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Maciamo
Apr 24, 2005, 16:56
China, Korea and other Asian countries that have experienced the Japanese occupation during WWII have constantly complained about the content of history textbooks used in Japanese schools everytime the Japanese Education Ministry approves new books. Germany, Austria or Italy do not have this problem. What is the difference ?

According to Wikipedia "The German education system focuses on teaching about the Holocaust and the Third Reich and denounces the crimes committed during World War II." I believe that they also explain about slave labour used by some German companies, or show pictures of concentrations camps.

Nowadays, I have seen by myself that Japanese history textbooks only quickly outline Japan's invasion of Asia in WWII, and doesn't describe the atrocities, shows any picture or insist one Japan's culpability.

Worse, modern history is an optional subject, and Japanese students have to choose between Japanese History, World History or Geography. So people who do not choose history have no mention of WWII at all. In my opinion, both geography and history from the antiquity to the late 20th century should be compulsory.

What do you think should be included in Japanese history textbooks ?

lineartube
Apr 24, 2005, 17:37
Hi Maciamo,

I think that the best examples can be learn from our global history and you did raised an interesting comparison though I'm not familiarised with the German, Japanese or even the Russian learning system. Agressors or victims, massacres or mass-rapes, how do they deal with their past?
And how about Austria, Hungary or any former member of the Austrian-Hungary empire, Greece, Turkey, or even the more recent Yuguslavia ex-members?

It would be nice getting some information about this current countries learning systems and how they try to explain their turbulent past.

Maciamo
Apr 24, 2005, 17:40
It would be nice getting some information about this current countries learning systems and how they try to explain their turbulent past.

Could you start by telling us about how WWII is taught in Portugal ? Did you learn about pre-war Nazi propaganda, Nazi military conquests, the holocaust, with pictures/videos, etc. ?

lineartube
Apr 24, 2005, 18:18
Portugal had a neutrality of convenience. We did allowed the use of the Azores islands as air and naval bases by the Allies while we traded with the Axis powers for much needed raw materials. But at the time, Portugal had its own type of fascism, or more correctly, its fascist corporativism government.
But since I like reading about history, I am not sure if I learned this in school.

As for the last World War, it is thought in texts and pictures. Documentaries were rare in school, except in the public TV stations. As for what it was thought, it did refered the Nazi rise to power as also the rise of the black shirts in Italy or Japan invasion of China. The focus was more into the European theather of war than in Asia. The Holocaust was also teached though with mild pictures of concentration camps like Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen.

Mycernius
Apr 24, 2005, 18:58
Despite how painful it might be for the government, how about the whole truth? Everything from the reasons why to what they did. It is the only way for the Japanese population to realise what they Grandfathers did and maybe for them to understand why so many ex-servicemen from allied ppowers don't like them. If they are kept in the dark by their own education system, you can see why they don't really understand why China and Korea have this attitude of distrust towards them. Unfortunalty the change has to come from the government. Until it dose the people will remain in the dark except those who look in foreign text books on WWII.

Aaron Tan
Apr 25, 2005, 22:31
History, i mean the truth cant b hiden by a group of people.

celtician
Apr 25, 2005, 23:20
Japanese history texbooks should definitely mention modern history ...which they don't do at the moment!! Forget the fictional...Jomon period!!

Apollo
Apr 26, 2005, 03:40
I clicked on all except the two first......

It is especially important to explain in history books the atrocities in Manchuria......

lexico
Apr 28, 2005, 23:48
However, I hope it can be supplemented by more polls building upon this great idea. One thing about option no. 16. Shouldn't it be "why war criminals should not be worshipped" ?

quote:
"Explanation on the controversy about the Yasukuni Shrine, and why war criminals should be worshipped"

Some extra options for future extensions I would hope to see:

19. Assessments of immediate damages that resulted from exploitations by country, by city, by industry.

20. Assessments of immediate damages that resulted from Imperial Japan's war activities.

21. Assessments of immediate damages that resulted from discriminatory treatment of non-Japanese citizens.

22. Assessments of long-term damages to individuals & families due to Japan's war decision.

23. Assessments of the pain, agony, loss of body funtion, body part, or both, leading to the eventual loss of all body parts, and life itself for the majority interned at Unit 731 for the human experiments ({ R萓Oꕔ lԐ铛). Did any survive in the end ? Or were all burned to cover it up ? Such questions for discussionin the history classes.

24. Assessments of environmental damages, costs of restoration, and monetary figures after compound interest since the time of destruction to the present. (or the time of reparation made, if any.)

25. Actual repartions made and how those figures compare to the actual/immediate/long-term damages.

26. The internal logic of Pan Asian Commonwealth Sphere, how it was to benefit Imperial Japan, how it was to exploit Asian countries & individuals, how the propaganda was administered, the descrepancy between the ideals and realities of PACS.

27. How Japan got lucky by the Marshall plan; ie. not demanding full reparation, but being offered aid for reconstruction instead, and how that fostered the illusion within certain groups in Japan, that nothing was really wrong with Imperial Japan.

28. How Japan's primary war criminal late Emperor Hirohito got off the hook of the death sentence, and how that perpetrated the false impression of his & Japan's ultimate innocence.

29. How gentle a treatment Japan got when considering the great damage it caused to the world, and how ungrateful Japan has been for the astonishing humane treatment. All it had to offer was preferential treatment to the major occupying forces; the US, and how unfair that was.

30. Why Japan was not allowed to have its own army for the purpose of combating on foreign soil; why Japan cannot ammend its constitution to have an army now, and why it must stay that way forever.

31. Some basic education in philosphy, logic, some simple civics such as being responsible, and how criminal behavior costs the perpetrator in the end. Why lying is bad, although it may look lucrative.

32. The cause & effect relationship in history; e.g. you hit someone, he hits you back, that it is perfectly natural to do so if you don't apologize immediately or go to gaol.

33. How Japan's history education has been misrepresenting reality.

34. The oppression of dissidents to the militarism since Meiji; how may Japanese perished in the torture, in the cells, in the human experiments, or simply fled to another country.

35. An assessment of damages Japan has sufferred due to extremist right wing conservatives' activities.

That's it for now.

lexico
Apr 30, 2005, 22:06
However, I hope it can be supplemented by more polls building upon this great idea. One thing about option no. 16. Shouldn't it be "why war criminals should not be worshipped" ?Can you comment on this point, please ? Was it meant to be that way; then I don't understand option 16. :?

Maciamo
Apr 30, 2005, 22:58
Can you comment on this point, please ? Was it meant to be that way; then I don't understand option 16. :?

That's right. Soory. I have changed it. :p

lexico
Apr 30, 2005, 23:51
Thanks, Mac. Now I can vote with peace of mind. ;-)

Today I discovered (well rediscovered) this site; unfortunately, they seem to be incomplete. There were claims by some Japanese scholars that certain material were not available by design; the more controversial, sensitive material. So, good, and bad, as anything in life. *sigh*

Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (http://www.jacar.go.jp/asia_en/e_materials/materials_en.html)

The National Archives of Japan:

Among the collection of the National Archives of Japan, JACAR currently provides access to materials assembled to the Japanese Cabinet from the Meiji era to closing years of World War II during the Showa era. As these materials also include vast amounts relating to domestic affairs, we are extracting those that concern Asian history for the convenience of the user. As of June 2002, JACAR has made approx. 120,000 images and catalog of approx. 30,000 items accessible through the Internet in the 3 historical record series below. We are planning to also provide "Kobun Zassan" (materials not entered in "Kobun Ruishu" that were received by the Cabinet dating from the 19th year of the Meiji era (1886), compiled according to government agency and year), "Goshomei Gempon" (original documents promulgating laws and treaties, with name and seal of the Emperor), "Sumitsuin Kaigi Kankei Shorui" (document related to Privy Council meetings), and others in the future.

Dajo Ruiten

Dajo Ruiten is the compilation of records collected by the Dajokan, the central administrative organ of the Government until the Meiji Government adopted the cabinet system. These records cover the period from October of the 3rd year of the Keio era (1867) to the 14th year of the Meiji era (1881). Consisting of copies and originals of journals of the Dajokan, regulations concerning ceremonies, diplomatic documents, and others, the materials are valuable records of such matters as treaties of friendship Japan concluded with various foreign countries during the early Meiji era.

Kobun Roku

Kobun Roku are original copies of official documents that the Dajokan received from the 1st year of the Meiji era (1868) to Meiji 18 (1885) sorted by ministry or agency concerned and year, designated as the country's important cultural property. Among the records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are detailed records concerning establishment of diplomatic relations with various foreign countries, arranged in chronological order.

Kobun Ruishu

Kobun Ruishu is a collection of official documents that were compiled under the Dajo Ruiten title until Meiji 14 (1881) and that took the present title in Meiji 15 (1882). Starting from Meiji 19 (1886), original proceedings for laws and regulations have been placed in this category. As of June 2002, JACAR has provides access through the Internet to Asian historical records up to the 11th year of the Showa era (1936).

(There's more matrerial there with Congress & Navy documents, too !)

Loyalist
May 1, 2005, 00:58
The Yasukuni Shrine honors those who died for thier country, and the Japanese should worship them. Not all enshrined their are war criminals. The term "war criminal" should not exist, It should just be "criminal". The united States killed many japanese civilian (672,000). So those who ordered the drop, ceated the atomic bomb should also be considered war criminals. The only reason they arnt is because those who achive victory acheive righteousness andare veiwed by history to be right. I am not in any way defending the obvious atrocities committed by Japan, I think that they have been reformed, and currently are a force of good in the world. They dont need to be punished by constant reminders of their mistakes, They must be mentioned and never forgotten, but not constantly forced in thier face. Some american texbooks fail to mention the dresdin firebombing.

lexico
May 1, 2005, 02:38
The Yasukuni Shrine honors those who died for thier country, and the Japanese should worship them. Not all enshrined their are war criminals. Should worship ? As if there exists an obligation ? Why secretly smuggle in people who were at the forefront of bringing shame to Japan ? And all of humanity who happen not to be Japanese, who happened to pay by being in the wrong place as a non-Japanese ?
The term "war criminal" should not exist, It should just be "criminal". Why not ? For the comfort of your mind that all is well ?
The united States killed many japanese civilian (672,000). So those who ordered the drop, ceated the atomic bomb should also be considered war criminals. Absolutely.
The only reason they arnt is because those who achive victory acheive righteousness andare veiwed by history to be right. And where do you draw your conclusion from ? From some general reflections into the deep meanings of life ?
I am not in any way defending the obvious atrocities committed by Japan, I think that they have been reformed, and currently are a force of good in the world. Reformed ? What evidence of being reformed can you present ?
They dont need to be punished by constant reminders of their mistakes,Constantly ? Some Japanese citizens are shocked to hear the news for the first time in their lives. You must not have much experience with many Japanese in Japan/from Japan. Do you think the self-imposed critics here are just that way and love to criticise, throw dirt in the face of decent people in general ? I wouldn't want to waste my breathe on negativity, my friend. Life is just too short for that kind of stuff !!
They must be mentioned and never forgotten, but not constantly forced in thier face. Some american texbooks fail to mention the dresdin firebombing. A lot of those "atrocities" are never mentioned. Hence comes the raison d'etre of this thread-poll.

Loyalist
May 1, 2005, 12:52
Should worship ? As if there exists an obligation ?.
No, I phrased this wrong. My mistake. My meaning is that Many of those enshrined have made valient efforts for the sake of their country, and should be honored for it.



Why not ? For the comfort of your mind that all is well ?

Because war itself is a crime. Those foolish enough to set up rules for war beg disaster from those who are willing to win at all cost. Im saying that they are just plain and simple criminals. I belive the term war criminal is foolish.


And where do you draw your conclusion from ? From some general reflections into the deep meanings of life ?

The Romans conquered province after province under the guise of self defense or liberation. And are generally veiwed to be on the side of good. When marco polo was in the chinese empire it was controlled by invaders, and that dynasty is veiwed as good. Europeans conqured ruthlessly the "new world" and are hearalded as great explorers. The colonys rebel against their govenment and win. They are veiwed as good. American millitary preforms almost demi genicide on the native americans and now we are veiwed as good. Had the civil war ended differently the confederates wold be veiwed as good.


Reformed ? What evidence of being reformed can you present ?.

Oh your right because i compleatly forgot about all the horrible atrocities that the japanese millitary has comiited after WWII!......OH wait ...they havent. Japan is no longer trying to become an empire or establish colonys. Now I would like proof that they havent. And dont use any examples of ultranationalist who dont represent the entire japanese government.

Shas
May 2, 2005, 01:54
As Mac said: We learn the full thing in Germany, so if you don't sleep in history you should have a detailed knowledge about German warcrimes and the holocaust etc etc.

And I believe that Japan should teach it too, because growing up with a stigma without even knowing it is bad i think.

Loyalist
May 4, 2005, 09:31
hmmm, Lexico has failed to reply, im dissapointed. Im sure he is busy, i look forwards to his response.

Maciamo
May 4, 2005, 10:43
The Yasukuni Shrine honors those who died for thier country, and the Japanese should worship them. Not all enshrined their are war criminals. The term "war criminal" should not exist, It should just be "criminal". The united States killed many japanese civilian (672,000).

When you don't know the meaning of a particular term like "ar crime" or "war criminal", you should look it up in an online dictionary (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=war+criminal), or better an encyclopedia like Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_criminal). It may surprise you, but there are laws regulating war and some actions are prohibited. Mass murder or genocide of civilians is one of them. The Japanese committed many war crimes, the most famous of which is the Nanking Massacre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_massacre).

FYI, there are 14 class-A war criminals and a few thousands class-B and class-C enshrined in Yasukuni Jinja (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasukuni). The shrine was built in 1869, and is dedicated to war deads since then. However, the war criminals (not ordinary soldiers but the people who commanded the massacres, rapes or torture of civilians) were only added to the Shrine in 1978. The controversy only started at that time. Before that nobody complained that the Japanese, even politicians, paid homage to war deads. The problem is that Prime Minister Koizumi has been visiting Yasukuni just since 1978, and now as PM it appears as if he is worshippig war criminals equivalent to Hitler, Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, etc. (if you don't know them, check Wikipedia or Google).

Loyalist
May 5, 2005, 09:31
Because war itself is a crime, Those foolish enough to set up rules for war beg disaster from those who are willing to win at all cost. Im saying that they are just plain and simple criminals. I belive the term war criminal is foolish.
(this is from an erlier post.)

I am aware of the rules set up for war, but this in itself is quite fustrating.Maciamo, I hope you arn't implying that im babbling mindlessly. I dont belive that term shold exist. A crime is a crime is a crime is a crime. We shold not specify them in such a manner. A white collar crime, is still a crime and they shold not be called "white collar criminals" they are just "criminals".

Are you Inferring I don't know my history Maciamo? I am quite aware of who Himmler, Goebbles, and the rest are. (If your last line was for the sake of others, and not implying that I have no idea what im talking about then ignore this.)

Maciamo
May 5, 2005, 10:22
Because war itself is a crime, Those foolish enough to set up rules for war beg disaster from those who are willing to win at all cost. Im saying that they are just plain and simple criminals.

No, in wartime there is a big difference of responsibility between the people who give the orders and those who execute them. "War criminal" refers to the people at the top organising the war, and especially ordering the massacre of civilians (incl. women and children).

What about torture ? Don't you make any difference between the ways of killing someone (eg. shot, or made to suffer horribly for hours or days ?) ? If not, then I suppose you also don't recognise manslaughter as less serious than murder. In the gradation of responsibility for killing someone, manslaughter (killing someone by accident, with no intend to kill) is the least serious, followed respectively by :

- killing on orders (well you could say that the executioners of death penalty also kill on orders like soldiers, so they are completely crime-free, legally speaking)
- murder with extenuating circumstances
- cold blooded murder
- serial murder
- mass murder
- and finally, ordering mass murders (+tortures, human experiments, etc.)

Class-A war criminals are this last category.


Are you Inferring I don't know my history Maciamo? I am quite aware of who Himmler, Goebbles, and the rest are. (If your last line was for the sake of others, and not implying that I have no idea what im talking about then ignore this.)

No. I don't know you, so I was just giving general info. But do you know about the Japanese war criminals in question (Tojo, Itagaki, Matsui, etc.) ? (see list here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Military_Tribunal_for_the_Far_East)) .

Loyalist
May 5, 2005, 10:47
What about torture ? Don't you make any difference between the ways of killing someone (eg. shot, or made to suffer horribly for hours or days ?) ? If not, then I suppose you also don't recognise manslaughter as less serious than murder. In the gradation of responsibility for killing someone, manslaughter (killing someone by accident, with no intend to kill) is the least seriou


Shooting someone and touturing someone to death. Both acts still make you a criminal, as i stated before war itself is a crime and either way you are killing someone and you are now a criminal. Manslaughterr is different in my mind and not as black and white, it depends on the circumstances, for instance a man runs over a pedestrian on accident, ok fine, but if he was drunk, or not fit to be driving then he is a criminal and that persons blood is on his hands. and yes, those with more power have more responsability, and they are criminals also. But as i veiw war itslef to be a crime i do not belive the term War criminal should be used. They are criminals.

snow san
May 8, 2005, 01:23
I think that most of the events mentioned in the poll should be written in text books as long as they were factual... History books are not about blame or responsibility, they are about what actually happend. As humans we learn from our mistakes and our accomplisments, if we are unaware of past mistakes and atrocities, it is hard to learn from them.
History should be taught in full, as not to run the risk of repeating it.

snow san
May 8, 2005, 01:31
I understand that the Japanese education system is superior to the American one;this I agree with out argument.
I was thinking it strange ,at first, my former Japanese girlfriend knew nothing of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then I was told by a Japanese friend who had been educated in austrailia, not all history makes it into the Japanese text books. How much creedance should I give to this?

lexico
May 8, 2005, 08:30
*Japanese flag* "If you cannot lead, Follow the best." May I ask what you mean to convey with you signature if it's not too personal a question ?
Is it the Japanese version of Iacoca saying, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way ?"
Or is it a slogan of some right-wing fascist party ?
It terribly bothers me because it is reminiscent of Japan's imperial past when all of Japan, intelligent or not, concientious or not, moral or not, peace-loving or not, succumbed to the militarist leadership of the Emperor and his men to follow blindly in one straight file of aggression against the non-Japanese world surrounding them.
What do you mean to portray; what values to you intend to project of yourself, of what, in your mind, a Japanese person should ideally be ?

Loyalist
May 18, 2005, 09:21
personally that signature means that if you do not have the charisma or power or whatever to get you idea out there, or to gather people to support your idea, find somone whom you agree with who has power and support them. the japanese flag is just because i like japan. and i belive you have not replied to an erlier post i mad. (its quite a ways towards the top)

Sukotto
May 20, 2005, 03:07
Personally this one #26 posted by lexico and also various ones
(which I never thought of)
with regards to affects on individuals and their communities
of war in general should be part of history/civics/social studies
classes throughout the world, not only in Japan. Such stuff
is missing from US education as well. The reality is ignored &
war is glorified and as just explosions and bloody movies.
Not that I'm against these movies. I think the glorification
comes from else where.

26. The internal logic of Pan Asian Commonwealth Sphere, how it was to benefit Imperial Japan, how it was to exploit Asian countries & individuals, how the propaganda was administered, the descrepancy between the ideals and realities of PACS.


#26 Is important I think. Since many an imperialistic war has been launched
on the platform of doing great good for others but only to set up "peaceful" relationships in which one dominates over others. (economically of course,
what else are wars about? religion [and racism] is mainly used for self-justification. "god is on my side" "god bless my side" [the British
claimed they were doing others a favor by democra..., err "civilizing"
the "uncivilized". Japanese imperialists claimed to be freeing their
Asian bretheran from European colonialists only to take their place
and used the "trade agreement" mentioned in #26 as their "peace-time"
blue print to justify the domination. i think? do i digress?])




Should war criminals that escaped persecution because they
were useful to the victors, should that be covered in Japanese
history? Examples : Yoshio Kodama & Ryoichi Sasakawa both
were classified as Class A war criminals, yet the United States
secured their release to work for them.

Does German history mention nazi war criminals that the US
helped escape persecution and put to work doing the exact same things?

bossel
May 20, 2005, 10:12
Does German history mention nazi war criminals that the US
helped escape persecution and put to work doing the exact same things?
Yes, it does. Although they did not do exactly the same things, one main difference was that they didn't have slave workers for their projects anymore.

Konoike no neko
May 30, 2005, 20:46
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Tonysoong
May 31, 2005, 00:08
Maciamo raised a good question, though many Japanese people may have got bored of dwelling on WW2. But as a Chinese, i don't think i myself am in the best position to provide an answer. Who? Japan,

Japan needs to ask itself what should be mentioned of WW2, for itself to go on with its Asian neighbors, if not for the sake of other nation's dignity. (The latter purpose may be too noble and too demanding)

lexico
May 31, 2005, 01:49
Nice article, Konoiko no neko. The second half that analyzes the historical development underlying the symptoms of Yasukuni enshrinement, historical misrepresentation, and strange governmental behavior is particularly interesting. It would require a good, long look at these phenomena to make a judgement of validity. While the analysis itself is illuminating in certain ways, does it offer a remedy to the current situation ? Excuses such as threats from the Soviet bloc and home grown communism fail to explain why they didn't find parallel, dominating trends in Germany or Italy, do they ?


When the US-led Allies occupied Japan after dropping the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one of the first things General MacArthurfs administration did was to tackle Japanese education. Japanese were ordered gto eliminate from the educational system of Japan those militaristic and ultranationalistic influences which in the past have contributed to the defeat, war guilt, suffering, privation, and present deplorable state of the Japanese peopleh.

Since patriotic education, which included emperor worship and the idea that the Japanese were a superior race with divine roots, had played an important role in mobilising the Japanese for war, this was not a spurious measure. Henceforth, the production of history textbooks would be privatised and no longer be subject to government control. But before new textbooks could be published, gultranationalistich and gmilitaristich passages in the old ones were blocked out in black ink. Teachers who had extolled the unique virtues of the divine Japanese race until the surrender in August, 1945, now taught the unique virtues of American-style demokurashi. Moral education (shushin), with its stress on sacrifice and discipline, was a particular target of the occupation authorities since this was regarded, not without reason, as the main obstacle to the new spirit of individualism. Cultural re-education was not just limited to school books but to the arts as well. Samurai dramas were banned for a short while, in movies and even in the Kabuki theatre. And generally, Japanese were encouraged to believe that their brutal wartime behaviour was rooted in deep cultural flaws.

Those who stood on the left of the political spectrum, which included much of the Japanese intelligentsia, had no problem with these policies. Like most Japanese they were glad to be rid of the oppressive wartime regime and embraced democratic change. Marxists had their own ideological reasons for seeing the dark past in terms of gfeudalismh and gcapitalist imperialismh and it was not uncommon in the 1950s and 1960s for Marxist school teachers to praise Chairman Maofs China while denouncing imperialist Japanese history in the most lurid manner. Such teachers had a strong influence on the Japan Teachers Union, whose institutional power only began to crumble in the 1980s. Many school textbooks reflected their views, even though leftist biases were almost invariably watered down by conservative education ministry bureaucrats.

Cultural conservatives, not unnaturally, took a very different view of the US occupation. They felt robbed of their national identity. Even though American censorship was minimal compared with Japanese wartime censorship, some writers and thinkers felt deeply humiliated by foreigners telling them what to think. And conservatives, who deplored the gmoral vacuumh that replaced emperor-worshipping nationalism, have tried to fill this vacuum with the old patriotic spirit ever since. A rosier view of the wartime past is part of this effort, which has found support among many conservative politicians, including prime ministers.

The issue of moral education and patriotic history is closely linked to the postwar constitution. To leftists and liberals, official pacifism has always been seen as a way to atone for the militarism of the past - something that is not pointed out in the Chinese media. Teachers associated with the Japan Teachers Union discussed Japanese war crimes as an integral part of what came to be called gpeace educationh. Pacifism was not only the answer to Hiroshima but also to the Nanking Massacre. More has been written in Japan about Japanese war crimes than anywhere else, albeit often with an ideological slant.

With the waning of Marxism, however, and the waxing of resentment over the idealistic but somewhat unrealistic pacifist constitution, the terms of the historical debate in Japan have changed. In fact, this already began in the early 1950s when China had ggone Communisth, the Korean War was under way, Japanese war criminals were released from prison and reds were purged from public life with American connivance. Men who had never endorsed the pacifist constitution, postwar education or war guilt entered the mainstream of Japanese politics.

As long as the majority of the Japanese people still held on to the pacifist ideal and resisted a revival of old-style moral education, rightwing nationalists had little room for manoeuvre. Prime-ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of imperial soldiers including quite a few war criminals are enshrined, are symbolic gestures that please Japanese veterans and other conservative voters at the cost of irritating Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese liberals, but they cannot restore Japanfs right to go to war again. And neither can public remarks about the justness of Japanfs war, the moral decadence of the young or the negative effects of masochistic history teaching.

What has shifted, though, in the wake of the Cold War (which is not really quite over in East Asia), is the public consensus that official pacifism is a realistic or even desirable option in the long run. It was humiliating for Japan to write cheques for the Gulf War in 1991 while being forced to be a passive bystander. Since Japan is so dependent on the US for its security, most foreign policy simply follows the dictates of Washington DC. Many Japanese people who hold no brief for wartime imperialism feel that it is time for a change. Not a few also feel that the time for apologising is over.

This is why Kobayashifs comic strips have found a ready audience. Not because militarism is on the rise in Japan, but because the old leftwing shibboleths are losing their persuasive power. And this owes a lot to the dogmatism of pacifist intellectuals, who can be as inflexible as rightwing patriots. If one adds the cynical manipulation of popular sentiment in China, one can see why this has stoked up a kind of rebelliousness or at least irritation which the patriots can exploit. Since young Japanese, like young people everywhere, are becoming more ignorant of the facts as the war slips into the past, they also lack the critical sense to challenge some of the more outrageous claims of the historical revisionists.

Denial, then, is not the whole story in Japan. And neither is the lack of official remorse. The problem is that history was politicised from the moment the American victors chose to remake Japan in their own image. This turned out to be successful in many respects: Japan has a flawed but functioning democracy; militarism is pretty much dead; and most Japanese lead secure, prosperous lives. But when constitutional law, military defence, foreign policy and history education become hopelessly entangled, the last thing people care about is the honest truth.

lonesoullost3
Jul 1, 2005, 11:03
Interesting poll indeed. The options forget Japan's large influence and the camps in Southeast Asia. Chinese and Korean soldiers were not the only ones that suffered from camps. Many Australian, American, and British soldiers caught in Southeast Asia died in camps on Singapore and parts of the Phillipenes (before US took over) and Indonesia - not to mention the deaths of the native inhabitants. A very interesting book to read that goes into detail about different camps and outfits of the Japanese Army is "Hidden Horrors" by Yuki Tanaka. I don't know the background of Tanaka, it doesn't have information about the author in the book, but it would be more interesting if he was a native Japanese.

Dutch Baka
Jul 7, 2005, 05:52
My excuse, by filling in the Pole i excedently presses : Brief outline of WWII only, without reference to war crimes or atrocities...

for anyone who see that.. my excuse.. small mistake

Warlock
Jul 20, 2005, 07:37
japan history books should also be written of the western colonialism and expansion and its attrocities and the unfair treaties bestowed on japan was the result of its war..

mononokifool
Aug 13, 2005, 04:32
I think that nothing should be left out of history books. not one race has a perfectly clean backround and i dont think that there ever will be. yes the germans a japanese did this but us americans did almost the same thing to the native amercans that we happily forced out of there own land. oh and for those of you who dont know the head japanese sergoun that torched the people in prison was actualy hired by the usa after everything was said and done. he was not persacuted at all. Also do you think what that the atomic bombs that we dropped were any better? i belive that last count was over 300,000 non-combatent citezines died from them. They dont tell us that in our american textbooks. As far as most americans know the worst thing we ever did was enslave people(which is not uniqe to america it has happend every were and in some places it still does). i find this very sad. oh yes wasnt the other day the 60th anniversury of hiroshima, i have to say that i cried after seeing the little kids with the side of there face peeling off form the radiation.

Tsukiyono
Aug 25, 2005, 05:48
Well I choose nearly everything on that list. I think the knowledge of ones coutries past should be known by all the people of its country.

I know here in the states, there were things I wasnt aware of that we did. I wasnt aware of the internment of the japanese during the world war 2, I wasnt aware of many things. I ended up hearing about them from other places outside of school while doing my own research on various other topics.

In general, I think schools around the world need to have some more indepth history classes, as there is a ton of stuff, major things, for example the nanking massacre, that just arent taught... or at least wasnt here in the midwest, and I was quite shocked by what I had read once i learned about it. I was wondering why it wasnt in the history books to begin with.

Anywho, getting off my soap box now.

CBT1979
Jan 29, 2007, 21:58
I think the poll misses the most important option:
"the whole truth about the pacific war/WWII"

Letting out here and there can always turn history look like injustice for nation A or Nation B.
To understand the whole historical event of the war, the textbooks must explain how the situation was before the war, why did the progress looks like that and what the did really happen after the war for all involved nations.

History books should not be made to display heroic or evil doings, but need to stick with a neutral tone the best it can do.
In modern conflicts like the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia, many peace-education workers (including my professor) were responsible to supervise the the writings of the new historical textbooks in Croatia, Serbia etc.
Because they want to avoid that the textbooks contain too much hatred and anti-nation X sentiment which could cause too much tension even after the war. This is something where most nations involved in the World Wars missed because it was not considered as a problem back then.
That's why I met many US, British or French people who still thinks that Germany is full of Nazis for example. Very sad IMO.

Sukotto
Jan 30, 2007, 00:44
CBT1979's post about modern wars and history text books make me think of an email I received back in 2004. It was supposedly written by a US soldier in Iraq in favor of the Iraq war and all the good things the US was doing there.

It is known that new text books for Iraq were being written by US companies, but this fact was not in the email.

This email said that Saddam Hussein was not mentioned in the text books for the first time. This was actually kind of disturbing. What? Did 30 some years of Iraqi history just not happen? Kind of goofy and dangerous to censor 3 decades of history, if this email is to be believed.
(the email also contained a line such as: "Iraqi girls can now go to school for the first time ever." Which might place the entire email in the realm of mere propaganda to be spread among soldier's families. ? Or just ignorance on the author's behalf? Which I tend to doubt. Surely SomeOne would have deflated the person's obvious mistaken beliefs after being there a couple months. Iraqi girls could go to school under Hussein and in truth he was a sort of "feminist" in the Arab world as women could even attend college, get government jobs, and were not required to wear head scarfs under Hussein.)

However, if this bit about Hussein not even being mentioned in Iraq history books is correct, one could ask why the winners(conquerers) are being so seemingly ignorant? It is general consensus that 'history is written by the winners of wars'. It seems almost like common sense that attempting to erase Hussein from Iraq history would cause more are than good, in the short term as well as the long. Wouldn't it more logically fit into the US administration's line that "this dictator was present and the US came and saved the day" to include that narrative?


This also raises questions about Japanese texts from just after WW2.
Were they too written by the winners; the US?
And if so, how might this have altered the post WW2 era?
This then affects how Japanese text book authors write the narrative today.
Stuff that was suppressed then, would be less likely to appear now.

The example of Klaus Barbie and other Nazis escaping prosecution (under Operation Paperclip) so they could work for the US to track down leftists (not just Russian commies) comes to mind on the other end of the post-war era. How did injustices like this stuff, as well as non-prosecution of those who dropped the A-bomb affect history?

Do Japanese history books look at the A-bomb and report on the war crime it was? There were high US military personal at the time that said if the US had lost the war they would have been the ones on trial for this. Or when Japanese history books cover the A-bombs do they stick to the winner's (US) line, being politically correct so as not to upset the status quo?