November 22, 2002

Right-wingers Afraid of Museum's Truth

The Kagoshima prefectural assembly in Japan last week approved an appeal by a local right-wing group to have the Nanjing Massacre Museum excluded from the itinerary of Japanese high-school students' trip to China.

The group is part of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a notorious far-right organization that perennially repudiates Japanese wartime atrocities.

The group's petition was filed in court as early as December 1999. It said the museum was "a stronghold of anti-Japanese brainwashing."

Yet a trip to the site will expose the students to nothing but the truth.

The museum is in no way a biased propaganda vehicle fostering anti-Japanese sentiments, as many Japanese right-wingers assert.

What one can see in the museum are purely documents and evidence of history.

The memorial site is built on mass graves. On display, as they were found, are many bones and skeletons of victims from among the more than 300,000 people slaughtered by Japanese troops in 1937.

If the museum is a place for anti-Japanese brainwashing, why has it attracted more than 600,000 visitors from China and abroad annually, including two former Japanese prime ministers, Tomiichi Murayama and Toshiki Kaifu?

High-school students are mature enough to evaluate the evidence, make judgments and reach their own conclusions.

Though Japan's wartime past is full of cruelty, a straight encounter with history will enable Japan's younger generation to learn from the past and gain insight for the future.

Censoring history is not only dangerous but also has far-reaching repercussions for Japan's future.

Just like the Japanese Government's past approval of textbooks that distort or deny history, the way the authorities educate Japan's young generation will determine which direction the country will travel in the future.

Amnesia regarding its own dark history will prevent Japan from becoming a responsible member of the international community.

Moreover, young Japanese, the future of the country, will inevitably have to interact with people from other parts of the world.

If the country is committed to good relations and cooperation with neighboring countries, squarely facing history is essential.

(China Daily July 10, 2002)

In This Series
Massacre Survivors Protest Against Japanese Court Ruling

Massacre Survivor in Landmark Legal Win

An American Donates Documentary on Nanjing Massacre to China

Photos from Germany Offer New Evidence of Nanjing Massacre

Alarm Wails Over Nanjing

1,900 Villagers Sued Japanese Government

"Nanjing Massacre" Oil Painting on Display

US Clergyman Honored for Recording Nanjing Massacre



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