Mr. Kaname Harada, oldest living Imperial Japanese Navy ace passed away May 3, 2016
We are all saddened to know that Mr. Kaname Harada, oldest living Imperial Japanese Navy ace passed away on May 3, 2016.He is credited with shooting down as many as 19 Allied aircraft. After war ended, he wished a peaceful life and worked as a farmer. However, he was also concerned about his actions in the war and wanted to heal those feelings. He therefore developed and constructed a kindergarten to educate pre-school children in self-respect and cooperation. He has also been known as an anti-war activist since 1991, when the Iraq war started.
He participated as a member of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in the Second Sino-Japanese War, Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guadalcanal and many others. When the Pacific War started, Mr. Harada was a Mitsubishi A6M Zero pilot based on the aircraft carrier Sōryū.
He was able to shot down either three or five American aircraft during the Battle of Midway. Because his carrier Soryu was sunk, he was forced to land on the remaining surviving Japanese aircraft carrier, Hiryū. After refueling and continue fighting, Hiryu was also sunk and Mr. Harada was forced to ditch into the sea to be luckily rescued later by a Japanese vessel. During Guadalcanal campaign he was badly injured in an arm and sent back to Japan. He could not be back as fighter pilot, but continue serving as instructor of young pilots.
In 1965, in order to heal his soul feelings because of his participation and actions in the war he founded a kindergarten. This was also motivated by his wife comments: “If you want to atone for the lives you have taken, what better way is there than to nurture new lives?” He continue worked as a principal of the kindergarten until his retirement.
He was invited to several interviews from different media during his life. In one interview during 2013 for the The Australian media Mr. Harada declared:
The first incarnation of my life was as a ruthless killer. I still live with a sense of sin over those I killed. I chased them and shot them down—such a horrible thing to do. Now, I go to the kindergarten every day and interact with the children. I want to nurture kind and considerate hearts in all of them (credit: wiki).
Very recently, in March 2015, a Japanese documentary about Harada’s life was released.