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Rough Cut
Japan and China: The Unforgotten War
Views from both sides of East Asia's historical conflict
 

 

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Length: 21:41

Emily Taguchi and Lee Wang

Lee Wang (right) grew up in New York, is a graduate of Yale University, and former writer and producer for MSNBC. She's completing a master's degree in documentary film at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Emily Taguchi (left) is a freelance video journalist from Tokyo completing her degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she is editing a documentary about the youth of Parisian suburbs. She lives in San Francisco with her her husband and 8-month old daughter.

A few sentences in a Japanese history textbook last year set off the longest-running protests China has seen since 1989. The subject of those sentences— the Nanjing Massacre —occurred more than six decades ago, but that didn't matter to the thousands of protesters born years after the war ended.

Japan's youth have their own interpretation of history, and their own politics of remembrance. After a decade of recession, Japan is experiencing a renewed sense of pride and a resurgence of rightwing nationalism. Sixty years after the end of World War II, Japan is asserting its place in the world by pushing back against China, its historical rival.

This week on Rough Cut, we travel to two countries for a dual perspective on this revived conflict over the past. Lee Wang takes us to China, where her parents grew up, and Emily Taguchi travels to the other side of the East China Sea, to her homeland of Japan.

In April 2005, a Japanese junior high school textbook set off a furor in China. The textbook minimized one of the most infamous instances of Japanese war-time atrocities in China—calling the Nanjing Massacre an "incident."

News of the textbook's transgression sent thousands of Chinese onto the streets. Protesters besieged the Japanese embassy with bottles and rocks and scrawled threats of boycott on the storefronts of Japanese businesses. After three weeks of what amounted to a rare instance of state-sanctioned protest, diplomatic relations between China and Japan were at a breaking point.

There was a lot more at play than a textbook. The April 2005 protests were set against a larger backdrop of economic rivalry, territorial disputes, access to oil, and a bid by Japan to gain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. In East Asia, the debate over the history of World War II has plainly become political—a surrogate for an ongoing battle over which nation will become the region's dominant power.

While protests in China exacerbated the tension between these two countries, in Japan, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reignites tempers with his annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto shrine in Tokyo. Yasukuni is a memorial to Japan's two and a half million war dead. The controversy, however, stems from 14 of those honored there -- Class-A war criminals indicted and executed for war crimes committed during World War II. Prime Minister Koizumi made an election pledge to visit the shrine every year, and despite protests from China, South Korea and several other Asian nations, he has made good on his promise since 2001.

Koizumi's insistence on visiting the shrine is in step with a growing nationalism in Japan, where proposals to revise the country's "peace constitution" are a subject of public debate. After World War II, Japan renounced war and the right to maintain a military in Article 9 of its Constitution. For decades afterwards, as Japan rebuilt its country from ashes and strove to rejoin the international community, any signs suggesting a revision to this clause was frowned upon.

But in recent years, emerging threats have entered the Japanese psyche. North Korea has repeatedly tested missiles over the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean since 1998. Every year for the past decade, Beijing has increased military spending by double-digit percentages. The increases have prompted rebukes from the Bush administration and also helped seal Japan's joint security pact with
the United States. At the same time, an April 2004 Asahi Shimbun poll found that the majority of Japanese in their twenties supported a constitutional amendment to allow the country's military the use of force. No other age group was as hawkish.

Complicating, and perhaps curbing, the tension between China and Japan is the new economic reality in the region. After decades of economic dominance in Asia, Japan's might has been subdued by a prolonged recession, while an annual growth rate of eight to 10 percent has transformed China into a global economic superpower.

In 2004, a fifth of Japan's total trade was with China, its rival. That same year, China eclipsed the United States as Japan's largest trading partner. Japan is also an important trading partner for China, ranking third behind the European Union and the United States. Japan is also a major source of direct foreign investment, bringing more than $5 billion to China in 2003.

Economics may ultimately triumph over the bitter politics of memory, but for now, the history of World War II remains hotly contested, and China and Japan remain bitterly divided over how to move forward from the past.

About FRONTLINE/World Fellows
"China and Japan: The Unforgotten War" by Emily Taguchi and Lee Wang is the latest multimedia production of the FRONTLINE/World Fellows program, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is part of our ongoing effort to identify and mentor the next generation of video, print and online journalists.

This China and Japan story is the third in our current round of Fellows reports, which began in December 2005 with "Brazil: Cutting the Wire" and continued in January 2006 with "Colombia: The Coca-Cola Controversy." Three other Fellows projects on Italy, Uganda and Pakistan wll appear in coming months. Our Fellows program started in 2003 and so far has produced 17 multimedia stories by talented young journalists, who have traveled to Guatemala, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Haiti, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Egypt, Israel, Rwanda and Sicily, and journeyed across Europe by train from Istanbul to Paris. You can see them all here.

In late spring 2006, we will solicit proposals for the next round of Fellows through our parthership with the UC Berkeley, Columbia and Northwestern Graduate Schools of Journalism. Look for the announcement on this Web site.

REACTIONS

Robert Hu - Allen, Texas
I have a Chinese friend who, while he does not resent the Japanese (having quite a few Japanese friends), goes through a yearly ritual in which he repents the Rape of Nanking and the wartime atrocities committed by the Japanese military machine. He describes the Japanese takeover of the country as brutal, and much like the age old Genghis Kahn. The takeover was more of a massacre than anything else, and was much like the Nazi genocide of the Jewish and any other races, ethnicities, and religious belief owners; thousands upon thousands were held within their own country, starved and deprived of food, water, and basic living amenities. Massive ditches were dug in which civilians were lined up and shot. Even though this occurred half a century ago, and he never directly experienced the brutal killings, his grandparents did. His questions mirror many of the young Chinese adults featured in the video, `How can a people downplay such a horrible event as the Rape of Nanking, in which half a million civilians were killed in cold blood, and condense it into a footnote at the bottom corner of a page?' As with the lady in the video, his grandparents have moved on, but my friend still feels a dislike and general uneasiness around the Japanese, even if only for one week a year. Personally, I believe the heavily publicized western front of World War II commands most of the post-war attention, and that the Japanese takeover was on par with the Holocaust.

Kie Watanabe - Andover, MA
One of the difficulties in resolving this particular problem is that although the Japanese people are aware of the Chinese anti-Japanese sentiment, particularly regarding Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and frequent riots, people do not take the time to think about the conflict for a number of reasons. First of all, people do not feel a connection with the Nanjing Massacre and what led up to it, so do not feel responsible to apologize about what happened. If the Chinese people are expecting an apology, I don't think they should be too hopeful about receiving one, or one that is sincere, anyway. As long as the Sino-Japanese war is in history textbooks, teenagers (including myself) will continue to perceive the event as something the Imperialist, kamikaze-age Japan did. In my case, it is something my grandparent's government did a long while ago; an event that I had no control over, that I don't feel any responsibility for. Furthermore, it will only become harder for Japan to make an apology as time progresses. Also, as far as I know Japanese people are passive, and as a population that is so interested in what is going on in the present which relates to their own lives, the Nanjing Massacre being omitted from the textbook is not as big of an issue. I think Japanese people are aware of their ancestors' wrong-doings (even if it isn't to the extent China wishes it to be), and that we feel guilt and embarassment for what we have done. I would agree that Japan should accept it and send an apology, but I think it is too late now for Japan to send a sincere apology.I think it's also important to recognize the effect that Hiroshima had on Japan and that today we are a country that is anti-war and getting people to apologize today is difficult because it is something we would not have done. The past is the past, and when it begins to appear in history textbooks, I would say it's about time we all moved on.

Bryce Wakefield - Auckland, New Zealand
As a scholar of Japanese politics, this is one of the more nuanced depictions of nationalism and war memory in Japan and China that I have seen. All too often do we hear that "the Japanese" have forgotten their involvement in wartime atrocities or that "the Chinese" are all educated to believe the Japanese are the enemy. The directors of this piece not only offer a thoughtful examination of both Japanese and Chinese nationalism, they show that in both nations the discourse on war memory is not monoplised by those who attempt to beautify history. This latter point in particular tends to be ignored in western accounts of friction between the two nations. This documentary short is certainly the best news piece I have seen on this topic in English.

Matthew Low - La Jolla, CA
I find it somehow unconvincing that the anti-Japanese sentiment in China is engineered by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As anyone who keeps up with what is happening in Asia, South Korea (a democracy) has just as much contempt for Japan and even more the public outrages than China during the shrine visits and over the text books. More on the matter, it seems like the CCP actually has shut down quite a few anti-Japanese websites and sent text messages to people to "demonstrate their patriotism in a sensible way". So I believe the root cause is something deeper and more complex.

Hollin Laidella - Buffalo Park, New York
Being a very patriotic Chinese ex-pat, I had very strong biases as I watched this story. It was not until the end that I realized what the message of the story was. I had thought this story was to illustrate the differences between China and Japan. The story did that, but by the end I saw how similar we are. We're both driven by deep nationalism. Although China's nationalism was forged through decades of foreign humiliation and oppression, Japan's is relatively new. Without being hypocrital I cannot see how I can continue to resent Japanese patriotism. However, I hope that the pride we have in our nations do not lead us to conflict. Thank you for this story.

Denny Tsang - Vancouver, BC
As an overseas Chinese, it was interesting to see the views of ordinary Japanese citizens, who are often ignored in the discussion.
I believed that the piece was a very balanced account.Unfortunately, part of the discussion in Japan (which was brought up in the
discussion in the piece) has been affected by the fact China is an authoritarian state governed by the Communist Party. It's an oversimplistic view of the entire issue.There are many Chinese living outside the control of the Communist Party of China, who share the view of the youth who were protesting. If anything, the Chinese Government is curbing anti-Japanese outbursts among its citizens because it's hoping to get continuing economic aid from Japan, and to have Japan's support in the Taiwan issue. Thus, if China's a democracy, public opinion (and that of government officials) might be more extreme.

Saint Louis, Missouri
Thank you so much for an informative video. I plan to show it to my 7th grade geography students

anderson tung - toronto, canada
I can't view this video because my Real Video player is not working for some reason. But Here is the jist of my responses to the comments listed here.
Let me be so bold as to try to respond to everyone's comments here generally?!The facts that I have objectively discerned through 10years of objective scholarly study are:--> NanJing was an act of butchering by japanese military
extremists on one hand, and a cowardly retreat by US backed
KuoMingTong (KMT) leader, Cheng Kai Shek. The Japanese went
nuts hacking innocent civilians to pieces, while KMT leader retreated on a plane farther inland.--> China was in civil war between Mao's Communists and the KMT backed by US, temporarily halted during WW2.--> Chinese destroyed all the railroads and infrastructure to slow Japanese assault inland, leaving no infrastructure whatsoever to rebuild China's economy after WW2.--> Hitler rose to power out of the great depression's contradictions and xenophobic prejudiceS incubated by the realities of poverty and physical hardship and perceived corruption and abuses by Jewish officials and elites in society. So Jews in particular were singled out as the most important class or race to remove from German society to purify it of corruption. WE NEED TO PARTICULARLY LEARN FROM THIS MISTAKE IN OUR CURRENT ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. --> Japan's initial offensives in Asia Pacific were to expel foreign caucasian invaders and build an Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, of course under Japanese hegemony. Intention was honourable, execution of this were human atrocities.--> Japan military conducted Eugenics and bio-chemical testing on humans in South Asia, all results were surrendered to US military as part of War crimes settlement, they remain classified today.--> US dropped bomb on Japan to force the Japanese Military to surrender on paper, even though the Japanese Military were completely destroyed except for some on islands. US did not have to drop bombs in japan, but chose to do so for a quicker surrender by the Emperor of Japan. Japan remains today an instrument of American foreign policy - as much as they would publicly deny it - in Asia-Pacific region, and likely for the forseeable future.--> It was US capital that brought the Japanese and German economy back from total destruction after WW2. That is why even today world central banks must support the US dollar and US political policies, they don't have much choice.--> It would be a mistake to dismiss Nanjing as a "small
atrocitie" in comparison to the "Big" ones in history:
1) Mao's 1950's Great Leap agricultural ideal which ended
with the famine and death of 40 million chinese.
2) Rwandan Racial Genocide of 800,000 people.
3) Holocaust of 9 to 11 million: jews, gypsies, slavs, Roma's, Homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah Witnesses, Political activists, and other "insects" of non-Arian, white, anglosaxon heritage.
4) Yugoslavia's ethnic cleansing in Bosnia - Herzegovina
5) Sudan's Darfur's genocide
6) Ethiopias 30 million famine.--> In the spirit and memory of Iris Chang, who's singular commitment to publishing the historical facts in her book "The Rape of Nanking"- now remastered on film- cost her
sanity and life in 2004. She admits to having been threatened by Japanese Mafia. I admire TRUTH SEEKERS like her, we need more honest people in this world like her. In the film, Japanese civilians and historians have physical documentation and soldiers diaries of the Nanjing atrocities, to silence the political deniers.--> It is fair and just for the chinese people to demand respect for the "hacking to pieces" of their ancestors in the former capital NanJing. And it is the role of political leaders to mitigate National tensions, and be the arbitors and ambassadors of international relations and peace. If Prime Minister Koizumi truely understood the injustice japanese military executed on innnocent chinese, he would build a Nanjing War memorial
as a sincere apology for Japanese Military Aggression. YES AS AN ADMISSION TO FAULT, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY TO MAKE A WRONG A FORGIVEN RIGHT.--> As far as changing international history book publishing standards that is our generations job of lobbying and enforcing legal International Standards through multilateral institutions such as Geneva's ISO, UN, EU, OECD, G20, World Bank, IMF, and particularly our educational institutions and
respective governments. PBS's video documentaries and the Media have the role of: informing, organizing, and associating the necessary teachers and students of this generation in making all this happen.--> The take home message on this blog and all others that I hope you will all infect with rational exuberance is that, we are all fallable human beings, all searching for equality, justice, wealth, and equal human standards of living. When governments have failed, most especially the US government, citizens of every nation must stand up and fix what nation states have failed to accomplish the past 2000 years of human conflict. DO NOT MISTAKEN ANTI-ATROCITIES, DEMANDS FOR AN APOLOGY, OR WAR MEMORIAL FOR ANTI-JAPANESE PROPAGANDA.
WE DO NOT LIVE IN THE 1950'S. We learn to live in peace, or
we will all cease to exist this century. Perhaps oneday Western Judeo-Christianity will find solace in the truths of Buddah's passive teachings -- That we can have peace without wars, good without evil, justice without injustice. There is no dualistic equilibrium as Catholics would have us believe. Only then will we turn our swords into plough shears.

M Chung - Toronto, Ontario
I think it is terrible what the Japanese are doing. To learn from a mistake and ensure it never happens again, you must publish the mistake and admit to it, not cover the mistake up.
We all want to move on, but there are several things that must occur in order for this to happen:1) Japan must admit to the war crimes it committed.
2) Japan must put the whole truth in its textbooks and teachings and give the atrocities the respect they deserve.
3) War criminal names should be removed from the shrine. Such people are not to be honoured.
4) Japan should apologize. If an apology came from an actual living Japanese WW2 veteran(s), it could still be sincere.
5) China can then forgive Japan (but not forget).
6) Everyone can then move on.Until 1-5 happen, we cannot move on. We need to give the Chinese victims the respect they deserve before we can put the past behind us. The fact that there are people still alive today who are survivors of Nanjing (both Chinese and Japanese) shows this is still a big issue. It is NEVER too late to apologize.We must reconcile our differences by giving respect to the victims. Only then can there be peace and harmony between our two nations.

Peter Ofnj - New York, NY
I believe historians said that it wasn't the atomic bombs that bought the Imperial Japan to defeat, but rather it was the battle and defeat of the Japanese army in Manchuria that bought the concession. It's not that people can't let go of the past, it's because history is part of our heritage. I grew up on two shores, both in America and in the East. I find that most if not all Chinese American know nothing of their language, history or heritage. In one generation, Chinese had become white. The filmmaker found the animosity and attitude of the woman she spoke with surprising. The thing is for Chinese that grew up in the East. This is a page of facts. It's not about victimization, it's about the truth of what the Japanese had done. It's about malice, war, rape and genocide. This is the outrage. Growing up half way in America, I too comprehend there is little Chinese teaching, but then one needs to observe the ghost to learn from it.

Edwin Ladaga - Las Vegas, NV
" Can't We All Just, Get Along..."

Min Z - Toronto, Ontario
I am a Chinese so I guess my view will be considered as biased. I did not know the massacre of Nanking and those experiment Japanese army did to live prisoners in Northeast part of China until I was in my 20s. I am a heavy reader in history of any country. These are the only two books in my 41-year life that made me physically violently sick that I could not finish them although I so much wanted to. I don't think it is possible for anyone to forget what Japanese did in China and Korea during the war if they know history, but we can forgive. I do not hold any animosity towards Japanese people in general, as this war had brought as much pain and devastation to both Chinese and Japanese people, and we need healing and reconciliation, and move forward. However, what bothers me and I believe that this is what also bothers many Chinese, is that even today, in Japan, there are Japanese WWII veterans still boasting how many Chinese they have killed and how they killed them, and that Japanese government not only never apologized for their conduct during the war, but constantly tried to whitewash it. This is exactly why we can't forget the history.

Cagri Karamisir - istanbul, turkey
The future is unknown. We do not know who will use the Past for hostilities, or when.

(anonymous)
Agree with Theodore Cleaver and Charles P and their general comments. Fact remains that the PRC can at any time raise a protest against whomever and whatever to accomplish whatever it is they would like to emphasize or promote. Japan is under-reported as a military power and scientific power, they could go nuclear in probably a matter of days if necessary. All of us ordinary citizens, unfortunately, are still tied to the 20th century reality of the nation-state as the core of our identities, most acutely felt in countries dominated by one-parties or well established elites running the show. Why do so many of the general public in America believe that Iraqis are responsible for 9/11?I liked the detail on the cooperative history book for the region, but disappointed no factual info and the nearly singular perspectives provided in each country.

Joyce Lim - san jose, ca
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made war obsolete among large nations. In the USA-USSR Cold War conflict, neither country dared to fight directly against the other, but fought proxy wars in Vietnam and Korea. As Edward Teller said, the 2nd half of the 20th century was quieter than the first half for the simple reasons that nuclear powers exist. There will be economic competition between China and Japan, but there will never again be a massive war. There may be a limited war, but not a full-scale war.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the face of war forever.

Emily Liu - San Francisco, California
The only way to live the present and see the future is to know the Truth. 1931-1945 is not that long ago.
Many are still alive today.Americans dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. True. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. True.Japan killed 300,000 in Nanking Massacre. True.Japan was aligned with Nazi Germany in World War II.
True.Truth
Truth about world war II.
Let's not fear the Truth. The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth about the china-japan war and the usa-japan war is the only way we can live the present and live the future.

Joseph Wilson - Austin, Texas
Textbooks are for the past. The Internet is for the future.
What happened in World War II is now in full digital form, for the whole world to see, all the time, anywhere in the world. In 1900, China was a collapsing Qing Empire. In 1937, Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China. In 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. In 1945, USA dropped two atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki. These truths are well-known to the world. What changed the world Forever was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The USA not only proved to the world that it had the bomb but it would use it within a three day period. Japan was taken over by the military in the 30s and 40s. Japan was aligned with Nazi-Germany in world war II. The Truth is that Japan will have competition in the economic and cultural realm. Japan or Germany will never invade another nation. China, a nulcear-power in '64, could nuke them back to the stone ages. Japan is a has-been nation. Stuck on four small island smaller than California and a shrinking, aging population, it will never be anything other than an economic power, which is just good cars, electronics for the world. The future will belong to China, 3rd largest nation on Earth, Earth's largest population, Earth's largest army, with nulear weapons, man-in-space since '03, and in '06, $1 trillion in foreign reserves.Note the Japanese are different thatn the Germans. The Germans have been apologizing for 60 years. Japan has never given an apology.

Yq neo - Singapore, Singapore
No matter what happens current or in the future, what happened had happened. Nothing can change that. Neither does hostility among the younger generation do anything. Its over,let it be. Though I'm Chinese myself,I feel that if even the older generations can let it go,why can't the younger generation do likewise?

Sam - Canberra, Australia
It is necessary to separate a militaristic government from its people. But sometimes it is just human and difficult to hate the child of the man who killed your father, raped your mother and burned down your house.

Ray Wang - Fremont, CA
Taiwanese people naturally have sympathy for the Japanese people because they were occupied by Japan for 50 years. Then again, Taiwanese people are awkward (e.g. use traditional symbols). The Japanese people did unforgivable things in World War Two to all nations, especially China. How would the Jewish like it if the world forgot about the Holocaust? And thus, the Japanese government should not try to hide their heinous actions and openly state the atrocities that they ratiocinated were correct.

Rene Ng - Singapore, Singapore
As a Chinese Singaporean, I grew up listening to my grandfather's stories of being a Japanese war prisoner during WWII. Needless to say, he was extremely bitter about the experience and towards the Japanese people as a whole. You could say I grew up brainwashed to hate the Japanese. I gradually changed my views when I befriended a Japanese (who was my dormmate when I went to college in the US, and is now one of my best friends.) I now have many great Japanese friends and really admire their culture and work ethic. And I no longer harbor any hatred / prejudice towards the Japanese people. While it is important to admit and remember history to prevent it from repeating itself, I think it's even more crucial not to dwell in the past. The anti-Japanese sentiment that's going on right now is not only destructive, but is also halting progress. The younger Japanese generation has nothing to do with WWII, and therefore they shouldn't be blamed / hated for it. It baffles me to see how the young Chinese generation in the story carry so much hatred and bitterness towards Japanese people, since they never experienced the WWII's atrocities firsthand.

brisbane, qld
I have just had three homestay Chinese students at my home, great girls -- one 10 year old and two 15 year olds. Then an overlap of one evening with a--year-old Japanese boy on home stay, I was surprised to see the bitterness from one of the Chinese girls toward the Japanese boy at my dinner table. Surely if Australia is able to forget and get on with life with an open mind, why is this Chinese teenage student carrying so much bitterness? In turn it caused bitterness between everyone, and one student went to her room for the evening.

Theodore Cleaver - Carlsbad, CA
A fair attempt at examining contemporaneous attitudes of Chinese and Japanese youths regarding the historical presentation of the Nanjing Massacre - and WWII in general.
Constructively, the content of the story could have been enriched by exposing more facts regarding influences currently present in both societies -which were noticeably absent giving way to the creators' impressions.From the west, it appears to be nothing less than an issue manufactured by the Chinese government to augment anti-Japanese sentiments and fuel nationalism. And unfortunately, it appears that the Chinese youth profiled in this documentary have been duped - preoccupied with an atrocity that transpired over 70 years ago as opposed to an atrocity chronologically closer to home such as Tiananmen Square.As the perpetrators of the atrocity, obviously the Japanese will have the most difficult time of coming to terms with the actions of their society and armed forces during WWII. Such was the magnitude, that some 70 years later they are still conflicted. This is hardly unique to the Japanese.

Charles P - Los Angeles, CA
Like ants, we are warring animals. Difference of perspectives and societal stress increase the likelihood that we will risk war. The perspective is warped in China by the one-party dictatorship. It is warped in Japan also by the one-party dictatorship. Neither country has seen a change in the ruling party since WWII. Take the prosperity away and we will be at each other's throats once again. Bury the truth and the history repeats itself. The conflagration will be brief but magnified by the industrial might of East Asia (Peaceful Japan has one of the highest military budgest in the world.). This is the only inevitability when we blind ourselves from the truth. This report is too shallow for this reality to reveal itself. I am an American of Korean descent but I see a ticking time bomb in East Asia, if we are not too careful about it.

David May - Tainan City, Taiwan
Seeing China rise is difficult for the Japanese to deal with. Japan was the first in Asia to modernise and the first to take on western powers. (Certainly there are even those in Japan that still believe Japan's initial goals were somewhat altruistic in the beginning with the desired goal of driving out the foreign powers from Asia and bringing in an Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere). Following WW2, Japan advanced incredibly to become a global economic powerhouse and a great society. Surely now it is very hard for the Japanese to see the Chinese moving ahead so rapidly and likely to surpass the Japanese economically and in terms of global power. There must be some animosity that, in addition to this, Japan will not have the same political power that China wields on the global stage because of its privileged position as a veto member of the security council. Japan will not listen to China telling it what to do, especially the shrine visits. Bending on that issue would be seen as a symbol of the beginning of Japan giving in to Chinese regional dominance. All that aside, Japan must change its educational materials. This only validates China's outrageous comments about potential Japanese militarism when it is China that is quickly becoming a military giant that may force Japan to remilitarise in a big way.

Xiao Sun - Los Angeles, CA
To remember the war or the history is not just to document it correctly or let students learn a story. I believe what we learn from the past guides us to avoid tragedies like Nanjing or Hiroshima in the future. As a Chinese, what I learn from our history books is that without a strong nation, no matter how unharmful you are to the world, how strongly you wish to be friendly to your neighbors, "incidents" such as Nanjing will happen to you. China's peace relies on China's strength, a strong economy, society and military. I have to agree that [just like the Japanese text book] Chinese history books are also biased. China has a long infamous history of invading her own neighbors, such as Korea and Vietnam....I hope our generation of young Chinese can establish a image of elephent of China as an elephant, strong and peaceful, not a sheep, not hyenas.

Wasana Punyasena - Brooklyn, NY
The film tapped into an often undiscussed and unrecognized population, the youth. What both filmmakers understand is the complexity of history, memory and nationalism, and the unique perspectives youth bring to bear in the debate.

shameine A. - rancho palos verdes, Ca.
The story was fair in showing the basic willingness of some people to move beyond hatred and loathing. I felt they left out the fact that even today Japanese will never admit knowledge of or wrong doing during the war. I know because I have lived in Japan and discussed it with several people specifically regarding the book "The Rape of Nanjing." It's very sad. It's almost as if it never happened. That saddens me the most.

Shameine A. - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
The story was fair in showing the basic willingness of some people to move beyond hatred and loathing. I felt they left out the fact that even today Japanese will never admit knowledge of or wrong doing during the war. I know, because I have lived in Japan and discussed it with several people specifically regarding the book "The Rape of Nanjing." It's very sad. The world knows nothing of that war; it's almost as if it never happened. That saddens me the most.

Young-chul Jung - Koyang City, Kyungki-do Prov., Korea
Being a Korean, I have held a long-held suspicion and doubt about Japan's mentality and political endeavors for maintaining a fair and peaceful relationship with its neighbors in Asia, namely with Korea and China. Before expanding economic power, they must boost their good morality and friendship within this area.

Rich McVey - Seattle, WA
I was shocked and amazed. I'm currently in a World Culture class and have recently been exposed to the atrocities that governments will do to their own citizens around the world. Even as an Army veteran, still somehow, I never get used to it. Good documentary!

Julian Liu - Brooklyn, NY
It's great to see more in depth coverage of an issue that is rarely mentioned in the Western media. The piece made me wonder about the differences between Northeast Asia and Europe, and why former adversaries France and Germany were able to achieve reconciliation, while coming to the terms with the past remains elusive in China and Japan. For more on this check out a blog on the subject:
china-japan-reconciliation.blogspot.com/

Simon Wang - Brooklyn, New York
Being a very patriotic Chinese ex-pat, I had very strong biases as I watched this story. It was not until the end that I realized what the message of the story was. I had thought this story was to illustrate the differences between China and Japan. The story did that, but by the end I saw how similar we are. We're both driven by deep nationalism. Although China's nationalism was forged through decades of foreign humiliation and oppression, Japan's is relatively new. Without being hypocrital I cannot see how I can continue to resent Japanese patriotism. However, I hope that the pride we have in our nations do not lead us to conflict. Thank you for this story.