Thursday, November 13, 2008

田母神前空幕長の論文について Concerning the essay written by former General Tamogami

Recently, there has been some controversy about the comments of Tamogami Toshio, former commander of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. As a WWII historian, perhaps I can clear a few things up.


In a large part, he is right about some of the points in his essay. I was born in America, and if a discussion about WWII arises, many Americans automatically assume Japan was a totally bad nation, and America was totally good.


The truth is much more complex. I have read Mr. Tamogami’s essay in English. He describes relations between Japanese and local people in the prewar Japanese Empire as good. Well one thing we should remember, it was a hierarchal Empire, and Japanese citizens were on the top.


However, I have never read of any serious guerilla resistance to Japan in Taiwan. In Korea, anti Japanese guerillas were a handful, and only in the most remote regions. In the far mountains of Manchuria, there were bandits, but throughout history there always have been bandits, they were not necessarily fighting the Japanese backed government.


So while we can say that while Japan was an Imperial government, and let us assume that all were not totally equal, people did not rise up in revolt. Here is a difference between Japan’s acquisition of Korea, Manchuria, and Taiwan, and the American acquisition of the Philippines.


After America defeated Spain in the war of 1898, Spain gave the Philippines to America as a prize. The people of the Philippines believed they could be independent, and fought against America. Something between 200,000 to 1,500,000 Philippine people died in ten years of war.


At the time of the Russian Japanese war; American President Theodore Roosevelt did not mind Japan taking Manchuria and Korea. He felt that such a Japanese Empire did not conflict with American interests. In fact, he helped Japan and Russia negotiate a peace treaty.


Also, we must admit that at the time of the Second World War, American was not at all an equal society. At the top were White North European Protestants. White Catholics from southern and Eastern Europe were below them. Next were the Asian Americans. Below them were Black people. And at the very bottom were American Indians. Only in the present election have we been able to elect as President a man who is not completely White.


Yet something like 40 years after the Russian Japanese war, under the second American President named Roosevelt, FDR, Japan and America came to war. What happened?


In my opinion, both countries collided over their dream of China. Japan gradually moved to take over parts of China, and then launched an invasion in 1937. America hoped to dominate China by commercial means. And America did have small Marine and Naval units based in China.


For Japan, I think the primary motivation to advance into China was to take it before America or some European power dominated China. Besides America, both Britain and France had interests in China, and Britain maintained a colony in Hong Kong. With troops based there. If we look at a map of the Pacific at the time, Japan is surrounded by the colonies of America, Britain, France, and Holland. China was dominated in part by Japan, America, France and Britain. (On the part of America, the domination was more in the form of a commercial zone rather than outright territorial control)

私の意見で、日本の基本的中国に侵略の理由は、他のヨーロッパの国々が中国取得前、日本の安全の為に中国を取ります。アメリカ以外、英国とフランスは中国に利害が有りました。 香港は英国植民地と軍基地でした。その当時の太平洋の地図を見ると、日本はアメリカ、英国、フランス、とオランダの植民地で取り囲まれていました。 中国は、部分に日本、フランス、英国とアメリカに支配されていました。(アメリカ支配は基本的に土地を取らず、商売的でした。)

For America, there was an idea that China could become a Christian country under American influence. America sent many Christian missionaries to both Japan and China. In China, the missionaries had great success, many Chinese converted to Christianity. One very important convert was T. V. Soong; he helped to get America to back China. He eventually became Foreign Minister to Chiang Kai Shek. The Chinese were also very good at self promotion with average American people. In 1913, the new Chinese government asked American Christians to pray for it’s success. This greatly impressed American President Wilson. Such efforts helped convince Americans that China could become a Christian nation.

アメリカの場合、一つの考えは中国がアメリカの影響を受けているキリスト教国に成る事でした。アメリカが中国と日本両国に数多くの宣教師を出しました。中国では、その宣教師達は大成功に成りました。数多くの中国人をキリスト教に変えました。一人の大切なキリスト教コンバートはT.V.Soong (宋子文)、彼は中国の為にアメリカの政治、軍事的な手伝いを引っぱる事について大きく役に立ちました。蒋介石の外務大臣に成りました。中国人は自分の国を宣伝する事が上手かった。1913年、新中国政府は、アメリカのキリスト教信者に成功のお祈りを願いました。当時のアメリカのウィルソン大統領は、これでとてもいい印象に成りました。こう言う活動で、だんだんアメリカ人は中国がキリスト教国に成れると信じました。

Very few Japanese converted to Christianity. The pro Chinese missionaries gained influence with the US government, while missionaries who had been in Japan could not get such influence.


At this time, being a Christian was equated with being civilized. This was the beginning of the American concept that Japan was not a civilized nation, while China was. America began to take a more pro China stance.


And the American Christian missionaries in China wrote books about how awful Japanese troops were in China. This became strong anti Japanese propaganda in America. It was a war, and the truth is that Japanese troops did bad things. This true for all wars, including the wars America fights. But it is also true that the Kuomintang troops treated their own people just as badly. The only armed force in China that treated the average Chinese with any respect was the Communist army. Which is why the Communists won in China after WWII.


So I think President Roosevelt believed that he had to save China in WWII. Also, he was very afraid of Britain’s collapse in fighting Germany. Many powerful Americans at the time felt that if Britain surrendered to Germany, Canada would become Nazi, and the British fleet would be controlled by Germany. They believed America would be in danger from Germany.


Yet the majority of the American people at the time did not want to get involved in Europe’s war. So the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt made a decision to provoke Japan into attacking America. Since Germany and Japan were allies, war with Germany would be automatic. Numerous provocations were made, such as sending US warships into Japanese territorial waters. On July 31, 1941, two US cruisers came very close to the Japanese Naval base at Sukumo in Shikoku. Other US warships made provocative cruises into Japanese controlled waters in the Central Pacific. The plan was if Japanese warships fired on the intruding US ships, it would start war. Japan did not respond, so this plan failed to start war.


The final step was for America to declare an oil embargo against Japan. Without oil, a modern economy and military cannot function. Japan would have been helpless. And yes, I believe at the time America would have made Japan into a colony, if the Japanese economy and military had collapsed because of lack of oil.


So Japan decided to move south into the British and Dutch colonies. The American colony of the Philippines with its American military bases was directly in the line of communication to these southern islands, so war with America then happened.


In 1941, only a few Japanese had been to America or spoke English. Even fewer Americans had been to Japan or spoke Japanese. Both countries were a mystery to each other. So it was easy for people on both sides to become emotional, to misunderstand what the other country was doing.


Both countries had a mistaken dream that we could control China. In the end, it is the Chinese that control China. I hope we have both, Japan and America, learned a lesson.


Well Japan has. Since 1945, Japan has not fought a war. The same cannot be said of America. The present Iraq war is particularly shameful. There was absolutely no reason for America to invade Iraq. My estimate of Iraqi dead is at least one million. America is directly responsible for one third of that, the others died in a civil war that was caused by America’s invasion.


The Bush administration would admit to 30,000, but they stopped talking about dead Iraqi’s some time ago. They don’t want to think about it.


There is something in the American character that seeks to control other nations and people by military force. If the other people do not agree, we attack. We have had this type of leader in power in America for 8 years.


Yet there is another part to the American character. There is a belief that every human being deserves an equal chance, to do the best they can in their life. No matter what race they may be, no matter how rich or poor. I believe that in the recent election, America has elected a man who represents this good side of America. I will support President Obama with all my power.


Mr. Tamogami seems to feel that American culture dominates Japan. Well, it is true that many Japanese do love American music and Mickey Mouse. But it is also true that Americans are crazy about Pokemon. And Japanese Anime and Manga.


Japan has built many factories in the US, and I will be honest here, I think Japanese managers do better at getting Americans to work hard than American managers do.


In my writing here, I have tried to show that Mr. Tamogami does have some points in his essay. However, I think that the biggest problem with his statements is that he made them while still in uniform. Recently, we have had many American generals who disagreed with President Bush’s polices. However, they waited until they were out of uniform, until they retired, before making criticism of the Bush administration.


Our two countries have had relations since 1854. We did have a bad period that resulted in a terrible horrible war. But in the 63 years since that war ended, we have been best friends. It is my hope to continue this friendship.



For the attitude of President Wilson concerning Christianity in China;


America encounters Japan

William L. Neuman

The Johns Hopkins Press Baltimore 1963

(pages 138 to 141)

For information about American warship intrusions into Japanese waters before the Pearl Harbor attack;

Day of Deceit,
The truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor

Robert B. Stinnett

Touchstone 2000

(pages 9 to 10)

For casualties in Iraq, I used the figure provided the Lancet survey of 2006. In 2006, this magazine estimated 655,000 deaths caused by the war. I have made my own estimate since then to believe that the total has passed one million.

英国雑誌”The Lancet” 2006年調査は、戦争の関係で655,000イラク人は死んでいますと結果しました。自分の考えでその数は百万人を超えていると思います。

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What now for America? アメリカ、これからどう成るでしょう?

Yesterday, history was made in America. Even ten years ago, it is doubtful that a man with a Black father and a White mother could have been elected President. Yet it has happened. The extreme Right in American politics, who have brought so much disaster to the world, are out the door.


From now on, these rightists, Neocons and Christian Fundamentalists, will be dogging the actions of the Obama administration every step of the way. They will seek to confuse and destroy. Last night was a Great Victory. We should all rightly be happy and proud. Yet the battle for America is not over. We have an expensive and bloated military, chock full of weapon systems we don’t need. We have a creaking domestic infrastructure. We have a triple storm of Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Financial Collapse staring us in the face.


It was not a Democratic administration that decided to pretend that Climate Change does not exist. It was not a Democratic administration that tried to solve the problem of disappearing oil supplies by invading the oil producing countries of the Middle East. It was not a Democratic administration that decided to let Financial Institutions regulate themselves.


It was George Bush, the figurehead for the Neocons who thought that America should rule the world by fire and sword. Well Climate Change is here. In the United States, hurricanes are becoming stronger and stronger. Every year brings more terrible floods in the American Mid West. Drought has taken hold in the Southeast and Southwest. Our armies have invaded two countries in the Middle East, and the result is horrible farce. We have killed hundreds of thousands of people. And we did not get the oil. And by letting the firms on Wall Street regulate themselves, they simply indulged themselves in an orgy of excessive greed that still threatens to destroy America.


Ladies and Gentlemen, what begins now is not simply the Battle for America; it is the Battle to Save the Planet. Some people might say, “Hey Max, you live in Japan, why should you care what happens in America?” Well in Japan we have an expression: “When America sneezes, Japan catches a cold.” Japanese people understand the interdependence of the Japanese/American relationship very well.
Whatever happens now in America will have a deep impact on all nations and peoples, across the globe.


These problems of Climate Change, Oil Supply Depletion, and Financial Collapse are not exclusive to America. They are affecting every country in the world. And America has not been paying attention.


Yet now with Barack Obama as the President Elect of the United States, we have a chance, we have hope. But let us all remember, the coming Battle for America is really the Battle to save the World. If we fail, the prospects for the planet are dire, it is doubtful that any nation can serve as a refuge.


So we must not fail.