Chiune Sugihara. This man saved 6000 Jews. He was a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania. When the Nazis began rounding up Jews, Sugihara risked his life to start issuing unlawful travel visas to Jews. He hand-wrote them 18 hrs a day. The day his consulate closed and he had to evacuate, witnesses claim he was STILL writing visas and throwing from the train as he pulled away. He saved 6000 lives. The world didn’t know what he’d done until Israel honored him in 1985, the year before he died.
Why can’t we have a movie about him?
He was often called “Sempo”, an alternative reading of the characters of his first name, as that was easier for Westerners to pronounce.
His wife, Yukiko, was also a part of this; she is often credited with suggesting the plan. The Sugihara family was held in a Soviet POW camp for 18 months until the end of the war; within a year of returning home, Sugihara was asked to resign - officially due to downsizing, but most likely because the government disagreed with his actions.
He didn’t simply grant visas - he granted visas against direct orders, after attempting three times to receive permission from the Japanese Foreign Ministry and being turned down each time. He did not “misread” orders; he was in direct violation of them, with the encouragement and support of his wife.
He was honoured as Righteous Among the Nations in 1985, a year before he died in Kamakura; he and his descendants have also been granted permanent Israeli citizenship. He was also posthumously awarded the Life Saving Cross of Lithuania (1993); Commander’s Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (1996); and the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2007). Though not canonized, some Eastern Orthodox Christians recognize him as a saint.
Sugihara was born in Gifu on the first day of 1900, January 1. He achieved top marks in his schooling; his father wanted him to become a physician, but Sugihara wished to pursue learning English. He deliberately failed the exam by writing only his name and then entered Waseda, where he majored in English. He joined the Foreign Ministry after graduation and worked in the Manchurian Foreign Office in Harbin (where he learned Russian and German; he also converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church during this time). He resigned his post in protest over how the Japanese government treated the local Chinese citizens. He eventually married Yukiko Kikuchi, who would suggest and encourage his acts in Lithuania; they had four sons together. Chiune Sugihara passed away July 31, 1986, at the age of 86. Until her own passing in 2008, Yukiko continued as an ambassador of his legacy.
It is estimated that the Sugiharas saved between 6,000-10,000 Lithuanian and Polish Jewish people.
It’s a tragedy that the Sugiharas aren’t household names. They are among the greatest heroes of WWII. Is it because they were from an Axis Power? Is it because they aren’t European? I don’t know. But I’ve decided to always reblog them when they come across my dash. If I had the money, I would finance a movie about them.
He told an interviewer:
You want to know about my motivation, don’t you? Well. It is the kind of sentiments anyone would have when he actually sees refugees face to face, begging with tears in their eyes. He just cannot help but sympathize with them. Among the refugees were the elderly and women. They were so desperate that they went so far as to kiss my shoes, Yes, I actually witnessed such scenes with my own eyes. Also, I felt at that time, that the Japanese government did not have any uniform opinion in Tokyo. Some Japanese military leaders were just scared because of the pressure from the Nazis; while other officials in the Home Ministry were simply ambivalent.
People in Tokyo were not united. I felt it silly to deal with them. So, I made up my mind not to wait for their reply. I knew that somebody would surely complain about me in the future. But, I myself thought this would be the right thing to do. There is nothing wrong in saving many people’s lives….The spirit of humanity, philanthropy…neighborly friendship…with this spirit, I ventured to do what I did, confronting this most difficult situation—and because of this reason, I went ahead with redoubled courage.
He died in nearly complete obscurity in Japan. His neighbors were shocked when people from all over, including Israeli diplomatic personnel, showed up at quiet little Mr. Sugihara’s funeral.
“I don’t have money,” Mason said, “to pay for other people’s health insurance.”
That may be the most insightful statement of the misguided conservative philosophy of self-interest I have ever heard. Senator, you already pay for other people’s health insurance. And assuming you have health insurance, other people pay for yours. That’s the way insurance works.
Very few people can afford to pay out of pocket for health care, so we pool our resources. No one pays in as much as they collect if and when they become seriously ill. We all underwrite one another. That’s why we need young, healthy people in the pool and why there is a health care mandate. And if people do not have health insurance, we pay for their care in the increased cost of our own health care and hospitalization.
The same is true of life insurance. Sure, you pay premiums, but when you cash out, it’s other people’s money that pays the death benefit. No one pays their own way in this world.
I first became aware of the emboldened and benighted selfishness of the conservative right when I served on the local School Committee back in the 1990s and heard people arguing that they should not have to pay for other people’s kids to go to school. Somehow the idea that you shouldn’t have to pay for anything that doesn’t directly benefit you swept through the conservative movement like a self-inflicted virus.
A decade on, I find it extremely tiresome to hear conservatives constantly complain about paying for health care, unemployment benefits and food stamps as though they were footing the entire bill themselves. They would have you believe that they not only pay their own way, but also have to support an entire family of illegal immigrants on welfare.
To begin with, no one pays their own way. We are all supported by other people’s money. And when it comes to taxes, the portion that goes to assist the poor is a pittance.
The American way of life is underwritten by the tax dollars we pool to support a civil society and the money we pay into a social safety network of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military and public pensions. No one other than criminals would be able to make a living, were it not for our concerted effort to work for the common good.
Of course, conservatives don’t believe in the common good, which to me means they don’t believe in America. Only in the perverse logic of the right, for example, could a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay the same fees as other ranchers for grazing his cattle on public land be considered some kind of a folk hero. He’s a thief.
Exclusive: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and a dozen other Veronica Mars alums will co-star in Play It Again, Dick.
When Play It Again, Dick — a web series revolving around Ryan Hansen’s fan favorite Veronica Mars character, Dick Casablancas — was announced in January 2014,…
Well, first, I remind myself that all the authors in that anthology have already been paid, and that the majority of anthologies never earn out or make any additional revenue for the authors inside. It’s a small thing, but it salves my conscience. Beyond that…
Let’s say there are three authors whose careers I monitor. Jan, who is an absolute favorite, whom I would follow to the ends of the earth. Pat, who stepped on my foot once at a con and didn’t say sorry, and who I consequentially avoid whenever it doesn’t inconvenience me. And Robin, who actively lobbies for causes I find repugnant, and flat-out says that my friends and family are perverts and freaks of nature for loving the people that we love. Now let’s say that there’s a new anthology containing all three people.
This is a problem for me, obviously. I want to read Jan’s story. More, I know Jan makes a lot of money from anthologies, and since I want Jan to keep getting those invitations, I don’t want to pirate the story. I’m okay with giving a little money to Pat; there’s no hatred there, just mild annoyance. But what about Robin? Robin’s an asshole and a bigot and I am really uncomfortable with the idea of forking over a penny.
This is my solution, which obviously is not perfect:
I buy the anthology. And then I take an exacto knife, and excise as much of Robin’s story as I can, slicing carefully one page at a time to prevent damaging the spine. If I’m lucky, Robin’s story doesn’t share any pages with the stories around it, and I can get the damn thing completely out. And then I mail that story to the publisher of the anthology, with a letter explaining that they almost lost my money because of Robin’s presence.
I am not advocating censorship. Authors are people too, and they’re going to live their lives as they see fit. But I am saying that you have a right to live your life as you see fit, too, and that if people are going to put an author who says your life is wrong in an anthology, you have a right to comment on it.
Also: please don’t yell at authors who share an anthology with Robin, because odds are they had no input at all on who got invited. We’re all just trying to put food on the table however we can.
Son of a gun, such a brilliant and simple solution. Never crossed my mind; I’d always try to figure the plus to minus ratio and then decide.