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Aso's gaffe exposes Japanese ignorance of Jews

85 Comments

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso's remarks regarding how the Nazis circumvented Germany's Weimar Constitution did not really attract much attention in the domestic news until the foreign media picked up on the story. One of the most vocal reactions was to come from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which bluntly asked Aso, "Which 'techniques' of the Nazis can we learn from?"

The Wiesenthal Center, reports Tokyo Shimbun (Aug 3), represents 400,000 member families with branches in Vienna, New York, Miami, Chicago, Toronto, Paris, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem. It's something of an old hand at contending with Japanese politicians, publishers and even rock groups over issues regarded as being either anti-semitic or offensive to Jews.

The most celebrated of these was a 10-page article in the February 1995 issue of Marco Polo, a glossy monthly magazine published by Bungei Shunju, which cast skepticism on the veracity of the Holocaust, claiming "There were no Nazi gas chambers." Condemning the story as "Akin to publicly claiming no atomic bomb was ever dropped on Hiroshima," the center called on foreign and Japanese companies to pull their advertisements from the magazine. They complied, and within one week, the harried publisher recalled all unsold copies and announced it would suspend publication. At a news conference, Bungei Shunju's president apologized for the magazine's failure to "accept the historical facts."

Before the Aso flap, the Wiesenthal Center has had other confrontations with Japanese politicians. In 2001, it criticized former Education Minister Atsuko Toyama for downplaying Japan's wartime military aggression in high school textbooks. The following year it lambasted a remark by former senior vice minister for Health, Labor and Welfare Yoshio Kimura, who in a speech warned his audience against "self-serving, money-grubbing ghouls like Jews who were targeting the health care market." Kimura retracted his remarks following the protest.

In 2005, the Wiesenthal Center requested convenience store chains to refrain from sales of a "mook" (book in magazine-style format) titled "How to Get Rich by Following the Teachings of Successful Jews," claiming that such lowbrow works were likely to "impart stereotypical views of Jews among young Japanese."

The Wiesenthal Center has been particularly sensitive about Nazism, including commercial uses of Nazi imagery. In 2010, it appealed to the Don Quixote discount store chain to halt sales of a party costume resembling a Nazi SS uniform, complete with a swastika armband. (The chain complied.)

The same year, it also protested to Unilever regarding an ad campaign for Pond's cosmetic cream featuring models clad in SS regalia -- complete with a "Totenkopf" (death's head) badge used by the SS. And in 2011, it protested the rock group Kishidan, which recorded a music video while dressed in Nazi uniforms. The group's agency subsequently issued an apology and announced their SS get-up had been discarded.

Keio University Professor Isao Hada, one of Japan's top scholars of Jewish affairs, noted that Jewish history is generally mixed in with general world history, so that with the exception of those who opt for it as an elective subject, Japanese beyond high school have no opportunity to study the topic. This, he said, is why the Japanese view of Jews is "incorrect."

As for Aso, "He said the one thing that he should not have said," remarked Hada, who added, "Whatever Aso's true intention, the fact remains that he actually said it. So it deserves criticism."

Akira Kogishi, professor emeritus of German Literature at Kyoto University, remarked angrily, "Much to the shame of Japanese, the kind of comment like Aso's would never have been made by someone who was even slightly familiar with Jewish history. In the same way Japanese were hit by the atomic bombs, the Jews, from Hitler's becoming chancellor in 1933, were engulfed in a terrible catastrophe that led to mass murder at places like Auschwitz. This is not a problem that should be left solely for the likes of Mr Aso to comment about; all Japanese need to take another look at Jewish history."

© Japan Today

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85 Comments
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It also points up which direction Abe's government would like to go.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

the comment was not for jews, it was how hitler was able to change the constitution without opposition that he said he wanted japan to learn. What Hitler did after is not the issue.

-33 ( +16 / -48 )

Mikihouse - you miss the point entirely. Nazi history and the holocaust go hand in hand. You can't separate one from the other. You, and people like Aso need to read a history book or two

35 ( +42 / -9 )

the comment was not for jews, it was how hitler was able to change the constitution without opposition that he said he wanted japan to learn. What Hitler did after is not the issue.

You seem to share Aso's lack of understanding of context.

22 ( +29 / -8 )

Exposes ignorance of everything.

6 ( +11 / -6 )

What Hitler did after is not the issue.

I have a bruise on my chin from when my jaw dropped to the floor. I know I'm not the only one.

!!!

16 ( +22 / -7 )

Aso is a japanese nationalist, born in to a japanese nationalistic family with big imperial japan roots,. . . . They run busniess in WW2 with prisoners of war as slaves, . . . . Now how on earth do you think should this japanese guy have any compassion for caucasian jews slaughtered during WW2 when his own nationalistic views are that the west aka caucasian people are the enemies or at least rivals of his own asia-japanese ethnic struggles of grandeur? Reality is that in general asian peeps don't feel so much compassion for what is or was happening in the caucasion world, as they don't identify with other races as much as with their own . . . . . . Same that news of a akiba massacre doesn't shock as much as Boston. No appologies however for politicians , who should know about international standards and etiquette, you don't talk about others countries or their history just like that as a minister . . . . Especially when the world is listening!

14 ( +18 / -5 )

“Whatever Aso’s true intention, the fact remains that he actually said it. So it deserves criticism.”

And I will add, not only he said but he confirmed it. If he wants to practice gaffe or black humor I'll suggest him to look for a job of a comedian or talento and leave politic to serious people caring about others for a better society.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

While I agree that what Aso said is completely unacceptable I would like posters to contemplate something. Aso just talked about it. I'm not excusing that, I think it is unthinkable for any democracy to take the sort of measures that the Nazi party implemented, and that they inevitably lead to evil regimes like the Nazi party and the civil rights abuses and horrific acts that they perpetrated. This should NOT be tolerated.

However, take a look at what the Nazi party's actual changes were:

suspending several constitutional protections on civil rights. The articles affected were 114 (habeas corpus), 115 (inviolability of residence), 117 (correspondence privacy), 118 (freedom of expression /censorship), 123 (assembly), 124 (associations), and 153 (expropriation). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Constitution#Hitler.27s_subversion_of_the_Weimar_Constitution)

Now take a long hard look at the Patriot Act the U.S. recently passed. It actually covers the same and MORE ground than the Nazi party's changes.

... so let's be realistic here. If Aso had proposed copying the U.S.'s anti-terrorism laws there would have been yells of approval, but actually they're the same as the Nazi party's laws.

16 ( +24 / -8 )

Real ignorance or just choose to ignore the extermination of the European Jewish population but mainly what happened to Europe as whole and Japan to some extent. The fascination for these clowns is also how Hitler and co. got everybody to follow Nazis' vile policies and supposed superiority of a population over others.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Could anyone imagine the reaction of Japan if some politician in another foreign country made the comment that they should learn from the Americans and Hiroshima and just drop atomic bombs? I'd like to think the public would be outraged but I know better. The government would make a formal complaint - like they always do when they feel slighted - but I don't think the others would care. This is why Japan continues to allow it's politicians to say crap like this.

Anyone else remember the girl's group - was it AKB or Morning Musume? - that made comments about "Uncle Hitler" a few years ago?

Japan continues to milk Hiroshima and Nagasaki while never facing up to what they did in the wars and then turns around and let's some jerk politician walk free when making comments about other atrocities - and ones that at least Germany has faced up to. Unreal. It says more about the public than it does about anything.

11 ( +19 / -9 )

Not knowing much about the Weimar Constitution that Hitler rode roughshod over, I googled it and found the document had been drafted by Germany's Minister of the Interior, Hugo Preuss, who coincidentally (?) happened to be a Jew. Perhaps someone ought to inform Deputy PM Aso of that as well.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan continues to milk Hiroshima and Nagasaki while never facing up to what they did in the wars and then turns around and let's some jerk politician walk free when making comments about other atrocities - and ones that at least Germany has faced up to. Unreal. It says more about the public than it does about anything.

tmarie - so true, but remember the public is in a perpetual state of blissful ignorance having not being taught WW2 history, nor demanding it. They leave their international image up to clueless Oyaji like Aso who have an Us vs Them mentality. Outside of North Korea, I can't imagine another country that lives in a bubble like Japan does.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

In the same way Japanese were hit by the atomic bombs, the Jews, from Hitler’s becoming chancellor in 1933, were engulfed in a terrible catastrophe that led to mass murder at places like Auschwitz.

Although both these things were horrendous war crimes they are not in the least comparable.

all Japanese need to take another look at Jewish history.

Best start with all Japanese looking at all Japanese history before you even start with Jewish history.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

how the Nazis circumvented Germany’s Weimar Constitution did not really attract much attention in the domestic news until the foreign media picked up on the story.

Wondering if this part is not the scariest one actually, means for media and society in Japan, it is not shocking and probably acceptable to have Nazis cited as reference.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The scary thing is though, this ignorance expands to so many areas of their lives. I sometimes have the impression society here has created a happy bubble where anything difficult or negative is rejected and all is happy-cute-Hello Kitty-smile-universe. @Frungy thanks for your point, that's a very worrying outlook.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Well Hitler created the autobahn, some new social insurances, but the 0.000000001% good things he did doesn't weigh up to 99.99999999% bad things he did. Doesn't Aso have cable, there are a zillion WWII documentaries here on the Japanese History channel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wondering if this part is not the scariest one actually, means for media and society in Japan, it is not shocking and probably acceptable to have Nazis cited as reference.

Yeah... the Japanese media won't do jack... they're all controlled by the bureaucrats.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Wondering if this part is not the scariest one actually, means for media and society in Japan, it is not shocking and probably acceptable to have Nazis cited as reference.

Yeah... the Japanese media won't do jack... they're all controlled by the bureaucrats.

2 ( +5 / -4 )

People who read the 'glossy magazines' and idiotic manga mentioned above have probably picked up a few negative stereotypes along the way - money-grabbing Jews, sex-crazed Italian men, gun-toting Americans and these are often reinforced by other media. As for holocaust denial, I doubt the Japanese government would put itself on the level of Iran's ex-leader Ahmadinejad, but I have suspicions that the likes of Aso would have sympathy for ideas which show that the accepted 'facts' of WW2 are always open to debate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That he made this comment is not surprising.

That he didn't understand world events and their meaning is also not surprising.

That his comments went unnoticed inside Japan is also not surprising.

That J-politicians ONLY reacted at the implied threat of losing "face" is also not surprising.

The whole of human history OUTSIDE of Japan, is largely ignored INSIDE Japan.

One only has to pick up a school text book to see this.

Japanese politicians are like a bunch of kindergartners running around playing dress-up. Kind of like ten year old kids talking about things like WWII, atom bombs, and storm-troopers without really understanding the significance.

18 ( +20 / -3 )

Aso's gaffe exposes Japanese ignorance of Jews

I find hard to believe that Aso is not aware of the holocaust and the Nazis's final solution.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

hoserfellaAug. 05, 2013 - 08:20AM JST

Mikihouse - you miss the point entirely. Nazi history and the holocaust go hand in hand.

Holocaust is not the only wrong doing of Nazi. I think it regrettable that other atrocities are overshadowed, and that many are forgotten.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Exactly - although it is horrible what happened to the Jews this is not the main problem. As I already said - it is regardless of the example the ideas of Aso to change constitution unnoticed are very dangerous. Aso should (be made to) resign and Abe should explain what is LDP position on that topic!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

This is being blown out of proportion. The guy is a well-known idiot, as demonstrated by his dozens of gaffes in the past. All this latest one shows is his general lack of common sense.

The Wiesenthal Center, reports Tokyo Shimbun (Aug 3), represents 400,000 member families with branches in Vienna, New York, Miami, Chicago, Toronto, Paris, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem.

I think this says it all. How many Jews live in Japan? How present is the Wiesenthal Center in Japan? Do they think they are doing an effective job on educating Japanese about the Jewish holocaust with their once-every-five-year appearances?

And for all of those lambasting the Japanese education system, how much time did your high school teachers spend educating you about anything to do with WW2? Mine? None. Sure, I learned about it from documentaries on TV and such, but in Quebec, Canada, I seriously doubt anybody my age was taught this as part of the compulsory curriculum. The most world history I got out of high school was only in how it related to Canadian history, and even then, only up until the beginning of the 20th century.

I think the west's knowledge about the Jewish holocaust has more to do with the history of its immigrants than anything on the formal educational level. Bash Aso all you want, but don't make this anything more than his latest bout with foot-in-mouth disease.

-7 ( +7 / -13 )

hoserfella

tmarie - so true, but remember the public is in a perpetual state of blissful ignorance having not being taught WW2 history, nor demanding it. They leave their international image up to clueless Oyaji like Aso who have an Us vs Them mentality.

Making people believe that their opponents do not know the truth is the first step for brainwashing. By doing so, their ears become deaf to legitimate counter arguments by their opponents. The list of countries that used the technique includes Nazi, Soviet Union, PRC, and probably South Korea.

By the way, I think Aso knows a lot more about the war than you do, for he experienced ww2 by himself.

@tmarie

I googled "Uncle Hitler", but I could only find a documentary film directed by Joel Soler.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

CH3CHO - "The list of countries that used the technique includes...and probably South Korea."

I was wondering when someone was going to chime in with a dig against Korea. Doesn't matter that the article has absolutely nothing to do with Korea someone, somehow finds a way...gotta get the hate on, I guess.

2 ( +5 / -4 )

I hope Japan does not position ourselves as a threat to global peace, like in WWII.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese politicians are like a bunch of kindergartners running around playing dress-up. Kind of like ten year old kids talking about things like WWII, atom bombs, and storm-troopers without really understanding the significance.

The truth is that Aso is a tip of iceberg. He is a total idiot, but for some reason Japanese voters keep electing him again and again. He is not competent and not qualified to be a policy maker. I remember how ignorant he was in macro economics when he was a PM of Japan a couple years ago. This guy talks big, but he does not know a damn thing!! Hope Japanese voters start circulating a general petition to remove him from political office. I can hardly wait.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is not a problem that should be left solely for the likes of Mr Aso to comment about; all Japanese need to take another look at Jewish history.

I have no respect for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. I have seen news reports about the suffering of the Palestinians here on Japanese TV, can't say the same for American TV. hmmm

In light of this week’s vote by UNESCO to admit “Palestine” as a member, the Simon Wiesenthal Center on behalf of its 400,000 members joins Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen and those gathered here to express its total support of the mandate cutting the 70 million dollar US contribution to UNESCO.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@hoserfella

There's a world of difference between an anti-Semite and someone who wishes the state of Israel would treat the Palestinians with a modicum of decency. As you well know.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

you miss the point entirely. Nazi history and the holocaust go hand in hand.

I can't speak for Mikihouse but, didn't the Nazis invent jet engines, advanced rocketry and the flektern camouflage that's used by JSDF today?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This guy is a loose canon.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorosen! has the "uncle Hilter" thing written up.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Are we really on the way to give "first strike capabilities" to those people ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Or maybe you would like the video? http://www.japanprobe.com/2008/12/10/hitler-on-japanese-tv/

I tihnk what the most "frightening" thing about this isn't Aso's lack of understanding history but the very notion that things should be done without public consent and notification. He is suggesting the government make radical changes and doesn't want to consult the public because he knows his party doesn't have the power it needs to make such changes.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

and this one too, how TBS explained how to use trick and mannerisms from Hitler to have success in your life :

<http://www.tbs.co.jp/kyoukasho-nosetai/bknum/20110809.html >

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The innuendo is in your head. Not mine

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bungei Shunju, publisher of that Marco Polo article, also sold millions of copies of the Japanese translation of Anne Frank's Diary. One would think they could at least get their story straight: are they going to deny that the Holocaust happened? Or profit from the sales of a work by one of its most famous victims? You find the same kind of disconnect among Japanese politicians, who on the one hand try to project the image of being benign humanitarians, while at the same time appear incapable of displaying empathy for the sufferings of anyone who's not Japanese.

Now we're into August, and for the next two weeks NHK programming will be full of war-related documentaries designed to convey the theme of "War is Bad" without devoting analysis to the methods and motives of the wicked individuals who supported Japan's alliance with Nazi Germany and the ensuing World War.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Isn't the word Jew in the headline inappropriate? Wouldn't Jewish people sound and read better?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

cracaphat: "Isn't the word Jew in the headline inappropriate?"

Only to someone who either feels guilty, or knows no better. Jew is a proper noun.

Anyway, let Aso retire for his remarks and then be reelected next week. It's Japan, after all.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Aso's gaffe exposes Japanese ignorance of Jews

It's a broad generalisation, but from my experience here, Japanese people are for the most part ignorant of anything non-Japanese - especially when it comes to history.

However, coming from a Stanford and LSE educated politician, well that's just inexcusable, even as a joke.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

smithinjapan

why did he retract it?

Because, as Aso said in his appology, it was a bad joke. The lesson is that politicians should not joke about Nazi.

By the way, I do not support Aso or LDP. I just support facts.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Only to someone who either feels guilty, or knows no better. Jew is a proper noun.

Pardon? Why not ask people of the Jewish faith how they feel about it. The folks I am friends with it see it as a slur and prefer Jewish.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Headline is too long it should have just read - " Aso's gaffe exposes Japanese ignorance "

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I'm also struggling to see the direct connection between Aso's comments and the Jewish faith.

As for Aso, “He said the one thing that he should not have said,” remarked Hada, who added, “Whatever Aso’s true intention, the fact remains that he actually said it. So it deserves criticism.”

I believe his true intention was to highlight the benefits of having absolute power in order to change a country. Democracy just gets in the way, and when you have a plugged-in society to the degree we do today, it makes political life hell. That's HIS point (not mine) and a far cry away from him dissing the atrocities committed by the Nazi/SS regime on the Jewish and gay communities. Either way he is wrong, but we all know that anyway, and know it every time he speaks.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think it is more shocking for Aso to believe that politics should be despotically controlled in order to get things done-for me this wasn't aimed at ,nor was it critical of Jewish people,faith etc. The Jewish reaction misses the point....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I find hard to believe that Aso is not aware of the holocaust and the Nazis's final solution.

He is probably aware, but Japanese are not on the whole very aware - it is a footnote to WWII, rather than the biggest monstrosity of the 20th century.

I expect for Aso it is just a footnote. He does not have time as his previous role leading the "reform" of school history textbooks would not have left time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jewish=adjective Jew=noun

How is the word Jew a slur?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Read about Eugenics and see how much the US and Europe differed with the Nazi ideology. NONE.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

mikihouse: "Read about Eugenics and see how much the US and Europe differed with the Nazi ideology. NONE."

And you miss the entire point once again because.... ?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Certainly it's insensitive to use 'Jew' in a derogatory way referring to swindle or any other negative reference and any Jew has a right to protest: but the Simon Wiesenthal Center does way too much hatemongering and promoting Islamophobia to be criticizing anyone.

The holocaust was horrific but those of us who live on the earth now are not responsible and should not be held to settle the account, especially in the one place in the world that always welcomed Jews and protected them from the Nazi's in Palestine.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

How is the word Jew a slur?

Because it is often used when slurring people of the Jewish faith.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Not in this case. That ends discussion on this point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Japanese beyond high school have no opportunity to study the topic"

In many western schools there is a similar lack of distinction between Japanese and Chinese history, I remember a plot line in a soap opera a few years ago where a Chinese character was constantly harassed for being (a descendant of) the aggressors in WW2.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Man, politicians seem to have this foot to mouth syndrome often.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@mikihouse hiltler was able to change the constitution because his Nazi party went out and assassinated many of the opposition parties. very easy to change things when people fear those in power. need to learn a lot more about history mikimouse

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hitler was able to change the constitution because people were dissatisfied with it. Hitler rose to power because of the Great Depression that ensued in 1929 which led to many people losing jobs and wanted to return to strong nation thus the Nazi came to power. The German people are starving while the jews are flourishing, and the idea of EUGENICS with the belief of superior race supported by almost all scientist and governement around the world had led to the culmination of WWII. The great America, Great Britain, Italy and almost all industrialized nations were praisng the Germans for their great advancement in EUGENICS and were copying and learning from them. Not only after Hitler started his lunacy that they realized their mistake. After WWII the term Eugenics disappeared completely and never brought to the scientific world again. BTW, Hitler never grabbed power, it was given by Hidenburg.

So ASO is saying that if Japan would like to chnage the constitution, first, the govt must create a sense of URGENCY to protect the country from external threat. The dissatisfaction is already there, the govt just need to capitalize with it by fanning out nationalism and focusing on China and North Korea and to a small extent South Korea to roll the beat towards preservation of Japan against CLEAR and PRESENT DANGER. In doing so, the constitution can be changed in an instant. Just look at the great USA for their PATRIOTIC ACT.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

tmarie AUG. 05, 2013 - 09:28AM JST

Anyone else remember the girl's group - was it AKB or Morning Musume? - that made comments about "Uncle Hitler" a few years ago?

That girl band name is Cute. There were controversy about the TV Tokyo variety show Yorosen!, featuring Cute, included a part on Adolf Hitler in a segment called "Great Men of the World". In it, a Cute member, acting as a "teacher" giving a comic history class to other members, friendly called the dictator "Uncle Hitler", presented a drawing of him, impersonated him, and said that Hitler's speeches had a "soothing effect". It was back in 12/04/2008.

After that performance, they are no longer cute. They have lost their cuteness and one of the adoring fan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It isn't surprsing that he said that given that his anscestors were on the same side as Germany in WW2 and probably had some of the same attitudes towards their asians neighbors as did Germany. It is stated that Japan killed 10- 20 million people which puts them in the same league as their Nazi pals.

Another scary thing is that when you hear the response of the audience there seem to be a lot of voices who are quite sympathic to his opinion. It would be interesting to know exactly who was his audience and what standing they have in Japanese society. I think this opinion is not just limited to Mr Aso. Just how widely his opinion is his opinion accepted? If it is widely accepted we might just jave another Night of Crystal on our hands.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Not just Jews. The Japanese are willfully ignorant of their own history.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Only to someone who either feels guilty, or knows no better. Jew is a proper noun. Jewish=adjective Jew=noun

How is the word Jew a slur?

Probably the same way an "abbreviation" for the word "Japanese" has become a slur...

Moderator: Sorry, but discussion has ended on this point, per the moderator's earlier request.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zenpun, gee, thanks for telling me all that info. I didn't know - even though "I" posted a link that gives all that info...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

mikihouse: "So ASO is saying that if Japan would like to chnage the constitution"

They should be like the Nazis? Wow, you really do destroy your own credibility before the toes reach your taste buds. Or maybe your part of the apologist camp that suggest poor Aso, grandchild of war criminals who refused to admit his money was made by war slaves, is just misunderstood and he 'simply meant that democracy has no place in the issue and it should all be done quietly, so no one notices".

budgie: "The Japanese are willfully ignorant of their own history."

Don't tell that to people like mikihouse. They'll say they were misunderstood when you quote them DIRECTLY in more than one language.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So ASO is saying that if Japan would like to chnage the constitution, first, the govt must create a sense of URGENCY to protect the country from external threat.

I think everybody already got the point that Aso is suggesting to learn from the Nazis model to change the constitution in Japan so it could be done in.. how do you say ? Ah yes "in an instant" . I can see that we are very far from the so called "joke of gaffe", isn't it ? That is damned serious what Aso is saying.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I am assuming they are talking about Amending the Constitution to allow for military buildup?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Aso refused to comment on what he himself said because he's too stupid to be able to read the Kanji.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not just Jews. The Japanese are willfully ignorant of their own history.

I believe most of the world is willfully ignorant of their own history. They learn the history they want to learn.

Regarding Aso's comments, he was NOT talking about how the Nazis built concentration camps or gas chambers. He was talking about changing the constitution.

-38 ( +4 / -42 )

It was said that if Hitler died before ww2 started and before the holocaust he would have been remembered as 1 of germanys greatest political leaders. I in no way support him or his evil regime. Though using the Nazi as a reference was a mistake on the politicians fault. Hitler revised constitution brought Germany out of the depression. But to state facts Hitler also killed assassinated and murdered those who opposed him and his Nazi party.mainly other political groups

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Could anyone imagine the reaction of Japan if some politician in another foreign country made the comment that they should learn from the Americans and Hiroshima and just drop atomic bombs?

Could anyone imagine if some politician in another foreign country made the comment that they should learn from how the Americans changed their constitution before WWII. Does anyone here expect the response to be massive outrage from people making reference to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? No!

Japan continues to milk Hiroshima and Nagasaki... Exactly the opposite, they would never react in the same way that others have reacted to Aso's comments.

-38 ( +2 / -40 )

No!

That is probably related to the fact that the Nazis gassed and killed millions of people during WWII.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What I meant to write in my last post:

Japan continues to milk Hiroshima and Nagasaki...

Exactly the opposite, they would never react in the same way that others have reacted to Aso's comments.

-40 ( +2 / -42 )

It's one of the more obscure bits of WWII, but the Japanese ended up with a load of European Jewish refugees when they were running Shanghai, they were treated much the same as everyone else (ie not that well) and the Japanese commander declined to hand them over to the Nazis. The reason behind that refusal is open to a couple of different interpretations,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm appalled at the statistics that indicates that the majority of Japanese don't blame Aso for his gaffe. Perhaps they don't know how to blame the deputy PM for fear of retribution ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The German Constitution was never formally repealed. (from Wikipedia)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How many people know of the parliamentary maneuvers used by the earlt Nazi's to change Germany's constitution? That was the question. Not if you want to want to learn new ways to make an autobahn, or how to scapegoat, vilify and murder a highly productive minority member of ones society.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm appalled at the statistics that indicates that the majority of Japanese don't blame Aso for his gaffe.

If you actually read the comments, you would deduce that most people here don't think the "gaffe" is worth rebuking. Moreover, it is media spin trying to gain "click" value from the story. I don't think anyone is in fear of retribution, but you should question the reasons for voting this kind of person into power. Not exactly a stranger to this kind of controversy, is he?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No Miso: "If you actually read the comments, you would deduce that most people here don't think the "gaffe" is worth rebuking."

Ummm... no, but that would certainly be the case if you're selective about what you read and of your history. He's also been asked to resign, which is pretty indicative that people think it was worth rebuking.... or wait... did he just recant his statement and refuses to talk about it out of the goodness of his heart?

"...but you should question the reasons for voting this kind of person into power. Not exactly a stranger to this kind of controversy, is he?"

Agree with you there.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Actually there has been a lot of historical research performed on the failure of the weimar and how that allowed for the rise of the reich.

and almost all the blame is placed squarely at the feet of the victors of the first world war- as they continued to extract the treaty dues while watching germany as a country die. -- and this is interesting- germany as a country did not exist during world war one.

Hitler did maneuver not just around the consitution of Germany but also strict treaty obligations, so from a strategic viewpoint he did well- and from his countries viewpoint he managed to stop the starvation.

there is probably still photo's available of people using wheelbarrows of Weimar to buy a loaf of bread - the easest way is to think of an ounce of gold (everyone was on the gold standard ) in 1919- 170 marks =1 oz in 1923 around 87 trillion marks i believe (87.000.000.000.000.00) for the same ounce

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@smith

Ummm... no, but that would certainly be the case if you're selective about what you read and of your history. He's also been asked to resign, which is pretty indicative that people think it was worth rebuking.

Hmm, do you think that politics in ANY country would be polarised, or people with opposing views may exist? Generally speaking, in Japan, the opposition ask the party in power to resign every 37.4 minutes. However, I don't see any substance (and I do mean SUBSTANCE) behind the negative views here. For the record, selective is fine by me, if it includes the major talking points. Why waste time on irrelevant talk?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Aso's gaffe exposes Japanese ignorance of Jews"

not just Jews, but all things related to WWII. They don't even know their own history - if you want proof, just read any of the history textbooks used in high schools here, whether A or B, it doesn't matter.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am just back from a trip to Berlin. The first thing I saw there were huge billboards saying: "How we killed diversity!"

What a shock vs. the denying attitude from Japan!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There is no doubt about it. Aso is an ignoramus. So, having recruited him to become deputy prime minister, who do you think is the greater one?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How is the word Jew a slur?

When it's used as an adjective, and not a noun.

Examples: Jew boy, Jew lawyer, Jew Congress.

As a noun, its more than fine; it's appropriate. I identify my self as "a Jew" and not as "Jewish." I think many older and secular Jews, in America at least, shy away from self identifying as Jews, and prefer to say Jewisish, b/c of the anti-semitisim of their day. As my father, who is nearly 80 puts it, "the word Jew was usually proceeding by something like "goddam" or "shifty" and followed by nouns, like "bastard" "boy" or "lawyer."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He didn't say anything about Jews, he was talking about political tactics. Its stupid to EVER favorably comment on Nazi tactics but the headline is still misleading.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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