Brigadier General Bonner Fellers
After the cataclysmic destruction of the Japanese by the American military, Brigadier General Bonner Fellers was a US Army officer who served as a director of psychological warfare, and was a calm voice of reason in the aftermath of this catastrophic war.
Perhaps Bonner Fellers was one of the very few American who understood the importance of the Emperor to the Japanese people, and what it would have meant to execute Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal.
After the nuclear holocaust at the end of World War II, Bonner Fellers played a major role in the occupation of Japan, as he was tasked as the liaison between the American GHQ (General Headquarters) and Imperial Household.
Soon after the occupation began, Fellers wrote several influential memoranda concerning why it would be advantageous for the occupation, reconstruction of Japan, and long-term US interests to keep the Emperor on the throne, if only symbolically.
This is why exonerating the Emperor after World War II was one of the most important decisions in modern history, and thanks in most part to Bonner Fellers.
Up until the end of World War II, Japanese mythology considered the Emperor to be an incarnation of god, like all ancient belief systems.
To have executed the Japanese Emperor in the gallows of Sugamo prison would have been akin to Jesus Christ being crucified in front of the Christian nation on live TV, or pronouncing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the spiritual leader of over 1.25 billion of our Muslim brother and sisters, a charlatan and fraud.
Let us now reflect on the passion and commitment of the Japanese, not only during wartime, but as a peaceful nation with deep seated constitution and an innate nation affinity as to what it means to be Japanese.
What would have happened to Japan if indeed some of America’s very own war criminals, who, let’s not forget perpetrated some of the gravest unpunished war atrocities ever, would have gotten their way and executed the Emperor?
The Americans would have been embroiled in a guerrilla war until the very last Japanese person laid down their life defending the dignity and honour of the Japanese nation and their freshly martyred deity Emperor Showa.
Like so many that come to understand and respect the Japanese people for their culture and unique way of life, Bonner Feller also understood the true nature of the Japanese when he befriended Aya Shimada in 1932, a Japanese exchange student in America before the outbreak of World War II.
Moreover, this level-headed soldier character was formulated by the Quakers, to which he was an adherent.
Interesting enough, the Quaker philosophy seems to have resonated deeply with the Japanese as Tsuda Umeko, the founder of Tsuda College became a Quaker during her time in the United States from 1871 to 1889.
Bonner Feller was also instrumental in the selection of American Quaker educator Elizabeth Vining as the tutor to Crown Prince Akihito.
One could surmise the Crown Prince was tremendously influenced, not by a message of salivation through Christ, but true to Quaker form, by Ms. Vining reconstituting Crown Prince Akihito with fundamental principles common to all residing inside the peaceful kingdom of humanity.
Further to this intriguing story, the Brigadier General was also intimately familiar with the writings of Koizumi Yakumo (Patrick Hearn), and became good friends with Lafcadio Hearn‘s descendants in Japan, the Koizumi family.
Just as this author was entreated by the powerful observation of Old Japan by Koizumi Yakumo, Bonner Feller also was surely moved by the eloquent way Yakumo described the Japan society and culture throughout his seminal body of work.
The final work of Koizumi Yakumo, Japan, An Attempt At Interpretation was posthumously published in 1904, and can be considered among the most important illustration of the Japanese and our society, and undoubtedly this work had an extraordinary influence on Bonner Feller.
Perhaps we can even say that it was the writings of Koizumi Yakumo that saved Japan after the war via his influence on Bonner Feller, and his role in preserving the ancient monarchy and culture of the Japanese.
In 1971, Emperor Hirohito conferred the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure on Fellers in recognition of his long-standing contribution to promoting friendship between Japan and the United States.
For a deeper look into Fellers’s role in exonerating Emperor Hirohito one must be certain to watch the 2012 film Emperor, starring Tommy Lee Jones as MacArthur, and Matthew Fox as Brigadier General Bonner Fellers.
One’s own heartstrings are sure to be tugged when viewing this film, and here one will be lead into a deeper understanding of human relationships based upon love and mutual respect regardless of race, religion, creed, or colour.