In his March 29 article, “Abe needlessly fans the flames,” Francis Fukuyama is right to assert that the Yushukan museum adjacent to Yasukuni Shrine is the bigger problem of the two because of its nationalist depiction of Pacific War history.

Fukuyama recounts that he was present at panel discussions in the early 1990s when Shoichi Watanabe, a Sophia University professor, told audiences “how the people of Manchuria had tears in their eyes when the occupying Kwantung Army left China, so grateful were they to Japan.”

This fanciful description reminds me of similar views from Hisahiko Okazaki, who, according to a recent article in The Japan Times, holds himself responsible for correcting anything “intellectually dishonest and far-fetched” at the Yushukan museum. In a July 2000 article on his Web site (http://www.okazaki-inst.jp/7300okazaki.insight.html), Okazaki claims: “The Chinese people had good reason to feel apprehensive when they saw the Imperial Japanese Army leave their continent. Some Chinese probably shuddered to think about what army factions and bandits might do while seeking to capture their areas if the Japanese troops left their country after staying there under strict military discipline for more than seven years following the Nanjing Incident.”

patrick hattman

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