Aussie nurses raped before being massacred by Japanese

the Japanese Army Veterans Association
Kaikosha is strongly linked to the atrocity denial movement. One of their members, Masaaki Tanaka, faked some diary entries for Matsui in an attempt to downplay the scale of the Nanjing massacre.

They're not quite mea culpaing the way you suggest.
 
Well, the Japanese Army Veterans Association published a letter in 1985, means much more than platitudes from modern politicians.

“Whatever the severity of war or special circumstances of war psychology, we just lose words faced with this mass illegal killing. As those who are related to the prewar military, we simply apologize deeply to the people of China. It was truly a regrettable act of barbarity.”
I hadn't seen this but as someone who is aware of many genuine acts of contrition and reconciliation by the Japanese over the years, It doesn't surprise me.
I know of two Japanese (Masao Hirakubo and Keiko Holmes) who have been awarded OBEs by HMG for their work in this area. Through their work, many ex-FEPOWs and have been hosted on visits to Japan and met former captors, to the cathartic benefit of both former prisoner and guard.

To say that the average Japanese is ignorant or in denial of his county's behaviour is something that is not true in my experience. They have simply drawn a line under the war and moved on. It seems that those who are big on vicarious outrage don't want them to.
 
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I hadn't seen this but as someone who is aware of many genuine acts of contrition and reconciliation by the Japanese over the years, It doesn't surprise me.
I know of two Japanese (Masao Hirakubo and Keiko Holmes) who have been awarded OBEs by HMG for their work in this area. Through their work, many ex-FEPOWs and have been hosted on visits to Japan and met former captors, to the cathartic benefit of both former prisoner and guard.

To say that the average Japanese is ignorant or in denial of his county's behaviour is something that is not true in my experience. They have simply drawn a line under the war and moved on. It seem that those who are big on vicarious outrage don't want them to.

The obsessive need for Blair like obessabce and who can be the most verbosely and obsequiously ‘sorry’ shows a complete lack of grasp of the Japanese.

Outrage! The Japanese only called ‘x’ regrettable!

Well, saying something is ‘regrettable ‘ for a Japanese is a pretty deep apology.


And the Burma Railway?

You’d think by the column inches expended, it was the defining event of the war in the Far East, not a VERY minor footnote in a very much bigger war.
It’s been mythologised to an absurd level. All the Japanese are utterly evil, ( they weren’t, plenty tried best to be decent in atrocious conditions), all the POWs are paragons of virtue, (they weren’t, plenty were stealing from and exploiting the other POWs).

Yes, the war in the Pacific and Far East had more than its fair share of barbarity, but that’s what happens when both sides paint the other as subhumans and act accordingly.

We’re seeing a lot of victors whitewashing. Things like the massacre of a Japanese medical column and it’s patients during the rout of the Japanese in Burma in 1945 get lost in the faux outrage.

General Curtis leMay - a total war hardass - at least had the intellectual honesty to admit if he’d been on the losing side, a war crimes trial would have awaited him for his actions in the bombing of Japanese civilians.
 
In Asia anything that happened more than 20 years ago was a very long time indeed and nothing that need concern people today.

The memories of Japanese occupation were certainly not good, but for the most part it only lasted two or three years. The people with first hand memories of those days mostly passed away a long time ago.

I know that it is different in China, where it is government policy to keep stoking ancient memories. Perhaps in Korea, where the comfort women issue is still kept alive, there are also bad memories but for Koreans the Korean War and the subsequent dread of conflict with the North very much outweighs any antipathy, what little there is, to Japan.

For the rest of Asia no one has any real problem with Japan. Japanese youth culture is extremely popular, Japanese tourists and businessmen are always welcome being unfailingly polite, friendly and well-behaved, and well-paid.

There is intra-Asian animosity evident in spades, but that is directed towards the Chinese, not the Japanese.
Japan has moved on - right now, is one of the most biggest allies of the west. Sure, does it bring back bad mems? Of course. But so does Germany. I think it's time to put all of this to rest and just get on. People, especially, those who served during the time and who encountered them will never really have closure but we have come a long way.
 
Japan has moved on - right now, is one of the most biggest allies of the west. Sure, does it bring back bad mems? Of course. But so does Germany. I think it's time to put all of this to rest and just get on. People, especially, those who served during the time and who encountered them will never really have closure but we have come a long way.

Ben Ferencz, the US Nuremberg prosecutor said the stash of evidence he’d amassed against the Germans was so huge, only a specimen number were tried at Nuremberg,
He estimated 98% of German war criminals for which evidence to prosecute existed were waved away into convenient obscurity thanks to the Cold War.
The intention was the respective governments would follow up Nuremburg with their own prosecutions, but how shall we put this? The normally very diligent Germans were less than diligent. After all, unlike the Japanese, the Germans had a convenient alibi, it was the ‘Nazis’ and the SS what done it Guv - everyone else was a ‘good German’ and ‘I know nothing, I see nothing’.

Today, young Germans often refer to ‘that unfortunate period in our history’.... what a nice Euphemism for a world war and 55 million dead.
 
And the Burma Railway?

You’d think by the column inches expended, it was the defining event of the war in the Far East, not a VERY minor footnote in a very much bigger war.
It’s been mythologised to an absurd level. All the Japanese are utterly evil, ( they weren’t, plenty tried best to be decent in atrocious conditions), all the POWs are paragons of virtue, (they weren’t, plenty were stealing from and exploiting the other POWs).
Yes, there are a number of accounts in POW literature where guards have demonstrated that they were
outside the mould by showing kindness towards the prisoners- as mentioned in this report (link below).

It also mentions the problems of 'collective memory' of former FEPOWs.
While no-one would wish to detract from the genunine suffering of POWs, I stopped reading POW books published in more recent years because of the 'raised eyebrow' factor- compared with many published in the years after the war, there seemed to be a lot of the 'xth man on the balcony' and the report indicates that, too.

Interestingly, (because of the fact they obviously were not there) I find some of the Kwai POW books written by women were as good as the best; a couple that spring to mind are;
Out in the Midday Sun- Kate Caffery
The Colonel of Tamarkan- Julie Summers

Link to report (it's a Word doc) ;
The Recovery of FEPOWS

On a slightly different tack;

Here is an account of the abuse of POWs from a Japanese source
Link (pdf doc);
The Treatment of Prisoners of War

But hey, as we all know, the Japs are in denial -right?
 
Yes, there are a number of accounts in POW literature where guards have demonstrated that they were
outside the mould by showing kindness towards the prisoners- as mentioned in this report (link below).

It also mentions the problems of 'collective memory' of former FEPOWs.
While no-one would wish to detract from the genunine suffering of POWs, I stopped reading POW books published in more recent years because of the 'raised eyebrow' factor- compared with many published in the years after the war, there seemed to be a lot of the 'xth man on the balcony' and the report indicates that, too.

Interestingly, (because of the fact they obviously were not there) I find some of the Kwai POW books written by women were as good as the best; a couple that spring to mind are;
Out in the Midday Sun- Kate Caffery
The Colonel of Tamarkan- Julie Summers

Link to report (it's a Word doc) ;
The Recovery of FEPOWS

On a slightly different tack;

Here is an account of the abuse of POWs from a Japanese source
Link (pdf doc);
The Treatment of Prisoners of War

But hey, as we all know, the Japs are in denial -right?

Read an account by an Officer who’s been on the Burma railway of his experiences.
Grim reading, what was particularly grim was the amount of outright predatory behaviour on other POWs by some with even a modicum of leverage.
He’d an sceptic ulcer and in risk of losing his leg, a chap had some sulpha, but wouldnt give it to him. Aware he was a well off Officer, he demanded a quite obscene amount of money, hundreds of quid iirc. After the war and back home, he got a call from his bank manager that some oik was presenting a diy cheque in his name. He told the manager to honour it.
As he said, it had saved his leg, and it wasn’t him who had to live with his conscience.

Interestingly, there seems to be a common thread of such graft across the PZoW situation in the Far East A’s unlike most other theatres, the majority of prisoners were the REMFs who normally were nowhere near the front, not the combat arms who were bonded by common experience.
 
I would like to thank photexfor his input into this thread, my interest in fepow was based on a great uncle dying at sea on the POW/Repulse.
My mum was amazed ten years ago when the RN replied with more details. Turns out he went out east with Force Z survived only to die escaping towards Australia.
Kudos to the RN they strive to account for everyone lost at sea or ashore.
 
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Given the theme of this thread, it somehow seems fitting to take the opportunity to air the amazing story of Brig Dame Margot Turner who was Matron-in-Chief and Director, Army Nursing Services 1964-68 and later Colonel Commandant.

Link:
Dame Margot Turner
 
I would say that one of the reasons is that the Japanese have never really acknowledged the many atrocities and the cruelty in which they were involved. Although they have assiduously turne their backs on militarism, this period of their history has been all but whitewashed from their history books. The generations of younger Japanese who have followed the wartime generation are almost entirely unaware of this period of their country's history.

It might have something to do with the importance of 'saving face' within their culture.
In my old controls and automation job I had to work with a load of Japanese techies from Isuzu on a job in the Luton plant. When we were commissioning the kit, after some teething troubles with the interfacing - mainly down to them not bothering to pay attention when they were told how regulations on machine safety worked in Europe - it all came together and a new model Frontera body passed from the robot line via our lifter onto the track that would take it to the paint shop.

"Banzai!" I exclaimed. There was hush. Eyes were cast sheepishly to the floor. Then the chief engineer came over with the Japanese wife of one of the IBC managers, who'd got a temporary job as interpreter.

"Ah, Soda-san, he say maybe you not understand. 'Banzai' no longer used in Japanese vocabulary. Was replaced with new word, 'Kittykattyyumyum*.' So maybe don' say 'Banzai' again, preez."

Turns out that because of the enthusiastic officer/fighter pilot/kamikaze giving it "banzai!" in a charge/tally-ho situation/open mic' dive for the nearest aircraft carrier and them then having been given a thorough shoeing the association with victory when they were handed a defeat was too much and they just scrubbed it from their dictionaries and came up with a new word to mean the same thing.

Weird.




* Not the actual word; I can't remember the actual word. But it was much longer, with many more syllables and much harder to pronounce than "banzai."
 
IIRC these and other Japanese atrocities were covered on chewing gum cards in the late 50's/early 60's.
Examples on the internet, Topp's cards, WW2.
I remember those. FE vets complained and the cards were withdrawn from sale.
 
I remember those. FE vets complained and the cards were withdrawn from sale.
PS Ref thread jump from atrocities to cars-------- I shook hands with the CinC Japanese fleet.------- Not Yamamoto,(I ain't THAT old)
 
Interestingly, there seems to be a common thread of such graft across the PZoW situation in the Far East A’s unlike most other theatres, the majority of prisoners were the REMFs who normally were nowhere near the front, not the combat arms who were bonded by common experience.
Have you got a reference for that? What happened to the combat arms soldiers, were they all/mostly KIA? I have seen plenty of graves of 'REMFs' at Kranji and Taukkyan and I think your suggestion does them a disservice.
 
Have you got a reference for that? What happened to the combat arms soldiers, were they all/mostly KIA? I have seen plenty of graves of 'REMFs' at Kranji and Taukkyan and I think your suggestion does them a disservice.

For a starters, read Fred Seikers book where he describes the prisoner tribunals that punished, and sometimes killed other POWs for betrayals and abuse of other prisoners.
The Burma railway was not an epic of survival by universal paragons of virtue. As he noted, it brought out the best in many people, but it also brought out the dog eat dog worst.

Singapore was a unique situation, the only time the entire army organisation down to the most lowly depot clark was captured. 95% of those captured at Singapore in the normal run of the of war were in what were non combat jobs. Discipline rapidly broke down in Singapore in the last days.

Abd let’s not forget, it wasn’t 100% POWs that built that railway. 180,000 locals were used as forced labour, and 100,000 of them died, 55%, versus 12,000 of 60,000 allied POWs, 20%.


 
For a starters, read Fred Seikers book where he describes the prisoner tribunals that punished, and sometimes killed other POWs for betrayals and abuse of other prisoners.
The Burma railway was not an epic of survival by universal paragons of virtue. As he noted, it brought out the best in many people, but it also brought out the dog eat dog worst.

Singapore was a unique situation, the only time the entire army organisation down to the most lowly depot clark was captured. 95% of those captured at Singapore in the normal run of the of war were in what were non combat jobs. Discipline rapidly broke down in Singapore in the last days.

Abd let’s not forget, it wasn’t 100% POWs that built that railway. 180,000 locals were used as forced labour, and 100,000 of them died, 55%, versus 12,000 of 60,000 allied POWs, 20%.
Agree with what you say, but combat elm captured in S'pore must have been more than 5% of PWs.
 
For a starters, read Fred Seikers book where he describes the prisoner tribunals that punished, and sometimes killed other POWs for betrayals and abuse of other prisoners.
The Burma railway was not an epic of survival by universal paragons of virtue. As he noted, it brought out the best in many people, but it also brought out the dog eat dog worst.

Singapore was a unique situation, the only time the entire army organisation down to the most lowly depot clark was captured. 95% of those captured at Singapore in the normal run of the of war were in what were non combat jobs. Discipline rapidly broke down in Singapore in the last days.

Abd let’s not forget, it wasn’t 100% POWs that built that railway. 180,000 locals were used as forced labour, and 100,000 of them died, 55%, versus 12,000 of 60,000 allied POWs, 20%.
Not just locals either, some 100,000 Indonesians were scooped up by the Japanese as forced labour, few of whom ever returned, I am sure it must have been the same in the Philippines too.
 
Agree with what you say, but combat elm captured in S'pore must have been more than 5% of PWs.

I was using the illustrative figure for the typical amount of actual trigger pullers in an Army.

However, the capture of Singapore put huge numbers who’s war would normally been 9-5 in a cosy depot then ripping off rickshaw drivers after a night on the piss into the bag.

While the Burma experience was indeed aweful, it was hijacked and mythologised as a convient fig leaf by an administration far too keen to find a distraction to its lamentable performance and lack of preparedness. In the Far East. Any pointed criticism was deflected by, ‘how very dare you, the River Kwai!’
 
the track that would take it to the paint shop.

"Banzai!" I exclaimed. There was hush. Eyes were cast sheepishly to the floor. Then the chief engineer came over with the Japanese wife of one of the IBC managers, who'd got a temporary job as interpreter.

"Ah, Soda-san, he say maybe you not understand. 'Banzai' no longer used in Japanese vocabulary. Was replaced with new word, 'Kittykattyyumyum*.' So maybe don' say 'Banzai' again, preez."

Turns out that because of the enthusiastic officer/fighter pilot/kamikaze giving it "banzai!" in a charge/tally-ho situation/open mic' dive for the nearest aircraft carrier and them then having been given a thorough shoeing the association with victory when they were handed a defeat was too much and they just scrubbed it from their dictionaries and came up with a new word to mean the same thing.

Weird.

Not so,
Banzai has certainly not been removed from the Japanese vocabulary, it is still used as it has always been, as a form of cheer in bars, sports venues and so. It will now doubt be heard quite a lot as a more formal salutation at the end of the month when the present emperor stands down in favour of his son.

I find it hard to believe that any interpreter, pro or amateur, would make such a false claim unless they were being very tactful or found the true explanation too difficult to convey.

The Japanese are very well aware that Banzai in the western psyche has become firmly linked to bayonet charges and Kamikaze attacks. Therefore, they, especially Japanese expatriates simply wouldn't use the term in foreign company because foreigners, based on their own perceptions, would likely take umbrage at it.
They would, for the same reason, be quite shocked at a westerner using the term.
 
Not so,
Banzai has certainly not been removed from the Japanese vocabulary, it is still used as it has always been, as a form of cheer in bars, sports venues and so. It will now doubt be heard quite a lot as a more formal salutation at the end of the month when the present emperor stands down in favour of his son.

I find it hard to believe that any interpreter, pro or amateur, would make such a false claim unless they were being very tactful or found the true explanation too difficult to convey.

The Japanese are very well aware that Banzai in the western psyche has become firmly linked to bayonet charges and Kamikaze attacks. Therefore, they, especially Japanese expatriates simply wouldn't use the term in foreign company because foreigners, based on their own perceptions, would likely take umbrage at it.
They would, for the same reason, be quite shocked at a westerner using the term.
Probably it, then. That was the explanation I was given at the time, anyway.

A bit like a non-Soviet calling a commie "comrade," let alone "citizen," back in the day, I guess.
 
But hey, as we all know, the Japs are in denial -right?
Generally speaking, that is about right.

It's not what you might be able to find from hunting in rarefied specialist sources. It's what you find in the media, tv documentaries, on memorials and in school history books that determines whether or not a culture is prepared to acknowledge its past.

In this country right now, for example, it's all about the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (which actually received a fair bit of negative coverage and condemnation at the time). Such a public acknowledgement and searching of souls would never be countenanced in Japan.
 
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