The Chinese are still upset, not so much by ordinary Japanese visiting the shrine to honour their war dead, but by Japanese political leaders or prominent personalities going there, as such high profile visits demonstrate a glorification of 14 Class A (the worst kind) Japanese war criminals.
The Chinese continue to harbour bitter resentment against the Japanese war crimes against its citizens during World War II, where the Nipponese atrocities of unspeakable horror was crystallised in Nanking (today Nanjing).
A weekend of mankind’s greatest evil occurred there, seeing several hundreds of thousands of Nanking-ites massacred and raped (the last even seeing Japanese soldiers using their bayonets).
One difference between the Jewish Holocaust and the Rape of Nanking was that the former was conducted in frightening Teutonic clinical and systematic horror, whilst the latter was an orgy of savagery and barbarism. Another was the duration and the numbers massacred.
The third, evident post-war, is that the Jews are more competent in making sure that the world remembers and never ever forgets, and even to the extent of exploiting the Holocaust to Israel’s benefit, whilst the Chinese are at times ignored, especially during former Japanese PM Koizumi’s tenure where he deliberately disregarded Chinese feelings by visiting the shrine repetitively.
Of course virtually everyone knew that Koizumi made those visits because of pressure from his own party’s powerful rightwing, which is still recalcitrant about its evil past and an economically powerful Japan to gloss over that or even better, make their shameful history disappear.
Related post: Koizumi & Bush - Captives of King-Makers
Through this powerful king-maker faction of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan has been sneaking revisionist books into its schools where once that would have been unthinkable and indeed unspeakable. That would be like Germany gradually ameliorating its Nazi past and saying the Wehrmarcht was just ‘advancing’ into the rest of Europe, and the Holocaust was a mere ‘incident’ – euphemisms used by the Japs in their revisionist books.
This was what Wiki said of some Japanese rightwing attitude towards the Nanking massacre: In addition to the number of victims, some Japanese critics have even disputed whether the atrocity ever happened. While the Japanese government has acknowledged such an incident did occur, extremists have presented a case starting with the Imperial Japanese Army's claims at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East that the death toll was military in nature and that no such civilian atrocities ever occurred. However, an overwhelming amount of evidence contradicts this. The existence of such an atrocity has been repeatedly confirmed by statements of Westerners at the Tribunal and eyewitnesses, and by photographic and archaeological evidence.
The Jews’ ability to make every European cringe in shame at the Holocaust has been/is helped by European conscience (and Jewish lobbies and watchdogs against anti-Semitic revival). 'European conscience' – doesn’t this indirectly speaks badly of the Japanese lack of or reluctance to make full amends for its historical evil – which has been why I deem Japan still unsuitable for entry into the UN Security Council as a permanent member, unless it is willing to bring closure to an evil chapter of its dark past.
Related post: Japan – a study in moral recalcitrancy
It also shows that the western world, whilst ultra careful about offending the Jews, are rather apathetic about the eastern version of the Holocaust. Incidentally, unlike other countries, I believe Israel has never ever made any official criticism against the Japanese for the Nanjing massacre.
Related post: World lesson for China & Korea
Senior members of my family who had experienced Japanese wartime atrocities in Malaya and Singapore also spoke of the non-Japanese soldiers who were (if at all possible) far more brutal than the Japanese. The Japanese army had Korean and Taiwanese conscripts as the two states were then Japanese colonies. The one they spoke of in disgust and with hatred were the Koreans – they were really nasty.
The brother of Taiwan former President Lee Teng-hui was such a non-Japanese conscript in the Japanese wartime army. He perished in the war and as with other war dead, is honoured in Yasukuni. That was the reason given by President Lee when he made the highly provocative visit to the detested shrine.
Lee obviously has ignored (either unwittingly or deliberately) his high profile status as a former president of Taiwan and a prominent Chinese leader. Thus, in making that visit, he has made Chinese all over the world roll their eyes in either horror or disgust. They just cannot believe a Chinese would do that.
But his visit is likely to anger China. The problem with Lee is that his anti-Mainland-ism is so acute that many Chinese do not believe his words that he was merely making a private visit to honour his late brother. They reckon he wanted to poke his fingers into China’s nose.
In fact Beijing has come out to accuse Lee of making that provocative visit to push for Taiwanese independence, and undermine China-Japan relations. But at the end of the day, one wonders how Lee could stoop so low, for this Chinese to make a visit to the most detestable site for Chinese, the Yasukuni shrine.
Pity his sickening act won't be published in malaysiakini so that Chinese Malaysians can read about it and tell their dads and mums about Lee's blasphemous desecration of the memory for the victims of Nanjing.