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  1. #11
    MDR
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    First Nikon invited the photographer not the other way around which already shows that Nikon was willing to deal with the japanese past, and while Nikon denies that the reason for cancelling were protest letters I am quiet sure that they were presurized to cancel the exhibition.

    And while Germany and Austria deal with their NAZI past, we seem to constantly forget one group of victims. There was such a thing as forced prostitution in KZ they even had a sort of Brothels in several KZ. The women had a survival rate of near 0 % and were at first mostly women that were denounced as adulters. A crime that could and did land many women in concentration camps. The women were used in KZ Brothels and Officers Brothels. The reason they are still not considered victims of the third reich is because they supposedly volunteered for that job, which was proven as beeing a lie. For instance in Mauthausen the brothels is right at the entrance of the camp and no tour guide or anyone else will tell you what that building was. As soon as something has to do with forced sex or forced prostitution in the past, we seem not able to deal with it.

    Dominik

  2. #12
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    I think the cancellation, if caused by political pressure (as seems likely) is an unfortunate example of self-censorship. On the other hand, it was brave of Nikon to propose the exhibition in the first place.

    After all, how many US corporates have sponsored exhibitions of Dorothea Lange's photographs of the internment of American citizens of Japanese descent during WWII? None, as far as I am aware. It is an unfortunate fact that all nations have periods in their history that, if presented accurately, show them in a poor light, and which generally are swept under the carpet by government as well as by civil society. Another example would be the atrocities committed by the British during the anti-colonial uprisings in Kenya which are only now coming to light since records were deliberately destroyed, and those that were not were hidden for many years in defiance of access to information legislation. And let me not fail to mention the horrific human rights abuses of my own country's recent past.

    I'm not saying that we should not attempt to shine a light on these sad chapters in all our nations' histories. Certainly we must, for if we do not learn from history it is bound to repeat itself. But it is perhaps best to start at home, with introspection, since "why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" (Matthew 7:3).

  3. #13

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    I have always enjoyed travelling in Japan and meeting Japanese people, both personally and for business.
    However, there seems to be a tendency in Japanese society to treat WWII and its events as something that happened to Japan, similar to a tsunami or typhoon, not something that Japan did.
    American reaction to history and its own misdeeds is a separate topic, but one we should consider as well.

  4. #14

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    Tim,

    What you say is true. But from the point of view of ordinary people, they are victims as none of them wanted to start a war, join a war, or be part of a war. They were forced into the situation.

    Another interesting thing is that in modern Japan, what we typically call "national pride" or identity to see themselves as Japanese and feel that they are part of a country and its history is very weak. This is contrary to the general sentiment in United States.

    In some ways, having patriotism and pledging allegiance to the country is seen as being extremist and it is not seen as a character that a well-balanced person should have.

    Perhaps this is a strange concept for most Americans. I'd imagine this is a strange concept to comprehend unless you were born there and lived in the culture.
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  5. #15
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    That's not what I've noticed with Japanese people, FWIW. There is a very nationalistic streak of pride, that (for the rightwingers, at least) can be easily deformed into the denial of the historical record that is distressingly common, to this day.
    It's probably due to us all being affected by our environment -- being an island society makes it easy to be isolationist and form a "they're out to get us" worldview.

    I saw this strange sense of denial around the documentary "The Cove", as well, FWIW, although that's a different situation.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

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  6. #16
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    General MacArthur was in awe of the Emperor and was afraid to banish him. Rather than have the Japanese face what they had done the way Eisenhower did [Eisenhower made the local villagers walk through the death camps so they could not deny the truth], MacArthur ran around getting his lips brown.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

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  7. #17
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    What you say is true. But from the point of view of ordinary people, they are victims as none of them wanted to start a war, join a war, or be part of a war. They were forced into the situation.
    I don't buy it. That reminds me of the defense of "ordinary" Germans who were "forced" to tag along with Hitler and the Nazi's descent into darkness. As many ordinary Japanese were shouting Bonzai to the ordinary German Sieg Heils. The fact is all countries including my own are capable of and have descended into that darkness. It's in all human beings. Better to understand that so you can watch before you get to that point then denying you are capable of it and then doing it without any moral compunction.

    Another interesting thing is that in modern Japan, what we typically call "national pride" or identity to see themselves as Japanese and feel that they are part of a country and its history is very weak. This is contrary to the general sentiment in United States.

    In some ways, having patriotism and pledging allegiance to the country is seen as being extremist and it is not seen as a character that a well-balanced person should have.
    I also don't buy that the Japanese have changed. On the surface, maybe. But patriotism goes deep into the sub-conscience. If they were attacked tomorrow, to a man and women they would rise up to defend Japan. In America before WWII, most people were pretty pacifist. After WWI, Americans didn't want to get into another war like that. Americans watched with horror at what was going on in Europe in 1940. However, they did not want to get involved at all. It took the attack on Pearl Harbor to unite Americans overnight into warlike response against the Japanese (but not Germany). It took Hitler's foolish declaration of war against the US three days later to get us directly involved in the conflict in Europe.

  8. #18
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Corneau View Post
    That's not what I've noticed with Japanese people, FWIW. There is a very nationalistic streak of pride, that (for the rightwingers, at least) can be easily deformed into the denial of the historical record that is distressingly common, to this day.
    It's probably due to us all being affected by our environment -- being an island society makes it easy to be isolationist and form a "they're out to get us" worldview.

    I saw this strange sense of denial around the documentary "The Cove", as well, FWIW, although that's a different situation.
    The point, Colin, is to understand--not necessarily to accept--the context of the Nikon misstep, something that's harder than outrage. Have a look, if you haven't yet, at the link I posted above and here:

    http://japanfocus.org/-mark-selden/3173

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Corneau View Post
    That's not what I've noticed...

    That's what I noticed by being born there and spent my school days and some young semi-adult days in that country. I wasn't an observer, I was a participant in that culture.

    Yes, there are sense of denial. There's no doubt about that. As I said earlier, by learning world history in both countries at high school level, I saw strong denial and omissions from both sides - usually the inconvenient truth part. It's really interesting how cleverly manipulating facts and presentations of facts or lack there of, history is distorted.

    Oh well. I'm out. There's nothing more to share from me.
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  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    I don't buy it.

    I'm not trying to defend Japan or trying to convince anyone. I have no need to do that. That's what I saw by being born there and living there. If you don't want to think the same way I do, you are certainly entitled. I even had someone (in US) demand I personally apologize to what "my country" did before I was born. This gentleman said this in person. Obviously, emotions run high and it's understandable, especially if you lived in that part of history. (he did)

    Anyway, have a nice day. All I can do is share what I know. Nothing more.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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