Monday, August 15, 2005

Table of Germany and Japan Post-War Actions

I have included a table clearly showing some of the reasons many Asians have for feeling that Japan has not done enough in atoning for wartime crimes as opposed to Germany which will hopely allow those who think Japan has done enough to ponder on whether they have been too quick to judge:

1958 set up committee which hunts down and prosecutes Nazi criminals who escaped justice in Nuremberg. Operates and continues to hunt for Nazi criminals to this very day with assistance from American govt.
Releases ALL warcriminals from Sugamo Prison in Tokyo by 1958 and has NEVER prosecuted any more Japanese warcriminals after Tokyo WarCrimes Trials.

NO Nazi has ever held office in govt after WW2
Many Japanese warcriminals involving those on the wartime cabinet continued to lead public office after WW2 with many continuing onto the postwar Japanese govt with even one Prime Minister in the 50s having been a high position govt official in the wartime govt.

Has paid billlions in reparations to Holocaust and another Nazi victims and will continue to pay for the next few yrs as there are reparation laws passed by the German Parliament.
Has paid ZERO dollars in official reparations since many Asian govt who bear fault as well had waived all legal rights to war reparations in exchange for Japanese economic aid.
Refuses to pay ALL individual victim claims with many suits by former slave labours and comfort women being turned down in Japanese courts.

Officially apologised many times incl those passed by parliament and even has habit of always visiting Holocaust memorials in Israel whenever Germany ministers visit Israel.
Has NEVER OFFICIALLY apologised for crimes during WW2 with exception of 1995 apology which was THE ONLY apology passed by the Japanese Diet and all other individual apologies by PM always insincere as inevitably followed by contradictory actions such as visits to shrine worshipping warcriminals or inflammatory statements denying any Japanese wrongdoing by cabinet ministers INCLUDING former Justice Minister who denied the Nanking Massacre and the current Education Minister who recently in June said there was no such term as comfort women (one can only guess what Japanese children are learning with Japan's highest official in charge of education saying irresponsible and callous things like that).

Built many memorials to Nazi victims and Holocaust survivors incl the high profile new Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Berlin which was given high press coverage this year.
In stark contrast, not a SINGLE memorial to Asian victims in whole of Japan built by Japanese govt and many devoted exclusively to Japanese victims such as Hiroshima or Okinawa civilian deaths. Has Yasukuni shrine in central Tokyo devoted to 14 Class-A convicted warcriminals including the notorious Tojo and thousands other Japanese soldiers which would inevitably include the countless rapists and murderers that were some of the Japanese soldiers in WW2.

60th Anniversary of WW2

Today is the 60th Anni of WW2 and the issue of Japan and WW2 being one of my utmost interests, i would like to take this historic and significant day to talk more on this issue.
As already known from my earlier posts on this issue, i feel a great injustice continues to this day 60 yrs after that war as Japan continues to evade its moral responsibility in atoning for the damage it wrought on Asian countries 60yrs ago. It is disheartening to see that the West is not concerned at all on this issue and even think that Japan has atoned enough. An example can be seen from the April anti-Japanese demonstrations in China whereby Western media incl The Times and Newsweek completely passed over what is the crucial issue of Japanese schooltextbook whitewash, lack of official apology (this means passed by parliament in clear EXPLICIT terms) or compensation and visits to shrines worshipping warcriminals, etc The media just went on and on about how the demonstrations were purely political or purely due to 'anti-Japanese' education,etc which is complete nonsense. It is not relevant whether it were political or not cos the demonstrators had a valid point to make. Further it seems the world's media are right at home with Japan's right wing nationalist when they say the Chinese education is 'anti-Japanese'...i mean i would like to ask just which part is anti-Japanese? The fact that they incl content on the 200 000 Asian women forced in sexual slavery ? or that they incl content on Japanese human experiments on POWS? or the fact that they incl the Nanking Massacre where 300 000 Chinese were slaughtered in Nanking, the former Chinese capital city, when Japanese forces invaded and occupied it? I mean to call these 'anti-Japanese' is tantamount to calling teaching the Holocaust in American and Jewish schools to being 'anti-German' and calling shows portraying evil Nazis to 'promoting hatred for Germans' It seems that the West feels that talking about the Nazi Holocaust is worthwhile and correct whilst the same in Japan's case miraculously becomes 'anti-Japanese'.....
Further, i am strongly opposed to the West refusal to equate the Japanese atrocities/crimes to the Jewish Holocaust. This in my opinion boils down to racism. The fact is that the West does not really care if ppl of non-white race suffer as the Holocause involved Jews, who are still part of the white race even if there is a history of anti-Semitism the Jews are still more valued than the other non-white races. Thus suffering under the Japanese which involved primarily Asian races is not given much attention. This can be seen in school textbooks in Western Countries where WW2 basically means the Holocaust, Polish concentration camps, Russian Front, etc whilstthe Asian Theater is briefly touched on more often than not emphasing Japan's 'victim' status with the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings. Bookshelves on WW2 also line with tons on Nazi Germany and than if lucky 20% or less on the Asian theatre and then again on Japanese suffering in Hiroshima or just about battles where Westerners died like the fall of Singapore or Saipan or Phillipines (rarely goes into the Asian civilian suffering in these areas). History,i feel, is extremely eurocentric right down.
Another point which i feel reveals the racist aspect of historical studies and perception is how the West refuses to admit that the Japanese warcrimes, like many other atrocities/warcrimes around the war, are equal if not as worst as the Holocaust in terms of scale and brutality. Often westerners love to point out that the Holocaust was planned and involved 6 million victims whilst the Japanese crimes were 'not planned' and numbers of victims undetermined. I mean this is pure racism though i'm sure many do not realise they are being racist cos it is totoally irrelevant that the Japanese warcrimes were not planned since the Japanese killed more Asians (35 million or so Chinese plus prob 1 million Koreans and Taiwanese conscripts combined plus millions more South East Asians) without planning than the Nazis did with planning. Further many were planned and notorious such as the '3 all policy' in Manchuria which meant loot all burn all and kill all to create 'no-man zones' such that Chinese guerilla forces would not be able to hide behind civilian populations. Then there is the comfort women system whereby it was a planned policy to force Asian women into serving as sex slaves for the 2 million or more Japanese troops stationed in occupied territories. Aren't these planned? Then comes the eurocentric attitude of how accurate the figures on Chinese wardead are or how accurate are facts on warcrimes? I mean no one is allowed to dispute the Holocaust or 6mill Jews number but all of a sudden it is ok to question figures come up by Asians? Some even say they admit the Japanese warcrime facts but feel its exagerated, i mean if i were to say that the Holocaust figures of 6 million were exaggerated, i would be immediately labelled a 'neo-Nazi' whilst when Japanese textbooks, popular TV shows, magazines question the Asian 'Holocaust' it is said by the West to be an example of democracy and freedom of speech, if thats the cas i guess Germany should dismantle current 'undemocratic' laws prohibiting denial of the Holocaust.
I think its time the West start to emphatise with ppl of other races and not constantly think that only when an atrocity involves western victims is it worthy of attention. The fact is the Holocaust is NOT the ONLY and WORST tragedy in recent history (as German chancellors have said time and time again)it is but ONE of many human tragedies incl Rwanda Genocide, Congo Conflict, Bosnia Genocide, and not least the Japanese WW2 warcrimes which all deserve as much attention as the Holocaust is getting now.

Comfort Women across Asia rally for Japan apology Aug 2005

Posted by: hcpen1111
Comfort Women across Asia rally for Japan apology Aug 2005

Nanking Massacre Museum Commemoration Aug 2005

Posted by: hcpen1111
Nanking Massacre Museum Commemoration Aug 2005

Japanese women rally for Comfort women Aug 10 2005

Posted by: hcpen1111
Japanese women rally for Comfort women Aug 10 2005

Comfort Women Stories 慰安婦的故事 慰安婦の物語

Posted by: hcpen1111

Former Korean comfort women tell of wartime ordeal

Click Pic for more photos.

One of the most heart rendering and atrocious crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Forces during WW2 is the comfort women system. The comfort women refer to the 200 000 or so Asian women, mostly of Korean origin, forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial army during WW2. Many of them were merely girls at the time which suited the purpose of the system which was set up to prevent rapes of civilian populations by allowing the rape of some girls to 'save' the wider female population as well as prevent sexual diseases from spreading through control of the women. However, as is now known, the system did not prevent rapes by the japanese troops who raped millions of Asian women from 1937-1945 despite the comfort women provided by the Army.

Japan till this day has NEVER officially apologised to the women and all comfort women lawsuits have been rejected by japan's courts. The Japanese govt even denied their existence as well as govt involvement until 1993 when a Japanese journalist found crucial documents damning the Japanese wartime military's full involvement in the system and published it in a major national newspaper forcing govt admittance.

On Aug 10 2005 rallies were held across Asia demanding an official apology and reparations for comfort women as their numbers are dwindling year by year. However, Japan's govt continues to refuse any laws officially compensating them nor issue any formal apology issued by the parliament. Korean former comfort women have also rallied with supporters in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul every Wednesday since 1993 and continue to protest for an official apology and compensation till this very day, 60 years after that devastating war which left them with irreparable scars, both on their bodies and on minds.

From now on, i shall include testimonies of former comfort women regularly under a new column called: Comfort Women to allow ppl who view my blog who are not familiar with this issue to gain an insight into it and refute claims by Japanese lunatics (namely the nationalist right-wing) who continue to claim that these women were prostitutes who went for the money.

All testimonies have been compiled by organisations, reporters, academics,researchers and institutes involved in the comfort women issue.

Yuan Zhulin's Story:

Haunted by violent memories as a wartime sex slave for Japanese troops, Yuan Zhulin, 84, says it is impossible to sleep at night.
As she sits awake holed up in the dank and spartan room she calls home in central China's Wuhan city, the memories of atrocities committed against her ravage her mind.
She is not alone, as up to 200,000 other women across the region were forced into wartime sex slavery during Japan's conquest of Asia, although the number still alive to tell their story is rapidly dwindling.
"I can't forget the past, it's always on my mind," Yuan told AFP in an interview as China staged widespread anti-Japanese protests over the past two weekends.
She often weeps uncontrollably, burying her head in her arms as she recounts a personal history so full of pain and suffering it is hard to believe her story is not some fictional horror.
But her tears and the physical scars bear testament to the awful truth, one that after decades of silence she says must be told before she goes, willingly, to her Catholic God -- where she hopes to "suffer no more."
And so each time, after drying her eyes and regaining her composure, Yuan continues her harrowing tale.
"More than 10 Japanese soldiers waited outside my room everyday," said the frail woman, who was 17 when troops arrived in Wuhan and promptly renamed her Masako and forced her into prostitution.
"They had no patience when waiting outside. They would kick the door with their boots and they would scare me to death and I cried and cried. After the 10 soldiers had left I couldn't even sit, it was so painful," Yuan said.
"I'm a little embarrassed talking about this but many of us couldn't even walk," she weeps, adding that her years as a comfort woman, the euphemistic term for forced prostitution, had done her body irreparable damage.
After an abortion endangered her life, she had to continue serving soldiers despite pain so excruciating that she was eventually given medicine.
"But after taking the pills I could never get pregnant again," Yuan said.
Less than a year after she arrived at the brothel -- around the time that Wuhan, under months of gas bombardments, finally fell to Imperial troops in October 1938 -- Yuan and some other young women hatched an escape plan.
But unable to surmount the electric wire surrounding their prison home, they were caught and beaten to within an inch of their lives.
"They kicked us and bashed us, and there is still a scar on my back and it's still very painful," Yuan said, showing the large crater-like scars on her lower waist. "My bones were broken by the kicks."
Things took a mild turn for the better when one sympathetic Japanese soldier promised to come to her aid.
"He left my room without sleeping with me, he knew that I was suffering. He was a good man. He told me to wait for him to one day come and take me away," said Yuan, who sometimes has trouble remembering names and precise dates.
In the meantime, another Japanese officer took a liking to her round-faced good looks and pulled her out of the den to make her his sole concubine.
Six months later, the kind Japanese soldier kept his word, helping to end her one-and-half life-altering years in the brothel.
"We had nothing, life was hard, but better than living in there," she said of the ensuing relationship with the man that lasted until the end of the war.
It was a Chinese woman named Zhang Xiuying, however, who tricked Yuan and a handful of other women into prostitution, by promising employment in a hotel as a maid along with a small advance.
At the time, Yuan was desperate to feed her newborn child and accepted the proposal in hopes of helping her family, only to find herself a sex slave.
Her destitute parents had already given away her two younger sisters because there was not enough to eat, and her father later died of malnutrition.
After the Japanese arrived and Yuan was forced into the brothel she never saw her child again.
"My poor little baby. She was so pretty and our neighbors would drop in my place to see her, and she just died like that (at 9 months)," she said as her asthmatic breathing became hard.
"You can tell how much I hate the Japanese."
Speaking of crimes in Wuhan internment camps where the Japanese forced a huge number of Chinese to live, Yuan tells of one man who was beaten for forgetting his identification before being thrown into the Yangtze river and left for dead.
"If someone got sick or had a fever, they would just burn them to death because they were afraid of the plague," she said.
According to official Chinese estimates, 35 million Chinese were killed or injured in the Sino-Japanese war between 1937-45.
Asked how she saw modern Japan, Yuan said:" There are good people in Japan," before adding that "it's fine that we do business with the Japanese, but we shouldn't be bullied by Japan anymore."
Like many women in China, South Korea, North Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and even Japan who were forced into slavery by Imperial troops, Yuan's anger is directed at Tokyo's refusal to financially compensate for damages.
She was in Tokyo in 2000 for a lawsuit brought by Chinese comfort women, but the court ruled against them.
Japan has repeatedly refused to compensate sex slaves and forced laborers from World War II, saying a 20-year period for suits had expired and treaties provided for reparations to states, not individuals.
According to Su Zhiliang, an expert on comfort women at Shanghai Normal University, not one former sex slave has managed to get an apology or money from the Japanese government.
The issue, along with Tokyo's approval of a nationalist school textbook which glosses over wartime atrocities, and its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, has sparked two weekends of violent protests in China.
"My wish is that Japan apologizes to me and admits their mistake and gives me proper compensation," said Yuan, who only draws a monthly state pension of 230 yuan (27.70 dollars).

Credits to AP.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Nanking Massacre Exhibition opens in China Aug 10

Posted by: hcpen1111
Nanking Massacre Exhibition opens in China Aug 10

Opens in the National Museum of China to run for 20 days showing hundreds of documents and photos, some never released before. The Nanking Massacre refers to the 1937 Dec 13 -1938 Feb massacre which occured in the former Chinese capital of Nanking where Japanese forces murdered 300 000 or so Chinese civilians and surrendered soldiers turning the Yangtse River waters which runs through Nanking red for several days. 20 000-80 000 women and girls were also raped by the Japanese soldiers. This was not an isolated incident with Japanese Imperial soldiers killing up to 35 million Chinese between 1937-1945 and raping millions more chinese women and girls (exact numbers will never be known since not a single woman has ever come forward to admit she was raped by the japanese during WW2) . Please note women raped are separate from the Comfort women system as the comfort women were forced sex slaves kept in army brothels whilst rapes are classified by me as those not taken into army brothels but nevertheless raped in their homes by invading Japanese armies.

Former WW2 Sino-American joint Airforce Comm Event

Posted by: hcpen1111
Former WW2 Sino-American joint Airforce Comm Event

A commemoration event where medals were handed out to former pilots of the Joint Sino-American Airforce composed of Chinese and American pilots who worked together to defend China against the invading Japanese forces.

HK Official Commemoration Event of 60th Anni WW2

Posted by: hcpen1111
HK Official Commemoration Event of 60th Anni WW2

Friday, August 12, 2005

Korean Films with Gay Content (Gay Korea Column)

As a continuation of my posts and discussions on gay issues in Asia, I will discuss the presence of homosexuality in Korean film and TV dramas. As everyone knows (i assume) Korea is not a place famous for its gay and lesbian presence or for gay and lesbian rights. In fact, i think it is fair to say Korea is the most backward in terms of gay and lesbian rights and acceptance of homosexuality when compared to China, Taiwan, HK and Japan. In these other countries, after my own knowledge and observation, at the very least gays and lesbians presence is felt in the media and in societal thinking to some extent whereas in Korea there is little talk on the mere existence of Korean homosexuality unlike in China/Taiwan/HK and Japan where at least the existence of Chinese homosexuals and Japanese homosexuals is recognised by the general public.
However, although the Korean media seldom portray homosexuality as compared to the common occurence of lesbian and gay themes in Chinese media and Japanese media(this may surprise some westerners and also asians to know that homosexuality is not THAT taboo in the chinese and japanese media) there have been slight and noticeable progress in terms of portrayals of gays and lesbians in the Korean media in recent years which i have picked up on and which have surprised me. Not only have the portrayals given positive images of gays and lesbian, they have showed KOREANS as gay and lesbians dismissing the myth that only 'degenerate decadent westerners' can be gays and lesbians. I will review recent films which have included some gay content and note these are all mainstream and popular films indicating Korean society may be slowly opening up to accepting at least some gay and lesbian presence in the media given the film production companies readiness in allowing the gay content.
(1) Oh! Brothers (2003) Lee Jung Jae In this box office hit, there was one scene where they showed two korean guys walking into a love motel and asking for a room with a bed. The receptionist thought they just wanted a rest and could not find another hotel but when they requested a room with a bed, the receptionist was shocked and also it showed one guy touching the other guy's bum and other guy all shy then Lee Jung Jae finds his brother who is mentally challenged and the adult brother cries and hugs LJJ leading to misunderstanding by the gay couple and receptionist that they were gay too...another scene also indicated homosexuality where LJJ remembers he and his brother have similar belly button and whilst his brother is in a coma jumps on his bro and tries to compare their belly buttons when the doctor walks in and again misunderstands.....

(2) S diary (2004) Kim Sun Ah. One of my favourite Korean films of 2004 which i shall review in depth in another post but in this film they also explicitly included a gay couple as her best friends and showed them in a loving caring relationship in stark contrast to the straight men who treated her badly and her admiring their loving relationship....they also helped her in her revenge plot and the gay couple were good looking too with overall positive images of gays again..

(3) My Boyfriend is Type B Lee Dong Gun The famous scene where LDG takes revenge on behalf of his gf by pretending to be the gay lover of the teacher and storming in and slapping the teacher in the middle of class and whilst sobbing says 'True love never dies you player!' and then to show that gays too exist in Korea as the audience knows nothing is going on between the teacher and LDG as it was a prank, another male student immediately gets up and says 'you promiscuous player' and bolts indicating the teacher did in fact have a gay relationship.

(4) The Horror Highschool Girls series with Momento Mori being the most famous where lesbianism is heavily hinted at between the two girl's relationships.

All for now but there will be more Korean Films + TV dramas with gay content reviews to come.....

Sayonara Japan さようなら 日本

It has been awhile since i last posted as i have been busy settling down back in Melbourne, Australia after i came back from exchange in Tokyo, Japan. I recently came back from Japan and i would like to share a few thoughts on my exchange experience in Japan. Firstly, i found it to be an extremely worthwhile and eye opening experience and of course my Japanese language skills improved vastly in Japan. I also found the Japanese people to be kind and helpful and really got to know some Japanese on a personal level. I grew to like the Japanese as previously i always viewed them as a monolithic group without individuality (as i am sure most foreigners do) but came to realise that Japanese people had individual personalities and characteristics . One example was of this bakery lady who must have been in her 50s or more who engaged in friendly conversation with me despite my poor Japanese skills and she was really dramatic with hand gestures and all and was really bubbly completely unlike the conventional image of the quiet demure Japanese lady.
I also found the Japanese to be really kind and helpful due to a few experiences i had in Japan. For example, they would always say sorry すみません ごめんなさい whenever they passed by from behind on their bikes or when i made way for them which really impressed me as there wasn't a need in my opinion to say sorry....Further on many occasions when i was lost and asked for directions in English, they would always help me despite language barriers and my poor Japanese. Even when some were hesitant at first when i approached them as they may have thought i was some bad guy or something, they eventually lightened up when they knew i was lost. There was even this guy who first attempted to evade me and moved away but felt guilty or something and came back asking what i needed and this other time at Keio when this really cold guy gave a scowl and said he was busy when he heard me speak english and then later another japanese guy helped me find the place i wanted to go and the scowl guy who had rejected me earlier must have seen the kindness of the other guy when i bumped into him later the same day, apologised to me and admitted he was being too cool and unfriendly and asked if i needed help!! This all greatly improved my image of Japan though i would say not all my friends and classmates thought the same way...many complained about the Japanese fakeness and unfriendliness which i cannot relate to given my nice experiences with the Japanese.
All in all ,my image of Japan and the Japanese has improved though the rubbish Japanese media with its biased reporting regarding Japanese WW2 issues did affect my nice image of Japan.

I am definitely planning to return to Tokyo to stay for longer like 1,2 yrs after my brief exchange experience although that would have to be after i graduate from melbourne university. I'll miss so many things of tokyo till then like the izakayas 居酒屋 and its unique food, the japanese desserts like rice balls in red bean soup 白玉洗剤, iced mango drink at Excelsior Cafe, ramen, the convenience of tokyo and the bright lights of shinjuku, shibuya, etc....Till I return , さようなら......日本