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Thais debate use of 'Death Railway' for World Heritage application

20 Comments
By Prangthong Jitcharoenkul

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Look, Japan is not China right? They are not that immature and sensitive that they need to pressure other countries into submission and denial of history right? There was not much sensitivity shown to the poor sods worked to death building this impossible railway nor were they too worried about hurting their feelings either. It is what it is. That was then and this is now. You face your shadows, grow and move on. Out of respect for the 10 thousand that died in appalling conditions making it no whitewashing please. Just opens old wounds.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

The Emperor voiced remorse again the other day, and if that is what you have, you stand back and let people call things what they like.

(the movie is partially fictionalized, in case you feel like watching it again)

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Already makes a load of money and is famous, so doesn’t need listing.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

concerned using the name "Death Railway" could cause bad feelings and an unnecessary friction with Japan.

You have got to be kidding me. Let's get rid of Auschwitz because we don't want to offend Germany.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

"Out of respect for the 10 thousand that died ...."

the number around 10 times that amount, over 100,000. 90,000 of them were Asian civilians.

It doesn't matter if they use the term "Death Railway." People, especially the bereaved, will used that term anyway.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Pukey2Today  09:40 am JST

concerned using the name "Death Railway" could cause bad feelings and an unnecessary friction with Japan.

You have got to be kidding me. Let's get rid of Auschwitz because we don't want to offend Germany.

Comment makes no sense. Poland didn't register it with UNESCO as "Death Camp". They chose Auschwitz. Likewise it's up to the Thais to decide whether to register it as Death Railway or Burma Railway, or Siam-Burma Railway or Thai-Burma Railway, all names in use.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Truth is truth. Don’t wipe it under the rug. Why should they? Allow this to happen again? Do people really change? Governments? I doubt Japan will go to war with Thailand today. What do the Thais feel? It was their land. From many countries soldiers suffered and died. What deep sorrow.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Comefort railway, that wouldn't upset the Japanese

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Cricky you beat me to it!

I remember visiting Thailand in the early 90s swarms of J-tourists everywhere EXCEPT when I went to visit the death railway & nearby POW camp, not a SINGLE Japanese in sight, makes me almost wonder if they know about the history involved.....nah not likely, just NOT in the Japanese tourist guides of the day, wonder if it is still like that!

Clearly it is up to Thai's, but I hope they don't water down for overly sensitive Japanese

6 ( +11 / -5 )

If I were them I would include "River Kwai", possibly ' River Kwai bridge', in the official UNESCO designation simply because that's what most tourists, tour operators etc call it.

"Death Railway & River Kwai" site (or something like that) would get my vote.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Cricky beat me to it - Comfort Railway.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

"I insist on using the same well-known name. I do not want to point out Japan's past conduct, nor do I blame them, but it is the fact," one of the participants said.

I totally agree! I get sick of the world trying to be politically correct and hide the atrocities committed by the Japanese imperial army in the first half of last century. I also get sick of Japan attempting to downplay and deny their actions during that time. It is ‘the death railway’and that is what it should be called.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Look, Japan is not China right? They are not that immature and sensitive that they need to pressure other countries into submission and denial of history right?

Which is why the j-gov’t never goes to foreign countries to ‘request’ them to take down their ‘comfort women’ statues. Oh, wait. They do that all the time. Even to ‘request’ a Nanking massacre reference be removed from a US histoery textbook.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Even to ‘request’ a Nanking massacre reference be removed from a US histoery textbook.

LOL, the gall!!!!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Lost on many here will be the fact that this opinion was NOT based on what any Japanese person said, but simply the opinions of the Thais themselves. Don't project your anti-Japanese biases onto the political correct thoughts of Thai people.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

It doesn't matter what they name it, unless it's called: "Reminder of a mild hike in the woods, where volunteers modernized the region and helped Japan defend Asia Railroad" Japan will complain about it being recognized at studied at all. They'll probably even threaten the UN with extortion again.... then submit another 30 places in Japan to be recognized.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

oldman13: "Lost on many here will be the fact that this opinion was NOT based on what any Japanese person said, but simply the opinions of the Thais themselves."

Actually, what's lost on YOU (we know how 'objective' you are when it's Japan's atrocities being discussed), is that they have been under pressure not to use the name "Death Railway". But hey, don't take our word for it, read the article:

"...adding that Japanese officials have expressed concerns about the use of the name to him."

"Don't project your anti-Japanese biases onto the political correct thoughts of Thai people."

Yeah, and since you were wrong, try not throwing out the old "anti-Japan" bull just because you can't get your own facts straight and engage in the very thing you demand others don't do in your post.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Lost on many here will be the fact that this opinion was NOT based on what any Japanese person said, but simply the opinions of the Thais themselves. 

So that means stating a fact, not a politically correct opinion, would mean more coming from a Japanese person rather than the people of the victimized country?

Well you know what, many in Asia would love nothing more than for Japanese people to open up about their past and tell the truth, if not, seek it. But some in Asia are not going to wait for that to happen.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why not be honest and call it like it was. Time for Japan to own up to its war crimes. However I would sugget that Japan demand that other countries do so as well, including the United States, Britain and France, just like Germany has. Unfortunately war crimes are a constant in war, as in the Viet Nam War that I fought in which followed the usual scorched earth poicy. If you fight a war at least be honest about what you did.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Read The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, Winner of the Man Booker Prize. The scene in the rain-drenched tent between the Japanese captain of the crew building the death railroad and the strung-out visiting major is unforgettable - impulsive, self-abnegating acceptance of illegitimate authority wrapped in gauzy myth - and a clear-eyed metaphor for how that myth informs Japanese behavior now as it did then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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