Monday, April 18, 2005

Remember Nanking

I honestly can't blame the Chinese for getting upset over the Japanese history textbook thing. Although it might have been more appropriate to throw things at the Japanese embassy rather through the windows of Japanese businesses who, after all, probably weren't around at the time of the brutal Nanking massacre.

As they say, history is written by the victors, and in this particular war the Japs won. On the other hand, if one wants to apologise for torturing, raping and murdering citizens of one's neighbour and trading partner then actually owning up to it is a damn good start (and paying compensation would also go a helluva long way too). I don't have anything against Japanese as individuals, but what they did as a country all those years ago affects me more than what I know of the Holocaust - because the victims were my parent's countrymen.

7 comments:

Jon said...

Yeah, as a person of Japanese ancestry, I'd like to see Japan apologize for WW2 atrocities. The vast majority of East Asia suffered, or was occupied, but it doesn't seem like it's going to happen, sadly. Before Koizumi, there was a prime minister who was close to doing so, but he got voted out of office as a result. Older people in Japan do know what happened, but unlike don't talk about it, and as long as the Ministry of Education candy coats school texts, younger people aren't going to know the truth. Though, to play devil's advocate, far more people died under Mao and the Cultural Revolution- not that this fact excuses the Japanese occupation, of course

Jon said...

I meant to say 'unlike Germany'

flying kiwi said...

Weird, I was just reading about the Rape of Nanking in the SF Chronicle yesterday. Well mostly about the author Iris Chang, who committed suicide in November, sadly.

Violet said...

Jon: Fair enough - and it's probably still a bit too recent for people living in China to speak up about it too.

Not to mention the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Flying Kiwi: I heard that Chang spent a few years researching the topic - no wonder she was depressed.

glomgold said...

Yes yes. This is just an ugly thing all around. I certainly don't blame Japanese individually, but I never even wanted to broach this topic with Japanese friends for fear of a Pandora's Box type result. It sure seems the Japanese government could go a long way of alleviating bad feelings by acknowledging certain actions. It'll take several generations before we can see how things really stand I guess.

Desiree said...

I wonder how much of it has to do with the "not wanting to be seen to be losing face" thing. The Japanese do it, we Chinese do it and the more it goes on, the more stubborn each party becomes...and I can't be certain that it's just an Asian thing either.

I agree with you about feeling more indignant about this issue than the Holocaust as some of my relatives were killed during the atrocities. And yet, as a Chinese I feel intensely embarassed about what China has imposed upon Tibet and to her own people (Tianenmen Square).

I remember reading some letter to the Editor of the Dominion Post (in defence of a certain J Tamihere) here that people got over the Crusades, Genghis Khan, and the like, that it was time to start getting over the Holocaust.

I don't necessarily agree with any of this. I think that when it comes to coming to terms with atrocities that are committed if the party that instigated it admits that they were wrong in the first place, then that is the first step to the healing. It is like trying to get a criminal to recognise that they committed a crime. If they don't express remorse then people affected by the crime do not feel any compulsion to forgive.

Apologies for ranting...

Violet said...

Desiree: I agree with you there, although some would argue that the victims of the Crusade etc have gotten over them. Certain English people still hate the French, after all...