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Reconciliation, Part One

Mom_Pre_war.jpg
My favorite photo of my mom - taken several years before WWII

Earlier this week, I watched Grave of the Fireflies and it has unexpectedly stuck with me. If you're new to my blog, my Dad served in the USAF and was stationed in postwar Japan (during the occupation) when he met my mother, who is Japanese. While I was growing up, my mom didn't talk about her childhood in Tokyo except in vague terms. To say I didn't understand her back then is an understatement. But I started asking questions when I was a teenager and thirty years later . . . I'm finally beginning to understand some things.

My mom was 12 years old in April 1942 when the US first bombed Tokyo in retaliation for Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor. By 1945, B-29 bombers were being flown from China to bomb Japan, with many sorties over Tokyo. It's difficult for me to imagine being a teenager during the incendiary bombing of Tokyo; my mom shared about one incident of heading to the bomb shelter and not being able to locate her favorite cat. But it wasn't until I watched this animated, but nevertheless very accurate, depiction of incendiary bombs and the story told from the point of view of Japanese children, that I was able to begin to understand some of what she went through. I'll leave it to those of you who take the time to read through the links to reconcile your own feelings about WWII and about "war" in general. Personally, since watching the movie, my own views are beginning to change and evolve.

Actual knitting content resumes tomorrow; I've frogged nearly everything that was giving me trouble.

Comments

Thank you for this post and for this window into your mother's life, as well as yours.

Oh, Janet, I could not even finish that movie. I think I went through a whole Kleenex box and just couldn't watch anymore.

I can't say it any better than Avice. People so rarely think about "the other side" in wars (both the "enemy" and also the impact on civilians). It is always worth being reminded.

the photo of your mother is sooo sweet. it breaks my heart to imagine what she went through.

My mother (a citizen of a US Territory - Hawaii) was stranded in Tokyo during the war. She was in her teens at the time and had no family in Tokyo. The things our mothers experienced cannot be imagined!

That is definitely a super cute photo of your mom!

My mom survived bombing in Osaka, in March 1945. She was 8 years old then. I am glad I heard about it from her directly.
I have never watched that movie... avoiding it, is more correct.

Your mom sounds like a very brave lady and I know that you must be very proud of her.

I've added Grave of the Fireflies to my Netflix list. This sweet picture of your mother prompted me to look at your family ancestory posts. What a rich family heritage you have! Have you been to Tokyo?

Have fun in Seattle! I'm green with envy. I hated leaving.

She looks so happy, a great energy radiates from that grin and face.

Having heard some stories from my English and German patients, I can't imagine what living a life where you are in a city being bombed on a daily basis is like. The both spoke of the intense hungry for years during the war because of the lack of food. Truly horrible for all sides

My uncle was one of the few African-American stationed in Japan during that time. Once the people got past the stories the white soldiers told them (like he had a tail, and would eat them), he became a de facto ambassador for many of the Japanese he met and be-friended.

This did not last for long. He was court-marshaled for beating up a white officer who was about to molest a young Japanese girl. He spent the last five years of his time at Ft. Leavenworth (hey, he wasn't lynched), but actually stayed in touch with the family, upon his release.

It's a damn shame that we carry on about "the enemy" when there are so many among ourselves.

i can't even read this without crying...