Adorable Japanese warmongers

This is taken from a roundtable discussion sponsored by 朝日グラフ/Asahi gurafu in 1932, shortly after 日本/Japan had invaded 东北/Northeast China/Manchuria and established a puppet regime there. The participants were fifth- and sixth-graders from 東京/Tōkyō. You should remember to visualize the kids in their cute Prussian school uniforms.

Interviewer: What is the Manchurian Incident all about?

Katō: The Chinese insulted us and our soldiers are fighting them in Manchuria to avenge it.

Interviewer: The League of Nations has been making quite a fuss recently. What do you think of the League?

Katō: It's a place where the cowards of the world get together to talk.

Interviewer: If you were Foreign Minister, what would you do?

Nakajima: The League of Nations is biased, so I wouldn't have anything to do with it.

Hotta: If I became Foreign Minister, anybody that kept repeating that kind of nonsense would get a real punch in the nose. (laughter)

Interviewer: Do you think there will be a war between Japan and America?

Fukuzawa: Yes, I think so. Americans are so arrogant. I'd like to show them a thing or two.

Katō: They act so big all the time, they need a good beating. I'd annihilate them.

Fukutomi: Oh, I'd like to try that too.

Interviewer: If Japan becomes more and more isolated, what would you do?

Several students: We'll keep trying, we'll keep going, we'll stick at it till we die. (A forceful chorus of voices)

Fukutomi: The end is when you're dead, isn't it? (She meant "I'll keep on to the end," and said it in a steady voice.)

Interviewer: What's most annoying these days?

Fukuzawa: [Foreign Minister] Shidehara's weak-kneed foreign policy.

Fukunaga: The cowardice of the cabinet.

Interviewer: How about the opposite? What has been most delightful?

Nakajima: Our great victory at Machansan.

Katō: It's great to see Japan winning one battle after another.

Fukunaga: I really liked it when Ambassador Yoshizawa told Chairman Briand that the League was stupid and that it should do just what Japan wants.

(quoted in Saburō Ienaga, The Pacific War, 1931-1945, 1968)


Vino S said...

I discussed conscription on my blog the other day.

What I failed to take into account - other than the violation of liberty and the military uselessness of conscription in the modern world - is that conscription can be used to indoctrinate the population into authoritarian and militaristic ways of thinking - as you point out with this post on Japan in the 30s which tried to do exactly that.

Normally peaceable men were, presumably, bullied and cajoled by their offiers to make them capable of doping terrible things during their war in China and their invasions of parts of South-East Asia.

Vino S said...

Strange typo in my previous post - I wrote 'doping' instead of 'doing'!!