IWO JIMA WAR FROM JAPAN and US PERSPECTIVES

As we already know that history takes important places in the development of the human. We are unable to be like in the present if there is no history. History is the record of some events in the past that categorized as important things and happened only once. Talking about history, there are many things that can be discussed. The writer only picks one thing which is war happened on East Asia around 1940 – 1945. That war between Japan and US named Iwo Jima War at Iwo Jima Island. This war had been known for the US raising flag by the US marine. The purpose of this war is trying to get Iwo Jima Island because this island at that time plays important role.

The Iwo Jima war was a war between United States and its allies and Japan in the Pacific Ocean. This war actually was the one of the parts of Pacific Campaign during World War II (James Gilbert 8). In this war, United States spent almost 70,000 soldiers which are coming from marine, army, and air force. Japan spent 22,000 soldiers which are accompanied with several underground bunkers to inflict severe casualties on the Allied forces and discourage invasion of the mainland.

The United States and its allies started the war with three days bombing from the air to elaborate the Japanese movement. Then, the marine started to take control the Iwo Jima shores. With the landing area secure, more Marines and heavy equipment came ashore and the invasion proceeded north to capture the airfields and the remainder of the island. The strategy taken by the Japanese was very unique in three ways. The first is that the Japanese did not fight above ground; they fought the battle from under the Americans. 1,500 rooms were carved into the rock; 16 miles of tunnel connected them. They also called for “no Japanese survivors.” They planned on being killed. The last unique thing about their strategy was that every Japanese soldier was expected to get 10 American kills before they were killed. The bunkers attack could make slow the US movement. Meanwhile, with the US customary bravery, most Japanese soldiers fought to the death. Of over 21,800 defenders, only 200 were taken prisoner. Although the Americans finally took the island by the end of the Battle of Iwo Jima and were able to enjoy its strategic positioning in later military actions in the Pacific, this stands as one of the most intense displays of Japanese military might in World War II (Elizabeth Mullener 40). Japan lost almost 21.000 soldiers while US lost 7.000 soldiers.

This war later is visualized into movies by Hollywood as one of the biggest movies company. There are actually two movies that tell about this war but each of them are not same because there are two point of views among America and Japan in seeing and accepting the war. Those movies titled are Flags of Our Father and Letter from Iwo Jima. Both of those movies are directed by Clint Eastwood which is known as the expert director on war movies. The movie, Flags of Our father, was produced in 2006 by Paramount pictures. This movie has won some of awards such as Best Foreign Language Film from Japanese Academy award, Blue ribbon award, and Hochi Film award.

This movie tells about the attacking of United States in taking away the Iwo Jima Island from the hand of Japanese. When United States won the battle, there are three soldiers who raise the US flag at the top of the Suribachi Mountain. These later is proved with the picture that later become a symbol in Great Depression America. The government brings the three survivors to America to raise funds of war, bringing hope to desolated people, and making the three men heroes of war.

The letter from Iwo Jima actually is almost same as Flags of Our Father. Nevertheless, this movie becomes different because it actually is the point of view of the Japanese in seeing the Iwo Jima War. Unlike the Flags of Our Father, this movie won the Oscar for the Best Achievement in Sound Editing. This movie actually tells about the effort of Japanese in defending the Iwo Jima Island from the attacking of United States and its allies. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi is given command of the forces on the island and sets out to prepare for the imminent attack. General Kuribayashi, however, does not favor the rigid traditional approach recommended by his subordinates, and resentment and resistance fester among his staff. In the lower echelons, a young soldier, Saigo, a poor baker in civilian life, strives with his friends to survive the harsh regime of the Japanese army itself, all the while knowing that a fierce battle looms. When the American invasion begins, both Kuribayashi and Saigo find strength, honor, courage, and horrors beyond imagination.

When we look deeply, both of two movies have their own way in seeing the Iwo Jima war. Each of them represents the idea of United States and Japan. It is the quite interesting topic because both of the subjects have their own perceptions in purposing the important of Iwo Jima Island during the World War II. The director of those movies wants to visualize what the important things of the Iwo Jima Island at that time to give the clearly understanding to the viewers.

The war at Iwo Jima although considered as small war, it took important places both from Japan and United States side. There are several reasons why this war happened during World War II.

From the Japanese perspective, Iwo Jima had to be protected with all the force that could be mustered. As a part of Japanese soil, Iwo Jima was considered a point of pride and very important to the country. In over 5000 years no foreign army had set foot on and held Japanese soil and therefore the base of the Japanese defense was to maintain that at all costs (Richard F. Newcomb, 12). Also, this island is used as the base to give the warning if there is an attacking from other countries to Japan mainland which is Tokyo. Also, the Japanese was built three airfields and were using Iwo Jima as a base for Kamikaze attacks and for air attacks on the US-controlled Marianas bomber bases. Without Iwo Jima, the Japanese air forces would have to operate from Okinawa or Kyushu (John W, 57). If the Japanese attack is commanded from Okinawa, it would take the long time and larger costs.

From the US perspective, this island was the key to defeat the Japan. US already attacked Japan so many times but it seemed did not work well. Japan could defend the US attack no matter what condition it was. So, US decided to put Iwo Jima Island as a vital territory to their success in this war, because they were too far away at that point with their bombers to reach Japan effective. US started to deny the Iwo Jima airbases by sending the B-29 bombers plane and destroying it. The seizure of Iwo Jima would also allow the United States to enhance the existing submarine blockade of Japan with surface and air support, and give the United States the ability to conduct intensive air bombardment and to destroy what was left of Japan’s air and naval capabilities (Nalty 102).

So, after US succeeding take away Iwo Jima Island, the position of Japan during World War II pushed in a corner.

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