Man saved from Nazis by 'Japan's Schindler' returns on journey of homage

By Elaine Lies

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Sugihara was later asked to resign by Japan’s Foreign Ministry for defying the rules of a government then allied with Germany and that a year later was at war with the United States.

Make it should like it happened during the war instead of in 1947, way after the war.

He died in obscurity in 1986.

Only in Japan...

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Chiune Sugihara was one of many Japanese who helped jews fleeing the Holocaust . ... ....Kichiro Higuchi who was stationed in Shanghai also rescued, and ensured the care for thousands of Jewish refugees coming through Manchuria, ......Then there were many like Tatsuo Osako who worked on the ferries and helped the refugees feel welcome, assisting them as they were ferries from Vladivastok to Tsuruga Port . . .......AND we ought to remember the many unsung heroes of the small village of Tsuruga who housed and fed the refugees until they were sent to Kobe where they lived in comfort and security under the care of the Japan Jewish Organization during the wr, unharassed by any Government officials .... . . Historically, .Japan was NEVER anti-Semitic - to this day.....VERY very few Japanese know about these heroes and the role Japan played in saving over 40,000 Jews - - and these courageous people have sadly also not been given Interntional recognition. ..... Though Israel has named some, like Sugihara, Yad Vashim - the Righteous Among Nations.. God bless them

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'd like to know much more about life of Chiune Sugihara than about a career of that jew Melamed. He accomplished a jorney of homage after death of his savior.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

"Sugihara knew he was saving lives with every stroke of the pen."

9 ( +9 / -0 )

CrazyJoe "Sugihara knew he was saving lives with every stroke of the pen."

Yes. He knew he was risking his career - his life. . . . When he was asked WHY he did it, he said , in effect, " When you see people in need - desperate people -you cannot do otherwise, but help them. it was the natural thing to do. "

8 ( +8 / -0 )

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


Here is a PBS clip....

Right. They put out the video "SUGIHARA - A Conspiracy of Kindness" , ISBN 1-59375-3640. ....The was also a Japanese movie made on this part of his life , called "Inochi no Visa", which you can get on DVD as well -- -ISBN 4 988021-124638. . . . .They are both really good . . . . War is a terrible thing -- - and truly Japanese played their part in some atrocities- -- HOWEVER equally there were honorable and good people and humanitarian components in Japanese policies that have sadly been left unsung, unoticed by Japanese and the world.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Chiune Sugihara was a very special person and a remarkable human being. Human rights were extremely important to him, and he firmly believed that everybody should be able to live free. As Japan's consul to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara risked career, disgrace, his life, and the lives of his family defying Tokyo by writing visas for refugees desperate to escape persecution. He spend more than sixteen hours a day issuing visas, until the Soviet occupied Lithuania forced the final shut down of the country's last remaining consulates. In the end, more than 2,000 of his stamped passports allowed hundreds of families to flee Europe through Russia to safe haven. He did the honorable thing by listening and following his conscience. Hence today over 40,000 people owe their existence to his courageous and heroic act of humanitarianism.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Novenachama : Hence today over 40,000 people owe their existence to his courageous and heroic act of humanitarianism.

RIGHT- You got that number right. It was around 40,000 Jewish refugees who were saved and came through Japan. In credible !!!!!!!!!.WHY don't the J schools teach this ??????????......... However ---- it was also the good and courageous work of military attache Kichiro Higuchi - who saved thousands of Jews who came through Manchuria.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sugihara was indeed an extraordinary man.

It was said that one of the reasons why he ended up Lithuania was because in effect he was 'demoted' over things he did in the past, such as voicing displeasure at the way Chinese citizens were cruelly treated by the Japanese imperial military.

His first wife was actually caucasian, showing a man open to other cultures/races.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

WHY don't the J schools teach this ??????????.........

cause he defied the government and governments generally don't like that and control the schools....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I hope that Mr. Melamed will also visit the Suginara Chiune Memorial Museum in Gifu while he is visiting Japan.

Here's a film dramatization of Mr. Sugihara's life some might like to check out - The Visas that Saved Lives:

Another excellent resource on Mr. Sugihara and his humanitarian achievements is the PBS website and documentary, Conspiracy of Kindness:

3 ( +3 / -0 )

WHY don't the J schools teach this ??????????.........

I first learned of Chiune Sugihara was from an English comprehension passage I was asked to proofread for a textbook, aimed at junior high school students. So someone somewhere is teaching this in J schools.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is quite an inspiring story.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“He did it because, as he said to his family, ‘If I follow the dictates of my government, I will violate the dictates of my God,’”

Replace "God" (if you want) for whatever you believe in. As long as it's just.

WHY don't the J schools teach this ??????????.........

cause he defied the government and governments generally don't like that and control the schools....

So did Saigo Takamori. And many dappan roushi for that matter, lots of them starting the new "goverment" after rebel forces won, as well as members of the opposition who were pardoned and promoted to high positions due to merit.

George Washington and friends if you want a parallel example.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A very inspiring story. I cried.

In response to

He died in obscurity in 1986.

Ka chan, who kindly provided the wikipedia link, wrote

Only in Japan...

This does not appear to be true. Other "Schindlers" (and lets face it, there is only one Schindler who is famous) remained obscure. With regard to the Swede, Valdemar Langlet it is written that "Valdemar’s health deteriorated to such an extent that, on May 31, he was transported to Sweden. In that year he received the Hungarian Republic’s Order of the Cross but, in retirement, was forgotten, and lived in total poverty [until 1960]." With regard to "Varian Fry, the American Schindler" who died in relative obscurity in 1967 suffering from depression It is said "the legacy of Varian Fry is little known and his courageous acts went largely ignored for years."

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The end of the war found Sugihara in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he was imprisoned by the Soviets. He later returned to Japan, where he was forced in 1947 to leave the diplomatic service because he had defied repeated orders to stop writing the visas. It wasn't until October 1991 that his story was publicized and the Foreign Ministry "rehabilitated" him.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The 40,000 Jews didn't come through Japan, that's the estimated number of people - including descendants - of the 6,000 who did come through Japan. It's still a remarkable number for a nation that was allied with Germany. And yes, we should all know more about Tsuruga.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There was also the interesting story of the 'Nazi Schindler' Rabe who, in 1937 - 38, saved Chinese citizens in Nanking from the Japanese army. He also defied his government and died in obscurity. You can therefore say that altruism is a strong motivator of human behaviour irregardless of race or nationality.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I work in Chiune Sugihara Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania. Many Japanese, even elderly ( the most of the visitors are them) didn't know anything about Sugihara, but after short exhibition and sensitive short movie about Sugihara, many of them shed tears and get emotionally struck in a good way. :)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

there is a very good book on this subject called "THE FUGU PLAN". If you found the above interesting you should read it (or at least google it). covers the above, plus life in Japan & occupied china for the Jewish refugees and most fascinating the Japanese plan to settle Jews in occupied manchuria to boost the Japanese empires economic strength

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If you want to know more about Gaimu-sho (Ministry of Foreign Affair) in !940's, read Yosuke Matsyuoka in /WikjPedia.

On December 31, 1940, Matsuoka told a group of Jewish businessmen that he was "the man responsible for the alliance with Adolf Hitler, but nowhere have I promised that we would carry out his anti-Semitic policies in Japan. This is not simply my personal opinion, it is the opinion of Japan, and I have no compunction about announcing it to the world."

During March–April 1941 Matsuoka visited Moscow and Berlin. On March 29, 1941, at a conversation with German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop, Ribbentrop was instructed to not tell the Japanese anything about the upcoming Operation Barbarossa, and that the Japanese be kept in the dark about Germany's plans

Mr/ Sugihara was a victim of flippy flappy Foreign Ministry attitude.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder why we don't hear more about stories like this from mainstream media and movies than stories that often open old wounds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A true hero that should be honored by all of humanity. There needs to be more people like this in our world.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What a HERO

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@el: read back the article. It did not state 40,000

Chiune Sugihara, who over a period of roughly a month issued visas that allowed 6,000 Jews to escape war-torn Lithuania and the advancing Nazis


He could go to Chicago in 1941. At that time, probably there was a big shot who is familiar with USA people and life in Ministry of Foreign Affair who could arrange visas to USA? It was before Japan, allied with Hitler and Italy. Anyway, Mr. Ishihara is a true hero and showing another type of Japanese than we are pictured as savage and money hungry egoists.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw the PBS documentary collecting dust on a library shelf as a high schooler, it really inspired me. Always so nice to hear about good men.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites