chiune-sugihara

2

Chiune “Sempo” Sugihara is considered an unofficial Saint by many Orthodox Christians for his heroic and selfless actions that saved thousands of Jewish refugees during WW2, with the support of his wife Yukiko.

Born in Japan on January 1st 1900, he converted to Orthodox Christianity while serving in Manchurian Foreign Office. After quitting his job in objection to the Japanese Governments treatment of local Chinese people, he became a vice-consul of the Japanese Consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania. As the Soviet Union occupied sovereign Lithuania in 1940, many Jewish refugees from Poland and Lithuania tried to acquire exit visas. Without the visas, it was dangerous to travel, yet it was impossible to find countries willing to issue them. St Chiune attempted three times to get the Japanese Government to agree to allow him to issue the visas, and when they wouldn’t, he decided to do it himself in direct violation of his orders. Yukiko, having been inspired by “Lamentations, a book of the Old Testament, written by Jeremiah” urged Chiune to issue visas to save Jewish refugees.

He also spoke to Soviet officials who agreed to let the refugees travel through the country via the Trans-Siberian Railway at five times the standard ticket price.
St Chiune continued to hand write visas, reportedly spending 18–20 hours a day on them, producing a normal month’s worth of visas each day, until 4 September, when he had to leave his post before the consulate was closed. By that time he had granted thousands of visas to Jews, many of whom were heads of households and thus permitted to take their families with them. On the night before their scheduled departure, Sugihara and his wife stayed awake writing out visa approvals. According to witnesses, he was still writing visas while in transit from his hotel and after boarding the train at the Kaunas Railway Station, throwing visas into the crowd of desperate refugees out of the train’s window even as the train pulled out. In final desperation, blank sheets of paper with only the consulate seal and his signature (that could be later written over into a visa) were hurriedly prepared and flung out from the train. As he prepared to depart, he said, “Please forgive me. I cannot write anymore. I wish you the best.” When he bowed deeply to the people before him, someone exclaimed, “Sugihara. We’ll never forget you. I’ll surely see you again!”

The total number of Jewish refugees saved by Sugihara is in dispute, estimating about 6,000; family visas—which allowed several people to travel on one visa—were also issued, which would account for the much higher figure. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has estimated that Chiune Sugihara issued transit visas for about 6,000 Jews and that around 40,000 descendants of the Jewish refugees are alive today because of his actions. Sugihara’s widow and eldest son estimate that he saved 10,000 Jews from certain death.

When asked, 45 years later, why he issued the visas, St Chiune is quoted as saying;

“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.”

St Chiune received multiple honors shortly before and after his death on the 31st of July, 1986. 

[Source] [Blog]

Japan PM hails Holocaust hero Chiune Sugihara

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Washington’s Holocaust Memorial on Monday to hail a rare hero of Japan’s brutal World War II past.

Previously, Abe has faced criticism for his allegedly revisionist views of Japan’s own war-time behavior.

But, on the eve of a White House meeting with President Barack Obama, Abe solemnly marked the genocide while hailing Japanese envoy Chiune Sugihara, who helped Jews flee Nazi-occupied Europe.

Sugihara was Japan’s Imperial Consul in Lithuania, where he issued at least 2,000 visas allowing Jews to flee Nazi pogroms between 1939 and 1940.

“As a Japanese citizen I feel extremely proud of Mr Sugihara’s achievement,” Abe said as he toured the memorial.

“The courageous action by this single man saved thousands of lives.”
As he visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum 70 years after the end of World War II and the liberation of Auschwitz, Abe said “my heart is filled with a solemn feeling.”

“Never again,” he added.

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat credited with saving the lives of several thousand Jews during the Holocaust. Defying the Japanese government, he issued thousands of visas to refugees illegally, hand-writing them for hours each day. Even when he was forced to leave due to the closing of the consulate in Lithuania, Sugihara threw visas out the window of his exiting train.

In Sugihara’s own words:

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.

海外「私達は絶対に忘れない」 杉原千畝の功績に多くのユダヤ人から感謝の声 

今回は杉原千畝氏の功績に対する外国人の反応です。

第二次世界大戦中、リトアニアのカウナス領事館に赴任していた杉原氏は、
ナチス・ドイツの迫害を逃れてきたユダヤ人に対して、日本通過ビザを発給。
多くの避難民を救った事から、海外では「日本のシンドラー」とも呼ばれています。

今回の翻訳元は、映画制作関連の仕事に従事されているユダヤ系の男性が、
フェイスブックに投稿された杉原ご夫妻を写した一葉のお写真。
杉原氏が保身を考えずに一日18時間もピザを書き続けたこと、
(領事館閉鎖・ベルリンへの異動に伴い)リトアニアを去らなければならなかった日に、
電車の中でも最後の最後までビザを書き続けたこと、
結果約6000人にのぼるユダヤ人が命を救われたこと、
そして、亡くなる前年の1985年にイスラエル政府から賞が贈られるまで、
氏の功績は世界的にほとんど知られていなかったことも併せて紹介されています。

この解説付きの写真には10万回以上「いいね!」がクリックされており、
杉原氏の功績を讃える声も、数多く寄せられていました。

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.

■ ただただ彼の勇気を讃えたい。 +3 イスラエル
  

■ 彼は私の家族を救ってくれた。
  私と70人のいとこが今こうして生きてるのは、
  彼が私の祖父母にビザを発給してくれたおかげです。 +59 アメリカ


■ 自国の政府がドイツと同盟を組んでいたことを考えると、
  この人はとてつもなく勇敢な男だと言えるよね。 +14 カナダ
  

■ 日本のオスカー・シンドラー! +8 アメリカ


■ 以前にニューヨークのユダヤ博物館に行った時、
  彼に関するとても感動的な展覧会を開いてたわよ。
  たしか彼のご家族もオープニングセレモニーに参加していた。 +1 アメリカ


■ 素晴らしい。こんな話があったなんて初めて知ったよ。 +1 アメリカ


■ 今になってこういう話がどんどん出てくるのもおかしな話だ。 +1 アメリカ


■ まだ世界的に知られていないのは悲しいことだね。本物の英雄なのに!
  誰か映画化してくれる人はいないんだろうか。
  彼の物語を世界中の人に知らせて欲しい。 +4 国籍不明
    

■ こんな話が歴史の教科書に載ってないだなんて……。 +10 アメリカ


■ 本物の勇気と優しさを持った人間とは、彼のような人のことを言う。 インド


■ 涙なしには読めなかった。 +4 イギリス  


■ 沢山の人の命を救った、賞賛されることなきヒーローたち。
  そういった人たちの話を聞くと、特別な気持ちになる。
  人種に関係なく、正しいことだから彼はそうしたのよね。 +22 アメリカ


■ 6年生のクラスを受け持っていたころに、
  生徒たちに教えるために彼と彼の家族について勉強したよ。
  本当に驚くべき話だった。 +5 アメリカ


■ 感謝申し上げます!!!!
  私の祖父は、あなたに救われたユダヤ人の1人です!!! +72 イスラエル 


■ 彼は日本の名声を高めた、真の愛国者ね。 +4 アメリカ


■ 神に対する信仰はなくても、人は良い行いが出来る。
  この人がそのことを証明してるように思うね。
  だって恐らく彼はキリスト教の教えを詳しく知らなかっただろうし、
  シントウと仏教を信仰していたはずなんだよ。
  でも今の多くのキリスト教徒よりも遥かに人道的だ。 +11 オーストラリア


■ 彼のように、あまり知られてない英雄は他にも沢山いるんだろうね。 +4 国籍不明


■ 去年カウナスにある彼の家とオフィスを見学してきたよ。
  スギハラ氏は偉大な男であり人間だ! +4 アメリカ

 
■ 映画化してくれ。この英雄の名をもっと世界に広げよう! +5 メキシコ  


■ 少しの記述でいい。世界中の教科書に取り上げられるべきだ。 +4 イギリス


■ 彼の功績を扱ったドキュメンタリーは作られてるわよ。
  とても興味深い内容だからぜひみなさんも観てみて! +5 ミャンマー 


■ この人を私たちに与えてくれたことを神に感謝します。 アメリカ


■ 僕の祖父も、彼に救われた6000人の1人だ。 +4 アメリカ


■ なぜミスター・スギハラの功績を歴史の教科書に載せないんだ! +6 アメリカ


■ 日本はナチス・ドイツと同盟を組んでいたけど、
  日本政府は決してユダヤ人をドイツに引き渡すような事をしなかった。
  失われた10支族は日本に渡ったという言い伝えがあるから、
  ユダヤ人と日本人には深い繋がりがあるって事を天皇が信じていたのがその理由。
  だから日本にいるすべてのユダヤ人は、命を救われた。 +4 国籍不明 


■ 彼の功績を称える集まりのディナーで子孫の方々にお会いしました! +6 イギリス


■ リトアニアにあるスギハラ記念館に行ってきたよ。
  彼は公正明大の精神を持った人だった。 +4 アメリカ    


■ 一方で私たちは、彼と同じ日本人の人たちを強制収容所に送り込んでいた。
  これを皮肉と言わずに何と言うのかしら。 +7 アメリカ


■ 何でこの人にノーベル平和賞が贈られていないんだ! +13 アメリカ


■ あなたの功績を、私たちは絶対に忘れない。
  私の親も、ホロコーストから逃れることが出来たんです。 +6 アメリカ


■ 私のお父さんも、スギハラさんから命のビザを受け取った1人。
  去年、カウナスにあるスギハラさんの領事館とご自宅に行きました。
  そこはまさに、お父さんや他のユダヤ人の人たちが、
  命のビザをスギハラさんから受け取っていた場所なの。 +16 アメリカ


■ 本物の英雄とは、彼のような人間を言うのだと思う。 +20 アメリカ


■ 僕の父と伯母がそれぞれ3歳と6歳だったころ、
  イングランドからチェコ・スロバキアに送られたんだが、
  その頃祖父は、この偉大な男が発給したビザのおかげで、
  シベリア経由で日本に逃れることが出来たと言っていた。
  最終的には戦争を生き延びることが出来たよ。
  祖母や欧州に残った近い親戚は残念ながら……。
  ただ、この話ははっきりしていない部分もある。
  祖父は重いPTSD(心的外傷後ストレス障害)を患ってしまったし、
  戦後は当時のことをあまり語らなくなってしまったから。 +7 アメリカ


■ 鬼籍に入った父、私の兄弟、私自身、
  そして100人以上いる子孫たちはみんな、
  彼がいたからこそ、この世に生を受けることが出来た。 +25 アメリカ


■ こういった話が歴史から消えていってしまう前に、もっと積極的に学んでいかないと。
  栄誉を与えられるべき彼のような人たちが、世界には沢山いる。 +14 アメリカ


■ 彼がいなかったら、私の家族は今この世界に存在していません。
  心からの感謝を彼に捧げます。 +8 国籍不明


  

ご祖父母、あるいはご両親が命を救われたという方が20人以上はいたでしょうか。
また、「教科書に載せるべき」「映画にするべき」などと、
杉原氏の功績がもっと世に知られることを望む声が非常に目立ちました。

Chiune Sugihara, The “Japanese Schindler”

I came across this by accident - a Japanese Diplomat in Lithuania wrote hundreds upon hundreds of visas for Jews (without the acknowledgement of the Japanese government), saving thousands of lives.

In 1938, Sugihara was posted as a diplomat in Helsinki, Finland. In March 1939 – as Europe stood on the brink of World War II - he was appointed by the Japanese Government to open a Consulate in Kaunas, Lituania.
Sugihara had barely settled down in his new post when the German army invaded Poland, and a wave of Jewish refugees streamed into Lithuania, bringing terrifying stories of German atrocities against the Polish Jews. Desperate to flee the approaching Nazis, these refugees escaped from Poland with no possessions or money. Because the Germans were rapidly advancing, the only escape was to go further east. However, the Soviets only allowed Jews to pass through Russia if they had a transit visa – and so, obtaining a Japanese visa became a matter of life and death.

One morning in July 1940, Consul Sugihara and his family were awakened by a crowd of hundreds Jewish refugees standing outside the Consulate, all desperately hoping for visas. Facing these women, children, and elderly people with pleading eyes made Sugihara feel helpless. He wanted to help, but had no authority to issue visas without permission from the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo. He wired his government three times requesting to issue these visas, and all three times he was denied.

Time was running out for the refugees, and Sugihara had a difficult decision to make. He knew he might be fired and disgraced if he defied government orders, but he also knew that he could not allow these people to die. “I may have to disobey my Government, but if I do not, I will be disobeying God,” Sugihara said to his wife, Yukiko. “I know I should follow my conscience.”
Guided by the strength of his morality, Sugihara began issuing the transit visas. For 29 days, from July 31 to August 28, he sat for endless hours composing them. Hour after hour, day after day, he wrote and signed - 300 visas a day all written entirely by hand. He did not even pause for meals - Yukiko would prepare him sandwiches and leave them by his side. At the end of the day, she would massage his aching hands.

Hundreds of applicants became thousands. Day and night, desperate people lined up outside the Consulate begging for visas; when some of them attempted to climb the compound wall, Sugihara came out to calm them, promising not to abandon them. And he did not: when he was forced to close the Consulate and leave Lithuania, Sugihara continued writing visas on his way to the train station, in his car, and in his hotel. After boarding the train, he kept signing visas as fast as he could, handing them down from his window. Even while pulling out of the station, Sugihara was seen throwing visas to refugees running alongside the speeding train. Because many passports had been left unstamped, Sugihara also tossed his visa stamp into the crowd, so that it could be used to save even more Jews. “We will never forget you:” those were the last words he heard from the refugees.

With Sugihara`s visas, as many as 6,000 refugees were able to flee, making their way to Japan, China, and numerous other countries in safety. They had escaped the Holocaust, and would become known as Sugihara Survivors.

At the end of the war, the Soviets imprisoned Sugihara, Yukiko, and their son in an internment camp in Rumania for 18 months. When he returned to Japan in 1947, the Japanese Foreign Ministry dismissed him from the diplomatic service. With his career as diplomat shattered, Sugihara became depressed and withdrawn. Not only had he suffered the indignity of losing his career, but approaching the age of 50 made it hard for him to get a job. Sugihara and his family therefore entered into a life of extreme poverty and hunger.

To survive, Sugihara was forced to take a job selling light bulbs door-to-door. Eventually, he worked as a part-time translator and interpreter, before returning to Moscow to accept a managerial position with a Japanese trading company. Sugihara worked there for over 15 years in complete obscurity, visiting his family in Japan only once or twice a year. After the war, many of Sugihara`s survivors tried to trace him, seeking information at the Japanese Foreign Ministry – but to no avail. The Japanese Government refused to cooperate; no one seemed to remember or recognize the name Sugihara.

More here from the original article, and here at Wikipedia.


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.

4

Japonijos konsulas Lietuvoje 1939-1940 m. Chiune Sugihara (Japanese Consul in Lithuania in 1939-1940. Chiune Sugihara)
Commemorative stamp
Lithuania (2004)
From here

Chiune Sugihara as a young man
Japan (early 1900s)
From here

The Legacy of Chiune Sugihara
Commemorative tamp
Grenada (2002)
From here

Chiune Sugihara and his wife Yukiko
Japan?/Lithuania? (1930s?)
From here

The Japanese don’t have a good rap in World War Two (especially not in Singapore). But there were a few good eggs in the midst of that turd omelette. You see, there was one Japanese guy who managed to save 6,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution - five times as many as the famous Oskar Schindler.

This guy’s name was Chiune Sugihara (杉原 千畝)  (1900-1986). I’ll let Now I Know give you a run-down of his bad-assery:

In 1939, he was named vice-consul of the Japanese Consulate in Kaunas, then the temporary capital of Lithuania. When war broke out in Europe, Lithuania was mostly untouched. Many Polish Jews, trying to escape the Nazis, fled to Lithuania looking for safety, and due to the sizable Jewish population then in Kaunas, were temporarily successful. But when the Germans turned on the Soviets, that changed. On June 15, 1940, the Nazis invaded Lithuania and began their occupation of the nation — and the mass slaughter of its Jewish population. By July, the foreign embassies in Kaunas were shuttered, per Soviet insistence, as the Germans were rapidly approaching.

Sugihara received a 20-day extension to remain in Kaunas, and for thousands of Polish and Lithuanian Jews, this ended up meaning the difference between life or death. While most of the world had closed its borders to war refugees, neither Curacao nor Suriname (both Dutch colonies) required entry visas. Regardless, the Dutch consul in Kaunas, Jan Zwartendijk, was willing and able to provide entrance permits. Unfortunately, getting to those areas required an exit visa — a now-disfavored restriction on people who want to leave a country. The Soviet Union agreed to issue exit visas provided that the Jewish refugees would pass through Japan on their way to the Dutch colonies, most likely to ensure that the Jews did not remain in the USSR. But Japan refused — despite Sugihara’s three requests — to issue the transit visas. The Japanese, like virtually every other nation around the world, did not want to risk having thousands of poor refugees (especially those of a different culture and language) joining their population.

Despite these repeated orders to the contrary, Sugihara, with the help of his wife Yukiko, began writing visas — an estimated 300 each day for the next four weeks. Even as they departed for Berlin, Sugihara — a low-level diplomat acting in direct violation of the Foreign Ministry’s orders — was throwing visas out his train’s windows, per one account. There is no exact number of how many visas he issued and were, ultimately, used, but estimates range from around 3,000 to 10,000. The generally agreed upon amount, per the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, is about 6,000 lives saved.

Kate Beaton
Hark, a Vagrant, 144: Chiune Sugihara the Hero
Webcomic
Canada (late 2000s/early 2010s)
From here

Israel later named him and his wife as Righteous Among the Nations, granting them access to their country at any time in thanks for his services. He received very little other recognition: when he died in 1986, his neighbours were extremely confused when this large international Jewish delegation turned up at his doorstep and mourning.

Wikipedia provides some further details of how awesome and transcultural this guy was:

- He told the refugees to call him “Sempo”, the Sino-Japanese reading of the characters in his first name, discovering it was much easier for Western people to pronounce.

- His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps as a physician, but he deliberately failed the entrance exam by writing only his name on the exam papers.

- He spoke English, Russian and German. 

- He actually quit his post as Deputy Foreign Minister in Manchuria in protest over Japanese mistreatment of the local Chinese. YES YES YES YES.

- After the war, he was dismissed from the Foreign Service, and to support his family he took a series of menial jobs, at one point selling light bulbs door to door.

- While in Harbin, he converted to Orthodox Christianity as “Pavlo Sergeivich Sugihara” and married a Russian woman named Klaudia Semionovna Apollonova. 

Oh goody! An excuse to post this:

Светлана Вукмировић/Svetlana Vukmiroviћ
Eastern Orthodox Icon of Chiune Sugihara
From here

In his words:

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.

杉原 千畝 (Sugihara Chiune)

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat who served as vice-consul for the Japanese Empire in Lithuania. During World War II, he helped several thousand Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. He wrote travel visas that facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family’s lives.

Chiune Sugihara (January 1, 1900 - July 31, 1986)

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Japanese Empire in Lithuania. In WWII, he helped several thousand Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Poland or residents of Lithuania. Sugihara wrote travel visas that facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family’s lives. In 1985, Israel honored him as Righteous Among the Nations for his actions.  (From Wikipedia article on Chiune Sugihara)

huffingtonpost.com
Chiune Sugihara, Japan Diplomat Who Saved 6,000 Jews During Holocaust, Remembered

Excerpt:

Most Americans know of Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who saved more than 1,200 lives during the Holocaust by hiring Jews to work in his factories and fought Nazi efforts to remove them.

But fewer know about Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat who disobeyed his government’s orders and issued visas that allowed 6,000 Jews to escape from Nazi-occupied territories via Japan.

On Sunday, as Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a growing and widespread community of Jews – linked by their gratitude toward Sugihara for saving them or family members – remembers a man once forgotten.

I cannot allow these people to die, people who have come to me for help with death staring them in the eyes. Whatever punishment may be imposed on me, I know I should follow my conscience.
— 

Chiune Sugihara.

Japanese Diplomat in Lithuania during World War 2 who saved hundreds of lives by signing as many travel visas for Jews as he could, risking his career and life in the process.

Eastern Orthodox icon of Chiune Sugihara

wikipedia:

Chiune Sugihara (杉原 千畝 Sugihara Chiune?, 1 January 1900 – 31 July 1986) was a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania. During World War II, he helped several thousand Jews leave the country by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees so that they could travel to Japan. Most of the Jews who escaped were refugees from German-occupied Poland and residents of Lithuania. Sugihara wrote travel visas that facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family’s lives. Sugihara had told the refugees to call him “Sempo”, the Sino-Japanese reading of the characters in his first name, discovering it was much easier for Western people to pronounce. In 1985, Israel honored him as Righteous Among the Nations for his actions.

[…]

Though still not officially canonized, he is considered a saint by some Eastern Orthodox Christians.

via solipsistic-tendencies

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.
—  Chiune Sugihara

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.

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Toshiaki Karasawa will star in a 2015 movie based on the life of diplomat Chiune Sugihara.

Sugihara is known for having issued thousands of transit visas to Jewish refugees while he was the Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Kaunas, Lithuania during World War II. He did this without the permission of his superiors, putting himself and his family at risk to rescue others.

Additional co-stars include Koyuki as Sugihara’s wife Yukiko, Borys Szyc as Sugihara’s right-hand man, Agnieszka Grochowska as a woman named Irina, Gaku Hamada, Takashi Tsukamoto, Kenichi Takito, and Fumiyo Kohinata.