The Fujita Collection

The first bomb ever to be dropped on the United States of America was dropped in Oregon. It was a stealth mission, carried out by a young Japanese pilot named Nobuo Fujita on the morning of September 9th, 1942. The incendiary bombs Fujita dropped into the remote redwood forest about twenty miles east of the town of Brookings, were intended to start massive forest fires drawing American attention and troops away from the military efforts in the Pacific Theatre. Fujita completed his mission, the bombs detonated, but the fires never took. The flames were discovered and successfully extinguished later the same morning by the forest service.

Twenty years later the pilot Nobuo Fujita, who had survived the war and was leading a civilian life back in Japan, returned to the town of Brookings as a guest to the town’s annual Azalea Festival. Since the wartime Fujita had become a pacifist and sought amends for his violent acts. He brought with him his family's 400 year old samurai sword, the same sword he had carried with him in the cockpit of his plane during the bombing mission, and in a public ceremony gifted the sword to the town as a gesture of personal and international peacemaking.

This reconciliatory act became the foundation of an ongoing relationship between Fujita and the town of Brookings. He visited Oregon several more times before his death in 1997.  On one visit he returned to the site of the bombing and planted a redwood sapling. And, despite his humble earnings at a copper wire factory in Japan, Fujita eventually raised $1000 that he sent to the Brookings library with the request that the funds be used for children books that would help promote the understandings of other cultures.