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all 175 comments

[–]txdv 115 points116 points  (68 children)

In Vilnius we have a bunch of Japanese cherry trees planted in honor of Sugihara. They look really nice when they blossom.

Also, why does the title not mention his real name?

[–]PhilOchsAccount 37 points38 points  (64 children)

I admire the Japanese people.

I do not admire the right-wing Japanese government that seeks to erase the shameful deeds of their ancestors.

[–]CupuricAcid 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I do understand where your coming from and I know this is true. But S.Korea does antagonize entire Japan for the governments action and does not address the fact that Japan as a entire country is not responsible. This has died down in recent years but is still prominent in Korean society.

Not to mention S.Korea did sign multiple aggrement with Japan about the issue yet still ask for more(and yes I know 99% of these aggrement was a fuck up by S.Korean government). I mean in their shoes they tried everything they could but they would still not accept the apology.

I think this could be solved only if Korea, Japan and China get together face to face and have a long discussion(at least 4 year) about this subject and work on it from there. Because without it we're going nowhere.

This dicussion would involve things like: - Identifying Crimes that each country has caused. - Admitting(officially) the crimes they caused - Repent for their action(this could involve paying a fine to the victims[AND NOT TO THE GOVERNMENT] or etc...) - Aggrement to not dissmiss the action that happened in the discussion and denouncement to any organization that dissmissed anything mentioned above.(Such as far right group in any country)

[–]RasonJoss 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Because the actual title of the article is "Abe to pay tribute to 'Japan's Schindler' in Lithuania" and the reddit suggested title also picked up the first paragraph and made it one long title

[–]RasonJoss 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Still could have used his name but it makes more sense

[–]ZFChoices 26 points27 points  (2 children)

[–]yoyanai 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Germany's Schindler!

[–]Elmepo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Did not expect that to be honest

[–]reasonoverreaction 91 points92 points  (36 children)

It's amazing how people still equate countries and individual people. A country is just a small group of empowered people. Germany and Japan and every other country is full of people that know what is right and are willing to risk their lives and livelihoods, even if it means acting against country. Wars are fought by the young, naive and easily indoctrinated not by all the people. There are plenty of people thought fought their own governments during WWII. Most we will never know about because they were killed.

[–]PM_ME_LUCID_DREAMS 24 points25 points  (17 children)

Germany and Japan and every other country is full of people that know what is right and are willing to risk their lives and livelihoods, even if it means acting against country.

Except Germany had remarkably little public discontent against the National Socialist regime. German soldiers remained extremely nationalistic up until the last days of the war. Even the assassination attempts on Hitler were by some of the military leadership who thought he was getting in the way of Germany's military interests, not because they disagreed with Nazism.

With around 80 million Germans at the time, there are remarkably few tales of Germans helping jews (although there is an interesting example of a Nazi ambassador John Rabe saving thousands of Chinese during the Rape of Nanjing by the Japanese).

I'm not saying good Germans didn't exist, but Germany was sadly not "full of" people who would risk themselves or even fight against their country for what we know would have been the right thing to do.

[–]PinkMaggitEurope 4 points5 points  (5 children)

You're not allowing for cultural context at the time.

It wasn't just the "evil" Germans who hated the jews. Jews were seen as lesser people by most people in the world at the time including the USA.

People seem to have this idea that Americans joined the war to stop the attrocities happening to the Jewish people, but they didn't find out about about concentration camps until near the end of the war. (NOTE: I've been corrected here, it turns out the allies knew in 1942).

Also you're forgetting the secret police and the fact that if you were behaving any bit out of line the secret police would have come and taken you or your family away.

[–]PM_ME_LUCID_DREAMS 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Also you're forgetting the secret police and the fact that if you were behaving any bit out of line the secret police would have come and taken you or your family away.

A secret police also existed in Russia, but there was far more discontent there.

And if you were an ethnic German (or German-ish), your family would not have been taken away for merely behaving "any bit out of line".

[–]PinkMaggitEurope 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You certainly would have been for helping Jews though. Wrote my original post on mobile so maybe it was not as well written as I would have liked.

[–]wiking85 0 points1 point  (0 children)

A secret police also existed in Russia, but there was far more discontent there.

In the USSR? In the 1930s-40s? Discontent was exterminated.

[–]majorkong12 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The Allies were aware of the Holocaust by 42, not the end of the war.

[–]PinkMaggitEurope 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I was unaware of this. Did a quick google and these documents were revealed in may of last year, sorry if I'm not 100% up to date :). I'll amend my post.

[–]reasonoverreaction 2 points3 points  (4 children)

That is actually false. Many people fled Germany. Even more tried to flee Germany it is just that other countries refused to allow them to leave. When you have no options. When you can't leave and speaking out will get you killed MOST people will chose to fake it. And, we will never know about the people who did speak out because they are dead. You have a false understanding of mass psychology.

[–]PM_ME_LUCID_DREAMS 6 points7 points  (3 children)

Of course many people fled Germany. Jews, gypsies, and others the Nazis considered untermensch.

But Germans had high morale until very late into the war. Germans stood staunchly behind the Nazi party, there was not any kind of sizable resistance movement, not even from the ranks of the parties the Nazis had banned. This isn't something you saw in similar authoritarian regimes.

[–]reasonoverreaction 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Yes it is. North Korea has high morale. Because, North Koreans can't be negative. Similarly, Scientology has high morale. Women in Muslim countries, etc. If your options are accept or die you will most likely chose acceptance. There is even a name for this: Stockholm Syndrome.

[–]PM_ME_LUCID_DREAMS -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Russia, Italy, Spain, many more comparable authoritarian regimes had far lower morale.

The dynamics of a local cult that is based largely on family and friendship lines isn't comparable to the dynamics of a regime, especially one that arose during their lifetimes.

[–]reasonoverreaction 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Italy had high morale because everyone was happy the war ended. I can't speak Spain but on Russia, you are wrong.

You are also wrong about "local cult". Most cult members are not familial but are outcasts of their peer and family groups. I would provide sources but google scholar is easy enough to use.

[–]wiking85 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Germany was sadly not "full of" people who would risk themselves or even fight against their country for what we know would have been the right thing to do.

Show me when in history a majority of people have ever been willing to fight against their country, especially when it is run by secret police that were willing to torture and throw people in concentration camps? Forget even just Germany in WW2, look at the USSR, China, even the US with it's history of atrocities. Most people keep their heads down and avoid conflict.

[–]PM_ME_LUCID_DREAMS 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Pretty much all the non-Russians under Soviet rule welcomed the Germans when they invaded. There were even some Russians that fought with the Germans against the USSR.

Did that happen in Germany? Did Germans welcome the Allies as liberators?

[–]wiking85 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Some did, some didn't. What is horrible is that the Communists in Germany welcomed the Allies and were more often than not imprisoned/executed by the Brits and Soviets, who wanted to suppress any groups outside their control; the Brits of course wanted no communist influence in their sector, while Soviets had their 'pet' German communists already, which they had extensively purged.

[–]kkl929 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Except Germany had remarkably little public discontent against the National Socialist regime.

With that Treaty they are forced to sign after WWI, I would love the living shit out of Nazi if I was a German

[–]PM_ME_LUCID_DREAMS 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Its not like the treaty after WWII was much better. In many ways it was worse (ethnic cleansing of Germans by the Soviets), and Germany was definitely in a far worse position after the war (everything turned to rubble).

Yet another Nazi party did not rise in Germany.

[–]worldofcloud 3 points4 points  (4 children)

And to be fair part of the reason it was so hard to help the jews period was no one wanted them. No other country had open doors saying jews come here for safety. More a if you can get here we wont kill you attitude. The other countries like to pretend to be innocent but they where offered the jews and told exactly what would happen and did nothing. We have more blood on our hands because we could of prevented almost all of it.

[–]reasonoverreaction 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That is correct. Even fewer groups wanted the Romani and homosexuals and the other groups the Nazis went after.

[–]sparky_sparky_boom 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Same as the backlash against refugees today.

[–]AvroLancaster43 1 point2 points  (0 children)

No it’s not, these situations are nothing alike. Jews, Slavs and others were exterminated in their own countries, they weren’t coming to Germany with any demands. Besides no one is exterminating refugees, far from it, they being catered for.

[–]worldofcloud 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah history is bound to repeat itself from those who dont learn from it

[–]ShiroQ 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Just like Niko Bellic said " War is when the young and stupid are tricked by the old and bitter into killing each other. "

[–]reasonoverreaction -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Steve Jobs used the same principles to sell inferior phones to people.

[–]Milton_Smith 6 points7 points  (2 children)

It's amazing how people still equate countries and individual people

This. It's a remnant of American and British propaganda during WW2. George Bell was a British bishop who worked together with the German resistance and when he tried to convince Anthony Eden not to equate Germans with National Socialists, he was rejected because it was not "in the national interest". The same guy also criticized the area bombing campaign and the forceful expulsion of Germans from their native lands.

[–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

That's very interesting but I think there's something much simpler going on.

People find international politics easier if they imagine countries as people, its just a plain old case of people not liking to recognise complexity.

[–]reasonoverreaction 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It has existed far longer than Britain has existed most likely. The Crusades wouldn't have occurred without conditioning.

But, the modern indoctrination does stem from colonial Britain. Britain did a wonderful thing by educating the world and setting templates for school systems but they also spread a lot of foul ideas.

[–]dungone 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Wars are fought by the young, naive and easily indoctrinated not by all the people.

Well, so much for your screed about treating people as individuals.

[–]reasonoverreaction -1 points0 points  (4 children)

Your reading comprehension is poor.

[–]dungone 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Just calling out your self-righteous sensibilities.

Since you can’t figure out how your statement about soldiers contradicted your entire premise, let me explain.

The people who fight the wars are not the ones who order those wars to be fought. The soldiers themselves, poor, uneducated, unsocialized, and conscripted as they are, frequently oppose the war far more so than the brainwashed, college educated upper-middle-class watching it on TV. Polls during the Vietnam War bore thisnout. The Christmas Truce of WW1 bore this out.

The fact is that your personal biases betray your own lofty ideals. And I find that ironic.

[–]reasonoverreaction -1 points0 points  (2 children)

But, I am not self-righteous. The people who fight wars are those that join the military or are as you say conscripted. I can't speak to every person that joins the military but I can say that almost everyone who joins does so before they turn 20. So they are young, naive and easily indoctrinated.

And, you don't understand what irony is. You are being ironic as your own argument is "uneducated, unsocialized and conscripted" is just a reflection of "young, naive and easily indoctrinated"

If you oppose the war. Stop fighting. You always have a choice. Plenty fled Vietnam to Canada. And, of course people once their lives are actually at risk don't want to fight anymore.

[–]dungone 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You are wrong and you aren’t considering everything I said. They are young, historically too young to even vote. But they are LESS socialized (“indoctrinated”), not more. They don’t have preconceived notions. It’s the old who are already indoctrinated and the old are the reason why the war is happening to begin with. The old are the ones who voted for it. The old are the ones keeping old, xenophobic, racist beliefs alive. The old are in charge of everything. It’s the old who send the young to their deaths.

Either way, your beliefs about dumb young people betray your stated belief that we should treat them as individuals and not as indoctrinated agents of their country’s national policy.

And words do have meaning. Socialization and indoctrination are synonyms, not antonyms. Being less socialized into mainstream society means you are less indoctrinated into it’s culture and motives, not more. You might still believe in Santa Claus because of lies your parents told you, but it’s at that young age when you are more likely to DROP stupid belief systems rather than double down on them like some old coot would. You want to talk about indoctrination? Look at the target demographic for Fox News. They’re over 65 and they are the most brainwashed members of our society.

Statistics bear out the facts, my friend. Young men who join the military become more liberal and open-minded than their peers back home who never did. They become less racist. They become more accepting of other cultures and other countries. They even marry women from the “enemy” countries, like a lot of young American men did after the Vietnam war. They run for political office as progressive, anti-war politicians, like a lot of Iraq War veterans did, in response to the corruption and antiquated beliefs of the pro-war Boomer politicians like Hillary Clinton.

[–]reasonoverreaction 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There is no point in continuing. I am just going to block you. Good bye.

[–]LiveForPanda 46 points47 points  (3 children)

I hope Prime Minister Abe can also pay tribute to John Rabe, a German businessman and Nazi party member who sheltered 200,000 civilians during Nanking massacre.

Oh, I forgot Japan doesn't acknowledge the crimes they committed.

[–]Hands 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Came here to mention John Rabe. I did an undergraduate history thesis about his and other foreigners role in protecting the civilians of Nanking during the Japanese invasion. Here is a post I wrote a few years ago that talks about him and his fellow foreigners (mostly missionaries and Red Cross personnel) who helped establish the Nanjing Safety Zone and protect arguably a quarter of a million Chinese civilians from widespread war rape and murder at the hands of the invading Imperial Japanese Army.

Reposting here to save a click:

His life story is very depressing to say the least. He left Germany long before WWI to work in Africa and was in China working for Siemens from 1908-1938, meaning he missed the entire rise of the Nazi party and socioeconomic conditions that spurred it.

As far as I understand his Nazi party membership was basically just because he was the most important German businessman in China - reading his diary he was clearly a good and decent man and I can't imagine he subscribed to or even really was particularly aware of a lot of the darker aspects of the party's ideology since he was basically in total isolation from it, being one of a very small number of foreigners living in China and focused on administering Siemen's business interests there.

Along with the rest of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone (which he organized and was the de facto leader of) - mostly comprised of American missionaries - he more or less singlehandedly used his influence with the Japanese as the ranking Nazi party member in China to establish the safety zone and protect hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians who would have otherwise been subject to rape, torture and murder at the hands of the IJA like the rest of the population of the city.

After returning to Germany in 1938 he wrote a letter to Hitler entreating him to intervene on behalf of the Chinese population, providing material evidence of the massive scale of systematic rape and murder of civilians perpetrated by the IJA during the invasion and occupation of mainland China. The Gestapo never even delivered the letter to Hitler and arrested him for questioning - he was only freed because Siemens intervened on his behalf.

After the war he was interrogated by both British and Soviet intelligence, released, then denied work because of his Nazi affiliation. His family was destitute and could hardly keep food on the table - although the citizens of Nanjing heard about this in 1948 and put together a care package of what food and money they could send his family - and he died penniless of a stroke in 1950.

He was not recognized for his actions until Iris Chang discovered his diary in the early 1990s and wrote The Rape of Nanking. Even now practically nobody knows about it.

The Yale Divinity School Library has a fantastic and comprehensive directory of online primary sources related to the Nanking Massacre at their Nanking Massacre Project website... hundreds of letters, diaries and photographs scanned and transcribed and available online for anyone interested in reading further.

edit: to anyone confused by the fact I'm switching back and forth between Nanjing and Nanking, the latter is the way it was traditionally spelled by Westerners in the late 1930s, whereas "Nanjing" is the more phonetically accurate modern translation of the city's name

edit2: whoa, thanks for the gold! I feel bad since I typed this mostly off the top of my head (it's been about 5 years since I researched all this stuff) so some of it might be a bit inaccurate. If anyone has questions about primary sources or any of the other people involved in the Safety Zone though let me know!

Some other interesting people to read about who were directly involved in the Nanking Safety Zone's efforts to protect civilians (note that only some of them were members of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone while others like Vautrin and Wilson were members of the International Red Cross Committee of Nanking, which had the same goals and worked alongside the Safety Zone committee to protect civilians):

  • Minnie Vautrin was an American missionary with a similarly tragic story (she killed herself a few years after all this stuff happened)

  • John Magee was an American priest and missionary who risked his life to take photography and film documentation of the massacre

  • Miner Searle Bates was an American academic working at Nanking University who was nearly murdered by Japanese soldiers on numerous occasions for intervening in their attempts to rape and/or murder Chinese women

  • Dr. Robert O. Wilson was an American physician at Nanking University who was the only surgeon not to flee the city during the Japanese invasion and as a result was, with a small team of nurses, responsible for medical attention to all several hundred thousand civilians the International Committee sheltered (and remember this was in a violent warzone)

There are others as well but these are some of the more well-documented people. Fascinating stuff, the courage these people had was immense and saved the lives (and prevented the rape of) hundreds of thousands of people and their monumental achievement in doing so at great personal risk to themselves deserves to be remembered and celebrated.

[–]Kittens4Brunch 12 points13 points  (3 children)

Does Japan pay tribute to any Japanese during WW2 that helped saved lives of people the Japanese government were trying to slaughter? Or are they viewed as traitors?

[–]tmpxyz 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Don't forget the Japaneses have been actively worshipping their war criminals in WW2. A lot of war criminals in Japan had escaped the punishments, and they've been trying hard to paint themselves as the victims.

[–]dkdlelahffk 16 points17 points  (0 children)

That would imply that Japanese did something wrong in WW2 so, no.

[–]spfrec 30 points31 points  (17 children)

Japan is the only country that still worships WWII criminals officially. PM Abe himself did and does as well.

[–]esmith4321 28 points29 points  (56 children)

Say what you want about Japan's role in WW2 but what this man did was an incredible act of heroism. In a way, Japan is righting its wrongs; this is a good first step

[–]Byteflux 92 points93 points  (27 children)

Only when it's positive news. The modern Japanese government is guilty of blatantly trying to whitewash anything negative they did either in WW2 or prior to that.

[–]esmith4321 7 points8 points  (0 children)

The more you know about Japan's role in this story the worse they look. They disgraced this man and I'm pretty sure he died in poverty.

[–]ichigokamisama 5 points6 points  (10 children)

They aren't doing it well, its in the textbooks(WW2 atrocities), at least for public schools and reflected in a pretty objective light.

[–]dsk_oz 15 points16 points  (0 children)

The process hasn't come far enough to outright deny everything, but it'd misleading to suggest that just because some things aren't denied that means that nothing is denied. It's not a binary process.

As part of its effort to promote patriotic education, the present administration of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is vocally questioning the established history of the comfort women and seeking to eliminate references to them in school textbooks. Some conservative Japanese politicians have deployed legalistic arguments in order to deny state responsibility, while others have slandered the survivors. Right-wing extremists threaten and intimidate journalists and scholars involved in documenting the system and the stories of its victims.

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/march-2015/letter-to-the-editor-standing-with-historians-of-japan

Over 300 historians eventually co-signed or made their support known for that letter and it takes some doing to get to that stage.

It hasn't happened yet, that's correct, but if you let that process go on for long enough then it'll eventually come to outright denial.

[–]Byteflux 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Of course. Thanks to US-imposed rules during the establishment of the Japanese post-WW2 government, manipulating textbooks isn't so easy anymore, nonetheless the government still tries very hard.

[–]Shibowen -5 points-4 points  (0 children)

Like five percent of schools actually had textbooks that lessened emphasis on Japanese atrocities. Politicians, like Tokyo's mayor, who were infamous for saying far right things about the Japanese empire don't represent the government.

[–]LiveForPanda 4 points5 points  (10 children)

When it comes to WW2, Japan is only willing to admit few things:

  1. Japan was also a victim of the war
  2. Some Japanese people did good things in occupied and colonized areas
  3. The atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers were not real
  4. Japan was ONLY defeated by the Americans

[–]kturtle17 10 points11 points  (10 children)

Uh, tell that to Koreans. Japan still denies the sex slavery that was government sanctioned.

[–]vaampanthi 4 points5 points  (0 children)

There was His Highness Jam Saheb, the King of erstwhile kingdom of Jamnagar who gave shelter to polish jews. They have a school named after him in poland.

[–]kturtle17 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There's a statue of the guy in LA.

[–]fukier 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My grandfather was one of these jews. I have pictures of him in japan he was part of the 4th palestine group and letters he wrote in Yiddish to the usa from kobe he was from lodz. I hope to one day visit kobe and see if there is more info i can find on him.

[–]GreenCrack187 1 point2 points  (0 children)

How many Jews are in Japan today?

[–]leeharveyballswald 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Japan is very willing to acknowledge their Schindler. But see how they react when you ask them about their Mengeles

[–]thefatalblow 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I remember reading about Mr. Sugihara in Mr. Wiesel's book "Night". I am compelled to say "Vaya con Dios".

[–]sass_technician 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Get that man a Sabaton song!

[–]ShikukuWabe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've been in japan recently and my father was stopped for a TV show interview (apparently its quite common for all kinds of channels to stop ppl all day long to do weird stuff XD )

Anyway, they asked him where he's from and when he said Israel they asked if he knows of a Japanese 'Rightous Amongst the Nations' persona that saved Jews during ww2 (they were interested in knowing if we are familiar with it)

Of course my father actually knew who they were referencing and elaborated a bit of his endeavor, they seemed to have been really impressed (then again they seem to be impressed by everything) and happy about it

But if we are honest, they were just lucky, almost no1 is familiar with his story unless his family or friend's family is related to the event, the educational system doesn't go far lengths in teaching about Rightous Amongst the Nations ppl

We mostly learn about Schindler and 2-3 more specific personas, anything more is just historical knowledge ppl learned on their own out of curiosity

[–]theBlueAzure 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Ironic

[–]paulysch -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Yay news about my country!