This is a photo of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces wearing their gas masks and rubber gloves during a chemical attack in 1937 during the Battle of Shanghai.
The Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces (海軍特別陸戦隊, Kaigun Tokubetsu Rikusentai) were the Marines of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Make no mistake, they are dressed thusly because Japan is the one launching the chemical attack against the defending Chinese.
What most people in the West fail to recall, is that while Germany was in the process of readying itself for a battle against Europe, Japan had been attacking its Asian neighbors for a full on five years before the official start of World War II in September of 1939.
A word of advice for any of you AETs (assistant English teachers) who are living in Japan right now and are thinking of doing some traveling in December to anywhere outside Japan, here's a tip.
When a local... say in Singapore... or Thailand or China asks you where you are from, don't mention that you are living in Japan having the time of your life teaching English.
|This awesome looking Japanese flag was the ensign of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces, a group in existence from 1928-1945.|
Even if they weren't born by the war's conclusion, there are generations out there who felt the aftereffects.
I love Japan... but Japan was a dick during WWII, and more importantly, before it. Actually, scratch that... it's political leaders were jerks, and many of its military personnel were... but not everyone.
PS: I guess I'm still feeling a tad moody about people.