Ecumenical News International

Mitsuo Fuchida led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, an event that catapulted the United States into the Second World War. After the war, Fuchida turned to Christianity and became an evangelist. Fuchida's maternal grandmother was a nationalist from a samurai family who resisted attempts by Emperor Meiji to throw off feudalism. Now he is to feature in a Japanese animated film about the love of God and how mutual forgiveness is necessary in order to establish peace.

Arizona

IN MEMORIAM: Part of a memorial marking the spot where the battleship USS Arizona was sunk with the loss of of more than 1100 lives during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7th December, 1941. PICTURE: Dan Klock (www.sxc.hu) 

 

"Through Mitsuo Fuchida, in this film I want to testify while I am alive as the last generation who knew the war. I want [children] to become independent persons, and to know that war is wrong."

- Hisako Yamada

The film, currently titled From Pearl Harbour to Golgotha, will tell the life story of Fuchida, who was born in 1902 and, despite being shot down during the war, lived until 1976. 

It will show Fuchida's post-war encounter with Jacob DeShazer, a former US soldier who had taken part in the first air raid on Japan during the war, and later in peacetime returned as a missionary. 

"What I want to show through this film is human foolishness, and that we do not know what we are doing [in today's wars]," Hisako Yamada, the director of the film, and also a Christian, told Ecumenical News International. 

Her comments refer to words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Luke in the Bible, where Jesus, hanging on the cross on Golgotha, prays for God to forgive sinners: "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." 

"Through Mitsuo Fuchida, in this film I want to testify while I am alive as the last generation who knew the war," said 76-year-old Yamada, who is making the animated film for school children. "I want [children] to become independent persons, and to know that war is wrong." 

Yamada told ENI, "When I was a little girl, I was flattered as 'a little child of the nation' who was born for the war." She experienced the war at first hand, and was brought up under her country's military government to support it. "I never thought that making war was a bad thing," she explained. 

In a leaflet advertising the film, Yamada said, "We, who did not know what we were doing, should turn again." 

The 35-minute film in DVD format will recount Fuchida's life in the context of the history of the Second World War from the air raid on Pearl Harbour to the subsequent U.S. air raids on Japan, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. 

The director said the film would be based on Fuchida's 1954 Japanese testimony entitled, "From Pearl Harbour to Golgotha: This is how I became a Christian". It describes how, after the war, Fuchida turned to Christianity and was influenced through reading Luke's account of Jesus's crucifixion prayer. 

"I want all Japanese to read the Bible as Mr Fuchida did," said Yamada, a member of the Christian Holy Convention, an evangelical Protestant denomination in Japan. "I am making this film as I want them to understand the love of Christ." 

The former Japanese flyer's conversion in the film occurs after he has read of DeShazer's conversion. Fuchida is also moved by an American woman, who took care of Japanese prisoners of the war after the conflict ended, even though the Japanese military had killed her missionary parents in the Philippines. 

Fuchida was baptised in 1951 as a member of the United Church of Christ in Japan. In 1953, he went to the United States, where American Christians welcomed him as an evangelist rather than a former enemy. 

Yamada said that she would eventually like to dub her film into English so that it could be shown abroad.