Huerfano County, Colorado
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A PEEP INTO HISTORY AND RELIGION.
How courteous is the Japanese;
He always says, "Excuse it, please."
He climbs into his neighbor's garden,
And smiles, and says, "I beg your pardon;"
He bows and grins a friendly grin,
And calls his hungry family in;
He grins and bows a friendly bow;
"So sorry, this my garden now."
— Ogden Nash
Within the area once occupied by Tinian Town there stand today, despite the ravage of time and war, a cluster of large boulders. On a marble slab nearby is what seems to be an explanation, but it is written in Japanese. Beside it is a plain white sign with black letters put up by G-2 (Intelligence) which reads: “Prehistoric ruins left by an unknown race which inhabited Tinian many centuries ago. Probably formed first floor of temple or house for chieftain.” Some of the ruins look like great square pillars four feet thick and fifteen feet in length. These have tumbled down over each other, and only one, in the center of the group, is still standing. In its crumbling, bowl-shaped capital plants are growing. The rocks are very dark gray, weather-beaten coral. They cover an area approximately 25 feet square. They impress me as being evidence of engineering ability on the part of the early people who lugged those rocks and lifted them into place. The ruins suggest a similarity of architecture-—in all shape, if not in size—usually associated with the stonehenge in England. Whether or not there is actually any parallel I am in no position to say, but the possibility of similar religious and social ideas is strong. Even if there was no connection between these people and the peoples of early England, certainly it is safe to assume that both reached the same culture peak represented by the stonehenge, or even the earliest Egyptians, or the Mayas.
The Marianas were first brought to the attention of the Western world when Magellan and his men came upon them during their famous circumnavigation of the earth in 1519-1522. It may be worthwhile to sidetrack from this sketch long enough to take in a description of that historic voyage as a sort of comparison with our own crossing of the Pacific some 425 years later:
"... This was far more a heroic voyage than that of Columbus; for eight and ninety days Magellan sailed unflinchingly over that vast, empty ocean, sighting nothing but two little desert islands. The crews were rotten with scurvy; there was little water and that "bad, and putrid" biscuits to eat. Rats were hunted eagerly; cowhide was gnawed and sawdust devoured to stay the pangs of hunger. In this state the expedition reached the Ladrones."
"... The islanders came out to greet them in sleek, fast 'flying proas', outrigger canoes fitted with three- cornered sails. They brought fruit and food, and the grateful Spaniards pressed trinkets on them in return.
"The island people swarmed over the ships like twentieth-century souvenir hunters, and began grabbing everything not nailed down. Finally they cut loose a ship's boat and took it ashore. The Spaniards went after them with firearms, and bows and arrows. In a fierce fight, Magellan's men killed half a dozen islanders, burned fifty houses, took back the ship's boat, stole all the provisions they could find, named the place 'las Islas de Las Ladrones' (Islands of Thieves), and took off."
"They discovered the Philippines, and here Magellan was killed in a fight with the natives. Several other captains were murdered. Five ships had started with Magellan in August, 1519 (27 years after Columbus' first voyage to America), and two hundred and eighty men; in July, 1522, the Vittoria, with a remnant of one-and- thirty men aboard, returned up the Atlantic to her anchorage near the Mole of Seville, in the river Guadalquivir—the first ship that ever circumnavigated this planet."
In later years the Ladrones became an outlying possession of Spain, and were renamed Marianas Islands after Queen Maria Ana, a patroness of the Jesuit missionaries who came to convert the natives. "During the early years of Spanish rule, there was much romance as well as death in the Marianas. Here rich galleons from Mexico would put in on the way to Manila, to return home laden with treasure. Here English buccaneers would stop off and enjoy 'making Holes in the Hides of the Infidels'."
During the nineteenth century the islands served American whaling ships as stopping places where crews were rested, the vessels refitted, and fresh stores and supplies taken aboard. An attempt to establish a colony of American and Hawaiian families by an American, Captain Brown, in 1910, for the purpose of selling supplies to the whalers, came to naught at the hands of the Spaniards. ("The reason for race prejudice can be traced back to a natural need for security. Everyone wants to feel secure. And he feels most secure in familiar surroundings with people he knows. For this reason it is natural for us to resent it when strangers come among us, get jobs, and settle down to make themselves at home. We do not understand the 'foreigners,' and deep down beneath the surface we are afraid of them. This resentment happens unless we have become used to strangers by travel or by living among then as friends. On the surface, it is usual for men to belittle the stranger, to make fun of his ways. When the unconscious fear of strangers is very great, men will even gang up on them."
The islands were destined to remain generally unknown to most of the world until one morning in June, 1898, the American cruiser, Charlestown, steamed into Apra Harbor and opened fire. The Governor asked about the noise, and was told that the Americans were probably paying their respects to him by firing a salute. So the captain of the port rowed out to apologize for not answering the salute because there was no ammunition. That was when Guam learned that the United States and Spain were at war. Next day the Governor, with 110 soldiers, quietly surrendered to the Americans. The island was turned over to the United States Navy for administration.”
The rest of the Marianas, in fact all Micronesia which includes the Carolines, Marshall, and the Gilbert Islands were sold by Spain to Germany for 4½ million dollars. During the 17 years or so that Germany held these islands, the greatest, if not the only, use made of them was in the production of copra from the coconut palm. "Copra is the dried kernel of the coconut, used in making soap."
Then came World War I. It might be interesting to dig into a bit of history here concerning the Japanese role in that War. "The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, concluded at the turn of the century, and scrapped at the Washington Conference in 1922, must be accounted the main factor for Japan's participation in the first World War on the side of Great Britain and as a partner of the Allies. The Japanese themselves were not particularly interested in the European war, and Japan's choice was not dictated by sentiment, which was by no means hostile to Germany, but by practical considerations as to the effect of the War on Japan's future. In other words, Japanese leaders gambled on an Allied victory and won.
“Dr. Hidemichi Akagi, a Japanese historian, has ascribed Japan's entry into the last European War to the Anglo-Japanese Alliance as well as 'to the memory of the German hand which robbed Japan of the Liaotung peninsula in 1895.'
" … Japan's ultimatum to Germany was framed as an 'advice' (and) demanded the withdrawal of German vessels from Japanese and Chinese waters and surrender of the leased territory of Kiaochow 'with a view of eventual restoration of the same to China.' A week's time limit was fixed, and when Germany failed to reply, Japan declared war on August 23, 1914.
"Japanese forces immediately attacked Tsingtao which was captured from the Germans—mostly volunteer fighters— after a siege of two months. At the same time Japanese naval units took possession of the German islands of the Caroline, Marshall, and Marianas groups in the southern Pacific north of the equator, which were later formally placed under Japanese administration by a mandate (Class C) of the League of Nations. Despite the League's strict prohibition, the Japanese fortified some of them."
MANDATES: "To General Jan Smuts, the South African representative on the Imperial War Cabinet in 1918, goes the credit of first proposing the mandate system for the control of certain territories belonging to the former Turkish, Russian, and Austrian Empires, which, according to the principle of 'self determination,' were to be detached from these sovereignties in the peace settlement . . . Subsequently, the mandate idea was extended to the former German colonies; but as a South African statesman, interested in securing German South West Africa for his own country, Smuts originally excluded the German possessions from his mandate plan."
" . . . The League of Nations was to possess at least a nominal suzerainty over the former German colonies and Ottoman territories which were mandated to other powers-—British Dominions, France, and Japan, and the League Council was to receive annual reports from the Mandatories and to seek the advice of a permanent commission of the League 'on all matters relating to the observance of the mandates.'"
During the time the Japanese were in control of the Marianas they cultivated and exploited them assiduously. The United States abided by the agreement not to fortify Guam, but Japan stealthily built a big second class naval base on Saipan, and a fine air base on Tinian. It was from these islands that the attack on Guam was made in early December, 1941. Japan's aim was to “deprive American air and naval forces of the important stations along the 5000-mile route "between Hawaii and the Philippines." Lacking adequate defenses and surrounded by fortified Japanese mandated islands, Guam was lost in the first week of the War.
Between the Wars, however, in addition to fortifications the Japs, as I have said, saw to it that the islands paid off well economically and financially. The South Seas Development Company (known as N.K.K.), about 25% government financed, and also a subsidiary of the Oriental Development Company which in its turn was about 50% government financed, was in charge of the cultivation of the cane, its harvesting, hauling, and grinding into sugar. The raising of cane was especially concentrated on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. I am told by unreliable and unofficial—i.e., a Seabee—sources that the annual yield was in the neighborhood of $6,000,000 worth of sugar. "One enterprising firm used to distill whiskey from the sugar molasses and sell it in Tokyo as 'Genuine Old Scotch Whiskey Made in Saipan.' It cost about eight cents a bottle.”
For the purpose of working the plantations, the Japanese augmented the native population by importing labor. Altogether, the civilians in the Marianas may be classified into four general groups. We shall take a glimpse at each.
The CHAMORROS are descended from the earliest inhabitants of the islands. Like the rest of the human race, these people are a highly mixed group, the descendants "from the Spanish, Filipino, and other soldiery who garrisoned Guam and other of the Marianas islands for generations during the Spanish rule, and took native wives. A very much smaller group of the native population is known as Kanakas and they are beneath the social scale of the Chamorros because of their more primitive ways and lack of development. They are related tribally to the Central Caroline natives of the Truk region."
There are about 25,000 Chamorros on Guam, and practically all of the remaining 3000 are on Saipan. They are American nationals, not citizens. Their culture is chiefly Spanish, and they are Roman Catholics. Most of them speak English, certainly all the younger ones. As a whole they are "peaceful, good-natured, law-abiding, hard-working, easy to get along with.” "They detest the Japanese, who treated them with harsh brutality during their occupation of Guam, Throughout the occupation, the Chamorros kept alive the spirit of resistance, hid their American flags, followed the news with short-wave receivers in bush, and sang this ditty:
'Oh, Mr. Sam, Sam, my dear Uncle Sam,
Won't you pleace come back to Guam?
My life is in danger, you'd better come
And kill these foreign rats on Guam.'"
"Chamorros are generally light-brown in color and short in stature. The men average about five feet four inches in height. They have round heads, broad faces, high cheekbones, and short flat noses. Their hair is generally straight and black."
During the early days of Spain's colonization, "there was much trouble. The Chamorros were a proud people who liked their ancient customs and beliefs and disliked the heavy hand of Spain. They saw the white men bring religion (Jesuit missionaries), and over the years they were to become devout Catholics. But the white men had also brought rats, mice, fleas, mosquitoes, disease, bloodshed, terror, and famine. When Magellan arrived, there were perhaps a hundred thousand Chamorros living on the islands. By 1764, about 240 years later, there were little more than fifteen hundred, most of them women and children.”
Along with mantillas and other familiar features of Spanish dress and custom, prostitution was also introduced by the white men. Although the practice may not be as extensive now as formerly, its effects are still evident. The venereal disease rate among the natives is high. One-third of the islanders are afflicted with gonorrhea. Yaws, a South Seas version, of syphilis is the principal disease of this kind on the islands. Although rare among white men, its rate among other adults was nearly 100% ten years ago.
Another source gives us this picture of the Chamorros in the Marianas: "The Chamorros are even more advanced (than the natives of the Palaus). Even on the old Japanese islands, they are farmers, rather than tribesmen and are familiar with Japanese versions of automobiles, plumbing and radio. Local education was considerable and the Chamorros clung to Catholicism as a remnant of Spanish rule. On Saipan they were the only private land-owners. In addition to sugar cane—the one cash crop—Saipan farms in peace-time produced a
diversified harvest—yams, melons, rice, maize, copra, bananas, papaya, tobacco, mangoes, guava and feed for the local stock, which consisted of a herd of goats on every farm, many pigs and some cattle—mostly bullocks used for hauling.
"Saipan Chamorros were neutral during the battle and friendly to Americans afterward, principally because they had resented Japanese interference with their church and assumption of racial superiority—which is something for Caucasian governors to think about—and because many knew the Americans through their relatives on Guam. Today, most of them are working the land or tending stock. Self-rule has been sufficiently successful to permit now their further return toward normal living.
"Other Chamorros are on Pagan and Rota, but the bulk of the race is already under American rule again at Guam. There, 19,000 persons survived two battles and two years of Japanese occupation, and came out such typical Americans that, five months after the retaking of the island, all but 700 of them were self-supporting.
“The community immediately put seventy-two teachers back to work teaching 3000 pupils. It bought $158,000 worth of War Bonds while its principal towns still lay in ruins. Although basically farmers like their Saipan relatives, and although they never had an exportable cash crop, the Guamanians, in forty years under American rule, developed more than any other island people. With education available, they became attorneys, agricultural experts, nurses, operators of everything from sewage systems to electrical plants."
All other civilians on the Marianas are Japanese and Korean. The people who came here from the Japanese home islands constitute about 10% of the population, but it is in this comparatively small group—because of their better education and background, not racial superiority—that we find 90% of the administrators and professional people. And precisely because of their education and background they remain most faithful to the Japanese ideology.
I shall interrupt this part of the story of the Marianas and their peoples to examine the meaning and content of "Japanese ideology." According to Webster, the word "ideology" means the manner or content of thinking characteristic of an individual or class. Therefore when we speak of Jap ideology we mean the ideas which a Jap believes, the things he thinks and lives by. Even at this late stage of World War II's development it will not hurt us to make certain that we understand with sureness and clarity all that Jap ideology embraces, precisely that against which we fight. It is essential that we understand clearly Japan's "divine mission," and that we be unwaveringly sure of what precipated such fiery names as Pearl Harbor, Singapore, and Corregidor. But even more important we should know this to understand the Japanese civilians on these islands; what it is that made them what they are. I do not blame them for believing as they do, for in similar circumstances, deprived of an education in many respects free, fired by endless repetition of dogmatic assertions, we too would have grown to be and believe as they. We must understand in order to deal with them justly and humanely what it is that prompts so many of these Japanese to say to us, "Tokyo bad, Yokohama bad, Osaka bad, but Japan good. Japan of God. Japan cannot lose, will win war."
"Those who see Japan only as a greedy, aggressive nation bent upon conquest for her own material advantage miss the real character of Japan. Her crusade is essentially religious and spiritual. Every child of the Empire grows up believing with every fiber of his being that:
Japan is the only divine land.
Japan's Emperor is the only divine Emperor.
Japan's people are the only divine people.
Therefore Japan must be the light of the world.
“We shall build our Capital all over the world, and make the whole world our dominion.' So reads the rescript of the Emperor Jimmu, supposed to have been issued by him upon the founding of the Japanese Empire 2600 years ago. . . . God did not merely create the islands of Japan—he begot them. The gods Izanagi and Isanami, uniting in marriage gave birth to the Japanese islands. The islands themselves are divine beings, favored lands, totally different from the rest of the earth.
"Then as to the Emperor: The heavenly pair who begot the islands also gave birth to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, whose descendants ruled Japan. The Japanese, of course, do not call the present descendant Emperor, but refer to him as Tenno, the Heavenly King. He is not to be classed for a moment with the emperors and kings of this world. (He is O-Tenshi-Sama, the Son of Heaven, with the right to rule the world.)
"But the Japanese divinity does not stop with the land and the Emperor. The people themselves partake of it. The earliest inhabitants of Japan were gods; and from them descended the present Yamato race, Seed of the Sun. All other mortals are of a lower order. 'From the fact of the divine descent of the Japanese people,' says the Japanese scholar Hirata, 'proceeds their immeasurable superiority in courage and intelligence.'
"If Japan is begotten of God, if her Emperor is the only heavenly king on this planet, if her people are the elect of mankind, there comes, logically, this conclusion: Japan is sent to save the world, and world peace can come only through Japanese sovereignty. . . . . It is a religious passion. The leading sect of Shinto considers Japan 'the root of the world,' destined to teach other nations.
"The religious patriotism of Japan burns at whitest heat in the army. Among the people, the army shares in a peculiar sense the sanctity of the Emperor. . . . The people know that the army's only thought is the glory of Nippon; they see the soldier as a Galahad, with the strength of ten because his heart is pure.
"The army, identified with divine power, identified with Japan's mission to save the world, regards itself as a messenger of peace and benediction to that world. The War Office declares: To bring together all the races of the world into one happy accord has been the ideal and the national aspiration of the Japanese since the very foundation of their Empire. We deem this the great mission of the Japanese race. We also aspire to make a clean sweep of injustice and inequity from the earth and to bring about ever-lasting happiness among mankind.
"These are fine words. There is something fine about any passionate religionist and something dangerous too. Particularly when he believes with Mahamet that the sword is the key of heaven and hell."
"The Reverend Dr. Ebina, one of the leading lights of the Protestant pastorate in Japan, plunges more deeply still into this doctrine, according to which, as already noted, the whole Japanese nation is, in a manner,
apotheosized. Says he:
'Though the encouragement of ancestor-worship cannot be regarded as part of the essential teaching of Christianity, it (Christianity) is not opposed to the notion that, when the Japanese Empire was founded, its early rulers were in communication with the Great Spirit that rules the universe. Christians, according to this theory, without doing violence to their creed, may acknowledge that the Japanese nation has a divine origin. It is only when we realize that the Imperial Ancestors were in close communion with God (or the Gods), that we understand how sacred is the country in which we live.'
"It needs no comment of ours to point out how thoroughly the nation must be saturated by the doctrines under discussion for such amazing utterances to be possible. If so-called Christians can think thus, the non-Christian majority must indeed be devout Emperor-worshippers and Japan—worshippers. Such the go-ahead portion of the nation undoubtedly is—the students, the army, the navy, the emigrants to Japan's new foreign possessions, all the more ardent spirits. The peasantry, as before noted, occupy themselves little with new thoughts, clinging rather to the Buddhist beliefs of their forefathers. But nothing could be further removed from even their minds than the idea of offering any organized resistance to the propaganda going on around them.
"As a matter of fact, the spread of the new ideas has been easy, because a large class derives power from their diffusion, while to oppose them is the business of no one in particular. Moreover, the disinterested love of truth
for its own sake is rare; the patience to unearth it is rarer still, especially in the East. Patriotism, too, is a mighty engine working in the interests of credulity. How should men not believe in a system that produces such
excellent practical results, a system which has united all the scattered elements of national feeling into one focus, and has thus created a powerful instrument for the attainment of national aims? Meanwhile a generation is growing up which does not so much as suspect that its cherished beliefs are inventions of yesterday.
"The new religion, in its present stage (note, this was written sometime prior to 1935), still lacks one important item—a sacred book. Certain indications show that this lacuna will be filled by the elevation of the more important Imperial Rescripts to that rank, accompanied doubtless by an authoritative commentary, as their style is too abstruse to be understanded of the people. To these Imperial Rescripts some of the poems composed by his present Majesty maybe added. . . .
"One might have imagined that Japan's new religionists would have experienced some difficulty in persuading foreign nations of the truth of their dogmas. Things have fallen out otherwise, Europe and America evince a singular taste for the marvellous, and find a zest in self-depreciation. . . .
" . . . Consider this peculiar circumstance: the position of European investigators vis-a-vis (face to face) Japan differs entirely from that of Japanese vis-a-vis Europe. The Japanese possess every facility for studying and understanding Europe. Europe stands on a hill-top, in the sunlight, glittering afar. Her people court inspection. 'Come and see how we live'— such was a typical invitation which the present writer recently received. . . . An alphabet of "but six-and-twenty simple letters throws equally wide open to him a literature clearly revealing our thoughts, so that he who runs may read. Japan likes in the shadow, away on the rim of the world. Her houses are far more effectually closed to the stranger by their paper shutters than are ours by walls of brick or stone. What we call 'society' does not exist there. Her people, though smiling and courteous, surround themselves by an atmosphere of reserve, ('they look dedicated') centuries of despotic government having rendered them suspicious and reticent. . . .
"Again, Japan's non-Aryan speech, marvellously intricate, almost defies acquisition. Suppose this difficult vernacular mastered; the would-be student discovers that literary works, even newspapers and ordinary correspondence, are not composed in it, but in another dialect, partly antiquated, partly artificial, differing as widely from the colloquial speech as Latin does from Italian. Make a second hazardous supposition. Assume that the grammar and vocabulary of this second indispensable Japanese language have been learnt, in addition to the first. You are still but at the threshold of your task, Japanese thought having barricaded itself behind the fortress walls of an extraordinarily complicated system of writing, compared with which Egyptian hieroglyphics are child's play. Yet next to nothing can be found out by a foreigner unless he have this, too, at his finger's ends. As a matter of fact, scarcely anyone acquires it— only a missionary here and there, or a consular official with a life appointment.
"The result of all this is that whereas the Japanese know everything that it imports them to know about us, Europeans cannot know much about them, such information as they receive being always belated, necessarily meager, and mostly adulterated to serve Japanese interests. . . .
"What is happening in Japan today is evidently exceptional. Normal religious and political change does not proceed in that manner; it proceeds by imperceptible degrees. But exceptions to general rules occur from time to time in every field of activity. Are they really exceptions, using that term in its current sense — to denote something arbitrary, and therefore unaccountable? Surely these so-called exceptions are but examples of rules of rarer application.
"The classic instance of the invention of a new national religion is furnished by the Jews of the post-exilic period. The piecing together, then, of brand-new system under an ancient name is now so well understood, and has produced consequences of such world-wide importance, that the briefest reference to it may suffice. Works which every critic can now see to be relatively modern were ascribed to Moses, David, or Daniel; intricate laws and ordinances that had never been practiced— could never be practiced— were represented as ancient institutions; a whole new way of thinking and nothing was set in motion on the assumption that it was old. Yet, so far as is known, no one in or out of Palestine ever saw through the illusion for over two thousand years. It was reserved for nineteenth-century scholars to draw aside the veil hiding the real facts of the case.
"Modern times supply another instance, less important than the first, but remarkable enough. Rousseau came in the middle of the eighteenth (1700's) century and preached a doctrine that took the world by storm, and soon precipitated that world in ruins. How did he discover, his gospel? He tells us quite naively:
'All the rest of the day, buried in the forest, I sought, I found there the image of primitive ages, whose history I boldly traced. I made havoc of men's petty lies; I dared to unveil and strip naked man's true nature, to follow up the course of time and of the circumstances that have disfigured it, and, comparing man as men have made him with man as nature made him, to demonstrate that the so-called improvements (of civilization) have been the source of all his woes, etc.' (Confessions, Book VIII, 1753.)
In other words, he spun a pseudo-history from his own brain. What is stranger, he fanatically believed in his pure invention, and, most extraordinary, of all, persuaded other people to believe in it as fanatically. It was taken up as a religion; it inspired heroes, and enabled a barefoot rabble to beat the finest regular armies in the world. Even now, at a distance of a century and a half, its embers still glow.
"Of course, it is not pretended that these various systems of thought were arbitrary inventions. No more were they so than the cloud palaces that we sometimes see swiftly form in the sky and as swiftly dissolve. The germ of Rousseau's ideas can be traced back to Fenelon and other seventeenth-century thinkers, weary of the pomp and periwigs around them. Rousseau himself did not fulfill the aspiration of a whole society for something simpler, juster, more true to nature, more logical. He gave exactly what was needed at that moment of history—what appeared self-evident; wherefore no one so much as thought of asking for detailed proofs. His deism, his statements concerning the 'state of nature' and his 'social contract', etc., were at once recognized by the people of his day as eternal verities, What need for discussion or investigation?
" . . . Europeans there are in Japan—Europeanized Japanese likewise—who feel outraged by the action of the Japanese bureaucracy in the matter of the new cult, with all the illiberal and obscurantist measures which it entails. That is natural. We modern Westerners love individual liberty, and the educated among us love to let the sunlight of criticism into every nook and cranny of every subject. Freedom and scientific accuracy are our gods. But Japanese officialdom acts quite naturally, after its kind, in not allowing the light to be let in, because the roots of the faith it has planted need darkness in which to grow and spread. No religion can live which is subjected to critical scrutiny.
(In connection with Mr., Chamberlain's viewpoint on the love of "freedom and scientific accuracy" on the part of Western man, I would like to insert this paragraph: "Christ, truly God, gave us this . . . religion in the Catholic
Church, which is the only custodian of His teachings . . . Catholics will gladly meet with citizens of all faiths . . . under the auspices of civil authority.
… We are anxious to promote good will; we wholeheartedly condemn bigotry in every form . . . (But) Catholics should not participate in any public presentation with members of other faiths under the auspices of religion. The Catholic Church cannot give the impression that one religion is as good as another or that she must strive with those of other faiths for a common denominator on religion.”
"Thus also are explained the rigours of the Japanese bureaucracy against native liberals, who, in its eyes, appear, not simply as political opponents, traitors to the chosen people-sacrilegious heretics defying the authority of the One and Only True Church.
"'But,' you will say, 'this indignation must' be mere pretense. Not even officials can be so stupid as to believe in things which they have themselves invented.' We venture to think that you are wrong here. People can always believe that which is greatly to their interest to believe. Thousands of excellent persons in our own society cling to the doctrine of a future life on no stronger evidence. It is enormously important to the Japanese ruling class that the mental attitude sketched above should become universal among their countrymen. Accordingly, they achieve the apparently impossible. 'We believe in it,' said one of them to us recently—'we believe in it, although we know that it is not true. '"
"'The history of Japan,' it has been said, 'is ten centuries of legend, seven centuries of copying and uncopying the Chinese, eight centuries of feudalism, and something over half of one century of capitalism.'
"Ninety-two years ago few outsiders had ever managed to enter Japan for any reason and come out alive. The country was like, a castle of the Middle Ages. The moat that surrounded it was the pinks Pacific, and the drawbridge was pulled up forbiddingly. Inside, the nation led a cold, brutal, feudal life. All land and all people were owned by a small number of overlords, called shoguns, who employed gangs of hired soldiery, known as
samurai to enforce their rule. Peasants bowed in the dust before these gangsters, who were pledged to disembowel themselves if their overlords were humiliated or defeated. The feudal rulers of Japan were intent on keeping things that way. To do so they tried to shut out the western influences which began to penetrate the Orient as Britain and United States developed their eastern trade.
"The methods these feudal lords employed were simple and brutal. They drove all foreign traders out of the country, except a few who submitted to conditions of virtual slavery. They looted the vessels and imprisoned, tortured and killed the crews of foreign ships wrecked on Japanese shores or driven to shelter in her harbors. Some of those ships flew the Stars and Stripes. United States sailors languished in Japanese prisons. The growth of the young United States depended on the growth, of her foreign trade—and death or imprisonment threatened any Yankee shipmaster who dared trade in waters around Japan.
"That situation continued until, in 1853. Commodore Mathew Calbraith Perry of the United States Navy sailed into Yedo Bay with four ships of war, and obtained from the startled rulers of Japan an agreement that vessels which flew the flag of the United States would, thereafter receive the respect accorded it by all civilized nations. At the same time, Perry's modern, steam-propelled battleships left upon the arrogant and greedy rulers of Japan an impression of industrial and military power which they decided to adopt for their own purposes.
"The arrival of Perry's fleet, the lesson in international relations which it taught them, snapped Japan awake almost overnight. The drawbridge came down. Men and ideas and goods began to flow back and forth between Japan and the western world. In years that followed, Japan appeared to have passed a modern miracle--to have jumped from thirteenth-century feudalism right into a full-fledged industrial age.
"How modern is Japan? Few men realized the truth: That Japan was learning, learning as much as she could, learning how to build huge industries, learning how to build a fighting army and an ocean-going navy, learning how to play politics with a vengeance, learning how to throw a cloak of phony democracy over her government—and all the time holding on to the same, cold,, brutal, feudal ideas that ruled her brain before Perry came.
"About eighty years ago, the first American envoy to Japan, Townsend Harris, worked out a treaty of friendship and commerce with Japan. The Prime Minister, Lord Hotta, told the Emperor why he thought the treaty should be signed:
'Among the rulers of the world at present,' he said, 'there is none so noble and illustrious as to command Universal vassalage, or who can make his virtuous influence felt throughout the length and breadth of the whole world. To have such a ruler over the whole world is doubtless in conformity with the will of heaven . . . and in establishing relations with foreign countries, the object should always be kept in view of laying a foundation for securing the hegemony over all nations. . . . The nations of the world will come to look up to our Emperor as the Great Ruler of all nations, and they will come to follow our policy and submit themselves to our judgment.'
"That was eighty years ago. Outsiders--those who paid any attention at all--thought this was simply Japanese double--talk. Actually, it was Japanese fascism.
"Is Japan a Fascist Nation? In those days, the word fascism had not yet been invented. Neither Hitler nor Mussolini had yet been born. But Japan was fascist then, as she is today. She has never had a Fuehrer. Instead, she has had the Emperor, and the all-powerful clique ruling in his Bane. Mostly, this clique has consisted of the warriors, the military leaders. For a time, during the last generation, the big industrialists were running the country. But never the people.
"Japan was—and still is—fascist all the way. Not only in her government by dictatorship. Not only in her belief that the Japanese are a superior race. But also in the almost complete lack of personal liberties, of free speech—in the tight censorship, and the secret police—in the super-fascist idea that the individual human being means nothing, except as a slave of the state.
"A Japanese leader once laughed at the idea that his country was imitating Hitler and Mussolini. 'They are imitating us,' he said. 'They are introducing methods of government and of social order that we have found workable for centuries.'
"We fight the enemy as much for his ideas as for his acts of aggression. Those ideas we must fix in our minds, press indelibly into our memories, that we may know why we fight. In brief, the ideas of fascists embrace:
1. Dictatorship—the Fuehrer, the Duce, the Emperor and the Japanese ruling clique.
2. The super-state.
3. The idea of a super-race
4. The goal of a fascist world.
5. The idea that war is good.
6. The use of fraud, lies, blackmail, and force as acceptable methods of getting your own fascist way; the belief that whatever serves the purposes of the State is okay.
Don't take it for granted that fascists can be found only in the general direction toward which the muzzle of your M-l may be pointing. We've got fascists back home, too, and in the armed forces. There are fascists among the population of our Allies. Just as there are some well-meaning, democracy-minded people living inside Germany and Japan today. The difference is that, as of this moment, the proportion of fascists in the Axis countries is a good deal larger than the proportion of fascists in the United Nations." Nevertheless, the fight for freedom and for a decent human way of living demands constant guard against man's greatest enemy: the fascist's principles.
Now to resume our account of the natives of the Marianas, This discussion of Japanese ideology ought to help us understand many of the Japanese we see in the internment camps on these islands, and in time the Japanese in occupied Asia and the home islands. In addition to the Chamorros and to the Japanese who came here directly from the main Jap islands, there are two other classes of native civilians, the Okinawas and the Koreans. The Okinawas constitute the largest group of Japanese here. These people are of "mixed Chinese-Japanese blood" (and they) “came from the Ryukyu Islands south of the big islands of Japan. Their standard of living is low, but they are considered hard, honest workers." Their home islands were taken over by Japan in 1895, but they never got along amiably with the Japanese. They did not enjoy all the fights or the full status of Japanese citizenship. Not many were drafted into the Jap army. The Okinawas are the "Oakies of the Pacific," the far-travelers in search of a better place to live and of more decent conditions for work. Most of the Japanese in Hawaii are of this group. Their principal island, Okinawa, was invaded by our forces on Easter Sunday.
About one-fourth of the civilian natives are Koreans. These people came here—or were brought here—from Korea, the peninsula taken by Japan in 1905 and subsequently renamed Chosen. These people are the least developed, least educated, least skilled of all the islanders. They are considered Japanese nationals, not citizens. They are submissive and obedient, a characteristic not only of most poorer classes among the Japanese, but of poorer classes everywhere. We must remember that (the Japanese people) "are used to tight discipline. They expect it. They don't need the flood of home-front propaganda that Hitler use(d), or the heavy fist of terrorism. True, the Japanese police round up people suspected of having 'dangerous thoughts.' But few Japanese have ever learned to think dangerously, and those who have don't dare say what they're thinking. So Hirohito's prisons are not as full as Hitler's concentration camps. And there are almost no Japanese political refugees.” The Japs exploited this willingness to yield on the part of the Koreans to the hilt. They forced the Koreans to do the hardest, most menial work, and that was their status on these islands. On the mainland the Koreans serve as scapegoats for Japs as so often Jews, Mexicans, Negroes, and other minority groups are scapegoats under our white-Dixie system. The Koreans, for example, were held responsible for the fire and earthquake which ravaged Tokyo in 1923. Many of them were mobbed, lynched, beaten, and killed.
I'm sick-and tired of hearing the Koreans, glibly described as inferior to us and to the Japanese. If nothing else, it proves the effectiveness of Jap propaganda, and the eager receptivity miseducated American minds accord it. If the Korean happens to be backward now, and his standard of living low, how do any one of us dare attribute it to some inherent trait, some personal characteristic! Do we account for our own Oakies, "white trash," Bigger Thomases, and Studs Lonigans by this same explanation? To believe that the Korean, or the Negro, is born inherently inferior to the Japanese or to white Americans, is to believe, along with the Nazis, that the Aryan Germans are unquestionably superior to all other men, to believe with the Jap war lords that the Japanese
are above the rest of human rabble, or to believe the Old Testament that the Hebrews were "chosen" of God, or with the Catholic that his church is the One and Only True Church.
"Korea, today is an object lesson to the world of what can happen to a nation that is conquered by Japan. Koreans, during the years of Japanese occupation, have been enslaved as no other people in the modern world.
"During the long years of peace since she conquered Korea, Japan has had every opportunity to show to my prostrate, disarmed, and helpless people some glimmer of justice, fairness, and common humanity. She has shown none. With every passing year of her rule of torture she has ground the Korean people into a deeper humiliation.
"Yet she has not broken the spirit of the Koreans, and she knows it. Japan knows that in Korea, at her very doorstep in Asia, she has 22,000,000 deadly enemies who would fight her tomorrow if they had arms in their hands.
''The Japanese government in Korea is an army-police dictatorship. The dictator is the Japanese governor general, responsible to no one except to the emperor of Japan (which means, in practice, the military clique around the emperor.) The governor general rules through swarms of Jap police and secret police (spies), backed up by an array of occupation. "Under this rule the Korean has no rights which the Japanese must respect.
"Suppose you are a Korean living in Korea today (1942). If you walk down the street you can be slapped, spat upon, or kicked by any Jap who thinks you did not jump off the sidewalk quickly enough as he approached. (Please note, White Dixie, the parallel between this and your demand that the Negro make way for you on your streets.) . . . The police can search your home at any moment, without notice. They can arrest you without warrant. . . You may be held for months or for years; you may be beaten to death or crippled for life. If (as occasionally happens) the police desire the formality of a trial, you are tortured with fire and the rack until you sign a fake 'confession.'
"(Such cruelties) are not unusual; they are the rule. They happen to hundreds of ordinary people in Korea every day. Every year tens of thousands of Koreans are flogged and tortured without trial. It can happen at any time to any Korean man, woman, or child.
"Japan's most effective slogan in this war is that she is fighting for the freedom and prosperity of her Asiatic neighbors--'Asia for the Asiatics.' Millions of people in India, Burma, and the East Indies may have believed this slogan. I bid them to look at Korea. I saw Japan use those same promises and slogans when she stealthily seized my country. Her true purpose is 'slavery for the Asiatics under Japanese Masters,' and of that Korea is the living proof.
"For years all the resources of Japanese propaganda and diplomacy have been used to cover up what is happening in Korea. . . . Today this means, simply, that a Korean can do only what the Japs want him to do; he can say only what the Japs want him to say; he can possess only that which no Japanese happens to covet.
"Most Koreans are farmers. If you own a farm on land so barren that you can barely scratch a miserably living from it, the Japs may let you keep it--though they may seize any crop, at starvation prices, for the Jap army. If your farm has fertile land, the Japs grab it under legal pretext, then take you back on the land as a 'tenant' or 'laborer,' but actually as a slave.
"The Jap publicity men have always told the world that the Koreans are physically and mentally degenerate. But when the Olympic games of 1936 cane along, the Japs had no good marathon runner. They discovered a Korean youth, K. Son, who was a great distance runner. So they passed him off for a Jap and sent him to the Berlin Olympics to run under the Jap colors. This Korean boy not only won the Marathon, but established the new Olympic world's record.
"Korea surged with secret pride. And two Korean newspapers published K. Son's photograph. Happiness overcame discretion, and the editors omitted the Rising Sun flag of Japan from the picture of the Korean athlete. The papers were at once suppressed and the editors imprisoned.
"Korea has a culture and civilization far older than that of Japan. But it was a peaceful and scholarly civilization which did not, like Japan, study war or imitate the new guns and warships of the Western world. Furthermore, Korea had an ancient monarchy, inefficient and custom-ridden.
"The Jap militarists coveted Korea because it was the obvious stepping-stone to further Asiatic conquests. But Japan at that tine was the friend, almost the protégé, of England and America. She could not alienate these two powers by the open conquest of unarmed Korea. So, under the pretext of 'protecting' Korea against China and Russia, Japan swiftly moved troops into our country, at the same time solemnly 'guaranteeing' the sovereignty and independence of Korea. Finally, in 1910, she annexed us.
"Though I was just a small boy then, I remember that time well. . . . That night I crept into my poet uncle's studio and lay down on the mat, crying quietly. My uncle went to the door and shook his fist in the face of the sky.
“'Oh, stars and moon, how have you the heart to shine? And mountains with your woul shining and rustling in the green leaves and trees and grass, can't you understand that it is over now? Don't you know the soul of Korea is passing away this night?'
At this point Dr. Kang describes his experiences upon leaving Korea and going to Japan to study as he was instructed to do by his young teacher who said to him, "Japan has conquered Korea by Western science. . . .We, too, if we are to live again, must master the Western learning. Go, my boy. Travel, ignore poverty and hardship-- but master the Western knowledge."
Five years later he returned to Korea. Of Japan he writes, “I studied in the Japanese high schools. I saw that the Japanese, in their home country, have many good qualities. They are neat, clean, punctual, industrious, polite. They have much skill of their own, and a genius for adopting and imitating the skills of others. I saw no flogging or brutality in Japan itself.
". . . But the instant I set foot in Korea again (1918), I was sick at heart. The people's clothes were torn and not so clean. Their faces--these people who had once been easy-going and happy--were dull. They worked harder and longer than ever, often under Japanese foremen, and the best of their crops and products went to Japan. Everybody was much poorer. Houses of prostitution, always forbidden in Korea, had been opened under Japanese licenses. The Japs were trying to encourage the sale of opium, but unfortunately the Koreans are a temperate people who do not take readily to this drug. The Japanese police were everywhere with their swords, and the Jap schoolteachers carried swords. The Korean language was forbidden in the schools.
“True, the Japanese had improved railroads and port facilities in Korea, and had intensified farm production. They sent many pretty statistics about this to other countries. Later these ports and railroads served their real purpose: carrying Japanese troops for the conquest of Manchuria and the war on China. And the increased farm production fed the Japanese armies.
"Today in Korea, key point of Asia, 22,000,000 people stir again and dream of freedom. When she is first set free, Korea will be almost as helpless as a man who has been bound up for many years in chains. That is what Jap rule has done to my country. And thus Koreans look toward America and other friendly countries for educational and technical help in regaining her feet.”
Here in the Marianas most of the Koreans are Protestant Christians.
Concerning the language of the natives, the Army has found that "practically all civilians on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, speak only Japanese.” As for the Chamorros, "Certainly all the younger ones speak English. The Chamorro language is unusual, musical, and hard to learn.”
For many years the Marianas were regarded by the Japanese as sacred. Ruins of religious shrines are found in many places on Saipan and Tinian. Before the war white men were never permitted to visit here, and certainly never left these islands alive. This served the Japs well in screening their fortification activities. In addition, these islands afforded wealthy Japanese families an idyllic paradise for vacations, honeymoons, and luxurious rest. Pleasant little towns served these customers in much the same way that Niagara Falls, Miami Beach, and Colorado Springs serve some Americans.
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© Karen Mitchell