Famed Japanese Flying Ace Warns Against War

Kaname Harada is ninety eight years old and still making the case.

“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal.

“I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”

Japanese Torpedo Bomber  Going Down (US Navy photo)

Japanese Torpedo Bomber Going Down (US Navy photo)

… “I fought the war from the cockpit of a Zero, and can still remember the faces of those I killed,” said Mr. Harada, who said he was able to meet and befriend some of his foes who survived the war. “They were fathers and sons, too. I didn’t hate them or even know them.”

“That is how war robs you of your humanity,” he added, “by putting you in a situation where you must either kill perfect strangers or be killed by them.”

For years he was plagued by nightmares, seeing the faces of the young American pilots as he closed in for the kill.  They didn’t end until 1965, when he opened a kindergarten and began talking to the children about the importance of peace.

NY Times

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