The Japanese War of Aggression against China

Why on earth would anyone think the Chinese media and educational system (and, perhaps to a lesser extent the Korean media as well) are using this as a propaganda slogan? (See this post for context.)


And don’t get me wrong. It was a war of aggression. I’m just saying the peculiarly looooong and emotionally loaded name used to refer to it seems to serve as a trigger to keep the outrage flowing. Whether the outrage should or shouldn’t be kept flowing is another conversation. I know of no other parallel in the history of war. The Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of the Somme, the Sino-Japanese War, the Opium Wars, even “the War on Terror” – none is larded with propaganda against the enemy. As someone who is perenially fascinated with the way words are used to play on people’s emotions, I can’t help but be fascinated by this phenomenon.

(It’s also interesting to see how Japanese communists critical of their government use the term. It’s almost as if they’re mouthpieces for the CCP)

The Discussion: 7 Comments

I think you should google “War of Northern Aggression”

This crap has been in history textbooks in southern US states for years. I can only imagine how WWI was portrayed in Germany in the years before and during Hitler’s rise.

It is true that history is written by the victors. But sometimes those who lose choose to demonize others for their failures.

June 16, 2006 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

Thanks for that Google suggestion – it would be really comparable if the US media and textbooks all referrd to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression. I have never heard the phrase before

June 16, 2006 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

Tomboy, I was thinking exactly the same thing! I have friends who call it that and will argue about it for hours. It can be confusing though, because that’s what Mexicans sometimes call the Mexican-American war.

June 16, 2006 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

>(It’s also interesting to see how Japanese communists critical of their government use the term. It’s almost as if they’re mouthpieces for the CCP)

If your looking for a true Chinese mouthpiece in Japan, you may be interested to know that the Asahi Newspaper has a contract with the Chinese government that prevents it from writing anything ‘not-profitable’ about the Chinese government in exchange for being China’s official Japanese news source. This also prevents it from being critical of North Korea and puts it in a position where it has to be critical of Japan when necessary to comply with China. It’s also been accused of simply making things up up the request of China, however these acquisitions come from the right wing, and have never gone any further then simple acquisitions.�����V���̒����񓹖��

June 16, 2006 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

Sorry, I forgot that since Safari actually shows Japanese in the URL, it doesn’t copy well to web forms…

June 16, 2006 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

In the previous comment thread Dennis says
“It sounded like we forced the Japanese into the second world war. I am surprise that Americans don’t scream and yell at them about this.”

I yell when I can. But in fact there is a school of thought in the USA that holds this to be true. Not out of love for Imperial Japan, of course, but — well, I’m not sure, but it looks like hatred of getting involved with anything foreign, especially if it involves anything favorable to England: there must have been a traitorous conspiracy behind it. Anyway, the notion that Roosevelt deliberately provoked Japan into attacking us is alive and, in a manner of speaking, well. There was a fairly popular book pushing the idea a couple of years ago, and Gore Vidal wrote a typically articulate and informed and dishonest presentation in the New York Review.

PS: How one wishes that Operation Southern Freedom had had better followup and established a secure democracy and left no room for all that revisionism.

June 17, 2006 @ 5:53 pm | Comment

Not the same, but it intrigued me when I looked at world war memorials in France referring to the second or third German war.

June 17, 2006 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

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