Daily Archives: 25 September 2005

Bonner F. Fellers, Hirohito’s Guardian General

Brigadier General Fellers had joined MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Command in Australia in late 1943, after having worked for a year in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), predecessor of the CIA. Immediately on landing in Japan (in the same plane that carried MacArthur), Fellers went to work to protect Hirohito from the role he had played during and at the end of the war. Fellers’s overriding goals were to confirm the effectiveness of his own wartime propaganda program, and, at the same time, to shield Hirohito from standing trial.

Fellers conducted private interrogations of about forty Japanese war leaders, including many who would later be charged as the most important Class A war criminals. His interrogations were carried out mainly in visits to Sugamo Prison in Tokyo over a five-month period–September 22, 1945, to March 6, 1946–through two interpreters. Fellers’s activities placed all the major war criminal suspects on alert as to GHQ’s specific concerns, and allowed them to coordinate their stories so that the emperor would be spared from indictment. Thus, at the same time the prosecuting attorneys were developing evidence to be used in trying these people, Fellers was inadvertently helping them. Soon the prosecuting attorneys found the war leaders all saying virtually the same thing. The emperor had acted heroically and single-handedly to end the war. This theme (unknown to them) coincided with Fellers’s goal of demonstrating the effectiveness of his own propaganda campaign against Japan….

MacArthur’s truly extraordinary measures to save Hirohito from trial as a war criminal had a lasting and profoundly distorting impact on Japanese understanding of the lost war.

SOURCE: Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, by Herbert P. Bix (HarperCollins, 2000), pp. 582-583, 585


Filed under Japan, U.S., war

Bix on Judge Radhabinod Pal

The Indian appointee to the [Tokyo war crimes] court was sixty-year-old Radhabinod Pal of the High Court of Calcutta. Pal had been a supporter of the pro-Axis Indian nationalist, Chandra Bose, and a longtime Japanophile. Unlike most Indian elites, who condemned both British and Japanese imperialism and never embraced the ideology of the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere, Pal was an outright apologist for Japanese imperialism. Arriving in Tokyo in May, he accepted his appointment under the charter in bad faith, not believing in the right of the Allies to try Japan, let alone judicially sanction it any way. Determined to see the tribunal fail from the outset, Pal intended to write a separate dissenting opinion no matter what the other judges ruled. Not surprisingly he refused to sign a “joint affirmation to administer justice fairly.”

Thereafter, according to the estimate of defense lawyer Owen Cunningham, Pal absented himself for 109 of 466 “judge days,” or more than twice the number of the next highest absentee, the president of the tribunal, Sir William Webb himself (53 “judge days”). Whenever Pal appeared in court, he unfailingly bowed to the defendants, whom he regarded as men who had initiated the liberation of Asia. Pal, the most politically independent of the judges, refused to let Allied political concerns and purposes, let alone the charter, influence his judgment in any way. He would produce the tribunal’s most emotionally charged, political judgment. Many who repudiate the Tokyo trial while clinging to the wartime propaganda view of the “War of Greater East Asia,” believed that the main cause of Asian suffering was Western white men–that is, Pal’s “victors.” They would cite Pal’s arguments approvingly. So too would others who saw the war primarily in terms of the “white” exploitation of Asia.

SOURCE: Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, by Herbert P. Bix (HarperCollins, 2000), pp. 595-596


Filed under India, Japan, war

Japan’s Television Wasteland

I was going to post something about the wasteland that is Japanese network television, but Jeff at Conbinibento has captured it much better than I could.

For the most part, Japanese network television is pretty darn unremarkable. If one were to flip through the channels at any time of day, one would likely find:

  • A variety show featuring a roomful of mindless “talents” who are completely and utterly devoid of any actual talent whatsoever
  • A cooking program
  • A cooking program featuring a roomful of mindless talents who watch food being cooked and then sample it and loudly and repeatedly exclaim “OISHII!!!
  • Some kind of quiz show
  • A quiz show featuring a roomful of mindless talents demonstrating just how mindless they truly are
  • A sappy documentary about someone somewhere in the world who faces some sort of adversity (e.g., is looking for a job, is living in a brutal war zone, was born without legs, a combination thereof, etc.) and who Tries His/Her Best® to overcome the hardships of their situation
  • A variety show featuring a roomful of mindless talents watching a sappy documentary and providing their horribly forced reactions to the hardships (tears) and the overcoming of the hardships (more tears) for the sake of the television viewers at home who have to be instructed how to react since they have neither souls nor a capacity for empathy

via Japundit

I just have one tiny correction: Males are more likely to exclaim “UMAI!” instead of “OISHII!!!”

And one minor addition: NHK’s lecture channel (Ch. 2 in my area), where a professorial talking head addresses his (sometimes her) dry monologue at the camera hour after snoring hour.

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Filed under Japan