Mainland United States has never been
bombed . . . WRONG!
Nobuo Fujita's almost
|On September 9, 1942, Nobuo Fujita,
a Chief Warrant Officer and pilot in the Japanese Imperial Navy,
and his crew man, Petty Officer Shoji Okuda, surfaced in the Japanese
submarine I-25 off the coast of Oregon near Brookings. His tiny
seaplane had folding wings and was transported in a small Hangar
attached to the deck of the submarine. Thus began the mission which
would write Fujita in the history books.
The Quizlet Poll Results
I wasn't able to fool many
with this question. Of the 301 responses in two weeks, 70 % got
Here is the final tally:
Nisei Japanese-American won CMH in 1944... 07%
Engineer: Designed Mira Flores Locks 1904.. 03 %
Pilot: Only one EVER to bomb mainland US .... 70%
1st Japanese to land in Singapore, 1942 ........... 05%
Planned attack on Midway. Yamamoto's staff ... 11%
Designed wing for F4U ..........................................
Fajita's aircraft was a Uokosuka E14Y1, nicknamed
"Glen" by the Americans. It was powered by a 9-cylinder,
340 hp Haitachi Tempu 12 radial engine that pushed it to a normal
cruising speed of 85 mph and a maximum speed of about 150 mph.
Constructed of a metal and wood airframe, with fabric-covered
wing and tail surfaces, the aircraft weighed just 3,500 pounds,
including the twin floats. With its wingspan of 36 feet, the Glen
could remain airborne nearly five hours, giving it approximately
a 200-mile operating range. It carried a crew of two, plus a bomb
load of 340 pounds. Defensive armament consisted of only one rear-mounted
7.7mm machine gun.
His mission was so secret that it came
as a total surprise to American military intelligence. Indeed,
it was so secret that it was a half-day after the attack before
Americans knew there had been an attack at all!
Still smarting from Doolittle's bombing of
Tokyo five months earlier, Japanese strategy was to cause enough
damage to induce U.S. leaders to withdraw all or part of the U.S.
Navy from the Western Pacific thereby reducing pressure
on Japan's Navy. Fugita's particular mission over Oregon was to
start a giant forest fire. They hoped that the bombs would ignite
the forest and spread to the cities "burning homes
and factories and sending the American people into panic and depression."
Fujita flew southeast over the Oregon coast dropping incendiary
bombs on Mount Emily, 10 miles northeast of Brookings. After Fujita's
bombing run on Mount Emily, the I-25 came under attack by U.S.
Navy patrol aircraft, forcing the submarine to hide on the ocean
floor off Port Orford.
How important were these two bombing attacks
on the U.S.? These were the only times in history that America
has been bombed from the air. For the Japanese a major
propaganda victory, one that made banner headlines on the home
front and to some extent evened the score for the April 18, 1942,
Jimmy Doolittle raid on Tokyo. From a military viewpoint, though,
the bombing raids were meaningless. No significant fire was started
nor was there collateral damage. Although there was some public
American concern followed the attacks, there was no widespread
panic on the U.S., at least partially due to heavy press censorship.
The raids were not repeated. Aircraft - carrying submarines soon
disappeared into the category of obsolete weapons. Only one more
Japanese submarine, the I-12, operated off the West Coast during
the remainder of the war. I-25 was sunk less than a year later
by USS Patterson (DD-392) off the New Hebrides Islands on September
|The American attacks were
unsuccessful, and Fujita was able to launch an additional bombing
sortie three weeks later. Fujita's
crew man Okuda was later killed in action, but Fujita continued
flying until 1944, when he returned to Japan to train kamikaze pilots.
He survived the war to become a successful businessman. He tried
throughout the final 35 years of his life to repair the damage of
the war by building a bridge of peace and respect between Japan
and the United States. "He was so very sorry. He had very,
very deep regrets," said Ernie Bowers, 61, a close friend of
Fujita's. Fujita visited Brookings after the war four times. He
gave Brookings his family's 400-year-old Samurai sword as a gesture of
Picture of the memorial case. The sword is somewhat
hidden by the model submarine but reflection off the glass made
it difficult to get a good picture.
Photo by Roger Haag
peace and good will during his first visit in
1962. The sword was placed in the mayor's office, where it remains today.
He also was host to a group of Brookings-Harbor High School students at
his home in Japan. He was an honored guest at the 1990 annual Azalea Festival
in Brookings. The Brookings City Council declared Fujita an honorary citizen.
Fujita's ashes now rest on the same spot where
his first bombs landed just east of Brookings.
Picture of the sign at the actual
bomb site. Photo by John
| The site of the bombing
is marked and can be visited via a good gravel road. Pick up a trail
guide at the Chetco Ranger District office in Brookings. From town,
allow about three hours for the drive and 3/4-mile hike. Sturdy
shoes are advised! The Bombsite Trail (No. 1118) is one mile long
on Wheeler Ridge several miles east of Brookings. To get to it,
from U.S. 101, take South Bank Road up the Chetco River to Forest
Service Road No. 1205 (Mt. Emily Road) and follow the signs. The
trail is on No. 1205 after spur No. 260. The trail is part of a
national recreation user-fee program and requires a $3 parking fee.
Who's idea was this?
This all started with an intriguing note from
Dr. K. Inge Holman, Pensacola, FL. He said: "On September
9, 1942 Flying a small airplane secretly launched from an offshore
submarine, Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita dropped two incendiary
devices on the coast of Oregon, becoming the only person ever
to drop a bomb on the mainland of the United States."
Story of a Meeting with Nobuo Fujita
by Roger Haag, Brookings, Oregon
| In May of 1995 we had some
visitors: Lyle and Jane Bower who came to Brookings to spend the
weekend with us. They flew into our local airport in their Beechcraft
Bonanza and we picked them up. Flying is the passion of Lyle's life
and he has spent his career as an instructor, corporate pilot, etc.
After a couple of days of visiting, we drove them back up to the
airport for their departure. Shortly after our arrival, we got involved
chatting with a local Brookings pilot by the name of Glen Woodfin,
who also owned a Beech Bonanza which he was pre-flighting.
Glen told us he was waiting for Mr. Fujita to arrive and that he
left to right Glen Woodfin,
myself, Fujita (he wanted to hold hands)
to fly him over the site where the bomb fell some fifty-plus years earlier.
Sure enough, a few minutes later a car pulls up with Mr. Fujita and another
person from Brookings.
Interestingly, no interpreter this was a sign language operation
with a lot of smiling and bowing. Needless to say, we took advantage
of the opportunity to get a few pictures.
left to right myself, Fujita, my
|We have forwarded some, including a
picture from our local newspaper, as well as a picture of the Fujita
family Samurai sword which is on display at our library.
A somewhat humorous situation developed at the airport as the Bowers
began to taxi for departure. The weather was not real great and
the low ceiling was getting lower probably close to minimums
for an instrument take-off. Being a pilot too, it was not lost on
Mr. Fujita that one Bonanza was taking off and the other Bonanza
wasn't. The local pilot was trying to explain with
gestures, inflections etc., that the mountain top they wanted to
fly over was in the soup Mr. Fujita did a lot of listening, smiling
|and made some signs of his own. We were to learn
later that it was four or five hours before the ceiling lifted and
they got to make their flight over the bomb site.
Being a native Oregonian, I still have recollection of the bombing event.
Certainly there was never a thought in my mind that I might get to meet
the pilot a half-century later and find him to be a sweet, cheerful man
who was doing what he could to make amends.
Newspaper photo: Nobuo
Fujita [laces sword in special case in Chetco community library
to say clearly that this fact is unknown
by most of the Japanese people. With regard to the fact related
to "Nobuo Fujita's attack," I asked my family members,
friends, and acquaintances, but they did not know. The reason why
most of the Japanese people do not know this fact will be described
is he a hero?
A Modern Japanese Physician
and Scholar looks at Nobuo Fujita's Attack
By Makio Mukai, M.D., Tokyo, Japan
I am a Japanese born in 1947. I was heartily surprised at
an item in this website, "Nobuo
Fujita's almost forgotten attack," because I did
not know this fact at all although I am a Japanese. You
American people may think it unbelievable that I do not
know this fact though I am a Japanese. However, I have the
Makio Mukai, M.D.
Department of Pathology, Keio University School of Medicine,
I know the fact at this time and I investigated
various documents and newspaper accounts. I now know, for the
first time, that Mr. Nobuo Fujita was rather famous among some
Japanese people, although most Japanese people do not know.
The item of this website described Mr. Nobuo
Fujita exactly. However, I could get some facts from above-mentioned
documents and newspaper accounts which were not described in the
item of this website. These facts will be briefly summarized below.
When bombing attacks of the U.S. mainland were planned by the
Japanese naval general offices in those days, attacks of aircraft
manufacturers and naval bases in California may also have been
thought of by some people. After all, however, the office decided
to induce wood fires by dropping fire bombs on wooded regions
in Oregon. If fires occurred in wooded regions of the west coast
of the U.S., they will be hard to put out. On the basis of this
belief, the Japanese naval office judged that the American people
will become totally exhausted controlling the wood fires and lose
their fighting spirit at the war. The reason why Mr. Nobuo Fujita
was appointed to the special mission was that he had been known
to be the pilot with the best technical skill in the naval forces.
He wrote a testamentary letter before he made
a sally, since he believed that he would not return safely to
His bombing attack failed to cause any wood
fire as would spread panic over the American people. The most
possible reason was that the wooded regions in Oregon were considerably
moist, because the weather had been stormy there before the days
of the attack.
After the war, he was surprised when he was
invited by Brookings City, and he worried himself being judged
as a war criminal. Eventually, he accepted the invitation and
went to the U.S. On that occasion, he brought with him the hereditary
Japanese sword with intention of killing himself if the worst
should happen. When he arrived, however, he was expected with
the citizens' cordial welcomes. At this time, he was deeply impressed
with the broad-minded attitude of the country, USA, and he felt
actually, for the first time, that Japan was defeated by USA.
He decided to present the Japanese sword brought with him as a
proof of peace to Brookings City. Furthermore, he intended to
reward something to USA after he returned to Japan, since he was
deeply impressed with the American generosities.
He certainly succeeded as a businessman after
the war, but his company went bankrupt later. Even so, he saved
money from a small income over many years and he invited high
school students in Brookings City with the money, because he was
deeply touched by the American broad-minded attitude.
In 1985, three girl students in Brookings City
were invited to Japan. Some people remembered that he had acted
as a guide for them with a really delightful look on that occasion.
He was presented a dedicatory letter, "With
admiration for your kindness and generosity" from President
Reagan in those days.
On September 30, 1997, Mr. Nobuo Fujita, 85
years old, died. A part of his ashes were brought to Brookings,
because he had eager desire for placement of his ashes remains
in his second home, USA."
Then, why do not most of the Japanese people
know him? What I am going to write is not the opinion of all Japanese
people. This is my exceedingly personal opinion, but I am confident
that my opinion shown below should not be quite wrong.
What I must say first is that USA was a winner
and Japan was a loser at World War ll. You American people have
"an easy and graceful attitude as a winner," I think.
That seems to be why they could invite Mr. Nobuo Fujita after
the war. All winners at all wars do not necessarily have such
generous attitude, of course. I believe that the American people's
specific generosities in addition to "the generous attitude
as a winner" may have led the fact that he was so welcomed.
However, if USA had been defeated by Japan (although such a thing
had been quite impossible!), I wonder the country should have
Japan lost to USA at World War ll, and of course
did not have "an easy and graceful attitude." After
the war, Japan could be regenerated to the country where democracy
is held in esteem. This is really a glad thing, and we may be
indebted to the result (Japan lost the war to USA) for the regeneration.
However, a phenomenon occurred in Japan in the process of the
regeneration to the country where democracy is held in esteem
after the war; the phenomenon was a trend showing that everything
the Japanese people have conducted before the regeneration was
wrong. In other words, the trend showed that everything the Japanese
people had conducted at World War ll was wrong. On the basis of
this trend, there is no hero of World War ll in Japan. "Any
glorious achievement by the military personnel who fought at World
War ll" does not exist, whatever achievement he did.
However, this trend is a little changing in
some sectors of Japan. Mind you, American people, it is impossible
to make a website, such as "Kilroy was here", in Japan
yet! There is few or no website about Japanese veterans now.
Editor's note: Dear Makia, thank you for this insight into
Japanese feelings about the war and the United States. The last
part, however, saddens me. Like American boys, young Japanese
reported for duty when they heard their country's call. Their
country lost the war, but many fought with valor and courage and
those who served honorably should be remembered and honored for
that! Many tough and grizzled U.S. combat veterans have mentioned
with awe the way some Japanese soldiers held out sometimes
for decades after the war was over. I hope your combat veterans
who fought with honor and bravery are remembered before it is
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