Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

I couldn’t really put up a cute Caturday picture with what’s been happening in Japan. It wouldn’t be right with devastation and loss of life on such a large scale. You can read all about it on the front page of every newspaper, so I won’t bother elaborating on one of the biggest quakes of the last 100 years.

Instead, I’ll share with you some Chinese reaction. Many Chinese hate Japanese people because of the atrocities that the Japanese carried out during the occupation of China during the second world war. If you were living in China back in April 2005, you’ll remember the wave of protests across China against Japanese because some new Japanese history text books down played the atrocities of the Japanese occupation in the late 1930s. It’s ironic really that the same people who were protesting probably don’t realise their own history education has been severely distorted and censored.

I distinctly remember a girl from my office going to protest one weekend outside the Japanese consulate. When I asked her why she went to protest, she said “of course, it’s my duty, because they did terrible things to Chinese”.

That might be true, but it was over 70 years ago, well before this girl was born, and well before her parents were born too. But sadly, many young Chinese still have this hatred ingrained deep inside them. It was perfectly illustrated by a girl who posted a long rant on a website immediately following the breaking news of the Japanese earthquake yesterday:

“KARMA is a b!tch… ;) that is how I felt when natural disaster hits Japan. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy with this kind of news. I’m not jumping with joy here as there are innocent people (non-Japanese) living in Japan…Natural disaster can happen anywhere. the last time was in Thailand and the neighboring countries. It’s sad that mother nature have to destroy poor countries. But with Japan’s success (being first world) due to their inhumane practice towards other nation, all one can think of is…KARMA…and all I can do is feel sorry for those foreigners living there right now… not much for the local japanese… be it if they are innocent or not…”

Sadly I can guarantee this type of sentiment will be replicated on many of the Chinese websites all over the country. These people do not possess the ability to absorb information and form their own opinions, they simply take information that is fed to them without utilising their brains to process the information, and sadly, this is the result.

Of course, there are English and American people with exactly the same view of Japanese, but the difference is, those people tend to be people who were actually involved in the war with Japan, rather than their grand children.

I should quickly add that of course, not all Chinese people feel this way about Japanese and many are deeply concerned about the tragedy that’s been unfolding in the last 24 hours.

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94 Responses to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

  1. bittermelon says:

    Not only is Hui Hui taking over Tommy’s perch, now another topic is taking over Tommy’s regular caturday feature. Oh the humility!

  2. WoAi says:

    @Bittermelon – I’ve already promised Tommy that unless world war III breaks out next weekend, Caturday will be reinstated. I hope that’s not tempting fate!

  3. Sue says:

    Dear Waoi,
    I guess this is why we will never have peace on earth and its your bloody fault! LOL

    People, to forgive is NOT to forget.
    An apology will not bring the deceased back.
    It takes a lot more strength and courage to forgive than to apologize.

    Here’s another great quote….
    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi.

    They say time will heal all wounds but the scars are still there.

    It looks like its gonna take longer than 70 years for this sensitive issue!

  4. Sue says:

    Found this on the internet, I think it sums it up and all my postings about forgiveness:

    Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is a release from the burden of anger and pain. When you choose to forgive, you choose to live in the present and the future instead of the past. It does not mean to forget but it does mean to release and go on. Forgiveness doesn’t happen on it’s own, you must choose to forgive.

    Damn, i wish I could elaborate that well!

    For the people who would like to read/learn more, here is the link:

    http://www.positive-way.com/forgiven.htm

    Peace out !

  5. Yanslana says:

    So I found this blog by Googling in the words ‘China happy over Japann tsunami’. And I’m definitely not surprised by your information on how Chinese are rejoicing over Japan’s disaster. It makes me feel vaguely awkward, I feel I know why the general Chinese population feel that way.

    Imagine growing up in an environment where your classroom education from kindergarten to college constantly contained the message that the Japanese are scums of the earth and have wronged you and your country, I would you would develop this set world-view that Japanese are evil and needs to die en mass…

  6. mandy says:

    last comment and i’m done with this also. i laughed at people who say “forgiveness is a gift to yourself” or “to apologize doesn’t bring the deceased back”…mind telling that to the Jews or the Germans? maybe they should tear down the Holocaust memorials in Germany, or German students should stop learning about the atrocities their country committed. because, let’s face it, nothing is going to bring the dead back. and why don’t you tell the Jews that to forgive the Germans is a gift towards themselves, even if the Germans to this day still deny the Holocaust. unbelievable.

  7. N says:

    I feel sorry for you Mandy. Must be awful to live with hatred and be so bitter.

    Whether the Japanese goverment have apologized or not for what happened 70 years ago does not change the fact that the people died in this tragic event are no less innocent than those in Nanjing, they were too someone’s father, mother, husband, wife, or child.

    My heart goes out to all those suffering this disaster.

  8. WoAi says:

    @Mandy – Out of all the anti-Japanese responses on this thread, yours is the most shocking because I know you have benefited from a more impartial education than many Chinese and yet you still harbour these bizarre views about the thousands who have just died. I’m guessing you smile whenever you read about the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima as well. And now you have this earthquake to add to your feel good portfolio.

  9. Jen says:

    WoAi – What happened to all the other 50 comments? You deleted?

  10. WoAi says:

    @Jen – After 50 comments a new page starts. You can find all the older comments by clicking on the link that says “Older Comments”. But I have a feeling you’re just going to say “I agree with Mandy” again. You don’t need to see the older comments for that!

  11. T. says:

    I’m still waiting for answers to my question. Actually I thought of a few more:

    Was the Tangshan Earthquake “karma” for something the Chinese government did and didn’t apologize for?
    Was the Great Leap Forward and subsequent famine “karma” for something the Chinese government did and didn’t apologize for?
    Was the Sichuan Earthquake “karma” for something the Chinese government did and didn’t apologize for?
    Was the Yunnan earthquake “karma” for something the Chinese government did and didn’t apologize for?

    Just wanted to check. Thanks! (Please show your work)

  12. WoAi says:

    @Stimpy – So various Japanese government officials have apologised about 30 times since the 1940s, at least once every decade and as recently as 11 days ago. I’m guessing that’s not going to be good enough for some of the blog readers here!

  13. Sue says:

    Dear Mandy
    How the F*ck can you laugh at times like this? Oh sorry, you were laughing at my posts. Oh Ok. I guess laughter is the best medicine, and it seems you need plenty of it.

  14. CP says:

    Whilst we’re on the subject of twisted logic, this just in from the BBC:

    NZ quake – China wants higher payments as Inquiry opens

    The Chinese embassy in New Zealand has requested that extra compensation be paid to parents of Chinese students lost in the Christchurch earthquake.

    An embassy official, Cheng Lee, said China’s one-child policy made those lost lives more valuable.

    “You can expect how lonely, how desperate they are, not only losing loved ones, but losing almost entirely their source of economic assistance after retirement,” embassy official Cheng Lee said.

    Higher payments would be “a demonstration of the importance the New Zealand government attaches to the Chinese international” students, he added.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12729443

  15. Jen says:

    WoAi – As a matter of fact, I was going to say “VERY WELL SAID”… :)

  16. WoAi says:

    @Sue – This is my blog. You’re allowed to say fuck.

    @Chas – I’m speechless. You could of course argue this in lots of ways. China has the largest population in the world, so perhaps some kind of weighting based on per capita would work the other way. Otherwise surely you’d have to be fair to everyone and award higher payments to all people who lost an only child.

    @Jen – Well then don’t let me stop you, go ahead!

  17. CP says:

    @WoAi: I was also speechless.

    The sentence “You can expect how lonely, how desperate they are, not only losing loved ones, but losing almost entirely their source of economic assistance after retirement” did it for me. His country’s own policy decrees that families can only have one child, yet he professes to feel sorry for bereaved parents in order to extract money from another country which is going through a natural disaster. Stunned.

  18. WoAi says:

    I was just thinking, if the Japanese were more like the Chinese, then every single Japanese person would have changed their MSN tag to “LOVE JAPAN” by now. But thankfully, they’re focusing their attentions on more important issues.

  19. jaume says:

    No wonder China has been keeping silence (or worse) over the suffering sue to the quake destruction in Japan. You people are all disgusting! I have no wish to travel agein or do business with China.

  20. T. says:

    @jaume – Really? keeping silent? Ignorance (or idiocy, I can’t decide which) runs deep on each side.

    Let me crack an egg of knowledge all over your dumbass:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-03/12/c_13775368.htm

  21. Jen says:

    @jaume – Keeping silent? Then you haven’t turned on the TV yet.

  22. Hopfrog says:

    And with jaume’s comment the circle of hate is now complete and the cycle can keep repeating. Shocked that such an obviously well thought out person could have made so many grammatical and spelling errors in two sentences.

    @WoAi, I can appreciate your feelings that people should be donating or even looking at cat pictures instead of addressing this issue, but this is an incredibly important topic. Until it is openly discussed people won’t start looking at the issue from different angles and start questioning why they feel such hatred for innocent victims who have done nothing to them and begin to realize that unless they rise above the hate of villains before them, then they are one in the same. Yes, the more pressing issue is helping the victims in every way possible, however, this is very important too and I am so glad you made this entry.

  23. WoAi says:

    @Hopfrog – Yes indeed. It’s just like after 9/11 when lots of people wanted to beat up any muslims they saw in the street. Ignorance and bigotry. The extremists do not represent the majority, that’s why they’re called extreme. But it’s very hard to change people’s irrational views as this post has already proved. But we can keep trying!

  24. CP says:

    Whilst we’re on the subject of irrationality, there is the whole topic of the problems at the nuclear facilities. Understandably there is fear and concern about how serious the problems are, but the media channels don’t seem to be showing a whole lot of responsibility: there is far too much sensationalism, almost as if they will only be satisfied if a meltdown actually happens, as if to fulfil their own prophecies.

    (and I’m already hearing – false – rumours about nuclear clouds over China)

  25. WoAi says:

    Yes there is a HOAX text message doing the rounds saying if it rains do not go out because you could get contaminated. Well, that’s actually true, but just the usual Shanghai pollution which will kill us all well before anything from Japan gets here!

  26. dacey says:

    im from china.. i love US and Japn… i dont get why they be so mean.. i dont care about the history .. it so boring.. whatever .. now im worrying about people dying and our earth… we hurting our eaRTH WE NEED TO SAVE THE EARTH AND ALL THE COUNTRY

  27. kamille says:

    This is sad.
    After all its economic miracles that made it a global manufacturing and financial powerhouse, Japan remains a dwarf psychologically, shy to face square up to its past from the bottom of its heart.

    As Iris Chang put it: Japanese culture will not move forward until it admits, not only to the world — but to itself — how improper were its past actions.

  28. mandy says:

    You guys are really weird…where have I ever said I was “laughing” about what’s going on in Japan right now? I’ve explicitly said I’m against people who are taking pleasure in Japan’s misfortune right now. I don’t believe the right way to right past wrongs is for more innocent people to die. The only way I believe that could be done is for Japan to admit the truth and apologize, and start making reparations to the victims.

    I responded to this post because of this sentence in Woai’s post “That maybe true, but that was well over 70 years ago”. And even though Woai denies he was trying to say it’s time to move on…forgive me if I interpreted the sentence that way

    And yes, Sue, I was laughing at your post, and not at what’s going on in Japan. What’s the point of courts and jails if we can just ask all victims to forgive their attackers as “forgiveness is a gift to oneself”. What’s the point of learning about the Holocaust when we should just ask all Jews to forgive the Nazis. Please, give me a break. If Japan had taken actions like Germany regarding this matter and I was still harping on it, then yeah, I’d agree with you on forgiveness. But that hasn’t happened yet, has it?

    Also, people here comparing the Nanjing Massacre to the Great Leap Forward…omg, are you for real? Deliberate atrocities like gang raping young girls and bayoneting a pregnant women are not the same as failed economic and social policies. What’s the matter with you people?

    Ok, I’m done on this subject…for real now.

  29. T. says:

    Nice strawman Mandy, but really, the point remains – when has either government apologized? Stimpy has a full list of Japanese apologies up there – can’t seem to find one for the CCP.

  30. kamille says:

    Iris Chang was one of the major advocates of a Congressional resolution proposed in 1997 to have the Japanese government apologize for war crimes, and met with First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1999 to discuss the issue. In one often mentioned incident (as reported by The Times of London):

    …she confronted the Japanese Ambassador to the United States on television, demanded an apology and expressed her dissatisfaction with his mere acknowledgement “that really unfortunate things happened, acts of violence were committed by members of the Japanese military”. “It is because of these types of wording and the vagueness of such expressions that Chinese people, I think, are infuriated,” was her reaction.

  31. CP says:

    I agree with Mandy. It’s ridiculous to compare the Nanjing massacre with the Great Leap Forwards.

    Estimates of excess deaths during the latter vary between 20 and 43 million people (source: http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm – which includes deaths in other conflicts and makes sobering reading).

    This is to take nothing whatsoever away from the horror of the Nanjing massacre. But the unnecessary death of millions of people does not quite equate to “failed economic and social policies” in my book. Is there an apology? No. Is the man who was in charge of still revered by many? Yes.

  32. sue says:

    Golly! you’re not very bright are you? The court and jails are to convict and house the attackers. But the vitims and familes will have to live on. Now, they can choose to be bitter and misrable for the rest of their lives, and let the horrific crime consume their lives or they can learn to forgive and move on. DO YOU GET IT NOW? And will ya quit talking about the Nazi? Stop being so hot headed. Be happy and be positive! Oh and get off the medication that you’re taking cos its not helping you.

  33. Jenny says:

    @Mandy:

    “Also, people here comparing the Nanjing Massacre to the Great Leap Forward… omg, are you for real?”

    Yes.

    Mao, during his time in power, always considered Chinese prowess to be in numbers. For example, during the Korean War, he believed he would win purely with the number of people he could throw to the front lines.

    The difference between the Nanjing Massacre and the Great Leap Forward – one atrocity was at the hands of the Japanese, the other at the hands of your own leader. Do you forgive Mao for letting tens of millions of Chinese people die? True, in one case they were massacred in many brutal ways.. but many Chinese people died under appalling conditions of poverty, etc during the Great Leap Forward. Where’s the justice for your ancestors who died then? Do you also forget that many scholars / people in academia were tracked down and killed during that time, in fear that they may gather and rise against your government?

    So funny how you see the fault in other people and yet not in your own kind.

  34. Jen says:

    Mandy, thank you for making your points across. I agree with you!

  35. Jen says:

    @Mandy – I agree with you! Thank you for making your points across.

  36. CP says:

    @Jen – any opinions of your own that you’d like to share with us? I’m sure we’re all dying to hear them!

  37. Jen says:

    @CP – I have the same sentiment as mandy and kamille.

    Thank you for asking my opinions and showing concern! :)

    Have a good day!

  38. kamille says:

    South Korean comfort women stop protest to pray for Japan

    By Lim Yun Suk | Posted: 16 March 2011

    SEOUL: South Korean comfort women during World War II halted their weekly protests outside the Japanese embassy in central Seoul on Wednesday, to pray for the victims of Japan’s quake and tsunami.

    The women have been gathering outside the embassy every Wednesday for the past 19 years, shouting chants and demanding an apology from Japan for forcing them to work as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II.

    However, this week they abandoned their angry emotions and chanted “be brave”, as they held a short prayer session for the victims of Japan’s disaster.

    There were about 200 of them when they first went public in 1992, but only a handful are left to continue their demonstrations.

    This is the second time the group has called off the demonstration; the first being the Kobe earthquake in 1995, when a similar tribute was made to the victims.

    “We hate the sins they have committed. But we don’t hate the people. We really wish for them to recover quickly and get well soon,” said Ms Lee Yong Su, a former comfort woman.

  39. Joyce says:

    Mandy — You’re arguing with yourself. Nobody asked you to donate money or to like the Japanese. That’s your own decision. If you want to brew in your own bitterness, that’s your right. Nobody’s censored your comments.

    All people asked for was some common decency — to stop repeatedly voicing hatred for victims of a natural disaster when the rest of us are watching a humanitarian horror unfold.

    I have no idea what 1940s Germany has to do with a Japanese earthquake in 2011. Anyway, you don’t seem to have a very clear grasp of post-war Europe.

    Of course the Jews still hate Nazis. They also understand that — except for some fringe groups — the Nazis are long gone. They fell from power in 1945, as did the Japanese wartime administration. The world understands that the current government and people of Germany are different than the ones in charge 70 years ago.

    The Japanese have a very clear idea of what happened in the war. They know why they lost, what they did, and why they’re still not allowed a real military today. Japan isn’t censored the way China is.

    Even the poor comfort women who suffered first-hand found more humanity than you. The Communist Party leadership has, too. When you have less heart than the CCP, boy, that says something.

  40. Joyce says:

    There’s a good article on Granite Studio by a Chinese woman on this issue:

    “Imagine that a single group of people is held up for public scorn and criticism, with museums and the media displaying images of cruelty and evidence of evil, and now imagine these are the only images you have of this group for most of your life. Sadly, this is fertile ground for hatred to spread.

    “The lack of comprehensive and open information fuels the resentment. For example, the Chinese public always hears about Japan’s Prime Minister’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, but Japan’s apologies to Chinese people are never reported in China. Most news coverage focuses on the flood of Japanese products into China, but no one mentioned that Japan has provided more foreign aid to China than any other country.”

  41. Bill says:

    I’m from Malaysia. First and foremost, you should understand we are NOT happy and rejoicing over the tsunami over Japan. In actuality, we too, are saddened and many of us have prayed, and our Chinese religious foundations have even organised Masses and rituals for the dead and survivors. When you younger generation expressed your displeasure towards the Chinese for saying the natural disaster is a karma, you should understand what most of us have been through.

    The Japanese broke into our villages. and for no apparent reason, snatched our people, including women and children, dragging them to the streets and beheaded them on the road curbs. The roadsides were piled by heaps of heads. It was pure massacre, they kill you just because they did not like your face. I can still recall the horrifying sight until today. Entire families were even killed. The entire village was almost wiped out. Others were tortured, such as by forcing the victim to drink chilli water until bloated, and later stepped upon in the abdomen until the stomach burst open like a water baloon, the guts strewn everywhere. In my country, almost every family would have at least a member being victimised during the Japanese occupation.

    Nevertheless, though we are saddened by the tsunami, most of us still believe it as a heavenly punishment, maybe as a way to console ourselves on the past that has befallen us. So when you make comments, just try to understand. We are just as saddened as you are on the disaster in Japan.

  42. Joyce says:

    Hi Bill,
    I hope you don’t take any criticism as meant towards people like yourself, who are saddened by history, but who are sane enough to separate past and current events.
    Most Chinese seem to be genuinely saddened by the events in Japan, just as you are.

    The criticism was for the small — but vocal — minority who seem to be celebrating someone else’s horror, or posting repeated comments about Nazis and all sorts of terrible unrelated topics to rile up anti-Japanese sentiment at a very tasteless time. How anyone can comment on this issue without expressing some sort of human sympathy is beyond me.

    I know where you’re coming from. Nobody said history would be easy to forget, or that Japanese-Chinese relations would be simple. However, I think that the view from the Chinese diaspora — meaning from Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, overseas, etc — is different than it is on the mainland. It’s funny. But I sometimes think the mentality here in HK is closer to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur than it is to Beijing.

    The strange thing is that the elderly people who personally suffered at the hands of the Japanese don’t seem that radical. Those spouting anti-Japanese hatred seem to be mostly “young natinalists” (20-something?) who harbor all sorts of xenophobic ideas. But, since they mostly just comment online anonymously, it’s hard to tell how deep-rooted these sentiments are.

    Like you, I wish the victims suffering in Japan the best of luck. It is going to take years for them to recover.

  43. ALAN says:

    @Mandy and @Wo-Ai etc – Just a few comments here:

    1. Comparing the Nanjing Massacre to the Great Leap Forward – Yes, during the Great Leap Forward, many Chinese people died under appalling conditions of poverty, etc but Mao did not order his soldiers in 3 weeks to rape, brutally butcher literally, over three hundred thousand Chinese people including children. It was a “Holocaust” with atrocities of historical proportion.

    2.The Great Leap Forward”, “Tienamen Square massacre” or “Tibetan Massacre”, these are all very bad, but,
    no one should equate these with the Nanjing Massacre. They are not in the same proportion as the Nanjing Massacre.

    3.If HELL really exists, Mao and many of these soldiers who committed the atrocities’, should all belong there.

    4.As all of us know, at the end of World War II, there was overwhelming evidence of Japanese crimes against humanity committed against Asian populations conquered under the pretense of liberating Asia from Western imperialists. Just for the record, the most atrocious examples of this are listed in the following:
    · Colonization of Taiwan (1895–1945) and Korea (1910–1945)
    · Colonial rule in Manchuria
    · the sexual exploitation of young women and girls after 1932 (The Comfort Women System especially against the Korea)
    · Atrocities committed in the Philippine Islands and Singapore including 1942 Bataan Death March
    · Forced Labor committed by major Japanese companies such as Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Kajima, and Nippon Steel
    · Japan’s secret biological and chemical warfare research program
    · And many, many more even including Aggressive Assimilation of Ethnic Groups under Meiji Nation-Building

    5. From my perspective, individually, Chinese and Korean people do not “hate” or dislike Japanese people. As nations, Sino-Japanese or Korea-Japanese relations are still in the shadow of the past. Without much mutual trust . Yes, that’s politics. However, unless the leaders of Japan, follow the example set by the Germans, to do whatever they can, to condemn their past behavior, update their official records including history textbooks, spread “good will”, and close this part of their history. In essence, there is no easy way for anyone to forgive and forget about their history, but we need to encourage the government of Japan to apologize to the other nations and move forward.

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