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Thread: History Japanese Style?

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Recently I was speaking to one of my friends who was born and raised in Japan, and during the course of the conversation for whatever reason the subject of World War II came up.

    I asked him how much he knew about the War, and he told me that even though he had a profound connection to the War, (both of his grandfathers had died in combat), he still knew next to nothing about what had happend during the course of the War, or why...

    I asked him to explain himself and what he said truely shocked me, (and contrary to popular belief: I don't shock easily). You see, he recalled that in his entire school-aged-life he had never heard one of his teachers mention the War, (other than a single passing reference to the bombing of Hiroshima), and moreover, that if you examine a standard Japanese school history textbook that it covers the period up to 1938, abruptly stops, and then starts again, to cover only the period from 1946 onward. In other words, (according to my friend): "there is absolutely no mention of WW2 in Japanese school texts, and as far as the Japanese education system is concerned: the War never happened at all..."

    I've often heard that Japanese persons are "different" from Westerners in a great many ways, but I can not for the life of me comprehend this side of their collective mentality. To be honest it makes me angry, (and contrary to popular belief: I don't anger easily).

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    There have been rumblings about this for decades, I mean how many times have we read of their unwillingness to apologize for past transgressions while Hiroshima and Nagasaki are extolled as examples of American militarism. Experiments on human guinea pigs are politely forgotten. Korean girls, forced into prostitution to service Japanese soldiers are ignored.

    They say history is written by the victors, but in this case I doubt it
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Yep, they also say: "those who forget history are condemned to repeat it", but in this case I hope not...

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    On the last forum incarnation, there was an English user full of vitriol for the Japanese. He was married to a Japenese woman ,and lived in.. Kansai, I think ,and taught English.
    His most basic complaint was that the Japanese (and these are his words, not mine) have no means or concept of handling a global-multicultural progressive concept of world that does not revolve around Japanese culture. One statement he made was that people there would look at him curiously and ask, "Why you speak Japanese? You not Japanese!" He also went on to mention Japanese materialism as he saw it, etc. I wish I had saved them somehow, it was a really interesting read.


    [This message has been edited by solypsist (edited 11-09-2000).]

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    Senior Member Senior Member FwSeal's Avatar
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    In the past I've talked to Japanese about the war and what struck me was the range of opinions on it - and yet at the same time the war was viewed in a very abstract light (almost as if were discussing Takeda Shingen's battles with Kenshin). In fact, Japanese-Americans seem to be FAR more ready to argue about the causes and results of the war then the Japanese themselves (many of whom are convinced the upcoming Pearl Harbor movie will somehow spark a wave of Japan-bashing here in the US... sheesh, most young Americans aren't aware who fought who in ww2....much less could care).
    At least in one sense, this is due to the relative lack of information available to Japan's young people on the causes and course of the war. The Nanking Massacre, for example, is either denied outright in Japan or downplayed, even as the Japanese in fact filmed some of the events.
    I think the problem is that PC is just as important in Japan as it is here. No one really likes to think of themselves as having once been ruthless imperialists - though just about every developed nation was at one point in time.

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    Southpaw Samurai Member Ii Naomasa's Avatar
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    The Japanese are notorious for forgetting the bad/undesirable aspects of their history and culture. Look at the whole Burakumin/Eta issue, which, although recognized a bit more today because Westerners have made a big deal about the treatment this hidden 'sub-class' gets, is still sometihng many Japanese seem to pretend doesn't exist (until their son or daughter wants to marry someone who's lineage is from this group).

    Generally speaking, they also like to think of themselves as one big family and therefore have issues when someone attempts to 'move in' by learning the language, etc. That's part of the reason behind the comment the poster solypsist speaks of got. It's a shame that I missed that thread from the old days (guess I wasn't as good a lurker as I thought) as it sounds interesting.

    In the defense of the Japanese, they are hardly the only ones who ignore aspects of their history. One only needs to look at the discussion thread here that turned into a debate over the causes of the American Civil War to see how the American educational institution twists history to make things seem righteous (and how sometimes those who attempt to correct such go overboard in the opposite direction).

    Ask a Japanese person about WW2 and maybe you'll get a very limited, vague knowledge of the subject. Ask an American person and maybe you'll get a very limited, often exaggerated version of the subject. Which is worse? We Americans get a brief overview of the early part of WW2, but most of the time any history class makes it seem like the war started in 1941, which is laughable and it often makes students feel like we are the reason the war was won (which isn't outright wrong as our involvement was crucial to the success of the Allies, but infers sole responsibility). It also neglects to tell of the things the Allies did during the war that we're not very proud of, including the bombings of cities which, while often with the goal of destroying tactical or economic targets were haphazard and destroyed and killed many. In Japan alone U.S. Bombers destroyed (or damaged to the point of uselessness) nearly half the buildings in urban areas and roughly 700,000 civilians died (for some reason, I quickly wanted to verify this number and while I found an older American calculation and a fairly recent work that both list this number as fairly accurate, two more modern American sources seem to stick to a 300,000 or so number...very odd). Whichever number is correct, the number of Japanese civilians who were killed in U.S. bombings outnumbered the number of U.S. servicemen that died. Or look at the number of Japanese-Americans that were sent to internment camps for no reason outside of their ethnicity...American kids often have to discover things like that on their own, as schools tend to barely recognize such. Now, I don't point this out to say anyone was necessarily bad (nearly every country involved in the war directly or indirectly killed civilians), but merely to point out how little the less-glamorous aspects of the war are left out of the education of nearly every country. The Japanese tend to seem obvious in it because of the way their society works and the lack of loud, radical thinking.

    My apologies for rambling, I just don't think we can single out any one country for allowing any kind patriotic/cutural pride to blind them to the harsh realities of history. Many of those who post here are at least fairly intelligent and most have some interest in military history, so you may be familiar with a lot of the details of various wars throughout history, but try quizzing someone who's not into military history or history in general and you might be amazed at the misconceptions brought about by ignorance and patriotism.
    Naomasa Ii
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    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    not to digress, but there's a neat little book called The People's History of the United States, that some might want to read.
    in keeping in mind with the selective editing of history and all...

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Bloody brilliant post Ii Naomasa! I really appreciate your ideas and I'm glad you took the time to express yourself at such length.

    It's strange, I always remember my father telling me about the Battle of Tannenburg in 1410 in which Polish forces defeated the Teutonic Knights of Germany. My father, then went on to tell me about a virtually unknown part of history which took place some 529 years later.

    It seems that in 1939 the very first thing that the invading Wehrmact forces did was b-line for the monument at the Tannenburg battle site and destroy it. -Imagine that, more than 500 years later and it was still the foremost thing on thier minds...

    To me there is something innately monsterous about wanting to erase the past, and though I am sorry if I came off sounding zealous in my initial post, I am genuinely distressed, and saddened, to discover this facet of a Japan's collective mentality.

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Member Member Anssi Hakkinen's Avatar
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    Quote The Japanese are notorious for forgetting the bad/undesirable aspects of their history and culture.[/QUOTE]

    I first found this odd, because if any people can be said to be really conscious about their history, the Japanese are near the top of that list. As has been previously stated on this forum, the samurai virtues still live on among the population, Ieyasu and Kusunoki are still remembered, etc. The Japanese don't seem to be particularly "forgetful" of even their "ruthless imperialist" past, given that Hideyoshi's Korean invasion is (in my limited understanding) a significant issue in modern-day historical research.

    Were you generalizing when you said that the Japanese history books have a gap starting at the year 1938? The Japanese "ruthless imperialism" and, by extension, the Pacific War started already in (about) 1933, with the Korea invasion, and continued throughout the thirties relatively without pause. What were perhaps their more horrendous atrocities occurred during that time, in China and Southeast Asia.

    If those things are not "swept under the rug", maybe the silence about the Japanese participation in the Second World War has a simple reason: shame. As we know, losing face is the worst thing that can happen to a samurai, and a defeat as total and complete as the WW2 one is unequalled in Japanese history. Heck, the state army was at one point (I don't know at all when; pray tell if you do) called "the Ever Victorious Army", in full belief that it was physically incapable of being defeated.

    On the other hand, if we're looking at the general falsification (yes, I call it that) of Japan's less-than-glorious history, the case is serious. There are many countries that have not come to terms with their past, in regard to WW2 or otherwise, and they truly are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. Take Austria for an example, with a significantly powerful right-wing nazi sympathizer party, or France, with Jean-Marie Le Pen. Or, yes, the Russian Federation - the Communist Party and its former officials have much more power there than they have any right to.

    Quote Ask a Japanese person about WW2 and maybe you'll get a very limited, vague knowledge of the subject. Ask an American person and maybe you'll get a very limited, often exaggerated version of the subject.[/QUOTE]

    Either is basically as bad. The Japanese (it's more common than that, of course) problem means that the people have a history of inhuman acts without knowing about it. The American (or any similar) version means that the people have a history of inhuman acts and accept it. In both cases, history may well repeat itself.

    Quote We Americans get a brief overview of the early part of WW2, but most of the time any history class makes it seem like the war started in 1941, which is laughable and it often makes students feel like we are the reason the war was won[/QUOTE]

    This causes an attitude I've run into many times on the 'Net, which I've dubbed the "We Won The War And Saved Europe" syndrome. Every time it comes up I find it harder and harder to resist the urge to scream: "Thanks a bunch, on behalf of the whole of Eastern Europe!!" (No smileys.)

    Quote In Japan alone U.S. Bombers destroyed (or damaged to the point of uselessness) nearly half the buildings in urban areas and roughly 700,000 civilians died (for some reason, I quickly wanted to verify this number and while I found an older American calculation and a fairly recent work that both list this number as fairly accurate, two more modern American sources seem to stick to a 300,000 or so number...very odd). Whichever number is correct, the number of Japanese civilians who were killed in U.S. bombings outnumbered the number of U.S. servicemen that died.[/QUOTE]

    I was surprised by this... By the lowness of the figures, that is. The 300k one can't be correct - no way. I've been told, by numerous sources, that Curtis E. LeMay's bombing raids were, at least in part, or possibly exclusively, meant as "terror bombings" - i.e. saturation attacks on purely civilian targets with the purpose of weakening the resolve/morale of the enemy nation. I have no difficulty believing it. During one night-time bombing on Tokyo, American planes dropped napalm bombs on the city's suburban areas, which had a significant amount of older, paper/wood-construction houses. The result was an immense fire that enveloped a third to one half of the city - possibly the greatest city fire in the history of mankind. The Blitz came nowhere near this kind of devastation... Indeed, the only thing that did was Dresden, another of Le'May's masterpieces.

    The Good Guys of the war, no?

    Quote My apologies for rambling, I just don't think we can single out any one country for allowing any kind patriotic/cutural pride to blind them to the harsh realities of history.[/QUOTE]

    No apology required - as others have commented, that was one of the best posts I've read on this forum.

    "One who does not know events that occurred prior to his birth will forever remain a child." -Cato Censorinus (approximate quote)

    [This message has been edited by Anssi Hakkinen (edited 11-10-2000).]
    "It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this".
    - Yamamoto Tsunetomo: Hagakure

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Quote Were you generalizing when you said that the Japanese history books have a gap starting at the year 1938?[/QUOTE]

    No, I was strictly commenting in relation to my friend's experience with the Japanese education system. He said that this 1938-1946 gap was an earmark of his school textbooks. As far as the content of the other history books in Japan goes, (for instance those commercially available), I haven't a clue...

    To summarize: perhaps it is more accurate to say that I am angered, not by the collective Japanese mentality, but rather by that Nation's mandated policies regarding the "education" of it's young people about the Second World War.

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    I've been to Europe quite a few times, both England and the mainland, and I have to mention by way of comment the mentality of Europe towards WW2. My sense is that it's still as fresh in the identity of the people as it was in the population of Europe during the actual war years...during tours of wineries etc. someone always asked questions concerning business during The War, measuring the progress of Everything by It (WW2).
    Americans, by contrast..well, let's just say we don't refer to it as THE War. And I'll just keep it simple and say it's probably because this is simply a matter of impact.
    I occasionally get Japanese TV, (who doesn't) late at night, and it seems their cultural references still hark back to feudal Japan (look at the armor for the giant robot anime for example).
    As for their lack of reference to WW2, there are several good opinions in the forward messages, and I see the point to all of them, but I'm sure somewhere is a Japanese asking, "Why these Europeans so occupied with WW2? That was a long time ago." What Europe finds important may not be what Japan finds important.
    (but I have to say being nuked is something I'd find pretty damn important)



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    Senior Member Senior Member FwSeal's Avatar
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    Rereading those interesting posts above, it occured to me that one of the reasons for what we are discussing may well be the vast difference of Japan today with Japan of, say, 1939. As one Japanese friend put it (and I gotta paraphrase this): 'That was a different world and we're a lot better off with it gone.'
    Added to this is the effort made to demilitarize Japan, which led to such laws as that which banned Japanese war veterans from gathering to talk about their experiences (in the way the US has its VFWs) in even a semi-official manner. Even the possesion of swords was subject to many restrictions and to the modern day, sword makers have to registered with the government (and regulated to a greater or lesser degree).

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    Senior Member Senior Member Zen Blade's Avatar
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    Great contributions by most ppl, and unfortunately, upon rereading the posts after writing mind I realized how redundant about half my post is...
    anyways,
    I am actually shocked at how shocked ppl are that these "down-playings" and "distortions or mis-renderings" of history occur.

    -Every society, every person would prefer not to think about what they have done wrong in the past, or at least try to minimize the number of ppl who know about it. Want to avoid public shame, guilt, blame, etc...
    -Every society does it as many of you have pointed out.

    --Even we Americans like to hide or downplay what we did in WWII to our Japanese population.
    -I live in CA (San Diego---LA area)... as Ii pointed out, the Japanese in these areas were imprisoned during WWII and ALL THEIR LANDS CONFISCATED. What did they get in return for it??? I think about... 5-10 yrs ago the survivors got a reimbursement check for like 5-10 grand each... And this is some of the choicest/most expensive land in the US.

    -I don't know about the rest of you, but I always get mad when ppl start to complain about "excessives" in a war that is long over. i.e. the bombings in Japan, Germany, England. They were things decided upon at that moment in time and more than likely self-serving, but it does no good to argue over them now. Especially when most of the ppl who argue over them are not fully informed about what was happening in the world at that point in time.

    DAMN! How did it get so long....

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    I think this status quo you speak of is in place for a very specific reason though Forest. And to my mind this reason is a residual of all that China, (and Korea), suffered at the hands of the Japanese during the Second World War.

    To put it bluntly I believe that China would wipe Japan off the map in a heartbeat if the Japanese even considered re-arming themselves. Hence Japan has a great deal to lose from any undue civilian or military posturing.

    This aforementioned notion might sound alarmist/parinoid, but historically the idea of a Nation "pussyfooting" after a major War is not unheard of. For example: my Country was originally slated to be called "The Kingdom of Canada". However, that name was scrapped in favour of the less threatening "Dominion of Canada" in a direct attempt to avoid antagonising our increasingly powerful neighbours to the South during the wake of the War of 1812.

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    The only way the Mainland Chinese could "wipe Japan off the map" is to go nuclear. There conventional forces couldn't even mount a successful invasion of Taiwan, they just don't have the infrastructure/startegic transport for such an operation. While the Russians are selling impressive quantities of modern arms there maintainability is questionable, and command and control spartan.

    Lest we forget Japan does have the second largest economy in the world, and an impressive technology base. Re-arming is more a matter of will than capability. If the Japanese increased defence spending to say 3-5% of GDP like we do in the States the balance of power would shift inexerably to Tokyo.
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

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    Quote It also neglects to tell of the things the Allies did during the war that we're not very proud of, including the bombings of cities which, while often with the goal of destroying tactical or economic targets were haphazard and destroyed and killed many. In Japan alone U.S. Bombers destroyed (or damaged to the point of uselessness) nearly half the buildings in urban areas and roughly 700,000 civilians died...[/QUOTE]

    To relate this back into the realm of Total War, John Ralston Saul notes in his exhaustive work on the rise of rational systems absent of morality, "Voltaire's Bastards":

    Quote For Sun Tzu "Those skilled in war subdue the enemy's army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them, and overthrow his state without protracted operations. Your aim must be to take the opponent's country intanct. This is the art of offensive strategy." Clearly he was not talking about offensive strategy as later interpreted by our World War I commanders or, for that matter, by the men who conceived the 1991 Iraq campaign, which began with sixty days of intensive, general bombing and ended with the oil infrstructure aflame and racial disorder.[/QUOTE]

    Saul goes on to say:

    Quote (Sun Tzu's) practical strategy is as fresh today as when he first laid it out in the courts of China. "What is of supreme imporatance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy. The next best thing is to disrupt his alliances. The next to attack his army. The worst policy is to attack cities." This brings to mind Mao's early strategy. More important still, it reminds us of the German and allied strategic bombing of cities, which had no effect. It was used again disastrously in Vietnam and is still the centerpiece of nuclear strategy.[/QUOTE]

    In other words, central to modern warfare and strategy are ideas that Sun Tzu discounted over two thousand years ago.

    Part of the problem, Saul says, is that staff officers control the battle from a command center at a distance, instead of allowing a creative field commander who is present on the battlefield to adapt to the changing conditions of combat. This is even more true in the age of technological combat, in which a soldier might not even see the face of his enemy. War is fought in abstract, symbolic terms with little pieces on maps. The officers in charge don't have to think of these unit counters as people under their command, warm bodies under threat of death.

    Secondly, Saul's argument goes, bureaucrats manage wars as they would a business enterprise. They have plans, charts, and graphs, but not the flexibility and originality demanded by Sun Tzu's strategy. Plus, troop movement an capturing territory become goals in and of themselves, instead of the goal being to win. Modern warfare thus becomes an unecessarily protracted excercise that costs a heavy price in both troops and civilian casualties.

    Vietnam was perfect illustration that all the planning and technology at an army's disposal won't win a war. What it will do is increase the level of death, horror, and suffering inflicted upon those directly involved.

    Dropping a nuclear bomb, for example, requires little imagination, and in WWII, was done in the abstract without the slightest idea of what the exact result would be -- especially in human terms.

    I think that what is clear is that in war, no one remains morally clean. Not only in respect to killing other human beings, whether in the fleash or in the abstract, but in the fact that under such circumstances, any consideration of standard morality tends to go out the window. Witness the recent atrocities in Yugoslavia.

    And as solypsist mentions, "The People's History of the United States" is an excellent and eye-opening book.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Quote If the Japanese increased defence spending to say 3-5% of GDP like we do in the States the balance of power would shift inexerably to Tokyo[/QUOTE]

    I feel that is completely erroneous; China would never under any circumstances allow Japan to re-arm, (not in our lifetime at least).

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    That's my point Kurando, unless they employed nuclear blackmail there's nothing the sleeping giant could do, at least not with the current inventory of armaments. Now if the arms transfers from Russian are allowed to continue unbridled for another few decades, or the quality of Chinese manufactured military hardware substantially improves then the world will wake up to a new super power.

    Japan could conceivably spend in excess of $100 billion annually, while current CIA estimates peg Chinese expenditures at betwwen $16-30 billion (depending on where the line is drawn between internal security forces and military forces).

    It's all a moot point anyway, the Japanese public has consistently nixed any large-scale expansion of the Self Defence Forces.
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

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    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    I have a friend who's Japanese and a professor at a university. i showed him this thread and his comment was: if you want to see real japanese, the place to go isnt japan, it's california. the california japanese are the ones who have continued the traditions of japan, some of which i dont necessarily agree with (treatment of women in their society) and are still subject to the bigotry of japan in even higher degrees. to wit, even in california your accent can make or break your reception. just like in japan, if you dont have a tokyo accent they'll call you a bumpkin and that's that.
    As for the textbook, it has everything to do with the location of where it was used.

    he wrote a bit more, but it was mostly personal stuff (his sister survived hiroshima, etc.) but it isnt really germaine to this thread.



    [This message has been edited by solypsist (edited 11-10-2000).]

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Very interesting comments Soly. Tell your friend to stop by sometime I'm sure we could learn a great deal more from him.

    Okay Black Ship, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one I guess. I don't really see why it comes down to dollars and cents though? If you look at the difference beteewn the GNP of the United States and North Vietnam in 1966, then by your logic you would say that since the US had the "power", Vietnam would be incapable of winning, but hey...

    As far as I am concerned these type of situations generally come down to a matter of will, and, (for the foreseeable future at least), China is determined to not allow Japan to re-arm. Moreover, Japan definitely recognises that fact.

    Don't get me wrong here; I am not contesting that Japan could conceivably spend 100 billion dollars on their defence annualy. Rather, I am puting forth that they would never get the chance to do so... If, as you suggest, Japan publicly contemplated a significant increase in their defence budget, you would see clear posturing from China. And if they actually went so far as to attempt to excercise this policy, (thereby initiating a military build-up), China would endeavour to stop them by any means necessary.

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    Cool Kurando,

    Will is the key here, whether in Vietnam or Sino-Japanese relations. If the United States had the will to continue in Viet Nam there is nothing the North could do, other than bleed and make us bleed.

    China is at this point in time a conventional weapons paper-tiger, with a small but nasty nuclear stick is all I'm saying. 2 million men in the field is all well and good, but if they can't get to their objective they're not so scary. Vietnam bloodied their nose pretty well during their border skirmish in the late 70s. Now give China another couples of decades with double-digit economic growth then you'll have a true behemoth.

    Until then Taiwan and Japan can only watch with growing apprehension.

    [This message has been edited by The Black Ship (edited 11-10-2000).]
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    You are making some good points there Blacky. I guess it's just a matter of perspective; to my mind wayward attitude is a far more dangerous thing than latent capablilty, and seemingly you feel it is the other way around.

    There is one thing I think we can both agree on however: when conjoined by a single Nation, (as was the case with the Japan in the 1930's), the presence of both wayward attitude and capablilty is truely terrifying!

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    Hey Kurando!

    Found a site on Chinese militay capabilites. After our discussions I thought you'd enjoy a trip over to it http://www.comw.org/cmp/
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Good stuff Blacky. Their capability is daunting, but certainly limited in some aspects.

    It seems to me that article you posted, (and the others on that site), dealt almost exclusively with a hypothetical invasion of Taiwan, but the data is largely applicable to compareable situation in Japan.

    I still think it's all about attitude though. When that big "wargames" incident occured off the coast of Taiwan earlier this year, (which happened coincided with major breakthroughs in the U.S./Chinese economic relation). U.S. delegates almost fell of their chairs when China flat out told them: "...Our policy concerning Taiwan supersedes any other considerations including the potential for an improved economic relationship with the United States..."

    LOL, I don't think Machiavelli would apporve of their approach, but when China means business, they mean bussiness!

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

  25. #25
    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    Look at it this way, if China does invade Taiwan (I think they'll blackmail them into capitulating though) then the whole region will have to decide- Chinese hegemony or increased mutual defense with the U.S. as the lynch-pin.

    Interesting times we live in
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

  26. #26
    Senior Member Senior Member ShaiHulud's Avatar
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    Ii Naomasa.....I don't subscribe to the relativism you espouse. Did America bomb cities? Yes. Did America slaughter prisoners out of hand? NO! Nor conduct medical experiments on them, nor starve them to death. Forgiveness of such brutality is made easy by such relativistic nonsense. But reality reveals the authors of such drivel to be false.
    A million dead in Nanking? Well, Hey, didn't YOU guys bomb Tokyo? The fact is, China was being raped LONG before America and Japan mixed it up. Japan, alone, had one million casualties in China BEFORE they attacked Pearl Harbor. They may obfuscate in Japan but China knows well what occured.
    Korea? Not a tree left standing in the entire country, completely stripped for Japan's sake. Draft workers to slave in Japan? It happened, without doubt. Force the WHOLE of Korea to stop using Korean and speak Japanese? They tried, truly. And, until this decade they still held out that Korea had INVITED them in.
    Japanese, whom I DO respect as a people, have a dark side and refusing to acknowledge it it but one an indicator that it has not been put aside. Germans KNOW their history and they discuss it and acknowledge it. They
    made a conscious, collective, decision to meet their past and overcome it. Japan is still in denial, clearly.

    ------------------
    Wind fells blossoms, rain
    fells steel,yet bamboo bends and drinks
    O stranger, Go tell the Spartans that we lie here, obedient to their will.....

  27. #27
    Member Member Kanji's Avatar
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    Most Japanese believe that our ancestors were the criminal. However, I do not think so.

  28. #28
    Member Member Tenchimuyo's Avatar
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    How about WWI? Japan lost in that, too. On the other hand, I don't think China would ever invade Taiwan. Because the people would never allow it. If they do, then they would be those damn narrow minded communist leaders. I was in China the past summer and I 've met with some peole that clearly expressed they opinions for this matter. Invading Taiwan was never the intention of the Chinese people, they wished peace and prosperity. Ever since the beginning of Chinese history, constant warfare erupted for over 5000 years in China. Even after the fall of the chin' dynasty. The country was a place of constant wars of revolutions and military take overs. Then they fought off the Japanese and had a civil war between the communist and the nationalist party. After the communist took over, people were still unable to get the peace they wished. With the culture revolution followed by the Korean war and Vietnam war(or "conflict", as strongly insisted by the U.S govrnment). An interesting point I would like to make is that China actually invaded Vietnam and later pulled away (well I forgot whether it was before or after the Vietnam war). And the Chinese government stressed that they were teaching Vietnam a "lesson". Back on the topic, Chinese had enough with wars and they don't want to see anymore of their friends and children die just for that little piece of land that will probably sink into the ocean after maybe couple of hundreds of years.
    A great warrior rarely reveal his true skills....

  29. #29
    Senior Member Senior Member ShaiHulud's Avatar
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    Tenchi....Think there may be some confusion here. Japan received control of many Pacific islands when WWI ended. It's rare to see the loser do so well, wouldn't you say? Perhaps a re-read of your source might amend your opinion.
    Kanji...Allow me to cast oil upon the waters, please. I don't wish to impugn a nation. I try to obtain a realistic view but I'm sure my own background is sure to provide my own blind spots. Looking back from a lot of years
    what I see in Japan is a proud people who have done things they should desire to have avoided. The same can be said of my own country. I think the easiest proof of a reconciliation of past wrongs is how those afflicted by the wrongs now perceive those who afflicted them. Rather than provide further grist I'll just let the subject drop.

    ------------------
    Wind fells blossoms, rain
    fells steel,yet bamboo bends and drinks
    O stranger, Go tell the Spartans that we lie here, obedient to their will.....

  30. #30
    Senior Member Senior Member Idaho's Avatar
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    I won't comment any further on the merits and faults of Japan as opposed to the rest of the world. I aggree with the more thoughtful points that have been raised here - as echoed in my post on the 'America Country of Racist' thread.

    However I wanted to make a technical point on the military power of Japan.

    Most people seem to be taken in by the idea that Japan has little or no significant military power. This really isn't true. Japan has one of the top 5 biggest navys in the world as well as a significant ground and air force. I used to live under the flight line of one of the airbases!

    The arming of Japan provides the United States with a paradox. Do we leave Japan to recover and protect itself fully? What will happen to our strategic interests in the area? Will Japan ally or war with China (which is worse for us?!). What we will continue to see is the US supporting Japan militarily while Japan continues to quietly maintain a sizable and well equipped military force - yet at the same time trying to get Japan to pay for the US' continuing interest in the region.
    "The republicans will draft your kids, poison the air and water, take away your social security and burn down black churches if elected." Gawain of Orkney

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