As the American public watches the Ken Burns, The War, which vividly describes fighting in WWII, some Japanese civilians are insisting their government finally tell the truth about what happened to civilians on Okinawa. Over 100,000 Okinawans demonstrated in hope their government would finally issue textbooks for children depicting the reality of how Japan’s military leaders distributed grenades to civilians when American troops invaded the island in the spring of 1945. They want children to learn how thousands of civilians were urged to kill themselves rather than surrender to American forces, and women were told rape and brutality awaited if captured by the invaders.
The Chinese government for years has urged Japan to distribute school textbooks which depict the horrors committed by Japanese troops during World War II. Chinese people are furious at the failure of Japan to be honest about what really happened including killing millions of Chinese people and raping thousands of women. Unlike German educators who have exposed children to the brutality of the Holocaust, Japan hides from contemporary youth the story of their own ruthless history of behavior in WWII. It might be beneficial for Japanese educators to show the Ken Burns program.