If you’re like me, which let’s face it, no one is but if you’re like me, then chances are you probably didn’t know a lot about Japan or her history from going to school, watching documentaries and general media. In the west as far as popular culture is concerned, Japanese history begins in the 1930s, with some vague allusions to the Samurai and gardening leading down to the bronze age.
Even the Japanese Empire, the Axis-aligned military dictatorship is often loosely connected to a past idealisation of emperors, shogunates and warlords. The brutal war in the pacific is seen as a failure of modernism, democracy and liberal values, and whether it is to justify colonialism or the genocidal atrocities of Hiroshima, western liberals are quick to point to the Japanese people as a savage and backwards race.
So, after I began to read A Brief History Of Japan, I learned a great deal about this ancient civilisation and its many hardships, and how, unsurprisingly enough, the self-aggrandising and omitting narrative of the west is more or less a creation myth intended to serve the status quo of the Anglo-American colonial forces.
One section which particularly grabbed me was a prophetic excerpt by Konoe Fumimaro, who, in 1918, predicted the fate of not just Japan, but many nations of the world. I quote:
One of his deputies, however, was Konoe Fumimaro, an angry young aristocrat who regarded the entire conference as a farce to impose what he called an “Anglo-American Peace” on the world. The last thing Konoe wanted was an international body to arbitrate disputes, since it would represent the end of the previous century’s race for territory, and Japan still had plans for conquest. In a forceful article in 1918, he wrote:
Militarism is not the only force that violates justice and humanity. Economic imperialism, also, by enabling the most powerful to monopolize enormous amounts of capital and natural resources, prevents the free development of other nations and enriches the imperialists without requiring the use of force. Should the Peace Conference fail to suppress this rampant economic imperialism, the Anglo-American powers will become the masters of the world and, in the name of preserving the status quo, dominate it through the League of Nations and arms reduction, thus serving their own selfish interests…Should their policy prevail, Japan, which is small, resource-poor, and unable to consume all its own industrial products, would have no resort but to destroy the status quo for the sake of self-preservation, just like Germany.
Even in its shogunate past, when elaborate clans of Samurai and wealthy families brokered power through territory exchange and political games, Japan still maintained a rule of trade, culture, civics and invention. China and Japan were often on good terms, and greatly influenced eachother’s respective cultures. Throughout thousands of years, China and Japan maintained a symbiosis in which they would influence everything from language, to clothing, to religious beliefs and even technology.
The bitter hostilities and enmity following the great patriotic war is a very modern invention, that would have likely confounded most Japanese and Chinese people of the past.
This is not to idealise things by any measure of the imagination, but it is an effort to understand precisely how the colonial forces of the “Anglo-American Peace” has been little more than a thinly veiled corruption of ancient and proud civilisations. How these national rivalries were quite deliberate inventions of the west. How Hirohito’s military dictatorship was a product of US and British geopolitical pressures wherein Japan either had to consign itself to the path of war, or die as a starving third world colony.
And it is precisely this phenomenon we are now witnessing in Taiwan, as, once more, the Anglo-American forces seek to redraw the borders on ancient maps and create a status quo which serves their economic interests above the welfare and prosperity of eastern civilisations.
Once again I quote:
During the intense negotiations, the Japanese even tried to quote from the American Declaration of Independence, with its famously self-evident truth that “all men are created equal,” only for the British delegate, Arthur Balfour, to scoff that it was an eighteenth-century notion, applicable to all men in a particular state but not to the universal equality of all races.
This has always been the Anglo-American understanding of democratic values. Taiwan has always been a part of China, that is why they identify themselves as the Republic of China. It’s like East Germany and West Germany, or North Korea and South Korea. They have separate governments due to ideological differences, but no one denies that East Germany wasn’t part of Germany any more than someone would deny that South Korea isn’t part of Korea.
So when you see Taiwan, a Chinese province full of Chinese people, fly a red-white and blue flag, and having politicians telling the people in such a province to hate their own culture, and to hate their own language, to deny their past and to embrace US values, then we see precisely what corrupted Japan during her colonisation as well.
How once upon a time the Japanese head of state wore a Kimono, only to have it replaced by a western military suit. A good representation of how an independent nation with its own culture was shaped down into little more than a compadore for US and British interests.
Had Japan been permitted to prosper on its own without being perverted by the economic and colonial coercion of the US and the British, then they would have little recourse towards military dictatorship or joining the Axis powers.
And now we see how Nancy Pelosi, in some miserable effort to offload further defective surplus weapons in yet another NATO-provoked war, are moving in on Taiwan to provoke aggression between ancient friends. No different from how US opportunism during the great patriotic war landed them with three new economic dominions, namely, South Korea, Philippines and Japan.
To this day, US troops occupy these nations and US corporations pillage the workforce and economy through sweatshops, union busting and monopoly protectionism. Maintaining this status quo by any means necessary, from supporting military dictatorships that were just as brutal as that of Hirohito, to on occasion, outright terrorism.
And now we are meant to believe that the US, in their rapacious expansionism in the Pacific, have, through the charity and idealism of democracy and sovereignty, been set on some messianic quest to aid the poor little people of Taiwan?
I think if the US government was sincere in its convictions, then they would get out of Korea, the Philippines and Japan, and grant these nations the independence which they stole from them following the Yalta Conference.
The US are not, and nor have they ever been, the civilisers and saviours of the East. They have brought nothing but famine, poverty, war brides, torture, atrocities and grief to the many peoples that they have bombed, burned, massacred and invaded.
Just because the people there are peaceful and patient and forgiving doesn’t mean that US politicians are entitled to provoke, manipulate and exploit them.