Well, no, not really, not really evil that is. Japan is great actually, peaceful, safe, and developed. Basically the opposite of China in many regards. Don’t get me wrong, I do like China, except for when the topic of Japan comes up.
Mention “Japan” in China to anyone below the age of 30, even as young as 4, and you will more than likely get some holier than to speech about the Nanjing Massacre and how evil Japanese people are. It’s like you’re listening to a script for an Orwellian movie, “Japan has always been the enemy, is the enemy, and will always be the enemy”. Wait, hold up there a second, the Mongol’s are China’s historical enemy, not Japan. And Japan, unlike the week Chinese and many European kingdoms, was strong enough to withstand their invasion attempts.
So why all the vitriol in China today? Why am I, and any other foreigner who has a reasonable view of Japan, a target for spontaneous Chinese re-education on Japan. I’m sure any foreigner that studied WW2 history to any great extent knows that all the powers involved killed innocent civilians, after-all innocent civilians were the number one target of the entire war. In China it was no different except that in China it wasn’t just the enemy killing Chinese civilians, but the Nationalists got in on it to, particularly when Chiang Kai Shek (蔣介石) broke the dams causing the yellow river flood and the deaths of 500,000 Chinese. So the little memorized CCP propaganda speech about the “evil” Japanese is quite unwarranted and unwanted.
Even little kids get in on it. I once had a 4 or 5-year-old boy physically attack me because I said I liked Japan, which was Shocking and quite sad. Even worse than that, during the massive quake of 2011 that hit Japan, it wasn’t uncommon to see Chinese adults snicker or outright laugh when the images of cars rolling into the sea after the Tsunami were broadcast. I had to hold myself back from walking up to them and punching them in their stupid faces on more than one occasion. Even some of my friends commented that it was “ok” that Japan had such a disaster because of Nanjing, which I let slide because it’s not their fault they’ve been lied to their entire lives by the Party.
The hate starts young in China. From kindergarten onwards to the end of university, Chinese students are exposed to a steady stream of anti-Japanese propaganda, a “moment of hate” if you will. Little kids are subjected to a steady stream of war photos, some real some fake, of Japanese atrocities in WW2 in an effort to turn them into… well, the Chinese version of Nazi Youth. After 1989 in Tiananmen Square where “nothing happened”, the Chinese government became worried that the youth were turning on the party and launched “A Patriotic Education” campaign, which is basically an Anti-Japan campaign with a little bit of anti-Britain opium war thrown in at the beginning. The youth at the protests had been born during the cultural revolution, their parents had participated in it and their grandparents, perhaps, had survived the Great Leap. Three generations of anger generated by the brutality of the commies had to be focused somewhere, and Japan was the easy target.
Once I went on a field trip to Hengdian studios with a bunch of elementary students. We made a film on the set of Zhang Yimo’s “Curse of the Golden Flower”, which was cool. After a day of filming, we went to another studio which was labeled a museum. What it was in fact was a set where they film propaganda movies about WW2, or the Anti-Japanese war as it is known here. The highlight of the trip for the organizers and the kids was a film screening at the “Magic Carpet theater”. I was excited too as it was a pretty cool theater with a screen beneath a glass floor and one on the wall in front as well. My excitement quickly burned to disgust when it became apparent we were in for a premium Commie brainwashing exercise. The film they showed was a computer generated movie about the dropping the atomic bombs on Japan complete with women and children apply playing before they were turned to ash. The most disturbing thing wasn’t the film itself, but how all the little kids cheered every time a Japanese person burned alive. Little kids as young as 4 and 5 were happily cheering at the computer generated, very lifelike, deaths of Japanese civilians. Truly shocking and not PG-13 to say the least. As I exited the theater the only thought I had is “this country is fucking sick.”
Being anti-Japanese for most of Chinese under 30 is akin to and necessary for being pro Chinese. It’s like to be a good Nazi, you had to be anti-Jew. You can’t be one without the other. Hitler had the Jews, the Party has Japan. Combined with the vicious and unwarranted anti-Japanese propaganda that passes for history education is another standard of Nazi mind control, that of “national humiliation” intertwined with a racial superiority complex. Chinese “history” reads something like this: “China was great. Then evil foreigners humiliated China. It’s all the foreigners fault. We bear no responsibility. The Japanese were the worst, and someday we’ll pay them back.” And that’s all. The Party and Mao killing upwards of 70 million Chinese means nothing. Democide is a national pastime in China, and no one has killed more Chinese than Mao, but he gets his mug printed on all their money. What a country! Ahh, but I digress. This post was supposed to be about Japan.
Japan is Great, that’s why I am going!
I go to Japan once a year mostly to get some peace and quiet. Even n Tokyo, a city with a population of 30 million, one can find much more peace and quiet than even in the smallest of Chinese cities. The main reason for this is that Japanese have manners. I don’t mind living in a place full of Beverly hillbillies, but every now and then it’s nice to get away from all the noise. Another contributing factor to the relative peacefulness of Japan besides their impeccable manners, is the fact that Japanese have the amazing ability, as many countries people do besides China, not to honk their damn car horns ever 30 meters or so. I’ve spent weeks in Tokyo at a time and have only heard a car horn once. So if any expats in China just need a break from noise, Japan is a good destination.
Another reason I like going to Japan is because of the food. I get tired, and my stomach does too, of living in a country with abysmal hygiene standards, in fact none at all, and constantly being exposed to dirty food. Actually dirty food isn’t the biggest problem, the biggest problem is rotten food, followed closely by fake food and recycled sewage oil. To avoid having constant diarrhea in China, I regularly eat at the only places where the food won’t kill you, at least as quickly, McDonald’s and KFC. But I am only human and I can only stomach so much safe fast food. Japan will be a welcome culinary respite for me and my overworked intestinal tract. Also, I really like Japanese food. Even Chinese food made in Japan is far superior to anything available in the mainland. Yum!
Besides noise and bad food, another thing I avoid by going to Japan is Chinese air. There is nothing more disgusting than China’s air. For the past week we’ve had actually pretty good air though, so good in fact for the first time in Shanghai the sky was actually visible. I’ve spent 5 summers here and I’ve never seen a blue sky like we’ve had this past week. The air is normally so bad that people here actually don’t know what the sky is supposed to look like! I went down town to do some photography of Shanghai’s skyline against a back drop of beautiful blue and puffy white clouds. I was pointing at the clouds and telling my girlfriend that they were summer clouds. “Oh” she said “is it going to rain?” “No”, I laughed, “Those aren’t rain clouds.” Then I pointed to the moon clearly visible in the afternoon blue, “Look”, I said “there’s the moon”. “But the moon is not supposed to be out in the day” she responded quite confused. I laughed again. Clearly it was the first time in her 20 odd years that she had ever seen the sky. That’s how dirty the sky is in Shanghai, and Shanghai isn’t anywhere near the worst in China! But hey, I’m going to Japan where even the most polluted city on the most polluted day is a thousand times clearer than Shanghai.
Another reason I am off to Japan, besides visiting friends from Nagoya to Tokyo, is to climb Mt. Fuji. It has always been a dream of mine since I first say it back in 2006 to scale that great peak. This will undoubtedly be the highlight of my trip and probably of 2012 as well. I can’t think of any place I’ll feel further away from Shanghai than sitting atop that lofty peak. It’s going to be a great trip. No more pollution, noise, and bad food, not to mention right wing bigoted brainwashed Chinese youth.