Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact

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Why do we ask America for forgiveness?

By Nishio Kanji,

Nishio Kanji, Ph. D.
Conceiving of seeking personal “war responsibility”
The representative of the vanquished state of Germany spoke proudly to the leaders of the 27 victorious countries arrayed before him. This is what he declared:
We are under no illusions as to the extent of our defeat and the degree of our powerlessness. We know that the strength of the German arms is broken. We know the intensity of the hatred which meets us, and we have heard the victor’s passionate demand that as the vanquished we shall be made to pay, and as the guilty we shall be punished.
The demand is made that we shall acknowledge that we alone are guilty of having caused the war. Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie. We are far from seeing to escape from any responsibility for this world war, and for its having been waged as it has.… [W]e emphatically deny that the people of Germany, who were convinced that they were waging a war of defense, should be burdened with the sole guilt of that war.1
The German representative was Foreign Minister Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau. He was not a monomaniacal nationalist; rather, he was a German nobleman from an ancient family with a proud lineage.
It was at the conclusion of the First World War, and these were the first words he spoke when the French representative Georges Clemenceau started the ball rolling by thrusting the Treaty of Versailles under his nose.
At the end of the Second World War, the German state was dismantled and it ceased to exist. Wartime leaders who had fled were being pursued and rounded up one by one. The German people talked of possibly being taken en masse and forced into slave labor. There had been nothing like that at the end of the First World War. Germany had continued its existence as a sovereign nation. It was the exactly the same situation as Japan, who was barely a country after her surrender at the end of the Second World War.
The First World War was fought over reasons left over from previous conflicts among European countries (the Napoleonic wars, the Austro–Prussian War, and the
1 Speech of the German Delegation at Versailles, May 7, 1919. First published as “Ansprache des Reichaußenminsters Grafen Brockdorff-Rantzau bei Überreichung des Friedensvertrags-Entwurfs durch die Allierten und Assoziierten Mächte” in Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau Dokumente (Charlottenburgh: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft für Politik und Geschichter, 1920), 113ff.
Franco–Prussian War), but looking at it now, one can see any number of distinct features hinting at a Second World War. First was the charge that Germany should bear responsibility for the war, which appeared in the 231-article treaty fundamentally intended to punish Germany. Moreover, they demanded that Kaiser Wilhelm II be turned over so he could be placed before a military tribunal for “a supreme offense against international morality.”2 Wilhelm was in exile in Holland, and the Dutch government, citing international law, refused to hand him over. The Allied forces named 800 people as war criminals. Among them — starting with the famed general Erich Ludendorff — were members of the nobility, government officials, academics, military officers, and soldiers. There were also demands made to turn over persons charged with “crimes of brutality during wartime.” German chancellor Karl Joseph Wirth formally refused these as there were no precedents in existing international law or practice. Nevertheless, British prime minister David Lloyd-George stubbornly demanded that the trials to condemn war criminals should go on. A little over a year later, the trials being held in Germany all ended mid-trial or with not-guilty verdicts.
All this being said, it is certain that the citizens of Germany were humiliated and shocked that totally without precedent the concept of “war responsibility” had been born, and that there was international will to assign individual responsibility for war.
I have written that Japan was barely a country after the Second World War, but unlike Germany after the First World War, she did not have the power to refuse to hand over war criminals. The tragedy of officers and men who, once having returned to their hometowns, were then taken back to Indonesia, the Philippines, or wherever and named as B- and C-class war criminals and executed, is well known. As the governments of the localities where the actions took place devoted themselves to the adjudication of guilt for the cruelty, the atrocities ended up following the pattern of the form of revenge against German war criminals in the Second World War.
The lawyers at the Tokyo Tribunal made the sound argument that conducting war is itself a legitimate act of the state and thus not a crime. They also put forth the legal position that seeking to assign personal blame for a war conducted as the will of the state was a violation of international law. The same arguments had been made at the Nuremburg trials. Nonetheless, both sets of trials (in which America played a central role) refused from the outset to cede this point.
Be that as it may, it was probably something that went without much notice, but at the time of the First World War the general idea of “war responsibility” had already made an appearance with absolutely no precedent in international law or practice.
If one speaks of “war responsibility,” I believe that the words of Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau at the Versailles Conference were correct when he displayed a bold attitude of refusal, saying there was no reason to lay a charge of “a supreme offense against international morality” only against Germany, who had lost in spite of great effort, and that responsibility was also borne by the victorious countries. The idea behind this article is to demonstrate that the expression of Japan’s position concerning the war in the past has to have been the same.
Japan marched into history alongside Germany in the Second World War, but the historical details between Germany and Japan were different. There were no Nazis in
2 Article 227 of the Versailles Treaty.
Japan; neither was there a Holocaust. It is not the purpose of this treatise, however, to reiterate those points of difference. What I strongly want to make note of is that the two World Wars, primarily concerning England, America, and France coming together, were called “world wars” — but they were really more like European “civil wars.” I must thus correct the misconception that Japanese history had the same experiences as Germany, and I would like to direct attention to the minute temporal differences and the pitfalls Japan, following along after Germany, was unaware of.
“The courtroom of man” is filled with contradictions and peril
References to “war responsibility,” “personal responsibility for acts of state,” “supreme offenses against international morality” (etc.), appeared in the Japanese media starting in 1945. Even though for argument’s sake these ideas had been accurately reported to Japan around 1920, it surely must have been like some sort of a dream. Japan, who had fought the Sino–Japanese War and the Russo–Japanese War with the spirit of bushidô, had done so with not the slightest idea to shame China or the Tsar of Russia; and the citizens of the defeated countries had no idea of branding them with the stigma of criminals committing ethical crimes. Particularly famous is one incident in which Gen. Nogi Maresuke, upon meeting his defeated counterpart, Maj. Gen. Baron Anatoly Stoessel, at Suishigong, allowed him to retain his sword, and a photograph was taken. The Sino–Japanese War, the Russo–Japanese War, and the First World War followed one another in close succession in a short period of only 30 years.
For Japan it wasn’t only spoken of as a dream. It was outrageous that the victorious nations would try the leaders of the defeated nations in such undisguised retribution. This was the reason that the German government refused to do so in 1920–22, and it was of course common sense understood the world over. It was natural that the defeated countries would be forced to pay reparations and make territorial concessions — the equivalent outcome if given over to civilian courts. The exposure and conviction of those responsible for the war would yield essentially the same results as criminal trials. Surely one has no choice but to say that the thinking of the Allied Powers at that time, raising the flag of justice and supporting criminal law, was in diametrical opposition to the world’s common sense then. Where could such a concept have come from?
At the Versailles Conference, Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States (which had taken part as one of the victorious nations), played a decisive role. His “Fourteen Points” called for the establishment of an “association of nations” that would transcend the individual interests of all the countries — without respect to whether the country was large or small — and expressed the need for self-determination of all the people in eastern Europe. The former idea gave birth to the League of Nations, and the latter idea made possible the independence of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Finland, Poland, the three Baltic states, etc.
For a long time in Europe, the peace had been maintained by a balance of power in alliances among nations; in the 19th century, the balance among the countries had been managed admirably by the German chancellor, Otto von Bismark. But it was Germany that was the cause of it all collapsing in an instant. The Russo–Japanese War had been one reason for this. Russia’s military might had been crushed, and a power vacuum was
created. The Russo–Japanese War could be called the cause of World War Zero Point One, but Japan then, like now, was not conscious of this.
The League of Nations was internationalism, but self-determination of people is nationalism; the goals are reversed. There is no doubt that Wilson didn’t grasp the contradiction. Nationalism in small countries like Romania and Czechoslovakia was harmless, and that was good. Only in large countries was nationalism bad. These were held in check by powerful international ultranationalistic organs, and if controlled, peace could be maintained. At this point, the representative of evil was Germany. It was probably easy to think that. The League of Nations, however, had no military authority of its own; neither did it have any legal jurisdiction. France was fearful that such an organization would be totally incapable of keeping the peace, and of a resuscitated and vengeful Germany. France continued to argue for realism through a policy of military parity through traditional alliances. There were fireworks between Wilson and Clemenceau from the outset of the conference.
The outcome of the peace conference brought about the establishment of the League of Nations, which the Americans had pushed for, but the League met an ironic end due to unanticipated historical developments that took place from 1920 into the 1930s. Due to domestic issues, the United States never participated in the League of Nations. The country who made most of the League therefore was France, not America; and France made thorough use of it to guarantee her own national security. The problem was that this was not always in keeping with the best interests of long-term peace for the whole of Europe.
One cannot help but think that in Wilson’s mind was but a simple image of good and evil, justice and injustice, as if from some elementary school student’s idea of democracy. On the one hand, he glorified the nationalism he called peoples’ self-determination, but a political reality is that self-determination often becomes the narrow-minded egoism of the people, and this comes into conflict with internationalism. For example, Poland’s nationalism swelled, inviting antagonism from Germany and Russia. The nationalism of small countries is not always a good thing. Wilson could not have anticipated this being an underlying cause that would set the fuse for the Second World War, which saw the partition of Poland.
It can be said that the naive pattern that small things are harmless and for that reason good, and that large things are prone to being harmful and therefore bad, was one of the simplistic ideas of Japan’s post-war democracy. With small things, even something that looks harmless can still be bad. That is because the small always holds the ego-expanding desire to become larger.
With neither military force nor the authority to punish, an organization like the League of Nations (as with the post-war United Nations) is impotent and so is tolerated; but if they should become more than a watchtower possessing a scale of good and evil, and justice and injustice — should they try to take more authority on themselves — it would surely become a most frighteningly dangerous situation. Europe during the inter-war years was too easily caught up in the simple ideas, and had not yet experienced this point. For the lofty idealism that Wilson held up — a standard of justice to guarantee and regulate and control selfishness of all the countries — mankind would have to assume the position of some sort of god. Otherwise it would be impossible to guarantee to do so.
That is why I wrote the following:
When all is said and done, it can be said that Wilson’s uncompromising character was due to the fact that he was less a politician than he was a devout Protestant and an academic. Here, however, it seems as if the idea of “the courtroom of man” that occupied the position a singular self-righteous fundamentalism was flickering.3
What I am trying to express here in saying the “courtroom of man,” is that people, or a specific people, take the position of “god,” and, looking over the whole of human history, sit in judgment on it.
We East Asians have never had a concept of judgment such as this. The idea of raising courts above all the people of every nation in every which way and making rules and sitting in judgment was ultimately based on the concept of “judgment” as it exists in Western European Christianity.… Behind its sublime intentions, it might not be noticed again that the difficult situation of prejudice and self-justification regarding those of other faiths is its prerequisite.4
In point of fact, implementation of the principal of self-determination at the Versailles Treaty was extremely distant outside Europe. India and East Asia were completely left out in the cold, and the countries of the Near and Mid East were substantially divided up between England and France. Japan’s proposal of a law abolishing racial discrimination encountered opposition led by America, who had domestic issues with their own Black population, and loud voices of dissent raised by from British Commonwealth nations such as Australia, which was making the call for a “White Australia Policy.”
The reparations levied against Germany was 132 billion marks, which totaled about 40 times Japan’s national budget at the time. When Germany stopped paying the reparations in 1923, France and Belgium moved to occupy the heavy industrial Ruhr region. The effect on Germany’s economy was huge, and repayment became even more difficult. France, England, Belgium and others took advantage of Wilson’s idealism to exercise their own desire for revenge. That is why I wrote the following:
The idea that there could be a “judgment” over the citizens of every country can be seen as intentional, essentially applying shades of justice and injustice in warfare, making conducting a war an all the more dangerous thing.5
Winning or losing a war is nothing more than the fortunes of time
3 Citizen’s History, “20 — The Treaty of Tordesillas, International Law, the League of Nations, and the Nuremburg Trials,” Keizai Shinbun News Service.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
In 1863 — as the Tokugawa shogunate was falling — the Satsuma fief was bombarded by the English navy. This conflict (which in Japan has come to be called the “Anglo–Satsuma War”) was intended to force a suitable conclusion to the “Namamugi Incident,” in which an Englishman had been struck down and killed by samurai from Satsuma. Kagoshima, the Satsuma capital, became a sea of fire. That same year, to show their implementation of the policy of “expelling the barbarians,” forces in the Chôshû fief fired on an American merchant vessel in Shimonoseki Strait. The subsequent retaliation by a combined English, American, Dutch, and French naval force caused them to suffer a cruel defeat.
These two defeats taught Japan a lesson: to abandon the simplicity of the rhetoric of “expel the barbarians.” But that wasn’t all. These defeats also opened up new possibilities. The Satsuma fief took advantage of the situation and became fast friends with England, and produced many naval luminaries like Tôgô Heihachirô and others. Chôshû switched over to the faction in favor of opening Japan to foreigners, and afterward found itself at the heart of establishing Japan’s army. In addition to this, the reparations sought from Japan at the time of these defeats greatly affected the Japanese people. It was their first time to see the reality that money could be claimed in war. Whatever happens, one side has to win. In defeat, not only prestige is lost — actual loss is incurred.
The Westerners’ game of war as an extension of governmental policy and a means to procure territory, money, and national interests was something that Asians had not conceived of at that point.
It is said that there are two types of warfare: total war, and limited war. The first is also called “all-out war.” The Anglo–Satsuma War and Chôshû War were, of course, examples of limited war. It would be fair to say that the Sino–Japanese War, the Russo–Japanese War, and Japan’s participation in the First World War, were on the level of limited wars.
In the long flow of Western history, other than ancient wars and wars of religion like the Crusades, limited war was the norm. Only the royalty and the military fought, as these were not wars where all the citizens took part. Until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there really had been no concept of “citizens.” Mercenaries — soldiers hired to fight — were the mainstay of armies. There were no kings anywhere who had the ability to turn farmers and townsmen into infantry.
These mercenaries were made into a single unit and they made a “company” with their own families, drivers, servants, camp followers, and suttlers accompanying them — moving like a veritable plague of locusts as they swept across the land. One might say this was less a military unit than they were close to being a mass migration. Kings hired these nomadic warrior bands to fight each other. (The above is based on Yamauchi Susumu’s Ryakudatsu no hô kannen shi [The history of the idea of laws on plunder], Tokyo University Press.)
War has been regarded as a necessary evil. Of course, if one is defeated one must pay reparations and lose territory, but one cannot say that the country’s core has been destroyed and all its farmers and townsmen were humiliated just because of a defeat. Even during Japan’s sengoku period, the victor did not vent his revenge on the farmers or townsmen.
Victory or defeat in war is fate. Morality plays no part in it. War is good, and war is bad; irrelevant in war is whether it is based in justice or injustice. In other words, it is my understanding that the classical concept of warfare is limited war. This was the view of war Japan learned when it first encountered the Western world. In the modern period, no matter where you go when speaking of war, does it not stop at the thought of limited war?
In eighteenth-century France, there was a short break from warfare. Joseph de Maistre writes in his Saint Petersburg Dialogues (1821) the unbelievable tale of an evening when a ball and exhibitions were held, and officers from the opposing armies were invited and where officers of both sides chatted amicably about the coming day’s battle.
Indiscriminate bombing has its origins in the American Civil War
Military historian Ôsawa Masamichi presents a point of view that must be noted. He says that in the history of Western warfare, it was America who embraced for right or wrong as the absolute standard of morality — the idea of annihilating the enemy. Ultimately the concept had its origin in the ideology of the Union army during the American Civil War.6
The American Civil was only an internal struggle, but it was also the prototype of the form of total war that would appear in the twentieth century. At the outset of the war, one night in Tennessee when the two armies confronted each other, they alternately serenaded each other with “Yankee Doodle” and finally ending with “Home Sweet Home.” A calm playfulness hung in the air. After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, however, everything completely changed. Waving the proclamation like a banner brought about an inhuman shade to the fighting, and it became a destructive war the likes of which had never been.
Robert E. Lee, the general in command of the Confederate forces, had his sights on “an honorable peace.” That is, he was hoping for peace negotiations. This was the formula for ending wars in the nineteenth century. In the Russo–Japanese War, this was the method used to bring about an end to the conflict while the war was still ongoing. Later in the Pacific War between Japan and the United States, is it not possible that Japan believed the war would come to an end with an “honorable peace” with a mutual declaration of a draw with injuries on both sides?
In the Civil War, however, on Lincoln’s side there was not a trace of this antiquarian idea of such an end to warfare. The Union army aimed at annihilating the Confederate army. Or rather, Lincoln’s strategy was the destruction of the South itself.
A “scorched earth policy” was employed. The order directed destruction so thorough that birds in the sky should have to carry their own food to survive. In addition to the total destruction of the resources, economy, and culture of the South, the scorched earth policy of the Union army was intended to destroy the Southerners’ will to make war. This was the “southern edition” of the crushing history that was the fight for western
6 “Changes in the Appearance of War Starting in America.” New World Japanese History vol. 1, Sankei Shinbun News Service.
expansion, running down the Native Americans, at clearances and plantations. One might also say that this was a harbinger for the indiscriminate bombing of Japanese and German cities — which reduced them to rubble — during the Second World War.
Ôsawa writes that, “After the surrender of the Confederate army, President Jefferson Davis … was imprisoned at Fort Monroe. His humiliation extended to surveillance even during the performance of bodily functions, and he was even shackled.… Such inhuman conditions meted out to the leaders of a defeated government began with the American Civil War.”
Can one not say that Lincoln’s ideology of “absolute justice” cast a shadow through the idealism of President Wilson of the young country of America on the Allied Powers demand that Kaiser Wilhelm II be handed over for a military tribunal at the end of the First World War?
Only Germany and Japan have experienced defeat in total war
Total war is when the entire might of a country, and the country’s entire workforce, are put behind the waging of a war. It is not simple military or economic might; moral, religious, educational, and cultural customs and habits are all put into the equation. The entire nation is given over to serving the war and its territory duly becomes a battleground. If defeated, the whole population is spiritually beaten and they quiver with shame as if they were criminals.
These are not the fortunes of defeat; they are historical inevitabilities. The victor commands the history. The defeated come to be viewed as the enemy of mankind. The victor enacts one postwar policy after another to ultimately beat the defeated country down morally and spiritually so that they will not rise again. During occupation, culture and education are reformed — they are brainwashed. That is the total war we know from experience.
One can say that the First World War already had tendencies toward total war in Europe, but in Japan (which was also a participant in the war), understanding of this was limited. There was not even complete understanding of this in the Second World War. To begin with, Japan never had any plans to occupy Washington or London. There was no strategy for expanding the Japanese political system out into the world or to brainwash the defeated with Japanese spirit and culture. It was little more than a defensive war against English, American, French, Russian, and Chinese forces. It is a difficult condition to make the distinction between the defense and the war’s expansion (lately called “invasion”). The defeated Japan was completely subjected to the humiliating treatment I have previously mentioned. In 1945, Japan experienced total war for the first time and lost, arriving at a true understanding of suffering. This is the true situation.
Something that needs particular mention is that there have been many wars fought in many different places since 1945, but there have been no countries defeated in total war as were Germany and Japan after the Second World War as outlined above.
Making the distinction between victor and defeated is not perfectly clear in the Korean War, the Suez Canal Incident, the various Middle Eastern wars, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War. There are no examples of the brainwashing of citizens’ wills or the reformation of the nation such as took place with Germany and Japan. Only
Germany and Japan received exceptional measures. Originally a group of hooligans monopolized the German nation — the Germans themselves admit to that — so one can probably say that there was nothing for it but the occurrence of an exceptional war. If one knowingly joins up on the side of making total war and grandly waving the banner of world conquest, it is only natural that after defeat one should expect to receive retribution. Japan would not rush into war with such understanding. Japan was not like this, however. “Self-existence and self-defense” and “the liberation of Asia” were the two great incentives. It was totally passive.
The enemies Japan faced first were England, France, and Holland. Of the great powers, it was England who lost national interests most through the war, so it would be most suitable to call it the “Anglo–Japanese War.” Instead, the enemy waiting in the wings to take advantage of the opportunity, becoming the principal enemy, was America. They came to wage a war of total extermination, as if to remove a thorn in their side that had vexed them for 100 years in the Pacific. When it was all over, Japan for the first time realized the meaning of “total war.” It would be fair to say that it was a war of burning ideology — a sense of mission to bring “civilization” to the colored people and raising the banner of Lincoln’s “justice” ever westward, hopping from island to island.
I have just said that since 1945, the only countries to weep with the misfortune of defeat in total war were Japan and Germany, and we can probably attribute this to the appearance of weapons of mass destruction. In particular, observation of the sacrifice of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shows that a “hot war” between major powers is unfeasible and there can be no defeat for one of those great powers. Things turned out badly for Germany and Japan.
Another change in the post-1945 world that bears notice is the new situation that racial discrimination has become the major taboo. There was an incident when former Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhirô caused anger when he carelessly impugned the level of intelligence of blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans, and abuse was heaped upon him by the American media. This is not a subject that America can so haughtily object to, but the world has become sensitive to such problems since Auschwitz. Before that, issues of racial inferiority or superiority were in the scope of liberal public opinion of thinkers like Neville Chamberlain.
Something changed after 1945. Before that date, discrimination was an overt principle. It wasn’t just the Nazis. Countries with “white civilizations” such as the English, American, French, Dutch, and “White Australians,” had no sense of indecision about racial discrimination. The result was the progenitor of issues of sex. This includes the occurrence of an aggressive sentiment on the part of white people who want to protect the purity of their blood, which is an issue encompassing discrimination against persons of mixed-race. It is not restricted only to North and South America. In the Union of South Africa, Australia, and everywhere this abnormal thought process manifests, the government is influenced by it from behind. One idée fixe that only Japan can’t be different is the “comfort women” issue that China recently set the spark to. The issue has made its way to the Congress of the United States, the prime minister of Australia has put in his piece, and the German and French media have been writing it up in a big way. It gives one the sensation that they want to get the Japanese mixed up in their own sins. Surely even now the curse of long years of colonial imperialism echoes in the ears of the White Man.
They were having a nightmare. Why would they themselves have done such an inhuman thing? In truth, however, there never was any self-reflection. Even now there is discrimination in their innermost feelings against people of color, and they are merely trying to create clever political mechanisms. But the situation wherein it is impossible officially to reveal racial discrimination was born in 1945.
Thunder crashes, and lightning flashes on the heads of the White Man.
The appearance of weapons of mass destruction and the exposure of Auschwitz is a dividing line cutting history into two parts: before them, and after. The collapse of the Soviet Union meant an end to the Cold War, which should be called the Third World War. By all rights, an international military tribunal should have been called, and erstwhile leaders of the Soviet Union and China should have been condemned to the gallows. “Crimes against humanity” committed by countries possessing weapons of mass destruction are altogether concealed, however. Thus, though the Soviet Union and China were the defeated countries in a total war, they did not receive the same treatment as Germany and Japan and were acquitted, looking proud and getting comfortably off.
The close of the twentieth century failed to bring an end to Nazi-like crimes such as large-scale, indiscriminate slaughter, ethnic cleansing, genocide, etc. The lesson of the Nuremberg trials should not be wasted. This may be so, but in point of fact judgment has been limited to smaller countries like Serbia, Rowanda, Sierra Leon, Cambodia, East Timor, and Iraq.
This is the largest self-deception currently. There is a cause for political stagnation. It is only natural, is it not, that there are countries like North Korea that think they can get away with possessing compact weapons of mass destruction as even compact ones are effective?
The dark side of the White world illuminated by Australian History
I have already written that the two World Wars, centered as they were around America and Europe, was a “civil war” fought in a White, Christian culture. Japan took no stance in either making or using weapons of mass destruction. Auschwitz occupies a position in the issue of religion that we can only consider difficult to separate from Christian history. There is no direct connection to Japan. There are no recorded cases in Japanese political history of someone as racist as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who truly believed that the Japanese, as people whose heads were 2,000 years behind those of Whites, were brutes.
Helen Mears wrote in her celebrated Mirror for Americans: Japan that the relationship between Westerners and Nazism is due the connection that they both emerged from the same type of people from the same culture. The war in Europe was an act of “atonement” on part of Western civilization for the birth of the tyranny of Nazism. Mears wrote, “In dealing with Nazis or Fascist of Europe we were dealing with basically with our own people, products of our own culture, so that condemning our own
civilization gone mad.”7 The Japanese connection, however, was different. “The Japanese represented a “colored race” that had streaked across Asia and Pacific islands under the emotionally true, even if politically false, banner of “liberating” the oppressedAsiatics and the “colored colonials” from the “white” overlord oppressor,”88 Mears wrote. From its outward appearance, Japan’s arrival as an imperialist state was aextremely complicated phenomenon. She says that the same time that Japan was a “traitorous great power,” it was also an Asian “revolutionary half-colonial state” oppressed
This was a text written immediately after the War, so it includes such disparaging terms regarding Japan as “revolutionary half-colonial state.” Although to an extent that may have meaning, viewed from the Japanese perspective (giving the timing of the book) one can say objectively that it isn’t strange.
In a profound sense, the war Japan was totally unconnected with is even today a calamity for Japan. Japan and her people fought nothing but a typically patriotic war. Nevertheless, Japan has been forced to bear the burden of other countries’ misfortunes twice or thrice over.
“Sex slaves!” “A massacre of 300,000!” “Unit 731!” Given the analogy of war over other cultures’ religions, there were many fools in this country who feel relief that in their own country’s history there were events approaching even a little that level of global brutality, and they dance excitedly with foreigners who jump at their reports.
I don’t intend to say that they are confused with Nazi Germany, and that Japan only received a by-blow, however. To understand Japan’s simple isolation and the gap between White, Christian civilization itself and Japanese history, I think we must again return the inter-war years.
There is an island called Tasmania off Australia’s south-east coast. From prehistoric times, it had been cut off from Australia. When Englishmen began to colonize the island at the close of the 18th century, the indigenous population were apparently still living at a Paleolithic level. They lived in holes in trees or in gaps in branches that had been blown-down, and went about in rafts of bundled tree bark but never went more than a mile offshore.
The English carried off their children and even fired volleys into their settlements as if they were only killing birds and wild animals. These islanders knew nothing of persecution, nor even warfare. There were no fierce animals on the island, and they hadn’t even developed weapons.
There were thousands of indigenous people when the age of English immigration began in the late 18th century, and in 1832, the Aboriginal people were rounded up and relocated under authority of the English governor. In 1860, the last remaining full-blooded one of these Aboriginal people died.
Australia’s indigenous inhabitants were a different people than those on Tasmania, and only slightly more developed. They undertook neither cultivation nor building, had no pottery, nor bows or arrows. They had no concept of counting beyond “five.” Since prehistory they had been cut off from nearby Polynesian tribes. They were certainly an
7 Helen Mears, Mirror for Americans: Japan (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948), p. 19.
8 Ibid.
isolated people, but on their own they made two- or three-foot-long weapons called boomerangs from heavy, strong wood.
At the start of English colonization (in 1788), the estimated Aboriginal population in Australia was several hundred thousand to one million, but they rapidly declined. In the first half of the 20th century, their numbers had fallen to at most some 20,000 who were of mixed blood with Whites. Murder, disease, alcohol, and harsh living conditions had taken their toll.
As is well known, Australia was a place for England to dispose of her prisoners. The foundation of Australia’s immigration was subjects of Britain’s penal system, so there were few women. Aboriginal women had a useful value. The “pure-blood” principles of Whites who abhorred miscegenation became an inflexible ideology when faced with the reality of people of mixed blood. This became known as “the White Australia Policy” — which formed a long-lasting political foundation of ostracism of people of color that was without equal in the world.
This constitutes a new viewpoint on the history of Australia’s dealings with Japan that until now has been unknown in world history, moving behind the scenes of two World Wars.
In 1876, Australia put a stop to Chinese immigration. In its place, they began aggressively enticing Japanese immigrants to the spacious, uninhabited outback, offering them legal rights equivalent to Australians, in a plan to have them create a great plantation. The Japanese trusted in the Australians’ evidence for the plan early on, but confronted as they were by the events at the time of the Satsuma Rebellion, they were unable to put it into execution. Small numbers of Japanese immigrants started trickling in, however, slowly making successful inroads. They attracted the attention of White laborers, frenzied in their ostracism of people of color. Just when the discord was starting to be felt was when the First Sino–Japanese War broke out, and voices were raised to new heights declaiming, “Beware Japan!” Though it was a time when Australia’s mother country, England, was getting closer to Japan, and though it was the time when the Anglo–Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce was concluded, the colony of Australia made use of the supplementary provisions in the treaty to obstruct the rights of Japanese to travel and immigrate. This was in 1896.
Please consider the date. One can see the above process developing like drawing concentric circles as events develop one after another, with the activities to ostracize Japanese immigrants that sprang up between Japan and America after the Russo–Japanese War some ten years previous, just after the Sino-Japanese War.
In 1901, Japanese were completely barred from entering Australia. The next year, the Anglo–Japanese alliance was formed, and the relationship warmed slightly so that only restricted people were denied entrance. These anti-Japanese sentiments, so unlike the magnanimous nation of England, closely resembled those of America, which at the time one could consider a second-rate nation.
One might say that before her independence from England, America, was a place of refuge for Englishmen leaving the motherland. The new Americans of course slaughtered the Native Americans, and there is a tacit understanding with the Australians at the point of having a paradoxical dark side of discrimination alongside miscegenation,.
If one were to speak of New Zealand and Australia having had their own cravings for imperialistic expansion of their territories, I suppose it would be thought of as risible.
In 1848, however, New Zealand conceived of lumping all of the Polynesian islands south of the equator together into “Commonwealth of Pacific States” under her control. Ultimately, the only ones they could absorb were the Cook Islands. Australia, on the other hand, wanted to absorb the eastern part of New Guinea (the western half already being Dutch territory), but her mother country, England, didn’t like the idea of sharing the expenses involved, and opposed it.
It is a deeply interesting point that the desire for colonial imperialism was of course emphasized more in the colonies than the mother country, England. This was due to the geopolitical fact that they had to respond to an influx of foreign powers — most especially Germany. As an example of this, in 1884, Germany moved into New Guinea, occupying the north-eastern part and coastal islands and naming the latter the “Bismark Islands.” Australia hastily took control of the south-eastern part of the island and then absorbed Melanesia. It would be fair to say it was a virtual battle for positioning in the south Pacific. (The above is based on Miyata Mineichi’s Gôshû Renpô [“Australian Federation,” published in 1942], “GHQ Book-burning books”.)
Germany, who had fallen behind England, France, and the Netherlands, made desperate inroads into the Pacific from the end of the 19th century through the start of the 20th, claiming one after another islands both above and below the Equator that had not yet been claimed and making them her colonies. The Japanese, who had been fighting the Sino–Japanese and Russo–Japanese wars during this time, had been unable to do anything but bite their knuckles and watch.
If one observes the indiscriminate ways in which the Atlantic nations who came from so far away behaved, one can understand just how egoistic they were. Of course America is included in this. During the years from 1867 to 1899, America seized first the Aleutian Islands, then the Midway Islands, Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, and then, south of the Equator, Samoa.
The true reason they fear people of color
With the start of the First World War, both Australia and New Zealand stood up in total support of the mother country. Of course their old enemy, Germany, was the foe.
The combined military of the two countries was called “Anzac.” At first, they maneuvered into German territories one by one south of the Equator, occupying them. They then crossed the Indian Ocean heading toward Europe. They numbered 330,000 (of which 56,000 died in battle). There was only one thing that could protect them from the torpedoes of German submarines on the sea route from the Indian Ocean to Europe — the Japanese fleet.
Australia was a country completely without gratitude, however, exasperating the Japanese government before long. Australia already thought of Japan as the next menace (after Germany), everything beginning with a presupposition making Japan an imaginary enemy. Fear of people of color was a crime they historically had committed. It came from dark fantasies of miscegenation and causing pain from sexual outrages committed against Aboriginal women; but being unable to see one’s own evils and instead self-deceptively transferring the hostility to another is, for individuals as well as nations, typical behavior
for the weak. Australia was not yet at the time a fully “adult” nation — it was nothing more than a colony.
The Japanese navy chased the German fleet south and occupied the island of Yap, ten degrees north of the Equator. The Australians’ shock was said to have been huge. It was said this was because Japanese occupation of islands in the Pacific was a terrifying prospect. Though there was no reason for Australia (who held sway south of the Equator) to feel concern, they were deeply worried about Japan; so this time they took the initiative and sent troops to occupy German territories north of the equator— the Marshall Islands, Caroline Islands, the Marianas, and so on. Slightly north of the Marianas was Iwo Jima, and then the Ogasawara Islands. Even though the Japanese didn’t cross the Equator, Australia had a reckless plan to preventatively occupy territory near the Japanese home islands while the Australian army was still engaged in fighting the Germans. It is a truly unsettling tale.
The mother country, England, let Australia know they had no desire for their plan. They went so far as to disclose to the Australian government that the successful operations against the German territories in the north Pacific that the Japanese had already undertaken had been at England’s request.
Since that was the situation, at the peace conference after the war, vehement anti-Japanese discussion took place as Australia maintained they hadn’t requested Japan’s protection during the war. Australia also opposed Japan’s advocacy of the abolition of unequal racial treatment and their ownership of islands in the north Pacific. The years 1919 to 1923 were called the “dark days” of Australo–Japanese relations. The turn for the worse for Japan began with the Washington Naval Conference of 1922 and then the repeal of the Anglo–Japanese alliance. The strategic aim of the United States was clear from the outset, but Australia followed suit with the Americans; it would be fair to say the part they played in the repeal of the Anglo–Japanese alliance, working both behind the scenes and in the open, was no small thing.
At about the same time, the English colonies of Australia and New Zealand began taking steps toward separation and drew rapidly closer to America, emphasizing their degree of military dependence on the United States. This became one of the major factors in the war in the Pacific. That is because they steadily advanced moving along in step with America’s preparation for war against Japan based on War Plan Orange.
The traditional sea route from Hawaii to Singapore was a central route that called for going via Guam and Manila; but a southern route from Samoa via Aukland, New Zealand and Port Darwin, Australia, was secretly established, and port expansion and reinforcement were made to progress rapidly. It was said that this was in anticipation of a Japanese invasion, but there was also an essential role played by the ABCD Line.9 At this point, the anti-Japanese malice of the Americans and Australians raised to the point of belligerence. (The above is based on Izumi Shinsuke’s Gôshû shi [“History of Australia,” published in 1942], “GHQ Book-burning books.”)
Australia supposedly feared a Japanese invasion, but wasn’t this just an illusion created by their own “White Australia Policy”? This was a mental disorder from which one could say America also suffered.
9 American, British, Chinese, and Dutch.
Touching on the issue of “comfort women” recently, there was a brief word of criticism from Australian prime minister John Howard to Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzô, but are they really in any position to comment on sex and the Japanese military? It is necessary to respond in a manner appropriate to the characteristic historical circumstances of the Australians.
Control of the German territorial islands north of the Equator was ceded to Japan with the Versailles Treaty, but Australians and Americans loudly clamored in protest at this. The Americans’ right to speak, as they had fought Germany on the principal battlefield (Europe), was also strong in the Pacific. In particular, Yap would be a valuable communication base for the Americans, who were aiming at concessions from mainland China. This indicated that all three countries — Japan, the United States, and Australia — all had their eyes on the same point. The storm was growing close.
“Apologies” are side-effects from Auschwitz
People in those days did not know anything about weapons of mass destruction or Auschwitz. Was Nazi Germany the only “hooligan state” in the twentieth century, though? Did not the vying for position in the Pacific by the British, Americans, French, Dutch, Germans, and Australians — conceived of as dealing with a potential “invasion” — not constitute a crime against peace? Was not the “conspiracy” by the British, Americans, and Australians a crime committed against Japan? There are no accurate records of all the massacres that occurred over a wide area on all those islands, but would it not be correct to call this a holocaust?
The guilty conscience of White, Christian culture would become even more exposed when Auschwitz later came to light.
So 80 years later, the Pope has apologized to Jews for un-Christian treatment, President Bill Clinton apologized for the military suppression of Hawaii, and suddenly making “historical apologies” was all the rage for Europe and America. How about that. It seems to be quite a strange phenomenon. For me, this looks to be a new style of “conspiracy” in Western history. One may think the apologies for aggression and for comfort women that Japan was compelled to make generally followed this trend, but it is new political concept that is not clearly perceived today.
With weapons of mass destruction, war among major powers became unfeasible. Instead, in peace, the great powers make sport of their fighting spirit and began running things. Lesser powers intently desired peace, and within their delusion of peace did what they were told; they lived in the shadow of military might, under the imposition of the great powers who were directing them and managing history and even morality.
Of the two tribunals held after the conclusion of the Second World War, the one that decided history and morality was the Nuremburg Trials. Nuremburg was surely the “courtroom of mankind,” and upon the Tokyo Trials were forced the principles and rules decided upon at Nuremburg.
One can imagine today that the world will never stop thinking about those two trials. The victorious nations who sat in judgment bore the same iniquity as the judged. That is, since they themselves again and again committed acts for which they should naturally have been judged — a war of aggression (a crime against peace), war crimes,
crimes against humanity, assigning individual responsibility for the acts of nations — one is forced to realize the meaninglessness of their judgments. They don’t want to come around, yet, though, nor acknowledge this point, so that is probably the grounds for these dubious and bizarre “historical apologies.”
Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was on Dec. 8, 1941.10 The fall of Singapore was on Feb. 15, 1942. I must again stress that at that time, the Japanese, whose chests where straining with pride, had never even heard of the term “war responsibility” nor conceived of such a thing.
The world’s view of Japan was completely different than its view concerning Germany. I’ve said it several times, but the two wars were “Western civil wars.” I have already spoken of the fact that at the close of the First World War, the Allied forces sought for Kaiser Wilhelm II to be turned over to them for a military tribunal. We can imagine that this time, the anti-German nations decided that, “The Germans started it again this time, so let’s teach them a lesson!” — and this became the Nuremburg Trials.
The “Atlantic Charter” put out by Roosevelt and Churchill concerning preparations to deal with the tyranny of Nazi Germany, took place surprisingly early — on Aug. 14, 1941. The systematic execution of prisoners of war and those who’d committed no crimes was taking place on the German side, so again in October Roosevelt and Churchill said that punishment for these crimes could be thought of as one critical casus belli for the Allied nations, warning that after the war the leaders would face prosecution. It was about this time that the idea was put forth of an international association of nations centering around the Allies.
They were acting quite precipitously. It should be noted that all of this took place before Japan even entered the war.
After Hitler’s declaration of war against the United States on Dec. 11, 1941, the warning of the Allied nations became even more serious. The declaration of the 26-nation alliance, based on the “Atlantic Charter,” was announced on Jan. 1, 1942. This was the first time the term “United Nations” was used.
In the famous “St. James’s Declaration,” issued by the governments-in-exile of nine countries present in London, several pronouncements were made. First, the adjudication of war crimes committed by Germany was not to be administrative action, but would follow legal formalities. Second, both those who had issued criminal orders and those who had followed them would bear the responsibility for those crimes. Third, that international solidarity was necessary. These were in reality nothing more than an advance announcement that international military tribunals were going to be held. It was dated Jan. 13, 1942. This was before Singapore fell to Japan. Overwhelming victories at the beginning of hostilities were to continue for some yet time, and this was when the war had just begun, so we can’t believe that the Japanese Foreign Ministry accurately comprehended things like the plan for the establishment of a United Nations War Crimes Commission (Dec. 7, 1942) that was aimed at Germany.
Japan had just started fighting the war. Nonetheless, the rules for a tribunal to adjudicate war crimes had already been laid out. There was no historical precedent for
10 Due to the International Dateline, Japan regards the attack as taking place on Dec. 8 rather than Dec. 7.
war trials, so the idea never entered the minds of Japan’s leaders. What are we to make of these differences of opinion, times, and awareness?
After Dec. 5, 1941, the German army moving toward Moscow encountered a fierce counteroffensive by the Soviet army, and the rout began. Japan foolishly started fighting the war. As 1942 wore on, the German war quickly began to show terminal signs and desperation set in. There can be no doubt that the St. James’s Declaration issued on Jan. 13, warning of war trials, was somewhat due to the Allies little by little coming to be aware of the abnormal behavior of the Nazis. They had plumbed new depths: killings without reason in places deep in eastern Europe, and creating factories of death unrelated to acts of war. The Wannsee Conference, wherein the Final Solution for the extermination of all the Jews in Europe was officially decided upon, was held on Jan. 20, 1942. It was from 1942 that the operation of gas chambers and crematoria began a rapid build-up.
It is not clear whether Japan at the time had some small knowledge of this matter, or no knowledge at all. Even England and the United States at this time finally came to gradually perceive Hitler’s crimes and came to define the purpose for the war and found a reason to join hands with the Communists. The possibility of England, America, and Germany acting in concert and surrounding the Soviet Union can’t be excluded as something that could have changed the course of history.
What was happening in Asia from Jan., 1942, onward? On Jan. 2, Japan occupied Manila. On the 15th, Thailand declared war on America and Britain. On Feb. 15, the British garrison in Singapore fell. On March 1, the Japanese army landed on Java. On the 8th, they occupied Rangoon. On the 9th, the Dutch army on Java capitulated. On May 7, the American forces in Manila and Corregidor surrendered. On May 8, the Japanese won the Battle of the Coral Sea. On June 5, Japan lost four aircraft carriers in the Battle of Midway. On Aug. 7, American forces landed on Guadalcanal. On the 8th, the anti-British elements in the Indian National Congress Party declared they would not participate for England in the war.
In the age of quite slumber in east Asia during the 17th and 18th centuries, there was probably nothing that could be done against “hooligan states” — countries taking and occupying lands at will and exhausting the limits of their cruelty as they swept eastward from India into the islands in the Pacific. After the First World War, only Germany was forced out; the vying for position of England, France, Holland, America, and Australia formed a novel concession structure as they settled down and assumed strong positions. For example, as the gum from the Malay peninsula was indispensable for making tires, the British and Americans, in league with the Detroit auto manufacturers, militarily inhibited the area’s freedom of trade, and even restrained the Japanese. Singapore, Hawaii, and Vladivostok became the triangle threatening Japan.
The war Japan calls “the Greater East Asian War” was called “the War in the Far East” by the West, and it was separate from the two World Wars. This is only natural. This Greater East Asian War was the war my mother and father bravely fought, and was a totally different thing than “a civil war fought among fellow hooligan states,” and I can state without exaggeration that it was nothing less than a “great patriotic war.”
It’s just that this war happened to have accompanied the two World Wars, and moreover since it followed the others in terms of timing, it was liable to be seen in the same light, and with the same style of judgment accorded post-war Germany that was
decided upon before even joining the conflict. It meant Japan would bear the misfortunate burden of being judged for sins she was not a party to. Concerning this point, one of the advocates at the Tokyo Trials, historical law scholar Takigawa Masajirô, angrily wrote that, “the use of the scenario written to deal with the Nazi atrocities to deal with the Tokyo Trials without any changes is a great misfortune for Japan…. In Japan, there is a proverb: ‘to consume nearby canes,’11 and treatment of the defendants at the Tokyo Trials was nothing but consuming canes that were nearby to Hitler’s party.” (From Tsaiban wo sabaku [“Judging the Tokyo Trials”], Keibunsha.)
Victorious nations who had lost the ability for introspection
There were questions at the Nuremburg Trials about the mistake of applying laws retroactively and the novelty of the concept of whether one could punish someone for conducting a war of aggression, but these issues were easily pushed aside by the peculiar interpretations of the authorities at the trial. The same silent treatment happened at the Tokyo Trials. One might well say it was the same skit performed for the second time, this time in East Asia.
I suppose it is only natural that the Tokyo Trials were adjudicated on the model of the Nuremburg Trials. They duplicated everything down to the courtroom. They even hurriedly remodeled the interior of the court building in Ichigaya to imitate the one in Nuremburg.
In the middle of the war, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. It can be argued, therefore, that it was not right that a Soviet person should be sitting in judgment on Germany for conducting an invasion. It could also be argued that it was unreasonable for Soviets to appear on the judgment panel at the Tokyo Trials. There is something in the international court called “the justice of law,” but to their painful realization, the Japanese were kept at some distance from it. Still, the unreasonableness of bringing in Communists as partners into an allied nations under the direction of “democracies” brought forth a crisis of retribution. In a sense, it was easy to understand what was happening, and it should have come as no surprise. The self-deception of the victorious nations did not stop at this level, however. This time, a completely different age began than had existed at the end of the First World War.
In September, 1949, the Soviet Union announced that they, too, had the Bomb. To the British and Americans, this was like a bolt out of the blue. From before the war, British and Americans had been enveloping the Communist nations and steadily made progress against them with exclusionary tactics, but now they had to change their strategy. This was particularly true for England, who was within range of the Soviet Union’s long-range bombers and thus had no choice but to resort to a different foreign policy than America used. Abruptly, they changed to a policy of reconciliation toward the Soviets. A fissure formed between the United States and Great Britain. Japanese after the Second World War were caught up in their own survival, and paid not a whit of attention to the
11 The proverb, “soba tsue wo kuu,” refers to canes being consumed by a nearby fire that is totally unrelated to them, hence one being caught up in events that one had no part in.
convoluted waves — not stopping only with Russian connections — of post-war history drawn by this fissure.
The appearance of weapons of mass destruction also made a change to the way people lived. After the First World War, confronting the tragedy of a total war where poison gas was used, the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore said the un-civilization wrought by civilization was an indication of Europe’s barbarism. From within Europe, strong voices advocating reflection welled up, a book called The Decline of the West (Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes) was written, and the Cahiers of Paul Valéry — a leader of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation at the League of Nations — stood out with a call for the rebuilding of civilization. In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed, providing a “renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy.”
After the Second World War, however, were there strong voices calling for reflection raised among the victors in America and Europe? Although the tragic scope was far greater than that of the previous war, the victors did nothing but speak ill of the Nazis — there were no voices of self-criticism. When they finally got tangled up with Japan, fighting in a different war, responsibility was imputed to the defeated nation.
In the arms race among nations having weapons of mass destruction, there was the potential to lay waste to the world several times over, and it was like walking an ominous tightrope of peace with breath-taking tension. There will probably never be another war among the great powers. Such is the expectation, but the number of proxy wars increased. And so the great powers go unpunished. This peace has neither intellect nor reason. A soft, lukewarm, familiar indecency and boldness and naïveté bring about moral depravity in the not-yet grown personality. It can only give rise to a perpetual infancy that is unable to make the distinctions between maturity and weakness, and composure and apathy.
Men cannot form right order in their spirit. Because of that, it’s not only that they are unable to reflect on themselves and the Second World War. Although the victorious nations should also set themselves to the task of atonement — such as was coerced from the defeated countries at the two sets of trials — this issue has been completely forgotten.
The chief prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremburg Trials, Robert H. Jackson, declared that the laws that were applied to the German high officials would thereafter also be applicable to those of other nations who conduct wars of aggression; but if one were to abide by this, the victorious nations of the Second World War should have been greatly concerned.
There was the Soviet Union, who invaded Hungary, occupied Czechoslovakia, and invaded Afghanistan. There was Great Britain, who participated in the war of aggression against Egypt. There was the United States who, in addition to preemptive attacks in Nicaragua and Panama, fought the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. If one were strictly to apply the legal principles of the trials in Nuremburg and Tokyo on these events, one could say with a certain level of confidence that the result would be the death penalty for the guilt of the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the president of the United States.
In spite of knowing the location of Hitler’s main headquarters, the Allied powers never directly attacked it from the air. There was repeated pinpoint bombing of Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein. Ultimately creeping out of a small hole in the ground, the
wildly bearded president was put on a television broadcast as a show for the whole world to see.
The chastisement of Abraham Lincoln’s righteous ideology, which extended to the point of putting shackles on the former president of the Confederacy after the American Civil War, had finally come to its utmost limit 150 years later.
This is not a tale in keeping with the spirit of bushidô displayed in General Nogi’s benevolent disposition. Hitler’s co-conspirators would not have been able to inflict such cruel lessons as nowadays are used as political tools by the major powers. There were voices raised in opposition to Saddam’s death sentence, but I don’t know if voices added criticism of high morality in seeing the damage done to humanity in the shameful political show.
The nuclear powers under the spell of “peace”
That Communism was able to endure and succeed through the 20th century was due to the economic panic of 1929 and the coming to power of the Nazis. In other words, points then lost by the anti-Communists are today quite evident. Concern in the 1930s that capitalism was no match for a planned economy and bogus numbers for Soviet industrial strength struck a telling blow, increasing the number of Communist sympathizers in America. Still, disillusionment began when André Gide’s record of his trip to the Soviet Union (where he had been invited) and other works appeared on the market. When the Nazis appeared, America had no choice but to join hands with the devil — Soviet Russia.
Similar events are occurring even today. Since Osama Bin Laden appeared, the United States has been rushing forward to join hands with another devil — China. It is as if they forgot strategies leading up to the Iraq War that strengthened the encircling Chinese net.
After the simultaneous terrorist strikes of 9/11, the more immediate cause for anxiety — more than fear of terrorism itself — is, rather, the over-concentration of authority in some countries and their loss of sense of reason. We have begun to see shameful indications that America will have no choice but to join hands with another, lesser devil — Kim Jong-il.
America is a meddler in justice — as it were, a great power with a selfish prejudice, drunk on their own sense of justice to “support the strong and love the weak” — but it is definitely not an “evil empire” such as the Soviet Union and Communist China. It’s just that from time to time, they make huge errors in judgment. Making an enemy of Japan and having a hand in the expansion of Communism in mainland China was probably one of the greatest mistakes of the twentieth century. The Second World War also compounded this mistake.
America, who colluded with the Soviet devil and achieved a narrow victory over the Nazis, achieved another narrow victory post-war over the Soviets in the arms race. It is unpleasant for outsiders to consider, however, that America is frightened that they have no way to deal with the anticipated use by terrorists of miniaturized atomic weapons. Just why is this so? Herein lies the key to understanding the true nature of our present age.
It goes without saying that the phantoms of Hiroshima and Nagasaki pursue them like bad dreams. One might say they fear history’s revenge.
We can see that those in the American and European world seem secretly troubled in their hearts by the phantoms of the countless crimes committed all over the world by the White, Christian culture since the 17th century. The nuclear powers of America and Europe are directing the world, and in this present age they control the peace. People may wonder why would there be a reason people would worry about this. This is because war is not controlled. Peace is controlled. That is the essence of the problem.
Nations that don’t have nuclear capability will do whatever it takes to maintain peace in their own countries, right up to being compelled to yield. This is because peace is used as a weapon. Nuclear powers, starting a new aggression, think this is acceptable. They no longer remake the world map. They no longer crave territorial expansion (although this is not so for China). Actually, they secretly concentrate on revising world history. This can be nothing more than the desire to shake off the phantoms of their own evil deeds.
In the 1980s, first President Ronald Reagan and the President George Bush apologized to Americans of Japanese descent for their internment during the Second World War. President Bill Clinton, as I said earlier, apologized for the military oppression of Hawaii; he also apologized to the over 600 Black men who were subjects of live human testing for a syphilis cure. The German government apologized not just to the Jews for the Holocaust, but to Czechoslovakia for their invasion. Britain’s Prime Minister Anthony Blair apologized to the Irish for the English government’s irresponsibility during the potato famine.
All of these are apologies to those who were weak and disenfranchised. One might think the issue of “comfort women” would be of this ilk, but in none of these examples were things that were not true accepted as fact, such as with the Kawano Statement, which went so far as to acknowledge that women “forcibly taken away” although this was, in fact, not true. An important point is that apologies were not made for acts of the state. In other words, there were no apologies made for war, for colonization, for slavery, or for dropping atomic bombs. The German government’s apology for the Holocaust was not for an act of state, but the personal crimes of Hitler and his cronies, and the German government took the official stance that it would not bear a “collective guilt.” In the written indictment of the Nuremburg Trials, the German government was named as a criminal organization, but the sentence decree announced that the government was not guilty. The German state was not judged. After the war, successive presidents of West Germany made apologies for the Holocaust, but they never once apologized for Germany’s war of aggression.
We can understand that both the victorious and defeated nations of the two world wars, which must be called “civil wars among Western nations,” could not simply apologize. There were, probably, apologies made to the pitiable, weak nations. Tied together with the issue of creating a better image for presidents and prime ministers as upright individuals, apologies are made only in cases where such “magnanimity” can be put on display. Moreover, this kind of hypocrisy is recently very much in vogue. To bury large crimes, small crimes are confessed to. That they want to falsify history is evidence that they are frightened by the past. Those who can apologize probably want to apologize
for everything. They don’t apologize as sovereign nations, however. They absolutely do not apologize for history related to acts of the state.
There is probably no other country in the world such as Japan, where the emperor, prime minister, and cabinet ministers, apologize almost every year for the past “colonial rule” and “war of aggression” and repeatedly express their regrets.
The war with words has already begun
In April of 2005 at the Bandung Conference, former Japanese prime minister Koizumi Jun’ichirô apologized — as usual — for Japan’s “colonial rule” and “aggression.” At that point, China’s haughtiness that it would not apologize for anti-Japanese uprisings garnered world criticism, and Koizumi’s speech gave a manly impression and he scored political points. The Wall Street Journal wrote, “This time, it’s Beijing’s turn to apologize.” The tenor of America, Europe, and the United Nations was definitely favorable toward Japan. This only made me grow more upset at the time. With the yielding to China’s forceful rudeness, that an apology would be popular with America and Europe, was for me remotely discomforting.
This was a conference attended by representatives from some 90 Asian and African nations. Americans and Europeans gave marks to the Japanese there. Moreover, they compared Japan to Germany. I felt it difficult to forgive that the Japanese were so totally pleased by this. Exactly which countries were they who had been involved in “colonial rule” and “aggression” in Asia? I would like the reader to remember the vying for position of England, France, Holland, Germany, America, and Australia, who behaved as they wished in the South Pacific.
Isn’t it odd that it was Japan’s prime minister who would be the one to apologize for “colonial rule” and “aggression” toward Asia and Africa? Moreover, I was absolutely crushed at the lack of any sense of historical awareness shown by a Japanese government for being so delighted over the Westerners’ assessment, and the paucity of self-assertion I saw.
With the apology of Prime Minister Abe Shintarô when he went to America, it was the same thing on a different day. I want to state for the record that I found it bizarre that the prime minister would consistently apologize during his trip to America before going into whether the issue of comfort women even needed an apology, or if it is to be an issue, before deciding whether it was important that some matters should be clarified first. Then when President Bush said “We accept the prime minister’s apology,” this was an excellent example demonstrating how disconnected America was from a sense of history to have this idiotic position of coercing Japan, and of Japan’s willingness to take it.
Even though Korea and China kicked up a fuss concerning the Yasukuni Shrine problem under the Koizumi Cabinet, America remained astoundingly silent on the matter. Around the time of the Abe Cabinet, northeast Asia began to change. Something was different. It is not my place to talk of the disaster of the international political situation here. The United States could be dimly seen pulling the strings for the Chinese and Koreans to play the “history card,” and this must be seen as a new piece of information that should normally worry and shock Japanese.
There is a place where indications are unmistaken of the Sino-American joining of hands. It would not be surprising if these signs only came from China that Japan is again trapped within the framework of the viewpoint of the Tokyo Trials (that is, that Japanese must yet again be made to realize they were a defeated country). In fact, the sign came from America. Furthermore, in a place of unrest concerning the international situation, the American president once again sought in Japan a defeated nation.
Why should Prime Minister Abe seek forgiveness of America for the problem of the comfort women? How could the American president respond with haughty words and inappropriately say “we accept” that apology?
I want to state again that this is because Americans are frightened by the dread spectre of a nuclear attack by terrorists using miniaturized atomic weapons in Washington or New York. Is it not America who should be asking for forgiveness?
To eliminate four centuries of historical offences, White, Christian culture has to paint over that history. Great powers wage war. For example, they use words to wage a war. The way one interprets the Second World War becomes a war. That is war in our present age.
The interpretation of war becomes a war. Did Japan bear the burden of the Nazis’ guilt? The world’s war against Japan has begun. Issues such as comfort women and Nanking are once again the subject of current discussion, and in the background apologies are being sought two- and three-fold over these issues. There is no direct fighting, but psychologically it is as if Japan has once again found itself placed behind the ABCD Line.
In such times, what is needed for people representing Japan is spirit. What reason on earth would Prime Minister Abe have had for asking forgiveness of America? Sovereign nations do not apologize. They must not apologize.
The conclusion of peace is already an apology. Concluding peace is, for the victor, confirmation of retribution, but it is also defense against the defeating being required to apologize a second time.
Repetitive demands for apologies are nothing more than evidence that the world’s “war” to suppress Japan is still continuing. That Japan would even now ask forgiveness of nations who were victorious more than half a century ago is nothing more than a foolish undertaking that is paving the way for a new war in the future.