Japanese Devils
April 4, 2002 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Japanese Devils is a documentary featuring 14 veterans of the Imperial Army testifying to their brutal participation in Japan's 15-year war against China. Director Matsui Minoru presents a powerful historical record of these soldiers' individual crimes, helping to break Japan's long silence about its wartime atrocities in China.
Please also see Iris Chang's "The Rape of Nanking'' and be aware that the Japanese government is still whitewashing their brutal WWII history via school textbooks. We must understand the truth of history so that we are not doomed to repeat it.
posted by gen (5 comments total)
If you get a chance, there is an excellent book by Saburo Ienaga called The Pacific WarIenaga spent 30 battling the govt in court to get a more accurate account in the history books. A few years ago he won the case and was awarded about $4000 for some reason, but more importantly the judge said the govt had acted illegally in censoring history texts. End result: No school district uses his books that I know of, and the Ministry of Education's rule is still absolute.

Tony Barrell and Rick Tanaka's "Higher than Heaven: Japan, The War and Everything" (it's available at Amazon, but I can't find any decent summary or review on the net) is an excellent view of how Japan got from feudalism to imperialism to today.

Last, us Americans may not want to believe it, but our own high school history texts are *much* more whitewashed than the Japanese ones.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:56 AM on April 4, 2002

Sorry, "spent 30 years battling..."

The second link above is for the book "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by Jim Loewen, HIGHLY recommended. It examines the most popular HS history texts for accuracy and completeness. I got it at the little bookstore at Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. There were a lot of interesting books in there, but I was traveling by tandem bike and limited myself to just one. Good choice.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:12 AM on April 4, 2002

Very informative links. Thanks Nils.
posted by gen at 7:29 AM on April 4, 2002

Another great book on the subject is Japan at War by Cook and Cook. They interviewed hundreds of veterans, veterans' widows, their children, failed kamikaze pilots, officers involved in biological weapons, and soldiers stranded on islands that were part of the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere after the main forces were overrun.

It really is a great book and paints a great picture of how the Japanese really felt during this point in history. Some parts are not for the weak-stomached.
posted by ttrendel at 9:00 AM on April 4, 2002

Nanking wasn't the first time the Japanese exhibited brutality during an expansionist campaign in Asia. An example from 1597: the Mimizuka, or Ear Mound, in Kyoto where the pickled ears and noses of thousands of Koreans were buried.
posted by finn at 10:51 AM on April 4, 2002

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