Yoshiaki Fujitani
Military Intelligence Service

Reflections and Observations

"I don't have any real words of wisdom. . . . I guess as human beings, we have choices, so it's a matter of choice, how we live. Do we live in anger or do we live with love, a regard for others? If we think selfishly, I suppose our world would be very narrow. But we don't live by ourselves, we live with and among other people. And there's only one answer, I guess, we should live with regard and love for others."

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Religion and Faith

Well, I don't think [the war] had anything to do with my faith at all. It's a kind of a reflection of my understanding of human nature. It has nothing to do with the other, this is part of life itself. That as long as we are finite beings, we're limited in everything and so we can't see consequences as we are experiencing things, so we react.

Yoshiaki Fujitani speaks at Chicago Buddhist Church

Religions have said wise things, like, for instance, in Buddhism and this is also in other religions, too, but we say, "Violence is not overcome by violence," or "Hatred is not overcome by hatred," we understand that.

But as soon as somebody does something to us, then we react in kind. And there could have been some, a little bit more time in reflection, for instance, in our invasion of Afghanistan, or Iraq. But there must be some other unknown agenda. We keep on hearing people say, well, it's really a war for oil. There might be truth in that, I don't know. But, well, we don't look ahead enough, I think.

Yoshiaki and Tomi Fujitani, Halekulani

So it's not really a reflection on religion but our humanity. The frailty of our human understanding of things.

Children and Grandchildren

I don't know what I want [my children and grandchildren] to know about conflicts of war. These things do happen.

Fujitani Family, 2005

I would hope that their reaction to things would be sensible and they don't think in terms of creating their lives based on violence, although this is a very common way in which we react to things.

There must - there can be other, more sane ways, to reflect a little bit more on how we ought to look at life and contribute to a happier world, you might say.

Yoshiaki Fujitani's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Yoshiaki Fujitani.

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