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Regarding Edan Corkill’s July 26 article, “China vets shock activist with ‘horrible things they did’ “: Born in 1950 in Osaka, I did not get any education in high school or at university about what happened exactly during World War II. I have read a lot since my graduation, but I would like to learn more about what the Japanese Army actually did in China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, etc.; how the army treated people in those countries, including its own soldiers; what the real responsibility of the Emperor was; and whether any part of the “Bushido spirit” (loyalty, faithfulness, sense of honor) existed at all.

Was the soldier’s ultimate duty to spread horror and terror? Or can we still hope that something else also existed to some degree, such as humanity, friendship, and mutual cooperation between the Japanese and the people of the occupied country?

In Germany where I lived more than 10 years, all Germans, from the oldest to the youngest, knew exactly what happened during the war and what the Nazis did. Each German carried the weight of that. It was not intended to make them feel guilty but to avoid repetition of the mistake. The government is still paying out to Israel for what the Nazis did during the war. Germans also learn of the few who died screaming out against the Nazis.

In Japan, then, why haven’t we learned the truth yet — from the most horrible and hateful acts to the most courageous and beautiful? It’s about time we became adults by seeking out and accepting the truth so that we can become bigger, deeper human beings. The truth needs to be taught to us.

mariko aoyama

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