As I’ve talked about before as a part time job I do some background extra work on Japanese TV dramas and feature movies. Commercials are where the real money is but they are hard to get so I am hired whenever they need a gaijin face to stand in the background for a bit of foreigner “atmosphere”. Most of the stuff I do is historical reenactments that pays peanuts but you get to do cool stuff like wear military uniforms and play with historical weapons. Recently I just did scene where they bused me out to big manor house in Gunma, about two hours from Tokyo. The place was called Lockheart Castle and is a real Scottish Manor that was shipped brick by brick to Japan from Scotland during the height of the bubble.
Just as we were leaving I noticed a small plaque tucked away to one side. According to the plaque in 2002 the tree next to the plaque was planted to commemorate the 100 years of friendship between Japan and the UK since the signing of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance January 30, 1902, by Lord Lansdowne (British foreign secretary) and Hayashi Tadasu (Japanese minister in London). Which is great. Way back when the Alliance was very strong between Japan and Britain, hell during World War I the Japanese Navy protected Australia and North America from German raiders.
But the plaque was just leaving one little thing out … WORLD WAR TWO! 100 years of friendship are you serious! Ya hundred years of friendship if you ignore Japan and Britain fighting a brutal war against each other and the total slaughter of British and commonwealth POWs in South East Asia and Hong Kong.
But at this point I wasn’t too surprised as almost every project I’ve worked on has been a war story that tries to twist Japan’s military history. I’ve dressed up as an evil American occupier or fighting GI countless times and each time the movie or TV drama has tried to victimize the Japanese people. One movie focused on an “innocent” fictional POW who was on trial for killing POWs another focused on the Japanese internment camps in America and I was a Russian solider in another where the godly Japanese army, dressed in white, protected the Chinese people from slaughter at the hands of the Russians in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War. Sure the events are real but the movie was obviously made to distract from the Japanese horrors in China like the Nanjing Massacre of the Chinese people on the end of Japanese bayonets.
Maybe its just my steady diet growing up of Canadian-o-dramas that go over every injustice the Canadians did, EVER. But it’s just shocking sometimes to see how far the Japanese will twist and spin things to come out as the victim and smelling like roses.
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Not to distract too much from your article, but your last paragraph has got me curious to see these ‘Canadian-o-dramas’. Do you remember any titles?
They would have been all made for TV movies, mostly about how Canadians killed off the First Nations (Canadian name for Natives), discrimination against the French, our wars against the Metis, the residential schools, etc
It is a worrying trend, which makes you worry if they ever get around to changing Article 9 of the constitution. There is always a tendency to drift towards conservatism and fascism in extreme cases, even in today’s society. The elements to whip these young men of to war on a whim are still alive and kicking in many Japanese companies, otherwise people would be running off at 5 on the dot for a pint with the lads down the pub. Law and order also turns a blind eye to a lot of right wing activities or is lenient, so I think no matter how many school kiddies chant peace, there are some dangerous underlying elements here.
The last morning NHK drama was through the war and the one on at the moment is set at 1940 at the moment, so I getting ready to be made to feel sorry for them again. The last one went through the motions of the war and then after it finished a guy came in to negotiate some American Army guys coming to eat there and everyone was all stressed out, so they had a brainstorm and decided to add chicken to their soba noodles (it was a soba noodle place and literally placing a piece of chicken on top of regular noodles, the beginning stages of Japanese internationalisation theory perhaps) to appease their western palates. They dished it out and all hid in the kitchen nervously, while one guy ate a bit and then said in this cockney Japanese “ouishieeeeee,” to which everyone was elated. However, the story was not all elation and tears of joy, as the Americans left some soba noodles over and so the young son who had just came back from the war got all pissed off and intended to tell them off; but merely ended up gesturing due to English inability. He was fuming though. In the end they all had an arm wrestle and it was all hugs and smiles. Of course the Americans were really loud and raucous and of course there was one Japanese person out of the group who spoke a little English and dealt with them as any good person would.
In a nut shell, that seems to be one of the predominant views of the war. On the one hand, there is the telling of the war from a victims point of view, almost like it was America’s fault that the Japanese army attacked America in the first place. There seems to an angle to it like, ‘we were just doing what we were told,’ and a big dichotomy of responsibility between citizens and the ruling powers. Yet, on the other hand, when convenient the whole ‘we Japanese’ comes out, except when it comes to taking responsibilty for things like the war. The press criticising people for returning to their home countries after the Fukushima incident is a good example; however the rules change when there are floods in Thailand and not only did everyone go back to Japan, the immigration system has been temporarily changed to take their cheap Thai workers back to Japan with them.
I am really curious to see how much social leeway is there for Germans and other Europeans who were forced to work with the Nazi bureaucracy and its consequent genocide and the emotional impact that had on them. I think they are legitimate in having a right to tell this, just as the Japanese are also in stories similar to above. Of course there does need to be a balance and from my limited knowledge Germany seems to be going alright with that.
Anyway, you really get up to some interesting things GJA. You should remake the GTO comics again with your own stories in there. I could imagine you busting a hammer through a rich family’s bedroom wall in their luxurious home, alienated from one another through wealth, liberating them from this while Poison played in the background in your flanno shirt as seen in your avatar, complete with sunglasses.
America does a massive, ridiculous amount of history rewriting itself as most people know. However, there are certain things that are widely considered off limits now. Vietnam for example. It’s basically common knowledge at this point that the government lied their way into that war and then we basically fucking destroyed an entire country for no good reason what-so-ever.
I look forward to ten years from now as more films and things are made regarding our exploits in the middle east.
It is true though, few countries I have encountered spend as much time sitting around and whining about their past than Japan.
I think the Germans spend a lot of time hashing over their past. There are numerous German films about the holocaust, and war crimes. In 2000 the companies involved with slave labor for the war effort have created a 8 billion fund to compensate surviving workers, etc Then there was the apology for the actions of Germany in Poland:
Sure. But they aren’t whining. Not like Japan. There is little in the way of “the victim ist Deutschland!” They just keep saying sorry or don’t talk about it. Where as, like you said, Japan loves to snuggle up in it’s victim robes. Even regarding the 03/11 tragedies…come on…a lot of those victims were just that due to bad policies and poor choices.
To clarify one thing, and it’s already fading, the time in my memory that America has flatly played the victim card was 9/11. And that was because it behooved our politicians and military for us to think that. So they really whipped that up. This is already fading though, and I suspect will be something very different in ten, twenty or thirty years. I hope so anyway.
LOL@ this white piece of shit.
I myself wonder when Japan will ‘play the victim’ and enact dramas that reenact the mass rape of women in Okinawa by American soldiers? Or how about the raid on a hospital by occupying Australians in Kure who raped nurses and patients after besieging them therein? Or the ‘origes’ by paratroopers in Sapporo, kidnapping girls from their homes and taking them to the mountains where their screams could be heard all night? And these are only a few selections from Yuki Tanaka’s book on Japan’s comfort women – hardly a pro-Japanese book, now, is it?
Are you poor whites also offended by the fact that there are a handful of tiny memorials to the Tokyo Massacre by LeMay on march 10, 1945? You know – the one where they encircled Tokyo with napalm, waited for surviving civilians to gather at the Sumida River, and then suddenly roast them all alive?
Then there’s the arrogance of the whites presiding over the Tokyo Trials – none of them qualified judges or even lawyers; the only one who was, Radhabinod Pal, the most dissenting one – and the one summarily ignored by Joseph Keenan, ‘constantly inebriated’ prosecutor of the trials?
Yes, Japan certainly plays the ‘victim’, does it not?
Canada-o-dramas? Dream on. I grew up in this white shithole and we, as kids, ARE NEVER exposed to the sort of ‘guilt’ over natives you mention. Stop lying, white fucker,
You forgot to add the official brothel system, called the Recreation and Amusement Association (特殊慰安施設協会), that was run with the approval of the American Occupation authorities. The Japanese were “told that [their] mission was to be a sexual dike to protect the chastity of Japanese women,” Women were hired off the street, even forced into the American version of the brutal comfort women brothels set up by Japanese forces all over Asia.
Sure the Allies did horrible things during the occupation, hell are still doing as shown by the rape of a school girl by American Marines in Okinawa. But my point is in America, Australia, Germany and Canada these stories are told through movies, for example Casualties of War in Vietnam , Canada’s TV dramas about the Residential Schools or our wars against the First Nations or Métis and the plethora of movies about the Genocide of aboriginals in Australia.
Were as Japan doesn’t produce movies about Nanking Massacre or the Massacre of Canadian troops in Hong Kong, the death march in the Philippines, slaughter of Koreans after the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake etc yet it pumps out flick after flick of how the Japanese are hapless, blameless victims during WWII.