I think Kamiyama has the right idea. It used to break my heart riding through rural Kumamoto seeing rundown houses with old people still living in them, the children who could fix them hours away in the city. Transportation is so expensive.
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China wants to keep Japan fully pacifist because Japan is the only other regional power with the capability of defending the islands of the South China Sea. This is why Vietnam has forgiven and forgotten but China is making a big deal of it.
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but can you name me one country that buries the truth about WWII like Japan does? Nah, didn't think so.
Easy. China. Not necessarily about that war but about anything in current events that doesn't suit their narrative.
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Japan does need to go on the offensive with propaganda. I lived in Japan for a year and teach in Korea. The textbooks here teach young Koreans that Japan is inherently warlike and dangerous, and those books also include errors of fact. They completely ignore Admiral Perry and Daewongun in Korea, make it look like the rulers of Japan just decided to invade one day. The Japanese government needs to get hold of some Korean and Chinese textbooks to show they're not the only ones distorting history for political gain.
Japan also needs to watch the public reaction to the Sewol incident, to understand the role of apology in Korean culture. These are not forgiving people. I have had countless colleagues, friends, even strangers here in Korea tell me that Japan has never apologized or paid reparations, which is simply false but they passionately believe it.
When President Park says that Japan needs a "right" view of history, I cringe. Not just because she's the daughter of a dictator but because she reflects the view of your average Korean that there is only one view of history and it's the one they learned in school. Japanese society is so much more open and free than Korea and China, free to criticize itself in writing and art. You have to use that to your advantage, because right now those other nations are using their unity to theirs. Your opponents live in glass houses and are throwing stones.
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While the crimes against Korea are substantial, the Koreans are happy to milk the situation... and to lie about it. Many people here will tell you that Japan has never apologized, never paid reparations, and that they would forgive if only they did. School kids get caricatures of evil samurai in their history books. The nationalists here like having a villain, and Japan is theirs. I can't speak about China on this point. As for the train at Yushukan... where? I was there a couple years ago and didn't see it.
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