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Japan must apologise for WWII until it is forgiven: Novelist Murakami

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Japanese should be proud to have novelists like Murakami and Oe continuing to use their stature to maintain the conscience of the nation, just as the Imperial family has.

Maybe the LDP will call them all in to maintain a "fair stance."

24 ( +37 / -13 )

"I think that is all Japan can do---apologise until the countries say: "We don't necessarily get over it completely, but you have apologised enough. Alright, let's leave it now."

I love the above comment. This country needs more people like Murakami, and what he says should get much, much more pubilicity.

24 ( +35 / -11 )

“Apologising is nothing to feel embarrassed about.”

An apology is the norm in Japanese daily life, sometimes heartfelt, sometimes not. But a sincere apology to South Korea and China at this time won't happen for too many reasons (cultural and historical) to list here.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

An apology takes two parties to mean anything, one to make the apology and the other to accept it. From what I've seen South Korea accepted it in 1965 and China accepted it in 1972. But the changed their minds many decades later. Why? Had Japan rescinded it's apologies? Had it it decided to drop democracy and go back to a fadcist imperialst state and invade other countries? The answer objectively is "no". So what has changed? China's military and one-party dictatorship goverment had decided as far back as 2002 that China was going to push the United States out of the western Pacific. And the US-Japan alliance was, and remains the biggest obstacle to their expansionist goals. While China still feels unable to challenge the United States, it uses Japa as a proxy, going so far as to employ anti-Japan sentimewnt as an official diplomatic and political tool. And South Korea? Since the Myung Back regime, it too has pursued the "China model" is deference to it;s largest trading partner. Even at the expense of it;s security relationship with the United States. To answer to author Murakami, an apology given to a party determined to not accept it for its own purposes is pointless, and increasing apologies will make no difference at all.

-15 ( +24 / -39 )

apologize until all is forgiven? Is this man deranged? Those who committed the atrocities of war has been long dead or executed, and we are now in the present. Shall the new generations keep on apologizing for the sins of their fathers and shall the new generations who are never victims keep on asking apology? Guess what Murakami, why dont you do it? Give all your money and wealth to the so called victims and apologize til your last breath if that will change anything.

-16 ( +21 / -37 )

This is one brave man.

5 ( +18 / -13 )

Another man who dares to speak up! GREAT!

I only hope he will no beasked to appear in front of the "dear leaders" to appologize for his comments.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

In Chinese culture, or is it Asian culture ? or maybe the world ? The sins of the fathers must be repayed by his children and grand children. Even when China accepted the apologies, their schools still teach children what Japan did (history must be taught right ?) and those children will grow up seeking revenge, because revenge is what filial sons are supposed to do.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Agree with most of what Ossan says and I've given him a "good" vote. But while there continue to be victims and their families and their descendants, Abe and the like should continue to lower their heads rather than deny.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Maybe this distinguished literate has the energy to start a green wing in JP politics.

This whole business of how history is perceived on these islands will not be explained in a single speech. Rather we are watching daily the process leading to the crafting of these words. Quite awesome to look at this hardboiled wonderland.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japan must apologise for WWII until it is forgiven: Novelist Murakami

Funny, I referenced this in a related post a couple of days ago. Good that JT is finally getting to it.

But the changed their minds many decades later. Why? Had Japan rescinded it's apologies? Had it it decided to drop democracy and go back to a fadcist imperialst state and invade other countries? The answer objectively is "no".

And, actually, Ossan, the "answer objectively" is an unqualified "Yes". Numerous members of the government/ruling party, including Abe himself, have made statements to the effect that the apologies may have been "too severe", and that the facts, especially about comfort women, are "subject to debate". Likewise, numerous textbook revisons have occurred which clearly white wash Japan's atrocities. Not to mention Japan sending overseas diplomats to demand that foreign educators change their accounts of said atrocities. You see, as you conveniently do, you have tried to use semabtics, although not very cleverly, to support your conclusion, even though you know full well the comment about dropping democracy and going back to a fascist state, is a total red herring. Meanwhile, you have left off the most important criteria for an apology to be offered and accepted -- that there can not be any subsequent "BUTS", or "WHAT WE MEANT TO SAY WAS". Which we both know Japan has done repeatedly. And will likely continue doing. Or did you miss the huge budget they just got for Japan to "correct" the perception of Japan's history overseas?

6 ( +18 / -12 )

Abe and the like should continue to lower their heads rather than deny.

Until when? When is enough? Retracting things is a different story, if Abe retracts anything he should, figuratively speaking here, have his head handed to him on a plate.

But while there continue to be victims

After 70 years there are still victims? One would think that after that much time folks would learn how to move on with their lives and quit living in the past. Learning from the past is one thing, living in it is impossible.

-12 ( +10 / -22 )

"An apology takes two parties to mean anything, one to make the apology and the other to accept it. From what I've seen South Korea accepted it in 1965 and China accepted it in 1972. But the changed their minds many decades later. Why?"

Because it was politically expedient to do so. It makes sense for the political leaders of both China and South Korea to have a permanent "bad guy" in Japan that they can use to divert their populations' attention from their own shortcomings; when things go wrong, they can always point the finger at Japan and get a predictable (because carefully constructed) reaction.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

OssanAmerica: An apology does NOT need two parties to mean anything. A heartfelt apology from Japan is something that Japan could feel 'proud' about. I'm not sure about what word to use here, but it is a mature and positive thing to do, regardless of how the second party reacts to it. How politicians react to it, and how the world reacts to it could be two very different things. Most of us know that it is a difficult thing to do - to admit you did something wrong and say you're sorry. Perhaps the politicians are viewing it more from vote counting than from sincerity.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Japan must repeatedly say sorry to China, Korea and the other countries it invaded in the 20th century until its former victims have heard the apology enough, novelist Haruki Murakami has said.

Translation: I want to sell as many books as I can overseas, so please don't associate me with Japanese government.

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

Murakami has the most elegant solution. If you repent and are truly sincere evenly people will stop demanding apologies. What Abe is doing is trying to cover up the truth. Not only that he is harassing media and scholars not only in Japan but also in their native countries. That is sure to make enemies for Japan and makes people forget that for 70 years Japan is one of the few countries in the postwar world that does not committed war crimes.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

After 70 years there are still victims? One would think that after that much time folks would learn how to move on with their lives and quit living in the past. Learning from the past is one thing, living in it is impossible. Yes, as a matter of fact. There are still many so called "comfort women" still alive, who remember and feel the pain. Would you tell Japan to move on and forget about the Atomic bombings? Everyone lives in the past, to some extent. That's why countries celebrate their 'heritage' with victory parades, battle reenactments, and the like, commemorating their great successes. Look how Germany and Greece are still bickering over WW II reparations. It will be a very long time before it's truly over.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Why must the grandchildren continue to suffer for the sins of the Grandparents?

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Well said Murakami.

Although the Koreans and Chinese have an obligation to stop teaching their present generations anti-Japanese propaganda.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

NO WAY its gonna happen!

In regards to japanese denials of WW2 atrocities and illegal war activities, theres more to the issue then simply a homogeny japan in denial!

1) After WW2 Japan wash`t purged like Germany, because Japan was not besieged like Germany in an invasion. Only Okinawa and meaningless Iwojima where annilated in an invasion of US forces . . . . people see the 500.000 deaths in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other industrial cities as a defeat of japan, but that was absolutely not the case in regards to the capacity of the Imperial Japanese army on mainland japan in august 1945. Japan was not defeated on mainland, they sustained complete industrial complex destruction, but a willing army like on Iwojima and Okinawa was ready to fight for the end. An end that would have cost possible a million US casualties and up to 5 million japanese, mainly civilians . . . . as the Imperial japanese army preferred national suicide rather then defeat.

2) After the diplomatic pressure put on the emperor to counter Tojo and his hardcore minions in the army and cabinet, was giving fruity results in july 1945, the US was preparing for two scenarios: 1) Total annilation of potential IJA assets (also humans) in order to halt or delay a japanese land battle or 2) surrender with a swift non combat invasion of key cities and control of local government people. Tankfull the later happened and the russian entering from north in to war and taking North Korea was one big impulse for the emperor.

3) However Hiroshima was bombed not for a bomb experimentation, but for being the prime hotspot for the IJA assets. Most of the Shanghai expeditionary army came from Hiroshima, the brain and industrial snake that fueled the japan-china atrocities with logistics in arms and brainwashed japanese ruthless soldiers. Leaving Hiroshima intact could have triggered civil war, guerrilla war and a land battle in that part of japan, regardless of the emperors decision . . . .

4) All ideology of imperial japan was erased from post war japan . . . . but Mac Arthur quick saw that japan was tilting in to civil war because the paralysis of the imperial wrong doers, the fascists in government, schools, local communities and industry, who not only controled japan, but acted as quasi Shoguns, left a power vacuum behind them . . . . so they were all restored to counter socialist thinking in the populous. . . . . this is a mega happing in japanese history, only japanse starving in apartheid and stoic approach to daily life, let this policy go ahead without opposition.

5) The restoration of the old evil doers in police forces was one big US policy, because don`t think for a moment that in 1946 300000japanese were just waiting peaceful in Hotels in Korea to be repatriated ! No, Korea was already on the brink of civil war, again because of the power vacuum left by the dissolution of the thousand of japanese imperial police forces . . . . . the korean war atrocities of the south korean US alliance of their own citizen, suspected being communist sympathizers was mainly possible because of the thousand korean police units, trained, brainwashed and ideology by the Imperial japanse Police force in colonial korea. 150000 civilians were massacred by korean police and stay behind japanese collaborators in that police force, sanctioned by Nato and the US and certainly to some extend with post war feedback from the japanese gov. Bodo legue massacre 1950.

So the to make a point: Accepting full war responsibilitiy means:

1) Accepting the illegal killing of chinese civilians in the scorched earth policy and other incidents as Nangking (2-5 millions), while also pointing out that the communists and civil war in china killed millions at the same time.

2) Accepting the IJA crimes against allied forces and the illegal killing of asians in occupied territories.

3) Accepting IJA crimes against their own soldiers, who were brainwashed and send to death like trash. Also the systematic education in to committing atrocities against no combat forces is a japanese crime against japan.

4) Accepting the IJA was planing national suicide of the japanese populace with a perfide goal of no surrender. (Kamikazes, Owkinawa and Saipan suicides, Kempai Tai police preparations for collective annilation up to august 1945)

5) Accepting that the IJA, the Japan Korea colonial gov and the left behind police units participated in post WW2 korea war atrocities.

All this would collapse even today a japanese government, as you know Abes family is one of the evil doers rein stored in to gov in the 50. . . . so is Taro Aso the only living japanese industry prince that can claim to have use white slaves to make up his fortune and never apologized for it. All this would collapse the foundation of todays japan, build on post war apartheid, denial and industrial control of a nation for 70 years.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Ossan - Make sure you read Jersey's reply slowly & carefully.

The reasons he stated are certainly contributing to this ongoing pantomine.

The commments by some of the nations most influential politicians & business leaders, in essence effectively repudiating previous apologies, has outraged those who are easily outraged.

It's been obvious for some time now that Abe refuses to accept criticism of any type on any topic by anyone, so he continues to pump himself and his lot up, while effusing a reality created in his own image with little or no humility.

Murakami simply notes this, and states what may be necesssary to score victory in an act of heart-felt diplomacy.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

One would think that after that much time folks would learn how to move on with their lives and quit living in the past. Learning from the past is one thing, living in it is impossible.

Yubaru. The reality is that individuals and their families don't forget these things quickly. The Armenians in Turkey still are unable to forget the 1.5 millon of their number massacred in 1915. Of course arguably there has not been proper accountability taken by the Turks in this case. In the Pacific War, most estimates are of about 35 million persons killed, and many others physically and psychologically injured. These are people who in the mid-1930s were living largely peacful lives. The families of these 35 million should not live in the past, but how Japan's leadership accounts for the past will continue to affect their feelings into the future. Surely Abe is thinking of such families in Japan when he makes many of his statements, but he also needs to think very seriously about the much larger number of victims in other countries, and not simply try to whitewash for the benefit of those families in Japan. Surely this is particularly important when such nations are Japan's immediate neighbors.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ossan - Make sure you read Jersey's reply slowly & carefully.

The reasons he stated are certainly contributing to this ongoing pantomine.

browny1 -- thank you. As you surmised, I think both sides are about equally wrong in this "ongoing pantomine" as you phrased it. Abe full well knows that SK and China like to play the Japan card occasionally for domestic political reasons, but he is too vested in this issue -- so he is continually giving them more ammunition, for his domestic ploitical reasons. It is a near-perfect, diplomatic Catch 22. And, unfortunately, since Abe got his "mandate" back in December, we should expect things to get worse before they get better. Starting with his "forward-looking" statement in August.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

And yet another reason to love Murakami. When this man gets the Nobel in the near future, there's going to be a whole lot of rightists here confused about whether to boast about how another Japanese got a Nobel, or whether to grumble about it because Murakami does not espouse their beliefs about what Japan did and where it should be headed.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

I don't want to have to remember Mr. Murakami but Japan has already often apologized profusely. At some point it needs to be enough and countries like China and SK need to accept that instead of endlessly drawing their victim card.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Xi already praised Kono apology. Is this publicity stunt because his book is not selling? If he want to apology, he himself go to everywgere in China and Korea to apology everybody everyday.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Only if he goes into politics will he get the Nobel. The peace one, of course.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan did many things that were bad, and should never rescind its apologies. It should also do more to make its textbooks fair and honest.

That said, Japan's biggest crime was trying to make a Britain-style empire in the 20th century, which means everything they did was documented on photographs and film. There's almost no documentation of the many, many, many people who died during the British expansions and wars in the 19th century, which is why we generally think of them a tea-drinking gentlemen with monocles saying "tut-tut" while the civilized India and Malaysia and Africa. That, and the whole "history books will be written by the winners" thing.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

To count on endless apologies for forgiveness is a fantasy and fairy tale. The aggressors and victims both, have responsibility to discern the proper historical context. Throughout history, there are plenty of of such cases that peoples are willing to move on, and why the focus is on Japan? Besides to count on China and Korea(s) for forgiving is like expecting no pollution into the future. If Japan is poor and less of a free and prosper nation, they might put to rest; other wise the opportunists would exploit this issue for their advantages. The solution is for Japan to acknowledge the past mistakes and continuing doing good things to win over adversaries, and not a cop out self serving unending sorry. There are many people who receives questionable political charge Nobel prices over the years.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No, repeated apologies are unecessary, what is needed is JUST ONE SINCERE APOLOGY, not the standard '...the government of Japan deeply regrets..' nonsense. Just say '...WE are sorry for what WE did' and let's move on...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Peter Pain

Why the relativism?

This isn't about Britain and her Empire, but Japan, China and Korea.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan don't need to repeatedly apologize. What Japan need to do is ONE SINCERE apologize. When I said SINCERE I mean no denying or trying to play down atrocities or any attempt to revise it like what Abe is trying now.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Most Japanese are younger than this novelist. So, is he telling the younger generations to keep on apologizing? Like 1,000 years as South Korean President Park demanded?

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

Modern world means entities. Money is all around. But ideas are like bitcoin.

Values will shift. So pour concrete is a bab idea.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There are still many so called "comfort women" still alive, who remember and feel the pain

They WERE victims, past tense. They deserve treatment for their pain and suffering and if they are not getting the help they deserve from the SK government then there is another problem.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

When China in particular uses historical atrocities as political footballs then apologising endlessly makes no sense.

Abe is taking the right stance in my view.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It doesn't seem that it's an apology which is in order but an acknowledgment by Japanese people in general that Japanese soldiers did indeed commit horrendous atrocities throughout Asia during WWII. Most Japanese I've talked with are convinced that the comfort women issue is completely fabricated and that Japanese troops didn't engage in mass murder and rape of civilian populations (another fabrication), such as what happened in Nanking. Even if Japanese politicians were to all bow their heads and apologize to their Asian neighbors, most Japanese still wouldn't have a clue as to the facts.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The reality is that individuals and their families don't forget these things quickly.

The reality is that the governments of all the countries and peoples that you referred to and others too don't let those who were victims forget. They play upon their fears and ignorance and use it to fuel further dissension and mistrust.

They are constantly reminded that they were "victims" . No amount of apologies will change that either, and neither side is willing to take a step forward and say "We forgive YOU Japan for all that you did to us" either.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

stormcrow

It doesn't seem that it's an apology which is in order but an acknowledgment by Japanese people in general that Japanese soldiers did indeed commit horrendous atrocities throughout Asia during WWII. Most Japanese I've talked with are convinced that the comfort women issue is completely fabricated and that Japanese troops didn't engage in mass murder and rape of civilian populations (another fabrication), such as what happened in Nanking. Even if Japanese politicians were to all bow their heads and apologize to their Asian neighbors, most Japanese still wouldn't have a clue as to the facts.

This so true and we're not just talking about the average Hiroshi in the street. I work with the Japanese educational elite - all Keio or Todai grads, 70% post grads - and I'd say that 50% believe this the case, while another 30% really are indifferent to it because other Asians are lesser humans than themselves.

It's the second group that I find really offensive, but in Japan's defense, I don't think this is exclusive to Japan, I find this lack of empathy for other Asian nations to be widespread. Koreans and Chinese are definitely afflicted with it. Both nations had a lot of their own citizens involved in the war crimes, yet the only war criminals Koreans acknowledge are the 2 who committed crimes against fellow Koreans. The others were themselves victims of Japanese militarism.

This lack of empathy is what I always find hollow about previous Japanese apologies. They almost sound like a neighbor apologizing for running over your cat, rather than running over your wife. They always sound self serving, as if they're apologizing to themselves for the misery they brought on their own general populace at that time.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Last year I went to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy with my father (now 94) who was one of those soldiers going up that beach 70 years ago. It was the first time for me. I now intend to accompany my father there every year he is still able to because I saw how happy the local French people are to see and meet some of the remaining veterans return. And soon there won't be any. The French as well as many Belgians, Dutch and others who make the journey there are still so grateful for what those soldiers did to drive the Nazis out. People who weren't even born then and children whose parents weren't even born then all wanting to hug, kiss and shake my father's hand. People do not forget what has happened to them. And not a hint of anti German feelings. The Gestapo and the SS were most Germans' enemy too. Education, understanding, accepting, forgiving etc. But not forgetting, hiding or ignoring.

Do so many Japanese really wish that that Japanese government had remained in power with the Kempeitai keeping a careful watch on all of them? Or perhaps they have no idea what it was like for them or the occupied countries? I hope Mr Murakami and others like him can try and change the awareness here before August 15.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Only less than 30% are concened

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese people just don't get it.

It's not even about whether Japanese people are sincere or not about their apology. It's mainly about the censorship in Japanese history education that concerns its neighbors. Japan has shown throughout history that it is violent. The Japanese people must be educated about their past and their violent nature to prevent another war. Those who forget history are destined to repeat it, but it seems the Japanese don't know this.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Like 1,000 years as South Korean President Park demanded?

Nonsense, Park said nothing of the kind. Time to find something new to lie about.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Nippon Kaigi (日本会議地方議員連盟) look them up. It's scary if true, 289 of 480 diet members are affiliates including Prime Minister Mr Abe.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The war was 70 years ago. Japan has apologized so may times since then, and the people who are doing the apologizing weren't the same people who conquered the Asia Pacific region. Those people have been long dead. It's time that Korea and China forgive and stop spreading hate and anger to their younger generation.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@Mirai Hayashi

Yes, you apologized. Good job, but that's only 50% of the way to redemption. The other is coming clean and admitting to yourselves and the world you had a nasty past. Younger generations of Japan need to be educated harshly about their country's past so that they don't repeat history.

Also, I think you're projecting your own country's problem onto others. Koreans may object and protest the actions of the Japanese government, but they have NEVER threatened the lives of Japanese people. Japanese people march down Korean areas of Japan threatening to rape and kill Koreans.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Japan has apologised, see Kono and Murayama. Korea and Japan have signed peace treaties with Japan back in 65 and 72. It should be all over, but the wounds get re-opened with the gradual revision of the textbooks and the denial statements by Abe, Hashimoto and many others. Do Abe and his friends really support the Kono and Murayama statements? If not, they are rejecting Japan's apologies. And so the perception arises that there are no apologies...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I fully support Murakami's statement that apologies need to made until 'former victims have heard the apology enough'. As a German I know too well what that means. We apologized over and over again for the atrocities committed 70 years ago until those who suffered finally accepted them - our neighbors in Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and people of Jewish belief all over the world. They might not forgive us for what we did back then but at least they recognize our will to prevent such things from ever happening again.

And here's the big difference: our victims were willing to forgive. I don't see that with South Korea and China. They keep teaching hate, they seem to desperately cling to the old feuds and use them wherever they seem fit.

It takes two to tango.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The Japanese people must be educated about their past and their violent nature to prevent another war.

HiIIQ guy, Japan has been demonstrably peaceful since 15 August 1945. In this period some of its neighbors have not been so peaceful. The Korean war, the Sino-Russian, Sino-Indian and Sino-Vietnam border clashes and the Soviet shootdown of KAL007 are examples. A Chinese frigate recently locked-on a missile radar on a Japanese destroyer. A Chinese redneck fishing boat capatain repeatedly rammed a Japanese coastguard cutter. But Japan remains peaceful, and will not even undertake UN peace enforcement. Most of the world understands this, I think.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

"Japan must apologise for WWII until it is forgiven: Novelist Murakami" For Japanese, as long as they don't lie about their savagery/Japanese History, people should be content. Don't expect too much from Japanese.

For example, according to Mizuame, "Japan has been demonstrably peaceful since 15 August 1945." What about frequent demonstrations with hate speeches? I guess Mizuame will consider those as peaceful demonstrations.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@tina

Most Japanese are younger than this novelist. So, is he telling the younger generations to keep on apologizing? Like 1,000 years as South Korean President Park demanded?

*There you go again. President Park did not make such a demand. She said:

History is a mirror for self-reflection and a key to unlocking a future of new hope.

The same is true for the history between Korea and Japan. Only when there is honest soul-searching about the past will our two nations be able to usher in a future of shared progress together.

The historic dynamic of one party being a perpetrator and the other party a victim will remain unchanged even after a thousand years have passed.

It is incumbent on Japan to have a correct understanding of history and take on an attitude of responsibility in order to partner with us in playing a leading role in East Asia in the 21st century.

Only then will we be able to build rock-solid trust between our two nations, which will in turn enable reconciliation and collaboration in a genuine sense*

You interpret that the way you do because you hate Korea; but it doesn't actually say what you claim it does

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think every person, group and country ought to look into themselves and improve themselves. It does nothing to constantly see the others' faults and not one's own. People will always look at the faults of others and huff and puff as if their own personal histories are any better.

We all need to forgive ourselves first and reach out to the other in friendship.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To me, the funniest thing about people saying "China and South Korea should just move on, like the rest of Asia" is that Japan itself is "stuck in the past" too when they're in the process of revising history textbooks (and even want other countries to do so too), and generally want to officially deny what happened in the past. So this is all relative. How can people think Japan sincerely apologize when guys like Abe don't even feel like they did anything wrong? It's only natural for China and Korea to have their past wounds opened up again.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Murakami is a great writer of weird stuff - and I like it. But as a politician he's a naive idiot.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Murakami ignores Xi praised Kono for Kono statement, But I believe he is trying to put his name into Japanese people's head as his books are not selling well in Japan. He does not realize Ishihara's books were already best sellers before Ishihara became a politician.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Murakami's insistence on the need for continual apology needs to be tempered with the recognition that calls for apology from China and Korea are not really about receiving apologies for historical harms, but about immediate political and economic situations.

There's a domestic problem in China or Korea that could upend the current internal political power structure? Time to ramp up the vitriol against Japan. Get the people focused on some external enemy.

New natural resource reserves are found near islands that Japanese claims? Time to renew accusations against Japan, even though everyone knows Japan will not renounce its claims. China and Korea aim to polarize and normalize domestic support in the disputes, while trying to shame Japan into a weaker military.

On that last point, however, as long as the U.S. continues to behave as a weak ally, China in particular will behave aggressively and expand militarily, while Japan will increasingly arrange for its own military defense.

Murakami wants these apologies to be purely about actions in the past. They aren't, and that's where Murakami is naive. Murakami may be on sensible moral and spiritual ground with respect to the past, but the past will always bow to the present. As long as Korea and especially China bind up apologies with political, economic, and militaristic objectives in the present, Japan's ability to deliver apologies will be severely limited.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan has apoligised enough times. China and South Korea use the WWII Japanese occupation as a diversion instead of fixing their own issues. Don't even get me started. Japan is the biggest charity and aid donor in Asia. The rest of Asia has moved on from WWII except China and South Korea, they ALWAYS bring it up. Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia also suffered from Japanese massacres but they moved on.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

While there are certain things that Japan should do to make sure they're not appearing to renege on their previous apologies, China and Korea need to stop focusing on hatred in their past (especially China since they really need to look back on their own history towards their own people with the rise of "communism") and using it as the only excuse to avoid their own problems.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This country needs more people like Murakami

Yes, and Japan does not need any more historical revisionists.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

But I believe he is trying to put his name into Japanese people's head as his books are not selling well in Japan.

Hahahahahaha! This is hilarious. Murakami's last novel, "The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki," was an instant best-seller in Japan. It went on to top best-seller lists in numerous other countries, too. Murakami is probably the most recognizable author in Japan today. His books sell fine. He doesn't need to make up for lagging sales.

Lobbying for a Nobel Prize on the other hand? Probably. And that's what I'd classify these recent comments about war apologies under. That kind of comment plays really well to the narrow clique of voters in Norway who seek out authors that express these kinds of views.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Haruki is a saint! I came to japan in 1991 because of him. He is the real japan!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I like Murakami. I think it is enough to educate young people about the atrocities Japan committed in WWII similar to how Germany does. I am not sure if people need to apologize more as long as former PM Murayama and other apologies are allowed to stand without "revising" them or saying that they were meaningless by current and future politicians. I do believe that Murakami cares more for the people of Japan than most of the politicians in power today do.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@mikey: How about his next book? Is it selling as well as Taiyo No Kisetsu was?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I was on a crowded train once and saw a man who accidentally stepped on a woman's shoe. She made a remark on this. The man immediately said "I'm sorry." to which the woman replied angrily: "What does your apology change!?" This is exactly how I feel about this issue. Apologies, no matter how honest and ceremonial - won't change facts. The war issues will be dug out repeatedly over and over, there's no chance to "close" this uncomfortable period of time. The only thing anyone can do is to live with it. Of course, saying "sorry" is a nice thing to do, but there are crimes no apologies will ever erase.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Of course, saying "sorry" is a nice thing to do, but there are crimes no apologies will ever erase.

Not saying sorry is one thing, but to deny things ever happened is a whole different story. I'd actually have more respect for Japan if they admit the atrocities they've committed and not apologize for it, than pretending to be remorseful. At least you'd know it's more genuine.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Perfectly said PBot. I'd have more respect too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Every time an apology is made, the relationship with Koreans deteriorates. Look at Sewol accident. Every time someone makes an apology, the surviving family gets infuriated, no matter what the apology is.

The golden rule is "Do not apologize to Koreans," unless you want to destroy the relationship. If you want to keep the relationship with Koreans, do never apologize, but blame someone else. If you apologize you are their enemy. If you blame someone else, you are still their friend and someone else is their enemy.

I am pretty sure any Korean would agree with me.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Even when China accepted the apologies, their schools still teach children what Japan did (history must be taught right ?)

Because Hashimoto, Abe, Ishihara, Nakamura etc have gone around denying that Japan did anything wrong - and have not been censured or punished in any way. It's something like "we are sorry....no we aren't. We are sorry.........no we aren't, we did nothing wrong". Thus (Unlike with Germany) the cycle never ends

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@toshiko

What is your obsession with Ishihara and a 60-year-old novel that he wrote? I very much doubt that Murakami bothers to compare himself to Ishihara. There's certainly nothing about Ishihara in this article, so you're completely off-topic.

And, unless I'm sorely mistaken, "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki" is Murakami's last novel...and it was an immediate #1 bestseller in Japan and globally. If comparisons to Ishihara were relevant here, how could Murakami be remotely jealous when he sells much better today than Ishihara does? Murakami generally gets held up in comparison to Kawabata, Mishima, and Soseki by the literati interested in making such comparisons. Ishihara isn't in the same class.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If one apology is not enough then no any amount will satisfy.....

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yes, in a wording and verbal openings on diplomatic meets, Japanese officials delivered apologies. but there were never formal documentation of apology with promises to fix their mistakes by taking such actions and such. Their apologies were always vague and lacked details, other than saying sorry and we'll never do it. In meantime in Japan, every year, over 150 Japanese politicans including PM Abe worship at Yasukuni their 14 class A war criminals as gods and glorify the old days by adding easily accepted forms such as textbooks, popular magazine and newspaper articles and suggesting Japanese legitimacy on their position in WWII. Then someday, we'll come across generation of Japanese population that really believes that their course of action in WWII was the right thing and wanting retribution. With Abe's administration Japan things really started to look that way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

OsanAmerica has said what needs to be said about this. Both China and Korea already accepted the appolgy years ago. Now the media including here are trying to find things to make stories about and China is trying to make trouble using any excuse it can.

And for pete's sake, this is ancient history now, just about everyone who had any say in the events of back then is very elderly or gone. Let their memory be respected by whoever wants to ...and let the present be based ON the present reality. Only China and press and news media ppl looking for a catchy story are beating on this long dead issue.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Only China and press and news media ppl looking for a catchy story are beating on this long dead issue.

Oh really? Then why is Japan trying to pressure other countries to change their history textbooks to suit "their version?"

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

If apologies were made, even if the same words each year during the Hiroshima memorial, it would diminish the significance of the so called respect that politicians feel they need to pay at Yasukuni for the "war dead."

And if we are to remember the atomic bomb drops each year, we also should remember the perpetration of war in Asia each year as well.

That would be very fair and balanced and it would encapsulate the human anguish, ordeal and loss suffered because hot-heads prevailed around the world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i don;t know what to say, i have a western mindset, i sit here astounded in discovering how many Nazi's were allowed to live unpunished by Germany and the allies - yet here we are revisiting Japan and whether the apology was deep enough

is is almost like one country got a free pass the other one is kept with each generation paying reparations over and over

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Murakami is a great novelist, but I don't think that makes him an expert on international relations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but I don't think that makes him an expert on international relations.

He can hardly do worse than Abe

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan shouldnt have to apologize repeatedly. There is no point. China and Korea have not accepted any apologies up to this point-so it is unlikely they ever will. However, this is no excuse for Japan to quite happily write the history it thinks it deserves at the expense of the facts. The prevailing powers in Japan seem to think they can select their preferred history from a made to order catalogue.

It is clear there are no rational players in the East Asian 'Choose Any History You Like' Game. On a global level this is also true of course-but in East Asia- 70 year old history is a particularly contested topic between three major players, who each maintain their own diametrically opposed versions of the facts. Each respective version shares a common message in so far as it shrieks: 'We are right. You are wrong'. The cornerstone on which all nationalism is predicated.

China, Korea and Japan can't all be right. The truth is that they are all probably closer to being wrong.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan shouldnt have to apologize repeatedly. There is no point

While there is no law denying atrocities, then yes there is a point. Japan lost WW2. It caused millions of people to suffer, ans well as its own people. Until there is consensus on this issue, then issuing apologies will be useless. Abe, Hashimoto, and Ishihara will be permitted to deny them.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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