ANZAC Day, April 25, has become an almost holy day on the Australian calendar in the early 21st century as the country celebrates the efforts and sacrifices of its military personnel since it first went to war as a nation at Gallipoli in 1915, but few remember Japan was an ally that played a vital role in creating the ANZAC legend.
ANZAC Day is a painful time for many Japanese Down Under as anti-Japanese sentiment in Australia peaks with constant reminders of World War II, when the countries were on opposing sides of the conflict.
But the reality is that the ANZAC legend so glorified nowadays in Australia would arguably not have been created had it not been for the aid of His Imperial Majesty’s Japanese Ship Ibuki, a battlecruiser that served as part of the naval escort of the Australian and New Zealand troops that would go on to fight at Gallipoli and create the ANZAC legend.
As part of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the Imperial Japanese Navy also played a vital role in helping with the defense of Australia in the early decades of its nationhood following Federation in 1901.
Australian journalist Denise Smithson has worked tirelessly in recent years to have the Ibuki’s role in the ANZAC legend recognized in Australia.
As the centenary of the ANZAC landings nears, perhaps it’s a good time to start celebrating Japan’s role in Gallipoli and thanking it for its contribution toward an event often seen as the birth of the Australian nation.
Japan’s Forgotten Role
Smithson Media News Release About Ibuki