Photo: YouTube/ABC News
politics

What do Japanese think about Trump’s 'I remember Pearl Harbor' comment?

33 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

According to an article published this week by the Washington Post, at some point during a June meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where he criticized Japan’s trade policies, U.S. President Donald Trump was allegedly heard to say something in the vein of, “I remember Pearl Harbor,” referring to Japan’s surprise attack on the Hawaiian base during World War II.

The article in the Washington Post implies that the words were unexpected and uncalled for, and that Prime Minister Abe was “left exasperated” after the meeting. Naturally, U.S. media sources and social media networks will blast off with their own conclusions about the statement, but what do Japanese netizens think?

Yahoo! Japan has a real-time, still-ongoing list of Twitter responses to the newsline based on the keyword “真珠湾攻撃”, which is Japanese for “the attack on Pearl Harbor”, and surprisingly, most netizens were quite level-headed about it. Many were quick to point out that there was more to the phrase than the Washington Post and some Japanese newspapers reported. Yahoo! Japan News reported that Trump said something more like, “I haven’t forgotten Pearl Harbor. Japan fought a lot more in the past. They should be more like America and compete with their neighbors more.”

Of course, this is an English translation of a Japanese translation of words allegedly spoken by President Trump in English, so it’s very likely that the meaning has been skewed a little bit. Most English news sources aren’t reporting the whole sentence, so it’s difficult to know what President Trump really said, but many Japanese netizens guessed that he was speaking in terms of Japan’s will to fight, that he remembers how tenacious they are (because of Pearl Harbor), and that they should fight like that now for good trade policies.

Since many Japanese news sources were reporting on the full quotation, many netizens were thus quite understanding of the president’s statement, and instead criticized “fake news” and “divisive media”:

“Ohh I see. He wasn’t complaining, he’s actually saying something respectful, like, ‘America hasn’t forgotten that Japan can fight in international trade.'”

“I heard this on the radio and thought, ‘What is he saying out of nowhere?’…but that’s the rest of it? You can’t even say [this reporting] is fake news or fabricating impressions, this is more like propaganda!”

“If he’s only saying it, I don’t mind. All we can do is say back, ‘Yeah, our people remember the mass killings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.’ Besides, they still have atomic bombs.”

“He’s just saying, ‘You have to work hard like you did at Pearl Harbor!”

“It looks like this is fake!? It seems like he’s saying, ‘Japan was strong during Pearl Harbor. You should be strong now…'”

“There it is! Cutting down words and crafting impressions. All of you sheep should buckle up and do some studying!”

Others, however, slightly incensed by the comment, were quick to return rebuttals:

“Roosevelt knew beforehand that the Japanese Navy was coming, and there was information that Japanese air carriers were on their way. America’s elite Flying Tigers force were dressed up as Chinese soldiers and were shooting down Japanese planes, so America had already been in the war anyway.”

“You remember the attack of Pearl Harbor? Well, we remember the atomic bombs. Japan has been the victim of America and Korea over and over again.”

“Those who are in the know, know. Japan may have attacked Pearl Harbor, but American Flying Tigers still attacked Japan from China without any declaration of war first.”

Others, appalled at what they thought was an insensitive comment, were critical of President Trump:

“It sounds like he was trying to say, ‘You can fight fiercely like you did at Pearl Harbor, right?’, but in that case wouldn’t America just drop another atomic bomb? Trump definitely looks like he’s Russia’s dog.”

“Trump’s statement this time really makes it clear that he has no self-awareness as a president.”

“Are these really the words of someone who is hoping for peace? Or are they the words of someone who wants to stand at the top of the world?”

Some netizens, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care much about the statements at all, and instead used them to make social commentaries on their own country.

“More importantly, when China or Korea criticizes Japan, the Japanese media goes crazy. It’s mysterious that after America says something like this, the mass media is silent.”

“Mr Trump, Abe will still be your loyal dog even if you say something like that!”

Without actually being in the room with Prime Minister Abe and President Trump, there’s no way we’ll know for sure what he meant to say. Nevertheless, there have been some widely publicized awkward moments between the two leaders, like when they shook hands for far too long, or when Prime Minister Abe took a tumble into a golf course sandpit and President Trump didn’t seem to notice, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a little tension in the air made them say some awkward things.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/FNN, Kyodo, Washington Post, Yahoo! Japan

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- President Obama thanks Prime Minister Abe for all the cool anime during official visit 【Video】

-- Unforgettable photos from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

-- Japanese student translates Trump’s tweets to practice English, accidentally gets 60K+ followers

© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
Login to comment

“Ohh I see. He wasn’t complaining, he’s actually saying something respectful, like, ‘America hasn’t forgotten that Japan can fight in international trade.'”

I don't think Trump's brain is capable of that level of sophistication.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Mr. Trump's unicellular intelligence does not bode well for the United States or the world at large.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

pity the Trump translators

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"Oh I see. He wasn’t complaining, he’s actually saying something respectful, like, ‘America hasn’t forgotten that Japan can fight in international trade.'”

Please, this IS Trump we are talking about, respectful is not a word that he knows nor understands!

“Those who are in the know, know. Japan may have attacked Pearl Harbor, but American Flying Tigers still attacked Japan from China without any declaration of war first.”

Evidently whomever wrote this doesnt know their own history either. They didnt become the "American" Flying Tigers until July 4th of 1942, before that they were a part of the Chinese air force!

Those who know, know this too!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Sorry, I should have said they were mercenaries fighting for the Chinese.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I remember the Alamo.

Not a joke: the Alamo is a symbol of tenacity; Pearl Harbor of deceit. There is no question that Trump was suggesting Japan is deceitful in trade negotiations.

Every country negotiates trade in ways they figure will maximize their benefit; economists may debate on the validity of their policies (see Trump and NAFTA, etc). But to draw the "Pearl Harbor" card is to suggest dishonesty and was, if true, very inappropriate.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

In other words the Japanese stuck it to the US in the backdoor...a day in infamy...but the result of the surrender had nothing to do with the attacks on Hiroshima and nagasake  but rather it was Russia coming in from North the US from the South.  A divided. To the end a suicide mission of 400 aircraft full of dynamite took off to the US but ran out of gas and dived the planes shy short of the mainland US.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I have been feeling Trump a typical Americans whom I met in my life.  They are so educated.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I think he was saying the Japanese are backstabbers - all revolving around trade.

Honestly though, American companies aren't making anything that we want to buy

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I regret reading this article and more blather from Japanese who can't stand losing to the US.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Hmmmmm   We will rename him Donald Tora Tora Tora-mp

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"Japan has been the victim of America and Korea again and again!"

Huh? Korea dropped the atomic bombs on Japan? Korea forced Japanese women into sexual slavery and colonised Japan for 40 years? No wonder why Japan has to apologise for the past and the white washing, with morons like the person who make this comment.

"“It sounds like he was trying to say, ‘You can fight fiercely like you did at Pearl Harbor, right?’, but in that case wouldn’t America just drop another atomic bomb? Trump definitely looks like he’s Russia’s dog.”"

So, what does that say about Abe nipping at Trump's heels as an even smaller dog?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Er... In 17 years in Japan, as a teacher, thousands of adult age students, more than 50% of them don't even know what Pearl Harbor is... Let's get real here: WW2 to most Japanese today equates to one thing, "We suffered two atomic bombs", full stop.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Intimidation. The COWARD COMMANDER at his best, or so he thinks. Abe san is yesterdays news.

Japan is passed its use by date. Offensive childlike rhetoric is trumps only way.

Catch the victim off guard, make him/her look like a fool. Belittle your closest allies, cause derision and embarrassment, then move away. Here is trumps way of things.

ATTACK, RETRENCH, RETREAT, LIE.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

It's very simple folks. There is a reason leopards hide and sleep high up in trees. If they come down the lions will rip their asses up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fallacy at its finest.. Taking things out of context and creating hate..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think in these days of social media everybody should be careful of phoney news, hearsay, and things like "I heard that......".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

People are giving Trump too much credit - no way could he come up with a back-handed compliment like that. He's just suffering from verbal diarrhea again.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Japanese Abe Government always obey to US whatever US says or does.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

y claim, too. I think it was false news. Media supports my claim, too.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Er... In 17 years in Japan, as a teacher, thousands of adult age students, more than 50% of them don't even know what Pearl Harbor is... Let's get real here: WW2 to most Japanese today equates to one thing, "We suffered two atomic bombs", full stop.

Younger generations in the West have limited knowledge of WW 2 and even baby boomers have often a one sided incorrect view on those 5 years. Knowledge about the interwar period and the aftermath is even worst.

Did the teaching poster challenge those 'adult age students' [ what age should we think of ?] on their ignorance about the war?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

...even baby boomers have often a one sided incorrect view on those 5 years. Knowledge about the interwar period and the aftermath is even worst.

6 years - 1939 to 1945

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually congenital problem of trump and whites in the west. Don't over estimate this chatterer . He unnecessarily talks beyond the limit, i don't find in him any kind of diplomacy what foreign relations he will maintain, Americans still think this man is a gift fact is that such think is a serious guilt consciousness of American present day rulers... just forget do not give any weight to his great irrational ideas please...tks

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why do we have a president that needs analysis to figure what he meant every time he says something?

YubaruToday  01:51 pm JST

Sorry, I should have said they were mercenaries fighting for the Chinese.

The American pilots were not civilians privately engaging in mercenary work. They were recruited, trained, and sent by the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

6 years - 1939 to 1945

Correct but for many countries domestically 5 yrs or less..

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Regarding American citizens who fought for foreign countries during World War II; it is American law that a citizen who fights under a foreign flag loses his American citizenship. Exceptions were made to the law AFTER America got into World War II, for those fighting for China, Britain, and France. I worked with a fellow who was classified 4F by an American draft board, so he went and enlisted with the British in 1942. He did not lose his American citizenship.

The Flying Tigers did not get into combat until after December 8th, 1941. They first saw combat on December 20th, 1941. In the Atlantic, after the sinking of the American destroyer Reuben James on October 31, 1941, Roosevelt declared a policy of shoot first, ask questions later, in so far as German submarines were concerned.

The OSS was not formed until June, 1942, and had nothing to do with the Flying Tigers.

The USA was in WW II for less than 4 years.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Neither of them is exactly a MENSA candidate, and Donnie suffers from chronic foot-in-mouth disease...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm going to be honest, does anyone have any other source besides the Washington Post saying 'at some point he said it'? Every article I've been able to find says he 'reportedly' said it and most reference the WaPo article. It really seems questionable that it actually happened. Did anyone actually witness him saying it?

I'm not going to bother getting worked up over something that nobody actually heard him say. He's got plenty of other stupid things he's actually said to bother wasting energy on this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@1glenn

Regarding American citizens who fought for foreign countries during World War II; it is American law that a citizen who fights under a foreign flag loses his American citizenship.

It's a little more complicated than that. You won't automatically lose your citizenship.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/09/02/is-it-legal-for-americans-to-fight-in-another-countrys-army/

"What about citizenship? If you hold a U.S. passport, you’ll note that it advises that you "may lose your U.S. citizenship" by "serving in the armed forces of a foreign state." The word may is critical. In the 1967 case Afroyim v. Rusk, the Supreme Court ruled that under the 14th amendment, U.S. citizens cannot be involuntarily stripped of their citizenship. (That case involved a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who had his U.S. citizenship revoked after voting in an Israeli election, but the precedent applies to military service as well.) Since then, the government has had to prove that an individual joined a foreign army with the intention of relinquishing his or her U.S. citizenship. The army in question must be engaged in hostilities against the United States or the individual must serve as an officer."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What do Japanese think about Trump’s 'I remember Pearl Harbor' comment?

Okay - that's a Friday Freebie - I'll grant a complimentary pass on that low hanging fruit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am amused at Trump if that was his choice of words. I am a bit older than the President, and while I know of Pearl Harbor, having heard about it from my father and studied bout it is my school history, I certainly do not actually remember Pearl Harbor as I was born almost four years later. But never try to figure out whatever this President means by what he spits out of his mouth, as even he does not know what he means when he says something. Watch for him no to clam that he never said it, that to is common when he gets caught making embarrassing statements.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Whatever trump may have meant, the so-called 真珠湾攻撃 is a warning of what to expect from America. In 1941, Roosevelt was being severely pressured by Big Money to make war in Europe but many Americans said "NOT AGAIN!" after the horrors of "The Great War", "The War to End All Wars". So, being an excellent Bridge player, he finessed Japan by embargoing (sanctioning) all OIL shipments to Japan in June of 1941, an open act of war. Then, at 0530 on 07December1941, the U.S. Navy (USS Ward) attacked and sank a Japanese miniature submarine outside Pearl Harbor (international waters) and no alarm was raised despite a high alert to imminent attack was in place. The United States fired the first shot of the 太平洋戦争. "Remember the Maine! (a lie), "Remember the Lusitania!" (a British propaganda sacrifice of 1500 civilians), "Pearl Harbor", "The Gulf of Tonkin incident" (complete fantasy), 9/11 (the treachery of 'allies'). Read the detailed history of each of these 'incidents' and you'll know exactly what might be expected from us Americans, deceit. And Nihonjin can have no bad feelings about 真珠湾攻撃 because Japan did exactly what Roosevelt asked them to do. And we're doing it with Joseon, claiming LOUDLY we want peace while our military blocks any move in that direction. The scumbags are in control but, then, regardless of their stripe, the scumbags are ALWAYS in control. Whatever sins Imperial Japan may have committed against other nations, and there were many, the 太平洋戦争 was 100% the responsibility of the U.S. including that phony 'surprise'. There was NO surprise in Washington on 07Dec41, only glee. Success!!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Just when you think the it can't get any worse...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites