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Kamikaze statue (Read 9001 times)
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Kamikaze statue
Nov 06th, 2004, 5:24am
 
A protest movement against a statue erected as a symbol of "peace and reconciliation" is gaining momentum.  The life size statue, commemorating Japanese pilots who committed suicide by diving their airplanes into allied ships during WWII, is on display in Mabalacat, Pampanga.  Filipino journalist Alejandro R. Roces has labeled this statue "as more than a disgrace...an outright insult to the Filipino people."  He suggests the offending statue be replaced with one commemorating the guerrillas who so bravely resisted the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.  

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Re: Kamikaze statue
Reply #1 - Nov 6th, 2004, 5:29am
 
I'm on your PSHS e-mail distro because my father-in-law was a Scout. I like receiving your stuff, although the death notices always make me sad. More of our "Greatest Generation" leaving us, all too soon there'll be nobody left.

The Memorare Manila letter was the first I heard of the Kamikaze statue being erected at the site of Mabalacat Airfield. I did a quick internet search using "mabalacat kamikaze statue" and I see the press story has been picked up by a number of online news sites such as Taipei Times, Malaysian Today, World News Network, and the Philippine English-language site Malaya.com. The editorial commentary on the statue by Malaya.com (http://www.malaya.com.ph/oct31/edit.htm), though a little heavy-handed with its comparison of the Kamikaze pilots to the 9-11 terrorists, is something that should've been said by other Philippine sources including the major newspapers.

I guess the idea of using this statue to bring in yet more Japanese tourist money is more important to some Filipinos (at least the Pampanga and Tarlac tourism organizations) than remembering the atrocities and oppression that the Japanese inflicted on the country in WWII. Trouble is, when the story gets circulated throughout Southeast Asia and elsewhere, it reflects poorly on the Philippines in general that more people aren't outraged over this statue. Imagine the fire-storm of protest that would result if some group attempted to erect a statue of a Japanese Navy aviator outside the main gate at Pearl Harbor, or a statue of a German Luftwaffe pilot in downtown Warsaw, Poland. Where's that reaction from Filipinos?

Anyway, that's my two cents' worth, feel free to pass on my comments as you see fit.
Jerry Nolan
Norfolk, VA
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Re: Kamikaze statue
Reply #2 - Nov 6th, 2004, 5:35am
 
I am absolutely appalled that anyone in the Philippines would consider erecting a monument to kamikaze pilots!  The letter writer is absolutely correct when he likens such pilots to today's suicide bombers.

I hope the PSHS will find a way to support opposition to this memorial.

Read Hanmer
COL, USA (Ret)
Son of a former Philippine Scouts Officer.

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Re: Kamikaze statue
Reply #3 - Nov 6th, 2004, 5:36am
 
Mike, I never cease to be amazed. Of course most Filipinos are disgusted by this proposed statue. As a son of a former guerrilla I think the tourist information types could come up with a more appropriate recognition. God know the thousands of Filipinos who gave their lives so the islands could be free.

Malcolm Decker
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Re: Kamikaze statue
Reply #4 - Nov 6th, 2004, 5:38am
 
Mike and all,

I just read the below letter regarding the kamikaze statue in Mabalacat, Pampanga and want to provide you some input on this subject.  Since I didn't see the original article which resulted in this letter being written, I don't know the details contained therein, However:

   a.  I was stationed at Clark AB from 1977 - 1981 and from 1988 - 1991.  During both of my tours of duty, this statue was visible in Mabalacat, alongside MacArthur Highway enroute north towards Baguio.

   b.  Following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and destruction of a large geographic area of Central Luzon, specifically the area near and around Clark AB including Mabalacat and parts north, it was my understanding through discussions with friends that this statue might have been buried by mud and lahar (the material that was blown out of the volcano).  

   c.  If the statue was buried in 1991, then I can only assume that recently it might have been unearthed and that someone is now writing about it in the media which resulted in the letter to the editor reported in this email.

   d.  During the nearly eight years of my service in the Philppines between 1977 and 1991 and even during the intervening years when I was not in the Philippines, I never read a single news article or letter to the editor in any Philippine publication complaining or even acknowledging the existence of the statue.  I can't say nothing was ever written about the statue, but to my recollection, I can't recall anything about it, either from a Filipino or American.

Finally, I too have no love or desire to see a statue honoring the kamakazis, however, consider the following:  On Clark AB, there is a plaque mounted on an iron fence that has sealed off a preexisting cave to Lilly Hill.  The plaque iteself describes and honors the Negritos who fought against the Japanese defenders on CAB at Lilly Hill.  In past years when I was stationed at CAB, former W.W. II Japanese personnel and even family members of deceased Japanese defenders made annual pilgrimages to Clark AB to lay flowers at this iron fence, remembering their fallen family members.  Routinely, 13AF officials would accompany these Japanese visitors.  I don't know for sure, but it is possible even American Embassy or Japanese Embassy officials would do so also.

I think the issue of the kamakazi statue is long past and not something of major concern or interest to contemporary Filipinos although I am not against letters such as those written, below.  Of bigger concern to me is the fact that the Japanese are funding the construction of hotels and other businesses throughout the Philippines, including Corregidor.  Frankly speaking, if the modern day Philippine government is willing to take money from their former adversaries to pursue collaborative business ventures, is it surprising that a statue continues to exist remembering the kamakazis.

Ed Lawton
USAF ret (1971 - 1993)

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Re: Kamikaze statue
Reply #5 - Nov 6th, 2004, 5:40am
 
Mike:

I guess my reaction would be that we should have nothing to do with this except to say that it is highly inappropriate and an insult to all that the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society stands for in preserving the history and heritage of the Scouts, many of whom died as a result of an unjust attack by the Japanese.  

That there would be a commemoration of kamikaze pilots in the Philippines borders on the obscene.  I can't imagine that polling our members would do any more than stir up a hornets' nest.

John Patterson
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Re: Kamikaze statue
Reply #6 - Nov 6th, 2004, 5:47am
 
I can see that I have been away from the Philippines longer than I imagined.  All I can say is - unbelievable!

Aniceto
 

Aniceto I. Bagley
aibagley@juno.com
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Re: Kamikaze statue
Reply #7 - Nov 8th, 2004, 1:47am
 
Attached is a link to an article that is in favor of the Kamikaze Memorial in Mabalacat.

I do not agree with it, but think it is helpful to read if you are interested in why the memorial was built.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/FK06Dh01.html

If you follow the logic in this article than you could justify a memorial for the Waffen SS in Stalingrad.


Fred

For another article on the kamikaze statue please go to http://www.myph.com.ph/myph_explorer.htm.  Editor
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« Last Edit: Nov 8th, 2004, 9:08am by Editor-at-Large »  
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