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"Do Japanese have shame for the military crimes they..." Topic

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World War Two on the Land

1,653 hits since 23 Jun 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 4:17 p.m. PST

… committed by their army in the 20th century (like the Nanking incident, for instance) like the Germans have shame for theirs during World War II?



Dn Jackson23 Jun 2017 4:45 p.m. PST

Neither the Germans, or the Japanese, (or the Bulgarians, Romanians, Russians, Finns, Serbians, Slovakians, etc.) should have any shame for what happened 70+ years ago. The people alive and working, politicking, selling stuff, and just existing did not commit those crimes and had nothing to do with them. Any legal items they are responsible for, e.g. reparations to families who had property taken, etc.

But no, the people alive today have nothing to be ashamed about concerning what happened in WWII. With the obvious exceptions for those who had something to do with it, but most of them are in their 90s and are passing rapidly.

foxweasel23 Jun 2017 4:59 p.m. PST

Really? And yet we're expected to apologise for the slave trade from 200 years ago. The Germans should carry the shame of what they did during WW2 until it no longer exists as a country. That's like saying we shouldn't be proud of our men during the darkest times.

14Bore23 Jun 2017 5:36 p.m. PST

Ah, no as far as I know

14Bore23 Jun 2017 5:44 p.m. PST

There is a lot of discussion that the Germans ( Merkel to be more precise) is bringing in migrants as part of payback for behavior in WWII. Turkey has not even beginning to acknowledged the Holocaust of Armenians in WWI. And if I'm not dawghoused by now I better leave.

lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 6:09 p.m. PST

Perhaps shame is the wrong word. The current government in Japan denies such things happen and that if they did happen Japan did not cause them to happen. Surely current leaders can acknowledge historical truths without casting shame on the current generation.

coopman23 Jun 2017 8:11 p.m. PST

I am sorry that such a thing as slavery existed in this world before the ACW and Emancipation, but I bear no burden or shame about it because it all happened before I came into this world.

ricepot23 Jun 2017 8:23 p.m. PST

The Japanese should not carry any shame if they are not the ones responsible. But to not acknowledged that such things actually happened is another matter.

Stryderg23 Jun 2017 8:37 p.m. PST

Denying that bad things happened in the past is a good way to end up repeating them. Felling ashamed/embarrassed/guilty over things that happened before you were born (or when you were very young) that you had no control over is just silly.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 10:54 p.m. PST

As an American I believe in individual right and individual responsibility. I never owned slaves and have no responsibility for slavery. The vast majority of Germans and Japanese alive today have no responsibility for what their nations did in WWII.

Do all Chinese bear responsibility for Mao?
Do all Russians bear responsibility for Stalin?

Both murdered far more people than the Nazis or the Japanese.
Stalin even murdered people personally.

Each individual is responsible for his own crimes, his own acts, his own deeds, good or ill.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

Gaz004524 Jun 2017 12:00 a.m. PST

At least the Germans acknowledge history!
The Japanese denial of history is the shameful aspect of this…….iirc they have a handful of pages in their school books covering the Co-Prosperity era of 1930-45…..a disproportionate amount of those few pages covers the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Sobieski24 Jun 2017 1:36 a.m. PST

I certainly know a number of Japanese, including one whom I personally admire very strongly for her principles, who would never think of denying what their country did.

badger2224 Jun 2017 1:40 a.m. PST


Could not agree more

A sea that raged no more24 Jun 2017 1:40 a.m. PST

What actually is taught in Japanese schools regarding WW2? Heck, I don't even know what history is taught in our schools these days

Not sufficient to develop an interest in Wargaming, I bet.

Anyway, there have been enough war crimes committed over the past 30 years, and we have slavery being used today, for us to either be ashamed about or better still to bring the guilty to account.

The modern argument seems to be that if you are ashamed then you are guilty, if you are guilty then you pay. If your national or family prosperity was accumulated as a result of such (historical) acts – then you pay.

VVV reply24 Jun 2017 4:52 a.m. PST

I think they simply deny them – problem solved.

Retiarius924 Jun 2017 3:08 p.m. PST

i agree with foxweasel, in reverse, it happened over a generation ago, people today should not have to pay for crimes committed by others in the past, especially with slavery here.

foxweasel24 Jun 2017 3:26 p.m. PST

I fully understand the whole "I wasn't born at the time" point of view. But we (USA, UK, CAN, AUS,NZ etc) are very proud of the achievements of our men and women in modern times darkest days. We call them the greatest generation and many are still alive now, most of us had relatives who fought who we remember. So if that's the case for most of us surely it works the other way, if your nation and troops did awful things and fought for an evil idea during living memory, then perhaps you should feel shame.

Legion 424 Jun 2017 3:42 p.m. PST

very proud of the achievements of our men and women in modern times darkest days. We call them the greatest generation and many are still alive now, most of us had relatives who fought who we remember.
Again, I agree totally …

And I do know most in the USA, know little to nothing about WWII as well as other historical events. Don't even know if or how much it and other conflicts as well as history in general are covered by the current education system ?

Dn Jackson24 Jun 2017 10:40 p.m. PST

"Really? And yet we're expected to apologise for the slave trade from 200 years ago."

Yes, really. I had nothing to do with slavery nor did any of my ancestors. I feel no shame whatsoever. The shame associated with slavery has more to do with modern politics than anything else.

Japan's denial it ever happened is another matter, and yes they should acknowledge what happened.

foxweasel24 Jun 2017 11:15 p.m. PST

That's the opposite of what you said in your first post.

Skarper25 Jun 2017 3:13 a.m. PST

Oh dear, back to this again.

I think I've said before that most Japanese people do not know what their country did in WW2. Either because nobody told them or because they compartmentalize it away. Asians and especially Japanese seem able to know something but just not think about it much if at all.

It's particularly egregious because Japan really went off the charts between 1933 and 1945.

I think Japan should be required to meet certain standards of acknowledgement, remorse and remembrance [and compensate the victims]. It is hard to decide how to enforce this. Sanctions would probably work in conjunction with UN resolutions.

However, though Japan is an extreme case you don't get Americans owning up to the crimes of their South East Asian misadventure, or British people admitting the evil side of their Empire. So there is a good deal of hypocrisy all round. Any country that could have an empire did and every empire was an unwelcome burden for those colonized. We know better now [well a bit better] but there is also the issue that if we don't colonize country X then the French or the Belgians will and they'll be even worse.

The Germans are held up as a shining example of how to handle national guilt, but a lot of the blame was foisted off onto evil nazis, SS and Gestapo – and the ordinary hardworking German allowed to carry on unblemished. To a large degree, there was little the average German could do to oppose the Nazis once they had power. but many Germans were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi ideals.

VVV reply25 Jun 2017 3:15 a.m. PST

How about this, people should be aware of their history the bad and the good. In the hope that they will not repeat the same mistakes.

VVV reply25 Jun 2017 3:16 a.m. PST

Oh and for the Japanese add in the biological warfare testing they did on the Chinese.

Dn Jackson25 Jun 2017 3:54 a.m. PST

"That's the opposite of what you said in your first post"

I disagree. There's a difference between acknowledging something that happened and shaming the decendants of evil doers for something they had nothing to do with.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2017 2:49 p.m. PST

So… the Japanese people never saw a WW2 Movie about the Pacific?….

Nor read any bool about it?


Ottoathome25 Jun 2017 3:38 p.m. PST

I prefer what it says in Deuteronomy.

A man shall not be punished for his son's sin, nor a son for his fathers sin. Each shall be punished for his own sin.

No good can come of collective guilt. It's simply present day moochers trying to mulct money or sympathy out of people who had nothing to do with the crimes against their forefathers.

VVV reply25 Jun 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

So… the Japanese people never saw a WW2 Movie about the Pacific?….

Ah getting history from films, an interesting concept.

Lee49425 Jun 2017 4:45 p.m. PST

Just out of curiosity where does the USAs nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki figure in this discussion. Or the fire bombing of Tokyo. Or Dresden. I don't think any country came out of WWII without some guilt.

Trick is to make sure all future generations know what happened, and why, so it never happens again. Hopefully by our study of and passion for history we will help that process. Cheers! Lee

Retiarius925 Jun 2017 5:16 p.m. PST

i agree with otto

Lion in the Stars25 Jun 2017 7:16 p.m. PST

Tango, the Japanese basically ignore what happened between about 1928 and 1945 in school. It's flat out not taught.

Find a history-minded Japanese kid and hand them a US history book and they are likely to protest about all the lies being told.

@Lee494: The big problem with the 1940s Japanese industrialization is that they didn't do single massive factories, they'd have small workshops scattered all over the city, all making different parts of whatever it was. So in order to stop the production of, say, Zero fighters, you'd have to destroy the entire city (due to bomb accuracy levels, etc).

The intent of all the US bombing was to destroy Japan's ability to fight. Not their will to fight, their ability. So sadly, all the civilians killed were collateral damage to the war-production factories. Yes, even Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Dresden, however, I'm willing to accept as a war crime as there was little to no effort to hit the factories.

goragrad26 Jun 2017 11:31 a.m. PST

As a matter of fact, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen in large part because they were such low level military targets that they had not yet been bombed. Any damage done would be solely the result of the atomic bombs. The fact that they had not been targeted meant that refugees from other cities had swelled the populations.

Much of the decision on which targets to hit was based on finding the right mix of population and structure types to determine how effective the new weapons were.

Their nominal military value wasn't based on any war materiel production but that they contained regional headquarters facilities.

Additionally warning leaflets had been dropped prior to raids on Tokyo in an attempt to reduce civilian casualties but were not at Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to the fact that the raids were by single bombers that would have been easier to intercept. There was also the fact that as the bombs were experimental that had they failed to perform as expected there would have been a 'Cry wolf' effect.

Fimnmally as noted there was a desire to see just what the new weapons were capable of – types of buildings in the city and damage thereto, population and casualties inflicted and severity of injury.

foxweasel26 Jun 2017 1:43 p.m. PST

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2017 2:59 p.m. PST

I must disagree goragrad. The two cities were on the target list for some of the reasons you mention but not as a test of how effective the weapons were. These targets were chosen for making the biggest psychological impact on the Japanese Government, Military and people. It was seen as a last ditch effort to forestall an invasion. Some may disagree with the tone on the following very comprehensive article but it does make clear the objective and it was not as a "test".

Lion in the Stars26 Jun 2017 4:06 p.m. PST

The US really didn't want to invade the Home Islands. Okinawa was bad enough.

In preparation for the invasion of the Home Islands, the US made 500,000 Purple Heart medals. We are *still* using that stockpile today, after Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq (plus all the other small skirmishes).

But it wasn't because of the military casualties the US expected. It was because of the civilian casualties.

Skarper27 Jun 2017 12:07 a.m. PST

There may have been good military reasons for the A-bombings but they were also most definitely a test too.

If you have spent billions on a project, you are going to use it. The people deciding don't understand the moral implications or the science.

It was also a demonstration to the Soviets.

A lot of people think FDR would have been more humane but I doubt it. Akin to thinking JFK would not have poured troops into Vietnam and escalated the war.

The momentum is so great that it is very hard for anyone to control. You might change the direction slightly. but to stop it in its tracks is nigh on impossible.

That said I think the A-bombings and Japanese war crimes are separate issues. The one does not justify the other, though revenge is hard wired into our psyches.

I think the war in Japan could have been ended without the A-bombs and that the evidence is compelling that the Soviet attacks into Manchuria were more significant. But I do see this is hindsight and the people making the decisions had no easy options.

What is also unfortunate about the A-bombings and the fire bombings that killed far more Japanese is that it can be used as a 'but what about' by Japanese seeking to deny or diminish their WW2 era actions.

uglyfatbloke27 Jun 2017 3:19 a.m. PST

Good points Skarper.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2017 4:17 a.m. PST

Guilt for crimes a person did not commit is one thing, but not acknowledging past wrongs is another. My wife's nephew married a lovely Japanese woman. Until she came to the United States she'd never even heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor. That's simply wrong.

Legion 427 Jun 2017 7:26 a.m. PST

Hindsight, especially very much after the fact, is usually 20/20. I'd think the important thing is not to forget what happened. For many reasons …

Ottoathome27 Jun 2017 7:44 a.m. PST

You are talking about war. War is killing and violence. The unfortunate calculus is that you want to kill as many of the enemy as you can as cheaply and effectively as you can with the least loss to yourself. In modern society with the integration of the population into the war effort and their intermixing in the general society, one cannot target those directly involved in war industries versus those who do not, and even at that, the state, relying on tacit popular support creates a situation where even just supporting the state is supporting the war effort. It is unfortunate but that is the way it is. Further, that Japanese wartime government placed its own people on the firing line when it envisioned arming the general populace with bamboo spears and having them as active combatants against any invasion.

Blutarski27 Jun 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

Hiroshima was the principal logistics hub for the Japanese defensive build-up of the southern home islands.

Kyoto was originally on the target list to receive one of the two bombs, but was removed because of its status as an important cultural site.

And, IIRC, the Japanese government was warned in advance by the Americans about their intention to deploy weapons of great and unusual violence unless they surrendered. Japanese leadership chose to ignore the warning.


Fred Cartwright27 Jun 2017 9:53 a.m. PST

I think the war in Japan could have been ended without the A-bombs and that the evidence is compelling that the Soviet attacks into Manchuria were more significant.

I would disagree. I think the key factor that the A bomb provided was it enabled the Japanese to save face. The emperor was able to claim that the Japanese could not stand against this new terrible weapon (subtext, the other guys are cheating) and thus despite how painful it must be we have no choice but to surrender. Without being able to claim that Japan hadn't been defeated militarily, but by a super weapon that they were powerless to resist I think the hardliners would have forced a fight to the death.

uglyfatbloke27 Jun 2017 10:49 a.m. PST

An excellent point Fred.

Blutarski27 Jun 2017 2:48 p.m. PST

The "hardliners" in the military attempted a last-moment palace coup to stop Hirohito from surrendering, going as far as murdering at least one very senior Japanese political official.

The defeat in Manchuria was not going to change their blood commitment to defend the sacred homeland.

My opinion.


Lion in the Stars27 Jun 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

I've been to Yasukuni and the museum there, Blutarski. There is no doubt that the hardliners would have fought to the last heartbeat to defend the Home Islands (can't say I blame them for that, I'm pretty sure most of us would do the same if it was our home getting invaded).

The atomic bombs were able to convince Hirohito that if they didn't stop fighting, the Yamato Nation (Japanese people) would cease to exist.

Legion 428 Jun 2017 6:09 a.m. PST

You are talking about war. War is killing and violence. The unfortunate calculus is that you want to kill as many of the enemy as you can as cheaply and effectively as you can with the least loss to yourself.
I agree … But in some cases, some people, even war gamers, don't seem to understand or accept that. Or want to see the reality.

Of course CGs, ROEs, etc. should be followed when doing so. But as we see, that is not always adhered to by some. E.g. the terrorists and insurgents much of the world finds itself currently engaged in conflict with.

Fortunately being war gamers, almost all don't or didn't have to make any type of decision involving such ruthless, efficient, effective, etc. means that the paradigm of warfighting actually is at it's seminal level.

That is another reason why the past can't be forgotten. Especially went the decision is made to go to war. And prosecute it in a manner to end it as quickly as possible to reduce losses of life, infrastructure, etc.

But again as we see today, the ability to do that for a variety of reasons doesn't/couldn't/can't/won't occur.

And for context, I believe the "best" way to think of the word "ruthless" is as I found it in a book/novel :

"People tend to think "ruthless" meant "cruel". It didn't: I meant doing what was logically required without factoring in mercy."
And again IMO that is why there should be much circumspection, etc., when going to war. But we also see throughout history many factors go into fighting and in turn ending a conflict …

Skarper29 Jun 2017 11:47 p.m. PST

Fred said "I think the key factor that the A bomb provided was it enabled the Japanese to save face."

I think this is a good point.

I maintain the A-bombs were not essential – there was not 'no choice except a land invasion'. But they did help and this face saving aspect is very valid.

Of course we'll never know either way. What has emerged in more recent years is some questioning of the US/Allied line. It's too simplistic. But the people at the time had to make decisions that were life and death. I can well see why they went ahead with the bombings.

I accept they shortened the war. If only by a couple of months that is significant.

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