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japanese war veterans


Dan King in the home of the late famed Japanese fighter ace Saburo Sakai. Through an introduction by Henry Sakaida (respected author of several WWII Japanese aviation books), Dan received an invitation to visit Sakai's home to learn firsthand of the pilot's experiences during the war. Sakai is credited with 63 downed enemy aircraft and was the highest scoring surviving vet until his death in 2002. Sakai's dauther married an American, and Sakai himself visited the US numerous times forming bonds with his former enemies whom he was able to meet through Henry Sakaida. Sakai's bullet damaged flight helmet is now on display at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg Texas.


Dan King with Mr. Goro Yamada at his residence in Japan, 1994. They are holding a photo of the submarine I-58 on which Mr. Yamada served during the war. He was a Chief Petty Officer in charge of the forward torpedo room when the I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis. Dan's discussions with Mr. Yamada were printed in a 2 part article that appeared in the newsletter published by the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas. The Captain of the I-58 later learned that if he had sunk the Indianapolis BEFORE it delivered it's atomic related payload to Tinian, he could have delayed (if not prevented) the destruction of Hiroshima. In repentance he became a monk and dedicated himself to prayers for the dead in a temple in Kyoto.

 

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