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国際討論日記

在日英人クリスと討論2

「在日英国人クリスとの討論1」からの続きです。


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re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 2:51 PM by Chris


I think you have become a little bit incoherent. I did previously describe your weak arguments in forthright terms but I am not prepared to get into a personal slanging match with you. I have, I feel, given a reasoned critique of your wavering arguments which, whether you like to admit it or not, do blur the line between historical explanation and moral justification. I know you won't accept this, but anybody reading the thread will be able to see it for themselves right from the original posting by Bingfeng about your communication to him.

As you know, I entered this thread on a completely different point and only got into this discussion with you because I felt the need to distinguish what I was saying from your rather worrying stuff. I don't think your historical explanation of Japan's involvement in China is particularly interesting or nuanced from a historical point of view and I was never in the business of getting into debates of "overarching analysis".

I don't feel I know enough about this subject to offer anything useful in that regard and also feel you don't. I am not just insulting you there. That is my honest opinion of where both of us stand in relation to understanding these events. Neither am I being cowardly in debate. I even, when I think about it, think that there is something absurd about the question you are posing. "A comprehensive argument that is workable to integrate both the Chinese and the Japanese side"?

Why do we, as ill informed people in a privileged world in which it seems more important to posture and pout about our identity politics than think deeply about history, have the arrogance (both moral and intellectual) to talk of holistic views and comprehensive arguments designed to reduce the real and textured experiences and motivations of millions and millions of people to a bite sized chicken mcnugget of an "comprehensive argument" to make us feel nice and complete about our world.

I don't think you can even come to a comprehensive "What were they doing" argument about the Japanese in China: some in the military and political high command were hell bent on territorial aggrandisement, some were trying to limit these people's agendas, others had different agendas entirely within the command structure, some junior officers had extreme racist ideologies, other were simply trying to survive, some foot soldiers were conscripts, some settlers were there to make a quick buck, others to escape an unbearable life in Japan.

It is just too complex to offer the kind of bite sized comfort you want. If you want me to give a crappy illinformed summary of the general bottle this complex of motives and machinations came in then it would be that Japan got itself involved in imperialism at the start of the 20th century, at a time when all the great powers were imperialist and Japan's leadership had been hell bent on getting itself on to the high table of International politics.

The nature of its imperialism varied between locations - its conduct in Taiwan for instance was very different from that in Korea and China, because of different personalities at the top of the command structure - but in general it showed itself not to be a very competent imperial power.

I generally feel that all imperialism is morally questionable because it usually involves exploiting populations for the benefit of the imperial power, but Japan's brief experiment in empire was particularly disastrous both for it and for its targets. Tens of millions of innocent people died in this experiment. It was all tied up in rhetoric about freeing Asia from the talons of Western exploitation, and some people genuinely believed in this, but the facts of what happens was a particularly nasty and destructive kind of suppression.

Japan quickly got itself involved in a quagmire in Asia that did not profit itself or the host country. The nature of this not merely a fight against "terrorism", it was also about Japan's inability to control its own troops and officers to its profit, to control the extreme ideologies sweeping parts of its ruling elite and to get support from large parts of the host populations. The causes of the atrocities are particularly important to understand because they sit so large in the consciousness of places like China and also because we must understand why such monstrous things can happen for the sake of the future. We can try to understand these events not through illformed grand theories that tickle our nationalist fancy but through sober reflection on what actually happened and what both the victims and the perpetrators said about it. I have previously offered some thoughts about some of the causes of the Nanjing massacre. These are definitely not complete but they get closer to the reality of those terrible six weeks than your two hopeless sentences.

You said I don't offer facts, which made me laugh because you offer nothing but half chewed mcnuggets from Japan's nationalist fringe. Infact, I have offered a reasonable amount of factual information from secondary sources which you simply refuse to engage with. I am not an expert on this but the facts are as you say fairly well established so why not engage with them. You say stuff like: "Those are irrelevant in this thread, Chris, as I said again and again. You are merely trying to divert attention to an issue that is out of scope of my argument." But surely it is not irrelevant when seeking a proper characterisation of the nature of Japan's involvement in China in the middle of the 20th century to look at the facts of what was actually done, think about them deeply, and then look at the causes of the atrocities from there. You cannot read descriptions of Nanking and then say that this can adequately be described as simply an antiterrorist action. I don't think even you could do that if you were honest enough with yourself to actually go through the accounts in detail.

I have one last thing to say in relation to my previous reply to Binfeng that I must be an optimist to engage in such long debate with you. Infact, I do not feel optimistic at all. I feel that if I ever did make an impact and persuaded you that it was necessary to get really involved with the nitty gritty of the facts to come to a proper understanding of these complex events, rather than these facile general theories of yours (which are so insulting to the reality of people's often terrible experiences), that you would become a historical revisionist and start holocaust denying. I may be wrong but the idea I have built up of you in this discussion is of a rather extreme nationalist whose history is hopelessly bound up in his fragile sense of self identity. I don't feel you are capable of really looking at these events as they happened. You must feel frustrated at the arrogance of these last comments of mine, at my refusal to deal with you on a level, but sometimes (very rarely) I just don't think it is right to engage on a level with such offensive and intellectually shallow views. As I said, though, this debate has been profitable in another way in that it has made me reexamine and deepen my understanding of Japanese people's knowledge of their past. I feel now that I would prefer to get into a new discussion with Binfeng and others on this site on such issues. It is likely to be a lot more enlightening. I will however continue to try to reply to your points, and if the length of these posts gets any longer this discussion might be a very good insomnia cure for someone out there.


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 3:58 PM by soudenjapan


Chris,

>I just don't think it is right to engage on a level with such
>offensive and intellectually shallow views. As I said, though,
>this debate has been profitable in another way

No. It's a matter of the framework of analysis and discipline you apply. Your kind of argument requires another framework. That's all. Shallow or deep, you should engage only in discussions you can handle that are within your capacity.


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 4:20 PM by soudenjapan


Chris,

>I did previously describe your weak arguments in forthright terms
>but I am not prepared to get into a personal slanging match with
>you. I have, I feel, given a reasoned critique

In other words, you do not have your own argument that corresponds to mine, do you, Chris? Why did you keep avoiding admitting it all these time?

I'm not interested in slanging anything. From the beginning I am focused and never shifted in any other direction. My focus was on your argument, an answer to the question I posed to you in my first comment directed to you. I was going to ignore all the rest and I did so. You will not be able to divert my attention by means of using provocative, sensational comments. I am focused.

You simply failed to come forward to say that you do not have a theory. I am disapointed that you turned out to be merely a criticizing-only type of person without an alternative of your own to which you get criticism as much as you criticize ideas of others.

re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 4:33 PM by soudenjapan


Chris,

>whether you like to admit it or not, do blur the line between
>historical explanation and moral justification. I know you won't
>accept this,

Fine, you made the point. Whatever weakness my thesis has in your view, that is my problem, and it has nothing to do with your failing presenting your own thesis and failing admitting that you do not have one.

Repeating Soudenjapan's thesis is weak again and agin does not make you any better. You still do not have an idea of your own and therefore a grasp of the entire event.

Come back when you got your own idea.

And don't hide it when you do not have your own idea by flooding the thread.


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 5:05 PM by Chris


Please reread my most recent posts and respond more appropriately.

I have just offered plenty in terms of general description of the nature of the Japanese presence in China and the causes of the atrocities, although I have explained my discomfort in doing this. I have not offered an overarching theory and I have explained why. I have also presented plenty of factual testimony in previous posts about the reality of Japanese rule in China.

If you want a little game of intellectual ping pong about something so serious and profound, go ahead. But hit the ball!! Please!!


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 5:44 PM by soudenjapan


Chris,

I don't read the unnecessarily long comment of yours. Make it concise and right spot on.



re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 8:42 PM by Chris


I am sorry if my posts are long but I am trying my best to talk about very complext and important issues as honestly as possible. Please read them and respond to them more appropriately.

re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/13/2005 9:14 PM by Chris


Souden Japan
Wordage:4162 words
Light generated: On the issue: minus 50. Into the mindset of the small minority of extreme nationalists in Japan 51. Thanks for the ride.

Chris
Wordage: 5936 words
Light generated? Not much for anyone who knows the reality of the Asian holocaust. Infact probably loads of mistakes. Insight into the a liberal western mindset? Are you even interested?


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/14/2005 4:02 AM by soudenjapan


Chris,

> my best to talk about very complext and important issues

Complexity does not mean that it cannot be reduced in size. There are always tabe of contents for books, executive summary for research papers. It is a matter of who does it, either I do it for you or you do it on your own. And the latter case is likely to bear the most accurate summary.

Besides, the whole text of your assertion is already recorded above. You do not need to worry about distortion. Just make your points crystal clear so that I don't miss any of the points you are trying to make in the message you are referring to.

Chris, you don't even use breaks in your comments, which makes your comments very hard to read in the first place.


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/14/2005 6:26 AM by Chris


Im sorry I can:t be bothered with you. You seem insincere and afraid to engage in real discussion and, with regard to this latest problem, seem to be suffering from a mild form of attention deficit disorder. You can't even be bothered to read a few hundred words in so that we can go ahead and have a discussion, after loads of comments saying I wasn't saying anything. You are rather impolitely asking to summarise for you. I'm sorry but while your attitude to argument is extremely childish (treating discussion of a holocaust as if it is a game to be won or lost), you seem to be acting as if you are my teacher in this last post. And yet I think it is you who might benefit from a good undergraduate reeducation. Anyway, I said further up that I would try, despite the lack of profit from this inane conversation, to try to reply to your points. I can't be bothered now. If you want to continue this discussion please reread the thread and respond more appropriately.


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/14/2005 7:02 AM by soudenjapan

Chris,

The main objectives the Imperial Army was pursuing in China were :

(1) To sweep Chinese fighters, military and civilian guerrillas, insurgents, terrorists, and their supporters both within and outside China.

(2) To replace the anti-Japanese government with a pro-Japanese government.

Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree, what is your view with regard to the objectives the Japanese military was pursuing in China?


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/14/2005 8:41 AM by Chris


I think we have come full circle. If you feel you want to, please reread my posts to get my reaction to these claims in detail. If you don't want to engage in the facts in detail, my summary of my reaction to your thesis is that it is simplistic to characterise the Japan's involvement in this way (I list the complications in various places), historically untextured and not very helpful in explaining the horrors of the Japanese occupation. I have positive descriptions of what I feel happened above. Also, early in our dialogue, I added what I think is an important warning that any attempt to use a description like yours of the Japanese involvement in China to provide some kind of partial justification or normalisation of what was a series of some of the worst war crimes in modern history is morally and intellectually bankrupt. You claim that you are not doing that and I will take you at your word that you do not want to offer any kind of justification for Japan's atrocities, but I have pointed to postings where you have moved in that direction.

As I have said, this argument has turned full circle. This is my last posting here. I feel that I have wasted too much time over the past couple of days on a discussion which I feel is headed nowhere very interesting very fast. I hope you will not characterise this decision unfairly. I hope I have misjudged you.


re: japanese point of view: why nanjing massacre
8/15/2005 4:08 AM by soudenjapan


Chris,

>I think we have come full circle.

Sure. Why not? Authers usually state their propositons and conclusions in the beginning of their writings, and summarize and restate them again at the end too. That's how it is.

How can you expect others to understand what you are trying to write when an auther, like yourself, is unable to summarize and highlight the points he is trying to make?

>This is my last posting here.

Suit yourself. After all it is up to you to join or leave. From the beginning it was impossible for you to deny an aspect of the war that the Chinese themselves do not deny because the anti-Japanese movement was a national one involving everybody for which they have such a huge significance as the most important common ground for the modern Chinese.



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