ISIS is known for their barbarism. But when they up the ante by showing a Jordanian pilot they were holding hostage being burned to death inside a locked cage, all hell breaks loose. The new level of brutality shown in the murder of First Lieutenant Muadh al-Kasasbeh shocks every single Jordanian, so much so that the country’s King Abdullah II cut short a visit to the United States to return home, and promises “revenge”.
But unlike the global support pouring in for the Jordanian government, not many condemn the ISIS over the beheading of Japanese hostages. Well, at least not the Chinese or South Korean or, to a certain extent, some South East Asia governments. The method of execution aside, it seems people are divided over the “murders” of the Jordanians and Japanese. And it’s not hard to understand why.
The Chinese and South Koreans simply couldn’t forget about Japanese’ past brutality during the World War II, the same way the Jews couldn’t forget, let alone forgive, about Germany’s Adolf Hitler brutality. In a sign which attracts both domestic and international criticisms, the Japanese government-approved history textbooks used in the secondary education “deliberately” whitewash the brutalities of the Empire of Japan during the war.
Thanks to internet, and now social media, the efforts to cover-up Japanese war crimes, especially the Nanking Massacre and comfort women do not seem to be working well. Hence, when two supposedly innocent Japanese were beheaded, many actually equalled the ISIS brutality to the Japanese past barbarism. The Japanese people now feel how others felt when they beheaded thousands of innocent lives – the netizens said.
To worsen the situation, Japanese prime ministers continue to visit and send ritual offerings to the Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto shrine widely seen as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism and barbarism. Just like how the Japanese are seen as hiding their past history in their textbooks, the visits to the shrine for war dead are seen as glorification of Japan’s colonization and invasive war.
Some say the present Japanese shouldn’t be blamed for war monster Japanese Emperor Hirohito. That brings an interesting question – should today’s ISIS barbarism be whitewashed some 40-years into the future (*grin*)? After all, the number of innocent lives beheaded by the infamous Jihadist John is like a child play if compared to the thousands of people who lost their heads to the Imperial Japanese Army during the World War II.
Perhaps sensing that it’s impossible for global communities to forget his ancestor’s war crimes, Crown Prince Naruhito, who is next in line to assume Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne, has used the occasion of his 55th birthday to call for the nation’s history to be remembered “correctly”. It’s indeed a rare comment from Naruhito, whose grandfather was the brutal Emperor Hirohito.
But what makes Naruhito’s comment strange is the timing of it. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his intention to rewrite the country’s constitution before he steps down, which many predict would allow Japan’s right to use its military, once again. In fact, conspiracy theories have it that the beheading of the Japanese by the ISIS was part of Obama-Abe tactic to justify the plan.
Historians agree that up to 200,000 women were forced into sexual slavery during the second world war. With growing anger in China and South Korea over the (Japanese) “comfort women” system and the present territory disputes, Japan is an easy meat for China, if the Chinese chooses to launch a surprise attack. With President Obama busy golfing, probably he figured it would be easier for the Japanese to defend themselves.
Prince Naruhito admits he has not experienced the World War II, but the tragic experiences and the real history of Japan must be correctly passed down to the generations who have no direct knowledge of the war. Clearly, Naruhito hopes for a peaceful and prosperity Japan, by preventing Japanese military from international combat participation. And to achieve that, perhaps it’s time for Japan to admit and not glorify its past mistakes.
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