War with Japan - WWII
Tampa, FL -
War with Japan - WW II - Part 1
Japanese Culture: I state once again that there will always be those who, for selfish reasons, will desire to render a "managed" history to present and rising generations. Correct American history, based on facts and truth, makes the future the proper beneficiary of the past. History shows that great nations fail because they turn their backs on the principles that made them great and the true history. Insofar as the War with Japan in WW II, Americans need to know the true background facts.I was stationed in the military in Japan for more that two years during the mid-50's, so I pretty well know the people. Most people chalk up the extraordinary good behavior that exists to Japanese culture, which I partly agree, noting the legendary politeness of Japanese people in everyday life.
Despite the existence of massive cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, people in their neighborhoods are well known to those around them. There is little urban anonymity. In Japan, a lack of anonymity is the norm. In the smaller cities and villages, it is almost impossible to misbehave and not being recognized by one’s neighbors. Some say the people are constrained to behave themselves properly by an aversion to being judged negatively by those around them, rather than internalizing a moral imperative. Broadly speaking, that is true today. But it is also true that most contemporary Japanese have internalized a deep respect for private property, that is manifested in a ritual of modern life for children, one which we might do well to emulate. When a child finds a small item belonging to another person, even a one yen coin, a parent takes the child to the local koban and reports lost property. Perhaps more successfully than any other people in the world, the Japanese have evolved a social system capable of ensuring order and good behavior. The vast reservoir of social strength brought Japan through the devastation of WW II compared to which even the massive problems currently afflicting it are, I believe, relatively small. Japan has recently sustained a major blow, but I feel its robust social order will endure, and ultimately thrive.
Japanese Economic Background: Does economics affect the culture? Perhaps! Japan, is an island. The population works hard and they have industrial capability, but have very few natural resources and material to produce. While the United States was still recovering to emerge from the Great Depression at the end of the 1930s, and would do so partly because of the war, Japan had emerged from its own period of depression, which had begun in 1926. By the end of mid-1930s.many of the young soldiers who mobilized into the Japanese army came from the rural areas, where the effects of the depression were devastating and poverty was widespread. Their commitment to the military effort to expand Japanese territory to achieve economic security can be understood partly in these terms.
Internationally, this was a time when "free trade" was in dispute. The great powers not only jealously protected their special economic rights within their colonies and spheres of influence, but sought to bolster their sagging economies through high tariffs, dumping of goods, and other trade manipulation. The Japanese, with few natural resources, sought to copy this pattern. They developed sources of raw materials and heavy industry in the colonies they established in Korea.
The Japanese military faced a particular tactical problem in that certain raw materials–especially oil and rubber–were not available within the Japanese sphere of influence. Instead, Japan received most of its oil from the United States and rubber from British Malaya. History shows that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s embargo of oil exports to Japan pressured the Japanese navy, which had stocks for only about six months of operations.
Japanese Ideology: It is sometimes difficult to comprehend the extreme sacrifices the Japanese made in the name of the emperor. As I see it, this can be viewed, however, as extreme patriotism—Japanese were taught to give their lives, if necessary, for the emperor. But, in my view, this was not entirely different from the Americans who gave their lives in the same war for their country and the "American" way.
In God We Trust.
Glenn A. Clepper
Writer, Columnist, Author, Patriot and Historian