anonymous asked:

I've read in textbooks and seen on television so much stuff about how Japan was bad in the Second World War, but I don't think that's entirely true. I have Japanese relatives had to go through so much in the fire bombings and everything else. Yet I won't deny the Japanese did some terrible things too. But I guess my question is, is there really a "true" answer as to whether Japan was the "bad guy" or the victim (would go on but damn character limit won't let me)?

I want you to think about what you’re saying…you’re suggesting that because Japanese civilians suffered horrifically in the firebombings, it implies that Japan wasn’t “bad”. That’s not how it works. These things can co-exist. German civilians did die in bombings and suffer but the crimes of the Nazi regime are still real. And tbh, it’s pretty offensive to me as a descendant of people who suffered under Japanese rule.

Japanese civilians did suffer horribly and the memories of your relatives are very much real, but when it comes down to it- Japan was at war to begin with because like Germany, it was an aggressive and expansionist empire. The war in Asia after all, began before 1939 with the 1931 Invasion of Manchuria and the 1937 Sino-Japanese war- all instigated by Japan. My grandmother can remember disguising herself as a boy so she wouldn’t be raped, how once Japanese soldiers barged into her father’s house and everyone was terrified, or how people who didn’t bow correctly to Japanese soldiers on the streets were beaten, or how the Kempeitai had informers everywhere and executed hundreds of young men in mass graves. I mean there was a clear attempt to assimilate Asia into an empire- people were made to speak Japanese and names were changed to Japanese ones. There was the sex slavery of Comfort Women, the Bataan Death March, the slave labour on the Burma Railway and human experimentation in Unit 731, which was every bit like what happened under Dr Mengele. By the end of it, approx 20 million Asians were dead from massacres and starvation. 

The reason I come out strongly against it when people say things similar to what you have is because stories are frequently used by the Japanese government to dishonestly push a narrative that Japan did nothing wrong during WW2. To me, Japan has no right to portray itself as a victim if it doesn’t also acknowledge the millions more victims of Japanese imperialism. We would be having an entirely different conversation if Japan had apologised and fully acknowledged its actions during WW2 like Germany has- a discussion about Japanese victims would therefore not be quite so susceptible to playing into the kind of manipulation that it is by government revisionists right now. So while it’s perfectly right to talk about the atomic bombings or the horrors of the firebombing attacks, it cannot be removed from the context of Japan as an imperialist power fighting in humanity’s bloodiest conflict.

The Allies also committed their own war crimes and the atomic bombing was wrong (it amounted to collective punishment because it’s a civilian target). Japanese civilians suffered horribly and I sympathise with that- but there really isn’t a way around recognising the moral culpability of the Empire of Japan as a brutal imperialist power like Nazi Germany during WW2. Like Germany, WW2 Japan was infected with its own virulent form of ethnic nationalism and imperialist ambitions. 

YANGON, MYANMAR - The Shangri-La hotel in downtown Yangon is ostentatiously luxurious. From a buffet with every world dish imaginable to the well-stockedperiod bar, the 5-star hotel is an oasis of affluence amidst the poverty outside its shiny exterior.

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