If you go to Hawaii, visit the “Battleship Missouri” at least once!
- Battleship Missouri entrance
2023 has opened the curtain. Last year’s sharp depreciation of the yen has calmed down, and the exchange rate for the New Year has reached the point where it swings slightly higher than last year. If you are going abroad after a long time, first go to Oahu in Hawaii! Thinking about it, there are people who are making plans for this year.
Oahu is a special island that everyone can enjoy, whether it’s for the first time or for repeaters, and it’s a special island that you’ll want to visit again and again. I’m sure there are many places you’d like to visit, but if you haven’t been yet, how about visiting “Battleship Missouri”?
- Battleship Missouri and Battleship Arizona facing each other
★ Significance of visiting a memorial hall opened on the site of a historic war
「Remember Pearl Harbor!」
I have visited Oahu several times, perhaps because I somehow don’t want to hear this phrase, which is still used figuratively, because I am here to rest, or because I thought that the war would be on another occasion. but had never been to Pearl Harbor.
But now, as Russia-Putin’s invasion of Ukraine drags on, war suddenly feels familiar. When I visited the site, it was unreasonable to be told “Remember!!”. More than that, I had many thoughts about war, peace, and human beings.
Pearl Harbor is a cove located about 5 km from Honolulu International Airport and about 18 km from Waikiki. The bay is a military base where the US Navy Pacific Fleet Command is located.
The Imperial Japanese Army attacked Pearl Harbor in the early hours of December 8, 1941, in Honolulu on the morning of Sunday, December 7, local time.
The battleship Arizona (USS Arizona Memorial), which was bombed and sunk at that time, has been preserved statically in the sea. A memorial was built across her hull in 1962 to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor and to commemorate the soldiers who died. The Arizona Ship Memorial, which is shuttled by ships operated by the US Navy, always attracts many visitors.
And, facing the battleship Arizona, there is another memorial, floating on the sea without dropping anchor. It is the battleship Missouri, where the formal ceasefire treaty of World War II was signed on board.
The beginning and end of war. It is a significant memorial that conveys to people around the world as a place to think about peace in the future, as well as looking back on the history of the battleship Missouri while actually walking inside the battleship.
- Battleship Missouri where the formal armistice of World War II was signed
★What is Battleship Missouri?
Fully displaced 58,000 tons, length 887 ft 3 in (270.4 m), width 108 ft 3 in (33 m), draft 38 ft (11.6 m), top speed 33 kn (61.1 km/h). Rather than lining up the numbers like this, if you board a battleship, you will get a sense of its size. The crew numbered 3,000 during World War II. You may think again that such a great power and Japan often thought of going to war.
Shipbuilding began on January 6, 1941 at the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York, and was under construction when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7. This attack is said to have sped up shipbuilding. Three years later, on January 29, 1944, she was launched, and on June 11, 1944, she was commissioned as the last battleship of the United States Navy. She also fired naval gunfire at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Muroran, Hokkaido.
On September 2, 1945 (Showa 20), the surrender document signing ceremony was held on the battleship Missouri, which was anchored in Tokyo Bay surrounded by 250 Allied battleships, in the presence of 3,000 crew members. . General MacArthur and other representatives of the Allied Forces, and from Japan, 11 people attended, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Mamoru Shigemitsu and Chief of Staff Yoshijiro Umezu.
This marked the official end of World War II. This is the end of the relationship over Japan, but after that, the battleship Missouri will go to the Korean War. After her decommissioning in 1955, she was in reserve status, but after modernizing her equipment, she was recommissioned in 1986. In 1991 she also went to the Gulf War. In 1992 she was the last battleship in the world to be fully decommissioned. It opened to the public as a museum on January 29, 1999.
- There is also a kamikaze special attack unit corner
★The Japanese tour is definitely recommended!
If you have a Japanese guide, we are running a 35-minute Japanese tour. I was guided by a guide named Midori who is fluent in English. I understand that you are learning from various people, including veterans who were on the battleship Missouri. Whatever you ask, he will answer.
Participating in a guided tour will not only increase your knowledge, but it will also give you a deeper sense of the thoughts of Japan, the United States, and the people who lived in those times, which will surely impress you. After visiting the museum, check the tour details at the counter above the battleship.
Kamikaze and Battleship Missouri
There is an exhibition of “Kamikaze Exhibition” on the second deck. Surprisingly, with the cooperation of the Chiran Kamikaze Peace Museum in Minamikyushu City, Kagoshima Prefecture, memorabilia of kamikaze pilots and letters addressed to their families and loved ones are on display.
On April 11, 1945 (Showa 20), Missouri was attacked by a kamikaze from about 30 meters above the waters of Okinawa. After colliding near the starboard stern and causing a fire, the bodies of the kamikaze pilots were discovered along with the wreckage on the deck.
The next day, a water burial of the Kamikaze pilots was held on the deck of the battleship Missouri by order of then-captain William Callahan. “Even though they are enemies, they are risking their lives for the sake of their country and fulfilling their mission. That is worthy of respect as fellow soldiers. After they die, there is no friend or foe. ‘ was the captain’s idea, explained Midori-san.
The corpse was hung with the rising sun flag hand-stitched by the crew, and navy-style burial was carried out. Captain Callaghan lost his brother to the Japanese attack during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Still, he showed respect for the enemy soldiers. I have a story to tell. As a result of researching the identities of the pilots over several years, they were able to narrow it down to two pilots who departed from Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture. It made me think again about what war is.
“What do you think when you talk about kamikaze?” Midori is often asked. “Terrorist attacks were not “kamikaze”, but the war situation worsened, and humans were finally used as weapons, and 4,000 people died from the Philippines 10 months before the end of the war until the end of the war, while the United States We always tell them that more than 30 ships were lost in the attack, and the meaning of the kamikaze corps,” says Midori. The role of the Japanese guide is important.
- Midori-san, an energetic and excellent guide
Sudden Speech by Douglas MacArthur
World War II officially ended aboard the Battleship Missouri. On the deck are photographs of the day’s attendees and a full-size reproduction of the instrument of surrender. Midori told us about an episode in which General MacArthur appeared in front of the attendees and gave an unscheduled speech for a few minutes before the signing ceremony.
This is a recollection of Mr. Shunichi Kase, a diplomat who served as an interpreter on that day. With no manuscripts or meetings, General MacArthur spoke without any words of surrender or obedience. It seems that it was a positive speech that there is.
For nearly 80 years since the end of the war, Japan has managed to maintain peace without going to war. But how can we change the reality that even though we know how stupid war is, there are still people who go to war?
Coming here, I truly hope that the day will come when everyone can truly enjoy the blue sky and blue ocean of Hawaii.
- A huge battleship where 3000 crew members lived together
★ Access from Waikiki:
Follow signs for “Pearl Harbor” on the H1 freeway towards the airport.
Take Exit 15A labeled “Arizona Memorial/Stadium”. (Please note that this is not the exit of “NAVAL BASE”.)
Follow the brown road signs reading “Pearl Harbor Historic Sites” to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
*By bus from Waikiki:
Take bus 20 or 42 westbound.
Time required is around 1 hour. Drop off at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center parking lot.
Please note that some afternoon buses do not enter the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center grounds and only stop at roadside bus stops.
However, most people get off, so I think you’ll understand.
*From the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
Shuttle bus (fees are included in the viewing pass)
Departs daily from Pearl Harbor Visitor Center at 8:00 and approximately every 15 minutes.
The bus stop is on the mountain side of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum (right from the entrance of the Arizona Memorial).
The Battleship Missouri Memorial is located in Ford Island, a US military base, and is closed to the general public.
*The Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.