T Nation

Iwo Jima

The world is changing and the balance of power in that part of the world is moving in the direction of China. I don’t have a problem with Japan changing the constitution as long as the people are more willing to take a stand against their leaders when neccessary.

I think the Japanese people of today are much more advanced in their thinking than their grandparents. They must be, otherwise Mishima would have succeeded, but noone wanted to follow him. Things have changed to some extent.

At the same time there are power structures in Japan that never were dismantled, because of the cold war. Like Otoko said Abe’s grandson of a war criminal.

I remember a couple of years ago a Japanese politician questioned the of correctness of calling “the rape of Nanking” a rape. He said it was perhaps too harsh of a term. He was actually starting to get support for his view. Until the emporers cousin stepped up and said words to the effect of, hold on, I was a soldier in the army that went into Nanking, I participated in what happened, to call it a rape is an understatement.

I see the renaming of Iwo Jima as part of a trend to rename aspects of the war (like the rape of Nanking)that show the Japanese political leadership in a bad light. For people to blame Clint Eastwood or John Wayne for Iwo Jima becoming known shows a complete lack of understanding of Japans conduct in the war.

It also shows that people in japan are thinking that since a lot of time has passed and peoples memories aren’t what they used to becase a lot of the veterans are dying, maybe they can start rewriting history.

This is very dangerous, the Chinese certainly haven’t forgotten. In China they still have outbreaks of extremely virilant plague that was developed and used as a weapon by the Imperial army, in world war two.

With people in China still being killed today by the Japanese armies actions, hatred of the Japanese is a major nationalist rallying point. Stirring up nationalism is a way for the communists to hang onto power.

If China were to invade Taiwan they would be killing other Chinese so it might not play so well domestically. Japan on the other hand would be payback.

There is a difference in how the history of how the war is taught between America and Japan. Old Japanese war veterans don’t talk much about what they did in the war, which is understandable.

In the community I grew up in one of the local veterans was the captain of the Enola Gay. For a long time he would to go into the local high school and talk about what happened.

I am sure that there is a disconnect between what the average Japanese thinks and the politicians. We have that here in America also. At the same time however there are cultural differences which are worrying.

The American founding fathers considered it a citizens duty to be outspoken and to protest against governmental abuse of power. In Japan people are so polite that they will just go along with what their government says, I’ll give you an example.

In Japan the police have over a ninety nine percent conviction rate on people they arrest. People in America are impressed when they hear that figure. They wonder what are the Japanese police doing that to get that high a conviction rate when the American figure is so much lower.

A reporter went over to Japan and investigated to see what lessons could be learned and bring some of them back here because American police don’t have anywhere near that kind of conviction rate.

What they learned is this. In Japan when someone is arrested by the police one of the first things the accused is expected to do is sign a written, formal apology. When the case comes to court the police are allowed to use the apology as evidence of guilt. Quite often this the only evidence the police have.

If someone doesn’t sign an apology the police are allowed to hold them until they do. The reporters showed one man who had spent seventeen years in a holding cell because he said “I didn’t do the crime so I refuse to apologize”. With a reporter there asking the police do you have any evidence they were so embarassed to admit that they didn’t, they let the guy go.

You have got to love the Japansese, they are such polite, respectful orderly people. But damn there is a limit to what people should put up with from their government.

It’s unforunate, but the Japanese do have an extreme amount of patience and forgiveness for bad leadership.

[quote]laxcdn wrote:
If you look at the way the US handled Japan to the rest of the wars they fought, it was different. All previous and post wars were bombed with strategic placed bombs on military targets. Japan had a city bombed that destroyed women, children, men and military.

This bombing was not just parts of a city that had military significance, with just some civilian casualties, it was all out destroy everything there. It worked and Japan surrendered. If Germany or Russia did something like that, it would have caused outrage, but because it was the US it was ok.[/quote]

Germany tried to do it with London. The Allies did it with Berlin and Dresden, Tokyo and other cities

Stalingrad was reduced to rubble. It was the way WW2 was fought. It is also the reason that there was post war peace instead of constant sniping and terrorism against occupying soldiers.

It was total war. It was not the first but it was the biggest.

If you believe the Bible or the Trojan War are based on historical events you will see that complete elimination of entire cities has been happening for thousands of years.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
If you believe the Bible or the Trojan War are based on historical events you will see that complete elimination of entire cities has been happening for thousands of years.[/quote]

So was slavery, virgin sacrifice, burning witches and other practices.

Don’t try to justify something as horrible as annihilation of entire communities.

[quote]lixy wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
If you believe the Bible or the Trojan War are based on historical events you will see that complete elimination of entire cities has been happening for thousands of years.

So was slavery, virgin sacrifice, burning witches and other practices.

Don’t try to justify something as horrible as annihilation of entire communities.[/quote]

“Those who live by the sword die by the sword”. Jesus

[quote]Sifu wrote:
“Those who live by the sword die by the sword”. Jesus [/quote]

Yeah right. We all know the Napalm girl was carrying a sword, that the babies who get torn apart by bombs had nuclear-powered cribs, and that if you don’t shoot 80 years old women they might kill you with their special ninja superpowers.

You have a pretty wicked interpretation of Jesus’ message. But then again, you’re not the only one to twist Holy Books and prophet’s words to justify stuff.

That being said, I think your concern over Japan’s attitude vis-a-vis WWII is legitimate. Overstated and at times simplistic, but legitimate nonetheless.

[quote]lixy wrote:
…and that if you don’t shoot 80 years old women they might kill you with their special ninja superpowers.
[/quote]

Damn those bitches with their mad skillz!

[quote]Sifu wrote:
lixy wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
If you believe the Bible or the Trojan War are based on historical events you will see that complete elimination of entire cities has been happening for thousands of years.

So was slavery, virgin sacrifice, burning witches and other practices.

Don’t try to justify something as horrible as annihilation of entire communities.

“Those who live by the sword die by the sword”. Jesus

[/quote]

“Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Luke 22:36, Jesus of Nazareth, from KJV

mike

[quote]lixy wrote:
Sifu wrote:
“Those who live by the sword die by the sword”. Jesus

Yeah right. We all know the Napalm girl was carrying a sword, that the babies who get torn apart by bombs had nuclear-powered cribs, and that if you don’t shoot 80 years old women they might kill you with their special ninja superpowers.

You have a pretty wicked interpretation of Jesus’ message. But then again, you’re not the only one to twist Holy Books and prophet’s words to justify stuff.

That being said, I think your concern over Japan’s attitude vis-a-vis WWII is legitimate. Overstated and at times simplistic, but legitimate nonetheless.[/quote]

I’m not trying to use Jesus to justify it at all. Jesus never approved of violence, never gave it his sanction, not even to spare himself from being crucified. Indeed that quote comes from when Jesus was arrested at Gethsemane and Peter drew a sword and hacked off the ear of Keifus servant.

Jesus taught do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The flipside of that is, others will want to do unto you, what you have done unto them. The Japanese were absolutely unmerciful.

My point was that even one of history’s greatest pacifists Jesus, understood that if you go around doing wicked things to other people, eventually someone will come around and take you out.

I think that Jesus was a lot more realistic about the ways of the world than you are.

I think that if you were to express your high minded, moralistic outrage about the atomic attacks to the people of Nanking, Bataan or those who built the Thai Burma railroad to the River Kwai you would upset a few people.

Frankly I see a real double standard in your opinion. You express outrage over the women and children who died in Nagasaki and Hiroshima while completely ignoring the fact that their own leaders had planned to turn every man woman and child in Japan into a kamakaze.

Their leaders were going to take entire schools and give each child a small bomb to blow themselves up with and march them off to the front lines. The destruction and loss of life that would have resulted from an invasion of Japan would have been many orders of magnitude greater than the atomic attacks.

The reality is that all blame for the atomic attacks lies with the Japanese leadership. All they needed to do was surrender. After the Germans did surrendered it wasn’t going to get any easier. Instead they vowed to avenge the third reich.

If you really want justification for the atomic attacks beyond the Japanese conduct of the war consider this. The Japanese were trying to get atomic weapons to use themselves. Part of the uranium that was used to make the Nagasaki bomb came from an intercepted shipment that was on it’s way to Japan from Germany.

The Japanese had scheduled a dirty bomb attack on San Francisco to occur three days after Hiroshima. Turnabout is fair play.

It all comes down to duty. The Japanese leadership had a duty to do what was in the best interest of the Japanese people and didn’t. President Truman had a duty to bring the war to an end on Americas terms while minimizing the loss of American lives.

With the Japanese vowing to avenge the nazi’s, while trying to aquire atomic weaponry, Truman had a duty to use the bomb as soon as it was available.

If anything is a simplistic view, it is looking at the atomic attacks as singular incidents rather than the culmination of a series of events over many years. That is the issue here with Iwo Jima being renamed, the Japanese leadership is trying to sneak the events leading up to those attacks out of the history books.

The danger here, is the leadership of today doesn’t have war crimes on their record to warn people. But they might have the exact same beliefs as their grandparents. This is why people need to be really hardnosed about this.

There is a tremendous lack of information on Japan in this thread.

There is a big difference between democracy in America and Japan. Japan is a parliamnentary style government. The people cannot vote for the Prime Minister only for a party to be in power. The power structure in Japan was partly constructed by the American occupation.

The main political party, the LDP consisted of many of the people responsible for WW2, many of which should have been put on trail. Now if anybody is familiar with how the political process is played out in Japan you would have hard time calling it a democracy.

Most of the politicians who are in favor of teaching the true history of the war are also politicians who do not want to re-arm. The white washers do wish to re-arm. America seems content to have conservatives in power in Japan because they can have a military ally in Asia, unfettered access to bases in Japan. So the reality if the situation is if America wants an accomodating Japan for their armed forces and a strategic military ally in east asia they are going to have to accept that these conservatives will thumb their nose at China and Korea and white wash history.

You can’t have it both ways, that just isn’t realistic.

As for the 99.99% convictiona rate in Japan I don’t like it. Sifu has got it wrong, a confession is demanded not neccessarily an apology. Most criminal trials are based on confessions. You do not have to be charged with a crime to be detained up to 23 days in a “detention center”. I don’t think the system is good.

Though the amount of people who actually confess without prodding is not small. Shame is a very powerful thing in Japan. Showing proper “regret” also is extremely important. Sentences are known for being shortened for people showing enough regret. White collar crime rarely is punished with prison time, most are given suspended sentences.

I think people should get a better understanding of another culture and country before making uninformed comments. Many times people think what is obvious and right in their country is the same around the world. When it is pointed out that that is not the way things are done in another country they are stubborn and insist that it should be and anything other than that is ridiculous.

Instead of dealing with the reality and finding a better solution.

[quote]otoko wrote:
As for the 99.99% convictiona rate in Japan I don’t like it. Sifu has got it wrong, a confession is demanded not neccessarily an apology. Most criminal trials are based on confessions. You do not have to be charged with a crime to be detained up to 23 days in a “detention center”. I don’t think the system is good…[/quote]

This gave me a bit of a chuckle…Most Americans forget that “Miranda Rights” are a relatively recent thing (1970’s) and before that, most convictions were cleared by confessions, usually after a little “working over” (as they used to say) “downtown” by those friendly Cops in the little room with one light and a chair to be handcuffed to.

This was so common that you can see it being spoken of quite casually even in old films and books. Back in Dillingers day,if you dared to “resist arrest”,you got a severe ass kicking or a few bullets (for example, when the Cops caught up to “Pretty Boy” Floyd, they literally shot him to pieces as he was running away and unarmed).

That would never fly these days, Cops have been fired for merely talking “mean” to people (and the crime rate reflects this shift, not that I condone police excessive force, but)…

[quote]
laxcdn wrote:
Japan had a city bombed that destroyed women, children, men and military.

Zap Branigan wrote:
Germany tried to do it with London. The Allies did it with Berlin and Dresden, Tokyo and other cities

Stalingrad was reduced to rubble. It was the way WW2 was fought. It is also the reason that there was post war peace instead of constant sniping and terrorism against occupying soldiers.

It was total war. It was not the first but it was the biggest.
quote]

I would have to agree. Yes America dropped atomic bombs on Japanese targets, but they were not the worst civilian atrocities of the war.
Research any of the cities Zap talked about (check out Nanking also) and you will see this is true.

Anti-American revisionists make me sick.

just my 2 cents, sorry about the rant.

I do think the Japanese people are much more worldly than they were back in the war. Given the neighborhood Japan is in and the fact that the Japanese did get taught a lesson. I don’t have a problem with Japan having a more capable military as long as there is a much more open discussion of what happened in the war.

America did do what was going to most quickly give them a balwark against communism after the war. While one party ruling ever since the war isn’t the best thing for a robust democracy it is at least obvious that power hasn’t really changed hands after elections.

Here in America the Dems and Republicans are more alike than different but they are able to throw people off with a few stupid hot button issues. Here in America all the major corporations give equal amounts of money to both parties. This has made it impossible for any independents to have a chance in presidential politics.

I think the solution to this is they should only be able to put money into one party and have it be tax free if they do multiples they have to pay taxes on the whole lot.