August 26, 2007
Sixty two years on, American and European commentators continue to blather on about the unwillingness of Japanese prime ministers to apologize about World War II. The Yasukuni shrine, where Japan’s 2.5 million dead soldiers are buried, has the same effect on our all-knowing ones as a man sucking a lemon in the front row of a concert has on a flutist playing Mozart. Every time a Japanese premier visits the shrine, the pundits go bananas and demand an apology. My question is apology for what? Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The firebombing of Tokyo? Roosevelt’s embargo which forced Japan to go to war against Uncle Sam?
Pearl Harbor was a sneak attack against a military target. The firebombing of Japanese cities was an overt act against old men, women and children. The fat pundocracy should go and see Letter From Iwo Jima, the marvellous Clint Eastwood movie about gallantry in action by the outnumbered and outgunned Japanese on that miserable island. Westerners call the Japanese fanatics. I call them heroic. I’ve spent my adult life practising martial arts with the Japanese, and have named five of my yachts “Bushido,” after the code of the Samurai. Give me a Japanese Samurai any day, and you can keep your Podhoretzes, Kristols and Kagans, all sofa Samurais and very ugly to boot. Victor’s justice was practiced after the war against the Japanese, and one of the great crimes was to try Prince Konoye, “le chevalier sans peur and sans reproche.” The pundits can go to hell. And Japanese prime ministers should continue to visit and honor their war dead. The war criminal was Harry Truman, and nobody complains when someone visits his grave.