Deniers won’t let war wounds heal

Regarding Koichi Katsuta’s May 8 letter, “Fictions aimed at milking Japan“: Nationalists like Katsuta love to claim that Japan was the victim nation in World War II and that [claims of atrocities] were all lies to hurt Japan. He says the use of the term “sex slave” is incorrect, because no women were forced into slavery.

Perhaps the invasion of China was all a misunderstanding, and Japan just didn’t realize the land was already taken by someone else. The 40-year occupation of the Korean Peninsula and the horrifying things done in the name of erasing Korea as a culture and people were all a misunderstanding as well.

Perhaps everything Japan has ever done in its history was really just about it trying to be super-nice to someone. All the torture, the Rape of Nanking, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Unit 731, the occupation of Indonesia, Burma, China, Korea, et al. were just a huge misunderstanding, and in fact, those countries should apologize to Japan for having soiled its name with accusations of historical fact.

Of course. I’m being sarcastic. How is Japan supposed to mend the wounds of the Pacific War when historical revisionists like Katsuta are allowed to spew their ridiculous tripe?

It’s time that Japan enacted a law similar to Germany’s law against denial of the Holocaust. Anyone that denies the reality of the horror of Japanese imperialism should be thrown in jail.

Timothy Bedwell
sasebo, nagasaki

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.

  • disqus_78r6IPfptX

    Good letter. But it’s not Unit 371. It’s Unit 731.

  • Tando

    Very well said. Korea was under Japanese control since 1910. To wonder “why didnt the Koreans defend their women against their deportation” ,as stated in Katsuyas letter, is like “why didnt the Polish defend their people against deportation into concentration camps”. Many Japanese dont know the difference of tatemae and honne in their own culture. While they definitly have a culture of hospitality (Omotenashi is in everyones mouth), their cruelty in WW2 is also a fact.

  • disqus_78r6IPfptX

    I think Japanese have a classic inside-outside culture. They are polite and hospitable – or pretend to be – to those within the “in” group. But they have no regard for those outside the group. This kind of liminality allowed them to be heinously cruel in their prosecution of the Asian-Pacific war because all their enemies were outsiders. Captured soldiers didn’t warrant regard as properly human under the bushido code, hence the invitation to treat them with criminal cruelty.
    Within Japan the accommodation of behavior to boundaries is largely only cosmetic. Taking shoes off in schools and changing into school slippers, for example. By and large Japanese schools are filthy. Changing shoes at the threshold is only a pretension. Many Japanese hate their bosses and their jobs, but they never fail in their greetings, or “aisatsu.” Japanese are very polite to each others and to foreigners, but secretly they hate our guts.
    I don’t mind lies and liars as much as I mind pretensions.

    • Phil Blank

      Really ?
      I worked in Japan, had two Japanes girlfriends, at different times and years of course.
      And I married an American Japanese woman I met when I worked in Hawaii.
      I think you just don’t know or care for the Japanese people, peroid!

      • disqus_78r6IPfptX


      • Christopher Glen

        Yes, there will always be those who have a different experience, and everything is sunshine and roses. It doesn`t change the fact that “tatemae” and “honne” does exist in Japan, and many Japanese public schools at least – are filthy. Why? Because the kids, who aren’t professional cleaners, have to clean them. Usually only with cloths, water, mops and brooms. No detergents

  • disqus_78r6IPfptX

    You’re kidding … right?