2011年8月22日 星期一

Manchuria 1945-6 - Part 2

[The Japanese graveyard - two groups of Japanese settlers were buried here.]

In the winter of 1945, while escaping from the settlements in northern-most Chinese territory 黑龍江, 15,000 Japanese 開拓團 refugees arrived in 方正縣, 180 km east of Harbin [see map in http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com/2010/05/manchuria-1946.html]. Roughly 5,000 of them perished from exposure, starvation, disease, and suicide, and 4,500 young women and children were adopted by the locals [see also: http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post.html].

In 1946, on humanitarian grounds, the remains were collected and cremated, and buried in a mass grave. In 1963, the CCP central gov't approved the construction of a grave site and named it "方正地区日本人公墓" and the ashes were re-interred in this site. In 1973, the grave was relocated to the present site. And in 1984, 530 sets of remains from 麻山 District [those massacred by the Soviets] were buried next to the original one with an identical monument, marked the "麻山地区日本人公墓" (see photo above).

[Above: The memorial wall inscribed with the names of the deceased was built immediately behind the two tombs (below).]

In the 1970s, most of these Japanese orphans were repatriated back to Japan and, in gratitude, they have built a memorial, near the graveyard, to honor their Chinese foster parents. The historical twist was quite complicated and now at least 48% of the 方正 residents have some ties with Japan as a result. Since the 1990s, building a memorial wall listing the names of the deceased has gained enthusiastic local support. With private and public funding, the wall was eventually built and the graveyard opened to visitors from Japan. On 7/30/2011, a micro-blog post reporting the Japanese Consul General in Shenyang visiting a memorial dedicated to the "Japanese invaders/war criminals" went viral. And the always overly patriotic Chinese netizens quickly organized themselves, threatening to totally demolish the wall.

On 8/3, 5 netizens/vandals [from Hunan, Hebei, and Henan, members of a certain “中国保钓联盟”] came to the grave site and splashed red paint on the memorial wall after failing to take it down with hammers [above].

On 8/6, in the middle of the night, the memorial was hastily removed by the local gov't leaving only a slight depression behind. More outside netizens arrived at the graveyard seeking to do more damage. After seeing no memorial wall on site, they lit firecrackers to celebrate the "victory of justice".

It appears extremists-nationalists now not only rule the virtual world in China, they have also gone beyond spewing words of irrational hatred into physical violence.

[Above: The five courageous netizens who won a self-proclaimed victory over
the defense-less dead (below).]

In the meantime, the citizens of 方正縣 are now labeled as 漢奸 - a term heard quite often in the immediate post-1945 days in Taiwan.

Following the display of this patriotism, Chinese-style, one netizen in Taiwan questioned Ma Ying-jeou's honoring 八田與一 (Hata Yu-ichi, 1886-1942), the Japanese engineer who designed and built 嘉南大圳 during the Japanese Colonial era [Mr Hata's ship was torpedoed and sunk by an American submarine while enroute to the Philippines and Mrs Hata committed suicide one day after Japan surrendered]. Fortunately, "就事論事,恩怨分明", not twisted logic to justify the blind hatred of all Japanese, still prevails in Taiwan.

4 則留言:

  1. So much bad feelings about 漢奸 traitors. What could be the literal translation for this term? Han Turncoat? Han Pimp?

    And it's sad to see over-patriotic reactions result in the suffering of innocent people who are not 漢奸 at all. I read part-one of this post (5/19/2010) also. It makes me think of a movie called Kabei (Our Mother), by Yoji Yamada. It's about a Japanese writer who wouldn't go along with the Japanese Imperialists' view of their war effort in China and the Pacific. He was jailed and died in Japanese prison while his family suffered terribly trying to stay alive.

    Medically speaking, what is known about over-zealous emotions? What could be a good pressure-release mechanism that can channel the bursting hatred into action that's less harmful?

    I heard a funny story about Germany's Parliament. The Bundestag has a certain Klaus Schmidt as the chairman of a domestic affairs committee since the 1980s. He's got the support of all members of all parties during all these years. The question is obviously how can that be? What makes this man capable of winning everybody's confidence for so long? It turns out that this Klaus is a fictitious character. He is the official scapegoat for any and all blundered domestic law ever legislated in Germany. Scapegoat Schmidt is the designated punching bag 出氣筒 for everybody. This I hear from a radio word-game show that's known for making up tall tales.

  2. Hi Herman,

    You must be a movie fan. Then you must have seen Miyamoto Musashi when growing up in Taiwan and Yamada's samurai trilogy also?

    The story line of Kâbê might have been very familiar to Yamada, maybe even personal. The Japanese have always treasured conformity (even now) which would have not tolerated Shigeru Nogami's view especially in times of war. Some people have a strong sense of justice while most bend with the wind. It is hard to know if this sense is inborn or developed through education (or brain washing) and if the justice cause is truly just. Family suffering is probably a simple matter of course to them.

    The Chinese are known to play the branding game well, 漢奸 is just one of the labels; unfortunately, the labels can lead to unpleasant and even deadly consequences, particularly when the mob rules. Just look at what had happened in the Land Reform, 三反五反, and Cultural Revolution. And you of course know the Chinese practice of 連坐, family members suffered through blood relations, for example, the 黑五類.

    Taken together, it is not so surprising to see the netizen-mobs rule these days. If this continues, peace, as you have wished, maybe an unreachable goal.

    The parliament in Taiwan is famous for physical fights - usually played up in the presence of TV cameras. This maybe more effective than the German Klause Schmidt approach. I am reminded of 金聖嘆:


  3. Yea, I must have watched too many movies. I saw the Miyamoto Musashi movies not in Taiwan though. Back then I remember seeing a preview of a 桃太郎 movie: a boy with magical powers born out of a peach, and a war movie with Toshiro Mifune as a military high officer (Admiral Yamamoto?). The scene I remember in that movie was he flipped himself upside down (standing on his hands) on a small rowboat, upon hearing the news that Japan had either just successfully attacked Pearl Harbor, or got defeated at Midway.

    And I've watched Twilight Samurai probably 4 or 5 times. That one I like the most in Yamada san's Samurai trilogy. Such a moving story. When I was a child, I admired heroes of great martial art skills. Now I'm middle-aged, I still admire heroes, but have come to respect more of people of courage and humility.

    As you mention that Chinese being good at labeling people, 漢奸, 黑五類,... I think about my own romantic notion of peace, if it can ever stand up to the whim and fancy of human minds. I have an idea. Maybe education can indoctrinate young minds to the point where they see that all notions of right/wrong, true/false, good/bad, are based on personal experience or suppositions or beliefs.

    And maybe these suppositions and beliefs are all subject to change, by time or reality or interactions with people. Then maybe people will reflect more on suppositions and insist less on positions, and thus giving peace a better chance to grow.

    Of course, this notion of peace is not nearly as satisfying as the action of: 忽有壯夫掉臂行來,振威從中一喝而解。不亦快哉!
    Suddenly a strong man walks by with arms hanging. Projecting his powers, he shouts out a command amidst the crowd and breaks up the disputing parties at once. Isn't that a kick!

    And this part: 街行見兩措大執爭一理,既皆目裂頸赤,如不戴天,而又高拱手,低曲腰,滿口仍用者也之乎等字。其語剌剌,勢將連年不休。
    Walking in the street, I see two guys (groups) arguing loudly over one matter. They work themselves up bug-eyed and red-necked, as if they can't stand the other living under the same sky. Yet they feign politeness: hands held together high and waist bent low, and speaking mouthful of learned words thee-thou-pray-so. Their talk jabs pointedly and seems to not let up for years to come.

    That scene is too comical. I vaguely recall that my high school Chinese teacher, Mr. 鄭郁卿, might have mentioned this list in his class once.

  4. You are indeed a movie fan. The story of 桃太郎 originated from Okayama岡山 in Japan. The Mifune movie was "Tora (Tiger)! Tora! Tora!" And I agree with you the たそがれ清兵衛 (Twilight Samurai) is the best of the Yamada trilogy. Not too long after the times depicted in the movie, the samurai class was abolished by Emperor Meiji (the last battle between the forces of the emperor and the Shogun was participated by Tom Cruise in "the Last Samurai"). Samurai = 侍, to serve [ultimately the emperor]. This class therefore never disappeared, they constituted the military hierarchy when the national draft system was instituted, also in Meiji Era. These were the ones who led the wars against China and Russia, and eventually the whole Pacific including the US. Even today, old samurai families in rural areas still command respect.

    I believe the sense of right/wrong, true/false and good/evil is inborn. Its relativity, however, can be enforced or altered by education which in turn tows the official lines. In China, "anything Japan" = wrong/false/evil, the indoctrination has been quite successful. We only hope that they don't apply the same logic to Taiwan.