Japan from the inside out

Caveat empty

Posted by ampontan on Thursday, October 18, 2012

THE news sites passed on the gossip yesterday that former prime minister and current LDP President Abe Shinzo visited the Yasukuni Shrine for their annual fall festival. He’s been there before (though not when he was prime minister), and he might go there again when it means something, but until then the gossipers will have to satisfy themselves by tattling on neighborhood arguments. Judging from the headline, Reuters enjoys it:

Japan opposition leader’s war shrine visit bound to anger China, Korea

The Tweeter known as Shishi Juroku (Lion Sixteen) saw the headline and had a succinct response. In English, his comment would be:

War shrine?

Yasukuni is a “war shrine” in the same sense that Arlington National in the United States is a “war cemetery”, but that’s an example of the hazards you might encounter if you voluntarily enter Reutersworld.

Had Shishi Juroku read to the last sentence of the article, he might have been spurred to spout a few more question marks. It also might have cured him from reading any Reuters article again. Here’s a screenshot of the passage:

Kishi Nobusuke become the Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1941, and he served in that role until the 1945 surrender. Because he was a member of the government, the Allies incarcerated him at Sugamo Prison as a Class A war crimes suspect. He was released after three years.

Kishi was not convicted of anything, because he wasn’t tried. Indeed, he wasn’t even indicted, though Tojo and a few other Cabinet members were. That might have been because his job was limited to wartime material procurement, and his opposition to continuing the war was a factor in bringing down the Tojo government before the surrender.

This is an easily confirmed matter of historical record, but the lichtaffen have priorities more important than factual accuracy.

There are two possibilities for errors of this kind. One is simple incompetence. Applying the principle of Occam’s Razor suggests this is the most likely explanation.

If so, the people who once upon a time inaccurately reported on changes to Japanese high school history textbooks are incapable of elementary historical research themselves. Is this journalism, or is this vaudeville?

But because this is a Reuters article, it’s also possible they’re pushing one of several agendas. In this case, it’s the agenda of a Japan unrepentant for its Godzilla-like behavior of a few generations ago and, by insinuation, ready to do it all again. One wonders if it is that Reuters employees are stupid enough to believe it, or they’re just happy to follow their employer’s editorial guidelines as long as they can deposit the paycheck.

Once upon a time, I felt sorry for the people who read/consumed the news as presented by the outlet of their choice and thereby thought they understood something of what was happening in the world.

But that’s over. Ignorance is no longer an excuse for the non-journalistic public. Even Wikipedia gets it right sometimes.

As for the journos, they’ve never had an excuse.

One Response to “Caveat empty”

  1. yankdownunder said

    I had a look. I had to read 2 other “war shrine” articles to get to the one you cited.


    Japan ministers visit shrine for war dead
    17 Oct 2012
    Japan land, postal ministers visit Yasukuni shrine: Kyodo
    17 Oct 2012
    Fearing leaks, Japan’s Softbank sprinted to close U.S. deal
    17 Oct 2012
    Japan opposition leader’s war shrine visit bound to anger China, Korea
    17 Oct 2012

    ” seen by many in the region as a symbol of Japan’s war-time militarism”

    by many?
    by just 2, SK and China.

    “may fan anti-Japanese sentiment in China and North and South Korea”

    Is that what you call it?

    “where memories of brutal Japanese occupation run deep.”

    I think not. It is constant propaganda by the government that teaches hatred of Japanese.

    That phrase “brutal Japanese occupation” is mandatory for all articles about Japan/SK.

    “Despite his hawkish stance”

    hawk – A person who favors military force or action in order to carry out foreign policy

    Just because he thinks Japan should have a military(like every other country) does not make him a hawk.

    “Nobusuke Kishi … a wartime cabinet member who was convicted as a war criminal by an Allied tribunal”

    I think this shows how the writer and too many others think about Japanese. They want to say that all Japanese during WW2 were war criminals and should have been convicted and punished. And for Japanese not to acknowledge this makes them just as guilty as the real war criminals.

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