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April 18, 2005



I find that ȿ?ʠfeatures copiously in all the statements. Now, if this aint an apology, as can be expected under the circumstances, I dont know what is.
You might recollect that (was it Mao?) the Premier's demand was for ??ύ?Ӡand hansei. I didnt look at the Japanese originals; but ??ύ?Ӡis present in Munnin's excerpts.
I can see the nitpicking here: Reflection and recognition versus an acceptance of responsiblity coupled with an unconditional apology.
There are other parrallels in history-For instance, the fact that American pioneers recognized slavery as evil as did Bush when he visited Goree Island--but didnt deign to offer an apology for it.
At the Durban conference when the UN was going to get out a draft on slavery and Brussels was pushing for an EU apology, the Brits and the French blocked it; with the Brits offering to express "regret" only. Not a direct apology. So I can see where the Chinese and the Koreans are coming from.
But regret (as a concept in the English language) is still miles away from the connotation of ȿ?ʠ-- and given that this debasement has been offered repeatedly; I think the wahala is being overblown.
The other point is the self perception of the Chinese and the Koreans--who are clearly aware that they werent the only victims of colonialism. Their insistence on total apologies is perhaps meant to distinguish them from the rest of the herd; i.e. Not all of the colonized are equal; some get apologies and others dont. It is perhaps infuriating to them that Japan's imperialism is explained away in language that equates the status of China and Korea to that of African peoples and lesser Asian populations.
So what more do they want? For Koizumi to come to China and repeat "I am sorry" 5000 times?

The textbooks provide an opportunity for some to suggest that the apologies arent heartfelt, but this is nonsensical--unless of course, Asians have ESP with which they probe the deeper recesses of each other's hearts.

I cannot claim not to see China and Korea's point. They text was Government approved and the oligarhical nature of the Japanese govt is well known. Somebody damn well knew what they were doing when they gave a pass to that textbook--but it is going to backlash on all concerned.

I chuckle as I remember the incident somewhere in the U.S where a textbook was adopted that said "Africans were brought to help on American plantations" or Bush going to Goree Islands and saying that African-Americans are descended from Africans who left Africa because they loved freedom and opportunity which abounded in the USA.

More than enough chuckles to go around on this one though...


Ah- I see the comments interface doesnt render hiragana properly. Tried adjusting the encoding too.


Thx for the mention!



Another example of the kind of howler you mention with regard to the slave trade is the whole movie "Gone With the Wind". Supposedly that one movie has managed to hijack the whole history of Reconstruction. It is not only in the Soviet Union where the past can never be predicted.

The truly sad thing is the missed opportunity for American kids to learn about the actula mechanics of the slave trade, the whole intricate system of trade from Senegal to Chad, and how that helped shape America. Normally these US history courses also ignore how most English came to America, opting instead for the religious freedom pablum. This helps skew the discussion on slavery as well as biasing the discussion of the place of religion in political life.

What is going on in Asia is not a laughing matter, but I have to chuckle when I see how prone we all are to the failings.

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