Monday, August 8, 2011

Remember Nagasaki

I visited Nagasaki on 12-3-2011, one day after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake on 11-3-2011. My train to Nagasaki was canceled on 12-3-2011 due to the Tsunami as told by JR office. We were forced to take bus to Nagasaki. Nagasaki is an attractive port city on the island of Kyushu and the capital of Nagasaki Prefecture. My plan to Nagasaki was to the Peace Park, Site of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan, and trace the journey of St Francis Xavier in Japan, and his journey to Yamaguchi,and possibly to Kyoto. This is because he was linked to our local history in Malacca and Penang. But sad to say due to the delay in changing the transport mode, I only visited Peace Park, and Urakami Cathedral, rebuilt after its destruction in the atomic bombing. Urakami Cathedral was once the largest church in Asia.

I stayed near Meganebashi (Spectacles Bridge), bridge over the Nakashima River (中島川) was built in Nagasaki in 1634 by the Chinese monk Mozi of Kofukuji Temple.It is said to be the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan.

But I still enjoyed every moment of my stay, talking with the local folks, strolling in the city, taking the remind me of my last holiday in San Francisco, the trams, the sea, the food, and the churches...

So Nagasaki, give me many good memories, despite the earthquake and radiation fear. It is a peaceful city, friendly. I would have spent more days if I have more time. I will return one day to have more days at Nagasaki.

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On 9 August 1945, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, a nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing a total of over 100,000 people. Six days later Japan surrendered, officially ending World War II. At 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 40,000 people were killed by the bomb codenamed "Fat Man." According to statistics found within Nagasaki Peace Park, the death toll from the atomic bombing totaled 73,884, as well as another 74,909 injured, and another several hundred thousand diseased and dying due to fallout and other illness caused by radiation.

Part of Nagasaki was home to a major Imperial Japanese Navy base during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. Nagasaki became a center of heavy industry. Its main industry was ship-building, with the dockyards under control of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries becoming one of the prime contractors for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and with Nagasaki harbor used as an anchorage under the control of nearby Sasebo Naval District.

Note:Sasebo (佐世保市, Sasebo-shi) is a city located in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. Sasebo Naval District(佐世保鎮守府, Sasebo chinjufu), founded in 1886, became the major naval port for the Japanese navy in its operations in the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War, and remained a major naval base to the end of World War II. Along with the base facilities, the navy also constructed the Sasebo Naval Arsenal(佐世保海軍工廠,Sasebo Kaigun Kosho), which included major shipyards and repair facilities. After the war, part the base facilities were taken over by the United States Navy, forming U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo. Part of the base are shared with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.The U.S. Fleet Activities continued to support ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Service Force ships as well as minecraft made Sasebo their home port.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd (三菱重工業株式会社, Mitsubishi Jūkōgyō Kabushiki-kaisha), or MHI, is a Japanese company. It is one of the core companies of Mitsubishi Group.

In 1870 Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of Mitsubishi took a lease of Government-owned Nagasaki Shipyard. He named it Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, and started the shipbuilding business on a full scale. This shipbuilding business evolved into Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., which became Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. in 1934. It was the largest private firm in Japan, manufacturing ships, heavy machinery, airplanes, and railroad cars. From its inception, the Mitsubishi Nagasaki shipyards were heavily involved in contracts for the Imperial Japanese Navy.

In 1942, the battleship, "Musashi"(1942-1944)was completed by Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard(三菱重工業長崎造船所), for the Japanese Imperial Navy in the shipyard at Nagasaki. Musashi (武蔵), named after the ancient Japanese Musashi Province, was a battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II and flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet. She was the second ship of the Yamato-class. She and her sister ship, Yamato, were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed displacing 72,800 long tons (74,000 t) fully loaded, and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 in) main guns. Constructed of Musashi was from 1938–1941 and formally commissioned in the summer of 1942, Musashi served as the flagship of Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto and Mineichi Koga in 1943. Throughout 1943, Musashi remained within the naval bases at Truk Lagoon, Kure(呉市, Kure-shi, near Hiroshima. Kure was the home naval base of the largest battleship ever built, the Yamato), and Brunei, transferring between them several times in response to American air strikes on Japanese island bases. Musashi was sunk on 24 October 1944 by American carrier aircraft during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Major naval vessels built before World War II

1. 通報艦:最上 [I] (長崎での軍艦建造第1号)(Dispatch boat : best [I] (No. 1 warship construction in Nagasaki))

2. 防護巡洋艦 : 矢矧 [I] (Protected cruiser : Yahagi [I])
3. 戦艦 : 霧島 、 日向 、 土佐 (未成)、 武蔵 (Battleship : Kirishima , Hyuga , Tosa (unfinished), Musashi)
4. 重巡洋艦 : 古鷹 、 青葉 、 羽黒 、 鳥海 、 三隈 、 利根 、 筑摩( Heavy Cruiser : Takaful , Aoba , Haguro , Toriumi , Mikuma , Tone , Chikuma)
5. 軽巡洋艦 : 多摩 、 木曾 、 名取 、 川内 (Light Cruisers : Tama , Kiso , Natori , Kawauchi)
6.航空母艦 : 天城 、 笠置 (未成)、 隼鷹 、 海鷹 (改装工事) (Aircraft Carrier : Amagi , Kasagi (unfinished), falcon hawk , sea hawk (renovation))
7. 潜水母艦 : 迅鯨 、 長鯨 (Submarine tender : Fast Whale, Long whale)
8. 駆逐艦( Destroyer)

* 神風型 :白露 [I]、白雪 [I] 、白妙、 水無月 [I] (Kamikaze type : Bailu [I], Snow White [I],白妙, Minazuki [I])
* 秋月型 (乙型): 照月 、 涼月 、 新月 、 若月 、 霜月 (Akizuki type (type B): Haoyue , Ryo Mon , moon , Wakatsuki , Shimotsuki )

These connections with the military made Nagasaki a major target for bombing by the Allies in World War II.

Following the end of World War II, and the dissolution of the zaibatsu((財閥) MHI was divided into three entities: West Japan Heavy-Industries, Ltd., Central Japan Heavy-Industries, Ltd. and East Japan Heavy-Industries, Ltd. It was only re-consolidated in 1964 and reborn as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.(MHI), its former name before the war.

Nagasaki & Kokura

Kokura, center of Kitakyūshū,ukuoka Prefecture(福岡県, Fukuoka-ken),Japan. It had been the primary target of the nuclear weapon "Fat Man" on August 9, 1945, but on the morning of the raid, the city was obscured by clouds and smoke from an earlier fire-bombing of the neighboring city of Yahata. Since the mission commander Major Charles Sweeney had orders to only drop the bomb if the target was sighted, he was ordered to proceed to the secondary target of Nagasaki, where the weapon was dropped. Kokura had been the secondary target of the "Little Boy" bomb, which had been dropped three days earlier by the Enola Gay on Hiroshima. Kokura is lucky, and Nagasaki took over its place.

Nagasaki & Japanese Christianity

But Nagasaki was also the city of Christian churches, with the largest concentration of Japanese Christian there. Some US citizens questioned why Nagasaki?. Many of Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki have been proposed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. One of the place you must visit is Site of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan(日本26聖人殉教者),Nihon Nijuroku Seijin or 26 Japanese Martyr, refers to a group of Christians who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597 at Nagasaki.

The nearby Oka Masaharu Memorial Nagasaki Peace Museum is one of the few places in Japan where the war crimes of the Japanese army during the Second World War are documented.

Nagasaki is also the nearest port city to Asia. It was the place where Chinese culture and Western culture met in Japan. It is a cultural city.

Nagasaki is a very interesting city, sadly, it is the 2nd city after Hiroshima, and the last city in the world to experience a nuclear attack. But it is a city that saved Kokura from the atomic bomb, a heroic city....

Let the role played by Nagasaki as a naval base for Japanese Imperial Navy be the history of the past. Forgive but not forget, the lives lost in many countries under Japanese Imperial Army & Japanese Imperial Navy, and Japaneses militarism. Also remember the lives of innocent Japanese civilian lost, when the 2nd Atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki. The recent Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant leakage and the radiation risk should remind us the ugly face of nuclear weapon and nuclear plant..... let us remember Nagasaki, and remind us on Fukushima, another atomic bomb explosion may not be from the military action, but from civilian nuclear plant...

Remember Nagasaki for the role it played for world peace after the atomic bombing. Remember people of Nagasaki for their suffering after atomic bomb destroyed their city.

Nagasaki, now a peace city for the world....

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