "Peace on earth"!


Patrick Cowsill 提到...

Dear Jhen,

I'm deeply sorry about your father and your loss. I don't think you should worry about living in the past though. It's just as good a place as anywhere else.

I think Japan would've come into the war one way or another. They wanted too very badly, and they were also badly provoked. It was just going to happen one way or another.

Your post is very meaningful as it gives another insight into Taiwan's grossly overlooked WW II history. I'd really like to talk to you someday about your post.

BH 提到...

Dear patrick:

Thank you for your kind comment.
Please notice that this was written by BH not by Jhen.

(Japan was badly provoked? I think it was Japan that provoked other countries, not the other way around.)

I was only responding to her comment to this post in Chinese version here.

Well, I know that was just my wishful thinking. If Japan attacked Russians instead, WWII might not end like the way it was.
That may be worse for our world, so I shouldn't be selfish to only thinking of myself.

Just put things in God's hand is the best way.

Thank you for many of your comments in this blog.

God bless!


EyeDoc 提到...

By the end of WWII, there was nothing to gain for Japan to attack Russia, even though containing the expansion of Russia into northeast China had been a long-standing strategy (since the Meiji Era). Under a peace treaty with Joseph Stalin, Japan was able to free up and mobilize the Kanto Army into SE Asia where immense resources were looted and shipped back to Japan. Japan was "provoked" in the sense of embargoes exercised by the Allies, not in the sense of invasion. It did invade many other nations including of course the US.

Patrick is right in that it was inevitable for those events to have taken place - a good reason not to go through "what-ifs". To understand is to heal - hence this blog.

BH 提到...

Dear Eye Doc:
Thank you for your explanation.

"...Japan was "provoked" in the sense of embargoes exercised by the Allies, not in the sense of invasion. It did invade many other nations including of course the US."

That helps me to understand Patrick's comment.


Patrick Cowsill 提到...

I am not apologizing for Japan. In fact, I think that Japan still has a lot of apologizing to do.

What I meant was what eyedoc expressed: Japan was fenced in by the US and its allies. And with a militaristic-fascist government in Tokyo, it was going to war one way or another. Unfortunately, Taiwan's geographic (and colonial) position meant that it was getting dragged in.

I also believe that to "understand is to heal". The healing process needs sincere accountability and apologies. People should continue to press for this.