I trained with the Japanese Army

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I trained with the Japanese Army

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Johnny Harris introduces his upcoming training with the Japanese Army in Okinawa.
  • Japan is rapidly expanding its military due to concerns about China's growing influence and the vulnerability of its islands.
  • Harris plans to visit military bases, train with soldiers, and assess the potential risks of Japan's military buildup.

Johnny Trains with the SDF (00:01:07)

  • Harris arrives at a military base in Okinawa to begin his training.
  • He receives his uniform and struggles with finding a helmet that fits his large head.
  • The training starts with warm-ups, including yelling, which Harris finds challenging but enjoyable.
  • Harris takes a water break and expresses his appreciation for the intensity and fun of the training.
  • He thanks his sponsor, NordVPN, for making the trip and reporting possible.
  • NordVPN is a VPN service that allows users to connect to the internet via a different country, providing security and access to restricted content.
  • Harris encourages viewers to check out NordVPN and mentions a special offer for four extra months free when signing up for the 2-year plan.

Japan’s Military History (00:04:41)

  • Before World War II, Japan had a powerful military that conquered parts of Asia and attacked the United States.
  • After the war, Japan's military was limited by a new Constitution, and the US occupied Japan to maintain security and project power in Asia.
  • Over the last 70 years, Japan and the US have become close allies, with Japan relying on the US for its security.
  • However, recent developments have prompted Japan to reconsider its military posture.

Increasing Threats (00:05:30)

  • Japan is concerned about its security due to China's growing aggression, North Korea's unpredictable threats, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Japan is rapidly building new military bases along its Southern Islands with the support of the US.
  • Martial arts training is a fundamental part of Japanese soldiers' training and is seen as sharing the soul of Japan.
  • The author, despite having no martial arts experience, is paired with a buddy who helps him refine his techniques.
  • The author shows potential for improvement but is worried about the upcoming real test fight.

Preparing to Fight Back (00:08:07)

  • Japan is preparing for potential conflict with China over disputed islands near its territory.
  • Amphibious warfare is a key focus for the Japanese military, as they aim to quickly move troops and supplies onto islands.
  • The Japanese military uses hovercraft called LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion) to transport tanks, troops, and supplies from the ocean onto beaches.
  • The US Marines train with Japanese soldiers to share knowledge and expertise in amphibious warfare.
  • Japan has constructed a new military base on a UNESCO world heritage site, causing concern among some locals.
  • The base features missile launchers capable of shooting down aircraft and hitting surface ships, significantly enhancing Japan's defense capabilities in the region.
  • The range of these missiles is confidential, but reports suggest they can reach up to 200 km, with potential upgrades extending the range to 12200 km.

Gun Training and Bomb Diffusion (00:14:29)

  • Attended lectures, briefings, and visited Japan's Fleet of helicopters.
  • Learned about disaster relief missions and enjoyed delicious food in the base cafeteria.
  • Underwent gun training despite feeling exhausted due to the thick camo.
  • Successfully completed the precision training, making his friend proud.
  • Learned about unexploded bombs from World War II on the island of Okinawa.
  • Received training on how to safely detonate a 250 lb American bomb, including disarming the fuse.
  • Acknowledged the horror and death toll of the Battle of Okinawa and the ongoing tension between militarization and preventing war.

Final Test Fight (00:18:18)

  • Engaged in a final test fight to defend himself using all the skills learned during training.
  • Wore a jock strap for the fight, unsure of its purpose.
  • Fought against four opponents, using hands, feet, and a weapon.
  • Found the fight to be exhausting but exhilarating, with every muscle firing.
  • Received assistance from his friend during the fight.
  • Successfully completed the test fight, feeling extremely tired but grateful.
  • Expressed appreciation to the soldiers for the intense and challenging training.

The Bones of the Past (00:21:36)

  • The US had to go through Okinawa to invade Japan in March 1945.
  • The Japanese military armed civilians on the island to fight the Americans.
  • A quarter of all civilians were killed in the battle.
  • The US dropped two atom bombs on Japan to end the war.
  • Many of the dead on Okinawa were never recovered.
  • Mr. Takamatsu is a local who searches for the bones of those who died in the Battle of Okinawa.
  • The remains of the dead are sacred to the people of Okinawa.

The Effects on the Land & People (00:25:32)

  • The community on Amami Oshima is split about the arrival of the military on their island.
  • The base provides protection against an aggressive neighbor and economic benefits to local businesses.
  • Locals are concerned about the threat of war and the damage to the UNESCO world heritage forest.
  • The people of Okinawa live with the memory of being the front line of defense for any invading army.

Conclusion (00:29:52)

  • The author came to the islands to train with the military and immerse himself in Japan's history, but found a more complicated and emotional story than anticipated.
  • Japan's complicated relationship with its military and how that history has been borne by the people living on the islands.
  • The human wall that protected the country and might have to do so again.
  • People living among undetonated bombs and abandoned bones with little hope of recognition.
  • The psychological weight of wondering if new bases make them a target or leave them without protection.
  • War and conflict make these questions unknowable, so all they can do is wait.
  • The Japanese military will continue building a proper military to protect and defend their country, focusing on amphibious warfare.
  • Hoping their efforts will deter China or any other enemy from acting more aggressively and not provoke the very war it is trying to deter.

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