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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Supernova in the East I (WWII Japan)

Hardcore History 62 – Supernova in the East I

"Hirō Onoda is not the only Japanese World War II soldier that surrenders in 1974. There's another one in 1972, there was one there were two in the 1960s, there were a bunch in the 1950s and in the 1940s, after the war ended, sometimes whole units were still fighting, I believe it was almost three years after the war, the unit of a couple of hundred of these Japanese soldiers with their heavy weapons finally surrendered...

These people were often told explicitly, in many different ways that the war was over, and they chose not to believe it, and they chose not to believe it because it clashed with their mental indoctrination into all this. For example Hirō Onoda, he had family members flown in at high expense to the Japanese government... Hirō Onoda was still killing people in the Philippines after the war... he killed 20 to 30 Filipinos... they left him newspapers. Here's how he puts it in the book, written with him:

'The search party left behind newspapers and magazines. Most of them were recent and a lot of them contained articles about the Crown Prince's marriage. The newspapers, which covered a period of about four months, made a stack nearly two feet high. We, meaning the two other hold outs with him, we thought they were reprints of real Japanese newspapers, doctored up by the American Secret Service in such a way as to eliminate any news that the Americans did not want us to see. This was all we could think so long as we believed that the Greater East Asia War was still going on, and in a way, he writes, the newspapers confirmed that the war was still going on. Because they told a lot about life in Japan.

If Japan had really lost the war, there should not be any life in Japan. Everybody should be dead. When I arrived in the Philippines in 1944, the war was going badly for Japan, he writes. And in the homeland, the phrase 100 Million Souls Dying for Honor was on everybody's lips. This phrase meant literally that the population of Japan would die to a man before surrendering. I took this at face value, and I am sure many other young Japanese men my age did.

He says, I sincerely believed that Japan would not surrender so long as any one Japanese remained alive. Conversely, if one Japanese were left alive, Japan could not have surrendered he continues. After all, this is what we Japanese had all vowed to each other, we had sworn that we would resist the American and English devils until every last single one of us was dead. If necessary, the women and children would resist with bamboo sticks trying to kill as many enemy troops as they could before being killed themselves...

This area around the South Manchurian railway that Japan is developing... there's people in there who work for the corporations that're developing things, there's people who work for some shadowy groups and they're just trying to see what the opportunities are to expand a little bit. Nonetheless, initially, it's not much of a problem, because it’s just that little area and the Japanese apparently have the right to develop along the railway line in a narrow sort of way.

We can develop hotels along the whistle stops, and eventually that becomes an infrastructure to support the hotels, then eventually that becomes homes for the people that work at the hotels and then it’s schools for the people who work at the hotels’ kids and slowly but surely these Japanese companies in conjunction with the Japanese government by the way, in a way it does remind one a little bit of the way the British colonised India, it was a corporate affair initially, eventually transferring to a government sort of thing. Similar pattern in Japan but the development in this region is phenomenal...

The Cherry Blossom Society conceived a bizarre plan to wipe out the entire government by aerial bombardment of a cabinet meeting. A crowd of rightists would then surround the war ministry and General Staff headquarters and demand the creation of a military government. For this October incident as it was called, which never took place Hashimoto, received twenty days confinement from superiors, who did their best to deny that anything untoward had taken place...

Over the next several months, this Kwantung Army’s going to destroy Japanese diplomatic credibility with the rest of the world because over and over the Japanese government and even the top military officials are gonna say: "We're not going to advance any farther, everything's gonna stay the way it is. And then, almost as they're saying it, the army in the field would advance. At one point, the army itself, the Kwantung army says: we are not going to, we promise, we will not advance on this city, and they do...

This is the period where if you realistically suggested giving Manchuria back, because the great powers were telling you to, you might not live to see the next month, because we talked earlier about... government by assassination in Japanese history. This is the period where that skyrockets and it's the high water mark of that between 1931 and 1936, and you will see a number of major figures not just political figures, but also corporate ones gunned down. How about the one in 1932 where 11 naval cadets from a faction in the Navy that wants a military dictatorship, and a return to the Emperor and the Golden Age and all that, they storm into the building where the Prime Minister is, the eleven of them and kill him."

So much for the atom bomb being unnecessary

Japan in 1930s Manchuria sounds like China in the developing world today
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