American museums also supplied valuable resources for the
two web sites. Several curators at museums with Japanese Friendship Dolls
supplied me with photos, articles, and other information. A visit to the 2002
exhibit of 12 original Japanese and American Friendship Dolls at the Japanese
American National Museum in Los Angeles gave me the opportunity to meet several
experts on the subject. As part of the
research for this project on Kamikaze Images, I first stepped on board an aircraft carrier when I
visited the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. This ship's immense size and sturdy construction let
me understand firsthand how the Intrepid survived five hits by kamikaze
Japanese Friendship Doll
sent to U.S. in 1927
Many people in Japan, including journalists, museum
workers, veterans, and authors, have given me a remarkable amount of resource
material on the topics of Kamikaze Images and Friendship Dolls. With the valuable materials provided to me from Japan, I
still have numerous ideas and resources for new web pages to be added to each
research also involved searching the Internet and establishing contacts with creators
of Japanese sites and web pages on the two subjects. This collaboration with
Japanese authorities on kamikaze and Friendship Dolls has provided me many
insights that could not be obtained just by reading.
I have a special interest in how Japanese teachers present
the topic of war and peace to schoolchildren. Many elementary schools use the
story of the destruction and burning of the Friendship Dolls during World War II
to illustrate the bravery of the few teachers who managed to save them. Teachers
in today's schools also emphasize the goals of the original doll exchange: peace, friendship, and
international understanding. Starting in the 1990s, a growing number of Japanese
schools have lessons about kamikaze pilots for students as young as children in upper-elementary grades. This web site has a section that discusses these lessons
and also reviews children's books related to kamikaze pilots.
Translation - Both web sites rely heavily on
information published in Japanese, including books and web pages. Although very
difficult to quantify, I estimate there exists about 20 to 50 times more
information in Japanese than in English related to both special attack corps and
Although several books have been published in English on
kamikaze and other special attack corps, many stories and details on this
subject remain unavailable to English readers. In addition to this web site's
main objective to explore Japanese and American perceptions of kamikaze, I have
also tried to present different types of stories and information not published
previously in English.
In comparison to special attack forces, the topic of
Japanese-American Friendship Dolls has much less material published in English,
especially on the Internet. Therefore, many opportunities exist to translate
Japanese articles and web pages that contain new information for English
Several large Japanese web sites cover the topics of
Friendship Dolls and special attack corps. In contrast, although
English-language web pages cover these two subjects, there is no other
comprehensive English web site prepared by an American on either of these two
areas. However, two Japanese sites, one on kamikaze and another on kaiten
(manned torpedo used in suicide attacks), have many translated pages in an
attempt to provide information on special attack forces through the Internet.
Angles and Links - The topics of Kamikaze Images and
Friendship Dolls both have countless angles that can be turned into articles or
web pages. Each doll has a distinct history, and many people have their own
individual stories about a specific doll. In much the same way, each kamikaze
pilot has his own history, and bereaved family members and other people who knew
the pilot also may have their own stories. Moreover, many kamikaze pilots and
other special attack corps members were waiting for attack orders or were in
training when the war ended, and these people also have individual accounts about
Local newspaper articles provide a valuable source of
information for both the special attack corps and Friendship Dolls. Journalists
often try to link local residents to historical events, and both topics provide
many opportunities for this. On August 15, the anniversary of the end of World War II,
many Japanese local newspapers publish articles on residents' wartime
experiences, including those of former kamikaze pilots or those of bereaved
family members or war comrades of pilots who died. As another example, Japanese
elementary schools and kindergartens often call local newspaper and television
reporters when they hold events related to their Friendship Dolls.
Many relationships exist between various pieces of
information about Kamikaze Images and Friendship Dolls. Therefore, the
ability to link to other web pages on the same site or to pages on external web
sites allows readers to better understand these connections. If other web pages
cover a specific area related to my two sites, I have tried to link to these
pages rather than duplicating the information.
Since so many different potential stories and topics exist
for individual web pages, I have tried to develop a flexible structure for both
web sites to allow pages to be added indefinitely.
Intersections - During my 2004 trip
to Japan, a former kamikaze pilot who lives in Kagoshima City accompanied me
when I gave a talk to children at a juvenile protective care facility with a new
Friendship Doll from America. As I did the research for this web site on
Kamikaze Images, I found a few points where the
stories of kamikaze pilots and Friendship Dolls intersect.
In one example, Shigeo Imamura, the son of Japanese
up in California until 1932 when at the age of ten he moved with his parents to
Japan. He later became commander of a kamikaze squadron in the Japanese Navy.
Imamura (2001, 6-7) saw the Japanese Friendship Dolls in San
Francisco when eight of them visited Kinmon Gakuen (Golden Gate School) in 1927.
When he moved to Japan in 1932, he become good friends with one of the grandsons
of Sidney Gulick, who organized the Friendship Doll Project in 1926 and 1927
(Imamura 2001, 23-5).
Japanese Friendship Dolls with kindergarten children in auditorium
of Kinmon Gakuen (Golden Gate School) in San Francisco (1927)
The 1993 documentary novel Gekkou no Natsu (Summer
of the Moonlight Sonata) tells the story of two kamikaze pilots who visited an
elementary school near their Army air base in 1945. One pilot who had studied
piano played Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata on the grand piano at the school, and
the students warmly said goodbye to the two young men as they departed. The teacher who
had heard the kamikaze pilot play Moonlight Sonata found out in 1989 that
the school wanted to get rid of the old grand piano. She told a school assembly
of her great love for the piano and of its historical significance, so the
school decided to have the piano restored to its original condition.
The novel Gekkou no Natsu (Mori 1995, 141-5) also
relates the story of this same teacher's great sorrow during the war when the vice-principal
burned her school's Friendship Doll from America. This teacher had seen the
blond-haired American doll in a dress with white lace frills stored in a wooden
box in the principal's office with the words "Mary, Massachusetts"
written on the outside. Many of the American dolls cried out "mama" when moved,
which the doll did as the vice-principal burned it for being a spy from
the enemy. Sometimes when the teacher's two daughters said "mama," she
remembered Mary's fate with sadness. After she heard that the school where she
had taught also planned in 1989 to get rid of the grand piano on which the kamikaze
pilot had played the Moonlight Sonata, she sadly remembered back to the war years when
she could not stop the school's Friendship Doll from being destroyed.
Imamura, Shigeo. 2001. Shig:
The True Story of an American Kamikaze. Baltimore: American Literary
Mori, Tsuneyuki. 1995. Gekkou no Natsu (Summer of the Moonlight Sonata).
Shirai, Atsushi. 2002. Tokkoutai to wa nan datta no ka (What
were the special attack forces?). In Ima tokkoutai no shi o kangaeru
(Thinking now about death of special attack force members), Iwanami Booklet No.
572, edited by Atsushi Shirai. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.