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Japanese attitude towards the US.

Yngwie J.

11 May 2003
I have this question that's been bugging me for a while.It may sound stupid,but I'll ask anyway.
How come,after the A-bombs (whitch the commander of the U.S.Army Air Force in the Pacific theatre,Curtiss Le May,stated was totally unnecessary ) and the following occupation,which in many ways still isn't over,the Japanese people seem so friendly towards the Americans?
Well, to understand that, you have to place yourself into the mind and way of thinking of the Japanese.
The Japanese also had begun the war prior to the arrival of the Declaration of War by the Japanese regime.

According to bushido, the way of the warrior, something like this is totally dishonorable, because you attack without stating the purpose.

Also, the Japanese opinion is that the allies have won, in an honorable way. (Although by an atrocity) They just were defeated.

Winning or defeat is not important, my friend. The only thing that is important, is that you fight with honour.

In my opinion this is the main reason, of course I can be wrong, or if anyone sees things differently, I'm curious to hear that too.(^ v ^)

Mata ne!
I hope some of our Japanese contributors to this site write in because they are in the best position to answer your question, Yngwie. BlueEyedSamurai san, you have some interesting ideas and well stated, but I would like to add my two cents/yen/pesos.

I would question how many people lived their lives in such close contact with the ideals of bushido to rationalize defeat in war in such a way and in such a short time. Certainly the military had a vested interest in using bushido to inspire their troops, but like other forms of Japanese war propaganda (including the concept of a national body and sacrificing for the emperor) it is very, very difficult to determine if the average person at home truly believed in it or just paid lip service. The Meiji Restoration, and the decades following, where a time of redefinition, especially politically and militarily. I would argue that the military had been moving away from such traditional concepts of honor in war when making their grand strategies since even before the Sino and Russo-Japanese Wars. I strongly doubt that a sense of remorse for un-honorable actions resulted in ready acceptance of American occupation by the general public.

I do not think the concept of the defeated and the victors in war reconciling quickly after war is unique to Japan and the US. As generations pass the pain and anguish of those years fade into the abstractions of history books you read in school. As long as efforts are made on both sides to get back to normal after the fighting, I think the development of a relationship like the US-Japan's is quite natural (Japan has yet to make up with other Asian countries, hence you still get salt poured in old wounds fairly often on the diplomatic level). Historians of a higher caliber than I hopefully can shed some light on the immediate post-war period in another thread.

In short, I don窶冲 think US-Japan relations can be described away on something as novel, no offense intended, as old philosophies that seem to have only ever applied to a very small segment of the population. Some ancient aspect of the Japanese character might explain developments after World War Two and I would be very curious to hear what they may be. Not being Japanese I won窶冲 attempt to address something so deeply personal, but I have a feeling the answer to Yngwie J窶冱 question is much less glamorous than Bushido. (- BES, I hope my syntax doesn窶冲 seem like I am attacking you or putting you down. That is not my intention. You hit on a topic close to home, that's all. Cheers!)
I appreciate your replies!

Coming from a country that was occupied by Germany in WWII,I have this small piece of hatred towards the Germans inside me.Even though the war ended decades before I was born.
Partly because of the suffering the Germans caused to my family (my Grandparents).But also because of national pride.
That's why I have such a hard time understanding the Japanese attitude.
Originally posted by Yngwie J.
I have this question that's been bugging me for a while.It may sound stupid,but I'll ask anyway.
How come,after the A-bombs (whitch the commander of the U.S.Army Air Force in the Pacific theatre,Curtiss Le May,stated was totally unnecessary ) and the following occupation,which in many ways still isn't over,the Japanese people seem so friendly towards the Americans?

Life goes on...
weird hatred dun just goes away like that!!!....there is still some extremist group there i believe that is plotting to take the world by storm!!!...
Life goes on...

True, Erik. Even though that's a very simple answer, I believe that really sums up how they feel about the United States. I think generally speaking, the Japanese are pretty forgiving. What is in the past is in the past. No one can change it(very unfortunately), so it's best to move on. Every Japanese person I know has this attitude about anything and I guess it holds true for the country as a whole, too, a lot of the time.

It's too bad the Americans can't be as forgiving. Remember several years back when the emperor came here and the veterans turned their back on him because of Pearl Harbor? I can't remember the exact date, but I was disappointed to see that.

I have gotten mixed feelings from the Japanese people I know. I will say that only one Japanese person I know feels that not just the bombs, but also the Tokyo fire raids were extremely unjustified. The rest I know just think it is past history and I even know a couple that think that the U.S. did the right thing! *gasp*

As Mandylion pointed out, I would also like to hear from some of the Japanese members for more opinions. This is one subject I have really been interested in as far as the Japanese people are concerned.
I think an excellent example is Europe. No I understand how you feel Yngwie but most people have chosen to forget their anger. Look at the French and Germans. In 1950 Claude monet decided they should have The European Coal and Steel Community, which was the predecessor to the European Union. This was barely five years after the most brutal war between the two nations had ever seen. Now we have the European Union, a grouping that has opened up the borders in Europe and ushered in a new era of cooperation.

People forget, especially after 60 years, the events of the past faded into the background. Although they may resurface in the future, like what has happened in the Balkans and Northern Ireland, these areguments are purely ultranationalist propaganda and are very rare in the world. Serbians point to the Battle of Kosovo in the 14th centrury as a reason to kill Muslims, while Catholics in N. Ireland point back to the battle of the Battle of Hastings as the period when they were subjected to british rule. Do any of these events both nearly 700 years past have any bearing on the participants in these wars today? They are purely outlying cases and are stirred up for nationalistic arguments, and have little place in our societies
Yngwie, does your hate for the Germans really affect how you go about your buisness every day? Would it make you choose not to buy a german Item because what they did nearly 60 years ago? Most people wouldnt even have that sort of consideration. Im sure it may give you a minor sour feeling towards the Germans, but it would not carry over to wholescale changes to how you act towards them.

Furthermore, Japan was in a different position than in Germany, where it considered itself the offending party in WW2. The destruction that occurred in 1945 was seen by many not the American's fault, but the their own fault because they attacked first. Although that may ignore many of the events preceeding WW2, it essentialy encapsulates the feelings of the Japanese people after the war. Look at the statements made by Hirohito, who was considered the living god. He owned up to Japan's culpability, and therefore most people followed that belief. The United States also had a enormous role in that relationship by pouring in billions of dollars of aid and maintaining a healthy presence in Japan where they showed that they were not out to destroy their society. Many people are more likey to remember the kindness of American troops after the war rather than the firebombings. (like my father does in Post WW2 Japan, and even my mother who was bombed in Prague, but rather remembered the black American troops that later entered the city who gave her sweets)

I hope that helps

That is like asking the question, why do you like the Japanese after the boming of Pearl Harbor, the basic truth is Japan was not what it is today, before WWII, I consider Imperial Japan a whole other country, the flag isn't even the same, the Japanese are smart enough to know that young americans today are not the same americans who were involved in World War II, and Japan and America have a lot to gain from eachother, the touchstone pictures new movie (which by the was was way over exaturated, the Japanese did not aim for civilians.) is watched all over Japan and the Japanese often feel shame that they did this. Great Fact i have learned is the General of the operation went to Harvard and was greatly aginst atacking the United States, he was over ruled by High General Tojo, but during the whole operation he was meditating and trying to pretend it was not happening. America was being a big old lazy dog during the war and pretending nothing was happening, If Japan had not "Woken Up" america the Nazis may have tooken over the world, we will never know but it is a thought. Basically, All and all, the world is united now, You don't hate the Germans, Italians, or Japanese now because that was so Last Milliunium, the world needs to move ahead, and one final note, Americans may seem weird visiting the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb dome, but I definitly reccomend it to pay respect for all the people who died in the bomings. A lot more people would nave died had we gone into Combat.
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