The World to Japanese Ultra-Nationalists: When You’re in a Hole, Stop Digging

From the same mindset that brought us Holocaust denial, there’s the Japanese ultra-nationalists who deny bad Japanese behavior during WWII.

Now, mind you, there are Japanese ultra-nationalists who don’t deny this stuff. Either they’re not ashamed of it, or they don’t think previous bad behavior should affect their basic idea that Japan is superior to every other country and race on Earth, and should rule everybody. They’re not nice people, but at least they’re honest. But strangely, there aren’t many of them.

Then there are the people who basically want Japan to save face, so they just don’t want to talk about any uncomfy parts of Japanese history (which is most of it). These are the people who keep historical fiction anime in business, because there’s so much you can write about and yet be edgy to teenagers still in school! They’re despicable twits, but at least you can understand why they feel that way.

There’s the total or near-total pacifists, who have kind of stepped back a little, but who are very good at pointing out that Japan should avoid doing bad expansionist things that get it bombed. Because getting bombed is no fun at all. Mind you, these people were essentially refighting WWII in the 1970’s and 1980’s; but then again, there were a few coup attempts that made it relevant.

Another strategy is to accept that “Yep, some of our ancestors were total war criminals, and the Imperial government was totalitarian and evil as heck, so let’s not do any of that junk again,” while sympathizing with those military members who tried to be decent people. This isn’t expressed out loud much, though. It’s much more common to talk around the problem by setting up historical parallels with the Meiji, or to make an sf version of WWII where the German-analogs do all the bad things and the Japanese are part of the Allies, like in WWI.

But the really weird ones you get are the ultra-nationalist deniers, who insist that Japanese history books not acknowledge actual historical events, or who insist that the US attacked Japan by not exporting certain products. They insist that the Rape of Nanking never happened, or that all the Chinese and Korean girls dragged off to become “comfort women” were volunteer prostitutes. But they also tend to insist that if anything bad had happened, obviously it would have totally been the fault of the victims.

So here’s a group spokesman: Mr. Moteki Hiromichi. He is the president of a publishing company named Sekai Shuppan, and he heads an organization called the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact. His group is best known for suing two Chinese ladies who survived the Rape of Nanking for defamation, because they talked about their experiences. They lost, of course, and they had to pay the survivors a certain amount of money. (They dropped a second lawsuit when the lady countersued them in Japan.) But basically, they’re the kind of guys who harass traumatized old ladies. The group’s latest exploit is trying to get the WWII prisoner of war movie Unbroken banned from Japan.

The problem is that, right now, Japan needs friends among nearby countries (Korea, Taiwan, etc.) while simultaneously needing to be patriotically ready to resist anything crazy pulled by China (or Russia). So one would think that “Dude, we’ve changed and we’re not jerks now,” would be a better way to go than “Don’t believe your lying grandparents and ignore those headstones in the cemetery.”

In other news, this week the bishops of Japan (since the government won’t do it) sent an emissary to apologize to the Dutch, and by extension to the Chinese people, for the way a bunch of Japanese soldiers killed a bunch of missionaries for protecting women from rape by soldiers. The Dutch are making a comic book about the martyrs. Tons and tons of Western journalists, missionaries, and ordinary expatriates were killed in Nanking along with the ordinary residents.


1 Comment

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One response to “The World to Japanese Ultra-Nationalists: When You’re in a Hole, Stop Digging

  1. There’s always some suicidal moron willing to drag everybody else along with them, for a lie.

    I really Don’t Get It.

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