Sunday, November 26, 2017

What about POW history?

Amb Ichiro Fujisaki
POW Reconciliation
On November 30, the Abe Administration through its Foreign Ministry's think tank, the Japan International Institute for International Studies (JIIA), will sponsor a conference in Washington, DC at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), entitled, POST-WAR U.S.-JAPAN RECONCILIATION: STRATEGIC BENEFITS OF HEALING.

Its purpose, as the Sankei Shimbun article below explains, is to present the current Japanese government's views of history.

This means it is an effort to sanitize the Japanese Administration's denier history narrative and demonization of Korea and China historical views of WWII by presenting the United States as the "good" reconcilier. However, the voices of those who actually fought for historical justice for the American POWs, civilian internees, and comfort women are not included. In fact, one of the speakers actively and destructively aided the Japanese government in delaying justice for the American POWs of Japan--Michael Armacost.

It is unlikely that the POW history of fighting for justice and memory will be represented. It is unlikely that anyone with mention that two current Japanese cabinet member, the deputy prime minister and the education minister, hail from families that owned and ran companies that requested white slaves and used Allied POW slave labor to keep their mines and factories operating during the war. It is unlikely, that anyone will question why there are still documents hidden away in the Japanese government about the POWs. It is unlikely that anyone will bring up that many of Japan's new UNESCO World Industrial Heritage sites were places of horrific working conditions and torture for American and Allied POWs.

Speakers complicit in this effort are: Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA); Michael H. Armacost, Shorenstein APARC fellow, Stanford University; Gerald L. Curtis, Burgess professor emeritus of political science at Columbia University; Thomas Berger, professor of international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University; Rohan Mukherjee, assistant professor of political science at Yale-NUS College in Singapore; Keiko Iizuka, editorialist and senior political writer for the Yomiuri Shimbun; Koichi Ai, acting director general at the Japan Institute of International Affairs; Michael R. Auslin, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Jennifer Lind, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College; Toshihiro Nakayama, Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University; Douglas H. Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; James L. Schoff, senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program.

Japan International Institute for International Studies Begins to Spread Japan's Viewpoints on History by Initiating its First International Symposium on History and Reconciliation

Sankei Shimbun, November 19, 2017 [Provisional Translation by APP Interns]

The Japan International Institute for International Studies (President and Director General Yoshiji Nogami, Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs) will hold a number of symposia overseas on the theme of "history and reconciliation.” It is the first time for JIIA, established in 1959, to hold a symposium overseas on this theme. This is an effort to disseminate overseas the arguments of the Japan side based on objective historical research on such issues as territory and comfort women that Japan has [differences] with neighboring countries.

The symposia will be held in Washington DC on November 30th; in Paris next January; and in New Delhi in February. Researchers from Japan and overseas will participate and it is expected that the latest research in Japan and the opinions of researchers from third-party countries will be presented.

In addition to underscoring the differences between regions that experienced the last world war [大戰] and other events where reconciliation has progressed and those regions where it has not, the symposia are expected also to focus discussion on nationalism in each country.

[Note: The Sankei’s text is ambiguous and written badly. The Sankei writer is hinting above that one should “look at Taiwan and the Philippines, etc., who are very cooperative with Japan despite their war experience, and compare them with the Koreans and Chinese who continue to condemn Japan.”]

The Institute held a symposium in Tokyo this October [the 12th, (Japanese only)] that invited history researchers and others from South Korea, India and the U.S. entitled “History and Reconciliation - Thinking from International Comparison.” One participant, Professor Park Yu-ha of Sejong University [not a historian], the author of the book The Empire's Comfort Women, who was charged [and convicted] of defamation against the several former Comfort Women, said, “The background of the comfort women issue as a major problem between Japan and South Korea can be traced to the fact that the ideological conflict between the left and right in South Korea is closely linked to their views of Korean history as related to Japan.” [i.e., Park is saying that the Korean Left is anti-Japanese and the Right is pro-Japanese]

With an unfair “history war” developing abroad, a JIIA official noted, “We hope that these symposia can spread the data [correct historical evidence] that Japan has accumulated so far in order to appeal to the hearts of people in the West and elsewhere.


>Japan Institute of International Affairs caves to right-wing pressure. 2006/2007

The Struggle for the Japanese Soul: Komori Yoshihisa, Sankei Shimbun, and the JIIA controversy By David McNeill, Japan Focus, September 4, 2006.

Softly, Softly: Did the Japan Institute of International Affairs buckle under right-wing pressure? No, says Ambassador Satoh Yukio. Yes, say his critics by David McNeill; Fred Varcoe interviews Amb. Satoh Yukio, Japan Focus, July 3, 2007.


Part I: "Case Studies on Reconciliation" [Video]

Mr. Brahma Chellaney, Professor, Strategic Studies, Center for Policy Research in New Delhi

Ms. Lily Gardner Feldman, Senior Fellow, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies(AICGS), Johns Hopkins

Mr. Fumiaki Kubo, Senior Fellow, American Government and History, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, University of Tokyo

Mr. Nobukatsu Kanehara, Deputy Secretary General of National Security Secretariat and Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office of Japan

Part II: "What Promotes and Prevents Reconciliation?"

Ms. Yinan He, Associate professor, Department of International Relations, Lehigh University

Ms. Ji Young Kim, Associate Professor, Department of Area Studies, University of Tokyo

Mr. Kazuya Sakamoto, Professor, Department of Law and Political Science, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University

Mr. Thongchai Winichakul, Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian History, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Part III: "Reconciliation and Nationalism"

Mr. Yūichi Hosoya, Senior Fellow, Tokyo Foundation, Professor, Faculty of Law, Keio University.

Mr. Lung-chih Chang, Associate Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Institute of Taiwan History

Mr. Daqing Yang, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, GWU

Ms. Yu-ha Park, Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Sejong University

Mr. Shin Kawashima, Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo

Monday, November 13, 2017

Orphans complete their fathers' journey

Unique to the 9th POW Delegation to Japan, is the presence of two orphans of POWs, Joseph Brown and John Whitehurst who never knew their fathers who were imprisoned in the Philippines and died in the sinking of the Hellship Arisan Maru on October 11, 1944.

While in Japan, both men joined with members of the delegation to speak to students at Temple University in Tokyo on October 5, 2017. Below is a video of the presentation as well as profiles of their fathers. Never forgotten.

Joseph Brown, 75, the youngest son of the late Charles D. Brown lives in Temecula, California. He was born in Manila on March 3, 1942 in the midst of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. He is a Vietnam veteran with a career in law enforcement who has participated 13 times in the White Sands, New Mexico Bataan Memorial Death March and attended this year’s 75th anniversary ceremonies in the Philippines for the Bataan Death March. He carries with him a bracelet his father crafted for his first birthday while in POW camp on the Philippines.

Charles D. Brown was born June 6, 1903 in Monterey, Mexico while his father was a doctor for the Mexican National Railway. The family returned to Brownsville, Texas where he attended high school and worked in a number of clerical positions before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1932. Sent to the Philippines, Brown was assigned to the 31st Infantry Regiment, stationed at Fort Santiago with the regimental headquarters in Manila. By 1941, the 25th anniversary of the regiment, he was a Staff Sergeant and a member of the Color Guard.

In April 1937, he married Lolita Penabella, a Spanish citizen whose family were residents of Manila. They had four children with the youngest, Joseph, born three months after the war started. Brown last saw his pregnant wife and three children—Loretta, Charles and Elizabeth—on December 26, 1941. At the war’s start, he was promoted to Warrant Officer and was part of the 31st Infantry’s planned defense of U.S. forces’ withdrawal into the Bataan Peninsula.

On April 9, 1942, Major General Edward King surrendered the peninsula to Japanese forces. This was the start of the 65-mile Bataan Death March of over 75,000 sick and starving American and Filipino POWs up from the tip of Bataan to the train junction at San Fernando. In the words of Colonel Harold W. Glattly, the chief Luzon Force surgeon, the men were “patients rather than prisoners.” This ordeal compounded by the guards withholding water, food, and rest while randomly beating, stabbing, and murdering the men extended the transfer north from days into weeks.

At San Fernando, the survivors received a bowl of rice each and some water, before being jammed standing into unventilated boxcars for a 24-mile journey into the Tarlac Province. From the station, the dazed men walked another 3.5 miles to Camp O’Donnell. Including the men, who died in the boxcars, as many as 650 Americans and 5,000 to 10,000 Filipinos perished on the March. Camp O’Donnell was a half-completed training camp for Philippine Army recruits. Its bamboo and nipa structures had unfinished roofs and unconnected water pipes. No utilities had been installed, and the septic system was only partially complete. Situated in the barren piedmont of the Zambales Mountains, the camp was surrounded by a heavy growth of mosquito-infested cogon grass. Here the over 10,000 American and 50,000 Filipino survivors of the Death March endured days of burning sun without adequate food, water, or medicine. It is estimated that 1,550 Americans and 22,000 Filipinos died at Camp O’Donnell, the overwhelming majority within the first eight weeks.

After most Americans were moved from Camp O’Donnell to Camp Cabanatuan in June 1942, Brown he and others did agricultural slave labor. On his son’s first birthday, he crafted him a bracelet from an aluminum scrap that he inscribed, “J.W. Brown, Daddy 3-3-43.” He gave it to Fr. Theodore (Padre Doro) Buttenbruch SVD, the first priest of The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, who was working with his wife to smuggle money, tobacco, and medicine to the POWs. The bracelet was successfully delivered. Fr. Buttenbruch, however, was eventually caught by the Kempeitai and executed.

On October 11, 1944, he and 1,781 other prisoners were loaded into two holds of the Mitsui-built “Hell ship” Arisan Maru. To avoid air raids, the freighter first sailed south from Manila to Palawan and then back. The Arisan Maru left Manila October 21 in convoy of seven ships for Formosa and Japan. On October 24th, some 225 miles from Formosa in the Bashi Strait, the convoy was attacked by three submarine wolfpacks. It is believed that the Arisan Maru was torpedoed and sunk by either the USS Shark II (SS-314) or the USS Snook (SS-279). The Japanese guards cut the rope ladders to the holds. The abandoned men eventually found their way to the deck only to drown in the choppy, cold water. Sailors from nearby Japanese destroyers clubbed and machine-gunned American survivors in the water and the ships deliberately pulled away from the men struggling to reach them. In all, there were 1,773 POW casualties. A Japanese freighter later picked up four survivors. Another five managed to find an abandoned lifeboat, a sail, a water barrel, and a box of hardtack. Miraculously, they navigated to China and Chinese guerrillas who brought them to American forces in Kunming.

Brown’s wife and four children were considered Spanish citizens, and thus, never interned during the war. They survived the Battle of Manila and sailed to the United States in September 1945 aboard the USS Admiral E. W. Eberle (AP-123) to Tacoma, Washington. Following Charles Brown’s wishes, the family went to Horton, Kansas to live with his sister Bessie.

A memorial marker to Warrant Officer Brown is in the Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego California. His name is also engraved upon the Walls of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery.

Philippines POW#: 1-7548
Congressman: Duncan Hunter (R-CA 50th)

John Collin Whitehurst, 76, the only child of the late Collin B. Whitehurst, was born October 28, 1940 in Manila. His mother Rose and he were evacuated from the Philippines with other military families on May 5, 1941 and he has lived mostly in Texas since 1942. He worked as an accountant before finding his true passion in social work. He has attended American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society conventions since 2002 and is currently on their Board of Directors. He has returned to the Philippines twice, in 2002 and in January 2006 when he attended the dedication of the Hell Ship Memorial at Subic Bay.

Collin B. Whitehurst, Jr. was born on February 3, 1914 in Richmond, Virginia. He grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio graduating from Hughes High School in 1932. He attended the University of Cincinnati, but in 1934 received an appointment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. At the Academy, he was in the Chapel Choir all four years, the Glee Club for one year, Manager of Goat Football for two years, and a Pistol Marksman. He enjoyed West Point and graduated 300 out of 301. His first assignment after graduation in 1938 was to Fort Thomas, Kentucky, with Headquarters Company, 10th Infantry Regiment. In December 1939, he married an officer’s daughter, Rose Eva Knuebel, daughter of Colonel and Mrs. John H. Knuebel. They sailed for the Philippines in June 1940.

First stationed at Fort McKinley near Manila, he was assigned to 45th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Scouts. At the end of August 1941, Whitehurst was sent temporarily to the 81st Infantry Regiment, Philippine Army, as an instructor on Bohol, an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas. Later that fall, he was with the Ninth Military District on Leyte supervising inter-island shipping. Promoted to Major on December 19, 1941, after the war began, he was assigned to the staff of the Commanding General of the Visayan-Mindanao Force, Major General William F. Sharp on Mindanao.

General Sharp, with great reluctance and under the threat of a massacre of all the POWs on Corregidor, surrendered his forces on Mindanao on May 10, 1942. Upon surrender, Whitehurst entrusted his West Point ring to Rev. J. E. Haggerty who was the Headquarters Chaplain. Haggerty reverted to civilian status and served as chaplain to recognized guerilla forces under the legendary Colonel Wendell W. Fertig. Haggerty returned the ring to Whitehurst’s widow after the war.

Whitehurst and the POWs on Mindanao were first kept at Camp Casisang south of Malaybalay and then to the Davao Penal Colony #502 (DAPECOL). During the 21 months Whitehurst was imprisoned at Davao, he became close friends with the acting Episcopalian chaplain, Capt. John J. Morrett (d. 2011). Together, they organized and trained a choir for religious services that helped lift the spirits of the camp.

In June 1944, some 1,200 of the Davao Penal Colony POWs were moved to Manila for dispersal to other work sites on Luzon or in Japan. Whitehurst was briefly held at Bilibid Prison and then at Cabanatuan where he was again doing agriculture labor. On October 11, 1944, he and 1,781 prisoners were loaded into two holds of the Mitsui-built “Hell ship” Arisan Maru. The holds, with one holding some coal, were so small that the men first had to stand. Room was created by the deaths of men from heat and disease. To avoid air raids, the freighter first sailed south from Manila to Palawan and then back. The Arisan Maru finally left Manila on October 21 in a convoy of seven ships for Formosa and Japan. On October 24, some 225 miles from Formosa in the Bashi Strait the convoy was attacked by three American submarine wolfpacks. It is believed that the Arisan Maru was torpedoed and sunk possibly by either the USS Shark II (SS-314) or the USS Snook (SS-279). The Japanese guards cut the rope ladders to the holds. The abandoned men eventually found their way to the deck only to drown in the choppy, cold water. Sailors from nearby Japanese destroyers clubbed and machine-gunned American survivors in the water and the ships deliberately pulled away from the men struggling to reach them. In all, there were 1,773 POW casualties and only nine survivors.

Following his liberation, Major General William F. Sharp, commander, Visayan-Mindanao Force, wrote to Whitehurst’s parents: “Your son was a fine, loyal officer who did excellent work while serving with my Command. He was always cheerful and willing; he made a lasting impression on all with whom he came into contact. Collin’s spirit never wavered during the long months of his imprisonment. We few still living who knew him cherish his memory.”

The Whitehurst family on October 25, 2004, 60 years and a day after Major Collin Whitehurst’s death on the Arisan Maru, dedicated a memorial marker in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery commemorating his life and service. His name is also engraved on the Walls of the Missing in the Manila American Cemetery.

Philippines POW#: 2-0235s
Congressman: Joaquin Castro (D-TX 20th) 

9th American POW Delegation to Japan

Chamberlain featured in this book
click to order
From September 30 - October 11, 2017,  nine Americans journeyed to Japan to recover their past. They were part of the 9th delegation of Americans who were POWs or families of POWs who were guests of the Japanese government. In 2009, the Obama Administration persuaded the Japanese to initiate a program of reconciliation with the American POWs of Japan, one of the many groups of people who were dependent upon Imperial Japan's care and instead received unimaginable abuse. Secretary of State Clinton wanted to help a unique cohort of American veterans who had been ignored by previous administrations as well as present the Japanese with a template toward reconciliation. The first trip was in October 2010.

Whereas the first trip was composed entirely of POWs, their wives, and caregivers, this trip included only one former POW.  His profile is below. His biggest wish was to see the mine where he suffered so much as a slave laborer. It is said that his eyes welled with tears when Mitsubishi Materials company officials escorted him to the mine's entrance and apologized.

American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society works with the U.S. State Department and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Henry Tilden Chamberlain, 95, is a resident of Edmunds, Washington. His daughter Rebecca Chamberlain, 56, who accompanied him to Japan was born in Okinawa, Japan at the Kadena Air Base. She is a real estate agent in the Seattle region.

Mr. Chamberlain was born on the family’s kitchen table June 6, 1922 in Morse Bluff, Nebraska. An only child, he moved with his mother after his parents’ divorce to Omaha, Nebraska. Needing to earn a living, he dropped out of high school to work as a messenger for Paxton & Gallagher Wholesale Grocery in Omaha. On his 18th birthday (June 6, 1940), he enlisted in the United States Army at Fort Crook, outside Omaha. He received his basic training at McChord Field near Tacoma, Washington and Fort George Wright in Spokane, Washington. His surgical school training was at Fort Lewis, the precursor of today’s Madigan Army Medical Center.

Chamberlain was sent to Philippines from San Francisco aboard the USAT Willard A. Holbrook in October 1941. He first served at the hospital at Fort William McKinley, but was soon stationed at what was considered, if war were to break out, a neutral medical facility, Sternberg General Hospital in Manila as a surgical technician. There was a mistaken belief that the Japanese would not bomb a hospital. After the Japanese attacked the Philippines on December 8, 1941, Sternberg was shelled and evacuated in three phases starting on December 22nd. One group went to Bataan General Hospital #1 and another with patients to Corregidor Island. Chamberlain was with the third group that went by boat to Bataan General Hospital #2 along the Real River near Cabcaben and commanded by Col James O. Gillepsie and surgeon Lt Col Jack Schwartz. It was less a “hospital” than a sprawling outdoor facility with a few tents and natural canopies of bamboo, mahogany, and acacia for shade and cover.

Although under constant shelling and fast running out to food and medicines, Hospital #2’s patients, including wounded Japanese, swelled to thousands, possibly as many as 20,000. According to a U.S. Army study, in the last weeks of the Battle of Bataan most of the new admittees suffered from malaria, dysentery, malnutrition, and exhaustion. There were 150 non-battle-related deaths per day due to disease and malnutrition.

Upon surrender, the Japanese looted the Hospital of food and medicine and the patients of their personal possessions. An American woman volunteer at the Hospital too ill to be evacuated was gang-raped. The Japanese soon encircled the Hospital with artillery aimed at Corregidor making the site a target for Corregidor’s great guns. Filipino patients were immediately forced leave, which resulted in their becoming part of the Bataan Death March. Most of these men soon died.

Remaining patients and staff were removed toward the end of May north to Cabanatuan #1. Chamberlain, sick with malaria and dysentery, remembers little of this transfer that included a truck ride to Bilibid Prison, a suffocating cattle car train trip to Cabanatuan City, and a delirious march to the Camp. There he was a medic at Zero Ward, where men were sent to die. Without medicines or food, there was little he could do. When his frustration met its limit, his momentary defiance was met by a savage beating and deep cigar burns. He volunteered for the diphtheria ward as he had immunity from childhood and it was where the Japanese guards did not venture.

After, over two years at the Cabanatuan POW camps assisting the medical team as well as doing subsistence farming, he was among 1,100 POWs on October 1, 1944 loaded atop coal or horse feces in the holds of the “Hell ship” Hokusen Maru (called the Benjo “toilet” Maru by the POWs) in Manila. It turned into one of the longest “Hell ship” voyages of the war. The voyage to Moiji, Japan via Hong Kong and Formosa was marked American submarine and air attacks. As a substitute for water that was rarely sent down the hold, Chamberlain would mop up the condensation on the wall of the hull. The heat and filth in the hold paired with beriberi, dysentery, bronchitis, pneumonia and starvation to accelerate the death rate. Funeral services were not allowed for the dead who were sent overboard.

On Formosa, Chamberlain was among the POWs taken in early November to the Toroku POW Camp (today the site of Gouba Elementary School, Touliou) to recover from the trip's ordeal while doing subsistence gardening and work at a sugar mill. In late January, the survivors departed for Japan aboard the Enoshima Maru. At the Port of Moji, he was sent north to Hosokura near Sendai to mine lead and zinc at Mitsubishi Mining’s Sendai #3-B POW camp. Today, the site is the Hosokura Mine Park and displays a plaque by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation memorializing the POWs who were slave laborers at the mine.

Rescued on September 12th, he was taken to a hospital ship at Sendai and then on to the Philippines and to Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. He fondly remembers a black WAC who devoted herself to taking extra care of the POWs on her ward. Altogether he had over a year of covalence to recover from malaria, dysentery, and PTSD. However, he found life in the U.S., free from strict expectations, difficult. As a result, he stayed in the Army, eventually transferring to the new U.S. Air Force. Stationed at Fort George Wright, he met Dorothy, a surgical technician with the Women's Army Corps (WAC), who he married November 14, 1947. Married for 60 years, they lived around the world, including a tour in Okinawa where their youngest of seven children was born. Dorothy passed away in 2007.

After 28 years in the Air Force, Chamberlain retired as a Senior master sergeant (SMSgt), with 100% disability due to the conditions he suffered as a POW. He returned to western Washington where he finished his B.A. degree through the University of Maryland, College of Special and Continuation Studies, which the first university to send faculty overseas to educate active-duty military personnel. For 15 years, he was the National Service Officer for the American Ex-POW organization (AXPOW).

Philippines POW#: 1-07704
Japan POW#: 999

Congressman: daughter, Rick Larsen (D-WA),
Congressman: father, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA),

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day - Lest we forget

Memorial at Cabanatuan

Support S Res 138 and H Res 261 to remember the 
75th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March
Call your Senator and Congressman