I find it hilarious that THIS issue, above all the other ones argued over in these comments pages, is the one that has attracted the most comments. All the self-righteous posturing over how one sushi chef chooses to run HIS business! You don't have to go there. There are countless other places in which to dine. I love the way the Japanese choose to do things their way .I hope it never changes. I respect that. Perhaps all the angry gajjin on these pages give some clue as to why this is so. Perhaps you might have a tendency to display your Western style behaviour a bit too often. Perhaps you just don't get it. The practice of respecting others is why this country is SO civilized, especially considering the huge population that lives so harmoniously within a comparatively small area. You need to show some respect, and not continuously expect the Japanese to change to suit your western-orientated expectations. Always complaining about things is disrespectful. If there are problems within society, it's for the Japanese to deal with, not foreigners. If you always find something to complain about, I would say that the problem lies within you, and your attitude to this beautiful country.
-8 ( +3 / -11 )
Just imagine, if by some fictional miracle Japan had been able to send a few squadrons of bombers over to the U.S. in the dying months of the war, and fire-bombed San Francisco, killing about 100,000 people in the process, in an effort to halt the U.S. advance, and take out a few factories, perhaps.......can you imagine the endless moral outrage that would have caused? "But they killed innocent Americans...women and children!!"
Reading through some of the transcripts of the Tokyo war crime trials, one sees that a common defence is that the accused were just "following orders". That's exactly what the allied bomber crews were doing over Japan and Germany, as they fire-bombed civilian populations.
Now, the guilty parties on all sides are mostly all dead. If all sides of the second world war can own up to officially sanctioned war crimes, without leaving it all to historians and philosophers to outline their hypocrisies, then perhaps some lasting resolution can be achieved.
0 ( +2 / -2 )
GW, you know nothing about Japanese history.
Philosophically, Japan has been, and remains, the most civilised country on Earth. Politically, there was a divide that lasted for many centuries between the samurai class and the common people. Wars were fought at times for political reasons, but those wars were between samurai and samurai. They didn't go about raping or butchering civilians. Nor does Japan have any period that you could equate with the Spanish inquisition, or the various witch hunts. And, they washed. Not like those stinking Europeans.
From 1600 to 1853 there was.... Peace! Compare that to western history during the same time. Go on!
The issues often debated here are about C20th events, and a reading of Japanese history will show that Japan found itself surrounded by aggressive western and Russian colonial interests. Its Meiji constitution, and military build-up were a response to the real world.
Confucianism and Shintoism have both, in their own ways, imbued Japanese society and culture with a level of aesthetic advancement, ethical behaviour and mutual respect that are unique in this world.
-9 ( +2 / -11 )
Christianity has been responsible, either directly or indirectly, for countless killings, tortures, wars, witch-hunts, slavery, rapes, sexual abuse, aggressive colonization of non-Western lands, and obfuscation of its own dark past, yet they still persist in teaching it to children in the west, particularly the U.S.
Japan had one short period of aggression within about 1,400 years of philosophically advanced civilization, but all you angry white males just can't let go of the war, even though your own civilization stands on blood-soaked ground.
-7 ( +3 / -10 )
GW, What you should do is start by studying history, and perhaps you will see that it is not all black or white. In another post I wrote that the Japanese government of the 30's and 40's should have apologised to the Japanese people. Of course, they weren't able to do that after being executed.
I take a very sympathetic view of the Japanese people and their culture, and have only admiration for the way they rebuilt the country after the war, in a way that no other country could have done. The period of the war was a tragedy for so many, yet they have not been whingeing and going on about not receiving an apology. The official U.S. side of history though has been about making military excuses for deliberately targeting civilians. It's more insidious than that, being, with regard to the A-bombs, about sending a message to Stalin, seeing the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as expendable.
One can condemn the Japanese government of the 30's and 40's, without a doubt, but you should see everything in context. History is not a collection of distinct points in time, but a continuum. How far back does one go? Why stop at 70 years? When Japan opened up, and caught up with the rest of the world, what they saw were the products of very aggressive western colonization. No-one at that stage could have seen what the future would bring post-war, in the shape of co-operative trade. Thinking and actions were still very 19th century. Hell, the U.S. had just finished slaughtering Native Americans (Wounded Knee 1890}, the British were busy stealing parts of South Africa for themselves (the Boer War), and then most of Europe was marching into battle again in 1914. The Japanese were very conscious of possible threats from Russia, and so on. That was the world in the early part of the 20th century.
Perhaps some honest acknowledgement by the U.S. after the war, instead of occupation and censorship, would have helped, but that is a bit late now. The Japanese people were the victims first of their own government, then of the U.S. Air Force. They have never received any apologies.
Perhaps that explains the reticence of some individuals there who feel that the one-sided narrative does nothing to assuage the very real tragedy that the Japanese people suffered.
1 ( +5 / -4 )
Everyone seems to be forgetting that after the war, about 1,000 of the Japanese military were tried for war crimes, and were executed, or died in jail. With them went the responsibility.
The U.S. needs to acknowledge the deliberate targeting of the civilian Japanese population as a war crime too, if any sense of balance and resolution is to be achieved.
However, apologies can only come from those responsible. They are all dead. The current demands for an "apology" are nothing more than political grandstanding.
-3 ( +3 / -6 )
Yes. As an Australian, I have always been pretty disgusted at the way successive governments have supported Suharto and later Indonesian governments. It is embarrassing for our country. The West Papuans have never had a chance. It just shows that all talk of ethics, human rights and principles, etc. can be blown away by realpolitik.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
Deliberately targeting the Japanese civilian population during WW2, rather than keeping battles as military v military, and using the A-bomb as a warning signal to Russia, and not acknowledging any of this as a war crime, is also whitewashing history. Lets not forget that Japan wanted an end to the war, but Stalin withheld that information, to suit his own purposes. If everyone continues to whitewash, then some sort of balance will be maintained. The U.S. and Japan should just move ahead. Sometimes, words are never enough to express the complexity of a situation. To leave a body of acknowledgements regarding WW2 in a perpetual state of imbalance will not cure a situation. History is far more complex than simple black or white. Let China continue to stew. Totalitarian governments can never be appeased.
-2 ( +1 / -3 )
Race and religion are 2 separate issues. The two are divisible. That is a fact of logic. However, defenders of Islam like to muddy up the definitions, so they can use the "racist" tag. The growth of Islam in non-Islamic Western countries is incremental. First they start off as a tiny minority and use modern law to hide behind "minority rights" protections. Then, as their numbers increase, they start asking for more, then demanding more, until you end up with enclaves of sharia law. Their loyalty is always to the Koran, and never to the host country. It is not a culture, but an anti-culture. The ultimate aspiration for fundamentalist Muslims is uniformity in thought and behaviour. There is always the encouragement to become "closer" to the "real" Islam, which equates as a move towards a stricter interpretation. It is quintessentially intolerant, but pretends to be otherwise. Actually, it is nothing but an extremely dangerous personality cult, with worldwide reach. If you look at the presence of Islam in non-Muslim countries, you will see that it leaves a trail of increasing crime and a growth in terrorist activity. The actual truth is one of those politically-incorrect facts that many know, but which draws heavy criticism when it is publicised. I could go on, but this is enough. I have, for a short time, seen it from the inside. I know what I am talking about. You just have to take the trouble and see what has been happening in England and parts of Europe. Australia is slowly heading in that direction because many of our politicians have been clueless. Oh, and Christian fundamentalism has only a small profile in this country. The hatred of Islam cuts across all sectors of society, except for the totally naive, politically-correct lefty crowd. They are clueless on this issue.
No, I am not "right-wing". More of an existentialist, libertarian, Shinto-respecting Confucius-admirer, actually. I love Japan, its people and culture, and I sincerely hope it NEVER has to deal with an increasing intake of Muslims.
0 ( +5 / -5 )
The Japanese military leadership of the 30's and 40's were an aberration in the timeline of Japanese history. It was they who should have apologised to the Japanese people for dragging the whole country into an unwinnable war. However, after WW2, about 1,000 of the military were tried for war crimes, found guilty, and either executed or ended up in jail, where they died. With them went the responsibility. The trolls amongst you should stop harping on about the second world war. Get over it. As for China, the period of communist rule has been responsible for more deaths than they ascribe to the Japanese military. The Chinese government now simply cannot be trusted. They, as hard-line communists, are as duplicitous as Stalin ever was. The Koreans should clean up the mess in their own back yard - Kim Jong-un - before complaining about the Japanese of 70 or more years ago.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )
It amazes me that many contributors to this website can't seem to get over WW2. The world has moved on since then. Defence is insurance. I hope Japan becomes as strong as it ever was. I hope it gets lots of F35's. Air dominance is a major deterrent. Avoiding war unfortunately is very expensive.
-1 ( +3 / -4 )