Why we must never forget this day – People’s Daily Online

Imperial Japan in 1942, showing the progressiv...

Imperial Japan in 1942, showing the progressive territorial expansions from 1870. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent, short, MUST READ article by the People’s Daily Online. Check it out!

English: Logo of the People's Daily 中文: 人民日报题字

English: Logo of the People’s Daily 中文: 人民日报题字 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


via Why we must never forget this day – People’s Daily Online.

Some regular readers will remember that I picked up a similar article in the People’s Daily last week; it was entitled China strongly condemns Japan over shrine visit.

Whilst, I shall not repeat my comments of last week, I would like to pick up two threads of this story.

Firstly, it is important to look at Chinese History. Remember with five thousand years of history, China is able to focus on the highlights. Modern China, under the People’s Republic of China, was reborn in the liberation of 1945. The mistakes of the early years of Communism which led to widespread starvation have been subsumed but the Japanese occupation will always be remembered as a low point in China’s history at the end of the colonial era with, for example, memories of the Opium Wars. The Chinese people will never forget that Imperial Japan murdered millions of Chinese, regarding them as racially inferior; they particularly targeted the wealthy and educated. Against this background, Japan’s latest, largely symbolic, moves will be seen as a possible return to Japanese nationalism.

Secondly, I have had enormous respect for Japan’s post war achievements. Indeed in my doctorate, nearly twenty years ago, I researched Japanese cost reduction practices and their transfer to the Western industry. The successes of Japan’s global brands is well-known. What is less well-known is many of Japan’s domestic industries were protected from international competition and incredibly inefficient. Because of weak government and powerful lobbying groups, Japan had ten years of stagnation. Although millions of Japanese have traveled overseas, modern Japan still struggles to regain her position in the World. The current Japanese Government have been bold with economic policy and Japan has started to grow again. Japan has enormous overseas investments yet there are still worries about Japan’s foreign policy aspirations on the back of a new interest in Japanese nationalism.

Let me turn this to an open question:

Do you think that modern Japan has properly come to terms with the lessons of Japan’s Imperial history.

Any thoughts?

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10 responses

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  10. The young have no interest in Japanese Imperial history or in dominating anyone militarily.

    The problem lies with the older generation, who for years rewrote and sanitized history, and believe in economic warfare, based on the teachings of the Samurai warrior Miyamoto Mushashi, as encapsulated in the Book of Five Rings.

    The theme of warfare by other means is also propagated by the teachings of a Japanese warrior monk Nichiren who believed in the destruction of whites and Muslims and has modern adherents.

    After VJ day, Emperor Hirohito was not tried as a war criminal, like some of the Nazis were at Nuremburg, and a number of the worst war criminals like General Ito, who engaged in germ warfare experiments on POWs were spared by the Americans who wanted the knowledge so that they could add it to their war-fighting capabilities.

    The British Empire, Holland and America at our behest applied sanctions and an oil embargo on Japan, which has no oil to force them to go to war in the first place, so our hands are not clean even though as schoolchildren we were, as I remember well, taught otherwise.

    The Chinese have already said of Japan, “There cannot be two suns in the sky” which is their way of saying they are the masters of Asia, rather than the Japanese who once took this role for themselves.
    The Chinese have long memories but also look to the future.

    Matters will I think have to resolve themselves over time because until we have a new generation in charge in both countries the old hatreds and rivalries will always simmer under the surface with the Japanese feeling that they have paid enough in reparations and some older Chinese thinking as we once wrongly did in the railway carriage at Versailles, that “The German orange must be squeezed until the pips squeak”

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