Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
In “Rightists’ ‘Yasukuni’ preview gets thumbs down” (April 19, 2008) an unidentified rightist is quoted complaining that the film by Argo Pictures that features the infamous shrine to the nation’s war dead “would give the impression that the war Japan waged was an act of aggression.” But that’s exactly what it was, isn’t it? It is not so much a matter of my opinion as it is a matter of documented - and therefore objective - history. The war in the Pacific was a war that Japan started, that Japan waged in a particularly heinous and criminal fashion, that Japan refused to give up long after its cause was lost, and that Japanese revisionists have never ceased denying. I am aware of conservatives’ positions on the war and how it is taught in school books and presented in museums and entertainment. Yet even so I can easily dismiss their views with a clear conscience because of their transparent facility, ambitious sophistry and juvenile timbre.
Japanese rightists are not at all patriotic like they pretend to be. Their problem is not an abundance of patriotic love, but rather just the opposite - a sad paucity of it. If they really love their country, then that love should not just withstand the negatives but be enhanced. About patriotism and love, teaching school children falsely is unpatriotic and deficient in nurturing love. Grading schoolchildren for their patriotism is unpatriotic and deficient in reasoning love. Enforcing patriotic symbolisms upon teachers contrary to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of conscience is unpatriotic and deficient in brotherly love.
It might be said that rightists love themselves more than they love their country (and the people who live in it).
But I could be wrong.