Last night I had a major dispute with the owner of the Political Forum, W.E.B Dubois, concerning Japanese War Crimes, here. It originally started as a post I created making light of the lunacy of a Japanese Right Winger who claims the Rape of Nanjing was a co-conspiracy, promoted by Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai Shek (Jiang Jieshi).
I always find it so amazing how people, whom I consider highly intelligent, lose their composure and fall back on logical fallacies when they hear something they do not like. I try to look at every issue from as objective a point of view as possible. I do not care if it is personally offensive to me or not. I’m interested in the truth not to hear and echo-chamber or to reinforce my stereotypes.
I will repost my last reponse to Dubois; with a few more links from other post made to fortify my poisitions for people unfamiliar with our discussion, below the fold.
1) Japan does not honor war criminals, as a state. Yasukuni shrine is not owned by the government. There is no directive by the government, to my knowledge to house any remains at any specific location. There is no national holiday commemorating any war criminals or any Shinto shrine that houses them. The shrine is a separate entity from the government. It is not like Arlington National Cemetery, in the United States. It is a private religious institution.
WEB, you claim Yasukuni shrine calls War Criminals heroes.? Where in the shrine does it say that a class 14 war criminal is a hero? Source Please. You want Japan to nationalize the shrine and then remove the war criminals remains as well.
The idea of nationalizing a religious institution was defeated in the Diet on what grounds? Do you know? I am almost certain that in the U.S. trying to do such a thing would result in numerous court battles as well as protests from various religious organizations based on separate of church and state. In Japan, they have this concept as well. I am not a lawyer but I know that Shinto was the state religion before the end of WWII, now there is no state religion, and besides cultist activities and public proselytizing, Japan does not get involved in the internal workings of religious groups, let alone owning religious institutions.
2) As far as what the Shinto priests and leaders of the Shrine “meant” when they refused to remove the war criminals remains is speculation on your part. I just know what they said. They said that everyone is equal in death and it is only for the gods to decide their fate, not for people, therefore no one need be removed from the shrine. This is commonly accepted by most Shintoist as their religious beliefs, to my knowledge. I am not a member of the Shinto faith nor do I consider myself an expet on said faith. It is similar to me saying well “the Pope said this, but he could have meant this”. I’m not going to go there.
3) Lee Tung-Hui (Dunghui) being considered a traitor by Chinese is irrelevant. The relevant detail is that he is a former Head of State of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and leader of the KMT (Guomingdong) party, which fought Japan and governed Mainland China during WWII. The KMT includes in its membership, many prominent families who immigrant from the Mainland in Taiwan after 1949 and people who fought the Japanese in Mainland China. For him to visit the shrine is significant on that basis, not on subjective ideas of who is a “sellout” (hanjian) and who is not. I also never attempted to “legitimize” war criminal remains being put anywhere. I stated that the shrine itself is not considered “evil” or a sanctuary of right wing Japanese people. Ordinary Japanese and peoples of other ethnicities who do not in any way support the war criminals pray there daily.
Yasukuni is a Shinto Shrine that is not owned by the government, which houses the remains of war criminals; unknown soldiers; and known soldiers who died during WWII. The fact that people pray there does not mean they support war crimes. It is like saying a black American supports the South because Confederate Civil War veterans are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, which is government owned BTW. I am sure you realize the logical flaw. It is obvious that very very few, I would say 99% of black Americans do not support the Confederacy, but they go to see their relatives. Should we dig up those people and put them someplace else? Do you really believe blacks and whites who go to Arlington National Cemetary support slavery, raping black women, brutalizing blacks, kidnapping, torture?
It sounds like you are justifying Japanese war crimes…
What you think “sounds like” is not necessary what is. The entire point is not to deny atrocities. I have already, in my initial post said they happened and they were disgusting and outrageous. The point is to say that you can not make direct comparisons to Japan and Germany. What they did was different, why they did it was different, the aftermath of the war for them was different, what occurred and was agreed upon is very different, as well as the geopolitical reality at the time.
I never said Japan was justified in anything. And I resent you taking things out of context to that degree when it is obvious from my initial post and everyone following that I do not agree with what happened and find it horrible. We don’t need to go there to argue points do we?
5) You stated that some Taiwanese protested Lee Tung-Hui going to Yasukuni. So what you are saying is their is disagreement in Taiwan over the issue. Some Taiwanese, I would argue most Taiwanese, have moved on from what has happened and some obviously have not.
The same situation can be found in the Jewish community. I know Jews right now, in Houston, Texas who hate everything German and would never buy anything made from Germany. They do not believe there is anything Germans can do to excuse what they did. Further, they do not believe Germans have fundamentally changed. This can also be said of Russians.
You will never get 100% consensus on an issue like this. There are blacks in America who hate whites, hate the South, due to slavery and Jim Crow. Many do not. For this reason, these things are usually negotiated state to state, not person to state on an international level, as people generally have no international standing (person) in these types of negotiations.
What Japan did was horrendous, don’t get me wrong, but they did not do it in an attempt to kill every Chinese person. If that was the case they would have started in Taiwan. In fact, during WWII, Japan was one of the few nations to initially take in Jewish Refugees from Europe, when America and the UK would not, and their ally was secretly killing them. I have been to the Jewish Concession in Shanghai.
The point that I was making is that, both governments (Taiwan, Malaysia Singapore), like China and S.Korea normalized relations with Japan and made aggreements along the same lines. That is, ODA as reparations. ODA includes low interest loans, grants, and preferential trade on certain items. Japan has paid out tens of millions of dollars in ODA along these lines to East and Southeast Asia as agreed. In 2007, the only state goverments that have a problem with Japan on these issues is Mainland China and S.Korea.
I find it hard to believe that Japan would negotiate the same type of deals with all these nations but somehow expectations with S.Korea and Mainland China were different. Most Koreans even admit Park settled things in the 1970’s, but they reject that due to what I said before (he was not democratically elected, he was a traitor, Japanphile, blah blah), well it is not Japan’s fault South Koreans did not have a democratic government until the 1980’s. They made an agreement and lived up to it, it is not fair to keep coming back every single time a nation has a change of government (like Mao and Deng) and making new demands. That is generally not how international relations work and you know that I’m sure.
Just as when the Soviet Union fell apart, Russia took on all the treaty obligations and debt of the former nation. This is standard.
You also stated that Taiwan and Singapore does not use sanctions because of Japan’s economy being too strong? That sounds like opinion and I will take it as such. There is no way to prove that unless you have statements by politicians.
6) You say that Singapore and Taiwan were not as brutalized as Mainland China or Korea and imply that is why they have a weaker reaction. The fact that Japan killed thousands of innocent Chinese on an island of less than 3 million people (at the time), I’m almost willing to bet that is a higher percentage of people killed than the Japanese killed on Mainland China, if comparing percentages. Lee Kuan Yew spoke about this in his autobiography and in the ‘Singapore Story Book”. He said he remembered innocent men being taken to a beach and shot, becaue they were thought to be sympathetic with China…the beach ran read with blood.
Many Taiwanese obviously had family victimized on the mainland, but if you go to Taiwan today there is no significant anti-Japanese feeling, not true on the Mainland. I have been to both, lived in China and my wife (then girlfriend visited me for a week in Shanghai). A few years later after we were married we went to Taipei to visit friends for a week. Shanghai people were visibly rude to my wife when they found out she was Japanese, but in Taiwan many people (old and young) were so happy to meet someone from Japan and speak Japanese to her (or try). A great difference in attitude. Mainland Chinese often complain about how much Taiwanese love Japan, are brainwashed, and how Chiang Kai Shek was a Japanese loving traitor, etc. That goes to show the difference in views.
Going back to Singapore for a second, Lee Kuan Yew called reparations a “blood debt” and said it was paid. Malaysia also feels the issue is settled, as far as the slaughter of Chinese people in Malaysia (which Singapore was apart of at the time…both were UK colonies).
Such agreements were made with China and Korea but both have since came back and said it was “not enough“, usually China follows this by a request for more ODA. Koreans use the “Park excuse”. This is complicated; as most of the Koreans elites, including Park, were educated by the Japanese. Usually they went to elite Japanese universities and served in the Japanese military, because Korea was a Japanese colony. Park was an officer in the Japanese army during WWII for example. Here is some information on the agreements made:
“But, Mr. Churchill’s proposal came to naught because the generalissimo strongly opposed such a measure by giving his reasons of Japanese culture, tradition, psyche and psychology,” she said.
In another incident, Madame Chiang recalled that during the generalissimo’s visit to the Philippines in 1949, Philippine President Elpidio Quirino informed him of the amount of reparations his government was receiving from Japan and inquired of the reparations demanded by China.
“The generalissimo’s response was that since Japan was so devastated by the war and Allied bombings and the sufferings of the Japanese people, the government of China was not asking for any reparation.
“This astounded President Quirino since all and sundry knew that it was China that suffered the greatest hurt during the long years of immane barbarity against us–the Chinese people.
This is from a man who fought them on the Mainland as they were trying to take over a nation he was head of. As far as PARK in South Korea:a>
When Japan and South Korea normalized diplomatic relations in 1965, Tokyo provided Seoul with $500 million, a substantial sum at the time, in grants and loans. North Korea is demanding an apology and compensation from Japan.
This is all on top of loans given to S.Korea after as ODA. According to Park, the Japan War Issue was settled. Then in the the 1980’s, when S.Korea became democratic, people started demanding more apologies and more money.
7) Japan did not just say “heart felt” apology, they have said the war was a mistake, they apologize for Japanese abuses on multiple occasions. I also never “tried” to blame Chinese people for anything. I blame their government who I believe has political motivations for keeping nationalism and anti-Japanese hatred alive and well.
One thing that has always stood out to me about the anti-Japanese feeling is most pronounced in Mainland people my wife and I’s age. I have met numerous old Chinese people who are very kind and polite to my wife. They either do not talk about the war or say “it has passed”. The people I have found so most aggressive on the issue are the people my age or slightly older and younger. I do not believe that is a coincidence, as roughly coincides to Deng Xiaoping’s history book reforms. See a pattern?
As far as this praise for war criminals at Yasukuni, you made this comment twice. What praise? What example? What is written? Are specific people named? I’ve been there once, but admit I could not read most of what was written. I remember statues praising Japanese women and children, dogs, pigeons (all who served the army), I don’t remember any statues or praise for someone like Tojo, for example, so I’m curious to see where that is and what it says.
8 )What you consider a pittance or proper payment for war crimes is not the issue. That is too subjective to quantify. I can tell you right now if you murdered and raped my mother you could gave me 50 million dollars cash that would not make up for it. I’m not going to get into that debate. Some Jews think Germany did not do enough, some Russians definitely do,. many Those issues can not be settled by individual. I’m interested in state-state relations because that is far more objective. What is at issue is what was agreed to and was it honored.
9)If my comments on China are anti-Chinese, then yours are pro-Chinese to a fault. If you look at my site, I doubt many people can consider me anti-Chinese. In fact I have been attacked by pro-Taiwanese independence people on various China blogs for being pro-China, to the point where I don’t care what others think anymore. You are entitled to your opinion, but I suggest before you accuse others of bias you review if you have any yourself. I resent that you make such a claim What I am, is not, pro-CCP, but practical about the CCP’s position in Chinese upliftment. Those are not the same thing and you know that. It is like saying…anti-Confederate means I hate white Southerns. Not the case at all.
My point about Tibet seems missed on you, but it goes to what you said about Japan’s refusal to see or acknowledge history to someone else’s satisfaction.
Chinese history books do not discuss or simply gloss over atrocities in Tibet, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution (Wen Ge), and a host of other issues. American high school history text books barely speak about what happened with the Native Americans genocide and slavery. They definitely do not go into detail about women being raped, children being murdered.
Keeping that in mind, I think you hold Japan to a standard higher than most countries in the world who have committed similar atrocities domestically or internationally. Japanese history books do mentioned Japanese abuse against neighbors, even Nanjing specifically, but there is not much detail, then again, I have never heard a U.S. president give a “heart felt apology for slavery” and although I can watch Roots and read books in more detail, American history high school classes do not really flesh out the realities. I have never heard anyone apologize for Mexico from stealing Texas and running Tejanos (who support the settlers) off their land after they won independence. Have you?
This is the point of the Tibet comment. If you are going to judge a people then do it out of a sense of justice and fairness, don’t hold one to a higher standard than others just due to your selective outrage.
I don’t support Japanese national pride more than decency; I think you should not try to apply your moral judgments about what is decent or what is “appropriate” onto others in such a way.
Those things are subjective and meant for emotional appeal, and I’m not going to attempt to argue them. I believe that Japan has settled the issues and is living up to the agreements of those settlements and although they do not seem to accept what happened to my personal liking, it is done. They take responsibility for something, the details of which are the only thing in question, and they are paying for it and have been paying for it since the 1950’s as they agreed.
To settle this issue once and for all, there should be a international council of historians from Taiwan, Mainland China, Japan, S.Korea, maybe N.Korea, and America to decide what happened and agree on one document stating what was found. Japan should agree to it, apologize for what was found and the issue should be resolved. Back in 2002 (World CuP Time), I heard this being proposed, and I also heard some South Korean academics in favor, but I have no clue what happened.
For those interested in what is going on inside Japan on this issue, Lew Rock wellhas a good summary. He especially goes into detail about how other Asian nations have been extorting money from Japan for 30 years (mainly the Koreas and the PRC).