Mr. Shiro Takahashi is a Professor at Meisei University. He advocates parental studies as an educational scholar. Meanwhile, he has produced a written opinion on the addition of the Documents of the Nanjing Massacre to the Memory of the World program that was submitted to UNESCO by the Japanese government as a history scholar. He has been around universities in Britain/America and collected primary sources from the era of Japanese occupation in an attempt to elucidate the truth. In this talk, he was asked about the elaborateness of the occupation plan and the importance of the information propaganda war.
Motoya Thank you for joining me on Big Talk today. Your talk the other day at Shoheijuku was truly wonderful.
Takahashi Thank you. I look forward to talking with you today.
Motoya Your talk was about the proactive research of the nature of Japanese people by the occupation forces directly after the last great war and the implementation of the War Guilt Information Program (WGIP). Today – 70 years after the end of the war – Japanese people are still suffering the after-effects of this.
Takahashi That’s right. I talked about the circumstances that led to the addition of the Documents of the Nanjing Massacre to UNESCO’s Memory of the World program at Shoheijuku. This is a major blunder for Japanese diplomacy. Next, there is a possibility that countries including China will submit an application for documents on comfort women in 2016 with a decision taking place on that two years later. This is all a part of the information propaganda war. This information propaganda war started for Japan after the war with the occupation policy by the United States military – the WGIP. In order to explore the source of this, I studied overseas in the United States for three years about 35 years ago. I transcribed ten cardboard boxes worth of GHQ documents from the National Archives in Washington and the Prange Collection at the University of Maryland. Gordon Prange is the history scholar who wrote the original work of Tora! Tora! Tora! The literary critic Jun Eto has also studied this collection.
Motoya You have collected together a huge volume of primary sources, right?
Takahashi Yes. There is a reason for that. The Japanese characters in my name “Shiro” mean “history” and “clear.” My father gave me this name with the idea that I should reveal history. I investigated about 2.5 million pages of occupation documents. I was able to understand the policies of the GHQ from these. However, I was not able to understand the objectives of the Office of War Information (OWI) that operated the entire propaganda strategy of the United States or the secret military agency of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) because those sources had not yet been made public 35 years ago. Returning to the starting point, I resumed my excavation of sources in the United States three years ago. I went to the United States during the university holidays and traveled by car over a distance of about 10,000 kilometers in a year to investigate occupation documents stored in universities across the country.
Motoya 10,000 kilometers is an incredible distance.
Takahashi I was able to learn various things. There was a private information and education bureau in the organization of the GHQ. The leaders of this were Japanese psychological culture strategy experts from the OWI. In other words, they were people who had researched whether Japanese people lost their fighting spirit and pride when something happened. The WGIP was conceived under these people. The thing that surprised me was that the occupation plan had already been drafted by 1942. Bradford Smith later spearheaded the WGIP as the leader of the private information and education bureau. He wrote two papers – Japanese Spirit and Japan: Beauty and the Beast – in 1942 while attached to the OWI. In these papers, he took the myth of the creation of Japan from the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and said that the part in which Izanagi (male deity who fathered Japan) beheaded his child Kagutsuchi (fire deity) predicted the Nanjing Massacre. He identified the contradictory dual nature of Japanese people of seeking beauty even while performing atrocities. This identification is also shared by Ruth Benedict’s The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. Both Smith and Benedict said that the traditional national spirit of Japan was militarism.
Motoya I have the impression that it stands to reason that the occupation plan was concocted immediately after the outbreak of hostilities between Japan and the United States. The United States drafted the Orange Plan directly after Japan won the Russo-Japanese War and came up with a strategy that depicted Japan as its hypothetical enemy. This is the cause of why the promise to jointly manage the South Manchurian Railway exchanged by Prime Minister Katsura with the American-Jewish railroad magnate E.H. Harriman was overturned due to strong opposition by Foreign Minister Jutaro Komura. This led to Japan becoming an enemy of the Jewish people. Next, the United States steadily conducted research on their hypothetical enemy – Japan – and drafted an occupation strategy as a result of the massive buildup of this.
The occupation policy that had been created as soon as it was resolved to do so was not that successful, right?
Takahashi Absolutely. The United States mobilized 900 scholars from top-notch universities, including Harvard and Columbia, for the Japan cultural strategy at the time of the Japan-America War. The Japanese Personality Structure Analysis Meeting was held in New York by the Institute of Pacific Relations on December 16 and 17, 1944 and brought together 30 experts, such as cultural anthropologists, psychoanalysts and psychologists. The personality of the Japanese people was labeled as being, childish, immature and aggressive at this meeting. This was a major influence on MacArthur saying that the mental age of the Japanese people was 12 years old. In addition, a paper titled Japanese Character Structure and Propaganda published by the British social anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer in 1942 also had a major impact on the Japanese occupation plan of the United States. Gorer, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead – the cultural anthropologist who can be called the gender-free guru – were the key persons in the WGIP. I wrote about all of this in detail in the book Things the United States Did during the Occupation so That Japan Would Not Rise Again that was published in 2014.
Motoya It is wonderful that you carry out reasoning based on reading and understanding primary sources. I think the Japan-America War was a religious war in a certain sense. It seems that the religious country of the United States attempted to transform Japan where Christianity had not been accepted – unlike in the Philippines – due to its unique culture developed consequent to the imperial structure and being an island nation.
Takahashi There are also historical records to prove that the aim of all this was to strengthen Christianity. A resolution that “ignorance toward civilizations leads to disputes rather than conflict between civilizations” was adopted by an international conference of UNESCO in France. Ignorance toward Japanese civilization is still spreading out across the international community. The United States labelled the “Japanese spirit as being rooted in militarism” as in the words of Secretary of State Burns following analysis by Bradford Smith on the core of the Japanese spirit with bushido (samurai code of chivalry), Shinto and the Imperial Way to mentally disarm the Japanese people. This still has an influence to this day.
Motoya It was the occupation policy of the United States to induce Japanese people to despise each other by nurturing Japanese people to criticize the Japanese spirit. This is because, looking from the outside, it looked like there was a serious risk in not doing so. The United States was afraid of a revival by Japan similar to the recovery by Germany after their defeat in the First World War. Therefore, the WGIP, the press code, the purge of public officials and the Japan Teachers’ Union were all expertly managed and succeeded in increasing anti-Japanese feelings among Japanese people.
Takahashi I agree with you. The GHQ was looking for the inner self-collapse of Japan. The practical model of the WGIP is found in China. In China, brainwashing education was given to Japanese soldiers by the Eighth Route Army of the Chinese Communist Party that created a fictional confrontation scheme of militarists versus the people. This education led to about 90% of the prisoners of war becoming hardcore patriots. What is the reason for this? The Eighth Route Army called their Japanese prisoners of war “comrades,” treated them nicely and gave them money. They then teamed up together to call for the overthrow of the militarists in Japan. The GHQ that drafted the WGIP based on this thought that it would be communists who would be most cooperative with the occupation policy. The extent of this is that The Truth Is This planned a separate radio program called History of the Japanese People with a research group of communists called a historical study group. This program did not see the light of day because the policy of the United States came to be to use Japan as an anti-communist shield with the outbreak of the Korean War.
Motoya The occupation policy of the GHQ, the historical perspective of the Comintern and the historical view of the Tokyo Trials were all unified.
Takahashi It is exactly as you say. The Japan Teachers’ Union was also created through repeated private talks between Goro Hani and the occupying forces.
Motoya The Allies provided support for production facilities such as factories in addition to arms to the Soviet Union to fight the Russo-German War in the last world war and turned that country into a military monster. The fear of the United States was that the momentum of victory after the war in this state would carelessly lead to the Soviet Union completely communizing their adjoining land in Europe. Accordingly, the United States started to surreptitiously develop an atomic bomb with secret parliamentary funds and then obtained the cooperation of German scientists seeking asylum by not using this weapon against Germany. Japan was already exploring a path to bring a conclusion to the war through the Soviet Union, the army of the Nationalist Government of China and the Vatican. However, they had one absolutely non-negotiable condition of the need to uphold national polity – in other words, to keep the imperial system. The United States deliberately obscured the matter of upholding Japanese national polity and also removed this from the Potsdam Declaration that incorporated the maintenance of the imperial system at first in order to buy time until their atomic bomb was finished even though they knew about this movement in Japan. The reason the United States went that far to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was to seize worldwide hegemony after World War II and to turn World War II into the Cold War by restraining the Soviet Union.
Motoya However, in order to justify the dropping of the atomic bomb it was necessary to create a story in which the bad country of Japan was turned into a good country by this action from the good country of the United States. Therefore, feelings of guilt were planted in the Japanese people by the Tokyo Trials and the WGIP.
Takahashi I try to talk to high school students studying in the United States as far as possible when I go there. I once talked with a high school student in Los Angeles. He was taught in school that the atomic bomb was dropped in order to end the war because Japan would not surrender and that failure to do so would lead to the deaths of lots more people. He summoned up the courage to question whether it was acceptable to kill even women and children who were not combat personnel, but was told by his teacher that it was OK to kill civilians in war. However, the truth of the atomic bombing is that it was to restrain the Soviet Union like you say. The Japanese people were nothing more than the carriers of a message to the Soviet Union.
Takahashi It is written that comfort women were a gift from the Emperor and that 400,000 people died in the Nanjing Massacre in a history textbook from a publisher called McGraw-Hill in the United States. Japanese high school children in the United States take history lessons according to this textbook with their faces looking downward.
Motoya Are textbooks in the United States also so awful like the ones in Japan? I guess this is even more so the case in China and South Korea. What we learn in childhood penetrates into our hearts. First, we must switch to education that makes it possible for people to be proud from Japan.
Takahashi I agree completely.
Motoya The Hull Note was the direct origin for the outbreak of the Japan-America War. However, the American people – not to mention congress – did not know about this when it was passed to Japan. Hamilton Fish, a congressman in the Republican Party, wrote about this in his book later. If the Hull Note had been made public, public opinion in the war-weary United States would surely have sided against the war and it would have been possible to avoid the outbreak of the Japan-America War.
Takahashi This was Japan’s defeat in the information war. This is linked to the issue with UNESCO’s Memory of the World program. The delay to collect and deal with information is the reason why the Documents of the Nanjing Massacre were added to this program. While China has been actively lobbying UNESCO, Japan has responded in a gentlemanly manner so as not to apply pressure. Moreover, although the UNESCO Secretariat has denied this, it became evident that China were encouraged to file a joint application in regards to records of comfort women by the organization in a press conference held by the Deputy Press Bureau Chairman in the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The failure to grasp this has been a blunder for Japan.
Motoya Shinichi Kitaoka, who served as the Chairman in 2010, pandered to the theory that there were 300,000 victims on the Chinese side with respect to the Nanjing Incident by saying that “there are various estimates, such as 20,000 or 40,000 with an upper limit of 200,000.” This was a complete mistake. He should have asserted that there was no massacre in Nanjing. In addition, textbooks in Japan other than those from Jiyusha also all state that there was a massacre in Nanjing. We have now reached a state in which the truth has been completely buried.
Takahashi The Q&A section on historical issues on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that there are “various theories about the specific number of victims [in the Nanjing Massacre], so it is difficult for the Japanese government to acknowledge which of these is the correct number.” However, there is no rebuttal based on the truth.
Motoya They should write that although military personnel and soldiers in ordinary clothes may have been killed because there was a war on, no civilians, such as women or children, were murdered. On the contrary, it seems there were many cases in which Chinese soldiers murdered Chinese civilians to steal their clothes or cases in which command troops killed fleeing Chinese soldiers.
Takahashi There may have been a “Nanjing Incident,” but there are no historical records to prove that there was a “Nanjing Massacre.”
Motoya Recently, I gave the order to hire an American Jewish marketing firm with a fee contingent upon success in order to sweep away this mistaken historical recognition toward Japan. We used the marketing company at a press conference for Woodbridge – the first APA hotel in the United States – in November 2015. A great many members of the media gathered for this event and there was one of the four major network companies among them. They are truly a great firm. Moreover, it will no doubt be possible to make use of their global network because of their Jewish connections.
Takahashi That is a good idea. Japanese people are not good at making appeals to foreigners.
Motoya If you disseminate information in the United States, it will be reported in Japan. This does not happen in the reverse way though. For example, if we completely deny the theory that comfort women were transported for forced labor and the Nanjing Massacre with a fee contingent based upon success to a marketing firm, even if we pay two or three billion yen, this is not such a big deal from the point of view of the size of the budget in Japan.
Takahashi The influence Japanese people have on the United States has also dropped. International students at the San Diego School in the University of California were once overwhelming Japanese. However, there are now 1,000 South Koreans and 2,000 Chinese in contrast to just 100 Japanese. This is alarming. First, Japan needs to appoint a minster reporting directly to the Prime Minister and full-time staff to disseminate information overseas as a part of our national strategy. Otherwise, events like the addition of the Documents of the Nanjing Massacre to UNESCO’s Memory of the World program will happen again and again in the future.
Motoya This contempt for Japanese people will continue on to our descendant’s generations. This is loss that cannot be expressed in monetary terms. Together with an organization to disseminate information, we must provide education that instills pride in Japan and Japanese people. Nowadays, Japanese people are blamed by Chinese and Koreans overseas and there is nothing we can do but to say sorry. Japanese people had pride when Japan had the world’s second largest economy; there was no criticism toward Japan from China or South Korea then. With the end of the Cold War, the United States took Japan – a nation that had achieved economic development profiting while others fought during the Cold War – as its hypothetical enemy following on from the Soviet Union. The Japanese economy has continued to slump since then. Japan needs to do something about this. However, there is a network called the “stealth complex” in Japan. This network is made up of people in the bureaucracy, legal circles and media industry who have graduated from the Faculty of Law at Tokyo University where those who gained from Japan losing the war and the academic elite have colluded together. This stealth complex is tied together with the United States and controls Japan. It is necessary to turn this upside down.
Takahashi The Japanese government received a questionnaire from the United Nations Rights Council in regards to comfort women. The Japanese government will give their views on this and the final opinion of the Human Rights Council in regards to this matter will be announced in March next year. The materials from the survey performed by the government when the Kono discourse was issued will be published in a total of five volumes. There is absolutely no evidence showing transportation for forced labor by the army among these. Japan must empirically and objectively describe in English the historical fact that the transportation for forced labor and sex slaves of 200,000 comfort women is simply a lie. This has been avoided so far. On the other hand, the Chinese government provided a grant of 13.2 million yen for a book on Chinese comfort women published by a teacher at Shanghai Normal University. It is clear that China has thrown down the gauntlet for a history war as a united nation. Japan should also strengthen its dissemination of information in English.
Motoya It is very important to disseminate information in English. We place this Apple Town in each room in APA Hotel Woodbridge and so we have increased the English translation of articles for this. In the future, if we increase the number of APA Hotels in the United States, I think my opinions will also penetrate into America. Furthermore, Mr. Kent Gilbert was awarded the Best Seiji Fuji Award and Mr. Robert D. Eldridge was given an honorable mention at this year’s “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay content. These are two men with U.S. citizenship.
Takahashi Yes. It is also very important to have information dissemination coming from people like that with non-Japanese nationality.
Motoya Definitely. The current Abe administration is targeting a GDP of 600 trillion yen with the aim of achieving a society of 100 million active people. This is an increase of 100 trillion yen from present levels. However, given that defense spending is in the single digit percentage range, there will be a one trillion yen budget increase. This increase should be allocated to information warfare measures. The budget for this is too small at present. In addition, it is also necessary to reform the media who only let Japanese people with anti-Japan feelings appear and transform historical societies who cannot change established theory even when new truths come to light.
Takahashi It is also necessary to increase the number of opportunities for young people to be able to express their opinions. There is a group called VANK in South Korea. One hundred thousand people in South Korea and many young South Koreans overseas participate in this organization. This group works to convey the correct state of South Korea to the world in cooperation with the government. Thanks to these efforts, the number of countries describing the “Sea of Japan” as the “East Sea” on maps has increased tenfold at a stroke. This is one example of their achievements. I want this kind of movement to happen in Japan as well.
Motoya We have set up a student category for the Best Seiji Fuji Award at the “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay content. Nevertheless, we have not had many entrants for this. There is a still tendency to regard simply advocating national interests as “right-wing” in Japan. This means that there are likely many people who refrain from expressing their opinions. The pursuit of national interest is par for the course as a nation. I think this is also a problem with education and the media.
Takahashi Allowing young people in Japan to talk to Japanese youths living overseas will give them consciousness. As mentioned earlier, we should start by getting people to know about the high school students who have to endure humiliation while only being able to look downward without being able to object in their history lessons.
Motoya I agree. Finally, as always, I would like to ask for “a few words to young people.”
Takahashi The honor of Japan is currently being damaged and international misunderstandings are going uncorrected. I want young people to come to be those able to disseminate the truth of Japan to the world. There is nothing that can persuade people like the historical truth. This is why I have given all my effort to discovering primary sources. I believe that openly disseminating the truth of Japan from youth to adulthood is required of Japanese people.
Motoya I think knowing the truth protects everyone. We will only ever have a masochistic view of history if we never find out the truth. I would like to create a tide in which Japanese people get to know the truth and then disseminate this to the world. Thank you very much for your time today.
Mr. Shiro Takahashi
Mr. Shiro Takahashi was born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1950. He graduated from the No. 1 Faculty of Letters at Waseda University in 1973 and then obtained a master’s degree in education at the Graduate School of Humanities at Waseda University in 1978. He served as a visiting researcher to the Hoover Institute at Stanford University in the United States from 1981 to 1982 and then enrolled in Meisei University in 1984. He is still there to this day. His publications include Things the United States Did during the Occupation so That Japan Would Not Rise Again (Chi-Chi Shuppansha), Japanese Culture and Sensitivity Education and Verification Postwar Education (Institute of Moralogy).