In high school, I studied the Shoehorn Sonata, a play about two women who were captured by the Japanese in WWII. Throughout the play, I felt both sympathy for the women who told their war stories through the play, and slightly indignant at the way the Japanese were portrayed.
At the time, I was studying Japanese, and was already a general fan of Japan. So I was suddenly faced with this side of Japan that wasn’t so positive, and I had to find my own opinion about it.
In the end, I decided that though the Japanese in this play did horrible things (and seemed to enjoy it), that could very well be the same of any country, in any war. It’s not a fault of Japanese people alone, and there’s no excuse of thinking that all Japanese are that way.
I have read in Hokkaido Highway Blues, too, about Japanese opinion in the war. The book, written by Will Ferguson, was about the author who was living in south Japan when he decided to hitchhike up north, following the cherry blossoms as they bloomed progressively up the country.
While hitchhiking, he stayed with one Japanese person who had been around during the war. It became apparent that the Japanese who were, were still bitter about the Hiroshima bomb. This person, at least, held a grudge. It should never have happened.
So imagine my surprise at this new piece of information; about the Japanese American war memorial in Washington DC, at the legislative apology to Japanese Americans, about the fact that Japanese Americans actually fought against their own Japanese people on America’s side of the war.
Japanese people (rather than Japanese Americans) could well be told that “you shouldn’t have sided with the Nazis, then”, but I would rather say that Hiroshima shouldn’t have happened the same as war in general. Everyone loses in some respect, and no one loss should be seen as any less than any other.
Obviously, I disagree with the Nazis, as I do with any other hateful propagandised philosophy. Hatred is not worth lives, and yet it cost so many. Even today, there is a separate hate-filled conflict corrupting our world.
War is a waste of innocence, just as much as hate corrupts enlightenment on any level. Even as an atheist, enlightenment is still something we need to continue towards, and forget all the propaganda that dirties the minds of so many people.
In ending, here is George Takei, who I feel is an all-round delightful person, though I’ve never seen Star Trek.