On October 18, 1999, Mr. Cartwright, the former pilot in command of the Lonesome Lady visited Hiroshima. His wife, Mrs. Carolyn Hobson Cartwright, and their son---a Medical Doctor, and also Mr. J. M. “Matt” Crawford, the President of the 494th Bombardment Group of the 7th Army Air corps veterans Association, came over with him. Actually, he had briefly visited Hiroshima once already. That occurred in 1983, when Professor Cartwright came to Japan to attend an academic conference. He wanted to contemplate the past; however, once he stepped into Hiroshima, the horrible memories of the interrogation at the Chugoku Area Army Headquarters came back, and he left Hiroshima, as if he had been trying to flee from the memories of that time.
Ten years had passed since that visit. I have mentioned the exchange between Mr. Cartwright and me. In one of the letters, he writes how he had continually been concerned about the safety of his crew members: We had trained in the same bomber for eight months. During that period of time, we had become so close as a family, not just the senior officer and his subordinates. I presume that people of Hiroshima had lost a lot of kin by the atomic bombing. I am one of the few Americans who lost those who had been close to me. The pain of the people of Hiroshima is also mine.” I had also kept him informed about his subordinates, who had died.
In the following ten years, Mr. Cartwright must have thought a lot. He decided to make a trip again to console the spirits of those deceased, and contacted me. I welcomed the group at Hiroshima Station, and we went to their hotel. I had invited Mr. Tsukamae Tatsuo, a former policeman, to the hotel. Mr. Tsukamae used to be a policeman stationed in Ujina; however, because the police facilities in the central part of the city had all annihilated by the atomic bomb, he was summoned and was on duty at the temporary police substation near Aioi-bashi Bridge. It was situated at the east end of the Aioi-bashi Bridge, approximately the spot before the Hiroshima Citizen’s Ballpark now is located.
As I have mentioned, Mr. Tsukamae met a dying U.S. soldier here, and gave him some water as instructed by his senior officer. I asked the Cartwright group to listen to his story. Then I guided the group and Mr. Tsukamae to the site of the Chugoku Military Police Headquarters. Originally the lot was around 300 m2; however, it was sold after the war, and with 231 m2 was re-developed into a road and a building of 396 m2 was built on the remaining lot. Actually, with the permission of the owner of the building, I had put a Memorial Plaque for the US soldiers who had been killed by the atomic bombing on the wall over the back door of this building. Mr. Cartwright and his group held hands in front of the plaque, and prayed for the peaceful rest for the comrades, with their heads bowed. After the prayer ended, the former Pilot Cartwright shook Mr. Tsukamae’s hand, saying, “Thank you.” Mr. Tsukamae’s eyes were shining with tears.
Mr. Cartwright told me that until he visited Hiroshima this time, he had been afraid that his subordinates might have been executed by his captors. However, the truth was nothing of the sort. For example, the Commander of Chugoku Military Police, Col. Hiroshi Segawa (killed by the atomic bomb), was a man of gentle personality. Not only had he never tried to kill the POWs, but he had ordered his subordinates to protect them. I had heard this directly from Capt. Taro Takahashi, Commander of Ujina Detachment of Military Police, who survived the war. Also in the GHQ materials, the testimonies of 2nd Lt. N. Fukui, Major Masaharu Yoshikawa, and CO Hiroo Yanagita, all of whom had contact with the POWs in Hiroshima, support what I heard from Capt. Takahashi. I was able to tell those facts to the Cartwright group when they visited Hiroshima.
After that, I guided them to the epicenter, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and the Peace Memorial Museum (A-Bomb Museum). Having seen the Aioi-bashi Bridge, pointing at the bank of the river, I told them, “One of your subordinates had been buried here.”
The next day, I took them to the location where the Taloa had crashed. The wreckage of the plane had been scattered around the muddy rice field on the slope of a mountain, which is in the suburbs around ten km from the epicenter. Half a century having passed, the area has been changed into a golf course. A Buddhist priest who had lived there since his childhood explained in detail the situation of that time. The spoken history brought the events to new life for the U.S. visitors and left them some deep impressions in their hearts.
The next day, we went to Yamaguchi Prefecture. It was Mr. Keiichi Muranaka, who guided us through the area. Mr. Muranaka is the person who returned a piece of the wreckage of the Lonesome Lady to Dr. Cartwright in 1985. With Mr. Muranaka, we visited a village, which was formerly called Takeyasu.
This is the village where a U.S. soldier parachuted down. A gunfight occurred between him and some villagers, and one villager had been killed. This fact was entirely unknown to Dr. Cartwright. When he heard this story during the drive to the village, his facial expression showed his astonishment. Mr. Muranaka had already contacted the daughter of the villager who had been killed, and prepared a meeting for her and Dr. Cartwright. When we arrived at her house, she had been out. I thought probably she did not want to see the captain of the remorseful enemy country. However, it turned out to have been my misinterpretation. Having run her errand, she appeared, and showed us into the house. Sitting properly in Japanese manners in the main room, she made a deep bow to us, and said, “Thank you for having come such a great distance and visiting me.”
After Mrs. Cartwright put flowers on the Buddhist alter, the daughter finally started to talk. She did not express resentment over her tragic losses. Her youngest brother had been killed in action in the Pacific War (WWII). Therefore, she presumed her father wanted to take his revenge, she said. The U.S. soldier who parachuted down was an opportune target for revenge. However, her words that followed surprised us and we felt intimidated. “My father did not carry any arms.” The son of Dr. Cartwright, who heard the words through the interpreter, went out of the house, and shouted in a big voice, “No arms!” The voice was so loud that it resounded over the valley.
At a later time, I brought a letter to her that Dr. Cartwright wrote to her, and read it to her in translation. She was listening to it in tears. At that moment, I could not help thinking that some of the burden of hatred, which she had held in her heart for half a century, might have melted, like a cube of ice. The truth could be so cruel sometimes, and could be so unexpected. It sometimes is sweet.
On this occasion of Dr. Cartwright’s visit to Japan, I also introduced him to Mr. Kazushi Higashida. Mr. Higashida was a cadet of the Second General Headquarters at that time. As mentioned in Chapter 7, he interrogated a U.S. soldier on August 5, 1945, who seems to have been Joseph Dubinsky, one of the crew of the Taloa. I will not repeat here why it seems to have been Dubinsky; however, I had arranged a meeting of Mr. Higashida and Mr. Cartwright in Kyoto so that the visitors could listen to the story of Mr. Higashida.
Mr. Higashida spoke in detail about how the interrogation was carried out, just as he had done on that day. Lastly, he told us the following: At night of the day of the atomic bombing, he was present among hundreds of corpses that had been laid out in the East Military Training Ground of Hiroshima. He made space among the corpses to lie down and tried to sleep with his sword in his arms. Crimson flames were dancing in the night sky, and the earth was filled with cries of agony. Then Mr. Higashida strengthened his voice. “The U.S. Forces dropped the A-Bomb on Hiroshima and killed and injured a lot of citizens. It is inevitable for us military personnel to be killed. However, it can never be accepted that so many nonresistant ordinary people had been killed.”
The Americans who were listening to Mr. Higashida with me, were holding their breath with their fists clenched. Without being aware, I was shedding tears while I was listening to his voice.
Mr. Higashida continued and told us that on every August 6, he has donated a new Buddhist stupa on which he wrote ‘Dubinsky’, and prayed for the peaceful rest of his soul. When he finished his testimony, Mr. Cartwright, the former B-24 Pilot, firmly shook the hand of Mr. Higashida, and said, “Thank you.” It sounded to me as if it was the words of gratitude on behalf of the conscience of the Americans, rather than that of an individual, and also it was supported with the emotion of apology.
There is an episode which took place in the evening the day I took the members of the Cartwright group to the Aioi-bashi Bridge, and told them, “Your subordinate was buried here”, pointing at the bank. As I was later told by Mr. Cartwright, after they went back to the hotel, Mr. Cartwright visited this place again with his son, Pat. He said to me that he told his son as follows: “Son, listen. I learned that one of my subordinates had been buried here. That’s war. You should never forget that, owing to those who had sacrificed themselves, we can appreciate the current peaceful life.”