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Dec. 7th / 8th and Selective Remembrance

Mandylion

Omnipotence personified
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15 Mar 2003
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A few years ago I came across a poll that said more young Japanese people in and around the city of Hiroshima recognized Dec. 8th as being the day John Lennon died, than as the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

I was surpised by this, especially in a city so touched by the ravages of that tragic period. We choose much more often to remember when we were the victims than when we were the aggressors.

Japan is not alone in this respect. The attack on Pearl Harbor is replayed in American TV and the date familiar to many, while August 6th and 9th are not. In Japan these dates are widely broadcast days of mourning.

We should not deny the sorrow of loss, but we must be careful in the images we burn into the collective memory. We need to turn a studied eye not only onto our pain, but with equal earnestness onto the barbarity and depravity that pushed us to such dark depths.

If we study history to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, we cannot choose to embrace our sorrows at the expense of lessons to be learned from our viciousness. To Americans, August 6th and 9th should inspire as much sadness as Pearl Harbor, and to the Japanese, December 8th should be as solemn an occassion as the sounding of the bells in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

These dates should live in infamy, for all. --M 🙂
 
I don't understand you at all. Why should the Japanese remember, much less mourn Pearl Harbor? There was a war going on, and it was a sound strategy. Do you remember on which days the Nazis overran things, or anybody else for that matter?
 
Since this is a Japan forum, limited myself to Japan-US. However, the general point of my post was that people should remember with equal introspection the beginning, middle, and end of a series of events. This of course goes for people touched by WWII in Europe, or any other conflict.

The point is not to never to arrive at Point B (in this case Hiroshima/Nagasaki) but to never even depart from Point A (Pearl Harbor). People need to keep the whole picture in mind.

Originally posted by Haivart
Do you remember on which days the Nazis overran things, or anybody else for that matter?

Ask around in Europe or the generation that fought and managed to come back alive. I bet lots of people can tell you plenty of dates the Nazis "overran things."

Originally posted by Haivart
Why should the Japanese remember, much less mourn Pearl Harbor? There was a war going on, and it was a sound strategy.
I'm afraid you can't dismiss Pearl Harbor so easily out of hand. If it was a good tactial move or not is not the point. It was the culmination of a series of events and aggressive expansionism by all sides in East and South East Asia. Besides, can we call what brought Japan to Hawaii "sound strategy"? Hindsight is 20/20 but that can only be an explanation, never an excuse.

If we refuse to recognize and contemplate the aggressive actions that got us into such a mess, or the actions we chose to exact on another, and focus only on a few events (sad though they may be), we have only learned half the lesson history has to teach.

Any clearer? :)
 
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