Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kyushu 10: Japan and WW2

Ok, I assure you that this is towards the end of my Kyushu series.
We visited the Peace Park in Nagasaki that commemorated its atomic bombing on the 9th Aug, 1945. The government had erected numerous monuments to offer the souls of the dead clean water that they had so desired during their last moments.
這是接近我的九州之行的尾聲。
我們在長崎參觀了紀念1945年8月9日,原子彈投下的和平公園。日本政府到處設立有乾淨水源的紀念碑,為了就是要給生前渴望水喝的死者。(中文版在下)

Japanese and their knowledge about WW2
Before coming to Japan, I only heard of China's outrage whenever some Japanese minister visits the Yasukuni Shrine, which houses the souls of the soldiers who had fought under Imperial Japan. There were also some discontent whenever Japanese change their textbook, such as renaming "invasion" of China, to "going in and out" of China. I also heard that many Japanese youngsters had only found out about the Japanese WW2 invasion only after visiting our Singapore national museum.

So how much do Japanese know about WW2?

Based on a TV variety show that I'd watched last year, audiences and stars were asked to answer why there were US naval bases setup in Okinawa. To my horror, one young Japanese celebrity was totally ignorant about the war and replied that because US and Japan were allies, and that they had never went into war. Hmm...so... is there a problem with Japanese History education???

Japan has no army. But whenever our Japanese class teachers asked us if we knew why (mind you, my class consists of China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore nationals, all invaded by Japan before), they always sigh and said its because they had lost the war. Okay, let's get this straight. Yes, Japan lost the war, but did they know that they had started the war first??? If the imperial army hadn't bombed Pearl Harbor, US wouldn't had thought of stretching their already thin forces to the Asia pacific.

Based on a recent NHK documentary series, translated as "Why Japanese had headed to War", the government and media had deliberately hid the horrific massacres that they had committed elsewhere, and only reported to the public that they had won, won and won. Naturally the common people cheered and were unaware about the inhumane acts that the army had inflicted upon others overseas. The number of atomic bomb victims is only a speck of dust compared to the people that were tortured and slaughtered by the imperial army outside Japan.

Hence, we can't blame the new generation for not knowing anything. Perhaps even if they know, nothing is going to be changed.

日本人和他們所知道的WW2
在來日之前,常看電視報導因為某日本官員又參拜靖國神社,所以中國為此大感不滿。而且也聽說日本的教課書常常扭曲事實。例如把“侵略”中國改成“進出”中國。我也聽說很多日本年輕人到了我們新加坡的國家博物館之後,才知道原來日本有侵略過我國。

那到底日本人對第二次世界大戰的了解有多少呢?

根據我去年看過的一部娛樂節目,觀眾和藝人被問道為何沖繩島上設有美國軍事基地的時候,一名年輕女藝人竟然回答說是因為日美是結盟,兩國之間從來沒發生過任何戰爭。所以說...這日本歷史教育是不是出現了問題呢?

日本沒有軍隊,只有自衛隊。可是,每次日本老師問我們是否知道原因時,都嘆氣說是因為日本在WW2輸掉了。噢~拜託。我們班可都是從中國,台灣,馬來西亞和新加坡來的,每個都曾被日本侵略過。雖然日本輸了,但是他們到底知不知道戰爭是他們開始的???假如皇軍沒攻打珍珠海港的話,美國也不會逼不得已把已經微薄的軍事武力延長到亞洲太平洋。

根據最近在播放的NHK記錄片,翻譯為“為何日本人朝向戰爭”,說道那時的政府和媒體有意隱藏他們在外國的殘忍虐殺活動,只報導給民眾他們的勝利,勝利,又勝利的消息。自然而然,百姓都不知道原來皇軍在外幹了多少不為人道的行為。原子彈下的冤魂,遠不比皇軍所奪走的無數性命來得多。

因此,我們不能怪新的一代的無知。即使他們知道了,也無法改變任何事情。

Anyway, let's take a trip down to the Nagasaki Atomic Bombing Information Center:
讓我們又到另一個地點,長崎的原爆資料館:

This is a chart located at a secluded spot in the museum showing a time-line of the wars Japan had went into with other countries.
這圖表位於在不是很顯眼的角落, 列著日本和其他國家陷入戰爭的年份。

The Nanking Massacre was only mentioned as a brief single line in the whole museum. Japan seems to want the public to think of themselves as victims of WW2 instead of the hostile side. I was frankly quite disappointed. Perhaps the Japanese government didn't want the young generation to be guilt-ridden by the sins committed by the previous generation.
南京大屠殺只在整個博物館出現了那麼一小段句子。日本是不是想讓人民覺得自己是WW2的犧牲者,而不是侵略者呢?老實說,我很失望。說不定日本政府是為了不要讓年輕一代背負著上一代的孽才這樣做的吧?

As a final positive note, I'll end this solemn article with Dr. Nagai's memorial museum:
我還是比較樂觀地,以永井隆紀念館來結束這片嚴肅的文章:

Dr. Nagai was a doctor who had graduated from the Nagasaki Medical College and majored in radiology. Unfortunately, he was exposed to excessive doses of radiation while treating large numbers of tuberculosis patients with poor equipment. As a result, he developed chronic myeloid leukemia and was given 3 years to live.

2 months later, he was injured in the atomic bombing and lost his wife. Even so, he blamed no one and continued his selfless efforts to rescue other atomic bomb victims until he became too ill and  bedridden. Despite his grim conditions, he wrote more than 10 books, appealing to the world about the foolishness of war and the importance of peace, from his sickbed here called Nyokodo (shown above), meaning to "love others as you love thyself". He lived there with his two children and continued writing until his death on May 1, 1951, at the age of 43.

If we have more people like Dr. Nagai, forgive and forget, world peace may eventually become possible. I salute this great benevolent man and hope that there will be no world war again.

永井醫生是一名從長崎醫科大學的放射學系畢業的醫生。不幸地,他因為長期使用不良儀器,在治療無數患有肺癆的病人以後,因受到大量輻射,自己也患了血癌,並只有3年壽命。

2個月後,他受到原子彈的輻射,並失去了他的老婆。即使如此,他不怪任何人。永井醫生繼續無私地照顧其他原子患者,直到他虛弱臥床不起。雖然患有重病,但他還是不停地從病床上執筆超過10本書,目的就是要傳達給世界戰爭的愚蠢和和平的重要。永井醫生的小屋(圖上)名為“如己堂”,意思是“愛別人如愛己”。他和2位孩子繼續地在小屋居住,一直執筆寫作直到去世為止,享年43歲。

假如我們有更多像永井醫生的人,原諒並忘記的話,世界和平就真的指日可待了。我尊敬這名寬厚的醫生,希望世界戰爭不會再發生了。

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