Pu Yi as Witness

In his 1946 testimony at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Trials), Pu Yi, the former Emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, proved to be an exceptionally difficult witness. The following extract from the IMFTE Proceedings (p. 4,085) seems to capture the obdurate and unproductive nature of his eight-day appearance at Tokyo. Q. On what date was Manchukuo established as a … Continue reading Pu Yi as Witness

“Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

Today in Berlin, I was cruising through the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, the businessman’s preferred paper, for German response to the Wen Jiabao visit when I ran across an article so completely fascinating that I decided to translate it for inclusion on the blog, as it actually adds something new to the giant slapping waves of somewhat repetitious commentary in the area of China’s relations with Germany. … Continue reading “Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

Viewing Japan and China, circa 1937-38, via Nazi Archives

Among other things, I’ve spent a couple of days back in the Bundesarchiv here in Berlin, and found a new trove of materials in the R55 section, which is the Reichsministrium fuer Volksaufklaerung und Propaganda.  These are, in other words, documents from the Propaganda Ministry run by Dr. Goebbels.  To my knowledge, these files have never been used as the basis of a study of … Continue reading Viewing Japan and China, circa 1937-38, via Nazi Archives

Anti-Japanese Action on the Chinese Internet

Some of us had hopes for a broader improvement in Sino-Japanese relations with the arrival of the Hatoyama government and the recession of the LDP into minority status.  After all, when you have a new political party that isn’t barnacled by the historical stigma of Sugamo-scented folks like Kishi Nobusuke and Shigemitsu Mamoru, it’s easier to talk about apologizing and looking forward.  And hopes can … Continue reading Anti-Japanese Action on the Chinese Internet

Le Figaro calls terrorists “Kamikaze,” also notes on German rehabilitation of traitors/Kriegsverräter/汉奸

Le Bundestag réhabilite les « traîtres de guerre » du IIIe Reich Le Figaro 09 Sep 2009 De notre correspondant à Berlin IL LEUR AURA fallu attendre soixante-quatre ans après le renversement du régime nazi par les forces alliées. Hier, le Bundestag a enfin voté une loi réhabilitant les Kriegsverräter, les « traîtres de guerre » condamnés…read more… Continue reading Le Figaro calls terrorists “Kamikaze,” also notes on German rehabilitation of traitors/Kriegsverräter/汉奸

Oe Kenzaburo on War Memory

The following excerpt from a dialog about the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War contains one particularly interesting idea tendered by Oe: the Tenno system, or the Japanese emperor, as the “pedal tone” of historical continuity in Japan.  But metaphors aside, this discussion of pre-war and post-war continuities with one of Japan’s leading writers is itself worth discussing.  And particularly so: … Continue reading Oe Kenzaburo on War Memory

Kamikaze Mozart

Daniel de Roulet, a highly productive writer in Paris, not long ago produced a novel entitled Kamikaze Mozart (Paris: Buchet/Chastel, 2007), the story of Fumika, a Japanese pianist a grand interpreter of Mozart who somehow ends up studying at Berkeley during the war and playing music for Robert Oppenhemier as the scientist works on the bomb (Oppenheimer asks her “Is your Mozart going to win us the war?”) … Continue reading Kamikaze Mozart

Sartre / Cultures of Defeat

One of the issues with which I am grappling as a scholar concerns the idea of a defeated country in war, and the tenacity of psychologies of resistance and defeat (the myth, perhaps, of the first, and the deniability of the second). For instance, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) today promotes an interpretation of the War of Resistance (1937-1945), essentially the Chinese theater of the … Continue reading Sartre / Cultures of Defeat