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Japanese National Identity of Victimhood Jessy Hart The national ideology of war victimhood became present in Japan after

WWII; but the Japanese people cannot claim that they are only victims. The repatriates claim that they have become victims of the government and have lost their livelihood, but how did they obtain the land outside Japan? The citizens that served in the military claim that they are victims to the government because they were only following the orders that they were given. The Japanese people are known for their undying fight in them, to fight until the last man standing before ever giving up. The Japanese people have done many things to other countries, to the point where they cannot claim to be true and innocent victims. Even the common people of Japan have a moral responsibility for their actions. Repatriates lived outside the country of Japan normally becoming small farmers with their own land. Although the land the repatriates farmed was not always theirs normally, it was taken or stolen from those that had owned the land before the Japanese occupied an area. The families that originally lived on those lands lost everything when the Japanese took over the area. The Chinese people of Manchuria lost all rights to their family lands when the Japanese took control and took it away from them, this violates the Asian ideal that you do not sell your familys land and you work the same land as your ancestors. The Japanese repatriates took away the Chinese peoples heritage and living. The repatriates claim that they are the victims of the Japanese government because they were following orders of colonizing and spreading the Japanese culture into these lands; when the repatriates had to leave, They had to abandon everything by twat they could carry on their backs when they were forcibly repatriated, (Orr 156). Because the Japanese repatriates had to experience the same hardship that they forced

others to endure they believed they were victims of this injustice. But the Japanese people showed no remorse towards the people who had their land taken by these Japanese in the first place. The Japanese repatriates did not need to follow government orders once they left Japan; they received free will to continue to do what the government wanted or to do as they pleased. Someone cannot be a victim of the path that they chose, the repatriates took the land and when the Japanese lost the War they had to return it to those countries. The Japanese citizens that served in the military during WWII did not want to claim any guilt or moral responsibility for war crimes once Japan lost the war. The soldiers claim to have been deceived by their government or only following orders. No soldier was forced to use the service of a comfort woman or rape women as they pillaged villages, each soldier acted upon his own free will. On the Bataan March the soldiers were not given orders to treat the prisoners a certain way, Wainwright ordered his men to lay down their arms. In Western civilization, capture has always been viewed as being better than death, Lester Tennery wrote later of his capture on Bataan. Our back luck was that we were being captured by a people from a civilization that death was preferable to surrender, (Miller 105). The Japanese view death is preferable to letting yourself be captured by the enemy. After the surrender by Wainwrights men, the Japanese began the Bataan March. Even before the march began there were cruelties against the Americans, Before they were ordered into line, the men were stripped of canteens, food, and personal items. Japanese guards cut off the fingers of officers to get their West Point rings, and prisoners found with Japanese money were shot, on the assumption that it had been taken from a fallen soldier of the empire (Miller 107). No orders were given from the Japanese government; the decision of how the Americans were treated was determined by the Japanese officers and

soldiers. At one point a group of Americans tried to drink water, although it was unsanitary, at first the Japanese officer allowed this then suddenly he had them all line up again. The officer, with a broad smile on his face, began prancing around the area where the Americans were lined up and ordered the guards to search our ranks for men who had water-soaked clothes. The guards picked them out of our group of marching men and lined them up on the side of the road. Then the officer ordered the guards to shoot all of them (Miller 108) This was the act and free will of one man to shoot down those men, and his soldiers shot all of those men down. The soldiers that shot down those men have a more responsibility to those whose lives they took, the Americans were prisoners and unarmed, they were no threat to the Japanese soldiers. The soldiers were not misguided; they simply did what they thought needed to be done. Some Filipinos started throwing food and sugar cane at the Japanese guards when they lead the march through their village, When the guards spotted this they opened fire, killing randomly. The Japanese seemed to take malicious delight in killing Filipinos who had fought with or supported the White devils, (Miller 109). There was no mercy for those that opposed any Japanese soldier, people were killed for sport along the Bataan March, it was no longer the government that controlled the Japanese soldiers but the soldiers themselves. We heard a dull thud, and the American was decapitated. The Japanese officer then kicked his body over into the field, and all of the Japanese soldiers laughed and walked away, (Miller 110). The soldiers and officers acted with their own free will without the orders of government, each person has their own moral responsibility for their actions and cannot claim to be victims after doing those actions of their own free will.

If a soldier had found it immoral he could have left the country or done something to prevent any contribution to the war effort. By not preventing the mistreatment of others or finding it immoral, they cannot claim to be victims of the government because they contributed to the war effort that victimized others. When there are soldiers who are ready to lay down their lives because of their strong loyalty to the Japanese nation and government how can those soldiers blame the government for misguiding them or betraying them. Soldiers, repatriates, and the common people of Japan are not victims because they victimized many others with and without government orders. They carried out the actions by their own free will and they must claim the moral responsibility for what they have done.

References Miller, D. L. The story of world war II. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. Orr, J. J. (2001). The victim as hero. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.