Friday, March 17, 2006

Whitewashing history?(1)

See also
Screening history textbook in Japan and in the U.S.: the mass suicide at Okinawa and the massacre at Vietnam
Putin and History

history education---Korea
how history is being used by Koreahow history is being used in Korea (2)

The textbook by Fusousha is often criticized by China and Korea.They say it whitewashes history.
Here you can download the textbook in question.And here you can find other history textbooks in Japan for junior highschool students.

This is the history textbook in the U.S

This is the historty textbook in Korea. (but in Japanese)

Okay, what exactly is the criteria of whitewashing?----it is far from clear.

David McNeill,who is a Tokyo-based journalist and teacher, and a coordinator of Japan Focus, wrote,
Every Country Whitewashes History

When I taught in a UK university, I was often stunned by my students' lack of knowledge about what had happened in Ireland. The Irish famine of 1845-9, when -- to put it mildly -- misadministration by Britain -- led to the deaths of over one million Irish, forced millions more abroad and forever changed the demographics of the country is a footnote in most British textbooks. Bloody Sunday, when British troops killed over a dozen unarmed protestors in Derry City in 1972, helping to fuel a war that lasted for the following 25 years, is hardly covered at all.

Other countries get similar treatment: try asking the average UK high school student about the Amritsar Massacre, when British colonial troops opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in the Punjab province of India in 1919, killing 400 civilians, wounding 1200.

Are U.S. students taught about the savage conduct of the Vietnam War: three million dead Vietnamese, including two million civilians, more than 15 million Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian refugees, 25 million acres of forest in South Vietnam laid waste, 58,169 dead American soldiers and 304,000 wounded, thousands more casualties from U.S. allies Australia, South Korea and elsewhere? Are they taught that their president contemplated dropping a nuclear bomb on Hanoi?

Are Chinese students taught that its country will be "invading" or "liberating" Taiwan, if, god-forbid, war breaks out between the two sides?

On and on we could go. The French in Algeria, torturing and killing thousands in a desperate bid to hang on to their colonial possession in 1954-62; the post-World War II Russian "liberators" of East Europe who engaged in the largest mass rape in history; the Chinese invading Tibet to "civilize" its "savage" Western

I agree with him on this point.

The U.S textbook never mentions the unuqual treaty Japan concluded with the U.S against the background of the U.S army during Edo period.
It never mentions the number of civillians killed by the atomic bombs.[1]
It never mentions the firebombing of Tokyo.which
targeted civiilians and kille more than 100,000 people. Not only Tokyo, but also other cities where civilians were living were targetted.
It never mentions the fact that from August 30 to September 10,1949 when the U.S was occupying Japan. 1326 rapes by American soldiers are reported to GHQ in Kanagawa prefecture alone.[2]
It never mentions other side of Japan's defeating a European one.
Here is what an Indian thinker say.
Cultural confidence is a necessary but not sufficient condition for development. Centuries of European colonial rule had progressively reduced Asian self-confidence. Future generations of Indian citizens will be wondering how 300 million Indians—including my own ancestors—allowed themselves to be passively ruled by fewer than 100,000 Britons. Those as yet unborn will not understand how deeply the myth of European cultural superiority had been embedded into the Indian psyche. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister, once said the defeat of Russia in 1905 by Japan first triggered the idea of independence for India in his mind. That was a remarkable admission; it implied that intelligent Indians could not conceive of governing themselves before Japan, an Asian power, defeated a European one. KISHORE MAHBUBANI

So is the U.S textbook whitewashing history?
Is this the sign of the U.S militalism?
Is the U.S brainwashing students?
Is the U.S. worshipping militalism because she honors Truman?

American critics are aware that thers is a problem with history textbook just as Japanese critics are.For instance,

Like Loewen points out, history textbooks are edited to present these people as heroes, minus most all of the negative attributes, so that impressionable kids will not think badly of them in any way.

The final topic that Loewen covers is the Vietnam War. Because this war was such an embarrassment to the United States, textbooks usually edit out as much as they can. They make it look like this war was relatively insignificant. Here, we again can see a clear pattern of patriotic editing; trying to minimize the damage so that young minds will remain patriotic and loyal to their "beloved" American government. Review of "Lies My Teacher Told Me"
see also

Should Japanese protest the U.S. in the way China and Korea are doing against Japan?
Hell no, if some Japanese feel these should be mentioned in the U.S. textbooks, they can, but not in the way that prevent Japan and the U.S from keeping friendly relatinships.

I thank the Philippines editorial for writing the following.

We’ve not forgotten but we’ve not used these “historical crimes” to stand in the way of fostering and maintaining friendly relations with a former enemy.

The reason is obvious. After its defeat, Japan turned its back on war as an instrument of national policy. Although not yet a “normal” country in the sense that it cannot project its military might beyond its borders, it has lived up to its national goal of being a force for good in Asia and the world.

Not so with China. By enacting the “antisplittist” law that authorizes the use of force against Taiwan, Beijing has sent a bellicose message to the world. The Manila Times April 21, 2005

In case of Korea, she was not Japan's enemy, the large part of Koreans were for Japanese army. Korea massacared people at Vietnam War(Korean textbook never mention massacare at VietnamI) and she is still at war between South and North, while Japan has not engaged in the war after WWⅡ.

Yes, Japan should not forget atrocities she had done to Asian people,
Yes, Japanese students need to know more about how brutally Japanese army treated the POW during the war, Nan jin massacre,
the unit731,Bataan Death March

History has many aspests.You can not mention all.The textbooks in Japan are not perfect,And history textbooks should be balanced.Though I think Japanese textbooks are more balanced than Korean's and China's textbooks,Japanese textbooks have room to be improved, but I do not like the way China and korea protest, the way they portray Japan as not reflecting history and building up militarism, while they are surpressing the freedom of speech when people say something against their favorite version of history.linklinklink[3]

[1]In another textbook,(what your sixgrader needs to know, by E.D Hisrsh jr
アメリカの小学生が学ぶ歴史教科書 Japan book)
“Presindent Truman knew that the Japanese were trained to fight to the death. he believe that Japan could be invade only at a huge cost in American lives.So in oreder to force the Jeapanese to surrender, Truman odered the dropping of two atomic bombs in Japan.
Even after the bombing of Hiroshima Truman govenment reject American demands for surrender.Three days later a second atomic bomb was dropped.

It does not even mention there is a controversy over the legitimacy of atomic bomb. see Notes[1]
"So in order to force the Japanese to surrender, Truman ordered the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan.
The first bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, on the city of Hiroshima, .......
Even after the bombing of Hiroshima , the Japanese government rejected American demands for surrenders, Three days later a second atomic bomb was dropped, this time on the city of Nagasaki. Finally, the Japanese government, fearing the destruction of the whole country, agreed to surrender to the Allies."

page 188
What your 6th grader needs to know, Edited by E.D. HIRSCH/Delta

[2]Masayo Duun, Haishano okurimono[tokyo;kodansha bunko, 1995]p.78ff.
Probably we can find more inaccurate examples in the American textbook.The following
is the case about the Philippine-American War.
The American military was in the Philippines to quell an "insurrection," a rebellion by the native Filipinos opposing American occupation. They were not there to fight a people defending their homeland. This was the basic tenet taught to the American soldier sent to fight in the islands.

When hostilities started in 1899 and 3,000 Filipino corpses littered the streets of Manila, the Chicago Tribune, a journal close to the McKinley administration opined, "The slaughter at Manila was necessary, but not glorious. The entire American population justifies the conduct of its army at Manila because only by a crushing repulse of the Filipinos could our position be made secure. We are the trustees of civilization and peace throughout the islands."

American historian John Gates, in his book Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902, proudly pointed out that American commanders did not rely on military operations alone to pacify the Filipinos. U.S. soldiers established schools, reorganized municipal governments, and improved sanitary conditions in an effort to convince Filipinos of American benevolence.

Gates gave insufficient attention to the brutality of the U.S. military effort in the Philippines. U.S soldiers frequently burned entire barrios, beat up noncombatants, administered "water cure", and otherwise abused them. They committed major atrocities in Samar, Batangas, and other provinces. If American "benevolence" played a role in pacifying the Filipinos, it was, at best, a minor role.The Balangiga Massacre

See also
Race-Making and Colonial Violence in the U.S. Empire:
The Philippine-American War as Race War

By Paul A. Kramer/japan fucus

Jonathan Zimmerman, director of the history of education program at the Steinhardt School of Education, wrote
But scour the textbooks that Americans use in schools, and you won't find any serious discussion of our own comfort women. I speak, of course, of female African-American slaves......Take the example of Harriet Jacobs, who was born into slavery in North Carolina in 1813. She was sold at the age of 12 to James Norcum, who soon began making sexual overtures to her. As Jacobs later recalled in her memoir, Norcum told her that "I was his property; that I must be subject to his will in all things." And so she was. Although Jacobs occasionally managed to escape her owner's clutches, he did own her. To get sex from her, Norcum sometimes promised her new clothes and other presents; at other times, he simply held a razor to her throat. And that, my fellow Americans, is what we call rape.You do the math. Between 1850 and 1860, the number of blacks in slavery rose by about 20 percent. But the number of enslaved "mulattoes" - that is, mixed-raced slaves - rose by a remarkable 67 percent, as historian Joel Williamson has calculated. To put it most bluntly: Black slaves were getting lighter in skin, because white owners were raping them. It's really that simple - and that awful...... How many American children know that Thomas Jefferson, father of our Declaration of Independence, fathered children by his slave? And how many American parents want their children to know that?Let's imagine that a coalition of West African countries - say, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast - staged demonstrations against American history textbooks, demanding that the books include our sordid history of sexual coercion against black people. I think most Americans would scoff at "outside interference" and invoke their own patriotic imperatives.日本 今日の覚書、集めてみました

update may 18
Hypocritical Westerners--foreign dispatch This is a must read!! And the related issue is discussed here

[3] This author criticize Chinese history textbook is just as bad as Japanese rightist's.
the way in which the Chinese Communists have beautified their totalitarian rule is much worse than how the Japanese rightists have beautified their militarism.

Since assuming power in 1949, the Chinese Communists have continued to distort the history of the Sino-Japanese war.The Japanese were defeated by the Americans and not by the Chinese. About the united resistance war by the KMT and the Communists, the Chinese Communists have been spreading huge lies. At that time, the Japanese knew that their principal enemy was Chiang Kai-shek and not Mao Zedong,that the principal enemy force is the KMT army and not the Communist army. When the Japanese was forced to surrender under the attack of the allies, they surrendered to the KMT government and not the Chinese Communists. If the pressure from the Japanese did not force Chiang Kai-shek to focus totally on them, the Chinese Communists could not have seized power in China. But, after the Chinese Communists seized power, the Eight Years of Resistance became a history with the Chinese Communists as the principal actors, it was an anti-invasion war led by the Chinese Communists and the victory in the war was due to the brilliant leadership of the Chinese Communists.

At the moment, the Chinese Communists were facing the Japanese invaders as well as the hostile Nanjing government and this is similar to what Soviet Russia was facing back then. Therefore, the Chinese Communists should imitate Lenin; they should sit back and watch Chiang Kai Shek fight the Japanese militarists, and the final victory will belong to the people

Yet, all this vanished in the history made up by the Chinese Communists. We are left with the Chinese Communist army's triumphs at the Battle of Pingyingguan, the Battle of 100 Divisions and the guerrilla warfare. It was as if the modernized and well-trained Japanese army was chased away by a guerrilla war conducted by digging tunnels, laying landmines, destroying railroads, cutting electricity cables, setting up ambushes, ...

Chinese Communist government uses lies to protect its rule.

it seems to be missing a lot of the major historical facts about how the KMT led the resistance project, whereas the pitiful 'contribution' by the Chinese Communists was highlighted. For example, after the Marco Polo Bridge incident on July 7, 1937, the two heads of the KMT made famous declarations on resisting Japan at Lushan. Chiang Kai-shek's speech was known as "scorch earth resistance war" while Wang Jinwei's speech was known as "ashes of time resistance war". In the contemporary history textbooks used in Chinese secondary schools, these two famous speeches were not mentioned at all. Instead, the resistance speeches of the Chinese Communists were spotlighted and provided in detail.

most of those Chinese historians who are criticizing the Japanese lies had been participants in the vast project of the ideological departments in China to create these historical lies.

Under these circumstances, you would have to suppose that the Chinese Communists will only lie to fool its own people, Liu Xiabo (刘晓波)

And Chinese government oppress those who speak against the government.
On June 1, 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the victory of the anti-Fascist war, Freezing Point published the essay on "Pingyingguan battle and Pingyingguan victory", in which we recorded the historical truth about how the Kuomintang and Communist Party worked together in the face of national survival to win the battle with their blood. This was different from the unification propaganda, because Freezing Point was the first in mainstream media to objectively report on how the Kuomintang army sacrificed tens of thousands of warriors in this battle.

When Lian and Soong completed their visits to Taiwan, the renowned Taiwan writer Ms. Lung Yingtai published a long essay at Freezing Point titled "The Taiwan That You May Not Know." The essay used a rich content to objectively and truthfully present to the people of China for the first time the changes and developments in Taiwan over the past few decades. It created a tremendous response and approval among readers and had an important impact on communication between the people on the two sides of the Taiwan strait. But this essay was accused by certain people within the Central Propaganda Department as being "against the Communist Party at every step" and their narrow-mindedness was truly

Interfax. January 25, 2006.

'Freezing Point,' a weekly supplement to China Youth Daily, was closed due to publication of "some sensitive reports," a senior official at the weekly, who wished to remain anonymous, told Interfax. The weekly is well known in China for stories that focus on normal people's thoughts and society in contemporary

Update April 17
It seems that some koreans begin to realise that there are problems with their history textbook.Mika


The British declared the Kenya Emergency in 1952, when seven years of restless dissatisfaction with British rule culminated in the full-scale rebellion known as Mau Mau.

The Emergency saw out two prime ministers – Churchill and Eden – and ended in January 1960. In that time, Mau Mau supporters killed at least 2000 African civilians and inflicted some 200 casualties on the army and police. In all, 32 white settlers died in the rebellion. For their part, the British hanged more than 1000 Kikuyu, detained at least 150,000 and, according to official figures, killed around 12,000 in combat, though the real figure, in David Anderson’s view, is ‘likely to have been more than 20,000’. In addition, Caroline Elkins claims, up to 100,000 died in the detention camp
It was a culture of routine beatings, starvation, killings (the hanged represent only a small fraction of those who died in British custody during the Emergency) and torture of the most grotesque kinds. Alsatian dogs were used to terrify prisoners and then ‘maul’ them. There are other similarities with Abu Ghraib: various indignities were devised using human faeces; men were forced to sodomise one another. They also had sand, pepper and water stuffed in their anuses. One apparently had his testicles cut off, and was then made to eat them. ‘Things got a little out of hand,’ one (macho European) witness told Elkins, referring to another incident. ‘By the time we cut his balls off he had no ears, and his eyeball, the right one, I think, was hanging out of its socket. Too bad, he died before we got much out of him.’ Women were gang-raped, had their nipples squeezed with pliers, and vermin and hot eggs thrust into their vaginas. Children were butchered and their body parts paraded around on spears.

They wouldn’t say a thing, of course, and one of them, a tall coal-black bastard, kept grinning at me, real insolent. I slapped him hard, but he kept right on grinning at me, so I kicked him in the balls as hard as I could. He went down in a heap but when he finally got up on his feet he grinned at me again and I snapped, I really did. I stuck my revolver right in his grinning mouth and I said something, I don’t remember what, and I pulled the trigger. His brains went all over the side of the police station. The other two Mickeys were standing there looking blank. I said to them that if they didn’t tell me where to find the rest of the gang I’d kill them too. They didn’t say a word so I shot them both. One wasn’t dead so I shot him in the ear. When the sub-inspector drove up, I told him that the Mickeys tried to escape. He didn’t believe me but all he said was ‘bury them and see the wall is cleared up.’

LRB reviewviaforeign dispatch


Jay said...

It is true that many other countries have glossed over their own war atrocities or wrongdoings in history, but that is no excuse for Japan to do the same. Are you saying that since the U.S. doesn't teach its youngsters about the atrocities of the Vietnam War, it is okay for Japan to leave its youth ignorant about the atrocities it committed in World War II? If that's your only argument, that's quite a poor one, and one without any sense of responsibility.

If you feel that these things should be corrected, you need to stand up for them. Everything comes at a price, as you seem to know, since you say that "if some Japanese feel these should be mentioned in the U.S. textbooks, they can, but not in the way that prevent Japan and the U.S from keeping friendly relatinships." Well, that's the way life works. The Chinese/Korean/worldwide women who seek reparations to their dignity have been fighting for their rights with their lives, and many are dying off even as we speak, as they are in their 80s and 90s. I don't think it is enough to "admit" that "the textbooks in Japan are not perfect," because in my opinion the textbooks written by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform are outrageously nationalistic and evasive of the war atrocities committed by Japan. Please feel free to reply. Thank you!

zero said...

I don't disagree.

I don't think fushousha textbook is as bad as you say, surerly better than Korean and Chinese history textbook and as good as American average history textbook.
Less than 1 % of Japanese schools use the textbook.

That does not mean there is nothing for the fusousya's history textbook to be improved and that does not get fusousya's textbook off the hook either.

Yes, there are great distortion on the part of Korean history textbook and American history textbook where they don't mention Korean comfort women whom they exloited just as Japan did.
While Japan offered apology and compensation , Korea and the U.S. has never faced up to the history.

There are some people who say that Japanese apology and compensation is not good enough.
There are some people who say that Fusousya's textbook is not good enough.
We shuoud work together and make Fusousya's textbook and Korean and American textbook impove together.
We should work together and set up the global standard for the apology and compensation for the sex slaves. In that way,
more comfort women, including those who have been exploited by Korea and the U.S. will be saved.