The JL123 Crash and Manga – Unsolved Crime

Following on from my post about the manga Kurosagi Shitai Takuhaibin and how I came across it thanks to my research on the JL123 plane crash, this post is about another manga that features JL123. Published in 2009, Showa-Heisei – 9 Daimikaiketsu no Shinhannin (【昭和・平成】 9大未解決事件の真犯人!) (9 Major Unsolved Cases of the Showa and Heisei Periods) includes manga and a chapter relating to JL123.

This publication is primarily concerned with ‘cold cases’ and in the chapter on JL123 concentrates on the idea that there could have been more survivors had the search and rescue effort been better. It also introduces the story that a US helicopter may have been on site a few hours of the crash and was ready to search for survivors. However this helicopter was allegedly ordered to return to base as the Japanese would be on site soon – which obviously turned out not to be the case. The allegations that this helicopter existed came to light in 1995 after the navigator on a US plane which directed the helicopter to the site broke his orders to keep silent about the mission. The degree to which these events took place remains a source of some debate, as I discuss in my book Dealing with Disaster in Japan.

Showa-Heisei – 9 Daimikaiketsu no Shinhannin, Page 60

Interestingly, despite much discussion of this chapter being about survivors, there is no drawing of the iconic images of survivors being winched away, although a photograph of the scene is included on the final page of the chapter.

Over 35 years have passed since the JL123 crash, but there are still question marks about the exact cause and what happened following the crash. This is discussed in numerous Japanese books, including one which I contributed a chapter to, but still is often not discussed in English – although it features as part of a documentary about the crash which was first shown in 2022.

For further details about Showa-Heisei – 9 Daimikaiketsu no Shinhannin, see the Amazon page.

See also The JL123 Crash and Manga – Recreating Iconic Images

For further discussion about the cause of the crash – read What Caused the JL123 Crash?

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