Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Hironobu Ishikawa

【#229】Japanese Should Defend Stance on Their Own

Hironobu Ishikawa / 2014.01.16 (Thu)

January 14, 2014

      A book titled "Eikokujin kisha ga mita rengokoku senshoshikan no kyomo (A British Journalist Finds False in Allied Countries' View of History of War Victory)" has gained popularity in Japan. The fourth printing came out in only one month after Shodensha Publishing Co. published it last month. The book has attracted massive attention because the veteran British journalist Henry S. Stokes, not Japanese, corrected the view of history distorted by Allied victors. He has served as Tokyo Bureau chief of several publications including The New York Times.

Out of victors’ view of war
      Mr. Stokes came to Japan as the first Tokyo Bureau chief of Britain's Financial Times in 1964 when Tokyo Olympics took place. Since then, he has stayed in Japan, becoming the oldest member of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. When he came to Japan first, he simply trusted and had no doubts about the view of Japan as a war criminal country at the Far Eastern Military Tribunal and the reported Nanjing Massacre. When analyzing the whole picture of Japan in the 20th century and of Asia's history, however, Mr. Stokes found the view and reports were wrong.
      Mr. Stokes says he was influenced very much by his close friendship with the late writer Yukio Mishima. The British journalist concludes: (1) that the Pacific War represented Japan's self-defensive war for its national security (as testified by Allied forces supreme commander General Douglas MacArthur in U.S. Congress), (2) that the Constitution of Japan represented a surrender treaty that weakened Japan into a country that would be unable to wage war again, and (3) that Japan will never become an independent country unless it voluntarily establishes its constitution based on its history and traditions and owns its national armed forces.

National obligation to worship the war dead
      Mr. Stokes and his family including his Japanese wife visit Yasukuni Shrine almost every year to pray for the elder brother of his wife's mother who went missing during the war. While some in the Allied occupation forces called for burning Yasukuni Shrine as the symbol of Japan's militarism just after the war, Father Bruno Bitter, then representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Tokyo, told General MacArthur that any country, irrespective of whether it is a winner or loser in a war, is obliged and has the right under the law of nature to honor those who sacrificed their lives for their countries. The advice allowed the shrine to survive. Mr. Stokes notes that if Father Bitter's statue is erected at Yasukuni, the shrine may be better understood in the Christian World including the United States, Canada, Australia and European countries.
      "In fact, Japanese have encouraged China and South Korea to create most of history issues including the comfort women problem," Mr. Stokes says. "Japan does not have to give any special consideration or excessive flattery to other countries. America talks in America's capacity, China talks in China's capacity and Japan talks in Japan's capacity. They disagree naturally. That's all right. That's the real world. If Japan alone looks tolerant, other countries may immediately take advantage of such attitude for their own purposes. Does any country other than Japan defend Japan's stance?"
      I wish to see the English version of Mr. Stokes's book published and read throughout the world.

Hironobu Ishikawa is Planning Committee Member at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and a journalist.