If no one else has a word to say, let me agree. I like my non-militarist friends, the Japanese. They joined us in Baghdad. It was a trade. Bush asked why aren’t you coming to Baghdad. The Japanese reply was “You are not yet coming to Expo 2005 in Aichii?” They came, we came.
They (our first Japanese envoys to Iraq – much prior to Aichii back in 2003) did not bring troops. They were diplomats. We would have and could have negotiated vehicle deals but for their untimely demise. We would have provided escort, but we were advised they did not think it necessary. (Am I speaking out of house? But it is true.)
If Japanese troops had been there it would not have changed history. They would not have had a military convoy. It wasn’t that kind of mission.
But, on the other hand, we have wanted to arm allies and have them join us. That is a sometimes good thing, having allies. In Iraq, we had the coalition of the willing, (CP’s influence). But in a different century, didn’t we support Saddam against our then “enemy?” And, here I am post Iraq, and Baghdad saying, “Short term, real-politik is dangerous.”
And so back to my original statement, I like my non-militarist Japanese friends. I want to rely on their friendly non-militarist aid and assistance, thank you very much.
While Mr. Fukuyama is correct that Japan hasn’t come clean like Germany and that Japan should do more to confess its sins, I think it’s unfair to compare Japanese role in Manchuria with that of German genocide of the Jews. Japanese invasion and rule over Manchuria was brutal and exploitative, but it wasn’t genocidal. Why should Japan kick itself forever over its imperialist ventures when European nations don’t do likewise? Do Belgians spend every day of the year expressing remorse over the Congo? Do white Afrikaners beat themselves over the head on a daily basis over past sins of Apartheid? Do Americans really spend much time looking its conquest and genocide of American Indians? Do Russians express remorse over their imperialism in Asia, its ruthless domination of Central Asian and Baltic republics? Do Russians apologize for the Iron Curtain. Do Jews apologize for the radical leftists among their own kind that brought so much misery throughout the world thru communism?
So, why pick especially on Japan?
And, who’s doing the picking? China? Chiang Kai Shek was no less ruthless than Japanese militarists. Mao was 100x worse. Mao killed far more Chinese in peacetime than Japanese killed during war.
And, what about North Korea? A regime that murders 3 million of its own people in a few yrs thru man-made famine shouldn’t be lecturing to any nation. And, South Korea, which tolerates the crimes of Kim Jong-Il–who has enslaved and killed more Koreans than Japanese during colonial rule–is hypocritical when it focuses on Japanese evil. Indeed, it is mostly political in both South Korea and China; Japan-bashing is an easy way for the leaders of those nations to diverst attention from domestic problems.
Anyway, I do believe that the Japanese far right is genuinel crazy. And, I think the unwillingness to face history has been shameful on the part of most Japanese. But, let’s not compare Japanese role in Asia with Nazi deeds. Japanese were not trying to wipe out entire peoples. Rather, they were imperialists albeit a more brutal kind than the French and the Brits though not always and at all times.
Also, I think there was greater pressure for Germany to face its crimes. For one thing, it was far graver as it involved a massive program of genocide. But, Germany was also a more advanced and modern nation than Japan so should have known better; as Mccarthur said, Japan was like a boy of 14.
But, more importantly, the main victims of the Germans were Jews who have great power and influence around the world. If Germans had killed 6 million gypsies or Serbians, there would have been less of an international outcry because gypsies or Serbians don’t have the kind of power/influece as the Jews. Indeed, who cares that 8 million Ukrainians were killed by Stalin? How much international power do Ukrainians have?
I’ll bet if Japanese had killed 6 million Jews and German had killed 10 million Chinese, there would be more pressure on the Japanese to be come clean. And, in order to do business, Japan would have to come clean.
It’s also true with blacks. It’s less acceptable to oppress blacks because of Western guilt associated with black slavery. Because of American sense of guilt and large and powerful black presence in the US, South African apartheid got far more coverage than Chinese brutality in Tibet, Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza, and Indonesian oppression of East Timorese which was far more brutal and savage than anything under apartheid in South Africa.
Also, it depends on who the guilty party is. In the modern Western world where intellectual and political thought is dominated by the left, white folks are held to a higher standard than non-whites. If Afrikaners kill a few dozen blacks, it’s worldwide news. But, if Rwandans kill 100,000s, it’s just statistics. Indeed, the West was very slow to acknowledge the moral monstrosity of the Rwandan genocide. Indeed, Westerners were reluctant to use the term ‘genocide’. I mean only white people commit such crime, not noble blacks.
Also, we must keep in mind that Germany after WWII neighbored advanced liberal democracies. There was more pressure, influence, and contact with genuine democracies. There was more pressure for Germany to join the club of moderate sane nations.
In contrast, Japan was the ONLY genuine democracy in Asia after WWII. Whatever its prior sins, it was more liberal, advanced, and humane than the realites of governance and social life in the Koreas, China, Taiwan, and elsewhere.
Indeed, many Asian nations were being run by their own brand of intolerant ultra-nationalist militarists.
Anyway, Japan needs to grow up and face the truth of history. But, let’s not confuse issues by comparing Japan with Germany. Indeed, Germany has been truly an exception manner. No other nation has done this. But, its crimes were truly horrendous. But, were the crimes of communism in Russia less horrendous? Where is the call for Russians and leftwing Jews to apologize for that monstrous system?
Also, too many on the Japanese Left exploit history to condemn not just Japanese militarism but all of Japanese nation and culture. These are self-loathing Japanese and they lack credibility. Many of them have been communists or communist-sympathizers. They supported Stalinists like Ho Chi Minh, revered that mass murderer Mao, and has supported North Korea.
While the Japanese Right want to rewrite history, Japanse Left want to sensationalize Japanes crimes to trash everything Japanese, everything American, and everything capitalist.
Ienaga Saburo, for instance, may have been courageous in speaking out against the far right. But, he was just as blind and obsessive in his own way. His new religion was hard leftism, Maoism, and Ho Chi Minhism. I mean it’s no good if you go from worshipping Hirohito to worshipping Mao.
Also, example of US political correctness and so-called anti-American ‘multiculturalism’ should remind Japanese that the past can easily be exploited by the left to trash and undermine what is essential and fundamental to national unity, pride, and confidence. It’s one thing to acknowledge the evils of the past, but to keep enflaming them to cause divisions, distrust, self-loathing, and self-hatred is not the way to go.
Also, Japanese are not entirely wrong to say that Japan was resisting Western domination in the Pacific(they felt they had a right to dominate Asia like US dominated the Americas). By the time Japan entered the imperial adventure, Anglos and the French had gobbled up much of the world, including large parts of Asia. Also, United States was a creation of imperialist conquest. Indeed, the main difference between US and Japan was that the former was a victorious imperialist venture while the latter was a failed imperialist venture.
In a way, WWII was a war between established imperial powers vs upstart imperial powers. The Allies–US, Britain, France, Russia, even China–were nations with either large imperial holdings or whose nation was a kind of vast empire. In contrast, Germany, Italy, and Japan were nations that felt left out or left only with crumbs. They felt they had a right to create their own vast imperial holdings. Now, two wrongs don’t make a right. Also, with the exception of stalin’s russia, UK, France, and US were more advanced and humane than germany, italy, or japan ever hoped to be.
Still, it was not a simple war between good vs bad.