Here's a pretty interesting post from The Marmot, which brings another nuanced view to the tricky matter of national responsibility and history, both sensitive subjects on both the blogospherical and more general levels. A key excerpt:
"What really gets my goat, through, is when I hear Americans and Europeans taking Japan to task for its past. Example A: Rep. Henry Hyde warning Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro to stop visits of the Yasukuni Shrine if he’d like to address Congress. Listening to Seoul of Beijing lecture Tokyo over the Yasukuni Shrine ad nauseum is one thing. But when did the United States—or any other Western power, for that matter—suddenly get the moral authority to lecture the Japanese over a failure to atone for its imperial past? Hey, I’ve got an idea! Rather than lecture Koizumi, perhaps Hyde could show him the way by encouraging American authorities to show something even approximating an honest public discussion of the historic American role in the Philippines, Hawaii and any number of Central American victims of U.S. gunboat diplomacy. Perhaps throw in a mea cupla for the A-bomb and firebombing of Japanese cities as well. Or maybe he can write letters to the British and French to apologize for spending most of the period between the Berlin Conference and the 1960s screwing an obscenely large percentage of the planet’s landmass; it doesn’t take too much time in Africa to realize that the white man’s shit does in fact smell."
Touché. As much as I am critical of Japanese rightest tendencies when they do manifest, one has to keep in mind the politicized context of rightist Korean nationalism, as well as self-righteous American indignation, even as the United States continues to exhibit moral and historical amnesia – more on the level of public discourse than in professional historical circles – for war crimes such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the firebombing of Tokyo.