The following is just my two cents. Take it or leave it. I’ve found out that what I think doesn’t generally cause the world to turn upside down anyway. Don’t send me your mails about “My father fought in blah, blah, blah.” My dad did too. Know what? I don’t care. – Mike (in Tokyo and young at heart) Rogers
You’ll read the news and they’ll constantly tell you about bad blood between Japan and her neighbors. Every time some dumb Japanese politician (all over 65-years-old) goes to Yasukuni Shrine (the shrine that supposedly glorifies Japan’s past military aggression) the politicians in China and Korea (all over 65-years-old themselves – excepting that lunatic who currently “runs” North Korea) all lose their incontinence and shat their adult diapers. They raise hell and scream about what the other lunatics who “run” Japan are doing and complain about “Japan’s war-time militarism” and “past aggressions.”
(Note: I suspect that any Japanese prime minister visiting Yasukuni shrine while in office could be a sign of early senility. I will require more investigation into that!)
The news services all get into a big tiff and the typical lame excuses are made at press conferences and then the saber rattling commences. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s a big deal to the (all over 65-years-old) crowd. But you know what? From my point of view, the vast majority of younger people on either side of the pond simply don’t care.
Anytime you see these anti-Japanese or anti-Chinese or anti-whatever demonstrations on TV, you’ll see mostly old people with a few young lunatics sprinkled into the crowd screaming. Of course, the world has more than enough lunatics to go around for every country, unfortunately.
But you know what? From my point of view, the vast majority of younger people don’t care.
The vast majority of young people from China or Korea that I’ve met (and there are very many of them trying to study and make a living in Japan) and all the younger Japanese people I know and live with simply don’t care; they’ve got their own lives to lead. World War II was a different world to them. It has nothing to do with them at all.
I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Japanese under 50-years-old who was garroting Chinese civilians in Shanghai circa 1942 or administering puncture wounds to Koreans about that same time.
Nope. I’d reckon you couldn’t find a single one.
Just like you couldn’t find a single former slave owner alive today in the Southern USA.
It is past history; someone else’s old baggage. The younger people just seem to not care. And that’s a good thing.
I cannot give any data or statistics on how the young people think, in Japan or the rest of Asia, but I can give you anecdotal evidence. Here’s one: Ever heard of a South Korean boys group named, “BigBang”? No? Neither had I until my then 17-year-old daughter told me about them about a year or so ago.
BigBang is massive in Japan; along with several other Korean pop-acts.
Folks in the west have heard of Paul McCartney or the Rolling Stones. Yes. They played – or are playing at – Tokyo dome in recent days or early next year. Tokyo Dome holds about 55,000 people. Probably the only western acts that could sell the place out today is Paul McCartney who returned to Japan for the first time in 11 years (performing mostly Beatles songs, by the way) and the Rolling Stones who are coming back to Japan for the first time in nearly ten years.
But, in Japan, neither Paul nor Mick can claim any bragging rights over BigBang, especially when it comes to young people. The McCartney shows were filled with 50 to 70-year olds. The Stones will be the same.
BigBang? Three nights at Tokyo Dome sold out within the first 2 hours and packed with 165,000 hysterically screaming young girls and guys. And they did the same thing just last year too!
I’m not too hip on today’s Hit Parade of Hell, but I have asked many Japanese women between the ages of 17 and 35 and they all know who BigBang is. The Beatles or the Stones? Not so much, especially if they are under 25. Ask any younger Japanese if they’ve ever heard of the Beatles and they’ll all say, “No!” or, “Yeah. Maybe I think I’ve heard of them. But I don’t know any of their music…” But I reckon there’s not a single Japanese under 25 who hasn’t heard of BigBang.
It’s simply amazing.
(Photo of Japanese teenager showing vicious anti-Korean hostility.)
Nah, this 18-year-old Japanese girl doesn’t just love BigBang, she worships them!
To these fans, and the vast majority of young people just like them, World War II was in a different age in a different universe; they simply don’t care about it at all.
I asked my now 18-year-old daughter about BigBang and she told me that “…all my friends love them! They sing in Japanese that isn’t perfect, but that’s OK. It is what makes them ‘cute.'”
I also asked my 34-year-old radio station assistant about BigBang and she told me, “Of course I know who they are! They are huge! All my friends like them. You just cannot get tickets for their shows anywhere!” This is from a girl who works at a radio station, on the most popular show on that station; you’d think she could get tickets if she pulled some strings. No way.
Last night, I asked a 42-year-old woman who runs a restaurant in my neighborhood about BigBang. Of course she knew who they were. She went on to tell me that several of her close friends are “Big Bang crazy.”
Like I said, none of these people were bayoneting people in South East Asia 70 years ago. They don’t care about that. It has nothing to do with them. Just like neither you nor I owned any slaves on southern cotton plantations.
Another world. Different countries in a different universe at a different time in a different dimension; it has nothing to do with them and their lives. It’s other people’s baggage. It seems the younger people don’t want to carry that baggage.
Hell, I don’t either.
These are real people who I live and interact with. The clowns in the Japanese government (like all governments) who have never had a real job, who steal our tax monies to line the pockets of their well-connected friends, and hire their friends and family for cushy government jobs are the ones who care about stirring up troubles and emotions about events that happened 70 years ago.
Of course they do: It is all a part of these oldsters world and part and parcel of their jobs to maintain controversy so that they can justify spending our taxes on insane nonsense and keeping their friends happy with your money.
Thank god for people like the members of BigBang and their fans. They don’t seem to care about World War II, nor do they seem to care about what (over 65-year-old) politicians do. They care about now and their lives and their friends.
Check this. This BigBang video is nearing 100 million views on Youtube. Big Bang has many videos, even singing in Japanese too! BigBang sings in Japanese language – a language that is banned by the government in Korea (who are all people over 65-years-old, by the way). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAbokV76tkU
And here is another one showing them at Tokyo Dome for the finale of their 2012 Japan tour shows. Laugh all you want, these guys are the real thing. Think about it: 2013 tour? $110 (USD) a ticket multiplied by 165,000 people. That’s about $18.1 million dollars – give or take a few yen! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br7TLeVkFUI
So, really, Thank God that these young people and their fans will someday soon be in their 60s and at the age where they will be running their countries. The current leadership seems to not be doing such a great job.
Maybe then, we can finally put this WWII friction to rest.
Why not? World War II is ancient history; it has nothing to do with today’s young people in Japan or other Asian countries. They don’t care.
I think that’s a good thing.
(This article inspired by my good friend Andrew Sirkis living in northern Japan)