• Cold comfort for Japan’s war women

    Yasukuni. The great shrine that symbolises Japan’s war guilt. Still, as though it were yesterday, Kang Duk Kyong remembers the day they came for her. She had just turned 16 and was attending junior high school near the town of Chinju, in the rice-bowl of southern Korea. Read more >

  • Tokyo’s hell on earth – the night a city died

    We must not get soft. War must be destructive, and to a certain extent inhuman and ruthless.” The charred figures in the photo montage are piled in the street, barely recognisable as human beings. All around, for mile after mile, smoke rises from the fields of ash that were once one of the world’s most populous and prosperous cities. Read more >

  • Coming to terms with Hiroshima

    The legacy of Hiroshima – was the bombing necessary? Interviews with survivors on both sides. The nightmarish wax figures stand petrified among the ruins, faces burnt black, flesh dripping from their bones, the ghastly red glare of the burning city illuminating the apocalyptic landscape. Read more >

  • The emperor’s day of reckoning

    The Himeyuri girls. How Hirohito killed his children and why his son feared to visit Okinawa. That was the rock we used for the operating table.” The torch cuts a pale path through the dank darkness of the cave, illuminating the ghostly limestone stalactites. Read more >

  • Forgotten city faces the truth | The bomb fifty years of fallout

    Nagasaki – the forgotten nuke The priest in his white tunic poses in the blazing sunshine in front of his church, beside the charred, decapitated statue of a saint – a stark reminder of what happened here 50 years ago. “It was a devilish weapon,” says Father Takeshi Kawazoe, the head priest at the Urakami Cathedral. Read more >

  • Put forth everything you have. All of you come back dead.

    Myth may have saved millions. Farewell poem written in blood on his headband by a kamikaze pilot, quoted by Domei newspaper. Fifty years later, Tadashi Nakajima no longer remembers the names or faces of the brave, scared, reckless young men he sent to certain death in the steel-filled skies over the Philippines. Read more >

  • Why Japan must face its past

    Emperor Hitler. Why Japan can’t recognise its past or reconcile with the future. That these falsehoods about Japan’s wartime role persist can be blamed on the lamentable state of historical scholarship. Fifty years on, Japan still lives in a fantasy world of denial and disbelief about its past, raising doubts that it is ready to deal with the future. Read more >

  • Japan’s shrine of dissent

    Come back dead. Why the kamikaze pilots killed themselves. “I can hear their voices,” says the priest, cocking his head as a flight of white doves clatters over the towering torii arch. “The spirits of those who died in the war … they are calling to me ‘What did I die for? Why are you now calling me an aggressor?’ ” Read more >

  • Inside Japan’s wartime factory of death

    Asia’s Auschwitz. Jing fuhe peers through the gloom at a blurry black-and-white picture showing a pile of partly burnt bodies, one of them quite clearly that of a small child. “We had never seen that sort of sickness in this district,” he declares. “The village healers were powerless to stop it – all we could do was burn incense and fall to our knees and pray to heaven as our families died.” Read more >

  • Unlocked: Japan’s wartime chamber of horrors

    The losers write the history – Japan’s legacy of lies. First, they killed the smallest children, those aged under 10. Their complaints and their crying might give away the troops’ position, so their parents were ordered to poison them. A few weeks later, it was the turn of the older kids, anyone under 12. Read more >

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The 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Japan, the legacy of Hiroshima, the massacres on Okinawa, and an interview with a kamikaze pilot.