The Greater East Asian War: How Japan Changed The World Chapter 9 – A Nation with a Fabricated History
By Kase Hideaki,
Chapter 9 – A Nation with a Fabricated History
SCAP’s battle for history
In September 1945, the US Army occupied Japan.
During the occupation, the United States implemented the War Guilt Information Program, a plan to thoroughly indoctrinate the Japanese people to believe that Japan was a sinful nation which had to atone for starting the war.
On October 2, 1945, General MacArthur, known as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), issued General Orders No. 4 which read, “Make clear to all levels of the Japanese public the true facts of their defeat, their war guilt, the responsibility of the militarists for present and future Japanese suffering and privation, and the reasons for and objectives of the military occupation by the Allied Powers.” This was a mere one month from the signing of the Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri.
Instilling a sense of guilt in the minds of the Japanese people and robbing them of their spirit of independence were indeed the two most important goals of the US occupation.
Right from the outset of the occupation in September, SCAP decreed a stringent Press Code, placing restrictions on the media.
The Press Code was a major violation with respect to the Potsdam Declaration, which stipulated that, “Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.” Instead, the Japanese people were to be robbed of their normal capacity to think as citizens of an independent nation.
Everything, from publishers such as newspapers to even the private letters of ordinary citizens, was subject to strict regulation and censorship. Then, from December, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation began airing “This Is The Truth,” later renamed “Truth Box,” and newspapers nationwide began publishing the series “The History of the Pacific War”. The plan was to make all the people of Japan believe that their country was an evil nation.
After having conquered Japan militarily, SCAP waged a full-scale battle for history with the aim of depriving the Japanese people of their history. By robbing them of their own memories of the past, SCAP intended to break the Japanese people’s spirit and to remodel Japan as a vassal state, to be subservient to the United States long after the end of the occupation.
On September 11, in preparation for the Tokyo War Crimes Trial where Japan’s leaders were to be judged, SCAP began arresting thirty-nine “war crimes suspects” who had worked in influential positions in wartime Japan, including General Tojo Hideki.
Then, a variety of measures intended to break Japan’s spirit were implemented in quick succession, including the Shinto Directive, which abolished State Shinto, a purge of prewar officials, and the imposition of a new constitution.
The Shinto Directive was inspired by the belief of the occupation army that Shinto was a barbaric, primitive faith which worshiped mountains, trees, and animals.
Today, the principle of separation of religion and state is brought up constantly, but if Japan had been a Christian nation like the Philippines, no attempt would have been made to impose that separation.
Today, Japan is the only country in the world, excluding communist China and North Korea and Confucian nations like South Korea, whose national and local government ceremonies are strictly non-religious.
In other democracies, like the United States, Great Britain, and France, official events are Christian-based. Should the state really be promoting atheism?
Calling for a retrial of the IMTFE
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trial, was the central mechanism through which a war guilt complex was implanted in the Japanese mind.
Before World War II, there was no precedent for a nation’s leaders to be tried for war crimes due to their decision to go to war. Even within international law, no provision for this existed.
Moreover, the Tokyo War Crimes Trial was a clear violation of the Potsdam Declaration. The declaration did state that “stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners,” but this referred only to attacks on non-combatants and mistreatment of POWs.
At the Tokyo War Crimes Trial, the defendants were tried for “crimes against peace” and “crimes against humanity,” but before the opening of the trial these concepts did not even exist.
The Tokyo War Crimes Trial was simply fraudulent—not at all worthy of being called a “trial”.
Japan was on trial for the crime of having invaded Asia, and yet even during this show trial, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and France were fighting wars of aggression to reassert their colonial rule over the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, and Vietnam. That alone is a major indictment of the trial’s hypocrisy.
The Tokyo War Crimes Trial one-sidedly investigated only the crimes Japan was accused of, while at the same time allowing no mention of any war crimes committed by the Allies.
However, it was the United States that had dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and massacred over 100,000 people in a single night during the Great Tokyo Air Raid. Even just looking at the killing and wounding of civilians and noncombatants in violation of international law alone, the United States was guilty of serious war crimes.
Major General Charles Willoughby, who was an advisor to MacArthur and one of the two most powerful men in SCAP, once told Judge Bert Roling that the Tokyo War Crimes Trial “was the worst hypocrisy in recorded history.” He also told Roling that “since this kind of trial took place, he would forbid his son to enter military service.”
During the trial, William Webb, the Australian justice who served as President of the Tribunal, wrote to his wife Beatrice back home that, “I’ve become fed up with standing before such a tribunal as this.”
The man who had started the war was President Franklin Roosevelt. Though he had died suddenly in April 1945, Roosevelt was the man who truly deserved to be put on trial for “crimes against peace”.
The Indian justice Radhabinod Pal concluded in his dissenting judgment that “a trial which is carried out on this basis of law is nothing more than a pretense to make it look as if proper legal procedures have been taken, in order to satisfy one’s desire of revenge.”
Heramba Lal Gupta, one of the leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, gave the following speech in 1946:
“I think that the International Military Tribunal for the Far East will surely be re-evaluated by the nations of Asia by the time we enter the twenty-first century, and then, a second Tokyo Trial will be held where Asia and all the world will regain its good sense and will judge all deeds in a fair, equal, and truthful manner. At that time, all the war heroes of the United States and of the great powers of Europe, who have been committing acts of aggression against Asia for many years, will receive stern punishments. Conversely, the Japanese who were accused of serious crimes by the IMTFE, especially the seven killed as Class A war criminals, will be rehabilitated, and the day may come when they shall be worshipped like gods as the saviors of Asia. That is what should rightfully happen.”
Henry S. Stokes, who I introduced in a previous chapter, has lived in Japan for forty years and has served as Tokyo bureau chief to The New York Times and other newspapers. In his book, “Breaking the Victors’ History Spell Cast by the Allied Powers: Wake Up, Japan!”, which was published in Japanese by Nisshin Hodo, Stokes declared that, “What we ought to do is ask the United Nations for a retrial of the IMTFE.”
America’s corruption of history
In February 2015, I was invited to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Yurakucho, Tokyo, for a joint press conference with Mizushima Satoru, president of Channel Sakura.
In January, Mr. Mizushima played a key role in founding the Citizens’ Council to Investigate the Asahi Shimbun, which had launched a class action lawsuit seeking remedial damages and a published apology from the Asahi Shimbun for the significant harm that this newspaper had done to Japan’s international reputation through its fabricated news stories about the comfort women.
At that time, more than 23,000 people from across the country participated in the lawsuit as plaintiffs.
I had been asked to attend the press conference by Mr. Mizushima as one of the plaintiffs. My first statement at the press conference was:
“I would like to raise an objection to the information card which was sent out to the members of the correspondents’ club on the occasion of today’s press conference. It says, ‘Mainstream historians acknowledge the historical fact that the Japanese Army forced the comfort women to work in brothel facilities during the 1930s and 1940s.’ In the articles which I have contributed to American newspapers like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, I was introduced as being a historian. I consider my views to be mainstream, and thus find this description to be greatly in error.”
I also added that, “In the same card, I am introduced as being ‘a representative of the revisionist view’. However, the ‘revisionist view’ was the history which was forced on Japan during the US occupation, and which continues to exert influence to this day. I do not consider myself to be a revisionist.”
It was the United States that distorted Japan’s true history.
During the question and answer phase, an American reporter stood up and asked me, “Even if you say that, do you understand that the international community believes that the comfort women were sex slaves?”
Because I was angered by his tone, I immediately upbraided him. “Throughout Japan’s long history, no system of slavery has ever existed. I don’t want to be asked such a question by a citizen of a country like the United States, which still practiced slavery in the second half of the nineteenth century.” Several Japanese reporters applauded me.
The United States only emancipated its slaves in 1863, five years before Japan’s Meiji Restoration. I added that, “Japan has never witnessed either huge massacres of whole cities
or religious wars characterized by indiscriminate killing, like those between Catholics and Protestants, at any time in its history. Please do a little more research on this subject.”
The peoples’ movement to free the war criminals
The San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect in 1952.
The year after Japan regained its independence, Japan’s National Diet amended law books to designate as “war dead” all the so-called “war criminals” who died in prison, committed suicide, or were executed as a result of the unjust military tribunals of the victor powers. By doing this, their surviving family members were made eligible for a pension. The Diet also unanimously approved a resolution calling for the speedy release of those individuals still serving prison sentences for war crimes.
This Diet resolution grew out of a nationwide mass petition movement which began directly after Japan regained its independence under the leadership of groups like the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. They drafted a “Plea for Clemency, Commutation, and Repatriation for the Imprisoned War Criminals”, which received the signatures of forty million people.
Forty million people was nearly sixty percent of Japan’s population at that time, and virtually all of its adult population. The petition represented the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the people.
Today, the title of “Class A war criminal” is considered a badge of shame, but that was not at all the case in the immediate aftermath of the restoration of Japanese independence.
Shigemitsu Mamoru and Kaya Okinori, who were imprisoned as Class A war criminals, both served as cabinet ministers after the end of the US occupation. Shigemitsu was foreign minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Hatoyama Ichiro, and Kaya was Justice Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato.
Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke was arrested as a Class A war crimes suspect and was held in Sugamo Prison.
Indeed, Ogata Taketora and Shimomura Kainan, the chief editors of the Asahi Shimbun, and Shoriki Matsutaro, the owner of the Yomiuri Shimbun, were also arrested as Class A war crimes suspects, though perhaps out of embarrassment, the Yomiuri and Asahi Shimbun today refuse to mention this fact.
In 1956, when Japan gained admittance to the United Nations under Foreign Minister Shigemitsu Mamoru, Shigemitsu was greeted with a thunderous applause when he appeared before the UN General Assembly. The fact that he had been a Class A war criminal was never made into an issue.
As Japan’s experience of war grew more distant, Japan gradually lost its senses. We must not allow the memory of the war to fade away.
Masochistic history and its irresponsible Japanese preachers
The War Guilt Information Program sowed the seeds of a masochistic view of history, but it was disseminated through the work of irresponsible Japanese citizens.
After Japan regained its independence, Emperor Hirohito made numerous official visits to Yasukuni Shrine, and Japanese prime ministers between Yoshida Shigeru and Nakasone Yasuhiro also openly visited the shrine.
During that period, neither China nor South Korea ever voiced a single word of protest over the visits of Japanese prime ministers to Yasukuni. However, it was only after Prime Minister Nakasone stopped visiting Yasukuni at the request of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Hu Yaobang, that China came to be harshly critical of all visits to the shrine by Japanese prime ministers.
Likewise, if Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi had never condemned Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression,” and if Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei had never apologized for the “coercive” recruitment of girls as comfort women, then China, South Korea, and the United States would never have been able to pressure Japan to continue to adhere to the Murayama and Kono Statements.
Is patriotism a sin?
Soon after, the word “patriotism” itself became taboo in Japan.
Though patriotism does not fall into Buddhism’s sinful karma or as one of the seven deadly sins of Christianity, Japan’s mass media and intelligentsia blame patriotism for causing World War II.
This is the reason why the parades held on Indonesia’s Independence Day are never broadcast on Japanese television, even though the men waving the Indonesian flag are dressed in the uniforms of PETA and carry Japanese swords, and even though the female chorus sings the Japanese song “The Patriotic March”.
In November 1991, America’s ABC News reported that, “Signed documents from July 1941 have been discovered, showing that President Roosevelt approved a military plan to launch surprise bombing raids on the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Kobe, and Osaka in October of that year using over one hundred American bombers disguised as Chinese aircraft.” One would think that this would be critically important news for Japanese citizens to know.
In spite of this, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s news program never bothered to report on what, by any reasonable standard, should have been a big story.
One would also think that Japan’s media would have given broad coverage to the 2013 publication of Herbert Hoover’s memoirs, in which Hoover and General MacArthur concur at a private meeting that Hoover’s successor as president, Franklin Roosevelt, was a “madman” who had willfully provoked Japan into war. And yet, nothing like that happened.
The year 2015 marked the 120th anniversary of Japan’s victory in the First Sino-Japanese War and the 110th anniversary of Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War. These wars were two of Japan’s greatest trials as a nation-state. If the Japanese had not won either of these conflicts, Japan as we know it today would not exist.
Victory was achieved only because Japan’s citizenry united as one to face the crisis and because its soldiers fought with conspicuous valor and courage.
Japan’s media should have honored and celebrated the anniversaries of these two historic victories, but instead they were simply ignored.
In 2014, the newspaper Asahi Shimbun responded to the ruling party’s attempts to broaden Japan’s right to collective self-defense with a banner headline reading, “WE MUST NOT BECOME A COUNTRY THAT CAN GO TO WAR.” However, at the time of the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Japan managed to keep its independence only because it was a country that could go to war.
World War II ended seventy years ago, and yet, Japanese newspapers and TV networks are still under the spell of the war guilt complex created by the US occupation army’s War Guilt Information Program to break Japan’s spirit.
The spirit of an independent nation
In October 1944, Flight Officer Nagamine Hajime wrote a farewell poem which read, “Even if I am to die here in the South Seas, I will be thinking about the springs of the years still to come.” Then he flew out of Mabalacat Airfield in Luzon, the Philippines, as part of the first group of kamikaze pilots. He was only nineteen years of age.
In January the following year, Sublieutenant Fukuyama Masamichi composed a poem which read, “I don’t fear losing the life I have devoted to you. I worry only about the fate of the nation.” Like Nagamine, he embarked from Mabalacat Airfield as part of the 18th Kongo Unit of kamikaze fliers. He was only twenty-one years of age.
Since that nineteen-year-old hero dreamed of “the springs of the years still to come,” seventy springs have passed by.
Would any of us be able to meet face-to-face with the spirits of those who sacrificed themselves to protect Japan in World War II without shirking in shame?
In 1952, the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect, restoring independence to Japan.
The San Francisco Peace Conference had convened the previous year, bringing together representatives of forty-eight countries including Japan.
According to Article 11 of the peace agreement, Japan was obligated to accept the judgments of the Allied war crimes trials. Even after the restoration of independence, Japan was bound by treaty to have imprisoned Class A, B, and C war criminals serve out their full sentences.
Ambassador Rafael de la Colina, the representative from Mexico, said the following about that article in his speech to the conference: “We would also have desired that [Article 11] not continue legalizing, with reference to the Allied War Crimes Tribunals,… an attitude which we believe is not completely in harmony with juridical principles and is not in consonance with the best principles of modern civilization which are enunciated in the juridical phrase, Nullum crimen sine lege, nulla poena sine lege, a principle which inspires the penal legislation of all cultured peoples of the world…”
Ambassador Hipolito Jesus Paz, the representative from Argentina, likewise stated that, “there are some points relative to which my delegation wishes to state in a very clear manner the interpretations under which it signs it and requests that this appear in the minutes… With regard to the courts mentioned in Article 11 of the treaty, our constitution does not permit anybody to be punished without due process of law.”
At the time of the restoration of independence, the Japanese people were still largely of sound mind.
It was only after this that Japan surrendered all its national defense capacities, the most important purpose of any nation, to the United States. As Japan became more and more content to be America’s vassal state, it lost its spirit as an independent nation.
Today, Japanese people take pride in being a “pacifist state”, basking in peace by grace of America’s protection.
When a person who lives opulently, thanks only to the good graces of others, flaunts his own luxurious lifestyle, one cannot help but find that extremely distasteful.
Throughout my life, I have frequently been on the front lines of Japanese diplomacy.
Many people, not only of the left-wing but even conservatives, have told me, or, rather, have scolded me, about how “Japan ought to forge an independent foreign policy, not simply toeing the American line.”
However, I become annoyed by the way that these same people who constantly instructed me to “not toe the American line”, have no problem with humbly accepting a constitution which was designed for a vassal state, rather than an independent nation, and imposed by the United States. I have always remained silent in the face of their lecturing, because I did not think there was much point in discussing politics with those kind of people.