Humanity and compassion displayed in a brutal war.
NEYAGAWA, JAPAN, September 20, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ — Japanese female singer, Saeko Kitamae, released a music video “SA-KU-RA (2017 ver.)” in August, wishing to spread a message for peace.
The singer started to follow her musical career at the age of 14 after being profoundly impressed by the power of music that unites people beyond borders.
As countries around the world grow increasingly nationalistic, mutual understanding is needed more than ever, and the singer still believes that music has the power to unite people: “People from different backgrounds sing together in perfect accord at concerts.” That’s probably why the Nobel Prize was awarded to Bob Dylan last year.
Although opportunities for communication and mutual understanding between different cultures have been improved by the emergence of the Internet, in reality, language barriers still hinder effective communication between different language groups. To break this barrier and enhance cross-cultural understanding, the singer whose native language is Japanese–one of top 10 Net’s languages–has continued singing in English, the Net’s most used language.
In August, ahead of V-J Day–when the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was officially signed on the USS Missouri in 1945–she released the video to introduce an episode that took place at this American battleship; a burial of a kamikaze pilot at sea. It is said that, on April 11th 1945, a Japanese fighter pilot launched a kamikaze attack on the USS Missouri. His body was thrown on deck by the impact of eruption and discovered among the debris. Seeing that, the Missouri’s captain, William M. Callaghan, insisted that the young Japanese deserve a military funeral at sea because he was “a fellow warrior who had displayed courage and devotion” and sacrificed his life for the sake of his country. On the following day, his body was draped with a Japanese national flag and dropped into the ocean by Missouri crew and Senior Chaplain, Commander Roland Faulk.
Saeko Kitamae says she was deeply moved by the story when she first visited the site more than 15 years ago: “As a Japanese, I thanked these American crew and felt a responsibility to hand down the episode to the world, for it tells us not only of sadness and pain, but humanity, dignity and compassion towards enemies. The fact that people who were battling each other were able to understand each other reminds us how beautiful human minds are and how sad it is to when a war, or conflict, makes us hate or kill each other.”
Before the release of a requiem song video, SA-KU-RA (2017 ver.), the singer contacted the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor and got approval to insert the picture, preserved by the memorial, at the very end. She also translated a passage from a farewell letter of Captain Anazawa, another pilot who died on the day of the “burial at sea”, preserved in Chiran Peace Museum in Japan, and recited in English at the end (see below).
Addressed to his sweetheart:
“All I want is your happiness.
Don’t dwell aimlessly on trifles from the past.
You should not live in the past.
Take courage and forget the past.
Find something new and be happy in the future.
From now on, you must live in every moment of the reality, in which I, Captain Anazawa, won’t exist.”
The production costs of the video, about 1,800,000 yen, were half funded by crowdfunding campaign in Japan.
The song is sung in English except for a verse, so that non-Japanese speakers can understand the lyrics.
By the release of this video, Saeko Kitamae hopes to be a part of friendship between the US and Japan:”The farewell letter tells the posterity to live to the fullest, moving on to the future. At the same time, I think, these episodes should not fall into oblivion. Lest a similar tragedy should happen, we should remember and learn from them. May people around the world live in peace.”
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