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Old 02-02-2014, 11:24 AM
Muhler's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
You know, I do think that the Western criticism of Japan´s actions was at times and in some respects rather hypocritical. What I find much more alarming is the Japanese tendency to defend their actions even today - whereas for example a lot of US-citizens would probably freely admit that the war in Vietnam was not such a good idea as was thought at the time, and the atrocities committed were simply appalling. It is probably human to defend the actions you have just committed - but should not it be possible to sincerely apologize 70 years later?

That is something I believe I can understand. I.e. the reasoning behind that mindset. It's the tribal/village/island mentallity that sets in. - You close ranks to the outside world if they dare to critizise you tribe/village/island. - While alone or with close friends you can admit that there is probably some degree of truth in that. But once out with the other members of the tribe you collectively close your eyes.
That mentallity can sometimes be completely irrational.
In a society that is much less conform and more exposed to outside views on a daily basis, that kind of mindset has more problems thriwing.

(You being a vivid follower of Asian culture I can refer to an extreme case of that mindset. At the Chinese Imperial Court during the Taiping Rebellion, towards western forces approaching Beijing. - They went into a state of denial that seems utterly insane! I mean, you have to read it twice to even start believing it! - Comical Ali would have been green with envy)!

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Old 07-31-2016, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: St Thomas, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands
Posts: 262
Commentary / Japan | SENTAKU MAGAZINE
Imperial family will pay close attention to Abe’s statement | May 11, 2015

In a written response to questions from members of the Imperial Household Agency’s press club on Oct. 20 [2013], the Empress noted that debates on the Constitution were becoming much more active than in the past and referred to a meeting of local teachers, landowners and farmers who gathered in the city of Akiruno in Tokyo prior to the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution in 1889. She wrote that she was greatly moved when she saw the draft constitution written by them.

Her statement went on to say, “I was told that similar draft constitutions were drawn up by the people in more than 40 places across Japan at the time. I was deeply impressed by the strong desire for political participation of the people … and their passionate hopes for the future of our country. As a document of how ordinary citizens in Japan had already developed an awareness of civil rights at the end of the 19th century … I think it is a rare cultural asset in the world.”

A natural interpretation of her words would be that she disagrees with the view that the present Constitution was forced upon Japan after the war by the Occupation forces and that she is concerned with the move by the Abe government to force a constitutional amendment on the people in a top-down manner.

Two months later, on Dec. 18 [2013], the Emperor told a press conference, “After the war, Japan was occupied by the Allied forces, and based on peace and democracy as values to be upheld, established the Constitution of Japan, undertook various reforms and built the foundation of Japan that we know today. I have profound gratitude for the efforts made by the Japanese people at the time … I also feel that we must not forget the help extended to us in those days by Americans …”

And on Feb. 21 last year [2014], Crown Prince Naruhito said at a press conference held two days before his birthday, “The Japan of today has been built throughout the postwar period based on the foundation of the Constitution of Japan … I believe that it is important to continue to attend to duties in a manner compliant with the Constitution, while receiving the necessary advice.”

When a reporter asked Yutaka Kawashima, grand chamberlain of the Imperial Household Agency, if the Emperor and the Empress were skeptical about Abe’s call for amending the Constitution, he shouted, “How do you think I can answer such a question?”, breaking wooden chopsticks in anger. His reply is tantamount to giving an affirmative response.
The comments made by the empress on her birthday in 2013 have been discussed here.

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Old 07-31-2016, 11:13 AM
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Hmm, how is this to be interpreted?
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Jeff Kingston: Emperor Akihito's succession offers lessons in modern monarchy- Nikkei Asian Review

There was a striking contrast in the respective 70th anniversary commemoration statements by Abe and by Emperor Akihito that highlighted the ongoing political divide between the revisionists and the understanding of most Japanese about how the nation got to where it is today.

Noting the deaths of more than 3 million Japanese during World War II, Abe asserted that Japan's current peace rests on those "precious sacrifices," and that they were the origin of postwar Japan. This assertion that wartime sacrifices begot contemporary peace is the revisionist conceit, one that Emperor Akihito clearly rejected on Aug. 15, 2015, when he said, "Our country today enjoys peace and prosperity, thanks to the ceaseless efforts made by the people of Japan toward recovery from the devastation of the war and toward development, always backed by their earnest desire for the continuation of peace."

Peace and prosperity, in the emperor's view, did not come from treating the Japanese people like cannon fodder during the war, but rather was based on their postwar efforts to overcome the tragedy inflicted by the nation's expansionist leaders.
Ceallach has already linked to the following article in the thread on the Emperor's possible abdication. As I planned to post pieces of it in this thread, I hope that I can still do so.

The article is incorrect in saying the constitution does not allow abdication, and in dubbing Nippon Kaigi a "cult", but it is worth reading.

The Emperor Strikes Back: Japan's Monarch Takes On Imperialist Abe - The Daily Beast
Media reports in Japan already are calling the consideration of abdication the current emperor’s final act of resistance against the prime minister, a bid to halt the return to Japan’s aggressive pre-war attitudes and policies. […]

He used the phrase “symbol of the state” six times. It was a pointed reference to the dark time in Japan’s history where the emperor was not a symbol but the divine ruler of Imperial Japan. […]

The NHK report last month of the emperor’s possible abdication plans, coming just days after the elections, was seen as a move to throw cold water on Abe’s evident ardor for old Imperial glories.

Not surprisingly, after the NHK scoop Abe’s people at first vehemently denied reports that the emperor wished to retire. According to Japanese reporters covering the administration, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga angrily scolded NHK reporters for having the audacity to broadcast the news without letting him know in advance, and a witch hunt supposedly was launched within the Imperial Househould Agency to find out where the leak came from. […]

This is a pivotal moment in Japanese history, and for the emperor there must be a grim sense of déjà vu. Since Prime Minister Abe took office in 2012, Japan’s World Press Freedom ranking has declined to 72; down from 11 in 2010.

The state secrecy bills which make it a potential crime even to ask persistent questions, were passed into laws amid huge protests.

Japan’s remilitarization is steadily underway. The weapons industry has been revived; the country is shipping arms.

The State Security Laws will enable Japan to wage war overseas for the first time since the war ended. […]

In light of the current administration’s revisionist inclinations, many observers have picked up on a significant shift in the tone and content of the Emperors’ public statements. This year alone, he has referred several times to wartime experiences and “the need to study and learn from this war.”

Prime Minister Abe and his political allies have long derided Japan’s constitution as a humiliation imposed upon the Japanese people by the United States occupation government, impinging on “basic human rights.” […]

It is not only the emperor who has been vocal about the current administration’s current misguided reverence for the Imperial Family. The number of times Prince Naruhito has referred to the Japanese Constitution in his annual birthday press conferences has gone up significantly since 2012. He has also spoken of the necessity to correctly pass down history to future generations seemingly a jab at Abe’s constant denial or minimization of Japan’s wartime crimes.

Even the Empress Michiko, always beside her husband physically and ideologically, when asked on her birthday in 2014 about her thoughts on upcoming 70th anniversary of the war, pointed out the grave responsibility of Japan’s war criminals.

It was something that the Japanese popular press attempted to ignore. Litera, a Japanese news and research site, suggested this was in direct response to Abe sending an official message of condolence, as the leader of the LDP, to the memorial services honoring the Class A war criminals that year. […]

On the other hand, in recent years, the Royal Couple have visited the sites where Japanese soldiers died overseas, expressing their condolences also to the foreign nationals killed in the war. […]

Even in Monday’s speech, Emperor Akihito pointed out that he was a state symbol under Japan’s constitution, not a leader. On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Abe had planned a glorious revisionist address, the Abe Danwa (discourse) where the vocabulary traditionally featured by his predecessors—“colonial rule,” ”invasion,” “remorse,” “apology”—would be omitted for the first time. However, in the end Abe had to defer to his elder.

A senior LDP member told The Daily Beast, “Abe was anxiously obsessing over the probable content of the emperor’s address since he could not present something that does not align with it. In the end, he had to capitulate, keep the old wording, and made a mealy-mouthed insincere apology.” […]

Abe is also a special advisor to the political branch of Nippon Kaigi, an emperor-worshipping Shinto cult and the majority of his cabinet are also members of the group, which wields considerable influence. […]

One of the most terrifying thoughts for the Abe administration after today’s speech must be about what will happen after the crown has been passed. Imagine what the retired Emperor would say once he steps off the Chrysanthemum Throne….

“Everything the Emperor says is correct,” said the acting head of Nippon Kaigi, Tadae Takubo, in a press conference last month. […]

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crown prince naruhito, emperor akihito, emperor hirohito, japanese politics, nationalism

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