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Racial unrest August 1, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Uncategorized.

Last week the Tokyo public school board became the second prefecture to approve the use of the controversial histroy textbook which washes over atrocities committed by Japanese troops during the Second World War. These include the rape and sexual enslavement of women in the far-east, as well as forced participation in chemical tests and barbaric slaughters.

The traditional Japanese response to past shames is unfotunately the ‘sweep it under the carpet’ mentality. Yes, yes it was a dark time and as such it’s best not to talk about it. Contrast this to the German attitude: no-one is allowed to forget about the Nazi regime , ensuring that the same mistakes are never repeated. Now that children of the capital prefecture will be taught this, what does it say about Japan? The Chinese are understandably furious, but the Communist Chinese government is using it as an excuse for anti-Japanese propaganda to ‘inspire’ the Chinese youth into more nationalist tendencies. Faced with an ever more Westernised youth, they try new underhand methods of control.

All this puts me in a very awkward position. I clearly love Japanese culture, but am also very proud of my Chinese heritage. I don’t hate anyone, but I am clearly appalled by the Japanese Government’s decision to approve such texts. Imagine the effect on the disinterested youth of such an already isolationist country (mind you, maybe they just won’t listen in class….)! Even if the Government believed that ‘forgetting’ was best from a ‘traditional Japanese’ way of thinking, how did they honestly think the rest of the world was going to react? Or were they ignorant/arrogant enough not to care?

Equally, I am truly appalled by the Communist Chinese efforts to use hatred as a way of unifying the country. My father and countless elders always speak of the greatness of the Chinese, but is this kind of thinking truly great? I understand that China is in transition, a communist country living a capitalist way of life. China needed communism when it came in, but they now need to move away from it and the signs are they are doing so already in order to compete with Western markets. It all doesn’t bode well and to me the reasons behind this crisis are clearly a result of culture and selfishness on both sides rather than any festering hate at past events.

Meanwhile, racist attacks have risen in the UK after the London bombings. Today I read in the Guardian about an 18 year old boy killed with an axe in Liverpool. This morning the decorators in our building came in and had an arguement. In the heat of the moment, one of them retorted: ‘leave it, I’m ina bad mood, my mate just lost his girlfriend because of people like you (Muslims)’. He apologiesed straight after he’d said it, but you can’t take back words like that. The world is far from a perfect place, but I am terrified of the current climate of mistrust and misunderstanding fueled by a handful of people making stupid decisions.



1. Ze Pedro - August 3, 2005

First, congratulations for the article and analysis. Unfortunately Japan does have historical “issues” its culture, unfortunately, is simply not ready to debate yet like; 1) Supporting Nazi Germany.
2)The massacre and atrocities commited against the chinense people including torture, rape and the fact they used to bury alive chinese people in colective graves.–>

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