Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr., at Ricochet, has a little story that seems especially relevant these days. Alas! it’s the kind of thing that people on the Left will never understand.
In 1944, a 20-year-old U.S. Marine corporal named Marvin Strombo got separated from his unit on the island of Saipan. Making his way back toward the rally point, he stumbled across the supine body of a young Japanese soldier. The man had apparently been killed by the concussion from a mortar explosion: his body was completely intact, bearing no apparent wounds. The sword at his side marked him as an officer. And poking out from underneath his jacket Strombo could see a folded Japanese flag.
Strombo hesitated but then reached out and removed the flag. It was covered with Japanese calligraphy: good-luck messages and signatures from the young officerâ€™s friends and family. Flags such as this were popular souvenirs among Allied troops, so Strombo knew that if he hadnâ€™t taken it someone else would have. But Strombo made a silent vow: â€œI knew it meant a lot to him â€¦ I made myself promise him that one day, I would give back the flag after the war was over.â€ …
a few days ago, 93-year-old Marvin Strombo made the long journey to Higashishirakawa, where he met with the surviving family and friends of the young enemy soldier whose final resting place he had seen. He was able to bring them the closure of knowing where, when, and how Yasue died; and he was able to return to them the flag they had sent with Yasue when heâ€™d gone off to war. â€œI had such a moment with your brother. I promised him one day I would return the flag to his family,â€ Strombo told them. â€œIt took a long time, but I was able to bring the flag back to you, where it belongs.â€
The Japanese were our enemies in World War II. And make no mistake: they were on the wrong side. Even the Japanese themselves know that today. Sadao Yasue was fighting for the wrong cause, defending a militaristic regime that was bent on conquest and domination of its neighbors, at the expense of its own populace. He was part of a military that, elsewhere in the same war, committed atrocities that are too horrible to contemplate.
But he was also a human being, a young man with a family and friends who loved him. People he left behind, people who had nothing to do with the war, except insofar as they suffered its miseries and the pain of his loss. Returning the flag to these people and honoring the sacrifice he made in no way undermines the outcome of the war, nor does it represent an endorsement of the evil for which he fought. It is nothing more and nothing less than an expression of human decency, a way of reaching out and acknowledging the pain of war.
In front of the courthouse at the center of my small North Carolina town is a statue of a Confederate soldier. Not a hero, not a leader, just a generic representation of the thousands of young men who went off to war and left grieving families behind. It is not an endorsement of slavery or a message of racism; it is nothing more and nothing less than a somber acknowledgement and reminder of the pain that war brought.
The next time I drive through town, I wonder if it will still be there.
A tea ceremony master was walking through the town market one day when he accidentally jostled a samurai. The samurai took great offense, but because the samurai and the tea ceremony master were of the same social caste, the samurai could not simply lop off the tea ceremony master’s head. So the samurai challenged the tea ceremony master to a duel the following dawn.
Now the tea ceremony master knew nothing of sword fighting, but was bound by honor to show up for this duel. Not wanting to embarrass himself, he went to the town sword master and asked the sword master if he could be taught to use a sword. The sword master was rather flustered, not really being able to teach much in the space of one evening. He showed how to hold a sword, how to do a basic sword stroke, and then said;
“I can teach you nothing about how to fight this evening, but I will tell you this; Go to the bridge in the morning, hold the sword thusly over your head. Think of the tea ceremony. When your opponent approaches, strike with all your might.”
The next morning at dawn the tea ceremony master stood at one end of a bridge and the samurai arrived at the other. The tea ceremony master held up his sword as he had been shown and thought of the tea ceremony. The samurai watched the tea ceremony master for a good while. Finally he bowed, turned, and walked away.
My-father-in law runs a small restaurant in a rural area of Japan for the past 30 years. It’s located in the even remote part of the town.
Because of the restaurant’s location, many customers come to avoid the crowd in the city for a nice quiet sit down meal.(food is very good by the way)
Naturally and eventually, some Yakuza members discovered this quiet establishment, for they too need a place to eat lunch and dinner to avoid crowds. So, they started to come to the restaurant frequently.
Now, my father-in-law is quite a big man for his generation: at the age of 80, he is 183cm (6’1″) tall and weighs 100kg (220lbs). Thanks to his physical feature, he is not easily intimidated, even by the Yakuza.
When one of the Yakuza members noticed his missing pinky finger, their mode suddenly changed. Missing pinky is a sign of Yakuza – whenever they commit a serious mistake (among their organization), it’s their custom to cut their finger off.
“Hey grandpa, what did you do?” one of the Yakuzas asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Your pinky finger.”
“Oh this? My finger got caught in the electric winch on my boat.”
“Yes, I am a fisherman also. I go and catch fish and sell, when the restaurant is not so busy.”
“You are not Ex-Yakuza?”
“No. Are you?”
“Yes, we are. We thought you were because your pinky is missing. We thought you slept with your boss’s wife or girlfriend. That’s when we must cut our pinky. We thought you were reckless and courageous, worth admiring.”
“Really? Why courageous?”
“Because you are reckless, we thought.”
“Why is it good to be reckless?”
“Because we cannot be. Police know what we are doing and where we are. They always have their eyes on us.