So China's pissed off. People are protesting in Beijing and Guangzhou. They're angry that their great-grandma was raped and killed and their uncle was flayed, and Japan never said sorry. They seemed to get off scot-free.
So the protestors demanding an apology. That's what seems to be the big issue --Japan's unrepentent attitude. My uncle forwarded me the message below that calls for a boycott of Japanese goods and links to an online petition.
As a Chinese American girl who lived 3+ years in Japan, I can tell you, a lot what the protesters say is true. Japanese leaders all visit Yasukuni Jinja, the shrine where many of the generals who are considered war criminals by China are interred. They downplay their culpability in the war and focus a lot of attention on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, sites of their own horrific suffering.
So why does this call for boycott sound quaint to me? Maybe because Japanese products are so ingrained in daily life I don't know how I could just stop using them. My car, my facial scrub, my electronics, and whoops, my boyfriend, all trace their origins back to those little islands. It's where my mom grew up and where my grandma still lives --not to mention a bunch of dear friends who are just as horrified as I am at the atrocities of the war.
And I can't help thinking, what good will an apology do, anyway? I remember the first time I genuinely felt "saying sorry isn't good enough." Will an apology make China shut up and go away? Should it? Saying sorry, even paying reparations, doesn't undo mass graves.
Moreover, though the US has apologized to Japanese Americans for internment and even paid them for their trouble, it's hard to say that it reflects a repentant attitude. We're seeing the same kind of discrimination played out every day at Guantanamo, in DMVs apparently, in airports, in immigration offices, basically at every level of government. So what does an apology mean, really?
Of course I see the point of protesting. I'm glad China is standing up and not letting the world forget what happened. I hope it does veto Japan's bid for the Security Council, even though it and everyone else on the council are guilty of plenty themselves --I think i just like dramatic gestures. Japan, like the US, has some right-wing nut jobs that still have a lot of power (--though less than our nut jobs. Ours become president. Japan remains a country that has a non-aggression article in its constitution).
But I think we have an ackward balancing act --we ABCs, sanseis, adoptees-- when it comes to troubles in the homeland. We band together here for political expediency and kinship, but it's an disingenuous to say that overseas rifts shouldn't affect us. I don't want to be so "modern" that I discard the suffering of my father's mother.
So I'm at a bit of a loss. Do I trade in my cute little Honda for a sand colored Chevy Prizm? Should I stop buying music produced by Sony? Should I forward this letter to everyone i know? Do i get credit for including it in this blog?