Why are Japanese war crimes less known in the West that those of Germans?

Aug 2017
78
Greece
#1
What I have noticed is that nearly everyone in the west knows about the atomic bombing of Japan by the US, but not so many are aware of the atrocities committed but the Japanese, such as the Nanking massacre.

I find many of the Japanese war crimes to be even more brutal than German crimes, but why are they less known in the West?
 
Jun 2017
116
Skandinavia
#3
I'd agree that many of the atrocities committed by the japanese in asia are on par with or even worse than those in the west. Now I'm not sure there even is a point to comparing such levels of suffering, when you start going into how many millions were massacred I think the discussion really loses its value.

Now as for why the west doesn't hear that much about the Japanese war crimes:
Mainly it's about natural eurocentricism. China is further away. China is a very different culture to ours. Therefore we naturally are less interested / hear less about it. If you ask for example the chinese, you can bet that most of them know more of the Japanese war crimes than the German ones.

A second and probably more contensious point is the European view on cultural superiority. It can be argued that the west viewed itself as more advanced and therefore culturally superior, meaning other peoples in for example asia->China would have been viewed as inferior. Meanwhile central and western Europe was regarded as one of the most developed, civilized and advanced regions. So therefore atrocities in the "civilized west" could have been regarded as more important due to essentially racism.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,786
Crows nest
#4
While there were some barbaric medical experiments carried out, as well as various massacres, Nanking being the most prominent, there wasn't an equivalent of Auschwitz and the rest of the death machine, so these atrocities don't really register in the West, but do in East Asia.

However, one aspect more well known in the West, because it personally effected many families, is the appalling treatment of POW. The Bataan death march, putting captured sailors in barrels and pushing them overboard, the nightmare of the Burma railroad. These have not been forgotten.
 
Jan 2017
722
UK
#5
West prefers to focus on the atrocities which occurred closer to home.

Same reason why in the West you don't hear so much about Thailand siding with the Axis or the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran.
 
Jul 2010
1,374
N/A
#7
It's due to the affects of the Marshall Plan really. America rebuilt Japan and its been seen as a western entity dejure ever since. As part of the dominant western hegemony Japan gets a free pass that East Germany does not unless of course you hear of a story every so often in western media where Shinzō Abe has visited Yasukuni shrine again.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
26,204
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#8
Japanese didn't invade the Western democracies, running a war which meant the loss of the life of millions of Western soldiers, which destroyed entire cities, which forced the European population to know famine, lack of electricity, lack of fresh water, plagues ... and they didn't try and exterminate the Jews [probably because in Japan there weren't so many Jews, while in Europe ...].

I know, Japan was ally of Germany, but humans tend to be influenced by direct experiences.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,435
appalacian Mtns
#9
Well if you consider America the west, Japanese war crimes are well known at least amongst the older generation, particularly those with military experience. I'll never buy a Toyota or a Mysonobitchi. But sadly the younger Americans have forgotten.
 
Last edited:

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,686
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#10
Japanese didn't invade the Western democracies,
Yes, they did. They invaded French, British and Dutch territory.

running a war which meant the loss of the life of millions of Western soldiers
No, only tens of thousands of Western soldiers.

, which destroyed entire cities, which forced the European population to know famine, lack of electricity, lack of fresh water, plagues ... and they didn't try and exterminate the Jews [probably because in Japan there weren't so many Jews, while in Europe ...].
They didn't destroy entire cities? Ask Nanking if they agree with that.
 

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