Tag Archives: WWII

Textbook Wars Rage Between South Korea And Japan

Japan is among the world’s leading economic powers in the world and its people rank among the top in education, but failure on the part of Japan’s Education Ministry has held the nation up to ridicule. The people of China and Korea are particularly concerned over the refusal of Japanese educators to present the brutality of the Japanese armed forces in their nations during World War II. The latest episode of South Korean anger emerged with publication of a new Japanese textbook which describes the islets of Dokdo as being part of the Japanese nation.

The anger stems not in itself about the islands, but arises from a consistent inability on the part of Japanese educators to present an objective picture of what happened during World War II. Many South Koreans urged their government to take a tough stance on the issue of the islands. South Korean Song Jae-wook said: “It is the right thing to be ‘future oriented’ and leave behind the past, but in reality, looking back n what we and or parent’s generation have gone through with Japan, the government should know what should be done in reality.”

The Japanese Ministry of Education might well spend time in Germany and learn how that nation has done an outstanding job of confronting evil and ensuring contemporary youth learn the truth about the past.

Rape Of Chinese Women Depicted In Tokyo Exhibit

The history of Japan’s confrontation with its brutality during World War II has hardly been a shining moment of honesty in that nation’s reaction to its actions. Japanese school books rarely deal with issues such as the rape of women or brutality toward prisoners of war. Unlike Germany, which has created museums and ongoing education programs concerning the Holocaust, Japan prefers slumbering in the sleep of denial. Fortunately, in 2005, the Women’s Active Museum on War was created in order to present to Japanese people the true story of what happened. It currently is holding an exhibit in Tokyo that deals with exploitation of Chinese women by members of the Imperial Japanese army.

According to the exhibits director, Eriko Ikeda, “in China, many women were abducted and raped by Japanese soldiers as a warning against anti-japanese movements there.” The Imperial Army established ‘comfort stations’ “which we should rather call rape stations.. after Japanese forces advanced into each region.” The exhibit offers visual materials as well as individual stories of what happened to women both during the time they were being raped and the aftermath of the experience. It also presents stories written by Japanese soldiers who admit they raped women. One panel depicts the story of a Chinese woman who was raped, escaped and then gave birth to a child. Her husband was furious at her and the boy experienced problems in school and from an abusive father who never acknowledged him as a son.

Comfort Women are still fighting to obtain compensation for their wartime brutality and it is a difficult and onerous task to obtain financial compensation.

Israel Conflict With Vatican Worsens

Israel is currently engaged in efforts to establish ties with the Palestinian Authority, but there is now another dark cloud on the horizon caused by increased complaints from the Vatican about Israeli actions. A senior Vatican official, Archbiship Pietro Sambi lashed out at Israel, ‘if I must be frank, the relations between the Catholic Church and the state of Israel were better when there were no diplomatic ties.” Among the issues in dispute are expropriated church property, servies that Catholic groups perform for Israeli’s Jewish and Arab populations, and exemptions for the Church. A particular sore point is the granting of permits for Arab Christian clergy traveling to and around the West Bank on church activities. Israel has rescinded some travel privileges for clergy members due to security reasons. Earlier this year, tensions developed between the Vatican and Israel when the Holy See’s ambassador to Israel initially declined to boycott a Holocaust memorial service because of allegations during World War Ii Pope Pius XII was silent about the mass killing of Jews.

There is an extensive Holocaust literature dealing with failure on the part of Pope Pius XII to take a vigorous role in speaking out against the mass murder of Jews as well as failing to excommunicate those in charge of the killings. There is also evidence of the Pope’s silence on the imprisonment of Catholic priests in concentration camps. The Vatican most probably has valid concerns regarding interference by Israel officials with the movement of priests on the West Bank.

Japanese Government Urged To Tell Truth About WWII

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.