|Above, the pagoda at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
There is much debate over how the Japanese cities of Kyoto and Nara were spared destruction during World War II and who gave the order to spare them.
Japan Visitor has an interesting interview article of that discusses this.
It starts with:
Of course I had heard that the savior of Kyoto was Langdon Warner, the beloved and inspiring teacher of Oriental art at Harvard's Fogg Museum. He was a Boston Brahmin, disarming in his ingenuousness and aplomb. In 1906, shortly after graduation from Harvard, he was sent to Japan to study under the celebrated curator and connoisseur Okakura Kakuzo.
Later he married a cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt's and was well-known to the emerging group of Japanese art historians of America, all of whom benefited greatly from his grasp of Oriental art.
Among Warner's close friends were many of Okakura's disciples for several of whom he arranged invitations to lecture at Harvard in the 1930's. Ties among the fraternity of art historians were put to the test but strengthened as the relations worsened between America and Japan during the 1930's; they were, of course, completely severed during the war years.
Therefore, the virtually complete survival of Kyoto and Nara brought great joy and relief to art lovers on both sides of the Pacific. In short order, speculation compounded rumor, and an understandable rationale with uniquely Japanese overtones evolved for the consideration the Americans had shown for these two cities.
Read more: http://www.japanvisitor.com/japanese-history/saving-kyoto#ixzz4NY0qxmFS