Friday, March 10, 2006

Insensitive

The Yasukuni Shrine is a shrine at the northern edge of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The American people, in considering how the Japanese feel about history and the war, should know about the Yasukuni Shrine. This shrine is a national shrine. The Japanese built it to make heroes of all Japanese who fought for Japan and died in all their wars including World War II. They are all considered kami, or gods, if they served in their military, fought for Japan and died, no matter how brutal or savage their conduct had been.

Yasukuni Shrine also includes all those who tortured and killed American service men in the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. It includes as Kami (god) all of the soldiers who brutalized and murdered the 300,000 Chinese in the 'Rape of Nanjing' massacre. Also included as Kami, are all of the soldiers who rampaged across China and Asia and participated in killing the 30,000,000 Chinese during the occupation of a great portion of China before and during World War II, in the most brutal of all military occupations.

It includes all those soldiers from the infamous Unit 731 in China who injected Chinese with plague, experimented with deadly germ and biological tests on Chinese, and dissected Chinese alive (Oh, you heroes).

It includes kamikaze pilots who killed American Navy personnel by diving planes into their ship wheter it was a military ship or a hospital ship, and it therefore includes those who killed nurses with kamikaze attacks during World War II. A plaque to the Kamikaze pilots declares "the suicide operators, incomparable in their tragic bravery, struck terror in their foes and engulfed the entire country in tears of gratitude for their outstanding loyalty and selfless service". When I read or think about these Emperor-loyal Kamikaze zealots dying for the Emperor, I alsways remember General George Patton's admonition to his troops; that in War "It's not your mission to die for your country, but to make some other bastard die for his."

Further spitting in our face (figuratively) about World War II, Japanese veterans stand outside this Japanese shrine and hand out brochures stating that "Japan's army in World War II fought in a noble effort to free Asia from white colonialism."

The central hall of the Yasukuni Shrine museum contains such exhibits as teh 40 foot kai-ten human suicide torpedo and the ohka, or cherry blossom plane, a light plane used for kamikaze attacks.

In short, any person who served in the military, no matter how brutal they were, becomes a Kami, or god, upon death in combat.

Well, really you did not have to die in combat for the Emperor, to be enshrined at Yasukuni. The most prominent War Criminal of Japan who was executed, is enshrined there as a hero. Wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, and all the other war criminals who were convicted are enshrined there. We should mention here again, what a terrible job we did in punishing war criminals in Japan, only a pitiful few.

The name of the shrine "Yasukuni" means "peaceful country". The shrine is supposed to celebrate, "the soldiers who, since 1850 sacrificed their lives so Japan could enjoy peace today*."

The shrine is spitting in the face of the United States of America and this from a people who have criticism for our trying to put a historical exhibit concerning the Enola Gay in our Smithsonian Institute. How dare they do this! How dare any 'wild mindless American' support them by distorting history in the proposed Enola Gay exhibit. All this will we are trying, for some 50 years, to be delicate and unerstanding, and in no manner wanting to offend the Japanese in the way we treat the Pacific War, and allowing them to use the Atomic Bomb to place guilt on us and make us the aggressors, and make the Japanese people the victims. This has culminated in elaborate speeches condemning Americans as barbaric, some 50 years after the war.

To the credit of the Japanese people, the best information available indicates that a majority of the Japanese want the truth about the war and the atrocities to be told, and do not suppor this misleading, flawed shrine. IT is a shame that the rabid self-proclaimed patriotic few, are able to be loud and dominant enough to prevail on this distorted historic theme.

Compare the vile insulting nature of the Yasukuni Shrine to our little pitiful attempt at a historic stamp.

In December 1994 the U.S. Postal Service was completing a set of ten commemorative stamps to mark the 50th Anniversary of the end of the war. The series was entitled "World War II - 1945: victory at Last" and the last stamp bore a picture of an atomic mushroom cloud and an inscription "Atomic bombs hasten war's end, August 1945." Totally historic. Totally correct. Well, what do you know! It offended the Japanese and gave them a chance to cry again about the bomb. After they, a few of our idiots, and President Clinton objected to the 'insensitivity' of the stamp and the White House put pressure on the Postal Service to redo the design, the stamp was replaced by one with President Truman announcing the end of the war.

If you read this book and other valid accounts of the Japanese, you know that "insensitive" is a word Japanese should never dare to use to us, or the World.

Many blamed the Postal Service for being spineless, but the real gutless conduct was by President Clinton and the White House staff in not supporting the Postal Service, and saying that the Stamp was a fact we were within our historical right to proclaim. As a matter of fact it was not insensitive, it was fact. Follow their reasoning and we can't even celebrate the end of the war.

As a matter of fact, we cannot properly celebrate the end of the war. We're supposed to (in deference to Japanese feelings) call it V-P Day instead of V-J Day. We don't know who the hell else we were fighting in the Pacific.

*Many citizens of the United States of America and our Allies sacrificed their lives so that Japan could enjoy peace today.

Note from Kushibo:
I think it's obvious that I did not write this. In fact, I found it quite by accident while looking for a copy of Michael Breen's "The Koreans" at the Yongsan Library. It's an entire chapter of a book titled "Clear Conscience: The Atom Bomb vs. the Super Holocaust." It is an opinionated diatribe against Japanese revisionism written by a U.S. Marine Corps General and Medal of Honor winner, and a Senior Judge from the state of Georgia, General Raymond Davis and Judge Dan Winn, respectively. I re-typed it entirely as it appeared, including punctuation errors and the word 'insensitive' in bold face.

I did not seek this book out. It was on display, and I picked it up for the title on Hiroshima. As many of my readers are no doubt aware, I have serious doubts about the historical decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and this is why I picked up the book. [See here for a summary of some of the complexities of the debate.]

I was not looking for what I found: an at-times angry look at what Imperial Japan did and what the U.S. and its allies had to do to stop Japan (bear in mind that this book is from not long ago, the late Clinton administration in fact). Much of the anger is directed at Japanese and American historical revisionists. People, in fact, who believe some of the things I believe.

I have read time and time again from defenders of the Japanese right wing that it is only the Chinese and Koreans who care about Yasukuni. My thoughts always were that, especially after visiting Yasukuni Shrine's Yushukan Museum last fall, this would not be the case if the average America knew what was written there. Here my opinions are borne out, ironically by a person who would find some of my own views questionable.

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2 comments:

  1. I once went to Yasukuni when I was in Tokyo, just to see what all the fuss was about. I didn't understand why the Chinese and the Koreans were so agitated about it -- Singapore may have been occupied by the Japanese with atrocities, but by and large we have forgiven them.

    I remember walking out in a blind rage wanting to hit every Japanese I saw for allowing it to exist. Yasukuni grinds the ghostly boot of Japanese colonialism into everyone whose country or family was affected by the Pacific War.

    I'm hardly a Japan-hater, and I have a lot of sympathy for the Japanese people who are systematically shielded from anything which might cause them to re-evaluate their victimhood. But I cannot say enough words about how much I hate that shrine and the people who continue to keep it alive.

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  2. Thanks for writing such a detailed and well-sourced post about this topic. I've been really disturbed when reading others' accounts of the controversy that have depicted the objections to the Yasukuni shrine as being petty or "pointless" (I think I read that word somewhere.)

    While putting the past behind us, is important. That can't be truly accomplished by denying the reality of what happened. I can't help but think that people who trivialize this issue are simply ignorant of the atrocities that took place during the Japanese occupation and the war.

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