|Above, tourists at the Great Buddha of Kamakura in 2004. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, American G.I.s visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura during The Occupation.|
It seems to be in vogue to constantly bash the Japanese over their heads for the sins committed during World War II.Here's a snippet of an article from Japan Today:
TOKYO —A push by Japan to correct perceived bias in accounts of the country’s wartime past is creating a row that risks muddling the positive message in a mammoth public relations campaign to win friends abroad.
The PR campaign, which has a budget of over half a billion dollars, comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to adopt a less apologetic stance on Japan’s actions before and during World War Two and ease the fetters imposed on defense policy by Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution.
History is hardly the sole focus of the PR program. Many of the funds will be used for soft-power initiatives to cultivate “pro-Japan” foreigners, such as supporting Japan studies at universities and setting up “Japan House” centers to promote the “Japan Brand”.
But the government is also targeting wartime accounts by overseas textbook publishers and others that it sees as incorrect and damaging to Japan’s image.
One such effort has already sparked a backlash.
Nineteen historians from U.S. universities have written a letter of protest against a recent request by the Japanese government to publisher McGraw Hill Education to revise its account of “comfort women”, the term used in Japan for those forced to work in Japanese military brothels.
The request was rejected.
“We stand with the many historians in Japan and elsewhere who have worked to bring to light the facts about this and other atrocities of World War II. We practice and produce history to learn from the past,” says the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters and which will be carried in the March edition of the American Historical Association’s newsletter.
“We therefore oppose the efforts of states or special interests to pressure publishers or historians to alter the results of their research for political purposes,” it added.
Abe himself has signalled support for the more aggressive PR push. “Being modest does not receive recognition in the international community, and we must argue points when necessary,” he recently told a parliamentary panel.
The effort comes at a touchy time as Asia marks the 70th anniversary of World War Two’s end with bitter memories not yet laid to rest, especially in China and North and South Korea.
|Above, the double bridge at the Imperial Palace today. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, American sailors at the Imperial Palace double bridge during The Occupation.|
Granted, some in the current government seems feel the need to sanitize what their forefathers did. (It could be a quirk in the Japanese mindset or culture.) And, some government officials also do things that antagonize the Chinese and Koreans (such as visits to the shrine that includes the names of the worst Japanese war criminals). That is why there's a backlash. To get World War II behind them is for the government to fully acknowledge that what the Tojo government did was evil and stupid and fully apologize for it without any conditions or anything that would cause doubt of their sincerity.
Everybody else should accept it and "get over it."
Germany was much more forthright with their remorse over the deeds of the Nazis. They aren't being bashed like the Japanese are today as a result. Japan should have done the same ages ago. Had they done so, there would be no bashing today.
The Japanese people are some of the nicest and most friendly people anyone would ever want to meet. I have visited Japan seven times and always felt welcome there. The vast majority of Japanese alive today did not commit the horrors of the Pacific War. They should be treated as such.
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