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'Railway Man' revisits war prisoner's horror and forgiveness

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a train from that railway can still be seen in all its glory at the yushukan in yasukuni

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Forgiveness, so close, yet so far.....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Seen a few of he previews and it looks like an interesting movie. Plan on seeing it. Not to just jump on the "Japan bashing" wagon, but in some of these camps, Koreans were used as guards and they were just as vicious as the Japanese gurads. Yet I don't see SK brining that up at all. Still it seems like a good movie and i will watch it.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Forced labour used by Japan? No! Never happened! All Japan's POWs stayed in 3-star hotels, had meals prepared by chefs, had laundry service, daily massages from sweet young Japanese ladies, worked an 8 hour shift with good pay, benefits and a top-notch pension plan. Can't wait to hear how Japan will deny that any of this ever happened.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Coming soon to a cinema nearby?

Or maybe not....

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I'm sure it will be interesting movie and a bit awkward to see in a theatre here. I'll stream it or something myself instead of waiting. Bushido (as interpreted and corrupted by Imperial Japanese Army), had little empathy for enemy soldiers who got captured or who surrendered.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

a bit awkward to see in a theatre here

Is this even going to be released in cinemas over here? Probably straight to DVD. Quietly.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

A story based on fact!, will never be released in Japan...unless AKB 48 are in it, starving and beating prisoners to death.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

The film opens in Japan on April 19.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It looks like it will be on at three cinemas in Tokyo. The big chains like Toho and Movix aren't bothering to show it, or at least its not in their release schedule. Cine palace in Shibuya is showing it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sounds interesting. I wonder if there will be any reaction to it in Japan. On a side note, this documentary is very informative.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03z09n9

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It looks like it will be on at three cinemas in Tokyo.

Wouldn't hold your breath. Wouldn't be surprised if the sound-truck folks try to disrupt the theaters as they have done before on similar films.

Like many men of his generation Lomax didn’t talk about the war but relived his experiences in nightmares,

So true. My uncle was a POW of the Japanese and he refused to ever talk about it. Took it all to his grave. Says a lot about Lomax that he was able to forgive his tormentor.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

jerseyboy: "Wouldn't hold your breath. Wouldn't be surprised if the sound-truck folks try to disrupt the theaters as they have done before on similar films."

Exactly! Because... you know... none of what the film portrays actually happened and Japan really only gave the area in SE Asia education and modern infrastructure!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He said people have contacted him and Patti Lomax saying their father, grandfather or uncle had been there too during the war and hadn't spoken about it until now.

Why had not they?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Years back I went to the Bridge on the River Kwai, where as is typical of these types of places the J-tourists magically disappear...........

Cant see this being shown in many theatres or for long here & yes I too wouldn't be surprised if a few loud trucks start barking non-sense in the vicinity

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Wouldn't hold your breath. Wouldn't be surprised if the sound-truck folks try to disrupt the theaters as they have done before on similar films.

Don't hold my breath.. Seriously? I don't think this film is really on many people's radar outside of the UK/Australia. It seems it was released 11th April in the US and a search of showtimes in NYC throws up only two places showing it, one less than Tokyo.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

80393APR. 15, 2014 - 07:52AM JST a train from that railway can still be seen in all its glory at the yushukan in yasukuni

Yes, indeed, but you won't find any reference to the horrors and great suffering of thousands of POW's (British, Australian, US etc.) who built it. That museum is a disgracefully apologetic depiction of Japanese war-time history. Such a missed opportunity to educated the Japanese public and the brutal truths of the war.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

My grandfather fought in the Pacific war, and was among those who liberated many POW's from the Japanese. That the film stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman is disappointing, in stories like this, A-list stars tend to diminish rather than enhance things.

Here are some memories which were passed to my from my grandfather, and what he saw. Shallow graves with human limbs sticking out of them, because the Japanese would not allow graves to be dug more than 6" deep. Living adult men who weighed an average of 80 pounds, and who were covered with sores because they were not fed well, and lack of vitamins caused the skin problems. A dozen survivors of the war dying every night because their bodies were too torn by disease and malnourishment to recover.

The daily beatings while they were prisoners, which got worse later in the war when the B29's began to appear overhead almost every day. The various forms of torture carried out on POW's, which included things like being forced at gunpoint to drink as much water as could be forced into you, and once full, to have Japanese solidiers jump onto your belly to burst your guts. Being hung upside down so Japanese guards could urinate into your nostrils. And as bad as these things were, Chinese prisoners received even worse tortures. The entrances to Japanese occupied towns could be discerned by the Chinese heads rotting on poles nearby.

Some of those very few who survived the railway work said than 100,000 POW and native laborers died in the railroad's contruction.

If you ever meet an old WW2 Australian or British veteran or former POW, ask him what the words "half his luck" mean, and what memories those words bring back.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

sangetsu03Apr. 15, 2014 - 05:20PM JST

And as bad as these things were, Chinese prisoners received even worse tortures. The entrances to Japanese occupied towns could be discerned by the Chinese heads rotting on poles nearby.

Did your grandfather fight in China?

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

The book was a good read. Takashi Nagase still lives in Kurashiki, I believe. This film should be about atonement and forgiveness, not repeating past horrors.

Seeing it, and showing it to our children, we should vow never to let such a thing ever happen again. (Difficult, because people are always capable of despicable actions as we can see around the world today.)

8 ( +8 / -0 )

CH3CHO, the local population had many ethnic chinese, as there are today. Also, many Chinese -Malays worked in civil service. My grandfather lived through it, two of his brothers died, one in a camp. The treatment of POWs is a continuing shame to Japan.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

jojotoday

Is this even going to be released in cinemas over here? Probably straight to DVD. Quietly.

CrickyAPR. 15, 2014 - 11:01AM JST

A story based on fact!, will never be released in Japan...unless AKB 48 are in it, starving and beating prisoners to death.

Wow. Lots of pre-judging going on here. Prejudice you might even say,... Thanks for the review of the book, Nandakandamanda

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Imperial Army would put prisoners in pits with corrugated iron rooves ("hot boxes"), so it was basically like an oven. Toosey was held in one for days on end with rats gnawing at his feet - while he was still alive. Then you had prisoners filled with litres of water till their stomachs were about to burst - only to have the IA jump up and down on them till the prisoner basically died.

I wonder if the sheer horror of what went on will be portrayed...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Diplomatically, how does Japan's advanced 21st century culture, people, both social and governmental increase the level of mutual understanding, awareness, or responsibility towards perceived levels of shame Japan’s official view of history prior to 1945 (The Empire of Japan)?.

Questions will always manifestly remain unresolved, concerning responsibility, and imperial accountability.

Eric Lomax harrowing memoirs, are a testament to reconciliation and forgiveness, however only after confronting his tormentor and torture Nagase.

Lomax account is an excruciating read, horror compounded with revenge. Nagase's, book Crosses And Tigers, recants the levels of inhumanity wrecked on Lomax, Nagase's atonement reflects a deep sense of guilt and remorse. Is it possible that the present government of Japan can demonstrably convey Nagase's level of atonement and why?

My own personal experience is of a contemporary Japan, divided discourse is reflected inter- generationally. Viewing “The Railway Man" will not change the past. Could publicized screenings of the “The Railway Man" in junior and senior high schools bring acknowledgement? I am not sure it would sorry

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think as many people as possible should see the movie. It's an incredible story of survival but also forgiveness and reconciliation. The story of Lomax and his tormentor who became a Buddhist priest is amazing.

I have a relative who survived the Burma railway and because of what he went through hated Japanese till the day he died.

Yes, Koreans were often the most vicious guards. But the whole system of beating people lower than you just made the lower ranks and Korean guards monsters. Get beaten up, and people want to beat someone under them up - or at least aren't that willing to be tolerant!.

But, it's a great pity that this story is just the cause of people on this site trying to score points.

No, the movie probably won't get the publicity that you would expect with Kidman and Firth and that's a pity. But, there is no point in this generation carrying on the wounds of the last.

Japan is a different country now. Let's understand each other and get along.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Controversial or not, the fact JNR Class C56 31--which was used on this railway--got recovered and returned to Japan is still an amazing feat in many ways.

I would like to someday see a television miniseries that tells the true story of this railway and the tragic circumstances it was built under.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sounds like an interesting movie. One thing to point out is that the Japanese of those days had never lost a war and the idea of having to deal with prisoners was a new thing to them. They believed that it was shameful to be captured so couldn't understand the system that the West tried to impose on them (i.e. through the Geneva Convention etc.). Humiliating prisoners was the only reaction they could think of because they couldn't understand why the prisoners didn't kill themselves when caught (or just before being caught). In all Japan's wars before that, there were no prisoners because the victor would just kill the vanquished. It was as simple as that. Not saying this is an excuse but people need to understand the history behind their actions. Even Western countries were pretty simple in the 1930s and 1940s (compared to today) and Japan, of course, was even less enlightened in many areas.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thats a really interesting perspective serendipitous, and has a definite ring of truth to it. But where they turn from misunderstood-culture into monsters is where they dont simply kill their prisoners, but torture them, slowly and painfully. It even defeats their own objectives - did they think their railway was going to be built more quickly by starving and beating their workers? No. They did it just because they could. And what upsets people to this day is the denial they still have about the truth of their history. RIP Mr Lomax. You were clearly an amazing man.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

NathalieB

It's a good point though I believe that Western prisoners naturally resisted helping to build things for the Japanese because they knew it was helping the enemy's objectives. Like in the movies we see such as 'Bridge on the River Kwai' and even 'The Great Escape', a prisoner's mission was to try to escape and/or sabotage and destroy things so as to not make it easy for the captors. Hence the Japanese also couldn't handle this kind of 'insubordination' or even 'rudeness' (in the eyes of the Japanese anyway) so the guards became more and more brutal and unscrupulous. Again not an excuse for their despicable behaviour but necessary if we want to try to understand the workings of the Japanese mind of those days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nationalism did that.

I fear the nationalism I see in PM Abe.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

PEOPLE, the war is over, almost all of those that did the atrocities are long dead and yet no one outside of Japan is willing to accept already given apologies time after time from people who, just because they are Japanese, are condemned to being the ones that did it.

Japan was not the sole country that used people in that way yet they seem to be the only ones that get blamed for doing it.

America for one took any one being Japanese, imprisoned them and their families, stole their businesses, money, property and after the war those Japanese got nothing returned to them, NOTHING.

They were even forced to work by an ungrateful government that they had been citizens of since coming to her shores.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

It just goes to show the folly of right wing Japanese nationalists trying to re-write it's history - what Japan did in WW2 is very well documented and the world won't forget.

Both my Grandfathers fought against the Japanese in that war, and neither thought very much of their enemy - as did the rest of the population of the same age, because the stories made it home and all got to hear them, including myself as a kid.

Both men felt as though the Japanese had no honour, dignity or decency, which is ironic given how much of those character traits the Japanese attribute to themselves.

However, I think it's important not to use this as a Japan bashing step off point, because it shouldn't be. This is history, and you have to be able to forgive people for what happened. Japan was put on trial afterwards and the nation dismantled. This is not the responsibility of the modern Japanese.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Some time ago I heard that a similar movie was in the works based on a book about Olympic runner Louis Zamperini who was a POW in the Omori camp (near present-day Omori Station and Shinagawa station on the Keihon Tohoku Line). I wonder if there are still plans to make that into a movie.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ nandakandamanda:

Takashi Nagase still lives in Kurashiki, I believe.

Lived.

Takashi Nagase died in mid-2011

1 ( +1 / -0 )

America for one took any one being Japanese, imprisoned them and their families, stole their businesses, money, property and after the war those Japanese got nothing returned to them, NOTHING.

Bear -- wrong, on so many levels. For just one, the U.S. Congress passed a law in 1988 giving each internee $20,000 and an aplogy. Not saying this was sufficient, or makes what the U.S. did any less wrong, but please at least get your facts right before posting rants like yours. But, more to the point, falling back on the usual "but Japan wasn't the only one" excuse is simply a dodge that Japan has hid behind for decades in order to not fully accept the moral repugnance of what they did. How did Japanese POW's get treated compared to Allied ones?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Jerseyboy Then I want to ask you what Japanese should do with atrocities done by Soviet toward Japanese. More Japanese people died in soviet for forced labor than the POW died at the railway, though I am not denying many people suffered building railways.

If I talk about Japan and Soviet relationship, Japan did not attack soviet like Germany did, But I know there were some conflicts at borders and Germany and Japan had alliance but Japanese gov did not know Hitler was going to attack soviet until Nazis actually attacked soviet which surprised Imperial Japanese gov). So it was Soviet who broke non aggression treaty pact between Japan and killed and raped Japanese and took over islands, and I think Japan has more right to say things toward soviet than to other allies, when I look at these facts( But I also won't deny Soviet attacking Japan helped Japan surrender more quickly as a result).

Yeltsin has apologized to Japan for the treatment of POWs in 1993. I think no compensations are paid to those who died one reason would be there is peace treaty of 1956. Should Japanese people who survived soviet, or relatives of those who died in Soviet should still be hating Russia for what the soviet has done because they have not compensated? I personally respect people who has forgiven Russia and trying to build good relationship with Russia than people who are still full of hatred toward Russia, though I won't deny they suffered in Soviet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The daily beatings while they were prisoners, which got worse later in the war when the B29's began to appear overhead almost every day. The various forms of torture carried out on POW's, which included things like being forced at gunpoint to drink as much water as could be forced into you, and once full, to have Japanese solidiers jump onto your belly to burst your guts. Being hung upside down so Japanese guards could urinate into your nostrils. And as bad as these things were, Chinese prisoners received even worse tortures. The entrances to Japanese occupied towns could be discerned by the Chinese heads rotting on poles nearby.

Yeah, from my impression, for all the atrocities Nazis committed, a lot of their killings were systematic except the ones managed by Mangele and a few others. On the other hand, Imperial Army was on another level like they were possessed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

An amazing man, a horrifying story. An incredible reconciliation. Peace.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Raymond, if what you are referring to, is the train engine or part of a train at the museum at Yasukuni, there was an explanation in Japanese about how thousands died during the making of the railroad.

I think some of you could remember that there were always stories of guards in POW camps who WEREN'T monsters. I you don't know that, you haven't read or listened enough.

Also remember the incredible clash of cultures that took place. A look of defiance or disdain or the unwillingness to bow deeply seems like a tough thing to do in western culture, but it's unthinkable for a subordinate to do to a superior - but even more so in a POW situation.

Yeah, I probably know more about the inhumane conditions than most of you as I've read about it and talked to POWS for decades. But the longer I live in Japan the more I realise some men made things harder on themselves. It was all tragic. Amidst the horror, you can learn about survival but also forgiveness from this movie.

It's a pity it won't be more popular as I think it would do a lot of good if as many japanese saw this as saw Eien no Zero.)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What drives a human being to such a levels of brutality? Once when I requested Grandfather to tell a scary story dispensing with Hans Christian Andersen 'The Princess and the Pea', Grandpop recanted 'The battle of Towton' in all its gory glory, 'reckons as many as 75,000 men, perhaps 10% of the country's fighting-age population, took the field that day'....

A total blind obedience , yes,I recite an English example, with a near spiritual belief that the atrocities being committed at justified. This mind-set is just not relevant to 21st century Japan, for all modern cultures shame and dishonour are struggles between guilt and ceremonial days of remembrance. Perhaps and respectfully, 'The Railway Man' could well be a means to a rightful end but it will need full explanation to balance the delivery.

http://www.economist.com/node/17722650

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2, the Japanese government revealed that during the war, they went through all prisons, and told men, you can rot in prison or go die a hero in the battlefield. So they took the worst elements of Japanese society, put them in uniform, and gave them guns. That is not to excuse the attrocities, but only to explain at least in part why the behaviour of Japanese "soldiers" was so attrocious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

America for one took any one being Japanese, imprisoned them and their families, stole their businesses, money, property and after the war those Japanese got nothing returned to them, NOTHING.

And the Japanese took all western foreigners living in the areas they conquered and did the same thing. Except for one thing. Every Japanese internee in America was housed, fed, and given medical treatment when needed, and most returned to their homes and businesses. Western internees held by the Japanese were starved, denied medical treatment and medicines, and were used as slave labor or "comfort women", not many survived to see the end of the war.

Did your grandfather fight in China?

No, he didn't. The Chinese which were killed were those who were living in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Then, just as now, many Chinese live in these places.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

sangetsu03Apr. 16, 2014 - 06:34PM JST

There are many photos showing severed heads of Chinese displayed on poles at the city gates in China. But as far as I know, the same did not happen in Indonesia or Malaysia.

In China, Chinese kept their tradition of displaying severed heads of Chinese criminals at city gates even in the 20th century. Such photos were used as war propaganda.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Good film & tbf the "A" listers gave it a good bit of needed publicity in the UK . I was a bit disappointed in the film as it drifts a bit from the book & also doesn't portray the awful torture & conditions POWs got, to get an idea of that get the book & also read "the forgotten highlander" (i think its called).

As a brit i am well aware of the wrong horrific things western countries have done & do, the problem is it seems is many Japanese don't know their history . One of their few failings in my opinion

2 ( +3 / -1 )

From a left wing and pacifist point of view, I am proud to say none of my relatives fought in any war in the last 100 years or more, I have absolutely no sympathy for these men. They were, for the most part, tools of White Imperialism in Asia merely serving corporate interests. What did they expect ... to be appointed an Asia coolie to look after them and served tiffin up some hilltop retreat until the war was over?

Just why they worshipped is worth questioning. If they and their descendent are to be angry at anyone, it ought to be at Churchill and the British government for abandoning them to face what they knew as inevitable. That remains one of the greatest disgraces of the entire war ... but it's always easier to distract from it by focusing attention on the "evil Japanese".

@ Peacetrain

I was interested by your comment about Korean brutality. A British friend's father was also a POW in a Japanese camp. He said exactly the same thing; that the Japanese officers were tough, but it was the Korean guards who were brutal. I've never seen the two differentiated in cinema nor military/academic papers.

What was Japan to do? It could not feed its own people at home or properly supply its own military. It had precisely the same moral right to the resources in the rest of Asia as the Europeans (meaning the same or none). Mass surrender was not only not cultural acceptable in Japan, it was an absolute disgrace to do so whilst leaving one's family and community undefended, but it can also be used as a military or political weapon.

Apart for the seriousness of the lack of resources, I am not sure what happened to harden Japan's resolve on dealing with surrendering troops. It did not do so during the Russian War. There are numerous reports of Russian soldier enjoy such pleasurable luxuries that they used to queue up to surrender asking to be sent to Matsuyama when they were allowed to use the Dogo Onsen and there is still a perfectly maintain cemetery for them to this day. Japan was also an impeccable ally during WWI.

I suspect it was the racism the elite experienced at the League of Nations, and the Japanese emigrant working class experienced in the USA in the early part of the century.

Of course, this statement does not tow the usual "evil Japan" party line of "Abe is right winger ... any view but our's is revisionist ... denial" etc and I am afraid that, yet again, it will be misunderstood and censored by the moderators, but it's a serious question to ask ...

What happened to change the attitude so much?

The party line, echoed in this movie, is that the Japanese are somehow intrinsically evil and the Christian white man is blameless and superior but I can't swallow that as at all.

What were the European's doing in Asia in the first place? If an employee of Blackwater (aka Academi) or some US oil company was shot in Iraq or Afganistan, would I feel particularly sympathetic to them? Would I emote over a movie of it?

No, I'd probably just think they should be there in the first place messing about with someone else's nation.

Honest question ... what is the different between them and the Brits in Singapore, Dutch and French in Indonesia etc? Their history was hardly exemplary (understatement of the year).

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I kind of agree with Mr. Ed. But I think it is too bad that instead of helping Asia free itself of European Imperialism, Japan became an Imperialist monster itself. It was modelled on the Britian, which is also an island. And remember "The sun never sets on British empire"? I guess they used to say that with pride, but it only reflects the brutality of western civilization

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I accept that ... except it was not "Japan" or anywhere near all Japanese, the vast majority of whom remained what they had always been for 2,000 years or more; simple, decent, basic farmers, fisherfolk, craftspeople and artists etc.

The accusation is not even fairly put to the entire military, as there were many decent soldiers and leaders. It cannot even be put fairly to the entire government, as there were many dissenters, pacifists, social democrats etc and, as we know, it all started from undemocratically agreed actions and, if we go back to the very beginning, the provocations of foreigners whether, e.g. the Christians (Portuguese), Russians or Americans all in their turn.

One must reject the popular opinion of all these matter because it is far to vague and even now still mired in WWII propaganda designed to dehumanise ordinary Japanese people, making them expendable and their lives of no moral value ... a line the Chinese and Koreans nationalists are repeating ad nauseum today.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I showed a few female Japanese co-workers the preview on IMDB. Of course when they heard Nicole Kidman they were all excited to see the film, but when the preview went on to show the POW scenes, one shrieked that she couldn't watch this film (evne though she saw the Japanese actors) but that it was too "scary" for her and upsetting.

I guess that is what people have been saying, that the generations that have followed the war have tried to put those bad feelings away and pretend that what happened didn't. But, these same coworkers will give me a long lecture on why the A-bombs were dropped on Japan and how much Japan has suffered. Go figure.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Mister Ed

Some of your ideas were interesting. It is undeniable that Japan has made many mistakes during and around WWII, and there might have been many things Japan could have done to avoid war from happening.

But I sympathize with your view that Germany and Japan and Italy are solely responsible for the WWII is omitting some facts that need to be considered. One of the popular argument is that the Versailles treaty put too much burden on Germany that it helped the rise of Hitler. That might be true to some extent, but at the same time any victorious nation would have done similar thing to Germany (and actually Japan had been asking for more rewards for helping the Britain in WWI).

Good thing is that many nations learned from their mistake and some nations avoided asking for compensation toward Japan in San Francisco peace treaty, which helped Japan and I have a feeling of appreciation for nations like the US, Britain, Netherland etc. for this, and I think Japanese people should know this fact if they don't.

Other thing that might have influenced Japan is the idea of imperialism. The Japanese people before Meiji period felt fear, that they might be colonized by the west, watching other asian nations being colonized. By Meiji restoration, they thought that the way to survive is to make strong military and economy just like western powers (fukoku kyouhei), which later make Japan into another imperialistic nation with militarism.

The imperialism was still present even after the WWII and cases like Indonesian independence war, which I think was virtually an invasion by Dutch on Indonesia, not much difference from what Japan did to asian nations, however ,there was also strong criticism toward Dutch around the world, which led to Indonesian independence. But imperialism was just one side of the west's influence on Japan, there are many other good influences like modernization, democracy, human rights and so on, which should not be overlooked.

This way of thinking also works on China. For example, China might be acting in someway similar to imperialistic nation, one reason is that CCP is in power. Chiang Kai-shek, before WWII, was almost about to wipe out the communist party from China, but one of the main reason he could not was because of Japan's invasion on China. And it was mainly Chiang Kai-shek that was fighting against Japan, not the CCP, which might have weakened Chiang's power and later lead to the CCP's victory. The imperialism and exploitation by west and invasion by Japan might also be influencing the act of China today. I feel sorry for China about invasion, but I also feel sorry toward Chinese people, for helping CCP rise to power.

So the view that tries to put less responsibility on Japan might not be popular(especially in China and Korea), but holding that view this way, also should make Japan look at China or Korea with more sympathy, only reducing responsibility of Japan might be a double standard.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Culture had nothing to do with the treatment of prisoners or anyone else by the Japanese Imperial Army. Japan and China fought on the allied side during WWI and Japan was praised for their treatment of prisoners of war. So what happened to Japan to go 180 degrees from Taisho to Showa? Japan became a fascist country in its own way, but still a fascist country. Germany, everything and everyone was for the State, in Japan it was for the Emperior. It is interesting that no one in Japan has ever tried to figure out what happened to Japan during the beginning of Showa. That is probably because those who were in power then is still in power.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ka chan

I think you are right that militarism(fascism) made Japanese soldiers mistreat prisoners. But serendipitous is also right that the many Japanese soldiers thought surrendering as dishonorable and had little respect toward prisoners. And this surrendering is dishonorable idea became stronger during militarism.

Japan became militaristic in showa, you are right. But Japan had not been fighting in foreign land for more than 250years before Meiji. And they suddenly started fighting against china, russia, annexing korea in Meiji period which is about 40 years, why did they change so much? I cannot ignore influence of imperialism in explaining this.

As you say, Japan turns in to more militaristic state in early Showa, and that combined with already existing imperialism made Japan wage unreasonable war of invasion, but the expansionism itself did not suddenly start from showa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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