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Why They Hate Japan

1.

Those who think that the Japanese are a little odd will have been confirmed in their prejudice by the behavior of Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro during his June visit to the United States. The social highlight was a trip to Graceland, home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee, where the Japanese leader, with his arm around Elvis’s only daughter, Lisa Marie, swiveled his hips and crooned a rendition of “Love Me Tender.” The excursion was President Bush’s gift to Koizumi for his staunch support of the Iraq war and “the close friendship of our people.” This, and a jukebox stocked with Elvis hits. On their way south on the presidential aircraft, the two men listened to more Elvis while consuming grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches. “It’s a dream,” exclaimed Koizumi.1

An address to a joint session of Congress was also in the original package, but the Japanese prime minister politely declined without offering an explanation. The reason was a trifle embarrassing. Koizumi, unlike any other postwar Japanese prime minister, has made a habit of visiting Yasukuni Jinja, a Shinto shrine in Tokyo where the souls of warriors who died for the imperial cause are honored. His last visit was on August 15, the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II. The honored souls include those of war criminals such as General Tojo Hideki. Tojo’s portrait can be seen inside the shrine’s war museum, along with the grim countenances of officers from the notorious Kempeitai (the nearest Japanese equivalent to the SS), and the more wholesome faces of kamikaze pilots.

The Yasukuni museum celebrates the wartime Japanese as peace-loving, benevolent, heroic fighters against Western imperialism in Asia. This is why Congressman Henry Hyde made it clear to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert that if Koizumi were allowed to address Congress, he “would dishonor the place where President Franklin Roosevelt made his ‘Day of Infamy’ speech after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Yasukuni Shrine is a long way from Graceland. A fondness for both places might seem eccentric, or at least paradoxical. How can a man be such an Americophile while subscribing to an unreconstructed view of Japan’s wartime past? Is it possible to dream of crooning “Love Me Tender” to Lisa Marie while also wishing to pray for General Tojo’s soul? The answer is complicated, but yes, it is indeed possible. Koizumi’s apparent paradox has a history. It has to do not only with Japanese attitudes toward the US, but also toward China and other parts of Asia. If Congressman Hyde finds visits by a postwar Japanese prime minister to a former center of state Shintoism offensive, the Chinese, who suffered so much more than the Americans under Japanese militarism, and the Koreans, who were forced to pray to the Japanese emperor at colonial Shinto shrines in their own country, find it even more so.

Koizumi himself is strangely obtuse when it comes to history that goes further back than the rise of rock-and-roll. His response to criticism from Asians who suffered under Japanese occupation is to tell them to mind their own business. Visiting Yasukuni, in his words, “is a matter of the heart.” He also observed, correctly, that he has apologized on several occasions for the war. In 2005, for example, he clearly stated that Japan “caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations.” There is no reason to believe that he was lying; nor is there any evidence that he ever dreamed of reviving Japanese militarism. Koizumi’s total compliance with US foreign policy, to the point of sending Japanese troops to Iraq, despite constitutional restraints, may have been misguided, but a warmonger he is not.

And yet relations with Japan’s Asian neighbors have rarely been worse. After one of Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine in 2005, the South Koreans even threatened to suspend high-level diplomatic relations. And Prime Minister Roh Moo-hyun refused to meet his Japanese colleagues at all. On North Korea, the Japanese have taken a much harder line than the South Koreans. The Japanese, understandably, are still furious about a spate of North Korean kidnappings of Japanese citizens, and the firing in July of two Scud missiles and a Taepodong 2 long-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. While South Korea made light of this, and continues to “engage” Pyongyang with aid, easy loans, and other economic sweeteners, Japan threatened to cut off all financial traffic, including the not inconsiderable sums of money sent to North Koreans by their relatives living in Japan. A Foreign Ministry bureaucrat (now on suspension for his involvement in a corruption scandal) even called for preemptive strikes, to “teach North Korea a lesson” and demonstrate the “Japanese spirit.”2 The North Korean threat is also the reason, or possibly the excuse, for an even closer Japanese military alliance with the US. Patriot missiles will be deployed against a possible North Korean attack at US bases in Okinawa.

The Chinese have never made US bases in Asia into a serious issue. They prefer to have US missiles pointing at them than Japanese nuclear arms, which would be the only alternative to Pax Americana. Domestically, the Chinese Communist government contrives to turn popular anti-Japanese feelings on and off like a tap. Last year anti-Japanese riots erupted in several major cities. Images of Koizumi were burned; Japanese consulates were besieged by mobs; Japanese cars were smashed; even stores selling Japanese products were the targets of destructive rage. Carefully calibrated mob violence is a way for the Chinese rulers to put pressure on Japan. There are several reasons for doing this: opposition to Japan’s quest for a seat on the UN Security Council, territorial disputes over a few resource-rich specks in the South China Sea, and references to Taiwan in last year’s updated “strategic agreement” between Japan and the US, which are seen as hostile to Beijing.

But emotionally, rhetorically, and symbolically, the Sino-Japanese and Korean-Japanese conflicts still fall under the shadow of Japan’s belligerent past, beginning with the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and only ending with Japan’s defeat in 1945. (Some Koreans might go back further, to Hideyoshi’s brutal wars in the 1590s, when Japanese samurai armies laid much of Korea to waste in a futile mission to conquer China.) All this makes the status quo in East Asia different from that of Europe, where the cold war is over, and no one is seriously afraid of Germany anymore. In East Asia the cold war still simmers, with the North Koreans firing missiles, and China throwing its increasing weight around. And the specter of unrepentant Japanese militarism has not disappeared, at least in Chinese and Korean eyes. Which is why Japanese school textbooks that minimize Japanese war guilt still cause serious diplomatic confrontations and riots in the streets; so do the visits of a stubborn prime minister to an imperialist Shinto shrine.

In Japan Koizumi, who steps down as prime minister at the end of September, has shown a sophisticated awareness of symbolism and imagery. From his luxuriant hairdo to his much-publicized love of rock-and-roll, this scion of an established conservative political family has manufactured a highly telegenic image of a tough-talking maverick who goes by the nickname of “Lionheart.” The question is whether in the case of Yasukuni he knew what he is doing. Was his provocation of China and Korea (and many Japanese liberals) a personal eccentricity, a gratuitous gesture to right-wing nostalgia, or a sign of a more serious rift between Japan and its neighbors, a rift with a very bloody history?

To claim that visiting Yasukuni is merely “a matter of the heart” is nonsense. Yasukuni was politically loaded from the moment it was built in 1869 as a Shinto shrine to commemorate the Japanese who fought on the emperor’s side in the civil war between the Meiji revolutionaries and the ancien régime of the Tokugawa shogun. Since then it has become the official place of remembrance of soldiers and civilians (including Koreans and Taiwanese) who died for the Japanese empire. State Shintoism is a modern creed that turned obedience to the imperial rulers and sacrifice in war into religious duties. Authoritarian since its inception, it was a source of extremism from the 1930s until the end of the Pacific war. One of the first acts under General MacArthur’s occupation was to cut the link between religion and the Japanese state. Few Japanese minded this at the time; in fact, most welcomed it. But a vocal minority of rightwingers, some of them with close connections to organized crime (always a conservative institution), have been longing to restore the link ever since.

Koizumi must know all this. But his behavior as prime minister probably had less to do with a hankering after state Shintoism than with a new mood of populism that plays well with a younger generation. Many people are tired of hearing sermons about Japanese war guilt, especially from Chinese and Koreans, whose recent economic success is already shaking Japanese feelings of supremacy. Populism is in the air in much of the democratic world. In Italy and Thailand it swept media tycoons to power. In Japan it is related to increasing demands to revise the postwar pacifist constitution, and this, inevitably, affects Japan’s relations with its neighbors, and the way people choose to remember the Asian and Pacific wars.

Comic books, or manga, are always a good gauge of the popular mood in Japan. A recent sensation in the Japanese manga world, entitled Introduction to China, not only denies Japanese atrocities during the war in China, but shows friendly Japanese troops being sprayed with cyanide by wicked Chinese guerrillas. Chinese today are depicted as AIDS-infected prostitutes and gangsters menacing Japan. The comic has already sold about 180,000 copies. Another, called Hating the Korean Wave, has done even better, selling more than 400,000 copies.3 The Korean Wave refers to a current fashion in Japan for Korean films, songs, and TV soap operas. More young Japanese are learning Korean, as well as Chinese, than ever before, and more visit China and South Korea as tourists. The comic, however, depicts the Koreans as uncivilized whining cheats who should be grateful for the blessings bestowed by Japanese colonial rule between 1910 and 1945.

The mainstream newspapers refused to advertise the chauvinistic comics in their pages, but these hateful entertainments clearly hit a nerve, just as the comics by Kobayashi Yoshinori have done since the late 1990s. Kobayashi’s manga, bearing titles such as On War, On Taiwan, and Manifesto for a New Pride, promote the view that postwar pacifism has robbed the Japanese of character and pride. The Japanese war, Kobayashi argues, was a righteous struggle against white racist imperialism. Born in 1953, the modishly dressed Kobayashi, who share the prime minister’s enthusiasm for slick hairdos, is too young to have experienced Japanese militarism. He claims that such atrocities as the 1937 Nanjing Massacre and the kidnapping of Asian women for sexual slavery to Japanese troops are Chinese fabrications. On War alone sold more than 600,000 copies. Kobayashi has been a member of various prominent pressure groups to revise school textbooks to make them more “patriotic.”

Kobayashi’s work, as a comic artist and activist, is rooted in a sense of irritation, increasingly common among people in their twenties and thirties, with postwar pieties: that Japan was the only guilty party in Asia during the 1930s and 1940s, and should be apologizing forever to other Asians; and that Japan cannot be trusted with war powers and should remain dependent on the US for its protection. The other comics, however, on the wicked Chinese and contemptible Koreans, express older Japanese preoccupations. As Norimitsu Onishi pointed out in an excellent article in The New York Times, they echo the dictum of Japan’s most famous liberal thinker, Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835–1901): “Nyu-O, Datsu-A,” literally: Enter Europe, Leave Asia.4

After centuries of regarding China as the center of the world, to be emulated and admired, Japanese became aware of China’s relative weakness in the nineteenth century. Some nativists proposed that Japan, not China, was the real center of the world. More sophisticated thinkers, impressed by Western science and, especially since the Opium Wars, by Western military might, argued that Japan, in order to progress and become a great power in its own right, should reject all things Chinese and emulate the West instead. After the Meiji Restoration in the 1860s, this meant Western-style armed forces, science, education, industry, economics, laws, constitutional politics, architecture, food, clothes, dance, music, theater, and literature, but also a Western-style empire. To build an empire and bring civilization to backward peoples was a sign of progress and modern achievement. And so Fukuzawa Yukichi, an educator with impeccably liberal credentials, rejoiced when Japan defeated Chinese forces in a nasty little war in 1895. (He also believed that the Japanese, to become strong like Europeans, should eat more meat.)

When Russia lost the war with Japan in 1905, the first military victory of East over West in centuries, Tolstoy described it as a defeat of Asia by the West—of Russia’s “Asiatic soul” by Western rationalism. Whatever one thinks of the Russian soul, it was a profound insight. Japanese imperialism in Asia, even when it was propagated as a struggle against Western domination, was a caricature of Western practices, down to the topees and white linen suits worn by Japanese colonial officials. Attempts to educate Koreans, Taiwanese, Filipinos, Indonesians, Burmese, and other Asians in Japanese, or the construction of roads, railways, and institutes of learning, were imitations of the European mission civilisatrice. Desperate to be accepted as equals by Western imperial powers, the Japanese found it maddening when they faced rejection and contempt instead. But resentment, and even outright hostility toward the West did not mean that Japanese felt comfortable, or on equal footing with other Asians. Feeling excluded by the “superior” West, the Japanese frequently kicked even harder in their dealings with “inferior” Asians.

There is still plenty of resentment of the West among Japanese nationalists. This may not be shared by Prime Minister Koizumi. His “close friendship” with the American people may be genuine, but his disdain for the feelings of Japan’s former victims, and his policy of “entering” the American world at the cost of “leaving” Asia, are close to the view of Meiji liberals, such as Fukuzawa Yukichi. It shows how little has changed, in some respects, despite more than a hundred years of sometimes savage conflict between the eastern-most Asian archipelago and its continental neighbors.

2.

Not all Chinese would go so far as the South Korean student activist who once claimed that you couldn’t call yourself a true Korean if you didn’t hate Japan. But Chinese patriotism, as currently promoted by the Communist regime, is largely defined by the memory of Japanese atrocities. This is a relatively new development. Before the late nineteenth century, Japan was treated by Chinese with disdain, as a nation of dwarfish pirates and provincials, whose culture was an inferior version of Chinese civilization. Then, after the Meiji Restoration, Chinese reformists saw Japan as a model of modernization. Many Western ideas, scientific and political, came to China via Japan. And many Japanese intellectuals took a sympathetic interest in Chinese politics.

The war in China changed everything. Japanese refer to the conflict in the 1930s and 1940s as the China Incident, Chinese call it the War of Resistance Against Japan. By 1945, after horrific Japanese military campaigns in the late 1930s, scorched-earth policies, large-scale massacres, biological warfare, medical experiments, man-made famines, and bombings, more than ten million Chinese had been killed. Although the Yasukuni Shrine museum claims that “Japan was forced into conflict to maintain the independence and peace of the nation and to increase the prosperity of all of Asia,” this is not the way Chinese see it.

And yet, under Chairman Mao, not much was made of such Japanese atrocities as the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, when tens of thousands, and possibly many more (the official Chinese count is 300,000), were killed. Under Maoism the revolutionary heroism of the New China was preferred to stories of victimhood. When the Japanese prime minister Tanaka Kakuei visited China in 1972 to normalize relations between the two nations, Mao allegedly thanked him, because, as he is said to have observed, without the Japanese war the revolution would never have succeeded. Chinese officials even attended a celebration of the emperor’s birthday at the Japanese embassy in 1973.

Modern patriotism of the overtly anti-Japanese kind only began after Mao, when China opened up to the rest of the world, including Japan, for big business, and the Communist leaders needed to replace Marxist ideology with something more convincing to justify their leap into capitalism. One of the many merits of Takashi Yoshida’s fine book, The Making of the “Rape of Nanking,” is his subtle understanding of the politics of memory, in China, Japan, and the US. He describes how history itself, and not just a monument to history, such as the Yasukuni Shrine, can take on a symbolic function with serious political implications. The Rape of Nanking, or Nanjing Massacre, was a real event; even the most conservative Japanese historians don’t deny that something bad happened in the winter of 1937. But the way it is remembered depends largely on who is doing the remembering.

By far the most famous American book on the massacre is Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, published in 1997 and to be made into a feature film as a US-Chinese co-production. It is a flawed book, with highly questionable claims, but one of these claims was also its main selling point: the forgotten Holocaust. The massacre wasn’t in fact comparable to the Holocaust; nor was it ever forgotten.

The brutal battle over the Nationalist capital of China was the culmination of a Japanese campaign to control the Yangtze Valley. Raping, killing, and looting were widespread, possibly condoned by Japanese officers as a way to allow their troops to let off steam, like traditional conquistadorés. Before the Japanese army entered the city of Nanjing, the Chinese general Tang Shengzhi fled the scene with his senior officers, ordering his troops to open fire on Chinese soldiers who stood in his way. Those who remained, mostly badly trained and ill-equipped conscripts, were ordered to fight to the death. Not surprisingly, most of them elected to discard their uniforms and hide among the civilian population. The Japanese conquerors, tired, brutalized, and crazed by constant combat—a combination that US troops in Iraq will recognize—frequently did their worst, especially after being ordered to “mop up” potential pockets of resistance.

The number of people killed by the Japanese is much disputed and depends on whether one limits the area of the killing fields to the walled city of Nanjing, or includes the wide areas beyond. The official Chinese count, followed by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, is 300,000, but more measured estimates put the number of murdered civilians and soldiers in civilian clothes between 40,000 and 200,000. Conservative Japanese historians favor the lower numbers, while progressives are closer to higher Chinese estimates. There are also outright deniers of the massacre in Japan, who believe that the whole thing was fabricated by foreign judges, Japanese leftists, and Chinese propagandists. None of these deniers are professional historians.

The massacre was part of the history curriculum in Japan in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the leftist Teachers Union was still dominant. Later, with the onset of the cold war and the rehabilitation of Japanese conservatives, including politicians who had been jailed as war criminals, there was increasing pressure to gloss over Japanese crimes, but textbooks in Japan have never been uniform. The battle over the Nanjing Massacre and other war memories has not been conclusively won either by the left or the right. In 1971, the liberal newspaper Asahi Shimbun ran a series of reports from China which featured many stories about the Nanjing Massacre, all of them critical of Japan and sympathetic to the Chinese point of view.5

If the memory was suppressed anywhere, it was in China. Nanjing, as the Nationalist capital, was of no interest to Communist officials, who, in any case, focused on the heroic Red Army. This changed around 1982, which, not so coincidentally, was also when Japanese “revisionism” started to gain attention. Wrongly, as it turned out, the Asahi Shimbun reported changes in Japanese textbooks: “invasion” of China had been changed to “advance” into China. In fact this change had already occurred in several textbooks in the 1950s. Others continued to use the word “invasion.” Still, the reports led to fierce protests in China, and prompted new propaganda policies.

The textbook issue was little more than an excuse. As Yoshida points out, once China opened its door to business with capitalist countries, and was in need of Japanese investment, “newly empowered reformers, such as Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, Secretary General Hu Yaobang, and Premier Zhao Ziyang needed to adopt a nationalist posture in order to prevent opposition forces such as the People’s Liberation Army from achieving greater popularity.” The way forward, then, was to promote so-called patriotic education,and to twist the knife into the Japanese conscience whenever it was opportune. This was particularly true after the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, when the government needed foreign enemies to distract attention from its own deeds more than ever.

Yoshida doesn’t mention this, but official Chinese patriotism dovetailed nicely with the kind of American identity politics that inspired Iris Chang’s work; both based a new sense of identity on shared memories of victimhood. The Chinese-American author claimed that her people’s “Holocaust” should be recognized on a par with the Jewish one.6 As do some children of Jewish survivors, she presented herself as the voice of her victimized ancestors. The Communist Party of China has a somewhat different agenda, more like that of Israel’s Likud: the humiliations of the past must act as a spur to national strength and unity. The more people are told about the terrible things inflicted on their people by foreign enemies, the more they will follow their “patriotic” leaders.

On the wall of a lavish new “patriotic museum” in Shenyang, built on the spot where Japanese troops began their invasion of Manchuria in 1931, is a picture of a blood-red teardrop. Under the teardrop is a text, in English, Chinese, and Japanese, extolling the “hatred burning in all Chinese hearts” for the “criminal Japanese militarists” who cruelly invaded “Great China, with its five thousand years of civilization.” In order for this never to happen again, all Chinese, it is said, must unite behind the leadership of the Communist Party. It is perhaps with this kind of thing in mind that Koizumi Junichiro chose to persevere in his own form of bloody-mindedness. Even though one possible successor, the present finance minister Tanigaki Sadakazu said he would not visit the shrine, Koizumi has set an awkward precedent. Climbing down will be seen as pandering to the Chinese. The more likely successor, the nationalistic politician Abe Shinzo, has no qualms about visiting the shrine.

3.

Although far from democratic, China has become more liberal over the last few decades, at least in the economic activity and personal liberties it allows. Japan is a democracy, albeit flawed. Partly as a reaction to these liberal trends, conservative calls for greater nationalism have increased. The late Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro, a close ally of Ronald Reagan, worried in the 1980s that prosperity, pacifism, and individualism had made young Japanese soft and shiftless. He argued that the “moral vacuum” in Japan’s postwar democracy should be filled with a dose of old-fashioned moral and patriotic education. In the 1990s, various conservative public figures, including the cartoonist Kobayashi, revived this theme and formed committees, such as the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reforms, and the National People’s Council to Defend Japan, to promote textbook revision.

Most of these new “patriots” would like to rewrite Japan’s pacifist constitution, strengthen Japan’s military posture, and take a tougher position on China and North Korea. Prime Minister Koizumi is sympathetic to these aims. But instead of debating the constitution directly, arguments have mostly concerned education and memory. It is hoped that doing away with the “masochistic understanding” of wartime history “initiated by the American occupation policy as well as leftwing forces in Japan”7 will prepare the way for an invigorated, proud, independent, and, above all, unashamed Japan.

These well-publicized spasms of historical revisionism in Japan play into the hands of Party officials in China, who use them to step up their attempts to mobilize the Chinese against the alleged Japanese threat. Serious historical research, still far more prevalent in Japan than in China, for obvious reasons, is gradually being drowned out by the noise of political rhetoric. There is no reason to assume that more democracy or economic liberalism would make any difference. On historical issues, as well as such sensitive topics as the independence of Taiwan, a democratic government in China could well turn out to be even more nationalistic than the Communist regime.

The case of South Korea would seem to confirm that political liberalism and nationalism can go very well together. Since the late 1980s, democracy has flourished in South Korea as never before. President Roh Moo-hyun is a social democrat and former human rights lawyer. If ever two nations had common interests it should be Japan and the Republic of Korea, both liberal democracies in the periphery of the authoritarian Chinese giant, facing the common threat of a bellicose North Korean dictatorship. The fiercely anti-Communist strongmen who used to rule South Korea had close relations with Japan. President Roh did not immediately turn away from Japan. But public sentiment is clearly behind the policy of moving closer to China.

If history is a guide, most Koreans might actually prefer to be a vassal of China than an ally of Japan. Koreans are inclined to blame foreign powers, particular Japan and the US, for the tensions on their peninsula, rather than the antics of a cornered Korean tyrant. And so Roh persists in his “Sunshine Policy” of cozying up to the North. There are practical reasons for this, of course. A sudden collapse of the impoverished North would be a catastrophe. The South, though rich, would not be able to absorb the ruins of a failed state. But public opinion, fueled by Korean nationalism, is surely another reason for choosing good relations with Kim Jong-il, even at the cost of increased tensions with Japan, or the US.8

Korea also has historical obsessions of its own. Jammed in between greater powers, Koreans have always had to appease or collaborate with one country or another. Traditionally, one of the sources of rivalry between Japan and Korea was their relative proximity to the Chinese imperial metropole. Koreans always claimed to be the more civilized, because they were closer to China. In the twentieth century, some Koreans sided with China, others with Russia, and others still with Japan or the US. As a result, Koreans have always been quick to accuse one another of treachery. Calling southerners lackeys of American imperialism remains a staple of North Korean propaganda. With equal justice, the southerners might have accused their northern brethren of being Soviet or Chinese lackeys. But the popular mood has turned against the old South Korean elite instead.

In a fit of left-wing populism, encouraged by President Roh’s government, lists have been compiled of former newspaper editors, politicians, army officers, intellectuals, and bureaucrats who collaborated with the Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s. Since these were often the same people who ran South Korea under the postwar military regimes, and their children and grandchildren are often pillars of the conservative Grand National Party, led by Ms. Park Geun-hye, daughter of the late strongman Park Chung-hee, this campaign has all the marks of a political purge. Ms. Park has already been denounced by members of President Roh’s Uri Party for being the daughter of a former lieutenant in Japan’s Kwantung Army, as though she, too, were a “traitor.”9

There is one thing, however that has stopped domestic politics, historical traumas, and international disputes from turning into violent conflict. It is something no one really likes, not the Koreans, not the Chinese, and not the Japanese either, and that is the presence of the US military, which still functions as the police force of Northeast Asia. Large foreign military bases, from Seoul to Okinawa, are felt to be a humiliation. Whenever a local woman is assaulted by bored or drunken GIs, or someone is accidentally run over by a US army vehicle (two Korean schoolgirls died in such an accident in 2002), huge demonstrations show what people really think of their foreign protectors.

And yet, despite these popular feelings, none of the East Asian governments, not even the Chinese, wants the Yankees to go home, just yet, for without them they might be at each other’s throats, and recent memories are enough to convince most East Asians that this is to be avoided at all costs. This is why President Roh, a social democrat who was never particularly friendly to the Americans, sent South Korean troops to Iraq. And why Koizumi Junichiro, a conservative acting under the constraints of a nominally pacifist constitution, did the same. And when it comes to a choice between Japan and the US as a rival military power in the region, the Chinese would still choose the latter—which is something that Japanese revisionists, who still think that their country did nothing to feel ashamed about, might ponder.

  1. 1

    Associated Press, June 30, 2006.

  2. 2

    Sato Masaru, writing in Sapio, July 26, 2006.

  3. 3

    Mainichi Daily News, July 8, 2006.

  4. 4

    The New York Times, November 19, 2005.

  5. 5

    Honda Katsuichi, Chugoku no tabi (“Travels in China”) (Tokyo: Asahi Bunko, 1981).

  6. 6

    She does so explicitly in the introduction of her book, where the massacre is equated with the Nazi Holocaust.

  7. 7

    Yoshida quotes Okuno Seisuke, cabinet minister in the 1980s. Okuno also caused outrage by stating that Japan had committed no aggression by advancing into China in the 1930s.

  8. 8

    Many young South Koreans claim that the US is a more dangerous country than North Korea. See a report in The Nation, January 27, 2003.

  9. 9

    Traditionally in Confucian societies, families are held responsible for the crimes of a single member.

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