Friday, February 19, 2016

"The Battle of Singapore, the Massacre of Chinese and Understanding of the Issue in Postwar Japan."

Shortly after British forces surrendered in Singapore on 15 February 1942, the Japanese military began operation Kakyou Shukusei or Dai Kenshou, known in the Chinese community of Singapore as the Sook Ching ("Purge"), in which many local Chinese were massacred. Although the killings have been investigated extensively by scholars in Malaysia and Singapore, this article draws on Japanese sources to examine the events.


Chiu ChunLing said...

One must never expect to obtain the truth from contemporary accounts of non-Christians, especially those engaged in war.

The idea that the moral duty to be honest extends to warfare is peculiarly Christian, most other cultures do not even demand a moral duty to be honest, only a pragmatic emphasis on not being caught in a lie.

There are also issues like the following statement. "Kempeitai officer Onishi Satoru said in his memoirs that they had been unable to find any evidence of the use of flash signals and that it was technologically impossible." He obviously means that finding evidence of the use of flash signals was technologically impossible. This is true, and in fact would be a strong incentive for carrying out a systematic elimination of anyone that might be motivated to engage in such activity rather than trying to track the activity itself. This is just one example of basic failure to comprehend the sources themselves.

Trusting sources without culturally aware critical analysis of how likely they are to be reliable (and especially of cultural factors which would encourage dishonesty in those sources) and then failing to correctly interpret even the plainest statements in those sources makes a report difficult to accept. I can't really see the lack of cultural awareness as a sincere mistake, either, which raises even greater difficulties.

On the other hand, viewing this as being directed primarily towards a Japanese audience might help clarify some of the intentions here. But it is not helpful to a non-Japanese audience.

Nemesis said...

I note the author has not touched on the age-old enmity between China and Japan as a possible factor in all of those atrocities. An enmity that is still quite active to those who wish to note.

Chiu ChunLing said...

The level of emnity is elevated in China, closer to the long-term historical norm of "friendly racism" in Japan. That is to say, most Japanese people do not entertain any belief that Chinese people are fundamentally like Japanese people after all, or believes that Chinese people exemplify every virtue valued in Japanese culture, but they do not question that Chinese people have as much a right to exist in and rule China as the Japanese people have to live in and rule Japan.

The bulk of Chinese sentiment seems to be hovering somewhere in the range between "Japanese people have no right to rule themselves" and "Japanese people have no right to exist anywhere, especially so close to China". Clearly this kind of attitude must be a historical anomaly because it is strongly connected with waging open war, and China has not historically been constantly at war with Japan.

This picture is modestly complicated by the fact that notions of "self-rule" are not a very strong strong cultural heritage of China. I personally am of the opinion that no country without a fairly strongly entrenched Christian tradition is going to particularly benefit from self-rule anyway, it is better to have Christian rulers than non-Christians, and the difference between indigenously derived rulers and foreigners really only matters if the indigenous rulers are Christian.

Nemesis said...

That level of enmity goes back a long way to the 12th Century when a Chinese/Mongol fleet set sail to invade the Japanese mainland. The word 'kamikaze'(divine wind) comes from that failed attack that came about due to the forces of nature which wrecked so many junks that the remainder had no option but to head home.

I guess, and going on what you comment, that history does not give us the full details of what has happened over time between the two adversaries, although folk lore to some extent does give some account, but of course that has been diffused over time to the extend that most of it is considered as myth.

There is evidence to suggest that China, during the 15th Century, had a fleet that circumnavigated the globe, but of course there is no hard evidence that such an adventure had actually occurred.

I agree with your choice of leadership, at least those who are beholden to Christian values are more predisposed toward their people.