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Thread: Japan names day after Hirohito

  1. #1
    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    Question Japan names day after Hirohito

    Just seen this on the BBC website. Any comments
    Quote Originally Posted by BBC News Sat 14th May
    Japan names day after Hirohito

    Experts are divided on Emperor Hirohito's legacy
    Japan's parliament has approved a law to rename a public holiday in honour of World War II Emperor Hirohito.
    Showa Day, after the name Hirohito himself chose for his reign, is intended to mark Japan's post-war rebirth as well as look to the future.

    But critics say the move will upset other nations, especially China and the two Koreas, who will say it glorifies Japan's often brutal militaristic past.

    A similar bill was abandoned in the past, due to political pressure.

    But this time the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan backed the bill, which was proposed by the ruling coalition.

    The opposition said it now accepted the idea that the holiday would encourage public reflection of the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign, rather than glorify the emperor himself.

    'Turbulent days'

    The lower house of parliament voted in favour of the Showa Day holiday last month, and on Friday the upper house approved the bill by 202-14.

    The chosen date, 29 April, is already a national holiday, currently celebrated as Greenery Day. Under the new law, Greenery Day will be moved to 4 May, which is currently called People's Day.


    The Chinese accuse Japan of not confronting its wartime past

    Opinion remains divided on Hirohito's legacy. Many Japanese see him as being a benign figure out of touch with his militarist cabinet, while others insist he was intimately involved in the planning of the war.

    Following his death in 1989, the holiday marking Hirohito's birthday was renamed Greenery Day - an oblique reference to the late emperor's passion for plants, but one which avoided using his name.

    The re-named Showa Day is a more direct reference to the emperor's era.

    The bill enacting the new name was promoted by members of Prime Minister Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party, which argues that Japan has already apologised enough for its past.

    But correspondents say the move will upset other Asian nations because it refers to the period when Japanese troops brutally occupied neighbouring states.

    Tensions are already high over Japan's perceived failure to acknowledge its past abuses.

    Violent anti-Japan protests erupted in China last month over the wording of a Japanese history textbook, as well as Tokyo's push for a permanent UN Security Council seat.
    I have a feeling this will not help the tensions between Japan and its neighbours
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  2. #2
    Regular Member Wang's Avatar
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    I think that is good, because it is supposed to refer to: Japan's post-war rebirth as well as look to the future and that the holiday would encourage public reflection of the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign, rather than glorify the emperor himself.
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  3. #3
    Villain Iron Chef's Avatar
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    I agree, well said.

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    Regular Member Tim33's Avatar
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    Hmm i dont seem to agree. I to saw this on the bbc website but choose not to write about it as i did not want to start another Chinese-Japanese flame war on forums as im sure this will turn out to be.

    However i must say that i dont really think that this will help, all this will do is make relations worse. And i think any day that you name after someone is an attempt to glorify them.

    Would you name a day Hitler day in order to try and remember the past and how we can move on and learn from mistakes. No you would not.

  5. #5
    Regular Member Wang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim33
    Would you name a day Hitler day
    That is a wrong comparison in my opinion.

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    Regular Member Tim33's Avatar
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    Maybe, but it still gives the same message.
    You dont name days after people that have not done something great and people that have been responsible for bad things.

  7. #7
    Regular Member Wang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim33
    Maybe, but it still gives the same message.
    You dont name days after people that have not done something great and people that have been responsible for bad things.
    I don't think it gives the same message. I think the things stated in the article it is supposed to refer to are good.
    It doesn't refer to him as a person a lot but more to the things that happend during the Showa period.

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    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    i wish it added more onto golden week instead of shuffling holidays around :P

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    basketballman Dream Time's Avatar
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    War Criminal Day?

  10. #10
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim33
    Would you name a day Hitler day in order to try and remember the past and how we can move on and learn from mistakes. No you would not.
    I'd say, more like a "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Tag" ("Emperor-William-Day"). Not many Germans would propose something like that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wang
    I think the things stated in the article it is supposed to refer to are good.
    The problem is that Hirohito is also (at least partially) responsible for the Japanese war of aggression & outside Japan is still seen as such. This seems another example of ignorance/indifference that Japanese officials show regarding the feelings of those who suffered under the Japanese occupation.


    When they say it just refers to the positive sides of Hirohito's reign, that's nothing more than a cheap excuse. & here a comparison to Hitler would fit: If Germany would decide on commemorating Hitler as the one who did so much good for Germany by virtually eliminating un-employment in the 30s, this would actually be pretty similar.

  11. #11
    Regular Member Wang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    When they say it just refers to the positive sides of Hirohito's reign, that's nothing more than a cheap excuse.
    No I don't think that's a cheap excuse. That's what it is supposed to refer to. It refers more to the period called Showa then to the person.
    I think he was out of touch with his militarist cabinet. Like in this part of the article:

    Why did the Emperor not stop it? In a series of documents published after his death, including direct transcripts of Hirohito's monologues and interviews, the pros and cons of his behavior have been argued out. Apologists--Hirohito included--contended that, with militarists directing the government from the late 1930s on, any attempt at imperial restraint would have resulted in another coup, this time successful. Japanese history abounds in incidents where emperors were sidetracked or deposed by political regimes. And Hirohito, given his intensive indoctrination and ever-cautious advisers, was anxious to preserve the dynasty. That, and not averting a wider war, was his main objective.

    There is no doubt that Hirohito the man wanted peace. There is equally no doubt that this shy, reclusive family man, who could be goaded to act decisively only in extremis, lacked the courage to enforce his wishes. So Hirohito the Emperor went to war. Like his grandfather Meiji, he not only reviewed the parades but participated in the strategy sessions. Cautious as ever, he criticized Japan's decision to join the Axis powers and commented tartly on the army's bogging down in China. He urged that talks with the United States continue in 1941, even after the U.S. embargo on oil and other raw materials made compromise difficult. He interrupted the conference that decided to wage war with the U.S. by reciting a poem that his grandfather Meiji had once written in similar circumstances: Though I consider the surrounding seas as my brothers Why is it that the waves should rise so high?

    Like his other oblique calls for restraint, this was politely ignored. It was hardly an imperial order. With the first victories of Pearl Harbor, Singapore and the Philippines, Hirohito was swept along with the tide of national euphoria. Three years later, however, defeat was staring Japan in the face. In January 1945, Prince Konoe, a former Prime Minister (and grandfather of early-1990s Prime Minister Hosokawa) appealed to the Emperor to put an end to the war. He refused. And here Hirohito's responsibility for the conflict deepened. If he didn't start the war, he continued it. For almost a year, in the face of gathering defeat, he urged his generals and admirals to gain one last victory in order to secure decent peace terms. During that period an additional 1.5 million Japanese were killed.

    http://www.time.com/time/asia/asia/m...hirohito1.html

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    Wang, by your argument, then would Showa Day, in essence, be a recognition of Hirohito's inability to reign in his military cabinet lack of power before the war or acknowledgement of his war-continuation policies during?

    Most everyone in Japan knows that Greenery Day is an indirect reference to Hirohito, and an acknowledgement of the Showa era. Will a renaming of the holiday make more people aware here? I don't think so. The question then becomes for whom is this day being renamed?

  13. #13
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wang
    No I don't think that's a cheap excuse. That's what it is supposed to refer to. It refers more to the period called Showa then to the person.
    I still have to disagree. Whether Hirohito wanted peace, or not, & what his actual role was in Japanese imperialism & colonialism is still disputed. That's not the point, anyway.

    It's not so important what he may have wanted (which we'll probably never know), but what he & his reign stand for: for those outside Japan it stands for war, aggression, occupation & atrocities. To call Hirohito's reign showa (which, if I'm correctly informed, means "enlightened peace") is strange enough, but to make it a public holiday can only be seen as an act of provocation towards the PRC & South Korea, esp. at a time like this.

    The Japanese may focus on the peaceful years after their defeat, but as I said, that's rather ignorant to the outside world (& to their own past).

    We will see how it actually works out in the future. Perhaps Japanese politicians have actually learned something & will make this public holiday a day of remembrance & reflection, though I doubt it. It will probably end up in another day of Yasukuni visits. But who knows...

  14. #14
    Regular Member Tim33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    I'd say, more like a "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Tag" ("Emperor-William-Day"). Not many Germans would propose something like that.
    I was not comparing roles or positions in society in my statement, you all misunderstand what i said. I just generally meant to name a disagreeable person to have as a name day and that was the first name that came to my head.

    It had nothing to do with role or particular person.

    But yes that will do lol

  15. #15
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Time
    War Criminal Day?
    They can call it "Hitler Was A Kewl Dood Day" if it will flesh out Golden Week. There are so many gaps in it now that for those of us who work strictly by calendar holidays the "week" is usually no more than three days.

  16. #16
    Regular Member Wang's Avatar
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    There are people who prefer pointing out the negative or dark sides of things but in this case I think it is mostly for good purposes and reasons.

  17. #17
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Goodness, some anonymous soul has taken offense at my opinion that the name of the holiday doesn't matter, so long as it helps make my Golden Week more closely resemble an actual week.

    Come now, let's all be honest, how many holidays do we really celebrate in the spirit of what they are named for?

  18. #18
    Regular Member Tim33's Avatar
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    St valentines day. The day for bringing fit birds home with you and having a good time.

    We all wish to celebrate that day. Just some of us are unlucky enough not to.

  19. #19
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    I think what a lot of people here don't know or don't realize is that "Greenery Day" was invented to replace a longstanding holiday that we lost when Hirohito died. It was, you see, the Emperor's birthday. Now we celebrate that on December 23rd. The problems with just letting the old holiday fade away were 1) that day had been a holiday longer than a significant portion of the population had been alive (60+ years) and 2) it was one of the linch pins of Golden Week.

    Next time Greenery Day comes around, ask any Japanese adult what the heck it is and they'll tell you, "It's the Showa Emperor's birthday". We've been in an "a rose by any other name..." situation with this holiday since the advent of the Heisei Era (17 years now). Call the holiday whatever the hell you want, EVERYBODY here knows what it actually is, NOBODY actually cares so long as they get the day off. Changing the name off of the ridiculous "Greenery Day" would at least serve to end the farce.

  20. #20
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    Changing the name off of the ridiculous "Greenery Day" would at least serve to end the farce.
    Well, good point. But why do they do it exactly now, when there is anyway some tension in foreign relations? Not that I think any other time would be much better.

    & another question: There is a new emperor already. Shouldn't that mean that the old holiday is called off & a new one imposed?

  21. #21
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Probably, like me, they don't see what an internal matter like Japanese holidays has to do with the sensibilities of people in other countries.

    Regarding your second question: As I said, the new Emperor's birthday (Dec. 23) became a holiday and the old one ceased to be celebrated as such. The problem was that he reigned so damned long and the date fell right into Golden Week that just wiping it off the calendar entirely wasn't something viewed as acceptable. Since they couldn't have two Emperor's Birthday holidays, they came up with the "Greenery Day" thing to preserve the tradition of taking a day off then. Nobody much cared so long as they got their day off and GW didn't get messed up.
    Last edited by Mike Cash; May 17, 2005 at 20:15. Reason: Lack of subject-verb agreement

  22. #22
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    Probably, like me, they don't see what an internal matter like Japanese holidays has to do with the sensibilities of people in other countries.
    Well, that is easily explained: The guy this holiday refers to is the one finally responsible for the death & suffering of millions of non-Japanese. Hence not only Japanese are concerned, similar to the Yasukuni visits which are not entirely internal Japanese affairs, either. The symbolic meaning radiates far beyond Japanese borders.

  23. #23
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    I see your point, but forgive me for saying I don't find it compelling. And I still consider it nobody's damned business outside Japan. But that's just a manifestation of one of my many character flaws.

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    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius
    I have a feeling this will not help the tensions between Japan and its neighbours
    Damn right: it doesn't require a degree in history to see the obvious unless one has chosen to close one's eyes. And if it weren't my personal business, I'd damn sure make it my personal mission to make it everybody's business in and out of Japan.

    "Inferiority breeds false-pride, effecting putrification of the soul. Out grows the flowers of decadence that fosters interesting art forms from the sewers." -- paraphrasing Baek Nam Jun, video artist, commenting on New York's creative environment
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

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  25. #25
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    "Showa" is the name of an era....not a person, though it is understandable that people confuse the two. Approximately two-thirds of it came after the war.

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