The death rattle of colonialism

In his March 27 letter, “Fascism worse than imperialism,” Jim Makin claims that I contended in my March 20 letter, “Worst lay ahead for Asia,” that “white” imperialism was worse than the Japanese variety. While the worst did lay ahead for much of Asia under the tenure of the white imperial powers after 1945, I see no relevant distinction between Japanese imperialism and the Asian-based imperialism of the West. As stated in my letter, one was as bad as the other.

Makin further presumes that I believe that Asians should “forget their suffering at the hands of the Japanese.” Quite the opposite. The full story of their suffering, as follows, should be more vociferously told: The West colonized Asia in the 19th century. The Japanese read the writing on the wall and joined the imperial game. Japan deposed the West in 1941. The West reasserted control after the Japanese defeat. Colonialism ended when the nations of Asia ejected the West.

Many prefer to portray Japanese aggression without precedent or context, thus whitewashing much of the anguish that Asia has endured. They should take a cue from British wartime Prime Minster Winston Churchill, who said: “The further backward you look, the further forward you can see.”

paul de vries
kawaguchi, saitama

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.