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HK remembers 'Black Christmas' of 1941 when Japan took over

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© 2011 AFP

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"But instead of bringing peace to the island, the surrender began almost four years of brutal Japanese occupation in which allied prisoners were tortured and abused, local villages razed and women raped on a large scale."

Reworded, no doubt, in Japanese text-books to say, "colonization and any subsequent 'regrettable' actions were necessary for the stability of the region. The Imperial army engaged in no negative acts."

That is, of course, if this is mentioned at all, which I doubt.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

How you guys think if oneday 2 strangers fighting fiercely in your home for the ownership of part of your house? So this 'Black Christmas' was a truely sad story, especially for Chinese! Do you guys understand why Chinese react to outside threat so strongly nowadays?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Lest we forget these brave Canucks, Brits, Indians and Hong Kongese who fought in vain - and to those who were subsequently imprisoned and brutally tortured. It is truly regrettable that it has taken 70 years for them to receive an apology - and the fact that these blokes accepted the apology at all after that time shows they are stronger, bigger men than their oppressors ever were.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

'yosun' has a valid point.

The battle was between occupying forces, and if the allied troops suffered months and years of brutality, the local mostly innocent Chinese living in Hong Kong and Singapore suffered far, far worse.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Wrong Smith

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Why does this need to be mentioned as the biggest news?! Not exactly a current problem or Christmas like.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Yup, agree tmarie

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

I think it's time people stopped harping on the apologies that Japan never gave and started looking toward reconciliation and remembrance for all who died fighting the war. The people who suffered atrocities at the hands of the Japanese have every right to demand an apology and be indignant at the half-hearted apologies of the current administration. There is, however, no point for us of the new generation to carry on grudges from the past for no other reason than pride and self-righteous indignation. The amount of people left alive today who suffered number as little as the number of Japanese who committed the crimes in cold blood. Continuing to blame the newer generation of Japanese only breeds an endless chain of vengeance that has no positive outcome.

If WW2 was an indirect result of the harshness of the Versailles treaty, then the least we can do is to not repeat the mistakes of that past. Violence begets violence, and grace begets grace. There is no reason why we who have never directly suffered under Japanese occupation cannot forgive - to forgive is not to forget, as long as we remember, and strive for peace, there is no reason to hang on to useless grudges.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

It is a cruel race. In peace and war.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

How much longer are you going to look for an apology that in all likelihood will never be forthcoming because of the nature of politicians . The decision makers and military men of that period are long gone, even children born in 1945 at the end of the war are old grannies and grandpa's now. The Japan of that time is as likely to make a reappearance as the Tokugawa shogunate. If you don't forgive Japan at least realize that the people inhabiting Japan today are not of the same mindset as their grandfathers. They are people like you, trying to do for their families and to eke out a little happiness in life.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

But instead of bringing peace to the island, the surrender began almost four years of brutal Japanese occupation in which allied prisoners were tortured and abused, local villages razed and women raped on a large scale.

I guess Hong Kong's part of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was due for implementation once the U.S. and allies stopped the aggression against the Japanese liberators. (This would make a good explanation for a display at the Yushukan.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan has apologized repeatedly for its actions in the war. I don't see the Chinese apologizing for human rights abuses, not the Russians.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

All colonial powers committed abuses. The Japanese were probably worse, but I'm only using the word "probably" because many historians aren't sure which nation's actions were the most brutal. Any apology from Russia for 40 years of imposed communism in Eastern Europe? Any apology from North Korea for its torture camps?

Any apology from anyone except Japan ????

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The Japanese government's failure to apologize to a more peaceful country than itself, Canada, my home country, illustrates the narrow thinking and ineptitude of the Japanese government. In my view, neither the acts of what has been labeled World War II by Japan in Hawaii, HK or any where else reflected the true beliefs and desires of the beautiful people of Japan. Since the 16th century, warlords were allowed tno rule parts of Japan. The central government was, and continues to be weak, dishonest and seless.

My maternal gradfather fought in WW II for the Canadians. Maybe Japan's act of apology might somewhat relieve the negative feelings he had that caused him to burn his uniform and dispose of all souvenirs of the Wars in Asia and Europe upon his return to Canada in 1945.

The Japanese government must change so that leaders of character can make sure that Japan does more positive things.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Wrong Smith

Hey great way to add to the discussion. your next word needed to be "because"........ Does wrong with no context even mean anything? SIJ had a point so if you disagree with it enunciate why. Have you read Japanese history text books? They are so vague and revisionist about things the writers view as negative, SIJ actually makes a humorous and on topic point.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan doesn't care at all as to whether the events really happened nor the lessons from them. For its national defense, she relies on a superpower that recently and openly commit wars of aggression and torture prisoners of war.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@NeoJamal: Actually many Japanese still glorifying their wars against neighbours in WW2 and they see themselves were war obbressors! It is definately a waste of time when talking 'security issue' with japan! An untrustworthy neighbours with a loudsy noise!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

just-a-guy, I cannot understand your post.

Are you saying the Japanese see themselves as the oppressors, or the oppressed? And... right-wing nationalists... make a loud noise? Well, there are right wingers, but they are in a serious minority.

In my experience living here for well over thirty years, there are very, very few people who glorify the war against their neighbors. The huge majority on the other hand are quiet, responsible, hardworking people who rarely give war a thought. Their education was 180 degrees opposite to Japan's pre-war education. They seem puzzled by the things people from neighboring countries sometimes say about Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

8000+ dead, I mean will humans ever change. People say without war we wouldnt have a lot of the tech we have today but In most situation I'd rather give up the tech.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tmarie

Why does this need to be mentioned as the biggest news?! Not exactly a current problem or Christmas like.

We should be thinking of Christmas cheer and drinking eggnog. Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations should also be laid to rest permanently.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you check your local bookstores, sometimes you 'll find pictorial books that featured " censored " ww2 pictures of Japanese military invading/executing civilians/POW. I don't know if this means glorifying their past deeds but the subject is most certainly not covered in any depth in school textbooks.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

oberst.

Which countries school-books covers all and don't gloss over certain details. My country(non-japanese) didn't, but there is difference between what is taught at school(simply can't cover all in-depth) and the full info being available for studies.

Most of what I know about History I learned from outside sources and I would guess the same is true for most people across the world.

Seen many people across the world after their eyes were opened beyond what they learned about their own country from outside sources.

School history books is what your goverment wants you to know and believe and that is global No denying that. All the facts and data are out there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having read this headline and all the way through the article, I cannot help but think this is another attempt to stir up a little bit of controversy and get the website hits flowing.

Don't get me wrong, we should never forget those who lost their lives during the Second World War and the brutal reign of 'Imperial Japan'. But let's be honest about this, 70 years later and Japan Today is printing sentences such as "years of brutal Japanese occupation in which allied prisoners were tortured and abused, local villages razed and women raped on a large scale". This discussion has been brought up for decades and it's becoming embarrassing.

And let's put this one out there, now that this debate has hit the headlines on Japan Today. If Japan Today feel so strongly about this part of history 70 years down the line, and if Japan Today want to remind us all about Japanese "rape and torture", then why be somewhat hypocritical and run your business (in turn making your income) in Japan..?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese government's failure to apologize to a more peaceful country than itself, Canada, my home country

No disrespect to your maternal grandfather or anything, but he wasn't in Asia for a holiday my friend. If he got the chance he would have blown a Japanese soldiers head off with his Canadian rifle. I doubt that your grandfather was in Asia on a peace mission.

My maternal gradfather fought in WW II for the Canadians.

Oh right, there you go.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Speaking of apologies, the article says they were defending a "British colony". What were the British doing there in the first place? The British were one of the imperialist powers that had taken over China ("The sun never sets on the British Empire"). Have the British ever apologized for what they did to China? It is the height of hypocracy for British to demand apologies from the Japanese, when they owe China a big apology.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Do you guys understand why Chinese react to outside threat so strongly nowadays?

No we don't. Not 70 years later when the current members of the Chinese military were not even born in 1941. And it appears that the Chinese military do not really 'react to outside threats' now do they? Who 'threatens' China these days? No, the Chinese are merely taking advantage of their current power in the region and are more than willing to bully the likes of Tibet and Vietnam. Don't use a part of history from 70 years ago to justify current Chinese aggression and bullying tactics.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Do you guys understand why Chinese react to outside threat so strongly nowadays?

We understand why, and we think it's childish and belligerent.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It is good that these events are brought up to be remembered in the media.

However, concerning Japanese apologies in general, here is a long list with official apologies Japan has given over the decades:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It is interesting that recently Chinese nationalist historians discard the allied effort in the war as attempts to gain back their colonies, and that actually the Chinese won the war against Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@NeoJamal: Actually many Japanese still glorifying their wars against neighbours in WW2

It's a matter of context really. The nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be justified by the scale of Japanese war crimes. Like so, the 30 million or so Chinese who perished fighting Japan could be justified when China becomes a tyrannical global superpower with its massive population under the tutelage of the CCP on the basis that Japan denied the Chinese from breeding even more. Taking of lives explained away with crude reasons really.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be justified by the scale of Japanese war crimes. ..........................

actually the primary reason to drop the big ones was the casualty projection on both side in invasion of the Japanese homeland

0 ( +0 / -0 )

actually the primary reason to drop the big ones was the casualty projection on both side in invasion of the Japanese homeland

I have to disagree with that romantic argument. The professors of the newly developed atomic bomb found a perfect excuse to experiment with a couple of live drops, with a touch of Pearl Harbour revenge thrown in for good measure. Nothing wrong with gaining revenge for Pearl Harbour, but I dislike the excuse used when all they wanted to do was gauge statistics for dropping atomic bombs on civilian cities. Around 246,000 people were killed by those two bombs - that argument about saving invasion casualties is a poor excuse.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Chinese are merely taking advantage of their current power in the region and are more than willing to bully the likes of Tibet and Vietnam. Don't use a part of history from 70 years ago to justify current Chinese aggression and bullying tactics.

70 years story v.s. 60 years story v.s. 30 years story, what a good comparison!

We understand why, and we think it's childish and belligerent.

Robber & thief v.s. child. LOL~

0 ( +0 / -0 )

on the basis that Japan denied the Chinese from breeding even more. Taking of lives explained away with crude reasons really.

Preventing Chinese future overbreeding by brutal massacre contradicts Japan's claim of 'liberating' China from western colonialism. The death of millions of Chinese people under Mao should then be a relief to Japan, and not bring condemnation from these same apologists.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

None of us were even born when this part of history took place in 1941. In fact, for most of the current world population even our parents had not been born in 1941. Yet in 2011 certain nationalities feel affected and insulted by something that happened before they even entered this world.

Unless it affected you personally, and I don't mean your grandparents or great-grandparents or something you read in a history book, then you have no right to feel aggrieved by something that happened 70 years ago. Oh, hold on a minute. Today is the 197th anniversary of the destruction of the Carolina by the Americans during the Battle of New Orleans on 27th December 1814. I'd better write an offensive piece against the Americans......

Moderator: We do have readers who were born at that time, so your comment is meaningless, as are your remarks about Carolina. Please post something more pertinent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Ishiwara:

that actually the Chinese won the war against Japan

I really don't want to go off topic, but I need to correct your wrong understanding about Chinese History. Actually when Kakuei Tanaka betrayed Taiwan to set up relationship with PRC in 1972, he visited China and Mao said: welcome, my friend, CCP should thank to JP! JP's intrusion of China rescued us from termination and finally take power of whole China. You could read autobigraphy of Kakuei Tanaka to see the detail.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing justifies the Japanese war crimes.

Having said that, on a different level, it is also necessary to think of the reasons of war & indeed why the British were there in Hong Kong and Malaysia, the Dutch in Indonesia, the French in Indochina, and the Americans in the Philippines.

Most Dutch and British I have met are full of the aggression of the Japanese, but have no idea of the Opium wars, or the Atjeh wars, or the American wars on the Phillipines in the 1900's, just to name a couple.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I could understand Japanese worrying over all the situation. However, Chinese was victim without doubt and Taiwanese was definitely the worst victim. Luckily it's our fathers, not us, who really went through all bad time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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