HORSE’S MOUTH: Gen. MacArthur’s Feelings About Emperor

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Well, I’m glad i can make some people laugh and I’m also glad that the readers of The Rafu are scattered all over the country.

That was my reaction when I received an email from a reader in Arkansas from subscriber Howard Lee Kilby, who wrote: “Here is what I thought after reading your recent column. I haven’t laughed all day. Then, reading Horse’s Mouth, I laughed seven times. It’s almost haiku.”

Thanks, Howard. Your email made me laugh, too. But not all day.

One thing I’m always curious about is how someone living in Arkansas (and not of JA ethnicity) came to subscribe to The Rafu Shimpo.

Maybe during the war when the government established two relocation centers in Arkansas (Jerome and Rohwer), Howard became acquainted with the Japanese Americans who were interned in the camp.

Well, maybe I’ll hear from him again.

Gee, it’s that time of year again. How time passes.

I’m referring to the grand opening kickoff for the 72nd Nisei Week Festival held this past Sunday at the Japanese American National Museum.

It was an invitation-only event with the key attraction being the introduction of the Nisei Week Queen candidates. Seven young ladies vying for the tiara were introduced to those who attended the gathering.

Aside from seeing their photos in the Tuesday edition of The Rafu, I can’t make any comments on the candidates since I wasn’t invited to attend the affair.

In the old days (about 20 years ago), I never missed events where the queen candidates were being introduced, but I guess it’s just another indication of the changing times.

As expected, two of the seven candidates for this year’s race have Anglo surnmaes: Erika Fisher and Michi Folick.

The queen for 2011 was Erika Olsen, whom I knew when she was a teenager and vocal student under the tutelage of the late Sue Okabe of Gardena.

In recent years, a number of queens who have reigned over the festival have had Anglo surnames, which is the sign of the times.

Yeah, my not being invited to a Nisei Week event is also a sign of the times.

Let’s face it. I’m past my prime and most of the current generation would ask, “Who’s he?”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard the following story before even though I served in Japan with Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Occupation Forces after the end of the Pacific War, so I thought Japanese Americans who also missed it might find the tale more than casually interesting.

It’s about the surrender of Emperor Hirohito to Gen. MacArthur nearly 67 years ago. This is the story.

In his memoirs, MacArthur wrote about his first meeting with Emperor Hirohito at the conclusion of the Second World War:

“Shortly after my arrival in Tokyo I was urged by members of my staff to summon Emperor Hirohito to my headquarters as a show of power. I brushed aside the suggestion. To do so, I explained, would be to outrage the feelings of Japanese people and make a martyr of the Emperor in their eyes. No, I shall wait and in time, the Emperor will voluntarily come to see me. In this case, the patience of the East, rather than the haste of the West, will best serve our purpose.

“The Emperor did indeed shortly request an interview. In a cutaway, striped trousers and top hat, riding in his Daimler with the imperial grand chamberlain facing him on the jump seat, Hirohito arrived at the embassy.

“I met him cordially and recalled that I had at one time been received by his father at the close of the Russo-Japanese War. He was nervous and the stress of the past months showed plainly. I dismissed everyone but his own interpreter and we sat down before an open fire at the end of the long reception hall. I offered him an American cigarette, which he took with thanks. I noticed how his hands shook as I lighted it for him.

“I tried to make it easy for him as I could, but I knew how deep and dreadful it must be in agony and humiliation. I had an uneasy feeling he might plead his own cause against indictment as a war criminal.

“There had been considerable outcry from some of the Allies, notably the Russians and the British, to include him in this category. Indeed, the initial list of those proposed by them was headed by the Emperor’s name. Realizing the tragic consequences that would follow such an unjust action, I stoutly resisted such efforts.

“When Washington seemed to be veering toward the British point of view, I had advised that I would need at least one million reinforcements should such action be taken. I believed that if the Emperor were indicted and perhaps hanged as a war criminal, military government would have to be instituted throughout all Japan and guerrilla warfare would probably break out.

“The Emperor’s name had then been stricken from the list. But of all this he knew nothing. But my fears were groundless. What he said was, ‘I come to you, Gen. MacArthur, to offer myself to the judgment of the power you represent as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of the war.’

“A tremendous impression swept me. This courageous assumption of a responsibility implicit with death, responsibility clearly belied by the facts of which I was fully aware, moved me to the very marrow of my bones. He was the Emperor by inherent birth but in that instant, I knew I faced the First Gentleman of Japan in his own right.”

I hope the readers find this story by the renowned general of interest.

I’m sure it’s been published somewhere, but I don’t ever recall reading it until it was emailed to me by a reader.

Perhaps I find it of more interest to me because I served in Japan during the occupation under the command of MacArthur and never heard of the general’s feelings about the emperor.

Well, the foregoing article has a dateline 67 years old.

In another month, it will also be the 67th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It was announced that 73 countries will send envoys to the Aug. 6 ceremony to mark the anniversary. The U.S., Russia and France have yet to respond to the invitation extended by Hiroshima.

The record number of envoys for the annual event was 74 in 2010.

The 45-minute ceremony starts at 8 a.m. in the Peace Memorial Park.

The Nagasaki Peace Memorial Hall plans to display the belongings of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who survived the atomic bombing. Nine items belonging to Yamaguchi, including a notebook with tanka on his wish for peace as well as scripts for speeches on his experiences, will be displayed from Aug. 9 to Oct. 9.

While still in a Japanese atmosphere, here’s a story about a Japan Burger King customer named Mr. Sato, who was allowed to ask for an extra 15 strips of bacon on his order. However, it wasn’t enough, so he ordered one with even more bacon strips. To be exact, 1,050 strips.

But Sato-san wasn’t done with Burger King.

According to Rocket News, Sato-san recently ordered a Whopper topped with 1,000 slices of cheese. The report said he gave Burger King three days’ notice about his unconventional order.

The price of the special order was not revealed, but with all the extra cheese, the burger weighed approximately 25 pounds with a whopping 45,661 calories.

To make transporting the behemoth burger possible, Burger King had to tape together several sheets of wrapping paper and provided Mr. Sato with some plastic trays and a frame for the burger made out of cardboard drink carriers.

Mr. Sato did not consume the huge order by himself, but he did get through an impressive 350 slices of cheese before stating, “It tastes good, but if I eat any more, I won’t have room for dinner.”

Who could eat a Whopper topped with 1,000 slices of cheese?

This piece might make Maggie smile.

Only thing is, this story is about Maggi rather than Maggie.

At any rate, Maggi Company from Europe, where the product is quite popular, has introduced its product to the U.S. at the 7-11 stores.

It’s a device that produces steaming hot mashed potatoes. When activated, the machine squirts them out.

One order runs a buck.

The dispenser is described as one of the strangest seen in any store.

Many 7-11 store patrons who have tried it think the hot mashed potatoes are an ideal lunch product.

Hey, there’s a 7-11 in Gardena, not far from my house. Maybe if they install a Maggi machine, I’ll give it a try.

Laugh time:

A sweet grandmother telephoned the hospital. She timidly asked, “Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?”

The operator said, “I’ll be glad to help, dear. What’s the name and room number of the patient?”

The grandmother, in her weak and tremulous voice, said, “Norma Findlay, Room 302.”

The operator replied, “Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse’s station for that room.”

A few minutes later, the operator returned to the phone and said, “I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine, her blood work just came back normal, and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow.”

The grandmother said, “Thank you. That’s wonderful news. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news.”

The operator replied, “You’re more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?”

The grandmother said, “No, I’m Normal Findlay in Room 302. No one ever tells me anything.”

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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