May 12, 2009

"Mirror for Americans; Japan"

Finally, I finished reading a book named "Mirror for Americans; Japan". This book contains a lot of suggestions that let us think about why Japan had gone into the war, and the world situation around Japan in those days.

I would like more American to read it. If it had been widely read by people in America, the number of victims in Vietnam and Iraque might have been smaller.

I looked for some archives about "Mirror for Americans" in the Internet, but I could find it in only Wikipedia wrtten in Japanese. So, I try to translate its summary of the website into English. (I welcome your correction to my bad English.)

Since Pearl Harbor attack, we, American have believed that Japanese had been warlike people since the pre-modern age. But, we can say that Japan was the most pacifism-like country in comparison with any western countries in the same time when we examine the history of Japan in pre-modern age.

After opening the county, in the process of the achievement of modernisation, Japan had learned the behaviors of the Western developed countries in the international stage, and it was educated to obey "the rule of Western" faithfully. As that result, it was natural that Japan had changed dramatically an imperialism nation.

Since then, Japan's behavior that looked war-like and invasive could be said "a mirror" that reflected our, Westerner's behavior themselves, and America was not as innocent and fair as it had a right to judge Japan.

The idea of "The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere " was one of "legal fiction"s , but "legal fiction" was widely recognized as "the rule of Western" as much as "Monroe doctrine" of America.

And more, before the war, and during the war, when an international conflict happened, people in developed countries paid their attention to only its legal side, not humanitarian side.

It was hypocrisy that Westerners accused Japan of humanitarian responsibility about "Korea under Japanese", "Mukden incident" after the war. In fact, there was no country that officially announced humanitarian anxiety against Japanese policy, Western countries blamed Japan by using words that claimed their legality.


Unknown said...

I like to think that it also had a great deal to do with the somewhat understandable resentment that Japanese felt at the forceful and subsequent un-equal opening of Japan to trade by the West.

Japan therefore sought to "renegotiate" it's position in the world on it's own terms.

bikenglish said...


Thank you for leaving a comment. I have learnd a new word, "resentment" because of it.

Now, I am very intereseted in these issues. We have to study our terrible history to avoid bad happening in the future, really I think.