Japan Submits Kamikaze Letters to be World Heritage Artifacts

The residents of a Japanese city have filed over 300 last letters sent by kamikaze pilots in UNESCO for the Memory of the World Register program.

The mayor of Minamikyushu, which is the home of the pilots who carried out suicide missions against allied ships during the Second World War, stated that he wanted the letters to make people think of the tragedies of war and the serenity of peace.

There is a question of how the letters could evoke peace. Kamikaze suicide pilots were thought to be insane creatures of Japan’s past military training. The pilots were fanatic spiritual followers of the horrific policy and were parts of Japan’s war machines. Minamikyushu City officials should know that UNESCO has recognized Auschwitz Burkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp in Poland as a site of world heritage and it exposes Nazi Germany’s war crimes. It cannot be denied in Japan, that even after the war-reflection statement given by then Prime Minister, Tomiichi Murayama was released, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial was also listed as world heritage.

The letters, as well as other items such as a historical Japanese army flag, a military sword and bloodletters that were collected in the Chiran Peace Museum, only serve as a reminder of the extreme grief caused by Japan’s wrong-doings during the Second World War. Most of the items in the collections depict more of the country’s harsh militarism. Many hope that UNESCO will turn down the application for the kamikaze letters; however, if it succeeds, the letters could be on par with Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf. These writings would serve as world memory and the Yasukuni Shrine would be world heritage.

The efforts to whitewash Japan’s brutal war practices reflect on the Japanese society. It is deemed to be a way of right-deviation and it could be dangerous for the world because it is ignoring history. Japan plans on listing some of the modern industrial heritage sites in Kyushu and Yamaguchi as UNESCO’s world heritage. Never mind the fact that these sites were built with slave labor from the Chinese and South Koreans.

Xinhuanet believes that these efforts to cover up the crimes committed by Japanese rightists will disgrace the country itself.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE