Japanese Vet Returns to Iwo Jima

81 year old Japanese vet Tsuruji Akikusa recently made a rare visit to Iwo Jima and shared his memories of the battle. Japanese accounts of the savage fighting on Iwo Jima are rare because there were so few survivors (it is estimates that only 200-1000 of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers escaped death). Of those who were able to leave the island, few have been willing to discuss their experiences because they feel ashamed for not making the ultimate sacrifice for the Emperor.

With the entrenched Japanese values of respect and honor, it would be interesting to get Akikusa’s perspective on the controversial Time Magazine “Special Environmental Issue” cover on which the iconic photo of the Mt Suribachi flag-raising was altered. U.S. Iwo Jima veterans condemned the doctored photo as a disgrace and an insult to marines.

Time Magazine has a bit of a contentious history with Joe Rosenthal’s photo. It was Time that first erroneously reported that Rosenthal staged the picture – a falsehood that is still accepted as fact by many.

Explore posts in the same categories: History, Veteran News, WWII

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