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Popular Japanese comic rewriting history

Old 12-03-05, 05:49 PM
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Popular Japanese comic rewriting history

http://channels.netscape.com/news/st...84.htm&sc=1404
Nationalist Comics Become Popular in Japan

By HIROKO TABUCHI

TOKYO (AP) - In one book, crazed Chinese communist guerrillas spray benevolent Japanese troops with cyanide. In another, savage Korean immigrants massacre innocent Tokyo residents in the wake of World War II.

If this sounds like a reversal of Japan's history of aggression in Asia, that is just what the authors intend. The scenes appear in two best-selling examples of a growing literary genre in Japan: nationalist comics.

The trend, typified by the runaway hits ``Hate Korea: A Comic'' and ``Introduction to China,'' has struck a chord among young readers who resent Japan's being cast as the bully in 20th century history - and say it is time for a change.

``These books finally depict history from a Japanese perspective, and there is nothing wrong with that,'' says Atsushi Iwata, 22, student at Tokyo's prestigious Waseda University who attends a weekly seminar by a co-author of ``Introduction to China.''

``It's the right of any nation to interpret history as it feels it should,'' he said.

The interpretation in the recent comic books is nothing short of provocative - at a time of rising tensions between Tokyo and its neighbors, and as Japan takes a decided tilt toward an unapologetic view of previous military action.

``Hate Korea'' tells the tale of wide-eyed Japanese college freshmen who discover that Japan's colonial rule over the Korean peninsula in 1910-45 - seen in Korea as brutal subjugation - was a well-intentioned attempt to bring civilization to a backward country.

``It's not an exaggeration to say modern Korea was built by Japan,'' one of the Japanese students, eyes shining, declares toward the end of the book. Her Korean debate opponent, fuming at the mouth, is unable to respond.

The China tome covers similar territory, vehemently denying Japanese atrocities in China during its invasion during the 1930s and 40s, such as biological experiments carried out by the Imperial Army's top-secret Unit 731.

Even more venom is reserved for modern Chinese. The book accuses Beijing of distorting history, running crime syndicates in Japan and flooding the country with ``AIDS-infested prostitutes,'' and calls for stricter immigration controls against Chinese workers.

The formula sells: The Korea book has gone through five reprints and sold more than 320,000 copies since its release - in September. The China book has sold 180,000 copies since its appearance in August.

The comics build on a genre established by comic artist Yoshinori Kobayashi in the 1990s. His ``Manifesto of new pride'' series of comics - which claim Japan waged a noble war to liberate Asia from a racist world order - have sold over a million copies. Japan has a population of about 127 million people.

Proponents expect the trend to expand.

``This genre may still be in a nascent stage,'' said Sharin Yamano, author of ``Hate Korea,'' in an e-mail interview. ``But I think the comics are selling well because they resonate with people who feel increasingly uneasy over Japan's neighbors.''

That uneasiness has been growing in recent years.

Tensions have risen between Tokyo and Beijing, for instance, in tandem with China's spectacular rise as an economic and military power in Asia. The two are sparring over everything from territory and underwater gas reserves to history and Japan's military alliance with the United States.

Ties with the aggressive communist regime in North Korea are tense over Pyongyang's kidnapping of Japanese citizens, and South Korea has angrily protested Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to a Tokyo war shrine that some say glorifies the country's wartime past.

In addition to Koizumi's shrine visits, a powerful clique of nationalist educators is encouraging a rollback of mentions of Japanese atrocities in public school history books.

That tilt has reverberated through the culture. Recent movies have cast Japan's wartime military in a positive light, the Yasukuni war shrine has released a CD of patriotic songs, and Internet sites have become magnets for diatribes against Japan's critics.

``There's definitely a change in feeling in Japan,'' said Ko Bunyu, the Taiwan-born author of ``Introduction to China'' with cartoonist George Akiyama. ``People are finally accepting our views as valid.''

But many Japanese are disturbed by the trend.

Toshio Hanafusa, an activist who has campaigned for compensation for Korean women forced to work as wartime prostitutes for Japan's Imperial army, blames the insecurity and disillusionment of younger Japanese for the popularity of the books.

``Perhaps they seek pride in the idea of a more assertive Japan,'' he said. ``And cleansing Japan's history of any sense of guilt bolsters that pride.''
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Old 12-03-05, 06:16 PM
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I dont know how to take this...obviously these guys are totally full of shit....but a kick-ass Japan would REALLY help us out
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Old 12-03-05, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
I dont know how to take this...obviously these guys are totally full of shit....but a kick-ass Japan would REALLY help us out
How does distorting history to gloss over or justify atrocities make them kick-ass?
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Old 12-03-05, 08:07 PM
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At least Germany owned up to its sins. The trend for these modern countries (Japan, Turkey, etc) refusing to acknowledge past atrocities is disturbing.
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Old 12-03-05, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Birrman54
At least Germany owned up to its sins. The trend for these modern countries (Japan, Turkey, etc) refusing to acknowledge past atrocities is disturbing.
Agreed and certainly don't want to compare the actions of Germany to Japan and Turkey, but all three have a significant amount of racist/radical 'nationalistic' deniers. Remember though, that what happened in Germany, also happened in Germany while the atrocities of Japan and the Ottoman Empire happened away from the view of most of it's citizens making it much easier for propaganda, etc. to do it's work. I bring this up in no way to excuse or make any moral judgement, but simply from a sociological standpoint to try and understand why these situations are different.

And I agree, it is disturbing.
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Old 12-03-05, 09:50 PM
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I thought Japan did apologize or was that for Pearl Harbor?

I thought a few months ago when there were Chinese attacking the Japanese embassay, the Japanese PM went over to China and apologized for all the bad stuff they did in WWII.
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Old 12-03-05, 10:04 PM
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Well it's good to see Japan has it's own Michael Moore.
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Old 12-03-05, 11:28 PM
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After <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan">further research</a>, I found that I was wrong, and so I deleted my post.

Comfort women are mentioned several times, but there's no mention whatsoever of Nanjing or anything of the sort, which is echoed in textbooks:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanes...ks_controversy
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Old 12-03-05, 11:31 PM
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``It's not an exaggeration to say modern Korea was built by Japan,'' one of the Japanese students, eyes shining, declares toward the end of the book. Her Korean debate opponent, fuming at the mouth, is unable to respond.

"Ironic" declares the American student asked to judge the debate.
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Old 12-04-05, 12:09 AM
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At least this is not a Japanese law, rather few nutjobs thinking, unlike in France.
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Old 12-04-05, 02:41 AM
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Unlike Germany, Japan has NEVER properly apologised for its wartime atrocities. Their official line is that they express "regret" on the perceived suffering done onto other countries. What it means is that Japanese nowadays have zero idea about what their country was perpetrating at the time, and the textbook controvery is emblematic of the Japanese's total whitewashing of their crimes.

I'm not into laying "guilt" upon the new generation or that kind of BS, but "those who do not know their history are bound to repeat it". And it doesn't help that Japan remains very xenophobic in its outlook upon others, borderling on outright racism.

Last edited by Grimfarrow; 12-04-05 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 12-04-05, 05:58 AM
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Did the U.S. ever apologize for nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I know there are a thousand and one justifications for the decision to use atomic weapons against Japan, but the fact remains most americans don't see any reason to apologize for two of the most devastating attacks against civilian populations ever carried out in the history of mankind. The current U.S. administration is not above putting a positive spin on both current and past events either. I'm against re-interpreting history in the manner these Jack-Chick-clone fringe wacko's are doing, but not many nations can stake a claim to a free conscience and perfect integrity these days.

Last edited by Nutter; 12-04-05 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 12-04-05, 07:11 AM
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our choice was to nuke them or suffer a million casualties invading japan as well as millions of japanese dying. The US never set up slave labor camps, executed prisoners, had comfort women, etc.
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Old 12-04-05, 07:37 AM
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Well - we did have camps. Remember?
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Old 12-04-05, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Nutter
Did the U.S. ever apologize for nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
We won the war. We don't have to apologize.
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Old 12-04-05, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Well - we did have camps. Remember?
And we did apologize for those. If you people are serious and cannot see the difference between the Holocaust, interment camps and the atrocities that Japan committed and the decision to use nuclear weapons to end WWII, then I have vastly underestimated the intelligence of this board.
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Old 12-04-05, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Well - we did have camps. Remember?
and while they were wrong, they were no where near the level of slave labor or death camps, and the we haven't tried to cover them up
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Old 12-04-05, 11:16 AM
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is still doesn't make them right nor is it an excuse to say, "well it was never as bad". killing civilians is killing civilians is killing civilians. Machiavelli would be proud, let's kill a million to save a couple of millions.

Last edited by BuddhaWake; 12-04-05 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 12-04-05, 12:52 PM
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We should have just tried to hug them.
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Old 12-04-05, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
How does distorting history to gloss over or justify atrocities make them kick-ass?
I mean it would be good for us if the future leaders of Japan took a hand in thier own national defence, and drop this paficism horeshit
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Old 12-04-05, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
I mean it would be good for us if the future leaders of Japan took a hand in thier own national defence, and drop this paficism horeshit
They're not allowed to assemble an army.
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Old 12-04-05, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BuddhaWake
is still doesn't make them right nor is it an excuse to say, "well it was never as bad". killing civilians is killing civilians is killing civilians. Machiavelli would be proud, let's kill a million to save a couple of millions.
I will not aruge for or against what happened, but it is cowerdly and absurd to think that killing some to save many, many others is not the morally right thing to do.
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Old 12-04-05, 03:00 PM
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Do all these comics come with a free copy of Hei tai yang 731?
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Old 12-04-05, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Ovid
I will not aruge for or against what happened, but it is cowerdly and absurd to think that killing some to save many, many others is not the morally right thing to do.

Especially when they are trying to kill you.
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Old 12-04-05, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Brain Stew
They're not allowed to assemble an army.
That's why they've been such a success since 1945.
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