...both of Japan's most important East Asian neighbors, China and South Korea, now have national identities partly derived from their experience as victims of Japan's 1910-45 militarism. To a significant extent, such national identities are political choices.Well, considering that Japanese authors were talking about invading Korea going back to the 1600s, maybe Seoul can be forgiven for concluding that Japanese militarism wasn't just a fad. Hell, does anyone think that Poland is cool with Germany yet?
Leftist ideology causes South Korea's regime to cultivate victimhood and resentment of a Japan imagined to have expansionism in its national DNA.
The choice by China's regime is more interesting. Marxism is bankrupt and causes cognitive dissonance as China pursues economic growth by markedly un-Marxist means. So China's regime, needing a new source of legitimacy, seeks it in memories of resistance to Japanese imperialism.When did that happen? Not Mao's massacres (which require no more evidence), but the Nationalist resistance to Japan. I was pretty sure that all the scholarship pointed towards a pretty lacklustre resistance by Chiang, and a still-ineffective but at least more vigorous resistance by the Communists. Accusations that the Communists spent more time fighting the Nationalists than the Japanese need to be tempered with the well-documented facts that Chiang was similarly more interested in fighting the Communists. Neither side saw Japan as the main fight.
Actually, most of China's resistance was by Chiang Kai-shek's forces, Mao's enemies. And Mao, to whom there is a sort of secular shrine in Beijing, killed millions more Chinese than even Japan's brutal occupiers did.
On the plus side for Chiang, when he died, Taiwan at least began a transition towards democracy. Mao's death did not have similar effects, sadly. While I don't venerate Mao, I find it hard to understand why men like Chiang or Korea's Park Chung-Hee are celebrated by the American right for the changes in their countries they fought tooth and nail. Indeed, in both cases, those countries could only become democracies after the dictators died.
But men like Will aren't interested in any kind of historical accuracy. Rather, the Chinese Civil War is only useful for American pundits - as all things are - for what they mean about America, Democracy, etc. So Chiang had to be the better fighter, because otherwise we'd have to admit that Communists can do something right.
Meanwhile, it's not just the Chinese Communists and the Korean leftist pinko dopeheads who are worried about Japanese nationlism. Listen to this commie bastard:
Veteran lawmaker Koichi Kato, victim of an arson attack on one of his houses last week following his criticism of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine, is warning that signs of "dangerous" nationalism are increasing in Japan.In the real world, there is every reason for Korea and China - aside from their government's ulterior motives - to worry about Japanese nationalism and militarism. When high-ranking officials in Japan's party of government for the last 50 years start ringing alarm bells, there is good reason to worry. In the world of George Will's head, there's only victimhood complexes and Chinese Communism to blame.
Kato, a former secretary general of the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, also voiced concerns in an interview Friday that diplomatic policies presented by Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, the most likely candidate to succeed Koizumi, are "too naive."
"In today's Japan, I see a kind of aggressive nationalism without repentance (of Japan's militarism before and during World War II) like, 'We did nothing wrong in the last war,' " Kato said.
"It would be dangerous if this (kind of mood) goes extreme. I'll sound an alarm against it in a serious manner," the 67-year-old House of Representatives member said.
Choose which voices you want to listen to - the voice of legitimate concern, or the voices in George Will's head.