Since I was a little girl my mum taught me not to hate the Japanese. It was later on in life that I understood for myself why I shouldn’t let hatred manifest, to always see both sides of a coin and look for the good side even in a terrible situation.
My hometown is the old Manchuria region, the oldest generation there could speak both fluent Russian and Japanese due to 50 years of occupation. My maternal grandparents came from North Korea, till now, my grandma is still on friendly terms with the Japanese folks in the neighborhood. Her brother died in the war fighting the Japanese, due to illness related with staying in the snowfield battlefield for too long in Northeast China. Due to the region, there were more Japanese left behind here after Japanese retreat, mostly women and children, some of them are people I know. It really surprised me that the locals took them in and raised them as their own, in those times immediately after the war, never lose faith in humanity.
Even then, history is for one to remember, not to hold a grudge. I don’t turn on the TV anymore when I go back to China, unless I’m watching daytime soaps with my grandma. Too much anti-Japanese WW2 drama, and also in my cousin’s elementary school textbook. I don’t believe in spreading hatred, especially to children. Despite all the shitstorms the CCP caused during its reign, its resistance efforts in WW2 were its undeniable merits and a major reason for its rise in power. Of course it would want to shove it in everyone’s faces. On the other hand, the level of denial and self-victimization about WW2 in Japan though. Well.
These materials hardly talk about the rise of militarism in Showa Japan though. Not everyone in Japan wanted this war, but those who opposed were assassinated. I think it takes true courage to stand up against your own people for the greater cause, and shows that there is light in the darkest situations.
Even in the face of Japanese invasion Chiang Kai-Shek was still fighting the CCP, and ordered troops to not fight the Japanese. Stuff like this are the reason why Chinese history 19~20th century is a piece of shit. My Filipino-Chinese friend hates PRC because while his grandpa and granduncles fought bravely against the Japanese, they died later during the Cultural Revolution for nonsensical reasons. They refused to move over to Philippines when they had the chance for their loyalty to China. People who never feared the Japanese would learn to fear their own people during the Cultural Revolution.
Left: Zhang Lingfu, war hero who commited suicide in his last battle against CCP in the civil war, a better fate than going through the Cultural Revolution.
Right: Zhang Xueliang, his greatest scar was retreating his troops during the Manchuria invasion without a battle against the Japanese, and let the civilians get slaughtered. Later instigated the Xi’an incident and forced Chiang Kai-shek to cooperate with CCP and actually start fighting the Japanese. My heroes.