Following up this post, here's the apology.
There's a great thread on Fark talking about this.
Some interesting comments:
2005-08-15 06:42:05 AM thisispete
Resentment of Japan is fairly common in East Asia. It seems like it is a manifestation of nationalism in certain countries. Look at China, it seems like such resentment is actively egged on by the government. Granted the Rape of Nanking among others was a horrible warcrime, but the resentment seems to be among people who weren't even born then.
Still, I suppose such crimes are still within living memory.
2005-08-15 06:45:54 AM Skr
Don't they apologize every few years? Are any of the people alive and in power today even at fault for those past deeds?
My family came over to American long after slavery was abolished, but like Japanese apologizing, I don't see one goddamned reason people should apologize for the sins of the father. That mode of thought just breeds a whole basket of hate and keeps alive things that should just fall to the past.
2005-08-15 07:05:29 AM little_wing [TotalFark]
Skr: Don't they apologize every few years? Are any of the people alive and in power today even at fault for those past deeds?
I think the issue is that the Japanese were never forthcoming in their apologies IIRC. Many people down here in Australia are still very resentful towards the Japanese. A few weeks ago I was watching a WWII doco, and as an aside at the end of his interview, this old aussie digger grinned and muttered:
"You know what? I'm glad we stuck it to the little yellow bastards."
I think people of my grandparent's generation are still very angry about our men dying in POW camps, and the bombing of our cities, and submarines in Sydney Harbour etc. I can only imagine Asian countries would harbour even more resentment, with all the atrocities committed at Nanjing etc.
2005-08-15 07:11:25 AM ShannonKW
The Japanese will apologize for anything. It doesn't mean the same thing to them as it does to us, but I'm sure the Koreans and other Asian WWII victims are well aware of that.
Korea and other East Asian countries get off on watching Japanese politicos humble themselves because their pride is hurt. When everybody else in the region laid down for the Europeans, the Japanese alone faced them down. Even grand and ancient China might still be under the Western heel if the Japanese hadn't given Gweilo the bum's rush.
The Koreans are in the same boat, and they have especially touchy pride, so I think it's this that is bothering them and not any memory of Japanese atrocities.
2005-08-15 07:28:31 AM GungFu
Not it just a case of saying sorry, it's also acknowleding what they did, which they have not done with any conviction, if at all.
There are 1000's of 'comfort women' from China, Philipines, Burma, Thailand, Korea, who have not received proper compensation nor acknowledgment from the Japanese.
And to address the dicks who think Japan has nothing to be accountable for..'cos, like it was a war, and a few years ago, or something..'
Yeah, tell that to the moaning Jews, jeez, it was just a fun camp gone wrong.
2005-08-15 07:42:04 AM stpickrell [TotalFark]
Starting with the Meiji Restoration, Japan sought to imitate the West as best she could.
Her government turned from the absolute rule of the bakufu (shogunate) into one resembling the German Kaiserate (Constitutional monarchy, but where the monarch had more say in what to do.)
Japan came into the Great Game too late to get her own colonies in Africa. Therefore, she sought to attack places in Asia. There was the Russo-Japanese War, where Japan sought to get her share of the Chinese float. Not sure what is terrible about fighting another European power to do the same thing that said European powers are already doing.
If you remember, in 1910, she annexed Korea, the historic target of attacks in eras past (there was one invasion in the 7th century, and another in the 17th century, once Tokugawa unified the country.) Japan joined World War I on the Allies' side hoping to acquire some German colonies in the Pacific, and did the job.
The Europeans got past their 'conquer the brown people' phase around World War I. The Japanese did not, so when Japan started invading China (Japan's 'brown people' are just about anyone who's not Japanese) in earnest in the 1930s, her actions were condemned. I am not an expert on what European powers did in the 19th century to Africa, and China was more urbanized than Africa, so the Rape of Nanking was simply not as possible in Africa.
I'm not going to be so Japanophilic as to deny that; the forces of the Empire of Japan killed at leat 100.000 civilians, whether it was 100, 200 or 300.000, merely reflects a lack of targets, as opposed to lack of brutality on the part of Imperial Japanese forces.
At some point, given the lack of further aggressive action, Japan must be forgiven. China cannot use the 'Japan excuse' to paper over her own problems.
2005-08-15 07:45:37 AM bbcrackmonkey
See that 13 year old boy blind-folded and tied to a tree? Guess what's about to happen to him.
Japans's atrocities in Asia are equal to or even greater than those committed by the Nazis in Europe. I believe the Tokyo War Crimes Commission estimated that Japan killed 20 million Chinese civilians during the course of their imperialist stage, and that's not counting the countless other nations they invaded during this time. What is so different about the Japanese brutality and the Nazi brutality is that with the Nazis, it was organized from the top down, with the leadership largely controlling the level and scope of the atrocities, but with the Japanese soldiers it was grass-roots brutality that killed most people.
Sometimes they would have killing competitions to boost morale, in which individual Japanese soldiers would go out and kill as many Chinese peasants as they could and whoever killed the most won a prize or something. They viewed other Asians with the same contempt that the Nazis viewed Jews and Slavs, they viewed them as nothing more than rats and vermin, and usually treated them accordingly.
Just FYI, there are a lot worse images I could show you, piles of dead babies, women with their breasts cut off (a common practice after gang-rape) where their ribs are showing through their chest and they are bleeding to death, huge piles of decapitated heads, etc.
Sorry to be so morbid about these things, but I think the world has a right to see what happened, just as it has a right to view the pictures of the Holocaust in the face of those who would deny or downplay such events.