Sino-Japanese Notes: Incident in Hiroshima

Chinese media are reporting on an incident with strange resonance in Hiroshima, where on October 18, at about half past midnight Beijing time, a 37-year-old Japanese man attacked the Peace Memorial in an attempt to erase the words “wrong/mistake” (错误)from an inscription, screaming something along the lines of “Things we have done were not wrong!”

“自己做的事情没有错” is how the Chinese render it, which I suppose is what really matters here.

Hiroshima has been pretty quiet in the Chinese news of late, even in spite of the rumblings about a 2020 Olympic bid with Nagasaki, to which China is certainly internally plenty opposed.  Chinese audiences got some basic education about the number of civilian deaths in Nagasaki, anyway, when former prime minister Abe Shinzo Taro Aso went to the Peace Park there this past August.  However, note that Xinhua didn’t bother to send a photographer, relying instead on the French AFP for images.

Abe in Hiroshima, August 2009

Taro Aso (麻生太郎) in Nagasaki, August 2009

The BBS comments on the Hiroshima story are being kept quite light, but here are a few roughly translated retorts from the Chinese netizens:

纪念碑不应被毁,该毁的是靖国神社!这人糊涂啊 [Sure there is a memorial which needs to be destroyed: destroy Yasukuni Shrine!  This guy is a real muddle-head.]

And then, accosting his fellow commenters, this fellow steps up: 你们的国民就是人了?怎么没想到到南京献花?[Are you citizens really human beings?  Why have you not thought to go to Nanjing to lay a wreath?]

We will see how this develops.

And speaking of Nanjing, here is Kobayashi Yoshinori’s moderating voice (scans from my own collection):

Right-wing manga authors see Chang's _Rape of Nanking_ as just part of the communist propaganda conspiracy

Right-wing manga authors see Chang's _Rape of Nanking_ as just part of the communist propaganda conspiracy

Oh, fortunately there is some good news, though it has yet to be reported in Xinhua.   Black is back in in Tokyo.  (Was it ever out?)

Three fans of the visual kei rock band Nightmare are pictured in Tokyos Harajuku district. (Mainichi)

Three fans of the "visual kei" rock band Nightmare are pictured in Tokyo's Harajuku district. (Mainichi)

In the Mood for Love

China is really working hard to maximize at least the perception that it is the essential promoter of peace in East Asia, posing itself again as a vital go-between for U.S.-DPRK talks.  In this dispatch from Seoul, the Huanqiu Shibao breathes with excitement that an unnamed “high official” in the U.S. Defense Department has told Chosun Ilbo that Kim Jong Il has invited South Korean president Lee Myung-bak to Pyongyang.

The South Koreans deny it.  And although Xinhua leaves out the fact, the Chosun Ilbo story indicates the news came out at a DOD press briefing.   (Fortunately the Chosun Ilbo retains its conservative dignity by keeping North Korean hacking on the front page, not the presumptive summit rumors.)  But in the meantime, we have….

D.O.D. and Xinhua, teaming up for peace.  Kim and Lee together, sitting in a tree.  K.i.s.s.i.n.g.  Now isn’t that so sweet?

Truly we live in a harmonious society.