Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Japanese Mother in China During an Occupation Anniversary

Tuesday, September 18, was a national day of remembrance in China marking the Japanese occupation many decades ago. For that reason, there were strong expectations for increased anti-Japan protests regarding China's dispute with Japan over some islands in the East China Sea. For one report on the day's protests see ABC News here and for some photos see The Guardian here. There is much more that can be found elsewhere online.

Since it was a day of heightened concern, I asked my Japanese acquaintance in Shanghai if she could share her experiences to follow up her earlier account. Here is some of what she wrote:
We stayed in all day yesterday [September 18]. I was afraid "the Red People" would come to the area where I live again, but they didn't this time. Whew. A friend of mine who lives in a high-rise apartment building right by the Embassy where they all gathered said she could see a crowd of people shouting for several hours, but it seems that it was rather strictly controlled by the armed police officers. The entire area was closed down and alongside the street there was a parade of police cars and maybe military cars parked throughout the entire block. My poor friend had to spend all day hearing the chorus of voices. Good thing her Chinese wasn't good enought to understand what they were saying.

I figured I need do some studying and for a start tried watching China Central TV's English channel. Well, I chose the worst day of the year for my CCTV debut. All they showed were images of the Japanese army from the war, the memorial ceremony held at the 9.18 Historical Museum, and some professor explaining how the islands belonged to China because of such and such reasons. A Chinese teenage girl was being interviewed and was asked about her impression of the museum. She said, "We must all learn from the history. China must get stronger!!"

If it were any Japanese teenager coming out of any war-related history museum, the first thing they learn from the "history" would be to not ever have another war and to keep peace.

What this Chinese girl meant was, "If we get into another war against Japan, big China will defeat them." I couldn't help but to think about what the Chinese education has done to this young girl's mind...

sigh, sigh, sigh.

Well, we're all safe. Some are still worried that there might be another protest this coming weekend, but overall the Japanese community is feeling a bit relieved that the 18th is over. And, what was the cause of all this??? Has the issue been solved????
That the day has passed must indeed be a relief. But her questions make it clear that much uncertainty remains.

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