Kuniko Katz's essays,
articles and letters to the editors|
Remembering Pearl Harbour and
Scarsdale Inquirer, Feb. 2, 1992
To the Editor:
Philip Nobile said at the Scarsdale Village Hall meeting held on Jan. 28
that Scarsdale should apologize for the US government's dropping the atomic
bombs on Japan. He told the board that Scarsdale's large Japanese population
made it the perfect place to start a grassroots apology movement.
To this, Mayor McCreery and Trustee Schroeder said later that the board
would not take any action because it believed that foreign policy is not
something upon which a village government should comment. I agree with the
board's decision. Although I appreciate Mr. Nobile's sensitive plea, I don't
believe that America should apologize for the bombing of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. 1 also feel that any grassroots movement should be initiated
without government involvement at any level. How then can we respond to Mr.
Nobile's plea? I think I have some answers to this through my recent
On Dec. 8. the day after the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbour, 1 attended a
special joint service held at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church. In his sermon,
Dr. Robert MacLennan, the pastor, told us that "we gather here to remember
the so‑called day of infamy and to work toward the day of harmony." The Rev.
Yuri Ando of the Japanese Union Church wrote in a statement of intention
that "we are gathered here to mourn for those who were killed in the attack
on Pearl Harbour 50 years ago. We gather to remember and feel the pain of
those who were killed and wounded by our country's military power in Asia
during the course of Japanese aggression which led to the Second World War."
After the service, I spoke to a number of Japanese who attended. They all
felt grateful to be invited to mourn with their American friends and
neighbours. "Until this year," one of them said, "the anniversary of Pearl
Harbor was a day to be remembered by Americans, but for the Japanese, this
was a day to feel very uncomfortable." "However," she said, "by mourning
with the Americans, the day became mine to remember too."
She said that if more Japanese felt that way, Dec. 7 could eventually become
a day to be commemorated jointly in the US and Japan. She said that only
then could the Japanese ask Americans to pray with them for the souls of the
people who were killed in the bombings.
Every year during the Jewish high holy days, prayers are said in memory of
all those who died in past wars, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By
attending the joint service, I thought that Hitchcock Church's invitation to
the Japanese community was another step toward the beginning of a grassroots
movement to let Japanese and Americans share their pain together.
From this experience, I believe that what is important is not a one‑time
apology by the government but that we all remember what happened on Dec. 7,
1941, in the US and Aug. 6 and 14, 1945, in Japan. By remembering and
commemorating the days together, we can make sure that both countries will
never repeat their actions.