Battlepanda: When we're not inscrutable, we're emotional


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

When we're not inscrutable, we're emotional

I am sad to report that anti-Japanese sentiments sparking riots have only escalated. Property is being damaged. Japanese citizens hurt. Meanwhile, Japan is asking for an apology for the recent riots! And in China, the demonstration have turned from being anti-Japan to more general expressions of discontent. I don't approve of the violence. I don't think turning righteous anger into intransigent hatred is at all productive and yet, when I read pig-ignorant statements like the following, my blood boils:
"If we could simply ignore this intellectually void noise once in a while we could see that Japan is not trying to take over the world but actually is trying to rebuild it. One fortunate consequence of the war: Japan continued its policy of developing Asian countries’ economies but it was unable to use its military to do so."
Wow, in retrospect I guess Japan did China and Korea a favor by slaughtering our people and forcing our women into prostitution because they built some railroads and factories.

"It’s a tragedy, both on a personal and societal level, but there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do about it. If the Japanese banned the single textbook, renounced all the disputed territory, and apologized once a week for the next five years, the same people would find something else to get upset about. The anger at the Japanese is not the wellspring; it’s the intoxication with emotion."
Yeah. The recent resurgence in anger has got nothing to do with the fact that Japan's leader, Junichiro Koizumi, have been visiting a shrine dedicated to Japan's WWII soldiers and describes the Rape of Nanking as an "operation", for six years in a row. Or that ultranationalist right-wing books denying any atrocities have been hitting the bestseller charts in Japan.

"...but the point is
, the Chinese government does share a responsibility about the continual promotion of what happened so long ago in its media, its films, its books. Again, I am not disputing what actually happened, but there is a sense of hatred, and that, JR, is shameless, promoted and encouraged in the Chinese school system and embellished here in your motherland. But, wait, don't let me stop you from hurling your usual vindictive criticisms upon someone with a view different from yours or the rest of the collective."
Excuse us for not forgetting a period of our history in which 20 million or so of our fellow Chinese were murdered. I'm sure if it were your grandparent's generation who were raped, mutilated and killed, beheaded, used for bayonet practice while alive and generally massacred en masse, I'm sure you'd be much quicker to forgive and forget.

A theme I would come upon again and again is this idea that Japan did its part by apologizing officially a few years ago, therefore it's unreasonable for the Chinese people to be pissed off after that, no matter what else happens. We're emotional. We're vindictive. We're Japan-bashers who can't be trusted to tell the truth about anything. What's it going to take? An article in the New York Times?

New York Times 25 March 2001

Japan's Resurgent Far Right Tinkers With History


TOKYO, March 24 - Hironobu Kaneko, a 21-year-old college student,
remembers the powerful emotions stirred in him three years ago when
he read a best-selling book of cartoons that extolled, rather than
denigrated, the history of Japan's former Imperial Army.

The thick cartoon book, or manga, is called "On War" and celebrates
the old army as a noble Asian liberation force rather than a brutal
colonizer. It lauds Japan's civilization as the oldest and most
refined. And it dismisses as fictions well-documented atrocities,
from the 1937 Nanjing massacre to the sexual enslavement of 200,000
so-called comfort women in World War II.
Those anti-Japanese sentiments have been building for a long time, in direct
response to Japan's efforts to rehabilitate a despicable episode in their history.
I don't want to turn events over half a century old into a vendetta. Not many
Chinese or Japanese people do. I believe that all children are innocent, that
a new generation brings new hope for conciliation. But the way things are going
now, denial and hatred is poisoning the future.

Note: The first couple of quotes I responded to are comments. The links take you to the discussion but not the comment. Don't confuse the commentator with the blogger.