Japan and the Armenian Genocide

A Forgotten International Humanitarian Relief Episode

The devastation and immense human suffering caused by the recent earthquake in Haiti resulted in an enormous international humanitarian relief response. Japan once again found itself participating in a global relief effort in a bid to save victims of a major disaster. More than $70 million dollars in aid for Haiti has been pledged by the Japanese government, including ¥30 million (or ~$357,000) in emergency supplies. This comes on the back of substantial contributions made by Japan to other recent natural disasters, such as the 2004 Great Asian Tsunami and the 2006 Indonesian earthquake.

From the April 1922 issue of New Near East, p. 12.

According to Makiko Watanabe, formerly of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan’s humanitarian assistance dates back to 1953, when the government started funding UN relief work for Palestinian refugees. Later in the 1970’s, Japan dispatched a small medical team to help Cambodian refugees. In 1987, this ad hoc help was formalized with the adoption of the Japan Disaster Relief Team Law (JDR Law) which officially enshrined the commitment by Japan to international relief.

The early history of Japan’s international humanitarian relief involvement has not been the subject of any major study. Consequently, Japan’s participation in global humanitarian relief before 1953 is little known, and has failed to gain adequate recognition in the context of Japanese philanthropic history.

Japan’s first-known involvement in international humanitarian relief was not in 1953, but in 1922—in response to the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman state.

The global response to the genocide was sparked by a cablegram sent by the United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, to the Secretary of State in Washington on Sept. 6, 1915, stating: “Destruction of the Armenian Race is progressing rapidly.” Morgenthau proposed the formation of a relief fund in the United States in order to “provide means to save some of the Armenians” who had survived. Within a few weeks a group of civic, business, and religious leaders formed a committee to rescue over a million people caught up in the tragedy.

The relief fund committee was eventually incorporated by an Act of Congress in August 1919 and called the Near East Relief (NER). By 1929, the organization had raised over $110 million (about $1.4 billion in today’s terms) and saved more than half a million Armenians from certain death. This figure included over 130,000 children who were housed, fed, and educated in more than 200 orphanages across the region. It was an unsurpassed achievement, remarkable even by today’s standards, accomplished through the pioneering of philanthropic techniques which continue to be used today.

In an effort to internationalize the NER, the Rev. Dr. Lincoln L. Wirt, an American Congregational minister and a Red Cross commissioner during World War I, was given the mission to establish branches of the NER among the Pacific nations. Wirt embarked upon his mission from San Francisco aboard the Golden Gate on Jan. 14, 1922. After successfully establishing a relief committee in Hawaii, he arrived in Japan in February, lodging at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo.

Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa

There were quite a number of Americans and Europeans in Japan at the time and it was to this community that Wirt addressed his appeal. He succeeded in forming a general committee, composed of American businessmen and missionaries, with the American Ambassador, Charles Beecher Warren, as chairman. The Armenian relief movement began to gain momentum and at foreign social groups, lodges, clubs, churches, and garden parties, Wirt was invited to speak.

While Wirt’s mission was successfully progressing, word was received through the Rev. Gilbert Bowles, a long-time American missionary in Japan, that a group of leading Japanese men were interested to learn about Wirt’s mission. Bowles was held in high esteem by the Japanese, and no foreigner had a better command of the Japanese language. Under the guidance of Bowles, Wirt was taken to the Imperial Bank and ushered to the director’s room. Acting as an interpreter, Bowles introduced Wirt to a number of personages including Viscount Shibusawa, a leading banker and vice-minister for foreign affairs. Sitting at the head of a long table, Shibuwasa asked Wirt “who the Armenians were and why they needed help.” After a little geography and history, Wirt described the details of the atrocities committed against the Armenians and their current plight. Shibusawa interrupted and asked, “Why did you not come to us with your appeal?” He added, “Was it because we are Buddhists and you thought we would not help Christians in distress? We have read your speeches as reported in the Japan Advertiser [an English-language daily] and we thought we would like to help, even if we have not been invited to do so. Unknown to you, one of our Japanese papers published your appeal, and here is your result.” Shibusawa handed over to Wirt a check for $11,000 (about $140,000 in today’s terms).

Shibusawa accepted the chairmanship of the newly formed Armenian Relief Committee of Japan, which was headquartered at 1 Uchiyamashita Cho, Kajimachi, Tokyo. The Rev. Gilbert Bowles was designated as secretary of the fund. Shibuwasa immediately wrote a letter to about 100 Japanese leaders with the aim of arousing their interest in the Armenian relief appeal. Contributions for the fund began to come from all classes of Japanese society—from ordinary people to government ministers, leading businessmen and royalty. A Japanese girl’s school assumed the full responsibility of two Armenian orphans. Prince Tokugawa Yoshihisa joined the relief campaign and sent a generous amount of money to the relief committee. He also took a leading part in supervising and distributing literature on the Armenian relief appeal to all members of the House of Peers.

Wirt continued his journey across the Pacific and successfully established relief committees in China, Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Australia. Along with 15 other national committees, the Japanese committee became a member of the International Near East Relief Association headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is not known how much money was collected by the Armenian Relief Committee of Japan during the life of the fund, or whether any Japanese nationals were mobilized to the sites of disaster. However, what we do know is that at all levels of Japanese society; practical sympathy was shown towards the plight of the Armenians, which resulted in the saving of many lives.

While Japan continues to be recognized today as a major international humanitarian force, a more thorough investigation into its philanthropic past reveals a deeper connection to international humanitarian relief than is widely known.

References

Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, New York, HarperCollins, 2003.

James Barton, Story of Near East Relief: 1915-1930, New York, MacMillan & Co, 1930.

“Internal Affairs of Turkey 1910-1929,” General Records of the Department of State, Document no. 867.4016/117, Cable Record Group 59, U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Loyal Lincoln Wirt, The World is My Parish, Los Angeles, Warren F. Lewis, 1951.

“The Near East in Japan,” The New Near East, Near East Relief, New York, April 1922, p. 12.

Charles V. Vickery, “International Golden Rule Sunday: A Handbook,” George H. Doran & Company, New York, 1926.

Vicken Babkenian

Vicken Babkenian

Vicken Babkenian is an independent researcher for the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He is the co-author (with Professor Peter Stanley) of Armenia, Australia and the Great War (NewSouth Publishing 2016) - shortlisted for 2 major Australian history awards.

46 Comments

  1. I have been much interested by your article about Japan’s help to New East Relief for the armenian atrocities in 1915. My father and his family were among the deported people, they suffered much, their parents died, but after the war my father and his little brother who were in an orphanage, were helped to come to France thanks to Near East Relief. I thank the Japan government for his generosity.
    I have friends in Japan, I like the Japanese people.
    Louise Kiffer

  2. The first Armenian Republic had a woman ambassador in Japan. I have forgotten her name. The Japanese were impressed by her, especially because she was the first female ambassdor to Japan. Through her, the Japanese–even children–learned about Armenians and the Genocide. Older Japanese still remember reading about her in their children or school books.

  3. A very interesting article about an unknown page of the aftermath of the Genocide. The Armenian ambassador to Japan was Diana Apcar. She was, as far as we know, the first female ambassador in the world (before Alexandra Kollontai, the first Soviet ambassador to Mexico). She wrote many books in English about the Armenia plight. A book of her stories was recently published here in the U.S. by one of her descendants.

  4. I believe that the lady Ambassador to whom you refer is Mrs. Diana Agabeg Apcar.  She and her family resided in Yokohama, Japan.  Her work on behalf of the Armenian survivors is remarkable, and her story can be found on the internet.  She was particularly involved with the resettlement of Armenians who braved the trek across Siberia and were transited through Japan.  Many of the refugees were considered “state-less” for diplomatic purposes, but thanks to the efforts of Diana, they were able to obtain the necessary documents to continue their journey (mostly arriving in the United States). The Apcars owned a beautiful home overlooking the port, and every Sunday, Diana could be heard singing Armenian hymns in the chapel which was constructed inside the home.
    The Apcar Family was involved over many generations in the shipping business, and their commercial activities extended from the Persian Gulf to the west coast of the United States.  There were members of the Apcar family located throughout Southeast Asia.  Diana’s sister was married into the equally industrious Verthanes family in Rangoon, Burma.  One of her cousins, George Apcar, brought tapioca to the world market, and owned one of the largest plantations in the Dutch East Indies, near Surabaya.  Another cousin, Rev. Fr. Theodore Isaac, was one of the early group of Armenian priests to serve in the United States, eventually becoming the pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Fresno, California.
    In 1917, Bishop Torkom Koushagian, then primate of the Armenian Diocese of Egypt, sojourned throughout India and Asia, collecting funds to relieve the survivors of the Genocide.  Many survivors had managed to escape to safety in Port Said, and Bishop Torkom’s tour yielded much-needed and greatly appreciated aid to the survivors.  The Armenians in India and Asia had been established for several centuries, and their accumulated wealth was astounding.  Thankfully, during those bleak years, the Armenians in India and Asia contributed generously to the relief of the survivors.  They also purchased many bonds in support of the independent Republic of Armenia.  It is believed that since the Indian and Asian Armenians loved the song “Mer Hairenik” so much that in exchange for providing so much financial support to the new Republic, “Mer Hairenik” was adopted as the national anthem.
    Sadly, during the Second World War, many Armenians who were living throughout occupied Asia were rounded up and imprisoned by the Japanese.  Many died in the notorious Japanese prison camps.  Diana’s son was imprisoned in Japan because of his Masonic affiliation.  The Armenians in Singapore, Burma, and Java (including the Armenian priests in Surabaya) were likewise imprisoned.  As Christians and Indo-Europeans, the Armenians were considered enemies to the Japanese Empire, and many suffered gravely during the War.  Many Armenians were well-educated in British and Dutch schools, and held prominent positions in business and society in their cities.  The Armenian prelate of Asia, Very Rev. Asoghig Ghazarian, was held as a prisoner by the Japanese in Manchuria for five, hellish years.  After the War, many of the survivors of the Japanese occupation and atrocities relocated to Australia.
     
     

  5. The first woman in the world who held a diplomatic post was a noble Armenian lady Diana Abgar (born Anahid Aghabekyan). She was appointed in 1920 as the Ambassador of the first Democratic Republic of Armenia in Japan. She was very instrumental and supported many Armenian refugees who fled the genocide of Armenians and were moving to the U.S. via Siberia and Japan. The Japanese government required anyone entering the country to have at least 1500 Yen to make sure they wouldn’t become a burden for the country. Diana Abgar managed to waive that requirement. But of course, it was first and foremost the Japanese government’s understanding of the plight of the Armenian people subjected to slaughters and deporations by Ottoman Turks.

    There’s a small article on Diana Abgar in the Fall 2010 Issue (10) p. 40 of the YEREVAN magazine.

  6. Wow.. Thank you so much for the article and about Diana Acpar.. I never knew..

    I love AW and our discussions because people who lived under Soviet’s rule for so long and not having the chance to properly learn about our history, our forums are an excellent start… thank you for educating not only me but everyone who has access to these pages..

    God Bless

  7. The Japanese are, in general, a noble and humble people. Their financial and humane (expect during WWII) generosity is well known. I wonder though…what would they have done had they known the true accounts of what really happened then?  

  8. I’m not really surprised by this important news. Knowing the spiritual greatness of Japan and Japanese people, the contrary would have surprised me.

  9. I recently learned about Japan’s role aiding the Armenians when I interviewed a friend of our family’s who told me her dad and uncle were saved through the efforts of Diana Apcar and her ability to help get the men to the US through Japan. Another interviewee (and family friend) told me her grandfather and another man were traveling with those men and came via the same route. These men helped establish New York’s Armenian community through their hard work, leadership and philanthropy. We owe our deepest gratitude to Japan, Mrs. Apcar, and the Armenian-Genocide survivors who built Armenian churches and kept the Armenian culture alive for all of us. Here is my blog post from last March about Diana Apcar:
    http://armeniangenocideblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/diana-agabeg-apcar/
    Sheri Sona Jordan
     

  10. Robert,glad that you are reading such articles.Regardless this will help you in the progress of reversing your brainwashed head from all the rubbish lies that your government had implanted it.These are facts & similar to your government you cannot twist history.

  11. How come no one remembered that almost at the exact same time Japanese committed massacres, mass rapes and other atrocities in China, Korea etc. And are still engaged in an active policy of a la Turkey denial. Would we praising Turkey for their ‘humanity’ in case they supported Chinese in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide while denying their own?

  12. Thank you Rev. Leylegian for remembering in your comments the important role played by prominent Armenian families in Southeast Asia.  While on a United Nations long-term assignment in Burma from 1973 to 1977, I met members of both the Apkar and Varthanes families.  We met every Sunday at mass in the beautiful Armenian church on Market street in Rangoon.  My late husband and I also met quite frequently, members of the Minus (Minassian) and Aratun (Harutunian) families.  I remember being told that Dewar Street in Rangoon where the Presidential Palace was located, was named after an Armenian whose full name I cannot recall.

  13. Dear George. This article is on Japan’s humanitarian involvement in the 1920s. There is no denyng that there are dark moments in Japanese history such as during WW2. But the atrocities were generally carried out by Japanese military personell. Just as there are humane people in Japan today, there were humane people in Japan in the 1920s who decided to send help to the distressed Armenians.

  14. Well Robert same here; I lost several phrases & some whole comments too, don’t forget we are not in a total “Freedom of Speech” environment here; you even got lucky that your complain showed up here, didn’t happen to me. :-(((

  15. Osik and Robert..

    Dont’ forget that you are in Turkey.. We don’t have ARticle 301.. so your rubbish about comments being deleted and what not.. it is not about cencorship..but it is about freedom of doing what a free man can do..

    You are not commenting on your Turkish forums where you can spit rubbish and have your filth be posted on every decent forums including this one.. so if you can’t express your thoughts and ideas in a constructive and NON Anti-Armenian ways, then maybe you will get the option of having your comments post on our forums…

    Keep in mind: some of our comments are also get blocked.. it is up to AW .. but we don’t cry like a baby … grow up.. but then again, it is hard to make people like you to understand.. we have been trying …oh well..

    WELL SAID David jan.. Well said.

    Have a nice night…

  16. Dear Gayane,

    Wrong assumptions; I don’t know about Robert but I’m in US of A and I don’t have any reservations to direct it to my or other Government but my “complain” was directed to the “Moderator” of this modern facility that we are using not the Government(s).
    Sometimes I’m translating some Armenian or Farsi “Sayings” where instead of human characters animals are used which we all know the intention is not to say opponents are those animals and it is nothing but author’s high level of humor (not me the user but the one who created the saying) for example once at the end of my comment instead of saying they are not trust worthy I wrote “They are all Wolves hiding under sheepskin” now Gayane you tell me isn’t it ridicules and sheer lack of humor to censor such humorous saying?

    With Regards.   

  17. Dear Osik,

    Correction: I meant to say… “We are NOT in Turkey” and not “we are in Turkey”  that was my error…

    now.. I dont’ know much about you but I know Robert very well, I know how he thinks, expresses and writes on these pages…..

    My comments were more directed to him and I should have separated your name from his…but i am glad you explained yourself… thank you…

    my advice would be: don’t translate or use anything that may come off inaccurate/wrong.. cause you don’t want your comments to be omitted…

    thanks for sharing..

    Gayane

  18. Dear Gayane,
    You are telling me to play with their rules and that is what I can’t take, the first part of my life I exactly did what you are telling me to do which is called “Self Censorship” something that after few years being in this country I stopped doing.

    I’m surprised to read that; you are telling me not to use a literature and the resulting culture; that decades ago under tyranny; our brave liberal writers created to express themselves.
    What are you talking about; to give up that culture? No way my friend; every time when in a right moment (and that’s the key) I translate one of those precious “Sayings” for my ODAR friends they get amazed of the depth of humor hiding in it.
    I’m a proud Armenian but I also speak fluent Farsi and I have tons of these “Sayings” from both languages (and since I was born in Tabriz also some in Azari) in my heart; and for this occasion I’ll use one to clear the confusion.
    In Farsi they say “Dar Masal Monaghesheh Nist” and it’s normally used as a prelude to an upcoming saying that may offend some; and it means “There is nothing personal in any Saying” and by this I rest my case.          

  19. Sometimes, when by chance I find myself on an internet page, where people leave messages or make comments, wonder of wonders, how come all these people that leave comments can have watery logic. I assume that most of you are young, educated? relatively new to North American continent. Well, boys and girls, history is not that much simple and most of your thoughts are naive. Armenians do not have the luck to have ‘civilized’ neighbours, and will not have. It is better to use the brain and learn to become cunning, mischievous, demanding and vigilant in every respect. The Armenians under Soviet rule, learned a little to be cunning, and politically learned to pretend, but the soul was corrupted. The Diaspora is more touchy and naive. Let us arm ourselves with knowledge, tolerance towards each other, respect and co-operate for the good of the mankind/Armenia.
    We must demand the universe to get stars.

  20. Osik..

    You did not get my point..

    You have the right to express yourself and write whatever you want to but as I said before, if you want your comments to be posted, try to avoid anything that may be offensive… of course each person has his or her own perception of what is offensive and what is not.. but we are using a common forum and the editors have the right to censor whatever they believe is not appropriate…even if you don’t agree with it..

    i understand that you don’t want to censor your speech or comments but AW will do that for you if you dont’ watch it.. that was my point..

    Unfortunately, we all have matters to share and we all want to express what is on our mind, but this is not the Turkish sites… where filth is overflowing on their pages….. you have the right to express, but keep in mind, AW has the right to censor… and i am ok with that…

    Anyway. i am done on this topic.

    Have a nice day

  21. Gayane,

    Yet once again, you prove that not only do you live in a delusional world, but you love to distort reality and make constant diversions (boarding on outright falsehoods) just so you won’t have to deal with the truth and/or the continuous questions that we pose to you all, which none of you wish to ever answer (because you can’t. To do so would be an open admission that your century-old lies and propaganda have no foundational base!). This would then raise the ire of the ARF, AYF, ANCA, etc., which would cause them to censor you publically…or worse! Knowing this, just realize that no one really takes you seriously.

    Osik,

    I know what you mean! About 90% of my posts are censored and deleted. But I can sense a change, since they actually allowed your post and part of mine (they also love to edit our posts and only post what they believe is safe for the politariate…wouldn’t what to put subversive thoughts into their heads). Also, this site is being carefully monitored by various interests. All sites have to adhere to a certain guideline. This protects both the site and the posters rights as well. Gross violaters could have their sites shut down. Anyway, never be afraid to speak the truth. Make sure that you don’t swear and always be civil (compare that to what their people write on our sites, yet because we know what the truth is, we have no fear of them and allow everyone to post and they make sure that those sites remain posted, thereby protecting their 1st ammendment rights). 

  22. Slow down my friend; there is no need to insult others; at least do whatever you preach; and TOLERATE us; we the Young, the Uneducated, the Naïve, and the Illogical Newcomer Boys and Girls from all around the world.
    So next time when you get chance to be on an Internet page, please first be humble and come down to earth, then you will be able to drop all those arrogant & fussy words from your comment to go right to the point.
    And let me put my 2 Cents in, Yes you are right the History is not easy because after these many years and all above fussy words you still didn’t learn that Armenia was neighbor with the most Civilized Nation of its times Persia.
    Sincerely and with Regards.  

  23. Robert… you are a lost cause with your Anti-Armenian mind set you come here and try to stir problems…

    Please grow up and try to open your closed mind for once..but then again, that is very hard for you because you are fixated on certain matters and wont’ budge no matter how much we try to educate you…

     

  24. Anahid Keusseyan,
    My above comment was in reply to your comment, unfortunately I thought it will put my reply right after your comment and didn’t mention your name but apparently sometimes the “Reply” doesn’t do that and takes it to the bottom.

     

  25. Robert… i am not a dude.. address people with proper manner.. do you know how to do that? you know even know what manners are?  so pathetic…

     

  26. Robert, Robert Robert,
    You must have watching too much of “super natural” series on TVs..
    they call each others “dude” whenever see a “life threat” …I think Armenian Genocide drive you “nuts” and you become a really “dude” yourself…and I wonder why names such as dashnak and ANCA become your latest nightmares and it is really hunting you..please watch your health this is more important, than anything else….you are very lucky “dude” that your anti Armenian comments printed in Armenian Weekly…you have to appreciate  “Armenian weekly”, that some of your ridicule comments sleeps into these pages, where most of our logic comments never sleeps into Turkish newspapers, but that is OK we know where you come from…,
    Dear Gayane, you are a great patriotic Armenian lady, and God bless you we need more “true Armenian ladies” in this forum, who use more heart and less politics!!
    Dear Osik, nobody in this forum hurt your feeling and Persian culture and you are not the ONLY one, who is fluent in Iranian language in this forum…thank you for your understanding we all are Armenians and we all suffering from the same terrible blow of  Genocide…
     

  27. Gayane,

    So, what are you saying…that you’re a woman? Look, in all sincereity, I really thought that all of this time you were a guy. In this case then, please accept my apology in making an honest error.

  28. Osik you are too much..lol

    Maybe Amelie just happen to have time to read this discussion..but i have to agree with you… Amelie is a bit too late..:)

    Guess i might as well put in my comment to Robert….why not? I was brought back to this forum by Amelie..lol

    Robert,  what I am saying is that you just make me laugh with your comments.. i guess i have to thank you for that??? i don’t know…..but YES.. I AM A WOMAN.. too bad you did not… but then again if you were a bit inclined with Armenian culture and history, you would know that Gayane is a very popular Armenian name.. or if you were abit educated in world music, you would be familiar with a very fameous ballet called Gayane by Aram Xachaturyan.. so now that you are a bit educated about this, i hope you won’t make any more mistakes referring to people with inproper status…my dear “dude”..

    Have a wonderful evening..

    Gayane

  29. Osik,

    Now who is insulting whom! And to think that I had believed you to be a decent and well mannered individual, only to find that you return to a site four months hence and post the comment which you did. Still, I bid you peace. 

    Gayane,

    I said that I was sorry for not realizing your gender. Let it go!

  30. Osik.. you are right.. i took a chance by hoping he would but i know i was getting ahead of myself..:) 

    Robert… i have let it go.. relax..chill.. be open minded and get educated about the Armenian Genocide and History..

    Note: i would have never seen your last comment if it was not for Amelie.. that is why i replied otherwise i could care less what you think.. thank you and have a wonderful day.

    Gayane

  31. First of all I want to salute everyone here and pay my respects also it was a very interesting and informative article I consider the writers acknowledgment of the thoughtfulness of the Japanese people admirable. Such good deeds most of the time don’t get the attention they deserve..unfortunately.
    However I would like to stress out a point that I feel is important for this discussion. I am a Turk and my ancestors (my grand-grandparents) lived in Istanbul during those terrible times. From my grandparents words I learned that they had lots of Armenian friends, and Armenians were known always by their hard work and compassion. They tell me every craftsmen (skilled persons which were very valuable and respected at the time) were Armenian, they were also very civilized and polite and when they requested their help, many Turkish families in their neighborhood helped them by either hiding them or finding them secure passage to other countries. My grandparents always wonder what happened to their Armenian neighbors after they left and voiced their wish of seeing them again one day, they pray for them still.
    In summary what I want to say is: There were and are humane people in Turkey also, people that even today feel the burden of a hidden and possibly shameful past.
    If I may I want to suggest something further and say, what Mr.David pointed out in his post may be true for Turkey as well that the incapable even suicidal military leadership of the time carried out such atrocities, not the people.
    Turks IMHO do not accept genocide because as a people we pride ourselves with our compassion, we helped the Jews that were under pressure from the German empire, we sent ships full of food to Irish during the plague and even if we try to hide it unfortunately like every country we had and have radical groups. Terrible things; force marches happened, bandit attacks were real, seizure of belongings were real and these alone are enough to shame us but I don’t want to believe a total eradication was planned I don’t want to believe this not for the sake of my nation or my pride but for the sake of my ancestors and their Armenian neighbors.

    I wish all of this had never happened and that we had stayed as respectful neighbors that shared the family meal after it was cooked. I want to finish by saying I feel sorry for your loss and hope that peace and understanding will one day diminish our past and present problems.

  32. I am told that at one time, I do not know the year, when Turkey attacked/was attacking Armenia, Japanese war ships arrived on the coast(s) of Turkey and told them to stop their attack(s) on the Armenians or Japan would attack Turkey.  Can someone please refer me to an article or written account of this situation if this action did in fact occur.

    Thank you.

    Ken Nalbandian
    Fresno, CA
    callksn@hotmail.com

  33. Dear Chatterbox,
    you say “I don’t want to believe a total eradication was planned I don’t want to believe this not for the sake of my nation or my pride but for the sake of my ancestors and their Armenian neighbors.” Please consider. Precisely for the sake of your courageous and generous ancestors who saved Armenian lives, and for the sake of their Armenian neighbors, shouldn’t you accept what you seem to know deep inside you and “don’t want to believe”, as if our will could change past events that took place long  before we were even born? When we minimize a crime, including by denying it was planned, for example, we also minimize the heroism of those who disobeyed orders. The fact that there was a planned extermination doesn’t make your great-grand-parents and other Turks and Kurds of the time any less humane, on the contrary, unless one sees the Turks of the time as a sort of monolyth. And there is the sake of the descendents of the victims, who deserve a thorough acknowledgment, and the sake of the descendents of the  humane and brave Turks who defied the perpetrators’ orders. We all wish it hadn’t  happened, we wish we weren’t the grand-children of orphans who saw horrors, we wern’t the children of exiles. And how the Germans wish the Holocaust hadn’t happened ! And the Jews and Gypsies ! It’s very hard for Germans too, and in their case, the percentage of those involved in the crimes is much higher, and the number of the “righteous” certainly a lot lower. So virtually all of the young Germans now have an ancestor who, one way or the other, killed Russians, Poles, Belgians, French people, if they didn’t operate the gas chambers. Yet there are no better friends now than France and Germany, though  the crimes occured “only” 65 years ago, as compared to a century for the Armenian genocide. You will be able to face the whole  truth if you manage to see Turks, those of the past and those of today, as distinct individuals, not as a single group.   In any case, thanks for sharing your feelings so sincerely.

  34. Ken: A friend of mine who researched the Smyrna Holocaust told me many years ago that he found newspaper articles which stated that there were Japanese ships in the Smyrna Quay offering to take survivors to safety.

  35. I cannot fathom what the Japanese might have done then,if they could,but one thing I am in for is to have the Govt. of Imperial Japan officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.
    Like Dr. henry Astarjian -so far-is the only Armenian that I know of interested in establishing(has already,hope much more ,now on)rapport with the KURDS, someone would do the same with this important nation.
    yes , some may be surprised that I always have something real on my behalf with subject matter in Dialogue here…here goes..
    I was in Tokyo way back in the 60´s,upon invitation of a japanese gentlman w/whom we did business for yrs..he in fact gave me the fist portable Sony T.v.-had brought with him-and also..a one way ticket to Tokyo,saying the return ¨on you¨,accepted with thaks. visited him , later that yr. btw he an ex captain of the Japanese Imperial Army,when after was had started business in Tokyo.I got to learn apleny re that nation in my two week stay there..he also took care of my hotel stay there…well, my business in 10/12 yrs must have been profitable to him I take it.Anyhow..
    YES MY View on this nation is high very high.I only hope someone will establish rapport with them,rather their govt. in order to solicit their accepting Recognition of the Armenian Genocide.We need that very much!!!and what´s more..
    My belief is having suffered themselves quite a bit in WWII they also are quite apt to come FWD and do so for us. After all they bowed out from antagonizm with the USA graciously but the wounds are there.And in light of latter not willing to accept-as yet-the Armenian Genocide, they will possibly do so…Hope we have that one peerson delegate or more to establish contact/rapport with them soon.

  36. To be honest, Japan saved Armenians but Japan committed crimes against Chinese and Koreans. I cannot hope that Japan will recognize it due to the same between Japan and Turkey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*