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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