Le révisionisme japonais à l’oeuvre; Toru Hashimoto a besoin de voix et de supports pour que son parti prenne une envergure nationale, et il a décidé de racoler à droite, auprès de gens comme Shinzo Abe (Premier Ministre de la diarrhée, mais très efficace héraut du conservatisme qui a réussi en quelques mois de gouvernement à durablement orienter l’éducation officielle japonaise vers la droite) et Shintaro Ishihara, le gouverneur-maire raciste de Tokyo, la honte du Japon.
En ce qui concerne Hashimoto, à part son dégoût du syndicalisme, je ne sais pas si ce virage à droite et son appréciation de l’histoire sont sincères ou non, ni même si cela a vraiment de l’importance à ses yeux. Il n’est pas connu pour son intérêt pour la culture ou la littérature (il a fortement réduit les subsides pour le théâtre de marionnettes bunraku) et son attitude récente vis-à-vis de l’industrie nucléaire montre que son opportunisme a plus d’importance que ses principes.
- August 22, 2012, 8:17 PM JST
Osaka Mayor Pitches Gallery of Controversial History
Outspoken Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, known for his unorthodox style and views, wants to build a facility where Japan’s history — in all its varying versions — can be put on display. A historical gallery of Japan’s diplomatic headaches, if you will.
The popular politician envisions the facility to focus on Japan’s post-war history. Thus, if the mayor gets his way, the country’s various territorial spats and controversial accounts of wartime atrocities like the so-called “comfort women” — historical cold sores that have strained regional relations in recent weeks — can be expected to be among the banner exhibits. The mayor himself stoked Japan’s diplomatic flames with South Korea on Tuesday with controversial comments asking the neighboring country to provide proof to back up its claims that Japan’s military enslaved Korean women during its colonial rule at the beginning of the 20th century.
Mr. Hashimoto thinks Japan’s younger generations’ understanding of modern Japanese history is shallow. History lessons have been insufficient in laying out the country’s wartime positions and the regional consequences that followed.
“There are history textbooks that cover the post-war period, but there aren’t really classes that make (the students) feel like they’ve learned the subject. As the mayor has said it’s come to a point where the subject is barely studied for university entrance exams,” said an Osaka city hall official who oversees municipal policy.
History is a contentious matter in East Asia. So many versions, so little consensus, so much heat. Even as Japan has become closer with both China and South Korea on economic and cultural fronts, unresolved tensions stemming from Japan’s handling of the countries’ historic and territorial grievances remain recurring flashpoints. The last two weeks alone have been a diplomatic tap dance for Japan, trading protests with its neighbors after groups from each country made controversial landings on the pair of contested island clusters.
The competing claims are rooted in different historical interpretations: who planted the flag first or how its territorial status changed after World War II. The Osaka mayor’s proposed gallery would likely include the stories behind each country’s claims side-by-side, according to the city official. It will offer a multi-faceted explainer of sorts when it comes to issues some might consider factually grey.
The same would go for other hot button issues like Korean “comfort women,” who said they had been held as sexual slaves by the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s. The subject is fraught with conflicting accounts from the number of women enslaved to whether it happened at all. Mr. Hashimoto pushed the latter line on Tuesday. Echoing similar comments by Japanese politicians in the past, Mr. Hashimoto challenged the South Korean government to offer proof that the women were forcibly taken by the Japanese military through “violence or intimidation.” South Korea and China have criticized Japan for printing watered down versions of its wartime aggression in its textbooks and for statements by politicians and nationalists denying the events took place.
But breaking ground is still several years and billions of yen away. A project team, established on Aug. 1, is still in the preliminary stages. Having just started examining what exhibits are possible the end result could look very different from Mr. Hashimoto’s vision.
Mr. Hashimoto, who first raised the idea in late May, aims to have a firm plan in place within the next two years, but comparable projects usually take closer to a decade or two. Then there is the issue of cost and space. The mayor has proposed using a little over three acres of public land and earmark part of next year’s budget for the project. But city officials have questioned whether building such a facility, expected to cost tens of billions of yen, is the wisest use of public funds in the face of more pressing needs.