Pearl Harbor survivors and Japanese teachers spread message of peace

Everett Hyland
Everett Hyland
Minoguchi Kazunori
Minoguchi Kazunori

By Leland Kim - bio | email

FORT SHAFTER (KHNL) -   Teachers typically are the ones who do the educating, but some Japanese educators get a valuable history lesson by learning from the ones who lived through some remarkable moments.  They're in town for a workshop, to learn from Pearl Harbor survivors.

The attack on Pearl Harbor killed almost 2,400 military members and wounded another 1,100.  It prompted the U.S. to get into the war.

Everett Hyland was just eighteen years old that fateful day.  Despite his experience, or maybe because of it, his perspective on war has changed over the years.

"I think there should be ways to solve problems besides killing each other," said Hyland, an 85-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor.  "Killing people doesn't solve a thing, whether it's on a street corner, or whether it's a nation."

Now almost seven decades later, Hyland is giving a history lesson to teachers who want to learn more about Pearl Harbor.

"It's great speaking with the young people who are still in the business," he said. "I'm a retired school teacher, so it makes it nice to meet some of the ones who are still at it."

Ones like Minoguchi Kazunori, a history teacher from Hokkaido, Japan.

"I want to teach the students the horror of the war," said Kazunori through a translator. "And the preciousness of life, and the importance of peace."

So committed, Kazunori traveled thousands of miles and spent hundreds of hours to write his book, "islands of mass suicide attack."

"I wanted to write about the war and collect information and the voices of the people who experienced the war so that we can teach the importance of peace the future generation," said Kazunori.

"He visited many, many of the battle fields, talked to individuals, locals," said Hyland.  "And then he has found veterans from many of these places, and interviewed them."

So these men, who would've been enemies many years ago, now share a common mission.

"I feel responsible and I feel it is a duty to change the future generation about this war by talking to these veterans, survivors," said Kazunori.

A history lesson transcending culture and language barriers.

This week-long event is designed to improve understanding of what happened at Pearl Harbor, while strengthening ties between the East and the West.  The workshop ends on Saturday.