Skip

The Rise of Chinese anti-semitism and contemporary support for Hitler as a display of Chinese nationalism.
May 31, 2011 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Here is an article from the Asia Times. that discusses the fact that "a rumor is spreading virally throughout the Middle Kingdom that asserts that Austrian-born Hitler was raised by a family of Chinese expats living in Vienna." Apparently "as the rumor spreads throughout the Chinese social web, admiration for Hitler is growing stronger and stronger. Blog posts with titles like 'Why I like Hitler' are popping up every day, and an increasingly greater share of young Chinese are choosing to express their nationalism by voicing support for Hitler."
posted by rudhraigh (138 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Guess they forgot about his alliance with the perpetrators of the Rape of Nanking.
posted by Trurl at 8:34 AM on May 31, 2011 [20 favorites]


So the possible connection with China makes Hitler OK? Yeah, that sounds about right.

Maybe if they knew anything at all about what happened in World War II outside of Asia, they might not be so keen to cheer for Hitler. Like, I dunno, that both Germany and Japan were part of the Axis? Or that Hitler considered the Japanese, his nominal allies, to be the "honorary Aryans" from among the East Asian nations, but still called them "lacquered half-monkeys" in private. What, I wonder, must he have thought of the Chinese?

When I lived in China I got into a shouting match with my Chinese roommate for suggesting that what the Nazis did in Europe was as bad as what the Japanese did in Asia. Apparently things are only bad if they happen to you, and anything that happens to anyone else is just meh.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:36 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


an increasingly greater share of young Chinese are choosing to express their nationalism by voicing support for Hitler.

Oooooh, a greater share. That sounds like a lot.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:36 AM on May 31, 2011 [45 favorites]


So the possible connection with China makes Hitler OK?

The connection is utter fiction -- not "possible."
posted by blucevalo at 8:38 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oooooh, a greater share. That sounds like a lot.

An increasingly greater share, mind you! That sounds like EVEN MORE
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:39 AM on May 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Um, they do remember the whole “kill all the communists” thing he did, right?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:39 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw this when I was living in the Middle East, because Hitler hated Jews and they hear a lot of anti-Zionist propaganda that bleeds over into full-on anti-Semitism*. It's one of those topics where I just could. not. compute. I learned to check my phone messages whenever it came up so as not to get into yet another argument.

Yeah, I know, "Semitic" doesn't just blah blah blah. You know what I mean; screw off.
posted by Etrigan at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2011


Of the people who left comments, 38.8% believe that Hitler was raised by Chinese, 7.1% believe that Hitler supported China in World War II, 4.6% regard Hitler as a hero, and 9.1% hope that China will have a leader similar to Hitler.

30% of GOP still believes Obama not born in the USA

It seems that regardless of nationality or geopolitical boundaries, 1 in 3 people on this planet are born without critical thinking skills. Sad stuff.
posted by reformedjerk at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2011 [57 favorites]


When a government puts strict controls on the historical narratives its citizens learn, people start liking Hitler.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:45 AM on May 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Of the people who left comments, 38.8% believe that Hitler was raised by Chinese, 7.1% believe that Hitler supported China in World War II, 4.6% regard Hitler as a hero, and 9.1% hope that China will have a leader similar to Hitler.

30% of GOP still believes Obama not born in the USA

It seems that regardless of nationality or geopolitical boundaries, 1 in 3 people on this planet are born without critical thinking skills. Sad stuff.


30% of the GOP does not represent 1/3 of the United States.

38.8% of people who left comments on a Facebook post does not represent 1/3 of China.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:46 AM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


38.8% of people who left comments on a Facebook post does not represent 1/3 of China.

Maybe not. But you have to admit that they're increasingly greater.
posted by steambadger at 8:48 AM on May 31, 2011 [25 favorites]


Apparently things are only bad if they happen to you, and anything that happens to anyone else is just meh.

As an American, this sounds awfully familiar.
posted by entropone at 8:49 AM on May 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


In 2007, Chinese author Song Hongbing published a book called The Currency War. It was a hodge-podge of anti-Semitic conspiracies about how the Jews control the money supply and manipulate world events in order to grow their fortunes. When the global economy ground to a halt in 2008, The Currency War shot to the top of the Chinese best-seller list, and Chinese bookstores couldn't keep enough copies on the shelf.

So, basically economic hard times and a message to blame the foreigners, with a good dose of racism = the cray-cray? Sounds like every other country with economic woes about now, except maybe that the countries who've been under the thumb of colonialism have a point, unlike the rest.
posted by yeloson at 8:50 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, the far right are gaining traction in the UK too - see the Facebook groups on halal KFCs and the EDL protests. Still unsure whether this represents a greater number of fuckwits, mind.
posted by mippy at 8:52 AM on May 31, 2011


30% of the GOP does not represent 1/3 of the United States.

Yeah, everyone knows Democrats and Independents have superior critical thinking skills.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:52 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


So Hitler had a Tiger Mother?
posted by geoff. at 8:55 AM on May 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


sheesh.. what is there to discuss here... stupid people will be stupid..

This is based on a "facebook" like post...

The truth is that Hitler was raised in Farmville.
posted by tomswift at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, everyone knows Democrats and Independents have superior critical thinking skills.

Damn you just destroyed an argument nobody was making.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2011 [24 favorites]


and, since nobody else has said it...

you know who else was raised by the Chinese...?
posted by tomswift at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Paraguay is launching a full scale investigation.
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


China has an interesting (to say the least) Internet culture... Too bad this sort of crap is all that people talk about. Any, LOLChinese!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:00 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most of the young Chinese people I met when I was a high school teacher knew basically nothing about history of the 20th century save for the Party-approved narrative of WWII; it's just not emphasized much in school. So I had quite a few students who were fascinated by the rise of Germany in WWII, the parallels with China are obvious. It's not like they were super excited about anti-semitism, they (mostly teenage boys), they just liked the idea of a powerful nation with lots of tanks and airplanes being able to do what they want even after being humiliated in WWI.
posted by skewed at 9:03 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good thing Hitler wasn't raised by Americans.
posted by America at 9:03 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


you know who else was raised by the Chinese...?

Goddamnit, this comment was supposed to be that joke.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:04 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Goddamnit, this comment was supposed to be that joke.
posted by ob at 9:05 AM on May 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


wait, what?!
posted by gen at 9:06 AM on May 31, 2011


Just goes to show what bloody stupid ideas can spring up if the worldview they teach them and educational system are fucked.
posted by Not Supplied at 9:07 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, this shifted into a right-left discussion pretty fast.

So, it feels to me like this discussion is mostly missing the most interesting point: Because Hitler's supposed to have liked China, people there think he's cool. (One person brings it up, then gets mocked by a few folks who either want to pick nits with his subjunctives or haven't noticed that the article includes actual stats.)

If this were almost anybody but Hitler -- Liberace, say -- we wouldn't be making a political discussion out of it, it would still be a discussion regarding nationalism or meme-propagation or some combination thereof. I would love to read that discussion.

As it is, it has special resonance for us in the west, and provides yet another point on which to differentiate ourselves from the demon other. (If I were a paranoid man, I'd suggest agitprop.)
posted by lodurr at 9:07 AM on May 31, 2011


Liberace was raised by a Chinese Tiger Mom? Well, that explains it.
posted by kozad at 9:10 AM on May 31, 2011


skewed: "the Party-approved narrative of WWII"

What is the Party-approved narrative? Because this story:

the idea of a powerful nation with lots of tanks and airplanes being able to do what they want even after being humiliated in WWI

does not end well for Germany. And along the way, China doesn't fare so hot, either. I'd think, if anything, they'd be admiring their frenemy the U.S., who de facto nationalized the manufacturing sector, toppled a fascist regime, and dropped some nukes on China's main enemy.
posted by mkultra at 9:10 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's a list of things that I know I'm not an expert on: teenage chatspeak; the Chinese language; Chinese teenage chatspeak; anything any teenager ever posts on Facebook; the Chinese version of Facebook; things teenagers think are cool; things Chinese teenagers think are cool; things Chinese teenagers think are cool so they post about them in Chinese teenage chatspeak on the Chinese version of Facebook.

My point here is that whenever I read anything like this about Internet culture in China I immediately have to assume that I've got it wrong. Maybe there is a rising tide of Neo-Commi-Nazism in China or maybe the Asia Times has just written its equivalent of a Daily Mail piece trying to explain imminent threat of planking.
posted by rh at 9:12 AM on May 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


Springtime for Hitler
posted by Meatbomb at 9:12 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know there's a joke here somewhere about being hungry again an hour after eating Chinese food but I can't find it.
posted by Trurl at 9:16 AM on May 31, 2011


What is the Party-approved narrative?

Glorious victory for the CCP against the Imperialist Japanese and just as importantly against the loathsome Nationalists supported by the Capitalist Americans. Oh, and some support from the Americans, but that's not a big deal, mostly let's focus on the victory against the Japanese and the Nationalists. There was other stuff going on in the world as well, but not much to talk about.

Really, I'm not even sure it would be fair to call it a narrative of WWII, since most Chinese that I met think of that era as the time when China became an independent country, defeating its foreign enemy (Japan) and its domestic enemy (the Nationalists).
posted by skewed at 9:21 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Goddamnit, this comment was supposed to be that joke.

Goddamnit, I could have made that comment about a hundred times before now if I had thought of it first.


I know there's a joke here somewhere about being hungry again an hour after eating Chinese food but I can't find it.


Something about taking over Poland then an hour later you are ready to devour another country, perhaps?
posted by TedW at 9:22 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heard about the new German-Chinese restaurant? An hour after eating, you're hungry for power.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:23 AM on May 31, 2011 [32 favorites]


My hunch is that this is not about Hitler, but about the image of Hitler. From our pal Jean:

Simulacra and Simulation identifies three types of simulacra and identifies each with a historical period:

1. First order, associated with the premodern period, where the image is clearly an artificial placemarker for the real item. The uniqueness of objects and situations marks them as irreproducibly real and signification obviously gropes towards this reality.

2. Second order, associated with the modernity of the Industrial Revolution, where distinctions between image and reality break down due to the proliferation of mass-reproducible copies of items, turning them into commodities. The commodity's ability to imitate reality threatens to replace the original version, especially when the individual person is only concerned with consuming for some utility a functional facsimile.

3. Third order, associated with the postmodernity, where the simulacrum precedes the original and the distinction between reality and representation vanishes. There is only the simulacrum, and originality becomes a totally meaningless concept.


We're deep into 3 here — this exists in a context of Downfall remixes, Inglourious Basterds and Nazi restaurants.
posted by Tom-B at 9:24 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


That was it.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:24 AM on May 31, 2011


YO DAWG IN COMMUNIST CHINA i'm in ur china raising ur hitlers YOU! SO YOU CAN PARADE WHILE YOU INVADE
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:34 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Though there are remnants of a Jewish culture still to be found in China (via diaspora), somehow the Chinese do not strike me very much as being pure aryan types, the sort of people the Nazis preferred. On the other hand, Hitler not very aryan looking either.

Hitler made his moustache popular among his minions. Will the Chinese begin to sport similar adornments?
posted by Postroad at 9:37 AM on May 31, 2011


Man, the Klingons are going to be pissed when they hear the Chinese are trying to claim Shakespeare from them.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:42 AM on May 31, 2011


Makes me wish I had a tall, cold bottle of Tsing Tao, the best German beer made in China.*


I know, lots of people who live in countries with more-advanced beer cultures think Tsing Tao is swill, but it really isn't so bad.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:46 AM on May 31, 2011


When I lived in China I got into a shouting match with my Chinese roommate for suggesting that what the Nazis did in Europe was as bad as what the Japanese did in Asia. Apparently things are only bad if they happen to you, and anything that happens to anyone else is just meh.

I probably would have been shouting along with you, but it's worth noting that tensions between the Japanese and Chinese over WWII atrocities are still pretty high and there's actually been some sympathy and support for Nanking-deniers and/or apologists in Japan, even in government, over the last 50-60 years. Oh, and the Yasukuni Shrine thing. This is a pretty sharp contrast with Germany's post-war approach to Nazi crimes in Europe, which has evidently allowed for more closure.
posted by Hoopo at 9:48 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, the internet rumor about the internet rumor that gullible foreign types are supposedly falling for in vast numbers. You won't fool me again! I'm still trying to unload my stockpiles of Singer Sewing machines I was confident of unloading on gullible Middle Easterners.
posted by nanojath at 9:49 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


When countries go for ethnic nationalism, why is it always Hitler? Why never Gandhi? I really despair for our collective progress as a species when we keep rediscovering the same bloody, discarded ideas.
posted by atchafalaya at 9:56 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is slightly worrying that apparently we as a species are still so geographically, linguistically and culturally widespread that a nation of over a billion people are apparently impermeable to one of the biggest learning experiences of all time that we in the rest of the world went through.

In today's age of nuclear weapons and weaponised disease, do we really think we have many more moments of post-atrocity reflection in us?
posted by rudhraigh at 10:01 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


In 2007, Chinese author Song Hongbing published a book called The Currency War. It was a hodge-podge of anti-Semitic conspiracies about how the Jews control the money supply and manipulate world events in order to grow their fortunes.

Jewish conspiracy theories never cease to amaze me. I mean, if we really did control the world's money supply, wouldn't we, um I dunno, invest some of it in NOT GETTING OUR ASSES KILLED EVERY OTHER GENERATION OR SO?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:01 AM on May 31, 2011 [15 favorites]


Maybe it is not antisemitism but more admiration for a man of action.

Nobody would really think it odd if a kid showed up in Genghis Khan outfit for Halloween. How long until darling little SS kids are darting across suburban lawns? 100 years? 50?

(Oh look! He has a tiny deaths head pin!)
posted by shothotbot at 10:02 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Totally true story. My parents were good, though Chinese, people. They had a strong, quiet nobility to them. I'm sure that helped them out a lot when they were sent to the labour camps.

What really sucks, though, is I didn't even get any credit when Hollywood based The Jerk on my story. Fucking Steve Martin. No surprise he ripped off Rostand next.

Anyway, thanks for the memories. Peace out.
posted by Hitler at 10:02 AM on May 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


China = Godwin.
posted by LarryC at 10:03 AM on May 31, 2011


Shanghai was a haven for many Jews who fled Europe during WWII. This internet generation are total dicks.
posted by cazoo at 10:04 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


tomswift: " This is based on a "facebook" like post..."

With 40,000 comments. Which may well make it statistically significant.
posted by zarq at 10:04 AM on May 31, 2011


Is 40,000 a statistically significant number of self-selecting participants in a country of over a billion people? (I ask -- I don't know statistics from lies or damn lies)
posted by hippybear at 10:06 AM on May 31, 2011


Glorious victory for the CCP against the Imperialist Japanese and just as importantly against the loathsome Nationalists supported by the Capitalist Americans. Oh, and some support from the Americans, but that's not a big deal, mostly let's focus on the victory against the Japanese and the Nationalists. There was other stuff going on in the world as well, but not much to talk about.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that without the Japanese invasion, the CCP probably wouldn't exist. Mao's forces were decimated after the Long March, but once the Japanese invaded and forced a sorta truce between the KMT and Mao, the tide started turning. The CCP gained support amongst the people with guerilla tactics against the Japanese while the Japanese army smashed the KMT. After the Japanese finally pulled out, the CCP now controlled millions of troops (as opposed to thousands before).

Actually, looking into it a bit more now, maybe it's not such a secret, just look at what Mao himself said:
(You) don't have to say sorry, your country had made a great contribution to China. Why? Because if Imperial Japan did not start the war, how could we communists become mighty and powerful? How could we overthrow KMT? How could we defeat Chiang Kai-shek? No, we are grateful and do not want your war reparations! (Translated from Tanaka Kakuei Biography, original in Japanese).
Gee, what a great guy. What's a few million civilian deaths when it means I get to be the head honcho?
posted by kmz at 10:07 AM on May 31, 2011


Afroblanco: " Jewish conspiracy theories never cease to amaze me. I mean, if we really did control the world's money supply, wouldn't we, um I dunno, invest some of it in NOT GETTING OUR ASSES KILLED EVERY OTHER GENERATION OR SO?"

Father of an (ex)friend of mine once told me that we Jews were faking victimhood to distract people from the fact that we apparently control everything. Thus, Holocaust denial, etc.
posted by zarq at 10:07 AM on May 31, 2011


hippybear: "Is 40,000 a statistically significant number of self-selecting participants in a country of over a billion people? (I ask -- I don't know statistics from lies or damn lies)"

No idea. I don't know enough about statistics either. But I do know that it doesn't take 40,000 to create an enduring meme. Or scapegoat an entire people.
posted by zarq at 10:09 AM on May 31, 2011


Hey guys, about to unload one of those strange expat rants that sound really ignorant to anyone who hasn't lived in an Asian country. (And could just a possibly be completely ignorant and perhaps indicative that it's time to leave.)

Ready?

Many Asians think Nazis are cool. I see Swastikas everywhere.... (I'll include a few blank lines so you can ready your response.)












Now let me cut you off here, because I've had this conversation about 200+ times. You may be thinking, "Well actually Telf the swastika is originally an ancient Indian/Greek/Indoeuropean/australopithicine symbol which symbolizes blabbity bloo and in fact what you're seeing is probably a reflection of...."

No, listen up. I'm not talking about ancient religious symbols that kind of look like a backwards/tilted swastika. I'm talking about full on red. white black, SS, Deaths Head, lightning bolt Nazis.

We're looking at WWII from eurocentric, western view point. We learn things like history and social studies in our schools because we think it's kind of important. You've probably been asked to write an original report on something about world war II.

This is not the environment that many Chinese, Koreans and Thais are brought up in. Most of my students go on to become either: accountants, engineers, or businessmen. Those are steady sources of income. Learning history is largely seen as a waste of time and you owe it to your folks to make money. For the most part, studying liberals arts is not an option.

Here's what most of my students know:
When you play video games you can usually be either a Russian, an American or a Nazi. Nazis usually have the best uniforms and guns.

Nazi paraphernalia is very popular. Ask most of my students what a Swastika is and they'll assume it's a punk or rock and roll symbol, like the anarchy symbol or a Christian cross. (Also seen as some vaguely rebellious, fashionable symbol.)

I know people who will wear a Che shirt, a peace sign necklace, a rasta hat and a few nazi pins. They don't know exactly what it all means, but they like the imagery.

For many Asian students, dressing up as a Nazi for Halloween (Surprisingly common in Bangkok.) is like dressing up as a cowboy or a pirate. It's so far removed from their common experience that it's funny. There's no horror involved. It doesn't ring any cultural alarm bells.

Believe me, I've had full conversations with sweet, innocent people dressed up in full SS regalia. You'll find them walking around Asian super malls during anime/gaming conventions. I ask them why they're dressed like that and they're clueless that it might be offensive. One of my Asian teachers once visited germany and thought it would be funny to bring her swastika shirt because she knew swastikas had something to do with Germany.

This isn't something unique to China and it's repressive government. This is Eastern countries not losing sleep over western villains. It's like American students wearing a Mao shirt or people getting kanji tattoos. Why? Because it's cool. Why is it cool? I dunno, I just like the way it looks.
posted by Telf at 10:09 AM on May 31, 2011 [59 favorites]


I'm not talking about ancient religious symbols that kind of look like a backwards/tilted swastika. I'm talking about full on red. white black, SS, Deaths Head, lightning bolt Nazis.

Um... pics or it didn't happen?

(Not questioning what you're saying, really... it's a joke which had to be said... but I'd still be curious to see photos of this in action just for the head-asplode nature of them.)
posted by hippybear at 10:13 AM on May 31, 2011


SS uniforms were stylish, well-cut, with a touch (but not too much) of eccentricity. Compare the rather boring and not very well cut American army uniform: jacket, shirt, tie, pants, socks, and lace-up shoes—essentially civilian clothes no matter how bedecked with medals and badges. SS uniforms were tight, heavy, stiff and included gloves to confine the hands and boots that made legs and feet feel heavy, encased, obliging their wearer to stand up straight. - Susan Sontag, "Fascinating Fascism"
posted by Trurl at 10:14 AM on May 31, 2011


In 2007, Chinese author Song Hongbing published a book called The Currency War. It was a hodge-podge of anti-Semitic conspiracies about how the Jews control the money supply and manipulate world events in order to grow their fortunes. When the global economy ground to a halt in 2008, The Currency War shot to the top of the Chinese best-seller list, and Chinese bookstores couldn't keep enough copies on the shelf.

Are Jews an ethnic group urbane Chinese are likely to have encountered, or an exotic other? To the average Chinese reader, would "the Jews control the money supply" be semantically equivalent to, say, "the Hottentots control the money supply"?
posted by acb at 10:14 AM on May 31, 2011


I lived in Southeast Asia for four years in two different countries, and traveled around to several others. The subject of Hitler rarely came up, however when it did, it was always treated as a joke. They rarely acknowledged, or even seemed to know for that matter, the gravity of what he did. Puzzling, to say the least.

In their defense, I think you'd struggle to find people in our civilization who know much about Pol Pot or Mao Zedong.
posted by secondhand pho at 10:15 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I lived in Shanghai in the nineties, I observed these things:

- Han Chinese students who praised Hitler as a nationalist leader and who either did not know about or minimized the Holocaust - I suspect partly because Han people are encouraged by the state to believe that they are superior to other ethnicities in China and violence/expropriation of minority people happens all the time in Tibet and Xinjiang.

- A group of Japanese exchange students at my university celebrating the Nanjing violence in order to piss off the Chinese students, who they viewed as provincial, poor and backward

- Racism against African exchange students which was often backed up by pointing to Western media depictions of black people.

I also observed a lot of white teachers, students and tourists absolutely in love with the kitsch propaganda of the cultural revolution, which is not quite on a par with having an "Arbeit Macht Frei" poster but is pretty disgusting. Even though these white folks mostly knew plenty of Chinese people who'd been caught up in the Cultural Revolution and had their lives seriously messed up.

It takes a lot to make someone else's suffering seem real, no matter how much it may on the surface resemble your own.
posted by Frowner at 10:17 AM on May 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


acb: " Are Jews an ethnic group urbane Chinese are likely to have encountered, or an exotic other? To the average Chinese reader, would "the Jews control the money supply" be semantically equivalent to, say, "the Hottentots control the money supply"?"

Whether they are directly familiar with Jews or not, antisemitic stereotypes can still be damaging or dangerous. The 'Jewish conspiracy' in Asia: Few Chinese, Japanese, Malaysians, or Filipinos have ever seen a Jew – and yet antisemitism persists
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


40,000 comments - I'm sure nobody commented more than once!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:19 AM on May 31, 2011


Telf: “Many Asians think Nazis are cool. I see Swastikas everywhere....”

Well actually Telf the swastika is originally an ancient Indian/Greek/Indoeuropean/australopithicine symbol which symbolizes blabbity bloo.
posted by koeselitz at 10:23 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh. Damn.
posted by koeselitz at 10:23 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


In their defense, I think you'd struggle to find people in our civilization who know much about Pol Pot or Mao Zedong.

...um. Would you really? People aren't all that dumb.
posted by jaduncan at 10:24 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


And really, what's surprising about admiring somebody who killed tens of millions when your national icon is somebody who killed tens of millions?

And yes, Western kids wearing Mao shirts is just as ridiculous. Or, for that matter, proclaiming people like Alexander of Macedon or Genghis Khan "great".
posted by kmz at 10:26 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shanghai was a haven for many Jews who fled Europe during WWII. This internet generation are total dicks.

Harbin too was full of refugees from eastern Europe, many of them Jewish. (My mother was born there, as was, as I discovered recently, a friend's mother.) I'm not sure how many descendants of Europeans remain there, though I suspect that after the upheavals of the Maoist era, it's not many.
posted by acb at 10:26 AM on May 31, 2011


40,000 comments

Yes. With more than three times that number of page views.

- I'm sure nobody commented more than once!

My point was that it was obviously an extensive conversation.

If this is the first large-scale, transparent discussion on the topic by Chinese citizens that we are seeing, is it not worth at least paying attention to? No one here is saying that 40,000 comments speak for all Chinese opinions on the matter. But after noting that The Currency Wars became a Chinese bestseller, (mentioned in the main article and also here,) it would behoove us to be curious. At the very least, pay attention and ask questions to determine what the incident means, if anything.
posted by zarq at 10:26 AM on May 31, 2011


This is a case of Pear Pimples for Hairy Fishnuts.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:28 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


At the very least, pay attention and ask questions to determine what the incident means, if anything.

But that's hard. I'd rather say 1/3 of humans aren't critical thinkers based off of a Facebook post. Let me have that, please.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:28 AM on May 31, 2011


And yes, Western kids wearing Mao shirts is just as ridiculous. Or, for that matter, proclaiming people like Alexander of Macedon or Genghis Khan "great".

Mind you, most of the great men (and occasionally women) of history were, by our standards, monsters. Henry VIII, an architect of aspects of the current British state (the Church of England, for one) was essentially a serial killer. George Washington kept slaves. Winston Churchill was a genocidal racist, who advocated the gassing of rebellious tribes in the Empire. And so on.

Nice people seldom made history.
posted by acb at 10:29 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey Hippybear,

This seems to have a name, Nazi Chic. Apparently well documented. I just ran a google search and got this:

Bangkok's Nazi Chic.
Nazi Cosplay.
Youtube (I'm not sure either.)
A not uncommon example of Nazi decorations.
Hitler Billboard.
Nazi school children dancing.
Nazi mobile phones?

That was off of a google search. I've stopped taking photos myself because it's not even photo worthy anymore. I'm still tempted to get the currently popular Ronald McDonald/Hitler t-shirt that's being worn by the cool kids.
posted by Telf at 10:31 AM on May 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Abeizer has talked about this before, and I know that Mongolians have a big Hitler fascination.
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 AM on May 31, 2011


an increasingly greater share of young Chinese are choosing to express their nationalism by voicing support for Hitler

Well! This is certainly good news for Hitler!
posted by dhartung at 10:36 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Abeizer has talked about this before, and I know that Mongolians have a big Hitler fascination.

Didn't several senior Nazis have an occultistic fascination with Mongolia?
posted by acb at 10:37 AM on May 31, 2011


Telf: thanks for taking me at face value and not being snarky. Those links are exactly what I was asking to see.
posted by hippybear at 10:37 AM on May 31, 2011


Hippybear: After I posted my rant, I was curious to see if this is a phenomenon noticed by others or just something I'd been overly focused on. I was oddly relieved to see it is in fact a thing.
posted by Telf at 10:41 AM on May 31, 2011


Isn't there a difference between a shallow or ironic appreciation of appropriated images (Nazi chic, if you will) and believing that Hitler was raised by Chinese parents and therefore worthy of praise? Is there a difference between Thailand, China, Japan? Or does the fact that some people in various Asian countries think Nazis look cool represent a burgeoning anti-semitic Neo-Nazi movement in China?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:43 AM on May 31, 2011


The Chinese believe Hitler was born in Australia? That's what they get for hacking Julia Gillard's email.

We have nothing to worry about here. Julia has unwittingly bluffed the Chinese, and she has Obama's back.

What could possibly go wrong?
posted by de at 10:44 AM on May 31, 2011


acb: "Didn't several senior Nazis have an occultistic fascination with Mongolia?"

Actually it was mostly Tibet. They had ties with the Dalai Lama and there were Tibetan soldiers fighting alongside the Nazis during the fall of Berlin.
posted by idiopath at 10:53 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, in India...
posted by Bwithh at 10:58 AM on May 31, 2011


If someone started selling that Ronald McDonald Hitler shirt in Williamsburg, they probably would be able to buy all the tea in China.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:59 AM on May 31, 2011


I like Hitler too!

Well, actually I don't. But my house is a Victorian era property lovingly restored by the previous owner. It has original fireplaces in it, complete with original tiling: complete with original tiles full of swastikas.

But it's heartening to know that when the Chinese property investment invasion of the UK extends to zone 2 in South London I'll be able to sell up for just that little more. Kamin macht reich and all that.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:00 AM on May 31, 2011


If there are 5 Hitler references in a row, is that a Nahtzee?
posted by pjern at 11:10 AM on May 31, 2011 [20 favorites]


I think we're getting off track here people. The IMPORTANT thing here is that this is another reason to Other the Chinese people, so that we don't have to regard them as "people like us".
posted by happyroach at 11:10 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually it was mostly Tibet. They had ties with the Dalai Lama and there were Tibetan soldiers fighting alongside the Nazis during the fall of Berlin.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask for a cite for this claim before I let it slide into my subconscious as one of those little pieces of little known but surprising "trivia" we humans are constantly inventing by various acts of carelessness or contrarian impulse.

I couldn't find clear evidence to support this particular claim in my searches, and this old Google Answers thread on a similar topic strongly suggests that there's no evidence solid enough to justify stating the case as unequivocally and certainly as this comment suggests.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:13 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


You can get the original Ronald McHitler shirt here.

My favorite Bangkok Nazi chic sighting: pink Mickey with a swastika on his ear hat, "Nazee Mouse" underneath. Weird things, man.
posted by cyndigo at 11:26 AM on May 31, 2011


saulgoodman: "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask for a cite for this claim"

I am going to presume you are asking for citation about the Tibetan support of the Nazis, since the Nazi interest in Tibetan Buddhism is well documented (I can provide those links if that is also in question).

Doing more research myself, I am going to have to put my foot in my mouth here and admit that was just a rumor that I can find no real verification for. Thanks for taking it seriously enough to inform me of my error.
posted by idiopath at 11:30 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


*make that "thanks for taking me seriously enough to inform me of my error"
posted by idiopath at 11:31 AM on May 31, 2011


I probably would have been shouting along with you, but it's worth noting that tensions between the Japanese and Chinese over WWII atrocities are still pretty high and there's actually been some sympathy and support for Nanking-deniers and/or apologists in Japan, even in government, over the last 50-60 years. Oh, and the Yasukuni Shrine thing. This is a pretty sharp contrast with Germany's post-war approach to Nazi crimes in Europe, which has evidently allowed for more closure.

Give me a fucking break. These sorts of tensions are managed and manipulated by people in power in China, and Japan has apologized and has genuinely tried to repair the damage.

With Japan and China, you're comparing two countries: one has a democratically-elected government, civil society, rule of law, and broad individual freedoms. The other is a defacto totalitarian state whose governance serves the ruling elite, with no freedom of speech, and certainly, as the original Asia Times link points out, no commitment to even trying to teach history in schools.

The Chinese Communist Party has killed more Chinese people than Japan ever did, and I'm sure that it has no qualms about killing even more in the future.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:31 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


It might be worthwhile to remember that social media in China (the 'official' ones, anyway) are generally believed to be heavily monitored by internet police looking for dissidents, anti-government sentiment and other blacklisted topics - I know anti-government comments on bigger websites like Sina end up being removed fairly quickly, and Lu Xiaobo is censored on QQ.com (another social media site in China). Searching for information about the Egyptian revolution is also blocked, and I believe searching for information about World War II is heavily censored - ie. you can search for Ho Feng-Shan, but he's listed only as a 'Chinese diplomat' instead of being a part of the Republic of China's delegation to Vienna.

Kaixin (I think - someone more up-to-date on China's social media correct me if I'm wrong) tends to be populated more by youngish employees/office workers - QQ has teenagers, Renren has students/white-collar employees, and Pengyou is students/employees. Of the four, QQ and Renren have more hits according to Alexa, so Kaixin is third-ranking among the Facebook-clones group.

If this poll was on QQ I'd have thought this was more of the Nazi chic trend Telf spoke of above, but seeing how it's on one of the websites populated by a slightly older generation I'm wondering if a bunch of those 40,000 comments are people trolling/extolling yay NAZIS! for the benefit of whatever government Big Brother they believe are watching them.

Or it could be people who've been fed on a diet of whatever their government deigns to allow them. Who the hell knows - there's no way to access the original thread on Kaixin and look at the language and nuance of it.
posted by zennish at 11:46 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Are Jews an ethnic group urbane Chinese are likely to have encountered, or an exotic other?"

That depends on what you mean by Jew.

The thing is, I think the term Jew in China may be a very narrow definition that I would say points mostly at the Ashkenazi ethnic group.
posted by linux at 11:46 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


JAPAN!
posted by clavdivs at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2011


someone has to godwin
posted by clavdivs at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2011


It is even worse than these guys think.

Hitlers father. ;-)
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:01 PM on May 31, 2011


When I first saw this post my immediate thought was that it might be a rumour, or at least greatly exaggerated.

But what some people are saying though about Hitler and Nazi symbols just not having the same meaning in China is reminding me of a couple of stories I've heard from friends who are of Indian parentage, though Canadian-born and raised themselves.

One told me his father used to sign letters with the swastika when he first came to Canada. Of course it didn't take long before someone explained to him that he really musn't do that when writing a business letter to a non-Indian Canadian.

Another related the story of how her parents were taking a trip to India and brought her back a shawl at her request. With swastikas on it. These were people who had lived in Canada for 30 years and it still didn't occur to them that their daughter would not want to wear anything with swastikas on it when she was out and about in Toronto. She told them it was really only wearable for an Indian wedding or some such event, otherwise, NO.

So, yeah, it might be a matter of people just not being educated as to who Hilter really was. Or it could be like Prince Harry dressing up as a Nazi for a Halloween party: he should have known better about how that would play, but being young and not all that bright, didn't.
posted by orange swan at 12:01 PM on May 31, 2011


Part of me wonders if this isn't some ARG related to the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm...
posted by mkultra at 12:02 PM on May 31, 2011


The Chinese Communist Party has killed more Chinese people than Japan ever did, and I'm sure that it has no qualms about killing even more in the future.

What does that have to do with Nanking? That the Chinese have also committed atrocities is entirely irrelevant.

Give me a fucking break. These sorts of tensions are managed and manipulated by people in power in China, and Japan has apologized and has genuinely tried to repair the damage.

I was living in Japan in 2007 when the LDP started investigating Nanking again and determined it had been grossly exaggerated. It's not a new phenomenon either, and seems to come up at least once every decade. Japan has not been as ready to acknowledge as Germany with respect to its more detestable activities in WWII, whether it's Nanking or forcing women into brothels or incorporating WWII events into textbooks. Government officials and even Prime Ministers are still making denial/apologist gaffes these days. Sure China is manipulating things, the point is there are still tensions over Nanking today that are rooted in denial, apologism, and bad faith in a way that would make the argument particularly emotionally intense.
posted by Hoopo at 12:07 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is gonna make for some awkward Mah Jong tournaments....
posted by condour75 at 12:11 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. The first thing that popped into my head is the quote from a short story in John Varley's "Blue Champagne" where a character is discussing the relationship between various Asian ethinicities and he describes the Chinese as "the Jews of Asia."

Not that I'm attesting to the accuracy of that; it's just that this is extra ironic (I really do think) in the context of that quote/sentiment.
posted by Eideteker at 12:12 PM on May 31, 2011


The Chinese Communist Party has killed more Chinese people than Japan ever did, and I'm sure that it has no qualms about killing even more in the future.

In a game of Who's the Bigger Asshole, the lesser asshole is still an asshole.
posted by kmz at 12:12 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


The first thing that popped into my head is the quote from a short story in John Varley's "Blue Champagne" where a character is discussing the relationship between various Asian ethinicities and he describes the Chinese as "the Jews of Asia."

I'm assuming he's referring to the kind of anti-Chinese sentiment that led to, for example, the 1998 Indonesian anti-Chinese riots.
posted by kmz at 12:16 PM on May 31, 2011


You know who else liked Hitler?
posted by mazola at 12:16 PM on May 31, 2011


Based on the link: "China did not receive any support from the Nazi regime. "

That's wrong!

Link1


Link2
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:26 PM on May 31, 2011


Interesting how people feel compelled to find other explanations, apart from 'their heads are full of a load of nonsense'.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:49 PM on May 31, 2011


The article says, "Blog posts with titles like "Why I like Hitler" [2] are popping up every day" as if it's part of this supposed new phenomenon but then the linked example of this is dated 2009, and half the comments are telling the author what an idiot he is (e.g. "一个魔头,灭绝人性.居然有人喜欢." [(Hitler) was a devil who obliterated his humanity and it turns out there's actually people who admire him]). I think (Arsenio) Hall has the right of it here, ignorance or trolling online being taken out of all proportion. And the Chinese Internet is vast and various, so you'd need a bit more than one Kaixin post and the odd follow-up before declaring a general trend.
Of course various of the elements mentioned in the discussion here have some basis is reality - there is historical ignorance as anywhere, the geographical distance is a factor in more flippancy about European fascism and so on. But even that historical ignorance can't be attributed entirely to the failings (and there are many) of the state education curriculum - the end of the war is taught and celebrated as the victory over fascism, 何凤山 (Ho Feng-Shan) the 'Chinese Schindler' is lauded, and so on; although again, the focus is naturally on the China/Asian theatre.
Not too sure anti-Semitism is particularly prevalent either (remember hearing it said that the impression many Chinese people had of Jewish people came from the writing of Ba Jin, where they would be positive characters part of progressive and revolutionary movements) though I do recall noticing a spate of self-help 'get rich' books a couple of years back claiming to share some Jewish secrets of money-making - ostensibly philosemitic but obviously perpetuating a stereotype that can be flipped at any time.
posted by Abiezer at 2:20 PM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


hippybear: Um... pics or it didn't happen?

I've seen plenty, but here's a shot I took in Burma. No idea where buddy got the hat. And here are a couple more shirts currently being sold in Bangkok to add to the one Telf posted above.
posted by gman at 3:01 PM on May 31, 2011


KokuRyu: “Japan has apologized and has genuinely tried to repair the damage.”

You will certainly know more about it than me, but isn't that a bit of a simplification? There's only been one very isolated apology that I know of, and at the time a lot of people (Chinese and otherwise) felt it wasn't enough. And since then, there have been major factions within Japan who have perpetuated the denial that Nanking ever happened, right? Maybe I was wrong, and they're just cranks (that's also a possibility).

Aside from that, yes. I agree with those saying you can't really compare the two. Nobody thinks that what happened on 11 September 2001 in New York was a good thing, even if all of us admit that the atrocities that white Americans committed on black and native Americans were much worse. The two don't need to be compared or be in relation to each other for us to know that they're both atrocities.
posted by koeselitz at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2011


Well, okay. Apparently this is really A Thing. And it seems to be approached with some odd mishmash of irony and earnestness. And I'm sure there's a cultural overlay happening which I cannot actually grok.

I guess, getting back to the FPP, the thing to wonder about is whether we're going to see a rash of chinese-edition Mein Kampf volumes being purchased and devoured and sudden real speechifying about driving out the foreigners who are polluting the blood of the true Chinese.

There are few things which I can imagine as more terrifying on the world political stage, actually.
posted by hippybear at 3:23 PM on May 31, 2011


Dieses ist nicht zo schoen.
posted by humanfont at 4:25 PM on May 31, 2011


Give me a fucking break. These sorts of tensions are managed and manipulated by people in power in China, and Japan has apologized and has genuinely tried to repair the damage.

Can Germans criticise Israel's human rights record yet and not be called out for it?
posted by acb at 4:28 PM on May 31, 2011


Can Germans criticise Israel's human rights record yet and not be called out for it?

More importantly, can anyone?

(please no derail. it was a joke!)
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on May 31, 2011


Slight derail, perhaps, but interesting take from Timothy Garton Ash on why a Warhol of Mao is chic but one of Hitler is unthinkable.

Question then becomes, when/if the communists lose power in China, will there be a sudden drop in the market for Mao chotchka? Absent a Chinese Solzhenitsyn (and even then), I'm going to guess not. Pity, really.

(PS - so I google Chinese Solzhenitsyn and find Yang Jisheng. Anyone here able to comment on his book?)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:59 PM on May 31, 2011


When I lived in China I got into a shouting match with my Chinese roommate for suggesting that what the Nazis did in Europe was as bad as what the Japanese did in Asia. Apparently things are only bad if they happen to you, and anything that happens to anyone else is just meh.

Being just as European as I am Asian, I'll say that your roommate was probably right; I mean, the sadism of Japanese soldiers was much more cruel than Nazis parading through Europe, if we're going apples-to-apples. I mean, it's still open for debate, but that's my opinion.

But, let's just say that the fact we use Mao Zedong as a fucking fashion symbol in the West should be an indication that cultures on opposite sides of the world have a much more limited sense of history of what's going on on the other side.

Sure, a billion people raised by the Chinese state may not know what's up with Zedong either, but we with full access to his history should despise him just as much as Hitler.

As for stupid Chinese people praising Hitler, they are clearly idiots.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:24 PM on May 31, 2011


No different that white hipsters wearing Che Guevarra shirts, or other bling appropriated from other societies.
posted by gjc at 5:39 PM on May 31, 2011


jabberjaw: "Being just as European as I am Asian, I'll say that your roommate was probably right; I mean, the sadism of Japanese soldiers was much more cruel than Nazis parading through Europe, if we're going apples-to-apples. I mean, it's still open for debate, but that's my opinion."

Well, I'll give you that based on cruelty alone, I guess, but - six million? Maybe the Imperial Government would have done if they had the chance, but they didn't. Honestly, the only Asian who might equal Hitler's atrocities is Josef Stalin.
posted by koeselitz at 5:39 PM on May 31, 2011


Georgia is in Europe.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:27 PM on May 31, 2011


No different that white hipsters wearing Che Guevarra shirts

Yeah, I think a closer parallel would be if the kids in the US started wearing Pol Pot shirts.

Is that happening? I'm old and hopelessly out of touch. I still buy and wear concert t-shirts.
posted by hippybear at 6:39 PM on May 31, 2011


Menwhile, in India...

In the end, though, India's fascination with Hitler—confined to a small minority to begin with—won't last.

I'm not sanguine. When I was a nipper in the 70s, I was somewhat taken aback that our Hindu Nationalist neighbours loved Hitler, who they said was merely misunderstood. This was at odds with my (western-style) liberal education, and my parents had to explain that there was some evidence that Hitler's Reich supported the Indian freedom fighters (like S. C. Bose), that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that as soon as these bitter old fogeys died out things would be sane and rational.

I'm still waiting for this enlightened future world I'm supposed to inherit.
posted by phliar at 7:15 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hell-o-Dalai an investigation of fascist links to the former Tibetan head of state.
posted by hortense at 11:28 PM on May 31, 2011


yoyo_nyc: "Hitlers father. ;-)"

No no, this is Hitler's father. (KYM)
posted by Rickalicioso at 11:54 PM on May 31, 2011


"Give me a fucking break. These sorts of tensions are managed and manipulated by people in power in China, and Japan has apologized and has genuinely tried to repair the damage.

The Chinese Communist Party has killed more Chinese people than Japan ever did, and I'm sure that it has no qualms about killing even more in the future."



Give me a fucking break. Japan has NOT apologized or genuinely tried to repair the damage. Various Japanese LEADERS have personally apologized atrocities, but not on behalf of the Japanese state, yet continue to visit the graves of war criminals. Apologists/Denialists are prevalent in Japanese society and parliament, which is why you often hear of shit like the whitewashing of their national educational textbooks.

And saying that the CCP has killed more chinese than the Japanese is pure bullshit. Deaths attributed to communist rule is by large due to starvation from poor economic policies, with contributions from natural disasters. Other death tolls, like those due to incarceration in work camps, were estimated based on soviet models, and are about as reliable as randomly pulling numbers out of your ass. Even if the scale of deaths is on the same order of magnitude, comparing Japanese occupation to Communist rule is utterly retarded.
posted by yifes at 12:14 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


jabberjaw: "Sure, a billion people raised by the Chinese state may not know what's up with Zedong either, but we with full access to his history should despise him just as much as Hitler."

Western perception of Mao is about as distorted as the Chinese's view. There is a significant amount of bias and anti-communist propaganda surrounding the man, and literatures on his life rarely hold up to any sense of academic rigor. Numbers are tossed around under the flag of genocide, without any thought as to historical context or statistical reliability. What the west wants is another monster like Hilter or Stalin; Not even the Chinese are that black and white about Mao.
posted by yifes at 12:35 AM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Slight derail, perhaps, but interesting take from Timothy Garton Ash on why a Warhol of Mao is chic but one of Hitler is unthinkable.

Unthinkable as a casual decoration; though the idea of Warhol-style prints of unspeakable figures could be in itself said to be conceptual art (a la Damien Hirst's Myra Hindley print).
posted by acb at 2:29 AM on June 1, 2011


the sadism of Japanese soldiers was much more cruel than Nazis parading through Europe, if we're going apples-to-apples.

I don't know what you mean by "apples-to-apples," but the Nazis were every bit as cruel as the Japanese. They took more pains to conceal their cruelty by performing much of it inside concentration camps. It wasn't until those camps began to be captured by the Allies that the Holocaust was confirmed. The Japanese didn't much care who knew about what they were doing to the Chinese.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:36 AM on June 1, 2011


Hell-o-Dalai an investigation of fascist links to the former Tibetan head of state.

More like it's a long list of people who claim to have been influenced by Tibetan buddhism bundled with a bunch of guilt-by-association accusations and a whole lot of "this religion is not like my religion" bullshit.
posted by hippybear at 6:38 AM on June 1, 2011


I am going to presume you are asking for citation about the Tibetan support of the Nazis, since the Nazi interest in Tibetan Buddhism is well documented (I can provide those links if that is also in question).

Thanks for being so reasonable and fair-minded, idiopath. I agree, there's definitely plenty of evidence the upper echelons of the Nazi leadership were intrigued by Tibet and Tibetan mysticism. In general, the Nazis had an almost Victorian, orientalist fascination with eastern mysticism and the occult in general.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:47 AM on June 1, 2011


It seems that regardless of nationality or geopolitical boundaries, 1 in 3 people on this planet are born without critical thinking skills.

The Crazification Factor.
posted by Evilspork at 7:24 AM on June 1, 2011


Give me a fucking break. Japan has NOT apologized or genuinely tried to repair the damage. Various Japanese LEADERS have personally apologized atrocities, but not on behalf of the Japanese state, yet continue to visit the graves of war criminals.

This is a bit over the top. There have indeed been personal apologies from leaders as well as apologies on behalf of the state, but they apparently have not been explicit enough. I am not sure what can truly be done to repair something like Nanking, and I have nothing to add to dispute that point. But Yasukuni shrine is for many, many people who died in the war. It is not a shrine exclusive to war criminals. There are about 1000 war criminals listed among the two and a half million souls enshrined at Yasukuni. I realize this is a sore point for the Chinese, but if a Japanese politician visits the shrine it should not be taken as an endorsement of Japanese actions in Nanking. It is paying respect to those who sacrificed their lives for Japan in WWII--parents, grandparents, ancestors of many people in Japan today.

Apologists/Denialists are prevalent in Japanese society and parliament, which is why you often hear of shit like the whitewashing of their national educational textbooks.

There is some merit to this, and it's unfortunate and a large part of the reason why this issue is still so charged.
posted by Hoopo at 10:51 AM on June 2, 2011


Hoopo: “But Yasukuni shrine is for many, many people who died in the war. It is not a shrine exclusive to war criminals. There are about 1000 war criminals listed among the two and a half million souls enshrined at Yasukuni. I realize this is a sore point for the Chinese, but if a Japanese politician visits the shrine it should not be taken as an endorsement of Japanese actions in Nanking. It is paying respect to those who sacrificed their lives for Japan in WWII--parents, grandparents, ancestors of many people in Japan today.”

Exactly. Just like all those shrines where Chancellor Merkel annually pays respect to those brave souls who sacrificed their lives in service to Germany in WWII.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on June 2, 2011


So your issue is with Japan's religion then, koeslitz?
posted by Hoopo at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2011


I don't deny for a moment that it's very difficult to navigate these waters. I realize that it's a Japanese tradition to honor the dead and show more respect for them than many cultures do, and I'd even go so far as to say that I admire that tradition. But we're talking about a brutal and horrific war of aggression which caused the deaths of millions, both Japanese and non-Japanese. Part of the necessary remembrance here has to be a consciousness that the war itself was criminal, that the Imperial government itself was a blot on Japan's history and a stain of dishonor.

I bring up Germany because I think Germany, though it has faced so much more, has at least been quite willing to face up to the fact that, as a whole, its society committed a criminal act. That is not easy. It's not a simple thing. But it's necessary.

If there's one thing in your explanation that made me feel a bit uneasy, it's the way you said that the people entombed at the Yasukuni shrine "sacrificed their lives for Japan." There is probably a sense in which that is true, but there's also a sense in which that war represents a series of massive, massive mistakes which culminate in war crimes. That has to be appreciated: Japan's mistake, and the mistake which constituted the Imperial government's military action during the 1930s and 1940s.

What made me uneasy, and what is significant to me, is the fact that I get the feeling these difficult nuances are very rarely drawn out within Japan. There are no Okinawans honored at Yasukuni Shrine, much less Chinese; and it would still be unthinkable to speak of the atrocities at the shrine itself, to confront that part of the history and finally lay to rest its ghosts.

While I think honoring the dead is a fine thing, a noble thing, I think that's troubling. I would even go so far as saying that, if we fail to confront and recognize the crimes of the dead, we are not truly honoring them at all.
posted by koeselitz at 11:56 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


me: “... I think Germany, though it has faced so much more...”

This was a terrible way for me to put this. I just want to clarify: I didn't mean that Germany has faced more than Japan; I only meant that Germany has faced more difficulties than just the end of WWII. I was thinking of the long, painful years under communism.
posted by koeselitz at 11:58 AM on June 2, 2011


I actually brought Germany up myself earlier in the thread and inadvertently sparked this debate. I was making a point about why the issue is still sensitive. But I think to characterize visits to Yasukuni as merely "visiting the graves of war criminals" is unfair.
posted by Hoopo at 2:08 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


(While we're at it, if anyone would like to explain why Hetalia: Axis Powers shouldn't make me uncomfty, please do.)
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:51 PM on June 3, 2011


I'm still tempted to get the currently popular Ronald McDonald/Hitler t-shirt that's being worn by the cool kids.

If I were you I'd go with Che Grovera.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:42 PM on June 3, 2011


« Older Viral link to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome questioned   |   “I’d gladly put my balls on... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post