A-Bomb and Us

Answer many question from foreigners

Discussion for finding suitable answers in response to the questions of overseas visitors
@@gWhy the Japanese donft hate America, or Americansh

October 2004
I. Aratani/HIP member, Proofread by K. Koyama

1. Different awareness about the results of war
(a) Europeans who had experienced frequent wars;
* gThe race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strongh. Even when defeat was suffered, the people learned to calmly overcame their losses and governmental costs, and they promised to reconstruct their nation-states, and the exact revenge.
* The Rules of War (Geneva Convention) were established, specifying that there should be no abusive treatment of POWs, and the establishment of gknowledge on how to handle soldiers that had been taken prisonerh.
* No European nation-state has ever experienced such a widespread reversal of accepted-fact, widely-held notions, and general world-view to the same degree as Japan did post-1945.
(b) Japanese awareness
* They had less experience of recent war, and had in addition not been defeated. As the result, they held a belief in their own invincibility.
* Knowledge of the Rules of War was not enough. They looked down upon, and abused POWs and non-combatants.
* This first defeat (in modern history) was a great shock to the Japanese. They had never considered defeat, so had never considered the need to plan a response to it. Therefore the Japanese didnft know what to do.

2. Behavior/Cultural/Consciousness of Occupying Forces
* The Japanese had been taught that the Allied Forces were gevilh. But they generally acted cheerfully and were well-mannered. There were, as a result, no serious problems. Japan benefited from the Occupying Forces innate ideas of humanity and democracy.
* It was fortunate that the Occupation commenced some 2 to 3 months after the conclusion of the war and both sides had had time to let tempers cool.
* The Japanese were surprised by the large amount of relief goods delivered by the gold enemyh America and grateful for what they received.
* The Japanese had been gfreedh of the impending likelihood of the gdecisive land battleh upon the main-islands, in which they would have had to be prepared to die. Therefore the Japanese realized the value of peace and freedom which America had given them. Some even confessed that they appreciated having been defeated.
* The US refused to allow the Soviet Union to occupy Hokkaido exclusively. If Hokkaido had been occupied by the Soviet Union, the Japanese nation would have been divided as in East-West Germany or North- South Korea.

3. Policy of the occupying forces
(1) Psychological impact (Re-education through NHK radio broadcast gThis is the truthh. The draft was prepared by the occupation forces.)
gThe real truth of the Pacific War is announced to the Japanese people.h, gJustified democracy of the US and UK knocked down the evil of militaristic Japan.h. These were two of the programs that were broadcast. Most Japanese believed them. As a result, Japanese sentiments concerning the gEvil Americansh suddenly changed to those expressed in a popular song at that time gYearning for a Ticket for the Hawaii Line Shiph.
Some psychologists pointed out that this extraordinary change depended upon the contemporary Japanese mind frame. Some Japanese even hated their own National flag and anthem, as they reflected upon Japanfs previous militarism.

(2) Occupation policy (It was sensible policy.)
Democracy/ liberalism/ policy of equality, (i.e. the granting of political suffrage to women, the promotion of agricultural land reform, the establishment of basic labor rights, a constitution based on popular sovereignty, basic human rights, and pacifism.). These reforming policies were welcomed by most of the Japanese. Conversely, the Imperial System was maintained (in a reduced form) in consideration of the Japanese popular sentiments.

(3) Information control (Prohibiting of gAntagonistich Movies, Theatrical Performances, and Literature)
The source of information pertaining to the war, and the damage done by the A-bombing were censored. Children who grew up after the war didnft even know the Japan had been to war.
The popular Kabuki gChushingurah,(which was based upon the gdangeroush subject matter of a famed vendetta) was almost banned. It was only saved by the fortunate intervention of a GHQ Officer who had an appreciation for Japanese culture.

(4) Influence of American culture (gInvasionh of American movies and music.)
Soon after the end of war, barrack-like theaters were opened up on burn-out inner-city sites, and extravagant American movies were screened. Japanese audiences were impressed with the notion of gHow could we go to war with such great country?h. Americafs potential was realized further when it became known that the full-color gGone With The Windh had been produced during the War. The Japanese learned to admire America, rather than despite it.
After 5 years of War, Japan still had only one radio program. But in the wake of the War, I could listen to the US Armed Forces gThe Far-East Networkh radio program. I could enjoy Jazz, dance music, and the gHit Tunes of This Weekh. I preferred gOne Night Standh, a program which was performed in a famous dance hall, and aired from 10PM.

4. Religious Factors (Faith of Buddhism, particularly Jodo-Shinshu (the predominant sect in Hiroshima)
Despite the injures and loss of life caused by the A-bomb, the Japanese accepted their fate, a fate that
had been determined by previous existences. It has become the norm to accept reality and its
consequences.


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