The complaint harps on the fact that the world seems to believe that Japan, by not talking teaching its youth about a war it played a huge part in, absolves itself of all of the terrors and pains it caused in the Pacific theater during the war - and before it, as Japan was quite active in its plans to rule all of Asia under one flag of convenience.
Maybe that's true.
Do the Japanese talk about World War II on a daily basis? No… of course not.
It's the very rare person indeed that discusses World War II anymore. It's not because people don't care—though I suspect that IS the case—it's just that people have different things to worry about.
Seriously, though… why should Japan have to have compulsory learning of WWII in its schools? To what purpose? So that it can learn that at one time it tried to rule with an iron fist and did horrible things to its enemies… and to stop a nation that would never surrender, it had to be bombed with the world's first ever atomic weaponry?
I bet the average Japanese person is aware of this. Okay... I'm not so sure. I do know that the Japanese are ferociously proud of being Japanese... I mean... I'm proud to call myself Canadian, but the Japanese were always sure to add the word "Japanese" in front of things when speaking to me in English about their country. Things like Japanese kimono, Japanese rice, Japanese chopsticks... it's pride and a way to ensure I am aware that these things should not be confused with say Korean kimono, Indian rice or Chinese chopsticks... all things that do exist and are different. I will admit, however, that it does sound almost juvenile. Relax... I'm in Japan... I know it's Japanese.
As for education about WWII... so what… we should force them to learn about how they were assholes to the Chinese… to the Koreans… to the Siamese (Thai), Burmese, Philippines, et al… why?
What purpose does that serve?Now in 2014.
Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat its mistakes?
Well… Japan has pretty much always been a warring country. Yeah, yeah, they can sit under a blossoming cheery tree sipping rice wine and composing haiku poetry about the beauty of croaking frog on a lily pad, but never forget that this was a warring country for centuries… clans battling each other through its samurai warrior class… later taking on Russia… China… Korea… and all of this was before World War II.
In fact… since the end of World War II after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nearly vaporized by a pair of atomic bombs dropped by the U.S., Japan has been a pretty damn fine neighbor and ally. Hell... my family has two Mazda's and a Toshiba television set... quality products, decent prices...
But yeah, it hasn't been the most open and sorrowful in its regretful apologies to the world, but dammit all… it's been 70 years!
Look… maybe Japan should have apologized - and should have done so in 1945 to every nation and person it wronged, but it didn't. It was war and there were winners and there were losers.
What bullcrap is there that says you have to say sorry for trying to kill someone in war?
They made Japan's emperor renounce his divinity!!! It sounds like nothing to you and I, but the Emperor of Japan was special... he was worth giving up your life for. He was god-like. And, after World War II, he was just another guy. Can you imagine what that could do to a nation? The allies did, which was why they wanted it done. It crippled Japan emotionally. They became the stupid step-child no one liked.
And… even if Japan had given a heartfelt apology - or does one tomorrow - do you really think everyone would say "oh, that's okay, forget about it" ??? No. There would still be those who would never forgive and never forget, as is their prerogative. I'm stubborn that way too. You certainly don't want to piss me off.
Instead, it gave an apology some people accepted and some people didn't. It never confessed to many things it was accused of doing, but few countries ever do that. Germany did on behalf of Nazi Germany. Japan has, sort of, for Imperial Japan...
But, regardless of what Japan did - and it did do a lot of bad stuff - it had its soul ripped out.
Think about this: The Japanese people lost World War II and by doing so it cost their leader - the Emperor - his divinity. In the days of the samurai, this would be akin to failing the daimyo (leader) and there would have been mass suicides... but people haven't done that stuff in over a century.
Yes, there's always some odd ball who believes in the old ways, but Japan has been westernized for over 150 years. Taking away their leader's powers? That would be like taking away hockey from Canadians. We'd be crushed, but we would survive (maybe).
Anyway... how much did you learn about World War II back in high school or earlier? I'm not talking university or college where you can CHOOSE the exact course you want to take… but high school and earlier?
Did you spend a week on it? Two weeks? A month? Did you have an entire year's history course on it? Maybe if you went to a military academy, I could see that… but a generic school?
I went to a private school for Grades 1 & 2. We did not learn about history. At all.
I went to a Catholic school for Grades 3 & 4 and another such school for Grades 5-8. We touched upon Canadian history, to be sure, but we never studied a damn word about World War II.
For Grades 9-13 (and I did Grade 12 twice - I wanted to stay back a grade to be with kids my own age for once… and Ontario used to have Grade 13)… I studied English history, American history and Canadian History. In fact, I have five history credits from high school when only two or three were required.
Did we study World War II? Nope! We ran out of time with the school year ending. In fact… we were still 40 years short, having just got to the Boer War - French Canadians did not want to participate calling it a war for the English.
In my five-year university stint, I did five or six courses on Canadian history, but not one touched upon World War II. In two -years of college, I studied nothing about history.
So… here I am… a guy in his late 40s - an immigrant to Canada, but now a proud Canadian citizen… and not once was I taught about World War I or World War II… only two of the top five defining moments of the 20th century.
I'm just glad I'm curious… that I like to read… and I like to learn about history. I certainly don't know dates or battles, but I have a decent enough understanding of things. I also respect the veterans who served and those who do serve, even though I wish there was no need for soldiers.
But not everyone is like that.
I also have empathy. No… I don't move things with my brain.
While I feel bad for anyone affected by the auguries of any war, I can understand why the Japanese don't want discuss World War II.
Japan lost the war. They lost. I'm surprised they didn't all commit seppuku (ritualistic suicide) to atone for the disgrace of losing. Their supreme god-like Emperor was punished because it was better to punish the leader than subjugate an entire nation to punishment.
And… when you are the bad guy, and you want to change and grow-up… wouldn't it be best if people didn't keep throwing the past in your face so that you can concentrate on changing who you are to become something better?
That's what Japan has done with itself since World War II. It doesn't matter if YOU agree or disagree with it, but that's what Japan has chosen to do.And it did so with a lot of fricking help from the United States who helped it create something from nothing... creating a cheap electronics industry that the world could not resist.
If you want to hate them, go ahead. Haters gotta hate. If you want to forget about crap most of us on the planet weren't even alive for, then forget about the fact that Japan doesn't teach its students anything about World War II.
Now… should Japan teach something to students about World War II? Yes, they should. My point above was they didn't HAVE to. But I think a little knowledge never hurt anyone.
Why do I think they should learn something about World War II?
Well… if the young actually talked to the elderly about that time, they'd get a great story, I bet. Here's one I was told: HERE. And... it's all true. It was one of those reasons WHY I wanted to go to Japan - I wanted to talk to someone there about what it was like to fight in World War II... and I wanted to hear about it from a Japanese person's view.
But, the young, if they weren't careful, they might learn something. I did.
Anyhow... here's why the Japanese need to learn a bit about World War II:
The most horrific thing I saw in Japan was a young Japanese man wearing a nice, new bomber jacket… which depicted the Enola Gay on the back .
You could have dropped a bomb on me.
If you did not know that the Enola Gay was the B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb named "Little Boy" OVER the city of Hiroshima, then what the fug are you criticizing Japan's education for?
I did not have to look up one item in that sentence. The "Fat Man" was the bomb that exploded OVER Nagasaki.
You'll note that both bombs did not explode on the ground… that each exploded in the air…
You knew that right? You should.
I never studied about the war in school.
Hey… please write in and tell me just how much of your history classes are devoted to World War II. Be honest. Let me know WHY you think the Japanese need to learn about WWII... and why you think it's important they learn about their role in it.
Americans 50 and under have a good bit of knowledge on the subject - especially where Pearl Harbor is concerned... but what else do you know?
Many of you have relatives who were in the war, but how many of them wanted to talk about it? If the participants are reluctant to talk about it, why are we shooting our mouths off about it?
PS: Image above is by Ragesoss, and depicts a young boy reading a Japanese manga (comic book) in a Barnes & Noble bookstore in 2007 in West Hartford, Connecticut. Taken from Wikipedia.