Van E. Harl
POOR MISUNDERSTOOD JAPAN
Can you believe those Chinese protesters? Unhappy with the way Japan is portraying their history in official school text books. It is alleged that Japan is white-washing their wartime atrocities so the average Japanese student will not have to bear the guilt or shame of their Emperor’s war crimes, this, from a shame-based society.
Winners get to write the history and the losers have to live with it. In the world of propaganda it is believed that if you tell a lie long enough and hard enough, the lie becomes the truth. In the case of the Japan, if you fail to tell the story at all, perhaps the story will just go away. We all know about Pearl Harbor and the tragic loss of life, when the Japanese supposedly without US provocation attacked American soil. What I did not know until a few years ago was one of my distant relatives had a major impact on instigating Japan’s attack of the US.
Lt Commander Arthur McCollum (on my paternal grandmother’s side) at the direction of the Secretary of the Navy came up with an eight point plan to goad the Japanese into war. The plan now known as the McCollum Memo, on 7 October 1940 went from Commander McCollum (Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett) directly to the Secretary of the Navy, who placed it personally in the hands of President Roosevelt. Roosevelt directed the US to pursue all eight points. The results being, fourteen months later Hawaii was attacked and the US joined WW II.
So who are we suppose to be mad at for all the deaths on “The Day of Infamy;” the Japanese, President Roosevelt or my distant cousin Commander McCollum? China does have the right to be unhappy with Japan but you have to wonder why they are so upset now.
Japan invaded China in 1931 with plans to occupy the entire country. The loss of Chinese life at the hands of the Japanese military is unconscionable. An example: in 1942 Lt Colonel Jimmy Doolittle led his historic bombing raid on Japan. This was the first US attack on the Japanese mainland and Japan was not happy with all the great international press the American government got from this pin-prick of a military action. Most of the aircrews had to ditch their planes and were helped by the local Chinese. These sixteen aircraft inflicted little damage on Tokyo but it has been estimated that a half a million Chinese were killed by Japanese troops in direct reprisal for the Doolittle Raid. This of course is not mentioned in the current Japanese text books.
In 1947-48, General MacArthur set free all of the un-condemned Class-A Japanese war criminals; war criminals that resumed their fascists, militarist’s lives and got right back into the politics of modern Japan. Hundreds of Japanese doctors of the infamous Unit 731, who carried out medical atrocities on the Chinese went right back into practicing their “healing arts” after the war.
Now the Chinese are not totally innocent here. Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang are estimated to have killed ten million Chinese in an attempt to suppress the Communists. While Mao Zedong, is estimated to have had killed over 35 million Chinese during his time in power.
It would appear, along with Japan owning up to their history of violence in China, perhaps there are some Chinese leaders who need to do some soul searching. Now is a politically good time for China to allow their people to protest against the Japanese. The problem is this protesting may be getting a little out of hand for the Chinese government.
On official web sites they have asked the Chinese people not to attack Japanese people. It’s OK to throw objects at the Japanese Consulate just don’t hurt a Japanese business man who may be planning to built yet another factory in China. Asian politics can only go so far, but if it gets in the way of making money, hurt feelings take a back seat.
After some attacks on Japanese interests in China, Japan’s trade minister Shoichi Nakagawa stated “It is only natural for anyone to offer an apology and compensation if he or she damages other people’s property.” Japan has been a little slow on apologizing and they give out “grant aid” instead of reparations for their war crimes. You have to wonder what text book the trade minister was educated from.
Or, could this really be about China not wanting Japan as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
©Copyright April 25, 2005 by Van E. Harl