Monday, May 28, 2012

Fujita anniversary: Japanese pilot’s family visits

Descendents of Nobuo Fujita will visit Brookings – perhaps for the last time – as part of the 2012 Azalea Festival this weekend.
“I was a child when he first came over,” said reference librarian Brenda Jacques, who is organizing the family’s visit. “Meeting his daughter is going to be very interesting. Unless grandchildren start coming, there won’t be any more visits from the family.”
 Fujita’s daughter, Yoriko Asakura, her husband, Sumiki, and their son Fumihiro Fujita, arrive Thursday for the Memorial Day weekend that coincides with the 50th year Nobuo first visited Brookings.
Nobuo Fujita was a Warrant Flying Officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy and flew a floatplane from a submarine aircraft during World War II. 
He dropped two bombs northeast of Brookings – the only time enemy aircraft had bombed the U.S. until 9/11 – in hopes of starting the forest on fire and drawing attention away from the Pacific Theater.  The incident is now known as the Lookout Air Raid.
In 1962, the Brookings Jaycees invited him to town, in part for the Azalea Festival and also to build a friendship between the two countries.
He returned to Oregon in 1990, 1992 and 1995. In 1992, he planted a tree at the bomb site as a gesture of peace.
Fujita died in 1997, but not before bestowing upon the town a 400-year-old samurai sword, currently on display at the Chetco Community Public Library.
The last time his daughter was here was in 1998 to spread some of Fujita’s ashes at the site of the Lookout Air Raid.
While in Brookings, the family plans to attend a reception in their honor at Brookings City Hall, watch the parade, visit the bomb site and observe a traditional Japanese swordsmanship demonstration – iaido –at the library.
The reception will be held at City Hall, 898 Elk Dr., at 9 a.m. Friday, and the iaido presentation will be held at 1:45 p.m. in the parking lot of the library, 405 Alder St., weather permitting.
Iaido is the art of using a sword in a counter-attack to a surprise attack.
The Southern Oregon Iaido Club will perform a form of swordsmanship called Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, the Siskiyou Iaido Dojo will demonstrate a form called Muso Shinden Ryu, and the Ashland Taiko of Southern Oregon will perform Taiko drumming. 

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