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But what little I know, and stop me if I'm wrong, makes me believe that the question with the "do you feel it odd" bit about war criminals has more chances of being answered "no" in Japan than anywhere else, because contesting or questioning something that just IS, doesn't seem to be the Japanese national psyche. ie. "indignation" is not the first word I would attach to it (the national pysche). At the extreme opposite of France basically, in which people seem to feel indignation for every little thing in life, making it a national sport.
I mean to say by this that I don't believe that the 63% "no" answer to that question actually means that people are revisionists or in favour of war criminals. They just don't have a predisposition towards indignation. Ask them "do you find it odd that war criminals are cast out and that their crimes are enshrined for decades", and they will answer "no" too.
Am I far off the mark?
I had an encounter with a senior Japanese diplomat a year ago. He was outraged by the Chinese propaganda claiming 300,000 civilians killed in Nanking. "That is outrageous! Can you believe it?" I told him, "The Tokyo Tribunal found 'over 200,000 killed' in Nanking and its suburbs. Do you know that?" Incidentally, the gentleman lived and studied in France for a few years.
I will become a patissier, God willing.
Yes the Nanking massacres always tend to be overlooked even by any westerner looking at WWII. The average westerner will only relate to Japan's role in WWII through movies ... using the Bridge on the River Kwai, Furyo with David Bowie, and what not to get a perspective on the alleged brutality of "Japan" during the war. But are there any blockbuster movies on Nanking? I think not just Japan but the West too has been silent on it.
I myself follow this pattern. I only know, for having stumbled upon by chance when I was a young teenager, the book "Empire of the Sun" (not the movie, which I haven't seen), an autobiographical book by SF writer JG Ballard who was abandoned/lost as a kid in Shanghai in 1941 and ended up in a Japanese concentration camp, and that is about as close as I ever got to a firsthand account of Japanese occupation in China, but even that's only through the eyes of a street kid (so is bound to be somewhat inaccurate, and anyhow doesn't focus on Japanese occupation but more on the end of a child's innocence).
On a sidenote, I only recently learned through my little brother that the whole mythos of "kamikaze" pilots was quite wrongly perceived too (ie. cockpits were often bolted shut, many were given mild sedatives etc ... we are far from the mythos of the raging fanatic devoted to his Emperor and Country, happily dying), so I wonder how much we all know about the war in the East anyways.
Now, to conclude my long comment, I'd say that there is a somewhat strong Nanking "denial" tendancy in the West too.
ps: I haven't yet replied to your comment upthread on Kitano because I've been trying hard to remember the movies I've seen with him (without cheating and using Google) and can only come up with the recent Zatoichi, and another very sloooooow but very goooooood cop movie whose name I forgot.
Any plot details about the cop movie? Should be Hana Bi [that's the one with the haunting paintings, done by Kitano himself]. All the others are about Yakuza, except for Violent Cop which doesn't match the description.
A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
I did my "national service" after graduation, as back then it still existed. And I did mine abroad, as a civilian with a french administration. Before going abroad, all the people like me who were leaving for a civilian service abroad, were gathered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris for a briefing. During that meeting, we were first taught basic behaviour to have when abroad, because we represented France, we were the elite, and blablabla.
Then came in two guys from the French Secret Service (one internal, DST, the other external, DGSE). And they both gave this ridiculously theatrical speech about what to do and what not to do. The DST guy focused on day-to-day things: "DO NOT THROW IMPORTANT PAPERS IN THE OFFICE'S GARBAGE BIN, BECAUSE BEHIND A POTUGUESE CLEANING WOMAN LIES A POTENTIAL SPY" and also: "BEWARE THE JAPANESE, THEY ALL HAVE A CAMERA AND ARE NOT ALWAYS TOURISTS".
There is more I could tell you about this whole day at the Ministry, but these stereotypes are a good start.
The worst part was when they played a "find the camera game". We were in an amphitheater. They had placed a camera somewhere and all of us had to guess where it was (while staying in our seats).
To help us do this, they plugged in a TV that was showing the camera's footage. And of course, of all people, the camera was filming me (which is not so suprising as everyone else was wearing a suit and tie, while I was in casual wear and had died my hair orange, and was sitting next to this hippie-looking girl who had volunteered (!) to do her national service. nb: it was only compulsory for men. she was going to Morroco.)
while I was in casual wear and had died my hair orange
You are my new hero.
Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer.
- Charles le Téméraire
A satire about a movie director who's offended by the anti-semitism in Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" and who decides to set things right with a new movie of his own.
In his movie we learn that Christ carried his own cross because the Blacks that were paid to do it, didn't, being lazy like most Blacks are. And it's not the Jews who betrayed Christ but the Chinese, who are generally malicious and cunning. Christ ended up half-naked on the cross because some Arabs stole his clothes, since most Arabs are thieves. Finally, Jesus was nailed on the cross by Portuguese workers, because when they're not masons, the Portuguese generally are carpenters.
Finally the director is preparing a sequel, "The Resurrection of Christ", in which we learn that Jesus left his tumb because he was tired of all the noise that a Roma campment nearby was making.
It can be watched here (in French however):
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