Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maizuru "Hikiage" Port

On our recent trip to the Maizuru area we visited an historical site with significance to our family. Maizuru is a large port on the Sea of Japan side of Honshu. Today it is an active fishing port as well as a base for the Japanese Naval Self Defense Forces.

At the end of WWII the port was used as a repatriation point for Japanese families who had been living in China, Manchuria and Russia during the war. One of the closest ports to Korea and China, rescue ships traveled to the port loaded with thousands of Japanese who were left destitute on foreign soil when the Japanese empire fell and surrendered to the US. This is the dock where the refugees landed and began their repatriation to Japan. Sister McIntyre's maternal grandfather was sent to Manchuria with his family during WWII. He, like most young men at the time, was drafted into the Japanese military. He was sent overseas to work with his wife. It was while living there that Sister McIntyre's mother was born. At the end of the war, many of the families living in parts of China, Manchuria and Siberia were left to survive on their own as the Japanese army had been defeated and was powerless and destitute. There was no food and no way to get back to their homeland. While many of the Japanese families living there had befriended locals, it goes without saying that in general there were not kind feelings towards the Japanese who had invaded these lands and occupied them for several years. To make things worse, the Russian soldiers were not kind to the Japanese families as they came in and took over where the Japanese had once ruled. Many of the Japanese women dressed like men and boys and cut their hair short so the Russian soldiers would leave them alone.Many Japanese woman and children perished in China waiting to be rescued. This is a monument commemorating the arrival and repatriation of these Japanese back to their country. Sister McIntyre's grandfather helped his wife and two daughters (Sister McIntyre's mother and aunt) find a rescue ship and eventually make their way back to Japan. He, unfortunately could not make the trip and died of starvation in Dalian, China. War is a terrible thing and innocent people on both sides of a conflict are hurt and affected. Certainly many Japanese soldiers did unthinkable things to the people throughout Asia as the war expanded and Japan occupied these countries. But there were also many innocent Japanese caught in the conflict. Observation deck overlooking Maizuru port.

Displays at the repatriation museum in Maizuru. A photo of a rescue ship like the one Sister McIntyre's mother sailed on from Dalian, China to Maizuru, Japan.
Models of the various ships used for repatriation.
View of the arrival dock where Sister McIntyre's mother arrived as seen from the observation deck.
This map shows the various locations in China and Russia of Japanese cemeteries and grave sites where Japanese left behind are buried.
Mom boards an abandoned fishing boat in Maizuru.
In 1986, about 5 years after Sister McIntyre's baptism, her mother joined the church in Fukushima, Japan. President McIntyre, who was a teacher at the MTC in Provo at the time, was the teacher that taught the missionaries who went to the Sendai mission and taught her the gospel and baptized her. She currently is a member of the Fukushima Ward, Sendai Stake.

1 comment:

Kat said...

Thank you so much for sharing these personal photos and family history with us! I was very moved to read about Sister McIntyre's grandfather, and family. It shed a new light on soldiers that are sent over to 'occupy' other countries.

I truly am thankful for you, your family and your obedience to Heavenly Father, so that our sons and daughters are in the best, most capable hands possible.

Sister Kathy Kokenes