I am just as loyal an American as any other Japanese American, but I am not a Japan-basher. Why are so many Japanese Americans, especially the “leaders,” so anti-Japan, the land of our ancestors?
Do we ever hear of Chinese Americans or Korean Americans saying, writing, or taking stands considered anti-China or anti-Korea? Are the Japanese American “leaders” still trying to prove “we are loyal Americans,” just as during the World War II period, by trying to continue to be anti-Japan?
Aren’t we proud of the great accomplishments of the Japanese in the fields of science, technology, inventions, Nobel prizes won, etc., etc.? Do we demonstrate our pride to Japan and the Japanese people?
Right after the 3/11/11 disaster in Japan, newspapers praised the Japanese about the fact that there was no looting, that everyone waited in line for relief in an orderly matter, etc. Did the Japanese American “leaders” publicly praise the Japanese? No!
Recently, Japanese scientists made great discoveries and advances in the stem cell field. Did or will the Japanese American “leaders” praise them publicly? In Congress?
Instead we have the likes of Rep. Mike Honda, columnist Phil Shigekuni, and San Fernando Valley JACL regarding the comfort women situation, the statue in the City of Glendale, etc.
Granted, there were comfort women stations during World War II. There are enough materials (some appeared in the Japanese language section of The Rafu Shimpo but not in the English section) to indicate that the majority of these young girls were “sold” by their poor families for money; many of the villagers were so poor that they sold their daughters in order to obtain money for the rest of the family.
Many of the “brokers” or “pimps” were not Japanese but local native men, who procured the girls and sold them to the Japanese military.
Two main positive purposes were achieved by the comfort women situation: it provided money for the poor families (and maybe the women themselves) and secondly — perhaps more important — protected the young girls in the local occupied land from being raped by the soldiers.
Stereotypically speaking, soldiers and rape go hand-in-hand, whether in Asia with Japanese soldiers or in Europe with American and European soldiers. Nobody makes any stinks bout these occurrences in all the countries.
It is stated that Koreans and Korean Americans urged the Glendale officials to build the statues —would Japanese Americans do similar things for Japan in a similar situation? Or do we consider ourselves too assimilated into the American mainstream to care about Japan?
I think this is food for thought.
A. Sato, Rancho Palos Verdes