It’s been 68 years since World War II came to an end. Back then, Japan and America were not just from the opposite sides of the Pacific. Both were also from opposing ideologies. Japan was part of the Axis Powers while America was on the side of the Allied Forces. But now both have become allies and historians from Pacific National Monument in Hawaii want to find out what happened to the unaccounted Japanese soldiers from the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
After the war, the bodies of Japanese soldiers recovered were repatriated to Japan. However, there were 29 airmen and 4 sailors that were never found. Without information, the soldiers were believed lost in the Pacific Ocean. However, four of the airmen were considered to be buried in unmarked graves on Ewa Beach on the island of Oahu, where Pearl Harbor is also located. “For a long time, we didn’t even know the names,” confessed Daniel Martinez, the chief historian at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Martinez added that during the early years of the post-war period, historians did not bother about the unknown soldiers “because of the nature of the attack.”
With more than half a century since Japan surrendered to America, an exhibit of names of those who died during the 1941 attack has been proposed to be presented at the visitor’s centre of the USS Arizona Memorial. Martinez believes that such gesture “will bring total closure to the casualty list that actually exists right here on our grounds.” The chief historian was also curious with how the city responded when Japanese soldiers were buried in the island, though those recovered were later repatriated to Japan.
According to accounts known to historians, there were 54 Japanese pilots who died in Hawaii on the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Twenty-five pilots and three submariners were buried at the Oahu Cemetery in Nuuʻuanu. There was also another soldier repatriated to Japan, completing 55 Japanese soldiers killed in Hawaii.
[via Asahi Shimbun]