The following is just my two cents. Take it or leave it... I've found out that what I think usually doesn't cause the world to turn upside down anyway. Don't send me your mails about "My father fought in...." My dad did too. Know what? I don't care. - Mike (young at heart)
You'll read the news and they'll constantly tell you about bad blood between Japan and her neighbors. Every time some dumb Japanese politician (all over 65-years-old) goes to Yasukuni Shrine, the shrine that supposedly glorifies Japan's past military aggression, the politicians in China and Korea (all over 65-years-old - excepting that lunatic who currently "runs" North Korea) all lose their incontinence and shat their adult diapers. They raise hell and scream about what the other lunatics who "run" Japan are doing and complain about "Japan's war-time militarism" and "past aggressions." (Note: I suspect that Japanese prime ministers visiting Yasukuni shrine while in office could be a sign of senility... We should look into that!)
The news services get into a big tiff and saber-rattling commences along with the typical lame excuses and press conferences....
It's a big deal to the (all over 65-years-old) crowd. But you know what? From my point of view, the vast majority of younger people don't care.
Anytime you see these anti-Japanese or anti-whatever demonstrations on TV, you'll see mostly old people and a few young lunatics in the crowd... Of course, the world has more than enough lunatics to go around for every country... Unfortunately. But you know what?
From my point of view, the vast majority of younger people don't care.
The vast majority of young people from China or Korea (that I've met) and ALL the younger Japanese people I know and live with simply don't care.
World War II was a different world to them. It has nothing to do with them at all. I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a Japanese under 50-years-old who was garreting Chinese civilians in Shanghai in 1942 or administering puncture wounds to Koreans about the same time.
Nope. I'd reckon you couldn't find a single one.
Just like you couldn't find a single former slave owner alive today in the Southern USA.
It's past history. The younger people just seem to not care. And it's a good thing.
I cannot give any data or statistics on how the young people think, especially in Japan, but I can give you anecdotal evidence.
Ever heard of a South Korean boys group named, "Big Bang"? No? Neither had I until my then 17-year-old daughter told me about them about a year or so ago.
Big Bang is massive in Japan; along with several other Korean pop-acts.
Folks in the west have heard of Paul McCartney or the Rolling Stones. Yes. They played or are playing at Tokyo dome in recent days or early next year. Tokyo Dome holds about 55,000 people... Probably the only western acts that could sell the place out today is Paul McCartney returning to Japan for the first time in 11 years - Doing tons of Beatles songs, by the way - and the Rolling Stones, coming back to Japan for the first time in nearly ten years...
But, in Japan, neither Paul nor Mick Jagger can claim any bragging rights over Big Bang; especially when it comes to young people. The McCartney shows were filled with 55 to 70-year old people. The Stones will probably have the same.
Big Bang? Three nights at Tokyo Dome sold out within the first 2 hours and packed with 150,000 screaming young girls and guys... And they did the same last year too!
I'm not too hip on today's top of the charts pop music, but I have asked many Japanese women ages between 17 and 35 and they all know who Big Bang is... The Beatles or the Stones? Not so much. Ask any Japanese under 25 if they've ever heard of the Beatles and they'll all say, "Yeah... I think so. But I don't know any of their music..." They don't... But I reckon there's not a single Japanese under 25 who hasn't heard of Big Bang.
It's simply amazing.
Photo of Japanese teenager showing vicious anti-Korean hostility... Nah, this 18-year-old Japanese girl doesn't just love Big Bang, she worships them!
To these fans, and many young people just like them, World War II was in a different age in a different universe; they simply don't care about it at all....
I asked my now 18-year-old daughter about Big Bang and she told me that "...all my friends love them! They sing in Japanese that isn't native speaker Japanese, but that's OK. It is what makes them 'cute.'"
I asked my 35-year-old radio station assistant about Big Bang and she told me, "They are huge! All my friends like them. You just cannot get tickets for their shows anywhere!" This is from a girl who works at a radio station, on the most popular show on that station; you'd think she could get tickets if she pulled some strings. No way.
Last night, I asked a 42-year-old woman who runs a restaurant in my neighborhood about Big Bang. Of course she knew who they were. She went on to tell me that several of her close friends are "Big Bang crazy."
Like I said, none of these people were bayoneting people in South East Asia about 70 years ago. They don't care. It has nothing to do with them... Just like neither you nor I owned any slaves on southern cotton plantations.
Another world. Different countries in a different universe at a different time. It has nothing to do with them and their lives. It's other people's baggage. It seems the younger people don't want to carry it... Hell, I don't either.
These are real people who I live and interact with. The clowns in the Japanese government who have never had a real job, who steal our tax monies to line the pockets of their well-connected friends, and hire their friends for cushy government jobs are the ones who care about shit that happened 70 years ago...
It is all a part of these oldsters world and part and parcel of their jobs to maintain controversy so that they can justify spending our taxes on insane nonsense and keeping their friends happy...
Thank god for people like the members of Big Bang. They don't seem to care either about World War II, nor do they seem to care about what (over 65-year-old) politicians do. They care about now and their lives and their fans.
Check this. This video is nearing 100 million views on Youtube. Big Bang has many videos (even singing in Japanese too! - a language that is banned by the government in Korea (who are all people over 65-years-old, by the way...)
Here they are at Tokyo Dome for the final of their 2012 Japan tour shows. Laugh all you want, these guys are the real thing.... (Think about it: 2013 tour? $110 a ticket multiplied by 165,000 people... That's about $18.1 million dollars - give or take a few yen!)
And REALLY thank god that these young people and their fans will someday soon be in their 60s... Maybe then, we can put this WWII friction to rest...
Why not? World War II is ancient history, it has nothing to do with today's young people. They don't care. And I think that's a good thing.
(This article inspired by my good friend Andrew Sirkis living in northern Japan)