These all deserve separate posts, but here are some links I found in the last few days that I wanted to write about but didn’t have time for (perhaps others can write in response to these links):
- Alan Christy at Takecrew has posted a generous and sensitive review of great historian Kano Masanao’s latest book, Heishi de aru koto: Doin to jugun no seishinshi (Being a Soldier: A History of Mobilization and Military Service). (And he wrote this while drinking Chilean wine…I gotta grab me that Sam Adams in my fridge)
- Herbert Bix, the Pulitzer Prize historian who wrote Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, has published an article titled “Hirohito and History: Japanese and American Perspectives on the Emperor and World War II in Asia” for the online journal Japan Focus. In this article he elaborates on the same concluding message of his two most recent Japan Focus articles (here and here): that the onset of the Cold War had frozen over the historical consciousness at work in East Asian countries. In his chracteristically clear prose he reveals how the geopolitics between Japan and the United States had helped create a historical amnesia about the Emperor and the legacy of wartime militarism.
- Lastly, Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, the group of right-wing historians also known as tsukurukai or 新しい歴史教科書を作る会, has just published translations of their infamous textbook for middle-school students titled New History Textbook: Revised Edition (『改訂版 新しい歴史教科書』) in English, Korean, and Chinese (simplified and traditional). The site has these translations as pdf files, and as far as I can tell the English one covers different chapters than the Chinese and Korean ones. (Hmmm…I wonder what they’re thinking, I should probably download them all before they take them down.) The group has also made some sections of the book available online here in Japanese.
I was stunned when I skimmed through the first page. Here’s just one paragraph:
The history you are about to study is the history of Japan. In other words, you will be familiarizing yourselves with the stories of your ancestors — your blood relatives. Your closest ancestors your parents, who were preceded by your four grandparents. As you go back further in time, number of ancestors increases with each generation. Then you realize that the humans populated the Japanese Archipelago are ancestors you share with the other students in classroom. In every era, Japanese history was made by ancestors common to all of us.