Thursday, August 05, 2004

Americans never apologize

This is the most recent slur against Americans by many Japanese. It is supposedly because if we apologize, we admit liability and can be sued. This came from the accidental sinking of the Japanese ship near Honolulu by a US Navy sub. According to the Japanese government and especially the press, America did not apologize for that. Remember how many times Bush and others apologized? It got so bad that a lot of columnists--no, not the right wing nutter type--were writing angry columns about us over-apologizing. Especially to a country with a murderous past in WWII in China and other countries. Note that Japan did not apologize to China until 1995--50 years after the war ended.

The skipper of the sub came to Japan a year or so later, after the court-martial to personally apologize. Many of the families refused to see him, saying that if he had been sincere he would not have waited a year. As soon as I heard that, I understood why the Chinese do not trust nor accept the Japanese apology. After 50 years? Obviously insincere. In fact, for many politicians of the nutty rightwing here, which includes many factions and supporters of the ruling LDP, do not see anything wrong with what they did in China. Nanjing is a Chinese and American lie anyway, they claim.

Anyway, Americans and Japanese apologize for very different things. Americans don't apologize for some things that Japanese normally apologize for, and visa versa. Japanese, for example, will intentionally or accidentally bump into you, push you, step on your foot, perhaps even knock you down, and will not utter a single word of apology--well a large percentage won't. Especially on the train. Apparently, all personal responsibility ends once you enter. Knock down granny before she knocks you down. This behavior often applies on sidewalks too.

However, they will apologize for things that seem trivial, and puzzling to Americans. For example, some students while learning English will apologize for making a mistake. Drives me nuts. Apologies, all the time, everywhere if you are a customer or temporarily in somebody's consciousness. But if it is something big, hell will freeze over before you get an apology. Ask China.

(Since our excursion into Iraq, and the perverted, criminal behavior of a few of our MPs there, it has become harder to criticize Japanese actions in WWII. The dodge is to switch the argument to the U.S. actions. It seems whatever the US does serves as an excuse for anything Japan does or has ever done. There is little sense among many of the possibility that Japan was wrong in its actions no matter what other countries do or did.)

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