During war, innocents are killed in masses, cities pillaged, and women raped; children are made orphans and many people are made into cripples. This is the nature of war. It has always been the nature of war and it always will be. It is just war. Get used to it. Get over it.
The Japanese Imperial Army raped and pillaged China and Korea for years. There were many Chinese and Koreans who actually fought on the side of Japan in World War II. These people were the collaborators. Of course, being on the wrong side of a losing war is bad, but it is especially bad if you are a collaborator. Collaborators are often killed or hide their war-time deeds from their countrymen after the war ends. This is why today, you will hear little about Chinese and Korean collaborators. But they were there. Many of them were held in American-run POW camps — along with Japanese prisoners — in the Philippines in 1944. This is a historical fact and a matter of record.
It is also a well-known fact that Japan is a nation without any natural resources. When Japan went to war in Asia from 1894 to 1945, it was a nation that could not even feed its own people. Of course, the Japanese military that were overstretched all over the Pacific, were under-supplied in everything that they needed, including food. It is also rumored — and I believe, after research, that it is a fact — that some Japanese soldiers were so starved that they actually survived through cannibalism. This has been written about in all its repulsive nature — and deservedly scorned — by many Japanese soldiers of the former Imperial Army. I would recommend Taken Captive by Ooka Shohei for an account and his revulsion concerning this matter. Of course the Japanese soldiers did not cannibalize their comrades in arms. The rare cases when this happened it, of course, happened against the locals.
The Imperial Japanese Army also committed the Rape of Nanking incident. I would recommend Katsuichi Honda’s The Nanjing Massacre: A Japanese Journalist Confronts Japan’s National Shame for a much more historically accurate account of this affair than the more well-known book by Iris Chang, which is very leftist and sensationalist. Nevertheless, Honda’s book will turn your stomach and is heads above the Chang book in historical value and quality.
Consider: How is it possible that regular people could commit such heinous crimes as Nanking or eating the flesh of another human being? How is it possible that a person could become so inured to such behavior? In the case of cannibalism, it would be obvious that those soldiers were starving and nearing death; they felt they had no other choice. That is not to say that what happened was not the lowest ebb of the human spirit, I’m just explaining why they happened. In the case of Nanking, those soldiers ran amok due to a dehumanization of "the enemy." Dehumanizing the enemy is an inherent trait of all war. It would also be absurd to think that only the Chinese and Koreans are disgusted by what happened; any rational person would be abhorred by these events, regardless of nationality — and that includes the Japanese. Even though members of the Japanese Imperial Army did commit these atrocities, it would also be just as ludicrous to believe that all Japanese soldiers are guilty of war crimes and all Japanese are monsters.
The Chinese and Koreans who complain about past Japanese war-time atrocities are correct; they did happen. That being said, why do the children have to be responsible for the actions of their parents? Since when do the average people have any control over what their government does? Complaints of this type seem very eccentric (to be very kind) coming from the Chinese who live under an unelected Communist government that has a history of killing 50 million of their own people and a Korean government that waged war on their own brothers and sisters.
Americans who complain about these deeds haven’t a leg to stand on either. America is absolutely guilty of genocide and mass murder more than once in its 200-year history — and is guilty of the same at this very moment in Iraq and Afghanistan (to name a just a few).
As I mentioned before, there were many Chinese and Koreans who fought on the Japanese side in World War II. Rape, pillage, mass murder, torture, genocide and other war atrocities happened on all sides in the war. These events did happen. They are all a part of war. To expect that they be not is almost comical in its navet. It is just war. Get used to it. Get over it.
If you do not want to get used to it or get over it, then the most obvious and quickest method to stop rape, pillage, torture, etc., in war is to alleviate war all together. It stands to reason, judging from the history of human behavior, that rape, pillage, torture, etc., are synonymous with war. It then follows reason that the fastest and easiest way to alleviate all war would then be to dispose of the cause of all war: Eliminate all governments.
Until all governments are eliminated and, in turn, war becomes a thing of the past, this bickering about history will get us — the human race — absolutely nowhere. I would hope that intelligent people the world over would understand this fundamental truth — I know that there must be more than just an enlightened few who do.
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.