NEW YORK – Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara began developing negative feelings toward the United States when U.S. forces shot at him and other schoolchildren “for fun” during World War II, the New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.
“We were in the flight path of enemy aircraft heading out to sea. . . . The Americans could see that we were kids, but they’d strafe us anyway, for fun,” the magazine’s April 9 issue quoted Ishihara as saying. The story was written by John Nathan, a translator of Japanese literature.
Ishihara, also a prizewinning novelist and former member of the Diet, was in the seventh grade at that time and living in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture.
When he saw the Grummans and P-51s roaring over, Ishihara saw they “had pictures of naked women and Mickey Mouse painted on the fuselage. I couldn’t believe my eyes!” the magazine quoted him as saying.
“I was scared to death, and I was angry, but I was also thinking what a place America must be, what a culture, and how different from Japan.”
Ishihara said he then heard other planes flying but they fired no machineguns. They were Zeros in pursuit, and their insignia was the Japanese flag.
“I felt like reaching up to embrace that rising sun,” he said.
When Nathan asked him about the possibility of seeking the post of prime minister, Ishihara replied, “If you’re about to attack Pearl Harbor, you’d have to be pretty stupid to announce it first.”
He said it depends on the political situation after July’s Upper House election.
Asked if he could be prime minister and write a serious novel he is planning to publish, Ishihara said, “It’s more than a conflict. It’s a crisis — the biggest crisis of my life.”
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