Friday, April 17, 2015

Why the Chinese Must Keep WWII alive

The United States and China have taken a very different view of the Second World War. For China it appears on television every day in serials recently made in Chinese studios. In these videos the Japanese are always evil and the prettiest girl is always the Communist spy within the Kuomintang organization.
In America we made movies and TV shows from the 40s into the 60s about the war and then people grew tired of them and the country moved on. In many ways that was a good thing. In the late 60s German youth took a whole new look at the Nazi period and no longer let their parents hide behind obfuscation and half-truths about what happened during that period. When I lived in Germany in the 90s all the evil was out there for everyone to see. Germany had truly changed.
In Japan that wasn't true. While we were looking the other way the Japanese were changing their schoolbooks to eliminate references to the comfort women used as prostitutes for the Japanese army. They  eliminated  references to the Bataan death March, the Rape of Nanjing and all the other atrocities committed against the Chinese people. They sanitized their history. I once had a discussion with a student who'd gone to high school in Japan. She denounced all the facts we knew about World War II as lies. A basically good human being, she found it impossible to believe what history had shown happened under the Japanese Empire.
This is one of the reasons why the Chinese churn out new shows about the great patriotic war day after day. The Japanese, especially under Abe, deny their own history, and expect all of us to join them in their collective amnesia.

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