Gaijin Smash

Taking Responsibility

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on July 3, 2007

I’d like to take a break from the catch-up to talk about something that’s currently going on.
News Story
Synopsis: Japan’s Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma is being forced to resign, after commenting that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “couldn’t be helped.” The comment came from a speech in which Kyuma said, “A countless number of people were victimized (by the bombs). But it helped end the war. I think it couldn’t be helped.” This caused an uproar, especially among bomb survivors/relatives of those affected, and politicians. With pressure rapidly mounting against him, Kyuma had no choice but to resign.
August is generally not a good time to be American in Japan. The Japanese commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you are American, Japanese people around you may ask you what you think about the bombings. Brace yourself for a look of awkward displeasure from your Japanese friend if you say anything other than, “I think it was terrible, truly awful, and the Japanese are so pitiable to be the only country on Earth ever subjected to a nuclear attack.”
The “was it justified?” debate has been done to death and back. There are all sorts of factors that come into play. A defeated nation, perhaps willing to fight to down to the last man, woman and child. The US wanting to flex her muscle in a show of strength to Russia. A decisive end to a long and bitter conflict. The simple truth is, the true reasons why the bombs were dropped, and what might have happened if they weren’t, are long since buried in the past.
I also took courses on Japanese culture and history to go along with the language classes in university. These courses allowed me to look at the war and the bombings from a Japanese perspective. While I was in America, I was never quite sure what to think about Hiroshima. Was the A-bomb really, honestly necessary? Might Japan have surrendered? However, after four years of living in the country, and seeing the war/bombings from a truly Japanese point of view, my stance now is–yes. The bombing, while terrible, did ultimately end the war early and possibly save lives.*
*This is my opinion, and it’s not really subject for debate. If you want to debate about it, might I recommend some other Japan-related venue. The Outpost Nine Forums already have a thread or two about this subject.


I arrived at my conclusion looking at events like The Battle of Okinawa where, despite being in a losing situation, the Japanese fought down to the last man, and civilians participated in mass-suicide to avoid the “monster” American soldiers. The firebombing of Tokyo was actually more devastating than the nuclear attacks. And I also take into consideration Japanese attitudes towards the war, both then and now.
The war is largely regarded in Japan as–“there was a war in the Pacific, and then we got A-bombed.” That’s it. Japan’s involvement with Hitler and the Axis Powers is rarely ever mentioned. Their imperialistic marches into China and Korea are given a footnote at best in historical textbooks. And Pearl Harbor is also little more than a fleeting thought. If you talk about WWII in Japan, the conversation goes straight to the A-bomb and how pitiable Japan is.
I don’t mean to play down the bombings, not at all. They were horrible, tragic losses of human life. Even if one wanted to say “the ends justify the means,” these means were indeed truly horrendous. We should hope that such an event is never repeated in human history ever again.
But that sentiment doesn’t just go for the bombings. It goes for all of the terrible things that happened in that war. Of which, the Japanese participated in quite a few.
However, when it comes to any of Japan’s faults during the war, their tune suddenly changes. The Rape of Nanking “wasn’t that bad,” or “you can’t prove all that stuff actually happened.” Other horrible atrocities committed in China and Korea are also flat-out ignored. Some politicians would have you believe that the Japanese were over there “helping” their Asian neighbors. Japan forced thousands of women into sex-slavery during the war; some of these survivors and their descendants have been trying unsuccessfully to get recognition/compensation from the Japanese government about this. The government’s response? “You can’t really prove that the government sanctioned this,” (despite there being proof otherwise), or “You girls weren’t slaves, there was no coercion.” Some will even go as far as to say that America forced Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor.
Textbooks are altered to completely gloss over these things. Recently, the government moved to strike any reference to the Japanese military forcing civilians to commit suicide in the Battle of Okinawa. Of course, anything else–the comfort women, the atrocities in China and Korea, are nowhere to be found. These things don’t seem to matter that much. If you’re Japanese, all that matters about WWII is how poor Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed.
It’s annoying to me, and I’m only American. The worst Japan did to America was bomb Pearl Harbor. I can’t imagine how angry this must make the Chinese/Koreans. It’s like having the bully next door come into your yard and literally beat the shit out of you, but then when a bigger kid pushes the bully down and breaks his nose, suddenly all the bully can do is cry foul about the broken nose.
Again, I don’t mean to belittle the A-bombs. But I just don’t feel that it’s fair of Japan to constantly cry about the bombs and then turn around and blow-off or ignore all the bad shit that they did. Even with conservative estimates the damage done in Nanking was far worse than either of the A-bombs. And those people died much more horribly than anything a nuclear blast could have done to them. And Nanking is only a solitary example. All I want Japan to do is take responsibility for her actions. Admit her wrongdoings instead of trying to deny them. And then, they can complain about the A-bombings all they want. Or, if they want to continue with the “why dig up the past?” angle, then shut up about the A-bombs. It doesn’t work both ways. I feel that to constantly bemoan the A-bombs, yet fail to acknowledge why and how things got to that point, is of a much greater disservice to the victims than anything former Defense Minister Kyuma might have had to say. I feel that Kyuma getting canned just goes to show how stubborn and unwilling Japan is to admit any sort of fault in the war. Not only that, but failing to admit to the mistakes of the past, only leads the way to make the same mistakes in the future.
And that’s my two cents. I’ve sort of purposely avoided writing about this kind of thing over the past three years, but with the current stories in the news I couldn’t help myself this time around. This kind of thing has mildly bugged me during my time in Japan though. I’m not sure if the Japanese attitudes and ignorance towards WWII can be properly conveyed through a text medium. Like much else about the country, it’s one of those things you just have to see for yourself.

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189 Responses

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  1. Anony said, on July 3, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Good editorial. I basically agree with everything you said.

  2. Casey said, on July 3, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Fuckin A, man. My Grandfather was one of the POWs on the Philippines that the Japanese government was planning on murdering to cover up their abuse of prisoners. See if anybody mentions that one over there.

  3. ted said, on July 3, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    seconded

  4. Pseudopadoz said, on July 3, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I stand that the bombings were maybe not so justified when they happened, but that time has come to vindicate them, because looking back, it’s very natural to thank various higher powers that they were bombed.
    As for the events they deny? Well, that’s easy! Deny the bombings to their face and see how they react; then drive home that you denying something doesn’t mean it never happened and start pointing out atrocities the Japanese refuse to acknowledge as their own.

  5. Brandon said, on July 3, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    It’s so much easier to play the victim than to take responsibility for one’s actions. Rather, for a government’s actions. Apparently, the current government of Japan is unwilling or unable to admit to the WW2-era government’s culpability. Unfortunately, I can see at least one facet of the reason: If they admit culpability, they legalize all the lawsuits against them that have been brought by the countless victims of Japanese aggression over the years. It’d be a nightmare for them–not that I think they deserve to get out of jail free.
    But, it’s the choice between what’s easy and what’s right, again. I would like to think that it’s the same choice for everyone–individuals and governments alike–but that’s too much idealism for one day.
    It’s comments like those in the Mainichi article that make me seriously reconsider what I want to do in the future.

  6. Gabe said, on July 3, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    One of the things that caught my attention was the idea that the US would not have dropped the bombs on a white nation. (See last link)
    The fact is, the US’s first atomic target was Berlin. Unfortuneately, (or fortuneately) Germany surrendered before the bombs were ready so that just left Japan as the only power left in the Axis.
    This is not to debate the issue but more over to give a fact to support the post.

  7. Leon Dolinar said, on July 3, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Everyone writes history for itself, so just swallow and turn the page πŸ™‚

  8. vertigociel said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    I think the worst thing is that Abe and the past PM’s have continued to visit memorials commemorating the fallen soldiers of WWII, including those that participated in the Rape of Nanjing and other atrocities. Refusing to acknowledge or apologize for their actions is one thing. Honoring the war criminals is another level of arrogance entirely.
    And to think some people wonder why China and Japan don’t get along.

  9. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Being Canadian, I don’t feel a patriotic responsibility to defend or support the A-bombing of Japan, but I agree that Japan would likely have gone on fighting until literally the last man.

  10. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Being Canadian, I don’t feel a patriotic responsibility to defend or support the A-bombing of Japan, but I agree that Japan would likely have gone on fighting until literally the last man.

  11. SomePlayer said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Good text.But honestly, though it may get different ratings on the “holier than thou”-Rating or short, HTTR, you can observe the same routines of playing down the own errors while pointing out those of others.
    And while i agree that those deeds against the Chinese and the Koreans aren’t to be taken lightly, they themselves have enough dirt on their own sticks. In the end they just can’t overcome their urge to come back at one another for anything that happened, be it in one form or another. Although, that’s a problem we have all around the world. Guess that’s mankind for you.

  12. Nes said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I’ve thought about this before myself. In my history class we did a whole unit about the justification of the bombs and if they could have really been avoided. You bring up some really strong points and I would have to agree with you on most everything you said. The Japanese would have fought down to the last man if the Americans just tried to invaid them on land, also it isn’t right that the Japanese write off their actions as “not that bad” in comparison to the bomb or flat out deny them. The Defence Minister shouldn’t have been pressure to resign because of what he said.

  13. Captain Canada said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Yeah, I’ve heard about the denial of Pearl harbor, but then why do so many of them visit the site in Hawaii? When I went, they were almost more Asians than Americans.

  14. Aaron said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Usually when I come in to read the blog, there are usually a thousand comments. So far I don’t see one…or it could be there is a new system. Anyway, I’ve been hearing about Japan’s denial about all these things for a long time. In the past few years I’ve dated a girl who is from China, she has told me much about what went on. It’s very scary how the Japanese basically created the same situation for the Chinese and Koreans as the Germans did for the Jews.

  15. Tanaka Taro said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Amen, Az. You said it all.
    My birthday is August 6, and in three years never got a “Happy Birthday.”
    Whenever someone found out, it was “hey, that’s when Hiroshima was bombed!”
    “Yes, I know.” [*internally* I’ve known since I was at least 12, thank you for reminding me. Like that was the only August 6 in all of human history and worse shit hasn’t happened on other days of the year. Why the hell are you looking at me like I did it, my parents weren’t even born then!?!]
    Yomiuri Shimbun had a surprisingly decent editorial on the matter:
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/editorial/20070704TDY04005.htm
    They called Kyuma’s remarks “tactless, but factual.”
    btw, is this the first post? πŸ˜‰

  16. first post said, on July 3, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    first nice lol, too political πŸ˜‰

  17. Dumpfie said, on July 3, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    I’m German so I do admit that Germany did enough stuff to deserve a nuke or five. Its a strange fact the uranium for the bombs on Japan came from a German submarine that surrendered while it was supposed to have delivered it to Japan so they could continue fighting. But I think if we where nuked a lot of tragic things could have been prevented so it probably was helping more than it hurt, although a little common sense and some good old pacifism would have done much better…

  18. Serge said, on July 3, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Ah yes. This reminds me of that picture in your photobucket (and the one you showed in Outpost 9). The caption thing at museum of how it summarizes what happened in WWII, how the US abused the “economically-poor Japan”.
    Lemme find it…ah, here it is…

  19. sry_for_poor_spelling_inurl said, on July 3, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Yeah I heard it on the news yesterday.
    Well hmm – just thought if people might want to know – during the second world war America forced nearly all of it`s Japanese immigrants population into concentration work camps out of fear the japanese are or would become traitors – women and children alike. This was based on a very basic prejudice – because asian people are so specific in the way they look they could never be integrated into the american society to a point they can be trusted.
    I`ve little evidence to believe this fact is well-known and distributed in schools and textbooks in America. Mainly because it shows a behaviour based on fear and racial prejudice. And you don`t want your students to form their oppinion on the country on facts leveling your wartime government with that of natzi Germany. In the end did you not adopt the same tactics as the Hitler regime – mass bombardment of civilian targets in an attempt to further increase the human loss tragedy of the Japanese people to a point when wageing war is not anymore realistic?
    I`m sory but it`s obvious to the blind that no country would voluntarily hurt itself by makeing it`s war crimes freely available to it`s youth. Not Japan not America not even Germany. You know trend is nowadays nobody would even duiscuss the massive killing of jews on german soil. This is meant to protect the current generation of german people from being offended about something they did not take part in. In an earlyer editorial you said something in the lines of haveing felt awkward because you had to be witness to a discussion on Iraq.
    Now think about who will suffer the greatest if what you demanded was to happen – in your perfect world everybody will have his “dead toddler” or “gassed baby” or “raped korean girl” ‘comeback’ joke. In my opinion that was your saddest joke ever. And because you live with it you wish it to everyone else? In my perfect world information would be free for everybody that`s interested in knowing. And to those who do not care to be informed I`d offer a simulated life of ignorance along with my sincere indifference. Think of it as an equasion and it tends to work out towards the ballance between a well-informed but in the same manner stable society.
    Then again you can always grab a megaphone and hit Tokyo streets once more. If so be sure to post it here πŸ˜‰

  20. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Oh boy Az, you probably just opened up a big can of worms. But I think these things should be discussed even though it’s such a sensitive topic. So kudos for you for putting it out there.

  21. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Oh boy Az, you probably just opened up a big can of worms. But I think these things should be discussed even though it’s such a sensitive topic. So kudos for you for putting it out there.

  22. tmh said, on July 3, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    “All I want Japan to do is take responsibility for its actions. Admit its wrongdoings, instead of trying to deny them.”
    Sorry, bud. That’s never going to happen.

  23. same_guy_inurl said, on July 3, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    “I feel that Kyuma getting canned just goes to show how stubborn and unwilling Japan is to admit any sort of fault in the war. Not only that, but failing to admit to the mistakes of the past, only leads the way to make the same mistakes in the future.”
    I`m sorry but that`s as old as my poor old granmamma and she`s 94. America has “said” owned up to it`s crimes and what now? Nobody realy wages wars anymore – it`s just that times don`t allow for majour senceless bloodshed conflicts cuz it`s by no means profitable to be a stupid fanatic fuck anymore.
    On the other hand what`s profitable now? Oil wars influencial wars in the manner of subjecting a country to whatever you say is right and then tapping into whatever currency worth reserves there are left.
    Do you know why Japan isn`t doing that? I dunno but I can tell you why America is. The United States have went through “owning up” on so many occasions (Vietnam Cambodia … gilf war Afghanistan… whatever shit you sparked up) that for it`s people it`s well and truly no-big-deal to continue with rapeing nations as it has always been. Then spend a few billion dollars “owning up” to it in the matter of said “funding” sustained developement – all pure shit as it is a fraction worth of the monie you`ve earned through profitable (have it read ludicrous) contracts with the defeated country. Just look at yourself and tell me you`ve not been turned indifferent to your country`s acts of international terrorism – I`m sorry to use that same example again but you said it – “dead toddler is the ultimate comeback” and oh the irony in how many ways you were right.
    And you have the nerve to point at yourself as an honorable example. I only envy your idealism for I`m sure you as a person have had no harm in mind when trying to put this topic up. In reality things tend to work out a little bit more complex than that – especialy when it comes to catchy morals.
    (Az’s Note: Dude, NOBODY understands America’s terrible foreign policies better than Americans living overseas. In America, you can sort of blow it off as “something that’s happening over there”, but overseas you get to see first-hand just how much of the world’s good will America is squandering.
    Yeah, America may harp about 9/11, but I also think that a great majority of Americans find Iraq to be thoroughly disfavorable. Even in our own government, the Democrats have been riding Bush for years, and now even Republicans are turning against him.
    If America was going to play the situation like Japan, all we’d ever say is “OMG 9/11 3,000 people dead!” When it comes to Iraq, we’d basically deny that there’s a mess over there at all, and fire any politican that might suggest otherwise.
    Yeah, America’s got its problems too, no one’s denying that. But this particular topic is about Japan and their flat-out refusal to acknowledge horrible things they did. Trying to shift the topic to America doesn’t change that fact.)

  24. Kevin Layne said, on July 3, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Let’s be honest. No country ever comes and says, “Yes, we did it and we were wrong”. It is true about individuals, it is true about communities and it is certainly true about countries. It is a known fact that the CIA under Hoover pushed illegal drugs into the African American communities to derail the civil rights movement, and the repercussions of this are being felt in our community to this day. Has the government ever said “I am sorry” to that community for that? No. Has the Government ever said sorry to the man who was taken from Canada to a prison in the middle east, and after being tortured for 2 years, it was found out that the guy was born in Canada, and had no links to the middle east? No. Has the Government ever said sorry to the Japanese citizens who were held in detention centres (concentration camps?) during World War II even though many of them were second and third generation Americans? I don’t think so. I an sure if we thought hard enough, we could find many examples of countries not owning up to the wrongs they did in the past.
    I am not in any way condoning this behaviour. I believe it is reprehensible, and owning up to past misdeeds helps in a healing process for both sides. Just don’t think it is a japanese thing. All of us as individuals and more than a few countries have issues with this. Just my 2 cents worth.

  25. Spring Hare said, on July 3, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    I think it is the same in any country. Every country views all the wars it has fought as a necessity and the fault is always found on the other country. US has fought in many wars in which it’s participation is kinda suspicious or downright self-serving. I’m from Finland and the viewpoints of our parcitipation in WW2 are as varied as any. We say were were just defending, Soviets said we were helping the nazis. We say there were two separate wars between our countries during WW2, Soviets said that they were both the same war. I talked in the internet with few European people, and they all had different views about what Finland did and didn’t do during WW2.
    I believe that past shouldn’t be denied, because it is by learning that mistakes can be avoided, not denial. With what i’ve learned about the Japanese, i don’t really find their stance about WW2 really suprising or anything, but i understand that it must be pretty annoying having people deny their own sins.

  26. lehcyfer said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Is it possible that the Japanese people are so obsessed with their own misery (and you said that again and again in your posts here), that they won’t acknowledge that there are others equally or even worse afflicted, not mentioning that it’was their fault.
    Perhaps it would be crushing to their way of life – how can you be greatest and unbeatable at taking the greatest shit on you and take pride in it, when your neighbours are covered in your own shit…

  27. Ryo said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    I know other Americans that live in Japan and they hold the same opinion that you do. I’m happy you made a post about this issue.

  28. ClΓ©sio Luiz said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    I see that all the countries try to deny all the wrong things that they done in the past. This is not a exclusivit of Japan or Germany. The USA too denny the wrong things it does. See the case of the Iranian Airbus that a american warship shotdown in persian gulf. Washington dont admit fault in this case, “it was war”. So why Japan have to admit their faults? My country (Brazil) fought in the allies side in WW2, but what the allies has done to Germany and Japan population was a shame, IMHO.

  29. Dman said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Very interesting to hear this from someone who’s right there, in the centre of things. I had read about Kyuma’s statements and it made me surprised to discover he was being forced to retire.
    I come here mostly for some light relief, but I for one find occasional posts of this kind edifying and interesting to read. Here’s to more – though infrequently.

  30. J-hoosier said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Sounds reasonable to me, Az. When you went to Tokyo, did you visit Yasukuni? It’s such a piddling little place, but has caused such controversy. The museum in there says the Americans forced Japan into war and it was the only choice Japan had.
    Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I leave Japan in August. Not being here makes it easy to not have to talk about it. Unfortunately, one of them is coming with me this time.

  31. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Amen.

  32. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Amen.

  33. gs reader said, on July 3, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    “Some will even go as far as to say that America forced Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor.” ~ Do you have a link to this topic? I’m really interested in the reasoning behind it.

  34. tdpatriots12 said, on July 3, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    Hey, long time reader, was interested to read your take on the controversy surrounding the bomb. I wouldn’t normally reply, but I think I read a book recently you might be interested, even fascinated by (or perhaps not at all surprised). It’s a Pulitzer prize winner by John Dower called “Embracing Defeat.”
    Covers, for the most part, the very end of the Pacific War and the following occupation, needless to say the views of the bombings and the war at large have changed quite a bit since 1945-46. Apart from that, it’s an interesting read particularly with regards to the MacArthur/Hirohito relationship.
    (URL goes to Amazon.com)

  35. GDB said, on July 3, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    I know how you feel. I had the exact same thoughts when I was in Japan for a couple of years. I was there during the war in Iraq and at least once a week some Japanese person would get from Bush to WWII some way. I recall being blamed for WWII once in fact (I’m 23 by the way…my grandmother was barely born when World War 2 ended).
    Not to say that I condone the atomic bombs. Visiting Hiroshima was an interesting experience. Interestingly enough, it is probably the only memorial I’ve been to that didn’t really point a finger at America. Go figure.
    Anyway, this is long. I know how you feel. I’ve been there. I’m half Chinese and one of my relatives was fortunate enough to escape some Japanese soldier back then. In other words, I’m lucky to even be born, so I did get a bit irritated when I’d talk to some people that downplayed what Japan did to the rest of eastern Asia back then. Too bad really.

  36. Amy said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Wow, Az. I really didn’t know much about all these things. I mean, of course I knew about Hiroshima but all those other stories I had never heard a word of them… I appreciate that you gave wiki links to everything. That makes things much easier. Well, thanks helping me learn some world history. You’ve definately made a difference for me with this one. I’m going to go read all the links in the wiki pages now.

  37. Trevize said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Nice one
    I share the same opinion, and gave up on trying to debate with any japanese.
    They’re as usual completely closed to any discussion, and even stating the obvious (as that minister did) is just purely shocking them.
    I’m not German too, but I’m pretty sure the bombings there too in terms of kilotons were close if not worse than Hiroshima (bombings in Dresden were if my memory is not that bad). I have no empathy for the Nazi, but we’re talking about civilian loss.
    That, and the attitude towards all the war crimes (the fact that Emperor Showa lived without anything to worry after the war too) I can understand why their Asian neighbors are so damn pissed.

  38. anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Hey Az,
    I’m ethnically Chinese, and I cannot say how much I agreed with you there. all my grandparents witnessed Japanese atrocities on Chinese soil, in fact my maternal grandmother fled Nanjing only hours before the massacre.
    As for those who argue “No country is going to admit its wrongdoings, its just common sense”, I know you people think you have grasps the nuances of politics or what ever, but let me give you this – what about Germany? Perhaps its just the menacingly stubborn nature of consecutive Japanese administrations.

  39. Yasha said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    As a European I tend to find it fairly irritating the way everyone in the Far East seems to refer only to the “Pacific War” and completely ignores the European theatre: a hundred times more devastating and rather more important from a worldwide perspective. Perhaps the Japanese don’t want to be reminded of the foolishness of joining the war on a side that guaranteed destruction, since the Germans would certainly have obliterated Japan had they defeated the rest of us in Europe, but I think more likely they’re overlooking the example of postwar Germany. By accepting full responsibility for Shoah and continent-wide devastation Germany has been able to reconcile almost fully with its neighbours in a way that it seems Japan never will. And to be honest any claim of racial motivation for atom bombing is absurd: all of the major powers on both sides were developing nuclear weapons and as has been pointed out, were it not for a lucky torpedo strike on a delivery of uranium from Germany it could well have been Japan dropping the bomb on the United States.

  40. Corey said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Yeah I read that article (using the magical powers of the News Channel on my Wii :D) and I felt the same way you do in this editorial. It annoys the hell out of me when countries try to ignore things they’ve done in the past to make themselves look all good and wonderful. I have some respect for Kyuma (even though I’ve never seen him and only recently even heard of him). It takes guts to say that in Japan.

  41. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    eh, every country does it in a way. America is no different, its just prolly not as extreme as that. or even more extreme than that not sure. but its not something unusual.

  42. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    eh, every country does it in a way. America is no different, its just prolly not as extreme as that. or even more extreme than that not sure. but its not something unusual.

  43. Ivan the Terrible said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    I agree….and yet I also have reservations. As I mentioned in your last post, I’ve been studying Chinese, and so I’ve gotten a little taste of the outrage just across the Sea of Japan (or East Sea or whatever; my, but there is nothing over which the Koreans/Chinese/Japanese won’t fight!) over the visits to Yasukuni Shrine and the Comfort Women.
    The Japanese are in the wrong for denying history, and for how they’ve treated World War II. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. They should fully own up to the matter, as the Germans have, rather than involving themselves in an endless round of reserved/half-assed apologies undermined by Yasukuni visits and suggestions that Japan was only trying to save Asia from Western Imperialism when they…y’know, killed half of the population of Asia.
    On the other hand, there’s a part of me that seriously wonders if the Chinese/Koreans will ever truly accept a Japanese apology and let bygones be bygones. The Chinese government, I’m certain, LOVES how wishy-washy the Japanese have been on the subject; anger over Japan lets them keep the eyes of the Chinese population firmly fixed away from their abuses of their own leadership and instead focused on the abuses a foreign country commited over half a century ago. As such, no matter what Japan says or does, I have a feeling the Chinese government will never be truly happy; the apology will never be sincere enough, the gesture never good enough. It simply isn’t profitable to let the simmering outrage die down.
    As for Korea, how would they be able to fuel their nationalism without hating Japan and the United States? For them, it almost seems like a 1984ish ‘five minutes hate’; they can affirm their Koreanness by perpetual anger over every subject from Dokdo/Takeshima down to the comfort women. If Japan were ever to truly and sincerely apologize, stopping the Yasukuni visits and paying reparations to former comfort women, Koreans would be bewildered…and would probably find another reason to really, really dislike Japan the next day.
    Japan is primarily at fault here, I agree. But the issue is now one that simply feeds into larger trends of Asian nationalism. Japan’s stance pours fuel on the fire…but the fire would keep on roaring, fuel or no, because it’s not in the interests of the offended parties to see it die.

  44. Ivan the Terrible said, on July 3, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    “I`ve little evidence to believe this fact is well-known and distributed in schools and textbooks in America. Mainly because it shows a behaviour based on fear and racial prejudice.”
    I used to work as a history teacher in an American public school. Sorry to say, but you’re dead wrong; the internment of those of Japanese ancestry is covered, though understandably not in enormous depth since they also need to cover the rest of the war.
    German schoolchildren are required to visit Dachau. I assure you, they know full well about the Holocaust, about Auschwitz; their knowledge of the war is not confined to, ‘there was a war, and then the Allies bombed Dresden and killed a bunch of innocent Germans in cold blood.’ This reflects well on Germany, and may be part of the reason why Germany is no longer feared and hated by it’s neighbors…something Japan, alas, can’t claim.
    Japanese children should know full well their country’s history, good and bad. That they don’t, and become worked up over Hiroshima while casually dismissing Nanjing, is an obscenity.

  45. Zantetsu said, on July 3, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    On how you describe it, Japanese are just big whiny hypocrites when it comes to accepting blame. They saw it tough? What about other countries which were mostly to totally defenceless and those not involved in the war at all?
    Malta at the time was under reign of the British Empire so the island served as a naval base… Which also caused the largest bombing against an allied nation, the destruction of two-thirds of the island (including important heritage sites we value oh so much), the loss of over 60% of the population and what did we have to counterattack? Two airplane fighters and an assortment of 500-year old forts.
    I’m not condemning all Japanese people for this behaviour since I know some who admitted their actions back then were less-than-desirable. However, I stand by the belief they are being unfair and hypocritical.

  46. VanillaDome said, on July 3, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    “My country (Brazil) fought in the allies side in WW2, but what the allies has done to Germany and Japan population was a shame, IMHO.”
    What, turning their countries around into great economical and world powers?
    “I`ve little evidence to believe this fact is well-known and distributed in schools and textbooks in America. Mainly because it shows a behaviour based on fear and racial prejudice.”
    Well you’re just plain wrong. We had plenty of discussion of this in my classes, and it was agreed that it was bullshit and should have never happened. We also read about Mai Lai.
    I think the Japanese should have to read about Unit 731.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731
    There’s just no way you can defend that shit.
    I’d also like to add that if the United States entered a land war against Japan, it would have been with the Soviet Union, and the USSR would have taken land. It would have been the exact same situation that there was in Korea (still is actually) and Germany. I think Japan should be glad that they didn’t end up with a North and South Japan. Not to mention the massive loss of life that would result from a land invasion. There was a PS2 game that played on this idea, by Konami actually. I think it was called Ring of Red.
    One last thing. Not all Japanese are in complete denial about WW2. Some deny, some realize the truth, and most probably don’t really care that much. The creator of Capcom’s 194X series of shooters came under a little flack for creating a game where you flew American planes and fought the Japanese. The design was no mistake. I don’t think he has ever come out and said it, but he knows what’s up, and so do others. I imagine some don’t mention it because they don’t want to be ostracized like the defense minister.

  47. Prodigal Priest said, on July 3, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    “I see that all the countries try to deny all the wrong things that they done in the past. This is not a exclusivit of Japan or Germany. The USA too denny the wrong things it does. See the case of the Iranian Airbus that a american warship shotdown in persian gulf. Washington dont admit fault in this case, “it was war”. So why Japan have to admit their faults? My country (Brazil) fought in the allies side in WW2, but what the allies has done to Germany and Japan population was a shame, IMHO.”
    The Trail of Tears, where thousands of Cherokee were forced of their lands to make way for settlement. Manifest Destiny was one of the biggest crocks of shit cooked up as an excuse to do what they did to the native Americans. And oh, the Cherokee were also given blankets which had been used previously by small pox victims. Nice, huh? THAT’S something you might not hear too often.
    No, I’m not Cherokee by blood. I’m just pointing out one of many instances where good old self-interest and greed were held in higher esteem than common sense and decency.
    I’ve given up trying to make sense of the world. It defies it. I think that the good is getting bred out of our species. It’s still there, just harder to find. but, this is just my opinion, not necessarily fact πŸ˜‰ .
    I’ll forego mentioning this latest Dunce Ex Machina by the Japanese government and society as a whole. The last time I made a comment about this it got edited. Az, you know I’m not Politically Correct and never will be. I prefer to be straight and blunt….. kind of like a big ol’ stick :D. I DO however, respect your judgment (You haven’t made any bad choices yet to my knowledge, other than going to Japan in the first place xD and I’m NOT going any further into that. It’s too much like saying ‘I told you so!’ to a guy who’s BEEN there lol), and your opinions…. as I do the opinions of others…. even as I might diagree with them.
    I hope you can get past this August with your skin intact πŸ™‚

  48. bt said, on July 3, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Well said, Az…
    We know all governments censor history to some extent. Not admitting something is one thing. But denying that the atrocities were committed and then trying to play the victim (after you just tried to forcably take over half the world) is just sickening.
    Germany has done their part, it’s time for Japan.

  49. VanillaDome said, on July 3, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    “The Trail of Tears, where thousands of Cherokee were forced of their lands to make way for settlement. Manifest Destiny was one of the biggest crocks of shit cooked up as an excuse to do what they did to the native Americans. And oh, the Cherokee were also given blankets which had been used previously by small pox victims. Nice, huh? THAT’S something you might not hear too often.”
    Actually, we read about it in history class. The United States generally airs it’s dirty laundry. Some countries do not.

  50. Shinkada said, on July 3, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    You’re 100% right as usual. Double standards are stupid and ridiculous, and should be wiped from the world.

  51. Phanto said, on July 4, 2007 at 12:30 am

    My ex-wife is from Nanjing. Her history classes and upbringing all taught her that Japanese people are the biggest monsters the world has ever seen. She even believes Japanese routinely kidnap and cannibalize babies as a delicacy. Her school textbooks show graphic pictures of Japanese soldiers playfully extracting fetuses from slaughtered pregnant mothers with their katanas. This says a heck of a lot about both sides of that atrocity. It says the Japanese were horrible, and need to own up. It also says that the Chinese are deliberately fostering hatred in the modern age too. The world is a twisted place sometimes.
    Glad to be Canadian!

  52. Andrew said, on July 4, 2007 at 12:34 am

    In my short 6 weeks in Japan (June-July ’05), every single adult I talked to asked me, “Have you been to Hiroshima? Are you going to visit Hiroshima? Why not visit scenic Hiroshima this time of year?” They just wanted to guilt trip me and show me the plaque at the memorial showing all the countries a-bombed in wartime (Japan) and all the countries who have used the a-bomb in wartime (US).
    I’m Jewish and Japan was allied with the Nazis, so I found that morbidly ironic (despite a few Japanese helping the Jews, in one case saving 5000 over 2 years… also, to be fair, Jews have helped Japan before and after WWII). The only thing that was as bad as that was being the only American for miles when a high school history class showed a video about American history from 1966 to 1976.
    More than anything, the Japanese attitude scares me because of what this could create for the future. Such collective cognitive dissonance is not without dire consequences.

  53. Azrael said, on July 4, 2007 at 12:41 am

    America does do a decent job of educating her students. I mean, I know the Indians were forced from their lands, I know about Japanese internment camps, etc, that stuff was covered in JHS/HS.
    It may not cover the minutia, but we’re not talking about minutia here. This isn’t merely a case of a country not wanting to air its dirty laundry. We’re talking about atrocities committed on a very large scale, that a country flat-out refuses to acknowledge, while at the same time constantly whining about the one bad thing done to them. You can’t compare it to America.
    The only way you could is, imagine if the American government changed its stance one day to say “Well, you know those Africans were really quite poor, and when they came to America, they got a nice place to live and work, and were fed too. I don’t think slavery was that bad. Besides, you can’t prove that the American government supported it.” And then also said “You know, England was really cruel to send the pilgrims all the way out to a strange and foreign land, with scant provisions, and then expect them to follow the Queen’s rules and tax the hell out of them. That was really, really, wrong, and we should all hope that this kind of thing never happens in the future. America is really pitiable.”
    Then it might be comparable.

  54. Durf said, on July 4, 2007 at 1:06 am

    Maybe the people talking about how none of these horrible things show up in Japan’s history textbooks should actually take a look at the books. The colonization of Korea is in there, the Manchurian Incident is in there, Nanjing is in there, Pearl Harbor is in there.
    Could it be covered in more detail? Hell yes. If you’ve seen a Japanese textbook for *any* subject you’ll know that the aim is to hit all the key points that will show up on the tests and move on quick quick to the next part. There is no in-depth exploration of Nanjing than there is in-depth exploration of communication in living English in your New Horizon book. But “Japanese troops killed a bunch of civilians in Nanjing” is sure in there, just as the past tense is in your English reader.
    Don’t regurgitate bullshit. Read the books and then post.

  55. CHM said, on July 4, 2007 at 1:08 am

    The beautiful and terrible America.
    This is the difference between American Nationalism, and other countries’ nationalism.
    America as a population doesn’t tolerate the obfuscation of elements of facts, regardless of the light it casts in..
    We don’t run from the facts of the atrocities we’ve performed in the past. Blame is a little more complicated, but America, unlike other nations, doesn’t minimise or worse still try to say it doesn’t happen.
    Our textbooks don’t have the Cherokee’s Trail of Tears edited out of textbooks, or japanese/asian concentration camps, or friendly fire incidents…
    This is the difference between American Nationalism and the scary nationalism that pervades other countries. -Their- form of nationalism serves to cloud and obscure otherwise culturally untidy things that could be seen as an embarassment.
    People can say all they want about how only winners write the history books in order to shame and invalidate America’s supremacy, but the fact is that History is in comparatively good hands. The US Government isn’t the ‘information ministry,’ the sole publisher of educational texts, or immune from formal rebuke by its people.

  56. Rachel said, on July 4, 2007 at 1:15 am

    It’s understandable for the Japanese to be bitter…who wouldn’t? This definitely takes it too far, though.
    On the other hand, Americans are just as bitter as the Japanese over situations ten times smaller. A Chinese friend of mine went to Hawaii and visited Pearl Harbor only to receive multiple dirty looks from Americans on the tour. 2,350 people died in the attack on Pearl Harbor…we killed hundreds of thousands of the Japanese in retaliation.
    Perhaps America is obsessed with the concept of one-up-ing her opponents?

  57. Scaramanga said, on July 4, 2007 at 1:44 am

    “I`ve little evidence to believe this fact is well-known and distributed in schools and textbooks in America. ”
    “Has the Government ever said sorry to the Japanese citizens who were held in detention centres (concentration camps?) during World War II even though many of them were second and third generation Americans? I don’t think so”
    Excuse me but President Clinton with the support of congress made a formal apology and paid $20,000 reparation checks per victim
    http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/clinton.html

  58. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:06 am

    http://www.imdiversity.com/Villages/Asian/history_heritage/ikeda_internment_apology.asp
    President George H.W. Bush sent an even earlier letter and aided reagan in the passing of the CIVIL LIBERTIES ACT OF 1988 that officially appologized
    http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/civilact.html

  59. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:06 am

    http://www.imdiversity.com/Villages/Asian/history_heritage/ikeda_internment_apology.asp
    President George H.W. Bush sent an even earlier letter and aided reagan in the passing of the CIVIL LIBERTIES ACT OF 1988 that officially appologized
    http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/civilact.html

  60. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:14 am

    I don’t really get where the people saying that America doesn’t admit it when it does wrong. It may take a while, but we’ve done it on most of the major things. For example, almost any politician who doesn’t say that slavery was wrong will more or less have no career after that, we paid reparations to the interned Japanese, and most everyone says that it was bad for us to have treated the Indians as we did. And for almost all of these things, our textbooks mention them, and sometimes cover them in great detail. Especially with slavery, which just about every textbook I’ve ever read says and implies is one of the most evil atrocities ever committed by anyone.

  61. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:14 am

    I don’t really get where the people saying that America doesn’t admit it when it does wrong. It may take a while, but we’ve done it on most of the major things. For example, almost any politician who doesn’t say that slavery was wrong will more or less have no career after that, we paid reparations to the interned Japanese, and most everyone says that it was bad for us to have treated the Indians as we did. And for almost all of these things, our textbooks mention them, and sometimes cover them in great detail. Especially with slavery, which just about every textbook I’ve ever read says and implies is one of the most evil atrocities ever committed by anyone.

  62. Colin said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:17 am

    As an East Asian History major (focusing primarily on Japan from 1932-1953), I completely agree with everything you’ve said in this post. Probably unique among modern world powers, the Japanese have often stubbornly refused to admit the most blatantly obvious of their country’s wartime atrocities. I mean, yeah, the Germans did some pretty horrible stuff (and since my great-grandmother and great-aunt died at Treblinka, I’ve got a fairly personal perspective on this), but at least the German government has never tried to deny that the Holocaust happened, or that it wasn’t that bad, or really made any excuses for it whatsoever. As far as I’m concerned, as a Jew, any beef I would have had with Germany ended when they owned up to what they did and kept the camps standing as living testaments to their own war crimes, making sure the world knows that Germany isn’t trying to deny what it did. Regardless of what you might have to say about Germany, at least they haven’t sat there wallowing in self-pity and denying they ever did anything wrong. I wish we could say the same about Japan.
    I think people who aren’t American sometimes labor under the misapprehension that most Americans don’t know about most of the bad things our country has done, or that we actively seek to deny they ever happened. In some of the lesser-known cases, they might be right (an extremely good example of this is the CIA funding and planning in Chile that led to Pinochet’s long reign of terror, which a lot of Americans either won’t admit to or don’t know anything about). And frankly, I think we should study the Japanese internment even a little more than we do, because we tend to not give it the amount of time it does deserve. But at the same time, you will NOT find any American history textbook that tries to say the internment 1) didn’t happen, 2) was exaggerated, or 3) wasn’t that bad. And what we’ve historically done to the Native Americans? I mean, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in this country who wouldn’t admit that the US Government did HORRIBLE things to the Native Americans; we spend quite a bit of time on the Trail of Tears in history class. The same can be said of the Mai Lai massacre or any one of dozens of other mistakes the US Government has made.
    That’s ultimately the key difference: the vast majority of Americans do not try to pretend that the atrocities our government has committed never happened. If a US Politician made it a point to speak publicly about how horrible the Japanese Internment was, or the Trail of Tears, or the Mai Lai Massacre, the general reaction from the American public would be roughly along the lines of, “well, duh, they were horrible. We already knew that.” Whereas if a significant Japanese political figure were to decry the Japanese role in the comfort women issue, there would be an uproar and the person in question might be forced to resign. THAT’S the difference, and it’s a big one.
    And as far as this current bullshit people from other countries tend to foist on average Americans about the Iraq War…please just shut the hell up. Look, we’re just as upset as you are about the whole Iraq situation; I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention lately, but about 75% of the US does not support the Iraq War, and about 50% hasn’t supported it since the war started. So stop acting all snippy and treating me like its my fault that some jackass Texas legacy child felt like going and playing cowboy in the world’s largest sandbox. I voted against him the second time and would have the first time, except for the fact that I was 15 at the time. I PROMISE you we hate him far more than you do at this point.
    (Az’s Note: What this guy said. Word for word. I can’t say it any better.)

  63. Scaramanga said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:41 am

    I second that colin; and by the way George W. is from New Haven, Connecticut only some of his childhood and after college living in Texas

  64. Colin said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:46 am

    Something to add to my last post: I forgot to mention slavery. I want those of you who aren’t from America to understand something: we spend roughly 1/3 to 2/5 of all of our American history classes talking about slavery, segregation, Jim Crow Laws, and the Civil Rights Movement. Believe me, we cover all of these issues in VERY strong detail.
    Also, I wanted to respond to this post:
    “The USA too denny the wrong things it does. See the case of the Iranian Airbus that a american warship shotdown in persian gulf. Washington dont admit fault in this case, “it was war”. So why Japan have to admit their faults? My country (Brazil) fought in the allies side in WW2, but what the allies has done to Germany and Japan population was a shame, IMHO.”
    For those of you who don’t know what he’s talking about, there’s a wikipedia link here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655 Now, with that being said…
    Ok, dude, seriously, don’t talk about historical events if you have no idea of the basic facts surrounding them. The official US Government explanation for the downing of Flight 655 was not “it was war;” the explanation was “everyone on the boat went crazy and thought it was an enemy military aircraft, so it’s not our fault.” There’s a pretty big difference there; one of the responses tries to deny that anything bad happened, or that it was a bad thing that it did happen, and the other simply tries to shirk responsibility for the admitted mistake. Granted, neither is truly satisfactory; a fair response would be along the lines of, “Sorry guys, our men really screwed up. We didn’t tell them to do it, we didn’t order an attack against a civilian aircraft, but we still need to apologize because they did what they did under US Colors, and that’s really not acceptable. Our bad. Here’s some money, we’re sorry, everyone involved is going to be severely punished and have their careers ruined, and we promise it won’t happen again.” That would’ve been satisfactory. It’s a shame that didn’t happen, but AT LEAST THE US GOVERNMENT ISN’T TRYING TO PRETEND 248 PEOPLE DIDN’T ACTUALLY DIE. That would be equivalent to what the Japanese have been doing in regards to their wartime atrocities.
    And by the way, if you really think that “but what the allies has done to Germany and Japan population was a shame, IMHO,” you need to actually study the post-war reconstruction of Germany and Japan, and how the Allies broke the mold for conquering nations by NOT stomping on the necks of their defeated foes, even though the French wanted to with Germany (AGAIN…goddamn, but the French historically piss me off sometimes). Contracts to construct vehicles for the US military for use in Korea was the driving force in the kickstarting of the post-WWII Japanese economy, so if that’s what you mean by “what the allies has done to…Japan,” um…get your head examined?
    Foreign critics of America often seem so misguided and ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that there isn’t plenty to criticize about US Foreign Policy…or US Domestic Policy…or US Culture…or really about any facet of life in the US. It’s just that people who aren’t from here seem to often focus on entirely the wrong points, and instead of actually pointing out things that would help their argument, they shoot themselves in the foot by talking about how Americans are bad people and how a country like, I don’t know, Canada would never be capable of doing any of the things America has done because Canadians are just better people. Anyone who believes that is practically retarded. Any country that attains some level of primacy within its sphere of influence makes mistakes on the basis of greed and avarice; it has to do with the corrupting influence of power, a basic facet of human nature. Japan, the US, Great Britain, Spain (good lord, Spain), France, Germany, China, the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, the Mongol Empire…historically literally EVERY single powerful cultural entity has abused less powerful cultural entities when it suited them. So stop pretending the US makes the mistakes it does because Americans are somehow different or not as good as other people; we’re just repeating the same mistakes that have been repeated before and will be repeated again ad infinitum.

  65. Sille said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:48 am

    I agree with you. I’ve been of that same opinion ever since I was old enough to comprehend the second world war. And I’m not American, Japanese, Chinese or Corean. I’m Finnish, meaning I have a relatively neutral background to use as a mirror while pondering these facts.
    The article about that Tojo woman made my heart beat like crazy. My hands are still shaking. Why can’t the Japanese start looking at everyone as individual human beings, not as mere ‘non-Japanese masses’? It makes me want to cry.

  66. DunnDeegan said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:35 am

    Overall, it’s just a sad topic in general. It’s especially hard to talk about anything controversial in Korea/Japan without making people angry. I was reading your last blog at work and one of my high school students starting talking me. just casually saying hello, what are you doing? etc. I told him I was reading the blog of an American teacher in Japan. The reply to this was “Japan is bad.” Thus, ending the conversation with him walking away. I can’t even mention the word Japan here without making people angry it seems. The children appear to be taught to hate the Japanese. Even some of the teachers I talk to frequently mention how terrible Japan is if anything is said.
    Example:
    Me: “I think I’m going to Japan for vacation.”
    Teacher: “I hate Japan, they are bad! do you know what they did to Koreans?”
    Not everyone is this closed minded but a reasonably large percentage, unfortunately, are. We should be happy knowing the history we have learned about our own countries is accurate. I know Canada has done bad things. I know Canadians have done bad things. Recently, on CBC’s webpage I was fortunate enough to see some video clips of a tribute to David Suzuki. During parts of his clips he openly discussed how he was treated in Canada by Canadians during the war despite the fact he has never been in Japan, his parents and grandparents have never lived in Japan, and he could not speak a word of Japanese. This is not as bad as other things, but the point is it is not being hidden. I’m not proud that people can be treated the way they sometimes are. I am proud that these facts are not being hidden. There is nothing worse than going to a museum and being able to realize that 90% of what is inside the museum is not factual. There is one example I have not personally seen, but I have heard of a large model of the moon landing in Korea. On this model the American flag has been replaced with a Korean flag. This is completely different as it does not physically harm anyone like the examples in the post, but it does hinder progress. All countries should be able to get over themselves and realize they are not the only country that can do something good. They do not have to lie about or misinterpret things in the past intentionally and they should just try to portray history as accurately as possible. I don’t understand how some people can just blindly lie and fail to acknowledge that mistakes have been made and we can move on from that.
    Anyways, I’ve been disturbed twice while writing this for lengthy grammar question periods so I’m sure I lost my point somewhere in this rant. Hopefull you can understand what I’m trying to get at.

  67. J-hoosier said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:41 am

    From gs reader: ‘”Some will even go as far as to say that America forced Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor.” ~ Do you have a link to this topic? I’m really interested in the reasoning behind it.’
    There’s a photo link posted just above your comment that goes to a photo of the Yasukuni Shrine museum in Tokyo. I’ve seen it there, and it’s a real mind trip to read.
    Incidentally, Az, I think some people may be confusing the lack of Nanjing, etc, being in textbooks, because I believe in some places, at least, they’ve been whitewashed. Otawara in Tochigi-ken and Tokyo have adopted textbooks that whitewash the various atrocities. I haven’t seen them, so I don’t know exactly how much has been scrubbed. There are some texts out there that are funded by right-wing groups who hope to distort what happened. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20050729a3.html has info on the textbooks, and actually, going to japantimes.co.jp and searching for “textbook Nanjing” will get you several articles about it and other textbook issues. I think the 3rd return talks about how the Okinawa forced suicides were changed as well.

  68. luke said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:44 am

    one thing i’d like to add to this jolly conversation, with regards to the internment camps. we didn’t just thow the japanese in there, we also rounded up italaians and germans too. just so you know.

  69. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 4:07 am

    This is definitely one of the longest lists of comments I’ve seen here. I thought this was my personal pet-peeve, but it seems like it’s common opinion.
    Az mentioned, “Not only that, but failing to admit to the mistakes of the past, only leads the way to make the same mistakes in the future.” Countries aren’t restricted to using their own history to learn lessons. e.g. A lot of countries refuse to harbour nuclear weapons because they’ve learned from other countries: just having them makes them a target. I’m curious about what the Japanese think about whaling (if they even know about it like we do).
    I think of the whaling issue in the same vein. The rest of the world has learned that as a key species, we have a responsibility to control out influence relative to everything else (damnit- I swear I’m not an eco-hippy). I’m curious over how countries that go out of their way to separate themselves from the rest of the world (Korea and China included) opinionate themselves over this. For the record: I couldn’t care less for the whales; but it really bugs me that the world put a lot of work into taking responsibility for it’s actions- only to have it undone by a crying bully.

  70. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 4:07 am

    This is definitely one of the longest lists of comments I’ve seen here. I thought this was my personal pet-peeve, but it seems like it’s common opinion.
    Az mentioned, “Not only that, but failing to admit to the mistakes of the past, only leads the way to make the same mistakes in the future.” Countries aren’t restricted to using their own history to learn lessons. e.g. A lot of countries refuse to harbour nuclear weapons because they’ve learned from other countries: just having them makes them a target. I’m curious about what the Japanese think about whaling (if they even know about it like we do).
    I think of the whaling issue in the same vein. The rest of the world has learned that as a key species, we have a responsibility to control out influence relative to everything else (damnit- I swear I’m not an eco-hippy). I’m curious over how countries that go out of their way to separate themselves from the rest of the world (Korea and China included) opinionate themselves over this. For the record: I couldn’t care less for the whales; but it really bugs me that the world put a lot of work into taking responsibility for it’s actions- only to have it undone by a crying bully.

  71. Kate said, on July 4, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Yeah i have to agree. It really came under notice when me and some friends went to Hiroshima. Im from Australia and my friends were from brazil, new zealand and canada yet the amount of negative remarks from random strangers were so upseting. i thought it was a lovely town but due to the rudeness of these people i would never reccommend any white person to go there.
    seriously they never talk about how japanese doctors refused to treat alot of the bombing victims because they wanted to see the effects!! we all have terrible history but stop paying out on people who werent involved.

  72. Niconippon said, on July 4, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Well, well…it is a delicate subject indeed. It is true that the battle of Okinawa saw the to-the-endist attitude of military Japan and its propaganda, however, it can not be compared to the rape of Nanking or Manilla. Japanese were defending their territory in Okinawa, knowing also perfectly that it was the last step before mainland could be reached by bombs as the following months proved.
    Following the intensive bombing of Tokyo and other major cities, and the death of thousands and thousands of citizens, Japanese government realised that they had lost and had already started negotiations with the US. They were ready to surrender without conditions when Truman decided to drop the first bomb on Hiroshima.
    What were the reasons behind Truman’s decision? Did it shortened the war? Let’s suppose it did. But then, why the second bomb?
    I strongly believe that Japan has to really consider its vision of its history, but I would certainly advise the same thing to the US !

  73. Ed said, on July 4, 2007 at 4:44 am

    Az: I’ve been reading your column since the old days at Outpost Nine, but this is the first time I’ve been moved to post a comment.
    There one big reason why Japan refuses to acknowledge their role in WWII, while Germany (and to a lesser extent Italy) does.
    The reason? General Douglas MacArthur.
    MacArthur had spent many years in Asia, and perhaps better than most senior military officials at the time understood the Japanese mindset. He realized that in order to make a peaceful transition to an American occupation of Japan there would have to be certain acommodations made with the people and government. And it worked, in the short term.
    In the long term however, as you’ve pointed out, it was a mistake. A mistake that we Americans are often guilty of, not realizing what the ramifications of our actions down the road.
    Had we treated Japan the same way we did Germany, ie, putting Hirohito against a wall and executing him, abolishing the monarchy, and generally rubbing the noses of the Japanese people in the atrocities committed by their nation, you’d see a far different attitude that you do now. No one ever forced Japan to acknowledge their transgressions, and of course now it’s too late.
    However, had MacArthur done this, the occupation would probably have been a fairly bloody affair for the American forces. Which choice is worse? I don’t know.

  74. Saben said, on July 4, 2007 at 4:49 am

    To be honest, I think that generalisations about political opinions are always going to be flawed. Colin, you say that 75% of the American population doesn’t support the War in Iraq- well then 25% still do?
    During my 18 months in Japan, I never once had a Japanese person mention Hiroshima. Maybe because I’m Australian? But even when I’d talk politics and WWII with Japanese people, a lot of them would know about Pearl Harbour, at least. I even had a co-worker say something like “I hope Japan never has a reason to re-arm itself”.
    Not all Japanese people are in denial, just like not all Americans support Bush. Japanese textbooks are varied, some focus more on what Japan did in WWII, some less so. But the good ones definitely DO give Japanese children a sense of perspective and a sense of shame that their nation could do such things. Sure the vocal Obaasan majority may live in denial, but since when where grandmas ever politically educated in any country?
    Most of the people I spoke to in their 20s-30s are glad that Japan doesn’t have an active military after WWII. Most Japanese I spoke to are against ANY military action, even supporting America in Iraq as they were.
    There is an uneducated majority of the population that is in denial. But there was an uneducated majority in America that voted for Bush. There’s an uneducated majority in Australia that is racist and against legal assylum seekers.
    There are uneducated majorities in most countries. You might know better, Az. Your friends might know better, but you’re college educated and have lived abroad. Speak to some intelligent, college educated Japanese people that have been abroad, they will probably agree with you.
    I do think Japan is publically in denial a lot more than other countries. It doesn’t air its dirty laundry as much, but it still does. And every country is reticent to hide their own shameful pasts to varying degrees.

  75. bojan messi said, on July 4, 2007 at 9:00 am

    I am from Germanyand i think germany is one of the countries that appologized and payed for the harm they did and actually learned a lesson.
    Japan on the other hand never appologized for their wrongdoing.(china,korea etc. etc.)yet they still “whine” about a-bomb.
    America however 1.never appologized for what they did wrong(south america,in vietnam,korea etc. etc.) 2.still keeps on doing wrong without admiiting(iraq etc..)3.”whines” about 9.11 with not nearly as many dead as in Iraq, Vietnam etc. 4.There was no war(international) on American soil New york didnt get bombed L.A didnt get bombed.OOOOH pearl habor OOOOh.Ameircans dont know what it is like to get their land destroyed and the people had to rebuild it.
    IMO everybody should appoloigize for what they did wrong Japan should appologize for Nanking i.a.China should appologize for what they did wrong and especially America they are the ones supposed to make the first step in my oppinion

  76. Trenien said, on July 4, 2007 at 9:56 am

    I tend to agree with niconippon with a bit of a twist:
    The choices that have been made by McArthur weren’t really about a peaceful occupation. At the time, the US did a lot to rub the nose of Japan in the dirt (for example establishing the central military command in Tokyo on MeijiJingu’s site, one of the most sacred places in Japan).
    BUT, one of the priorities was to make sure Japan wasn’t going to lean over to the USSR – which was a real possibility for a while after the war, even with, or because of, the occupation.
    Hence, keeping in charge people who’d been in charge all along. Sure, they hanged a few scapegoats, but most were set free to be used to the advantage of the US.
    Of course, in order to do that, they had to gloss over most of Japan’s atrocities. But that was fine with them since in exchange Japan wouldn’t complain internationaly about the 2 A-Bombs – which were illegal in regard to international war conventions of the time (Real Politik at its finest). Such a thing wouldn’t have been possible in Germany with all the parties involved.
    End result: on one side we have Germany where everybody is fully conscious of the nazis’ horrors, but that was really contrite and made true apologies.
    On the other hand, there’s Japan, where most people have never even heard of most of what their country did, and only a toned down version of what they did learn. Unsurprisingly in such circumstances, any apology can only be seen as hypocrisy, and the average Japanese will always take the high road when you talk about it, which doesn’t help the overall image.
    One last thing you’re forgetting Az is the current context of that news story. For those who don’t know, this takes place when one of the main goals of the current Japanese government is to drop its Ninth Article from Japan’s constitution (the one that says Japan renounces war forever), and to build-up nuclear war capabilities. Considering the same governement is trying to even further tone down History books, and to ‘revive’ nationalism in school…
    I’m very glad that minister was forced to resign, it means that, appearances notwidthstanding, the Japanese isn’t yet completely brainwashed by stupid TV and propaganda.

  77. TrainsRexpensive said, on July 4, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Yeah…Saw that on the news. Japanese can only have 1 opinion…And I dont think the opinions ever change.

  78. Ichiban said, on July 4, 2007 at 11:59 am

    The Americans should have abolished the Japanese monarchy. Maybe that would have really shaken them up and forced some re-thinking.

  79. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    So Japan kills more Chinese then the Nazi’s killed Jews, and they want to claim that they were trying to “liberate people of color from the white nations in the world”? I’ve heard of Japan’s ignorance to the rest of the world, but that’s just astonishing.

  80. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    So Japan kills more Chinese then the Nazi’s killed Jews, and they want to claim that they were trying to “liberate people of color from the white nations in the world”? I’ve heard of Japan’s ignorance to the rest of the world, but that’s just astonishing.

  81. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I went to the Peace Park in Hiroshima a few years back and I really appreciated how they don’t gloss over the city’s militaristic history, ‘though the Rape of Nanking/Korea gets like 3 photos and a couple of signs. Our westernized guide (she was married to a U.S. soldier) said Nagasaki’s museum acts all “poor poor pitiful me”–that’s an actual quote, but she was a country music fan, they have those in Japan. There’s a good PBS special about an engineering student who goes to research the railway the Japanese forced the survivors of the Bataan Deathmarch to build, and the guy in charge of the segement with the highest deathtoll died in his sleep, never even admitting he’d done anything wrong

  82. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I went to the Peace Park in Hiroshima a few years back and I really appreciated how they don’t gloss over the city’s militaristic history, ‘though the Rape of Nanking/Korea gets like 3 photos and a couple of signs. Our westernized guide (she was married to a U.S. soldier) said Nagasaki’s museum acts all “poor poor pitiful me”–that’s an actual quote, but she was a country music fan, they have those in Japan. There’s a good PBS special about an engineering student who goes to research the railway the Japanese forced the survivors of the Bataan Deathmarch to build, and the guy in charge of the segement with the highest deathtoll died in his sleep, never even admitting he’d done anything wrong

  83. Nils said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Well, Azrael, the a-bomb is the worst weapon that has been used in a war yet. There might be even worse stuff in future wars, of course. Even considering this, I still feel weird thinking about how Japan denies its past. I’m German, and you can’t live in Germany without being constantly reminded of the crimes of our Nazi grandfathers. After WWII, Germany has become a traumatised nation, a nation which seems like it will never overcome its guilt.
    If you ask me, we should always be aware of the horrible things people can do to each other, and take all kinds of precautions so that they don’t happen again.
    (Az’s Note: I kind of disagree about the a-bomb being “the worst weapon yet”. If I had to choose between getting vaporized by a nuclear blast, or having my limbs and internal organs cut out while I was still alive with no anesthetic, I think I’d opt for the a-bomb.
    No matter how advanced we may become, never underestimate the potential for brutality from human hands.)

  84. MCat said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    I think I love you Colin πŸ™‚

  85. HiEv said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Azrael: “Some will even go as far as to say that America forced Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor.”
    gs reader: “Do you have a link to this topic? I’m really interested in the reasoning behind it.”
    Here’s the evidence mentioned by J-hoosier (that includes the image that Serge linked to) which is on Azrael’s Outpost Nine site:
    http://outpostnine.com/editorials/picture.html
    (see the third picture there and its commentary)
    Short version: There is a plaque in a Japanese museum alleging that America created an embargo against Japan in order to force Japan to attack America so that the US could get out of the Great Depression and recover economically. (Ugh!)

  86. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    The U.S. selectively admit she did wrongs—genocide of Indians and internment of Japanese Americans, etc.
    (especially when the victims are Americans)
    So many Americans think that they admits all the wrongs. But it is surprising that they don’t know they used sex slaves in Vietnam, in Korea , in Japan.
    They want to rationalize killing innocent women and children by saying that Japan would not have ended the war otherwise—-so how many women and children do they intend to kill in Axis of evils?
    There might be deniers in Japan, but it is appalling that there are as many denirs and ignorant people in the U.S. After all, Americans should realize Japan is the mirror of the U.S.

  87. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    The U.S. selectively admit she did wrongs—genocide of Indians and internment of Japanese Americans, etc.
    (especially when the victims are Americans)
    So many Americans think that they admits all the wrongs. But it is surprising that they don’t know they used sex slaves in Vietnam, in Korea , in Japan.
    They want to rationalize killing innocent women and children by saying that Japan would not have ended the war otherwise—-so how many women and children do they intend to kill in Axis of evils?
    There might be deniers in Japan, but it is appalling that there are as many denirs and ignorant people in the U.S. After all, Americans should realize Japan is the mirror of the U.S.

  88. Lei said, on July 4, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    It seems most likely that America actually did force Japan into bombing Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt reportedly set it up, perfectly willing to sacrifice thousands of American lives to achieve what he wanted – to convince a reluctant public to support our involvement in the war. Documents proving this were revealed a few years back, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. No great surprise that it wasn’t in all the newspapers, and if you want to access the information you have to search for it…. it wasn’t exactly something that the whole country was anxious to publicize openly.
    History channel had this to say about the subject. We should at least consider the possibilities.

  89. Jonci said, on July 4, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    I can agree that atomic weapons are the worse thing to be created on this planet, but at the time they were the best tactic the US had. The Japanese were too proud to admit defeat, and they were too well defended for ground-troops to be effective. The US couldn’t afford to lose more soldiers in a pointless war, so they brought in their shiny new weapon to deliver the final blow.
    Japan should own up to their mistakes. They started a fight and lost. They can’t sucker-punch the US than complain about getting kicked in the balls.

  90. Chiizu said, on July 4, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    The problem is you’re comparing what the Japanese did with how western power would have acted in its place. To the Japanese surrender is dishonorable, so that explains their treatment of prisoners and why they would fight to the last man. Now Nanjing was a huge massacre that became known around the world, kinda like the effect of an a-bomb, warning the Chinese not to mess with the imp. jp army and in Americas case warning the Japanese of what would happen if they didn’t surrender.
    Now how could you claim that America forced Japan to attack? Simple.
    1. Japan was fighting nationalist china for years and china was only holding on because of support from America.
    2. This strung out war with china started to exhaust Japans supply of oil, of which the majority was being imported. America knowing this started cutting off oil shipments to Japan.
    3. Japan, before being totally starved for oil probably thought of killing two birds with one stone, attacking America would open up the shipping lanes allowing foreign oil in, also America would have to start defending its own country and forget about supporting china, which would then eventually fall.
    Thats how I would see it.
    How could you blame the Japanese for trying to forget all these incidents, if their country’s honor is tarnished they would all have to commit suicide, not being able to live with that dishonor of losing a war.
    Anyway, I think the A-Bomb on Japan was just convenient human testing on people America thought were less then human anyway. Do you think America discussed the use and consequences of the a-bomb with the rest of the allies?
    Also showing Russia how strong America was by using the a-bomb only ended up in nuclear proliferation that could of/still will equate to the end of this world. Thank you very much Einstein.
    Oh well, all is fair in love and war Az.

  91. Tony said, on July 4, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Quick correction.
    1.) The majority of Americans didn’t vote for Bush, Gore was technically the winner.
    2.) To the German kid, you know nothing. For the most part, we’re taught all of our wrong doings. The Trail of tears, Slavery, segregation, the A-bomb, nearly everything. You are glib.

  92. Lissou said, on July 4, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    I think you’re right in a lot of what you said. I also think that Japan isn’t the only country to do that. Pretty much every country involved in WWII (as we’re talking about that one) did terrible things, and good things too. A lot of German people were heroes who rebelled against the Nazis, for instance.
    I’m French, and after spending time one the Internet talking with American, I’ve noticed France is considered the coward country that surrendered by a lot of people. It’s not something I would have thought of myself, as the way it’s told is basically saying that PΓ©tain (who wasn’t elected, was a military man and took power because we were in times of war) surrendered and people were like “WTF?!”.
    Then, some thought “oh, well, as we’ve surrendered, i’m going to play nice with the Nazis” while other became resistants. Of course, only the resistants are talked about as true French patriots. The others, although they’re mentionned, are not talked as representative of France.
    But yeah, France was defeated and, for a long time, only part of it was fighting against the Nazis, and as they were civilians, they were not that powerful.
    The US on the other hand, helped finish the war, but I have found in the past that you were “victimising” Pearl Harbour in the same way as the Japanese do with the a-bombings. I mean, the US joined on our side (and I’m glad they did), but they didn’t until 1942, if I remember correctly, and before that they were supplying weapons to both camps.
    So yeah, most powerful and well-known country became powerful and well-known through means like that. I think if we could all admit it, admit our country’s faults, we could try and not make the same mistakes again. Unfortunately, you’ll find revisionists everywhere.
    By the way, I’ve heard that story about the US forcing Japan to attack before, although not from reliable sources. Also, Pearl Harbour wasn’t part of the US, so another theory is that it wasn’t attacking the US… Which I find to be a weird thing to say. And finally, i’ve also heard that Japan surrendered before Nagasaki was bombed. Which means, even if Hiroshima was justified (which I’m not 100% sure it was), Nagasaki wouldn’t have been.
    Of course, I’ll have to find my source for that as well. Anyone can just throw in made up facts.
    To sum it up, well said, people should own up to their mistakes, and citizens should admit that their country isn’t perfect. Why would that be hard, when the people who did it are not even alive anymore ? (For a lot of them). A population changes constantly, “Japan” as an entity isn’t the same as it was at the time.
    I think it’s too bad people spend so much time criticising other countries without even realising the attrocities committed by their own.

  93. Tony said, on July 4, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    I generally think the U.S. does a better job of airing its dirty laundry then most countries. And I’m pretty sick of all of the Europeans on the net taking every opportunity to turn something into a “let’s bash America” thread… forget about their own problems. I usually dismiss them as idiots.

  94. HWG said, on July 4, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    I recently read an article about certain atrocities Japan had committed during their stay in China. I also read that the US had allowed the Japanese “drop/sweep things under the carpet” when documenting because they were in return given information about the experiments the Japanese had been undertaking on the Chinese…..in brutal ways.
    yet the treatment of Germany has been completely different to Japanese, Germans have apologised and are sorry for what happened, the Japanese are ignoring the fact and the US allowed them. I wonder which is worse….. I’m not bashing on the US just this particular decision is a bit bitter….
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=439776&in_page_id=1770

  95. Ivan the Terrible said, on July 4, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    “I mean, the US joined on our side (and I’m glad they did), but they didn’t until 1942, if I remember correctly, and before that they were supplying weapons to both camps.”
    Technically, from the end of 1941. And the U.S., to it’s credit, didn’t really give weapons ‘to both camps’; it was an oil embargo levied against Japan that provoked Pearl Harbor in the first place, and the U.S. was pretty flagrantly pro-Allied from the very start of the war. See: [URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-lease]Lend-Lease.[/URL]

  96. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you Az! At last someone who lives in Nippon actually tells it like it is. Too often I find people who live there, Westerners included, all of a sudden put their heads in the sand and refuse to talk about WWII. What Defense Minister Kyuma did takes a lot of guts and he paid the price of speaking the truth, something NO minister in Nippon has so far dared to do. All they are doing is half-measures if they are forced to utter even one sentence about it.
    One thing I do hope is that you are actually informing the nipponese youth about their country’s past so they don’t go on thinking they did no wrong during WWII. Whenever I have the opportunity speaking with a nipponese person, usually over drinks, I ask them politely about this subject. Slightly rude but a perfect opportunity to learn more about how something so horrendous was glossed over and so far more than one has actually become interested in learning more on their own instead of swallowing what they “learnt” at school. On the other hand, most of the ones I meet are alterna-people and not your average OL or salary man.
    With hopes Az educates Nippon’s youth about the truth!
    /Lindus

  97. Anonymous said, on July 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you Az! At last someone who lives in Nippon actually tells it like it is. Too often I find people who live there, Westerners included, all of a sudden put their heads in the sand and refuse to talk about WWII. What Defense Minister Kyuma did takes a lot of guts and he paid the price of speaking the truth, something NO minister in Nippon has so far dared to do. All they are doing is half-measures if they are forced to utter even one sentence about it.
    One thing I do hope is that you are actually informing the nipponese youth about their country’s past so they don’t go on thinking they did no wrong during WWII. Whenever I have the opportunity speaking with a nipponese person, usually over drinks, I ask them politely about this subject. Slightly rude but a perfect opportunity to learn more about how something so horrendous was glossed over and so far more than one has actually become interested in learning more on their own instead of swallowing what they “learnt” at school. On the other hand, most of the ones I meet are alterna-people and not your average OL or salary man.
    With hopes Az educates Nippon’s youth about the truth!
    /Lindus

  98. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 12:14 am

    Its popular to hate and blame america. They don’t need a reason.

  99. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 12:14 am

    Its popular to hate and blame america. They don’t need a reason.

  100. Nintenfreak said, on July 5, 2007 at 12:15 am

    Reading this post makes me realize something. Optimus Prime was right. Our child race still has a lot of growing to do. I thought, perhaps, we were somewhat enlightened. I hoped America was the exception to the rule. I see now that I was wrong. I can only hope that, before I die, there will be an awakening of reason among the human race.

  101. Tony said, on July 5, 2007 at 1:03 am

    “Its popular to hate and blame america. They don’t need a reason.”
    Agreed. I wonder how many of the pseudo-intellectuals would be so anti-American if it weren’t trendy at the moment.

  102. Fate said, on July 5, 2007 at 2:13 am

    Although I really don’t want to get myself involved in this talk about Japan’s war-time crimes and apologies and so on, but I thought I’d just drop by and pigeon-drop a little comment.
    Let’s just say that I agree up to a point with Chiizu up there above me (in the comments scale!). I wouldn’t doubt that the generals and politicians and Emperor and whatnot during WWII probably thought it’s a good idea, possibly even a convenient strategy, to consent, if not abet, to the massacre and other crimes.
    It solve many problems in one shot, not the least of which was the frustration boiling up in the soldiers during the long campaign, their weariness, and the matter of motivation (blood-lust work surprising well sometimes in regards to motivating soldiers).
    Of course, there is also the matter of inducing fear, as suggested by Chiizu, which I don’t disagree. Infact, historically, Genghis Khan was said to have employed similar tactics of mass genocide and murder of unrelenting opposition, and sparing those who surrendered without a fight. If my spotty memory isn’t mistaken, I believe Japan did spare Malaya, who surrendered without major hassle.
    That said, I do feel it is some levels of mental retardation to not apologise after the war crashed and burned. Certainly, if Nazi Germany had won the war, Hitler would likely be hailed as a hero in modern days. But once you fail, all your cheap tricks and nasty shots are just gonna add to your crime.
    Same for Japan. The tactics may be viable and seemed like a good idea during a war (since mostly anything goes in an all-out war), but it’s really only going to turn against you if you fail in the end. Not apologising usually only aggravate the situation. I mean, even that President of Meathope (for those who have no idea what Meathope is, let’s just say it’s a company that have been recently found to have routinely contaminated their meat products) had the presence of mind to admit the deeds of his company instead of blatant denial which would only make him look like an ass (donkey), and possibly adding to his criminal liability.
    That’s basically what I feel about the current and previous lot of Japanese administration. You can really start pointing fingers at others and demanding apologies once you have reconciled with your own faults and act responsibly for them. Yes, the Atomic bombings are great tragedies, yes, the United States are not completely faultless, but all that doesn’t make the Japan’s wartime deeds correct (by current international standards), morally or otherwise. Just because (almost) everyone does it (downplaying their faults) doesn’t suddenly make it acceptable, and as oft repeated, two wrongs doesn’t make one right.
    Anyway, I seem to have blabbered a tat too much for what was supposed to be a minor comment. So here’s my one important question for our Great Teacher Azrael before I hit the road: How was the one week break (the one you took the week before last week)? Did it go well for you? Or will it end up as source material for future posts? (We all know what that means.)
    (Az’s Note: Honestly? It let me catch up on work and my proposal. That’s about it.)

  103. Nate said, on July 5, 2007 at 2:52 am

    I think every country glosses over that kind of stuff tho, Az. I can’t imagine how wrong some of the American history books are, and I’d really like to know the truth.

  104. Blxz said, on July 5, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Someone said earlier about the government not admitting to it because it would open the floodgates for lawsuits, etc. This is fundementally correct. Same thing to a smaller degree happens in Australia with the “stolen generation” crap. We know about it, it was kinda stupid when we think back but was a legitimate option at the time it happened. We don’t sit around talking about it all the time because we realize there is no need to do it again (or is there? Child rape, etc. But thats another story). What the Japanese and the rest of the world need to realize is that, sure its facinating to learn about this historical stuff and we never want it to happen again, but the time has come to move on and stop dwelling on something that many of us were not around for and that only prolongs racial and historical hatred.
    Having said all that I know that some people whether black, white, asian or arabic can never just accept things and must hate anything that isn’t the same as them. Its a fun world we live in, we should all just try and do what we can to make our own lives better and stop harping on about what other poeple should or shouldn’t do when we are no saints ourselves.

  105. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 3:32 am

    So your girlfriend thinks alike or no? (This is most likely worst question to ask you but I am a instigator; FORGIVENESS PLEASE!)

  106. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 3:32 am

    So your girlfriend thinks alike or no? (This is most likely worst question to ask you but I am a instigator; FORGIVENESS PLEASE!)

  107. Kelley said, on July 5, 2007 at 3:32 am

    Great post, Az. I think that your argument was stated very clearly and fairly.
    You’ve made me a little nervous about the fact that I’m going to Japan in August, though!

  108. Gomez said, on July 5, 2007 at 3:58 am

    I honesty think that the only Japanese that you should really feel sorry for are were the Japanese-Americans who were deemed a threat to national security and tossed into concentration camps for the remainder of the war.
    The nation of Japan, well I won’t say they brought that shit on themselves, but they brought that shit on themselves. They need to cut it out with the ostrich syndrome junk and realize that their ansestors who fought in the war were not exactly saints.
    The U.S. apologized to the Americans that they put into concentration camps at least, however I doubt that Japan will do the same to the nations they screwed over or the casualties they caused*cough*Bataan Death March*cough*.I doubt that they will ever acknowledge that they were anything more than the loser who suffered more than they should have and more than anyone else.

  109. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 4:31 am

    “The mythology of Nogun-ri continues……..The massacre did happen but what is in dispute are the numbers of dead and the motivations behind what happened.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Gun_Ri
    http://rokdrop.com/2007/01/14/ap-reporter-charles-hanley-responds-to-gi-korea-criticism/
    Evading responsibility or faithful to what happened?

  110. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 4:31 am

    “The mythology of Nogun-ri continues……..The massacre did happen but what is in dispute are the numbers of dead and the motivations behind what happened.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Gun_Ri
    http://rokdrop.com/2007/01/14/ap-reporter-charles-hanley-responds-to-gi-korea-criticism/
    Evading responsibility or faithful to what happened?

  111. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 7:25 am

    I do agree that Japan should assume its responsibility. What they did caused a lot of human suffering and pain. And while I also agree that Japan is not the only country guilty of such things (though probably not as large-scale as Nanjing was), that is beside the point. The glossing-over and sometimes outright denial causes a lot of unfavorable conflict against Japan.
    I can only hope that as the old, prideful generation passes, the younger ones will think differently. But that’s assuming that the older generation is responsible for the thinking. The culture of compliance is probably the driving force.
    Also, I’ve heard something similar to the “america-forcing-Japan-to-attack-them” argument. It was something like “Japan inevitably would have attacked the US because of the foreign policy”. From what I gather, the argument has to do with economics. It had something to do with Japan not having natural resources and also not wanting to be under the control of the European countries (which controlled the trade). Not saying it’s fact, as I’ve done no research on it. It’s an argument I’ve heard before and maybe you’d find interesting to look into (whether it be true or false).

  112. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 7:25 am

    I do agree that Japan should assume its responsibility. What they did caused a lot of human suffering and pain. And while I also agree that Japan is not the only country guilty of such things (though probably not as large-scale as Nanjing was), that is beside the point. The glossing-over and sometimes outright denial causes a lot of unfavorable conflict against Japan.
    I can only hope that as the old, prideful generation passes, the younger ones will think differently. But that’s assuming that the older generation is responsible for the thinking. The culture of compliance is probably the driving force.
    Also, I’ve heard something similar to the “america-forcing-Japan-to-attack-them” argument. It was something like “Japan inevitably would have attacked the US because of the foreign policy”. From what I gather, the argument has to do with economics. It had something to do with Japan not having natural resources and also not wanting to be under the control of the European countries (which controlled the trade). Not saying it’s fact, as I’ve done no research on it. It’s an argument I’ve heard before and maybe you’d find interesting to look into (whether it be true or false).

  113. anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Yeah, sad thing is, recently I saw an English-language article–I think translated from Yomiuri–telling America to get our facts straight on comfort women. Funny thing is, they didn’t even cite anything, they were just like “there were no comfort women and that’s that.”
    And the worst part is that the article included a mention about anti-Japanese forces in America. Funny thing is, the main congressman calling on Japan to apologise is Michael Honda, who is Japanese himself.
    Not to say that America doesn’t have its own dirty laundry (Trail of Tears, civil rights movement, etc.) but I like to think that we do an adequate job of owning up to it.

  114. Jeff the Baptist said, on July 5, 2007 at 10:40 am

    “The majority of Americans didn’t vote for Bush, Gore was technically the winner.”
    Nope, in 2000 the majority of Americans didn’t vote for either. Nader got a single digit percentage of the vote and neither Bush nor Gore had more than 50% of the popular vote. Gore got more votes total, but Bush technically won because of the the electoral college.
    In 2004 Bush had both a popular majority of the votes and won the electoral college.
    “an extremely good example of this is the CIA funding and planning in Chile that led to Pinochet’s long reign of terror, which a lot of Americans either won’t admit to or don’t know anything about”
    I don’t know of anyone that denies the US helped install Pinochet. Generally the real debate is whether Pinochet was better than Allende and whether his dictatorship was necessary for the stability and development of Chile.

  115. Defectron said, on July 5, 2007 at 10:54 am

    How much has the government tried to sweep this under the rug? Oviously its enough to get a politician fired, but it is a subject that has come up in some movies.
    Izo (the movie where Bob Sapp gets chopped in half by a demon samurai) was a very anti nationalistic movie, but then again I don’t imagine this was very mainstream.
    Mainstream japanese movies that are anti nationalistic would include Godzilla, King Ghidora: All out attack” aka GMK. In that movie Godzillas motivation to attack Japan was that he was possessed by the people vicimized by the japanese in WWII.
    Also in Millenium actress the heroin of the movie had some romance with someone in the resistance against the japanese government during world war II.
    So apparantly while this issue is enough to get politicians fired, its not enough to blackball movie directors which is good to know.

  116. CDStingJ said, on July 5, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Right on AZ! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  117. Emi said, on July 5, 2007 at 11:19 am

    This was a very interesting article, Az. I wasn’t aware of the Battle of Okinawa, or how it influenced the reasoning behind using an A-bomb. Also, does anyone know the reasoning behind choosing those two particular cities as targets?
    ‘The Americans should have abolished the Japanese monarchy. Maybe that would have really shaken them up and forced some re-thinking.’
    In essence, they did. They took Hirohoto down from the status of having descended from the gods, which had been a cornerstone of Japanese pre-war nationalism, and made the position of emperor (sp?) that of a mere person/figurehead. I’m not positive, but the monarchy seems to have the same amount of power that the morachy in the UK does- not very much.
    I’m not condoning their view of WWII. I’m going to be teaching in Chugoku in August, and I’m somewhat relieved to be Canadian while living there in my first few weeks. But that whole mess was complicated, and no one country came out looking absolutely pure.
    That being said, the politicians who go out foaming at the mouth and completely deny any wrongdoing 60 bloody years ago…dammit, you can get this information anywhere. No evidence my *ss. As far as I know, Wikipedia has a Japanese site, and they’re a hell of a lot more objective than these clowns.

  118. Casper said, on July 5, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    “(Az’s Note: I kind of disagree about the a-bomb being “the worst weapon yet”. If I had to choose between getting vaporized by a nuclear blast, or having my limbs and internal organs cut out while I was still alive with no anesthetic, I think I’d opt for the a-bomb.
    No matter how advanced we may become, never underestimate the potential for brutality from human hands.)”
    Depends what is meant by “worst weapon”. Since a weapon is an instrument of death/destruction, I would argue that the worst such weapon would be one with the greatest capacity for death/destruction and I think you’d be hard pressed trying to argue that nuclear weapons don’t top that list. Sure there are worse ways to die, but that doesn’t make the tools used to achieve those, worse than nuclear weapons.
    (Az’s Note: Okay, if you want to pick nits about word usage, yes, the a-bomb was the worst *weapon* that’s been used in a war.
    Were the bombings the worst *thing* to happen in that war? Absolutely not.)

  119. Ashton said, on July 5, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t normally post on these, but this time I will make an exception.
    Being Chinese, I take offense whenever the Japanese pull bullshit like this. I’m second generation American Chinese, so think of how my parents, who immigrated from China, feel. It practically has them all but saying ‘Kill the Japs!’ I’m more tolerant on this issue (relatively) but then I wasn’t forced to run away from Japanese soldiers covered in mud with bullets whizzing past my faces while I was a child.
    One thing I always remember to do is know where I draw the line. There are Japanese who believe that the killings in China/Korea were not abominations and in interviews have stated they viewed Chinese and Koreans as ‘sub human filth’ (quoted word for word), but there are also Japanese who frown at these cover ups and antics; even back then, there were a good number of Japanese citizens (both Americans and natives) who were horrified, dismayed, and ashamed at the way their soldiers acted during WW2. So I know that there are Japanese people whose heads I wouldn’t hesitate to put a bullet through if I had the chance, but there are also Japanese people I respect and admire – hell, I’m actually in love with a Japanese woman (as of this writing).
    Like all cultures, there are different people who believe different things within the Japanese. The problem is, Japan, while seemingly Capitalistic and ‘free,’ has a grip on some of its media/history lessons that overly skew the populace into being pro-Japan and crying foul about the a-bombs whenever WW2 is mentioned, just like how Rape of Nanking will pop into just about any self respecting Chinese whenever WW2 is mentioned.
    About the a-bombs, I think they got what they deserved. The citizens didn’t for sure, but the government and the country itself? Hell yes. They needed something major to rock them out of their boats and tell them ‘we don’t tolerate this shit so step off,’ and the a-bomb was the only way to do it. Sad, but true.

  120. theflipimage said, on July 5, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    az,
    i’m bewildered…
    according to my wife, when she was in going through here school years, she explained that what they were being taught horrified the students so much so that many ended up crying in despair, vomiting, etc. when the teachers showed uncensored footage of bodies and body parts of the victims of the bombings…
    essentially, her class was taught it was their fault (the japanese) for causing, escalating the war in the pacific, and because of this, they were being taught to be ashamed of themselves. to this day, she regrets/is ashamed that her country caused so much horrors to america, and japan’s neighbors…
    is this just an isolated thing, what her class was taught?

  121. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Not related directly to the post topic, but I am having suspicions that you may not be in Japan any more, Az? I’m in England, and due to the time difference with Japan usually the posts are up early my time, but this week they have been put up in my evening, which is what tends to happen with websites being run from the US. And you took last week off, possibly to recover from jet lag and other things? I may be reading way too much into this but I am curious, if you’re willing to answer..
    (Az’s Note: No time lately…)

  122. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Not related directly to the post topic, but I am having suspicions that you may not be in Japan any more, Az? I’m in England, and due to the time difference with Japan usually the posts are up early my time, but this week they have been put up in my evening, which is what tends to happen with websites being run from the US. And you took last week off, possibly to recover from jet lag and other things? I may be reading way too much into this but I am curious, if you’re willing to answer..
    (Az’s Note: No time lately…)

  123. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    It is interesting to see that many people criticize thing they don’t know.
    Do they know what the comfort station under Japan was like?
    Do they know Japan’s claim about it?
    Do they they know how the comfor station under the U.S in Vietnama in Korea in Japan was like?
    .

  124. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    It is interesting to see that many people criticize thing they don’t know.
    Do they know what the comfort station under Japan was like?
    Do they know Japan’s claim about it?
    Do they they know how the comfor station under the U.S in Vietnama in Korea in Japan was like?
    .

  125. John said, on July 5, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Well said and agreed. Thankfully, I’ve never met a Japanese person (save for my host father) that felt they did nothing wrong in the war. If they would just own up to what they did, it feels like relations with other Asian countries would improve. But then again, if these trends gain more support (hopefully not), maybe it might become too late.

  126. Tanaka Taro said, on July 5, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    For those who feel the need to defend Japan’s instigation of the war as “self-defense” or by claiming it was “forced” by FDR/the USA, I recommend you take a look at the Yomiuri Shimbun’s examination of war responsibility, carried out last year. It is available in Japanese of course, and in English here:
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/0007/
    What it boils down to is that a handful of junior officers dragged the country into war in China. Rather than recall and court-martial those officers, the senior political and military leadership followed with full-scale invasion of the country. War with the Allies came about due to a refusal to leave China, and instead expanding the invasion of Asia by occupying French Indochina. The U.S. had warned against that specifically and when Japan ignored those warnings, the oil embargo was put in place. Instead of choosing the peaceful solution and withdrawing from the Asian continent, Japan chose to attack Pearl Harbor, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, etc., etc. Thus the escalation of the Pacific War, which ended after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hiroshima was bombed August 6, Nagasaki was bombed August 9; Emperor Hirohito did not surrender until August 14/15. If Japan was “going to surrender anyway”, why wait more than a week after the bombing of Hiroshima to do so?

  127. paul said, on July 5, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    To all the people that seem to be goin on like “Yea japan denies it, so what, America does it more!” I’m canadian and no matter how much anyone shifts the blame it still doens’t make it right, for any country or people anywhere. Come on, the defense of “we did it cause he did” is from like second grade, Grow up.
    He’s got a valid point in that the ignorance of japan(america,africa, etc) to their own faults to save face is ridiculous, and it shouldn’t be pushed onto the people that had nothing to with the choices made, or their opinions about it.

  128. joe blow said, on July 5, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Serge, most of your comment is apologistic bullshit and it completely out of context with the American and Germany comparison. Germany has gone to extensive lengths to own up to their war crimes and and have paid billions in reparations to jewish survivors of the holocaust. America has paid reparations to the Japanese detainees for all they lost too.
    Its Japan’s burden to bare, with the rising ecnomic power of China and with how it is such a hot nationalistic issue over there I think they will be forced to acknowledge it sooner of later by them and their fellow Southeastern Asian neighbors will be eager to back them.

  129. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    “So apparantly while this issue is enough to get politicians fired, its not enough to blackball movie directors which is good to know.”
    Directors are a higher level of existance man… first and foremost think of it that way – people are as fucked up as they are because they blatantly can`t or don`t want or are afraid to comunicate! It`s just that words are a meager force when it comes to exchangeing ideas. Movies music art in general goes beyond that – let alone that artist are people not confined by the boundries of cultural or whatever… prejudice. I`d support that with only a quote from one of the most controvercial.. Lou-li-ta! As Nabokov wrote “unusual; and a great work of art is of course always original,
    and thus by its very nature should come as a more or less shocking surprise.”
    ” Also, does anyone know the reasoning behind choosing those two particular cities as targets?”
    Yeah it was like… they were choseing between Tokyo Kyoto Hiroshima Nagasaki and another one which I don`t remember. Hiroshima Nagasaki and the Third were chosen because they were sort of high-level military zones besides being populated with civilians. Reverse order the Third was dropped out in the last minute because of poor weather. Tokyo was considered too great a historical monument so strike that out as well. And Kyoto was spared because one of the gentlement around the war-table had his honeymoon there and had some nice memmories to go with it…
    “Funny thing is, the main congressman calling on Japan to apologise is Michael Honda, who is Japanese himself.”
    TRAITORU!!!!ONEONEONE
    To:Azrael Dude you can`t convince me you`re sitting there 7.30 in the morning typeing up yesterdays editorial. And I don`t wanna hear anything about Pasadena being 7 more hours behind… I swear you ever give me the time zones shit I`m gonna find out where you live go there… aand… shake yor hand and buy you a beer or something*…
    * Or five!

  130. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    “So apparantly while this issue is enough to get politicians fired, its not enough to blackball movie directors which is good to know.”
    Directors are a higher level of existance man… first and foremost think of it that way – people are as fucked up as they are because they blatantly can`t or don`t want or are afraid to comunicate! It`s just that words are a meager force when it comes to exchangeing ideas. Movies music art in general goes beyond that – let alone that artist are people not confined by the boundries of cultural or whatever… prejudice. I`d support that with only a quote from one of the most controvercial.. Lou-li-ta! As Nabokov wrote “unusual; and a great work of art is of course always original,
    and thus by its very nature should come as a more or less shocking surprise.”
    ” Also, does anyone know the reasoning behind choosing those two particular cities as targets?”
    Yeah it was like… they were choseing between Tokyo Kyoto Hiroshima Nagasaki and another one which I don`t remember. Hiroshima Nagasaki and the Third were chosen because they were sort of high-level military zones besides being populated with civilians. Reverse order the Third was dropped out in the last minute because of poor weather. Tokyo was considered too great a historical monument so strike that out as well. And Kyoto was spared because one of the gentlement around the war-table had his honeymoon there and had some nice memmories to go with it…
    “Funny thing is, the main congressman calling on Japan to apologise is Michael Honda, who is Japanese himself.”
    TRAITORU!!!!ONEONEONE
    To:Azrael Dude you can`t convince me you`re sitting there 7.30 in the morning typeing up yesterdays editorial. And I don`t wanna hear anything about Pasadena being 7 more hours behind… I swear you ever give me the time zones shit I`m gonna find out where you live go there… aand… shake yor hand and buy you a beer or something*…
    * Or five!

  131. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Did you guys accuse the US as much as you are doing when the US denied the allegation of the germ war?
    The next reasonably well-documented instance of germ warfare occurred during the Korean War, in February 1952, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China charged that U.S. pilots had dropped “germ bombs” on North Korea.They offered as evidence the testimony of captured U.S. Air Force officers and intelligence agents, and Koreans who told of finding large quantities of fleas and other insect pests shortly after U.S. planes had flown over their areas. The U.S. Government strenuously denied the charge, but a respected group of scientists believed the evidence was convincing proof that the United States had employed biological weapons.”
    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Weapons/Bioterror.html

  132. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Did you guys accuse the US as much as you are doing when the US denied the allegation of the germ war?
    The next reasonably well-documented instance of germ warfare occurred during the Korean War, in February 1952, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China charged that U.S. pilots had dropped “germ bombs” on North Korea.They offered as evidence the testimony of captured U.S. Air Force officers and intelligence agents, and Koreans who told of finding large quantities of fleas and other insect pests shortly after U.S. planes had flown over their areas. The U.S. Government strenuously denied the charge, but a respected group of scientists believed the evidence was convincing proof that the United States had employed biological weapons.”
    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Weapons/Bioterror.html

  133. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    ok, way too many posts by people for me in my limited time to read them all. I read about a third of them and gave up, and saw a trend.
    First: War is brutal ugly and hell. War is also the ultimate culmination of all of humanity’s achievements and allow great strides in technologies.
    War can be very profitable even today, as long as it is not eliminating your entire population and not being fought on your turf.
    War was more profitable, especially in the short run,when countries actually looted and sacked defeated nations.
    Second: It is foolish to think sanctions and such cannot ever be thought of as a declaration of war. People look at Japan and say it is a bunch of BS we forced them into war with the USA.
    Simple fact is Japan depended on American imports to support their wars in Asia, and the current state of the Japanese economy, as well as their political structure.
    So the embargoes give three options.
    1. give up and cede to the demands so that embargoes are lifted. possibly threaten your own internal stability.
    2. ignore the embargoes and make do.
    3. if possibility exist, take the resources necessary, by force, since they wont be attain any other way so that you may continue your actions.
    So seriously, every time the UN or US or anybody imposes sanctions on somebody, don’t think that it is an action not worth the other side killing you over it.
    Some people choose to maintain their own power than avoid conflict, and imposing a lot of sanctions on countries only increases violence and conflict, either overseas or internally in their countries.
    Saddam had to be more brutal to keep Shia in check. Recently, Iran has had riots because they had to ration their petrol, and they are clamping down harder on dissidents and other minorities now. This is a direct result of embargoes.
    The attack on pearl harbor was not suppose to be a surprise attack, and it’s aim was to blunt any American response to Japanese seizure of territory in the pacific that would be used to fuel their war machine.
    If you think about it reasonably, and in terms and mindsets of the people back then, Option 3 makes a lot of sense.
    3rd: As to the Japanese mindsets. Think about this. USA and europe, are a bunch of pussies. So, if a country whines and complains about how much of a victim they are, Europe and the USA gives them more of a pass, because we can’t hurt their feelings now, that would be bad.
    Japan also plays out the victim to be able avoid accusations of the atrocities it committed. The mindset that we were punished so greatly already, we don’t need to be punished anymore. It is like a childish argument over who got the worst of it, so they can avoid being criticized and taking responsibility for their actions.
    So I feel it is super logical to play the role of the victim in the current world order because the West will placate that role. Now if they said shut the fuck up over it, Japan might not play such a victim role, but now it has become entrenched.
    As for Germany, they have a trend of holding themselves responsible for their ancestor’s actions. This is only reinforced by every country in europe looking at them and never letting them forget what they did to them since 1870.
    Keep in mind that the Soviets killed as much if not more people than the Nazis, the chinese killed millions of their own people as well. The list can keep going and going, but they rather point to someone else to avoid their own actions.

  134. Anonymous said, on July 5, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    ok, way too many posts by people for me in my limited time to read them all. I read about a third of them and gave up, and saw a trend.
    First: War is brutal ugly and hell. War is also the ultimate culmination of all of humanity’s achievements and allow great strides in technologies.
    War can be very profitable even today, as long as it is not eliminating your entire population and not being fought on your turf.
    War was more profitable, especially in the short run,when countries actually looted and sacked defeated nations.
    Second: It is foolish to think sanctions and such cannot ever be thought of as a declaration of war. People look at Japan and say it is a bunch of BS we forced them into war with the USA.
    Simple fact is Japan depended on American imports to support their wars in Asia, and the current state of the Japanese economy, as well as their political structure.
    So the embargoes give three options.
    1. give up and cede to the demands so that embargoes are lifted. possibly threaten your own internal stability.
    2. ignore the embargoes and make do.
    3. if possibility exist, take the resources necessary, by force, since they wont be attain any other way so that you may continue your actions.
    So seriously, every time the UN or US or anybody imposes sanctions on somebody, don’t think that it is an action not worth the other side killing you over it.
    Some people choose to maintain their own power than avoid conflict, and imposing a lot of sanctions on countries only increases violence and conflict, either overseas or internally in their countries.
    Saddam had to be more brutal to keep Shia in check. Recently, Iran has had riots because they had to ration their petrol, and they are clamping down harder on dissidents and other minorities now. This is a direct result of embargoes.
    The attack on pearl harbor was not suppose to be a surprise attack, and it’s aim was to blunt any American response to Japanese seizure of territory in the pacific that would be used to fuel their war machine.
    If you think about it reasonably, and in terms and mindsets of the people back then, Option 3 makes a lot of sense.
    3rd: As to the Japanese mindsets. Think about this. USA and europe, are a bunch of pussies. So, if a country whines and complains about how much of a victim they are, Europe and the USA gives them more of a pass, because we can’t hurt their feelings now, that would be bad.
    Japan also plays out the victim to be able avoid accusations of the atrocities it committed. The mindset that we were punished so greatly already, we don’t need to be punished anymore. It is like a childish argument over who got the worst of it, so they can avoid being criticized and taking responsibility for their actions.
    So I feel it is super logical to play the role of the victim in the current world order because the West will placate that role. Now if they said shut the fuck up over it, Japan might not play such a victim role, but now it has become entrenched.
    As for Germany, they have a trend of holding themselves responsible for their ancestor’s actions. This is only reinforced by every country in europe looking at them and never letting them forget what they did to them since 1870.
    Keep in mind that the Soviets killed as much if not more people than the Nazis, the chinese killed millions of their own people as well. The list can keep going and going, but they rather point to someone else to avoid their own actions.

  135. Rob said, on July 6, 2007 at 12:30 am

    “Second: It is foolish to think sanctions and such cannot ever be thought of as a declaration of war. People look at Japan and say it is a bunch of BS we forced them into war with the USA.”
    Wha? If I don’t want to sell some jerk something I own, that’s my right, and if he attacks me over it that makes him a thug and a criminal.
    All the US did was refuse to sell to Japan, then Japan resonded like a simple minded thug.

  136. Anonymous said, on July 6, 2007 at 4:32 am

    “Second: It is foolish to think sanctions and such cannot ever be thought of as a declaration of war. People look at Japan and say it is a bunch of BS we forced them into war with the USA.”
    Wha? If I don’t want to sell some jerk something I own, that’s my right, and if he attacks me over it that makes him a thug and a criminal.
    All the US did was refuse to sell to Japan, then Japan resonded like a simple minded thug.
    Posted by: Rob at July 6, 2007 12:30 AM”
    There`s much more to it I`m afraid – if I refused to sell anything to you it wouldn`t threaten the well-being of your own personal nation of a few million people and it wouldn`t ruin your war campaine covering over half a continent and a general ocean. If I did that to you would you not be majourly pissed?

  137. Anonymous said, on July 6, 2007 at 4:32 am

    “Second: It is foolish to think sanctions and such cannot ever be thought of as a declaration of war. People look at Japan and say it is a bunch of BS we forced them into war with the USA.”
    Wha? If I don’t want to sell some jerk something I own, that’s my right, and if he attacks me over it that makes him a thug and a criminal.
    All the US did was refuse to sell to Japan, then Japan resonded like a simple minded thug.
    Posted by: Rob at July 6, 2007 12:30 AM”
    There`s much more to it I`m afraid – if I refused to sell anything to you it wouldn`t threaten the well-being of your own personal nation of a few million people and it wouldn`t ruin your war campaine covering over half a continent and a general ocean. If I did that to you would you not be majourly pissed?

  138. Andrew said, on July 6, 2007 at 7:24 am

    To the above, “majourly pissed” does not equal a justifiable first (military) strike. If you don’t want to be involved in war, it doesn’t make sense to sell the oil that fuels the Japanese military while they’re waging war in China. “They won’t help us kill Chinese? We must attack them!” Great diplomatic strategy there.
    ——
    If you think America-bashing isn’t enough, try being a Texas-born (everyone I met in Japan and Europe, “Texas, huh? …Bush”) Israel-supporting Jew. America-bashing is popular worldwide. Texas-bashing is popular in the US. Israel-bashing is popular everywhere. And nowhere (let me emphasize this… NOWHERE) is it safe to be a Jew. I have more enemies than friends wherever I go.
    Now, seriously, getting Zionists and Arabs to agree on any facts is a battle in itself… pick any fact, there’s a huge, violent debate on it. Even definitions are messed up. Is Hezbullah a terrorist organization? Well it certainly seems so, what with all the rockets, mortars, and suicide attacks aimed at civilian population (note: the rockets and mortars cannot be aimed once airborne). But then, they also provide a great number of services to impoverished Arabs.
    That said, how can you really ignore committing an act that wiped out more than the Holocaust, much less several of them? You can’t wipe that slate clean. At least, that’s the attitude of the Jews here. Since the American government won’t act in Rwanda, the Jewish community has banded together to create several funds and organizations that will bring aid to those in need and appeals to Congress to recognize the need to get involved. We cannot sit idly while history repeats itself.
    I know saying anything remotely religious hurts my credibility. That said, Tikkun Olam (which you’ll hear ad nauseam if you get involved in any of the thousands of Jewish humanitarian organizations) means “repairing the world.” The greatest duty of any Jew is to leave the world a better place than (s)he found it, so that everyone may enjoy God’s blessings of creation.
    People make mistakes. Nations are composed of people. Nations, therefore, have a lot of mistakes to make up for. Don’t say “never.” Just because the US hasn’t apologized yet, doesn’t mean we won’t get around to it. We have a tendency to be a bit late on the whole apologizing thing. I mean, it was just a few years ago that Pope John Paul (George and Ringo) II said, “Oh yeah, the Inquisition… sorry about that guys. It was, um, yeah, a kinda angry time for all of us.” We’re in line behind the Muslims waiting on the Crusades apology. No word from Venice yet about starting the whole “ghettos” thing. Russia hasn’t said “Oops” on the Progroms or goulags yet. Goes on and on. We can only have tikvah (hope) that Nations will own up in full eventually, or at least before they start adding to the list.

  139. cutepiku said, on July 6, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Being a Canadian, I don’t really support either side XD In all the history text books I’ve read, the Canadians owned up to all their crap (though there is very little, they admit it, and explain why Canada decided to do that). When I was in New York a couple of years back, I decided to buy a history book on the USA. My Canadian textbooks had information on the USA that they didn’t O_o; Most of it was about them losing fights though.
    All in all, I’m sure Canada probably glossed over some facts as well. Every country has such a sense of pride, that they simply try to glorify themselves as the years go by, straying further from the truth. In Japan’s case, they’ve gone pretty extreme. Japan does not want to admit any wrong doings, and while most countries don’t wish to, atleast they do. Japan needs to admit it, let it all happen, and finally bury all this crap.
    The US on the other hand, is probably the more innocent of the two. While the USA glosses over a lot of their ‘bad’ history, they do own up to a lot of crap they did. They just don’t like admitting certain battles even happened, or that their casualties were so damned high.
    Anyways, I think the countries need to get over themselves. It’s our history, it made us who we are. Changing it is not going to help anyone.

  140. Anonymous said, on July 6, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Agreed with a lot of the above posters. Ultimately, though a horrendous thing when viewed by itself, the A-bombings saved both American, and Japanese lives as well. There would have been far more casualties on both sides without it. I had a Japanese foreign exchange student in my US History class, in Highschool. He looked like someone had just stabbed his puppy when we discussed the Pacific Theater in class.

  141. Anonymous said, on July 6, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Agreed with a lot of the above posters. Ultimately, though a horrendous thing when viewed by itself, the A-bombings saved both American, and Japanese lives as well. There would have been far more casualties on both sides without it. I had a Japanese foreign exchange student in my US History class, in Highschool. He looked like someone had just stabbed his puppy when we discussed the Pacific Theater in class.

  142. Ninja said, on July 6, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    “I`ve little evidence to believe this fact is well-known and distributed in schools and textbooks in America.”
    I have a response to that “sry_for_poor_spelling_inurl”. I just graduated from high school. Those facts are actually placed in our history text books. I live in Virginia, the laws here are strict, just about every school has the same text book through out the state because without it we wouldn’t reach our SOL requirement. And it’s not only in the textbooks for high school students for both World History II and Virginia and US History.. but in 5th grade books through 7th grade. So you tell me how this is being masked and hidden from our youth? I didn’t even have to learn it in school.
    And the way you say it makes me sick. You make it sound like we were killing off the Japanese much like the Nazis did to the Jews.

  143. Jon said, on July 6, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Ugh, preview button is the suXor!!!11oneone
    I’m not going to attemp to rewrite my essay about the bomb so instead I’ll just put the link that I wanted to share:
    http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/BCSIA_content/documents/IS3104_pp162-179_Wilson.pdf
    It’s a good summary outlining how:
    1. The nuclear bomb really wasn’t that bad (relative to the constant conventional bombs the US was dropping over Japan)
    2. The bomb didn’t stop the war, Russian involvement did

  144. Anonymous said, on July 6, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    “And the way you say it makes me sick. You make it sound like we were killing off the Japanese much like the Nazis did to the Jews.”
    Yeah I`ve been corrected on that. It`s in the text books. Anyway my point is it was the same kind of messed-up reasoning. They have sent those people in camps out of fear mostly and by no means is that compareable with the Nazis other that it was based on their racial traits and to an extent on their culture.
    Mine was an attempt to bring up the idea that different people from different cultures will react the same way if the same situation arises. Well that`s what I have to say I guess we have it all cleared up now. It`s not even related to the topic in this context so I`m not gonna try to keep it on.

  145. Anonymous said, on July 6, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    “And the way you say it makes me sick. You make it sound like we were killing off the Japanese much like the Nazis did to the Jews.”
    Yeah I`ve been corrected on that. It`s in the text books. Anyway my point is it was the same kind of messed-up reasoning. They have sent those people in camps out of fear mostly and by no means is that compareable with the Nazis other that it was based on their racial traits and to an extent on their culture.
    Mine was an attempt to bring up the idea that different people from different cultures will react the same way if the same situation arises. Well that`s what I have to say I guess we have it all cleared up now. It`s not even related to the topic in this context so I`m not gonna try to keep it on.

  146. Dex said, on July 6, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    While we’re at it… Let’s remember that as of 2005 at least (and possibly still, now), Gulf War casualties were getting Purple Hearts made for the invasion of Japan. Yep — ALL of the deaths and wounds our troops have suffered since in the past 60 years, haven’t added up to what they were planning to suffer if they hadn’t dropped the bombs.

  147. Anonymous said, on July 7, 2007 at 3:47 am

    Internment camps in America during WW2 are not equivalent to concentration camps in Nazi Europe in WW2.
    I invite you to read about the differences.
    Wikipedia is that way —->

  148. Anonymous said, on July 7, 2007 at 3:47 am

    Internment camps in America during WW2 are not equivalent to concentration camps in Nazi Europe in WW2.
    I invite you to read about the differences.
    Wikipedia is that way —->

  149. andre said, on July 7, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I read some of these posts. I agree, Japan should just say what they have to say about the war and get over with it. America has admitted to killing innocent people during the war. Germany has admitted to killing innocent people during the war. Why can’t Japan agree? Why can’t they educate their children a lot better. THe people in Korea and China probably might lose something to fuel their nationalism, but at least the problem is over and dealt with. ONce this issue is over, the Koreans and Chinese people will be forced to pay more attention to themselves, than to Japan.

  150. Anonymous said, on July 7, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    How many nations are innocent anyways?
    Man kind is doomed 😦

  151. Anonymous said, on July 7, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    How many nations are innocent anyways?
    Man kind is doomed 😦

  152. Anonymous said, on July 7, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.

  153. Anonymous said, on July 7, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.

  154. Anonymous said, on July 8, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Good to know that the Japanese have so many apologists to speak for them, whether they be Europeans, Brazilians, or Canadians, willing to overlook Japanese war crimes just because they enjoy contemporary Japanese culture.
    Good to know that the first defense they try to use to exonerate Japanese war crimes is to finger Korean, Chinese or American war crimes, and whine, “They did the same lol”
    Fraid to say that doesn’t work. Japan’s shit still stinks and you’re still a lot of brainwashed weeaboos.
    I am Korean, in case any Japanese apologist has the idea of accusing me of being an Amerikkkan. I don’t like Americans but at least some of them are willing to admit to their mistakes, more than can be said for the Japanese and their sock puppets here. Those who accuse the yanks of being racist haven’t been to Japan before, evidently.

  155. Bingo said, on July 8, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Well you could look at it this way.
    Germany killed innocent people with their camps.
    USA killed innocent people with their a-bombs.
    The problem is that people never learns that there are no country in the second world war that was really good. Everyone did something bad, everyone killed innocent people.
    It is just that most see the war from the winners side which is probably very diffrent.

  156. Caged Penguin said, on July 8, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/07/08/japan.kamikaze.ap/index.html
    It’s even in that article right there how the govt has stepped up cleaning out “japanese autrocities”.
    wtf!
    Does Japan want to stop being our ally and become our enemy again?

  157. Bricriu said, on July 8, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Sounds like its time for the Enola Gay to come out of retirement for a reunion tour… Maybe that will refresh the memory.

  158. George said, on July 8, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    I have some questions.
    *Were the Japanese really saved?
    *Wasn’t it better to erase the Japanese if they were that evil because national character which was formed through thousands years doesn’t change?
    *Why different type not succeeded one was used in Nagasaki?
    *Why wasn’t A-bomb used to Nazi and isn’t to Mid-east guerillas?
    Anyway, Japanese readers may decrease by this post.

  159. Hinatanko said, on July 8, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    really nice article, though it bugs me that people are up on your case, telling you that other countries are ignorant about issues that happened.
    well, that’s probably because the GOVERNMENT is trying to avoid the issue altogether, not the CITIZENS living in the country. a country is always viewed by other countries according to the actions of the government, which would explain why people call us ignorant. but think about it: how many people in the US will you find blaming OURSELVES for the wars we’ve been in? it’s been going on since the Vietnam War, if not before, what with the “Vietnamization” that went on due to a huge disdain for the war in vietnam. CITIZENS went against the government’s wishes to fight in vietnam longer. Americans continue to blame their own country for even being in Iraq to begin with.
    but some think that if the US pulls out before Iraq establishes a stable government (that’ll be hella hard to pull off, firstly), then it’ll be like when Britain took over Africa before abruptly leaving, leaving the country in shambles due to a poor governmental structure, which can partially explain the civil wars in there as well.
    aside from that, however, it’s annoying to read that people are pointing the fingers back at americans for “ignorance.” Events are recorded in textbooks, and events today continue to be displayed on the internet, easily accessible to people across the world. How can they just simply say that americans and other countries themselves are just as ignorant as the japanese when many citizens of countries blame their own country for the atrocities that have happened in the past? the difference here is that the japanese CITIZENS aren’t even going to blame their own country because their pride can get to be too big to swallow.
    I think the thing that annoys az is exactly that. that while citizens of other countries are blaming themselves or their government for what has happened in the past and present, the japanese citizens flat-out deny anything and everything WWII related and simply think “woe is me/us,” (despite that by now, a lot of the people saying that haven’t lived through the acts to be given the right to say it in the first place) and anything along the lines of “shou ga nai” or “shou ga nakatta” towards such a delicate topic would get you jumped in a heartbeat. talk about the war in iraq in america, and you can see that there are many people out there that are now blaming the government for not pulling out sooner, saying that there’s needless bloodshed going on. I have friends in germany that blame their own government back when hitler was in power. they’re not going to point the finger at us because of the post-WWI inflation that occurred, which helped hitler gain more popularity. they took blame entirely. last i checked, that wasn’t ignorance.
    though, yes, i will admit that america has fucked many a country over. i believe that only 7 (give or take a few) countries in the world actually appreciate our presence and believe that the US has been a positive influence on their country, so it’s no surprise that everyone else would hate us. go figure.
    Tojo’s granddaughter also needs to get a reality check. While she blames the US for not aiming for a “white country,” the US didn’t have any “white” opponents anymore; they all surrendered. and at any rate, if we aimed for a white country, we’d get bombed back. The japanese haven’t replicated the atomic bomb, but the Soviets sure did shortly after WWII (granted, that was our fault because we did a bunch of crap behind the soviet’s back despite that we were supposed to be allied with them back when germany experienced a schism). if we bombed the soviets or germany, however, i’m pretty certain that it’d give justification to either group to steal the secrets of the a-bomb and bomb us back.
    i also find it funny that the japanese bombed pearl harbor. i mean, since before WWII, Japanese have been fleeing their own country to hawaii to work the sugar cane crops, and then their own beloved government decides to bomb that tiny little state, the state that their own people fled to in order to gain an extra 100 yen or so for their families to live off of. are they going to admit that? doubt it. they bombed a state where their own people thrived in. sad, really. D:
    my 2-cents. feel free to email me for any arguments or your own two cents.

  160. Jamie said, on July 9, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Just had to say that I agree 100% with everything you said. I lived in Japan for 3 years and was an ALT like you, and my experiences with speaking with Japanese people about the war mirror everything that you just said. I have also been to the Peace Museums in Nagasaki and Hiroshima and found the same type of “poor little Japan” mentality expressed in the exhibits there. I agree that the a-bombings were horrible and tragic events. But I also agree that Japan’s view and presentation of those bombings allows them to gloss over the equally horrible and tragic events that they perpetuated during the war as well. All I have to say is, props to Defense Minister Kyuma for expressing the sentiments that he expressed, especially in light of the fact that doing so got him fired. It’s nice to see someone in the Japanese government finally admit (even if indirectly) that the bombings occurred for a reason.

  161. D-Bomb said, on July 9, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    I studied abroad in Nagasaki for a semester last year and of course it was pretty much required that we go to the Peace Park and museum. The a-bomb was a horrible thing, but the entire decade of the 40’s was a bad time. Almost no country is safe from criticism even Canada can be blamed for something. Canada helped the US develop the a-bomb. The point is that if you don’t recognize what happened in the past it will come back to bite you. Case and point General Hojo’s grand daughter? daughter?, I forget which, trying to build up the military and force an apology out of the US for use of the a-bomb. Lots of bad things were done from 1937-1945 by many different countries, if people don’t get past them them then people aren’t going to move on.

  162. Anonymous said, on July 10, 2007 at 2:15 am

    “But it is surprising that they don’t know they used sex slaves in Vietnam, in Korea , in Japan.”
    Do you have ANY evidence to back up this claim? I have never once heard of the systematic, army-sanctioned use of sex slaves in Vietnam, Korea, or Japan, and it’s the sort of claim you need to have a source for to actually seem valid. Granted, if you do have evidence for it (actual real evidence, not “somebody told me so), I’d be very interested to see it.

  163. Anonymous said, on July 10, 2007 at 2:15 am

    “But it is surprising that they don’t know they used sex slaves in Vietnam, in Korea , in Japan.”
    Do you have ANY evidence to back up this claim? I have never once heard of the systematic, army-sanctioned use of sex slaves in Vietnam, Korea, or Japan, and it’s the sort of claim you need to have a source for to actually seem valid. Granted, if you do have evidence for it (actual real evidence, not “somebody told me so), I’d be very interested to see it.

  164. Colin said, on July 10, 2007 at 2:25 am

    Some responses to above posts:
    “But it is surprising that they don’t know they used sex slaves in Vietnam, in Korea , in Japan.”
    Do you have ANY evidence to back up this claim? I have never once heard of the systematic, army-sanctioned use of sex slaves in Vietnam, Korea, or Japan, and it’s the sort of claim you need to have a source for to actually seem valid. Granted, if you do have evidence for it (actual real evidence, not “somebody told me so), I’d be very interested to see it.
    ” but they didn’t until 1942, if I remember correctly, and before that they were supplying weapons to both camps.”
    No. This is flat out wrong. The US would not sell weapons to either Japan or Nazi Germany; before the war, FDR was employing a fairly famous “good neighbor” policy with respect to Great Britain to funnel over as many goods and weapons as he could. FDR genuinely did realize that the US would have to become involved in the war; until Pearl Harbor, though, American public opinion was strongly against US involvement. In that way, Pearl Harbor was ultimately a boon to both the US and Great Britain. Not to mention France and Poland. Also, to your quick remark: “And finally, i’ve also heard that Japan surrendered before Nagasaki was bombed”, that’s entirely incorrect. Immediately after the bombing of Hiroshima, the US sent communiques to the Japanese government asking for their unconditional surrender. They received no response. It was only then that they decided to bomb Nagasaki.
    “I think I love you Colin :)”
    I love you too, MCat πŸ™‚
    “I don’t know of anyone that denies the US helped install Pinochet. Generally the real debate is whether Pinochet was better than Allende and whether his dictatorship was necessary for the stability and development of Chile.”
    My ex-girlfriend’s stepfather and one of his friends. And most conservatives who don’t like to admit a lot of the shit the US has done, actually.

  165. Statistic said, on July 10, 2007 at 3:37 am

    Good editorial. Most are sort of missing the point though, in thinking morally rather than politically. Morality only comes into play when it coincides with political goals or the issue at stake has ceased to be relevant, which is why apologizing to descendants of slaves and surviving indians is a fun pastime but essentially just a photo op and a chance to show off Real Compassion. Feel bad about genocide in Rwanda after it’s completely over and nothing meaningful can be done.
    A couple of months ago the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Japan for an “ice melting” trip. Surely you read about it in all the American newspap–never mind. In 2006, Abe, did the same thing. China and Japan are both capable of realpolitik, perfectly content to use one another to distract internal dissent while carrying on trade and other business ventures uninterrupted. The only issue is if their respective populations will tolerate it. Visiting the war memorial is domestic policy, and visiting Beijing is international policy, and never the two shall meet. It’s a good trick if it can be pulled off.
    Right or Slightly Less Right, The US killed an awful lot of Japanese people, and many of them were civilians. They may guilt trip you on the anniversary, but the international and trade relationship between Japan and the US is very, very close, so much so that America ha supported changes in the Japanese constitution to allow japan to have a functional army again.

  166. scotty said, on July 10, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Hey just wanted to say I think it is good you at least wanted to talk or write about it. I have lived in Japan for about 19 years now and have seen many changes. The textbook issue getting more and more drastic changes over the years. Some now even implying in Japanese that Nanking may not have happened at all. Now all countries bend and warp history, but the big think I would say about Japanese is that they are doing it to make the same mistake again. Power plays to bring back the military and screw what the people of Japan want. It is what they will tell them to want.
    I do have to add one thing you missed in the minister being sacked. He was a former politician of Nagasaki and was supposed to represent the victims of the A-bomb. So in some ways I do think it is wrong for him to be sacked for being objective about the decision to use the bomb but he should have been sacked for being stupid enough to say it in that way deserving to be sacked. My wife informed me he was a former politician from the bombed area when I said I agreed with him the bombing was shoganai. She like most Japanese has some trouble viewing all sides of an argument. Myself, no, (outright lie, eh, I can see them but it takes time afterwards) but I will try and see it. Have to run and will post some more another time, like when I am more self honest, ne.

  167. Anonymous said, on July 11, 2007 at 3:28 am

    There’s a substantial difference between a government not owning up to something, and outright denial. Ultimately governments are made of people– officials who probably don’t even KNOW about a lot of the dirty laundry created by their predecessors, so it hardly seems intuitive to step out of someone else’s shadows and apologize, but I’m sure that if you ASKED them and there was substantiative proof, they would at least not write it off as “no big deal” or deny that it happened.
    It’s kind of sad when a sense of nationalism becomes so strong that you can’t even admit that your ancestors made mistakes.

  168. Anonymous said, on July 11, 2007 at 3:28 am

    There’s a substantial difference between a government not owning up to something, and outright denial. Ultimately governments are made of people– officials who probably don’t even KNOW about a lot of the dirty laundry created by their predecessors, so it hardly seems intuitive to step out of someone else’s shadows and apologize, but I’m sure that if you ASKED them and there was substantiative proof, they would at least not write it off as “no big deal” or deny that it happened.
    It’s kind of sad when a sense of nationalism becomes so strong that you can’t even admit that your ancestors made mistakes.

  169. Blues said, on July 12, 2007 at 2:24 am

    ” Well hmm – just thought if people might want to know – during the second world war America forced nearly all of it`s Japanese immigrants population into concentration work camps out of fear the japanese are or would become traitors – women and children alike.”
    Are you american? Because Americans are taught just how awful we were during that concentration period. We read stories about how unlucky some asian was, saw movies about how racist americans were, and the teacher himself tells us that it was awful, and stupid. So that’s a moot point because America doesn’t hide this at all.

  170. Kiron said, on July 12, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Isn’t Australia pretty much trying to force Japan to acknowlege it’s war crimes?, the it’s always all over the new’s and I’m pretty sure the Australian Prime Minister was in meetings with the Japanese prime minister about it a couple of weeks ago.

  171. ying said, on July 15, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    I’m glad for this post mainly because recently i’ve gotten myself into a few arguments with a group of Japanese amateur filmmakers on youtube, they posted something to the likes of “The Fake of Nanking” and I decided to try and reason with them. Every counter point I brought up, every single one including the Yasukuni War shrine and museum being horribly slanted was ignored, and instead they switched to victim mode, going on about the A-bombs, about the economic status of Japan. I didn’t counter much racism against the japanese when I was growing up, (i’m chinese) and I even had a Japanese roommate until recenlty, however this instance troubled me a lot. And then, my roommate who I considered a reasonably intelligent person, said to me this one phrase, “Pearl Harbor was not Japan’s fault, it was the U.S.”
    It blew me away, how blindly nationalistic the Japanese can be, how they turn, and ignore blatant, if not very pleasant truths, and turn it onto others with blame. Like I said, I’m not familiar with much racism, but recently, I’ve been called a criminal by those Japanese extremists, because I have criminal’s/Chinese blood, I been told that all of the Nanking atrocities were faked and its just black propaganda against the Japanese. And every word I said was blatantly ignored, despite the fact my Great Aunt was in the Nanking massacre, and has the scar to prove it. She escaped with her life just barely, by escaping in the safety zones, and she has a horizontal scar from a Japanese bayonet from her elbow to her lower back.

  172. DS said, on July 17, 2007 at 5:22 am

    i wonder how the Germans feel, or the Australian government feels about *Koori tribes displaced by settlers, seriously. i believe you’re right, people should admit to what happened in the past. But accepting blame for something you weren’t responsible is unfair, which i noticed seems to be the norm for admitting something went wrong. I mean “teleporting boobs girl” (got a friend to read the editorials and she keeps laughing about teleporting boobs girl. even emulating her……. *facepalm*) isn’t responsible for forcing civilians to commit seppuku. So when you say Japan should except responsibility for what happened, i think you should keep in mind those directly responsible are dead now. This isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but a general comment motivated by similar circumstances. I’m part Koori, and due to atrocities in the past some of my family members feel it is okay to degrade themselves (commit crime and so forth) because it wouldn’t be like this if the “white fella” didn’t take away tribal lands.
    *koori is a tribal word for Australian Aboriginal, i use it, not because i feel aboriginal is racist as some do, but because aboriginal means native to the land and is a general term not specifically to us that live in Australia.
    (p.s.) I hope what i said was actually pertinent, and not just rubbish

  173. ying said, on July 19, 2007 at 12:51 am

    “But accepting blame for something you weren’t responsible is unfair, which i noticed seems to be the norm for admitting something went wrong.”
    I don’t agree, the people directly responsible yes, are mostly dead. However there are some still alive, and there are some victims still alive today. It’s not just about the person who commits the crime. It is about the government that is trying to cover up the actions of their soldiers. Or to deny it totally. The actions are their own, however the fact that the government allowed those atrocities to happen and then pretend it never existed is what is unacceptable to me.
    I used to think this way too, that the soldiers that committed those acts are long dead. But the fact is, that in the past few months i have been called a liar, a criminal, someone with dirty blood because people believe in their government and their nationalism to a fault. That is not acceptable, and one’s actions on behalf of the nation, is the nation’s responsibility.

  174. Chris said, on July 23, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    The last link in the article doesn’t work for me. Can someone put it in a Notepad file or find another copy of it on the internet and email it to me at rossocorsa288 (at) hotmail.com? Thanks πŸ™‚

  175. LeadTaco said, on July 25, 2007 at 2:02 am

    to same_guy_inurl (uness u reposted to correct the guys original comment) the most obvious reason Japan isnt an aggressive nation anymore is because the US disarmed Japan and Germany for the last… hmmm, i think we just hit 60 years now. of course, maybe they couldve stopped on their own, who knowa, but the only “military” japan has is its Japanese Defense Force, which basically is there if china launches a surprise attack and disables all the american bases in japan somehow. (which isnt likely since theyre almost out of theyre communist phase) but other than that i agree

  176. token said, on July 25, 2007 at 5:03 am

    Amen. I was an exchange student in Hiroshima for six weeks a few years ago, and I visited the atomic bomb memorial. It was all very sad, but it made incredibly clear that the Japanese were never going to stop until something drastic happened. Tragic, but necessary.
    At least the official attitude of the museum was “never again” and not “America is evil.” That was a relief.
    A little-known story, before we dropped the bomb we dropped fliers warning of a Bad Thing(TM) coming if Japan didn’t surrender. My grandpa helped toss them out of a plane and he saved a few, they’re amazing to look at.

  177. Anonymous said, on July 26, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Couple of things:
    1) “1.) The majority of Americans didn’t vote for Bush, Gore was technically the winner.”
    Ummm…no. Gore got the majority of the popular vote, but Bush won more electoral votes. In the US we only count the electoral votes, so technically Bush did win.
    2) Re: FDR caused/helped Japan to attack at Perl Harbor.
    That’s stupid.
    Look at the forces used by Japan to attack Perl Harbor. If they’d attacked the oil storage facilities on the island, instead of Battleship Row, the US would not have been able to fight, at all, in the Pacific for years. Years!
    At the end of the war we were still using the oil stored there to power the various warships. The US had been building up the supply of oil there for many many years.
    There is no way in hell FDR would’ve gambled that they wouldn’t hit the oil. No way!
    Gah!
    Go read a book, read a bunch!, on the war in the Pacific. Read some naval history. Study some logistics. Think it through, imagine the war if there was no refiling station out in the middle of the ocean and all the US’ ships had to be based out of the mainland. Would the battle of Midway have happened? Would Japan have been stopped from invading Austrailia? Would the US have been able to win the war in the Pacific? Would the US have been able to spare men and equipment for Europe? Or would we have been too busy getting our ass kicked in the Pacific?

  178. Anonymous said, on July 26, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Couple of things:
    1) “1.) The majority of Americans didn’t vote for Bush, Gore was technically the winner.”
    Ummm…no. Gore got the majority of the popular vote, but Bush won more electoral votes. In the US we only count the electoral votes, so technically Bush did win.
    2) Re: FDR caused/helped Japan to attack at Perl Harbor.
    That’s stupid.
    Look at the forces used by Japan to attack Perl Harbor. If they’d attacked the oil storage facilities on the island, instead of Battleship Row, the US would not have been able to fight, at all, in the Pacific for years. Years!
    At the end of the war we were still using the oil stored there to power the various warships. The US had been building up the supply of oil there for many many years.
    There is no way in hell FDR would’ve gambled that they wouldn’t hit the oil. No way!
    Gah!
    Go read a book, read a bunch!, on the war in the Pacific. Read some naval history. Study some logistics. Think it through, imagine the war if there was no refiling station out in the middle of the ocean and all the US’ ships had to be based out of the mainland. Would the battle of Midway have happened? Would Japan have been stopped from invading Austrailia? Would the US have been able to win the war in the Pacific? Would the US have been able to spare men and equipment for Europe? Or would we have been too busy getting our ass kicked in the Pacific?

  179. BEsmirched said, on July 30, 2007 at 7:52 am

    “It’s annoying to me, and I’m only American. The worst Japan did to America was bomb Pearl Harbor. I can’t imagine how angry this must make the Chinese/Koreans. It’s like having the bully next door come into your yard and literally beat the shit out of you, but then when a bigger kid pushes the bully down and breaks his nose, suddenly all the bully can do is cry foul about the broken nose.”
    ^^
    I’m Chinese. I’d say that most of us feel that Japan is a legit threat to Asia safety, due to her not facing the truth and taking any responsibility. For all the “Japan is non-aggressive” talk, they have a right winger Prime Minster who insist sending troops out of Japan. So they can be a “normal country”. WTF?

  180. Cho-Gaijin said, on August 8, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Would be ironic that I just so happen to be an American, born in early-August, huh?
    None the less, I’m pretty sure, like 2-3% aknowlege the fact that just as we attacked them, they attacked us, and just as they attacked us, they also attacked others, it’s just gonna take some 300+ centuries, or some grandscale japanish conflict like NGE or even the popular decentergration of Tokyo from the movie, Akira.
    I’m tellin ya, for Japan to change, they will have to realize that the entire planet actually has already, and they are behind.

  181. Anonymous said, on August 19, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Let’s be realistic — many times, American history textbooks gloss over American atrocities. I graduated high school in 2002 and the only thing I ever heard about the Vietnam War throughout elementary, junior and high school combined was “America went to war with Vietnam to stop the spread of communism.” That’s just about it. It wasn’t until I took history courses in college that I discovered about the My Lai Massacre or the Tet Offensive. Compare this to the mountains of time spent in class on World War II. Hell, my pre-college history courses spent more time on American involvement in World War I than on Vietnam.
    Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement is covered in great depth, that’s true. Unfortunately, a lot of other things were simply glossed over. Manifest Destiny, Trail of Tears, Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment — all these things are mentioned in passing and never given the full weight they should. Even when it comes to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the effects of the bombs are glossed over and instead the focus put on “the only other choice was invasion, which would have cost more lives.” And don’t even get me started on U.S. atrocities in South America, which are never even mentioned in American textbooks.
    Now I’m not saying whether or not the a-bombs were justified. That’s one issue I’ve never been able to take a stance on. Both sides have very valid points.
    What I’m saying is that America is not always so quick to air out its dirty laundry. We won’t outright deny things, but we’ll just gloss over the facts.

  182. Anonymous said, on August 19, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Let’s be realistic — many times, American history textbooks gloss over American atrocities. I graduated high school in 2002 and the only thing I ever heard about the Vietnam War throughout elementary, junior and high school combined was “America went to war with Vietnam to stop the spread of communism.” That’s just about it. It wasn’t until I took history courses in college that I discovered about the My Lai Massacre or the Tet Offensive. Compare this to the mountains of time spent in class on World War II. Hell, my pre-college history courses spent more time on American involvement in World War I than on Vietnam.
    Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement is covered in great depth, that’s true. Unfortunately, a lot of other things were simply glossed over. Manifest Destiny, Trail of Tears, Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment — all these things are mentioned in passing and never given the full weight they should. Even when it comes to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the effects of the bombs are glossed over and instead the focus put on “the only other choice was invasion, which would have cost more lives.” And don’t even get me started on U.S. atrocities in South America, which are never even mentioned in American textbooks.
    Now I’m not saying whether or not the a-bombs were justified. That’s one issue I’ve never been able to take a stance on. Both sides have very valid points.
    What I’m saying is that America is not always so quick to air out its dirty laundry. We won’t outright deny things, but we’ll just gloss over the facts.

  183. Seraph said, on August 27, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Actually, Japan officialy warned the United States twice to leave Pearl Harbor “Or else”, as the Japanese Government still saw Hawaii as part of it’s property.
    However, the U.S. basically told Japan to commit the physically impossible act of kanchoing ones self with their own head. So it turned out Japan wasn’t bluffing and counters with the Godzilla sized “FUCK YOU!!!” known as Pearl Harbor.

  184. alexander said, on August 27, 2007 at 8:31 am

    About Japan did you know they tried to surrender to the US for over 2 months but the US refused to accept and went ahead with the dropping of the atomic bombs to show Russia their new power.No, obviously not.So better dont talk if you guys dont know

  185. Anonymous said, on August 28, 2007 at 8:02 am

    (I haven’t read any of the other comments yet, so I’m only commenting on your post.)
    You raise a lot of interesting points, but after reading what you wrote, I can’t help but wonder about one thing: aren’t you doing the same thing that you’re (rightfully) complaining about when the Japanese do it? I mean…
    Japanese people, in general, gloss over all the bad things Japan did and screen those out or justify them, and only focus on the atomic bombings. You, on the other hand, gloss over the atomic bombings or justify them, and only focus on the bad things Japan did.
    I hope it’s clear where I’m coming from here. I don’t want to belittle the horrible things Japan did in the second world war, but I can’t help but notice the similarity there.
    Just something to think about. I very much agree that Japan needs to acknowledge what they did instead of just sweeping it under the rug or claiming that it can’t be proven, that it didn’t happen, that it wasn’t so bad and so on. But I also think that it might be a good idea for you to stop and think about whether you really want to advocate killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and horribly mangling many more.
    Making an example out of people to deter others is never a nice thing to do, and making an example out of innocent civilians is… well, let’s just say that everyone’s got a choice whether they want to be the good guys or not, and if they want to, they should act like it, too.

  186. Anonymous said, on August 28, 2007 at 8:02 am

    (I haven’t read any of the other comments yet, so I’m only commenting on your post.)
    You raise a lot of interesting points, but after reading what you wrote, I can’t help but wonder about one thing: aren’t you doing the same thing that you’re (rightfully) complaining about when the Japanese do it? I mean…
    Japanese people, in general, gloss over all the bad things Japan did and screen those out or justify them, and only focus on the atomic bombings. You, on the other hand, gloss over the atomic bombings or justify them, and only focus on the bad things Japan did.
    I hope it’s clear where I’m coming from here. I don’t want to belittle the horrible things Japan did in the second world war, but I can’t help but notice the similarity there.
    Just something to think about. I very much agree that Japan needs to acknowledge what they did instead of just sweeping it under the rug or claiming that it can’t be proven, that it didn’t happen, that it wasn’t so bad and so on. But I also think that it might be a good idea for you to stop and think about whether you really want to advocate killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and horribly mangling many more.
    Making an example out of people to deter others is never a nice thing to do, and making an example out of innocent civilians is… well, let’s just say that everyone’s got a choice whether they want to be the good guys or not, and if they want to, they should act like it, too.

  187. Post said, on September 4, 2007 at 12:48 am

    You know, it’s not just the Japanese, nor the atomic bomb. It seems part of the human tragedy to be so able to point out the faults, vices, and atrocities of another, whilst failing to see your own. Perhaps it’s best to remember that, for good or bad, that your enemy, your brother, and yourself are all people just the same: capable of the greatness of saints as equally as the depravity of fiends.
    The only thing that comes to mind however, is that one should try to remember this and try best to act accordingly to our better half.

  188. Ceri Cat said, on September 28, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Heh and people wonder why I get annoyed at Americans who seem to think they were the only ones actively involved in the world wars or Korea or Vietnam. Hell even now still get into arguments with people who don’t think there are Australian soldiers deployed in Iraq. And even one of my high school history teachers liked to declare the holocaust was a myth.
    Stuff Japan is screwed up, the world is screwed up. Where an arsehole teacher us trying to tell a boy with first hand accounts from his grandmother and great grandmother of the atrocities committed in Europe during the second world war that what they’re talking about is all a lie.
    For what it’s worth I have to agree the first bomb was necessary, and it still didn’t look like Japan was going to surrender so America dropped Fat man, which wasn’t the same form of bomb as the first, hell no Fat man was no gun-type A-bomb, it was America’s first plutonium implosion bomb, a heck of a lot more powerful at 20Kt though causing thankfully fewer deaths. It still took another 6 days after Nagasaki was bombed for the Japanese to surrender though. I have little doubt Truman did a lot of soul searching before and after the bombings.
    Why he was never charged with war crimes amongst others involved in the bombing is an odd question, though given the Japanese attitude towards their own war crimes I guess this could be attributed to karma.

  189. Phoenix said, on October 8, 2007 at 4:20 am

    OMG, I totally agree with you! I have the same issue with Japan’s dualities concerning WWII.
    I’d like a proper and direct apology for the comfort women sometime soon 😐


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