A Korean academic, Park Yu-ha, has reportedly been indicted for libel by Korean authorities for a scholarly book she wrote which challenged the claim that Korean WWII comfort women were “sex slaves”. This comes only months after the Seoul Eastern District Court ordered the “deletion of parts of the book”, Comfort Women of the Empire: The Battle Over Colonial Rule and Memory, which portrays those Korean ladies who provided sexual services to Japanese soldiers during the War as having been run-of-the-mill prostitutes rather than women subjected to state-sanctioned sexual slavery.
Many Korean citizens have reportedly taken offence to the implicit allegation that Korean men stood idly by and watched Japanese soldiers barge into their homes and drag their womenfolk off to a life of sexual servitude during the 1930s and 40s. Several prominent Korean academics and journalists have thus joined Japanese intellectuals in critiquing the official historical discourse on this subject.
Park’s indictment comes just days after a German octogenarian, Ursula Haverbeck, was sentenced to ten months in prison without parole for claiming that the Auschwitz concentration camp was a labour camp rather than an extermination camp.
The “lawfare” waged against intellectuals who challenge fashionable historical interpretations of WWII is extremely conspicuous and will no doubt encourage free-thinking individuals to look skeptically into the sanctified subjects which they might otherwise not have been compelled to reevaluate.
Some skeptics believe that countries like Russia, Britain and the United States want to cover up their crimes, such as the rape of up to two million German women, during the War and thus have embellished and overemphasized the wrongdoings of the Axis forces.
The new edition of René Guénon’s book The Crisis of the Modern World offers the opportunity for a critical account, which may be of some interest, of the author’s leading ideas. These ideas are closely connected with the problem of the relations between East and West and of the fate that awaits our civilization as a whole. They are all the more interesting as Guénon dissents from all those who for some time now have been writing about the “decline of the West,” the “crisis of the European spirit,” and so forth—all ideas which today, after the new collapse brought about by World War II, have again come to the fore with renewed vigor.
Guénon does not deal with individual cases and confused reactions, nor does he deal with philosophy in the current sense of the word; his ideas originate from Tradition in a broad and impersonal sense. Unlike the writers alluded to above—Spengler, Ortega y Gasset, Huizinga, Massis, Keyserling, Benda—Guénon does not spiritually belong to the modern world; he bears witness to a different world, and he makes no mystery of the fact that he owes his knowledge to a great extent to the direct contact he has had with the exponents of the traditional East.
Below are excerpts from Ōkawa Shūmei’s Asia, Europe, Japan, originally published in 1926. Asia, Europe, Japan also appeared in full in his 1943 publication Construction ofThe New Order in Greater East Asia. I have been working on a translation of parts the latter text for some time. The original Japanese-language version of the text can be accessed here.
The specific passages published herein were translated for the purposes of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. Ōkawa was initially arraigned by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for his pro-Japanese speeches and writings but would eventually be exempted from the proceedings upon being diagnosed with mental afflictions. We can assume, therefore, that these excerpts were selected by those involved in prosecuting Ōkawa because they were believed to have provided the most damning evidence of his supposed “crimes”.
Philosophically, I am particularly interested in his observation that “Asia, speaking of it in its entirety, has really been a seminary for the spirit of mankind while Europe has been a school for cultivating the knowledge of mankind.”
Enlightenment rationalism has gutted the West of its indigenous spirituality leading European-derrived cultures to be largely devoid of anything culturally meaningful beyond the scope of scientific reasoning. This has made Europeans spiritless and lifeless and thus more easily controlled by ill-intentioned hostile elites. I share the belief that Ōkawa held that Asia could offer a remedy for the loss of an authentic, rooted spirituality in the West.
In these prose we are exposed to Ōkawa’s belief that the then looming clash of civilizations he prophesized would ultimately lead to a synthesis of European and Asian civilizations. Clearly, Ōkawa didn’t deny Japan’s need to absorb the extraordinary knowledge produced by Europeans. It seems likewise us Europeans ought not to ignore Asia’s advancement in matters spiritual. It seems our lack of ancestor worship and our dearth of animistic nature worship renders us particularly out of kilter with the Asiatic spiritual trajectory to which Ōkawa refers in the following words.
Asia, Europe, Japan
By Ōkawa Shūmei
We must admit that it is very clear that as long as one sticks to the present status quo and the other strives to destroy it, this effort to reconstruct Asia will be contradictory to the aim of the League of Nations–also a product of the World War [One]. Regardless of how the platform of the League of Nations may be decorated with rhetorical flourishes it is after all an organization which is meant to eternally maintain the international status quo and is by no means based upon the new internationalism. Moreover, [illegible word] not the status quo of the world actually imply the domination of the world by the Anglo-Saxons. Therefore, the League of Nations exists in order to enable the Anglo-Saxons to be the permanent dominators of the world. One of the reasons why Japan is called the only black spot in dawning Asia is also because Japan joined the League of Nations. . .
The following text is the transcript by V. S. of Jonathan Bowden’s New Right lecture in London on December 10, 2011. I want to thank Michèle Renouf for making the recording available.
Mishima’s life was dedicated to a return of the spirit of the samurai and a belief in Yamamoto Jōchō’s book Hagakure, which is partly the 17th-century bible of samurai morality whereby life is transfigured by death, and the notion of a warrior who is also an intellectual and a literary figure as well as a spiritual crusader, a priest who kills, is paramount.
Japanese culture is distinct from almost all others on Earth and is still difficult to understand and conceptualize for many Westerners. One of the more glaring things about Japan is that material which is banned in the West is widely available, particularly in terms of pornography, over which there are very little restrictions at all. Even in manga, or Japanese comics, which are often amazingly hardline and hardcore in Western terms.
Japan is a strange society, because the dialectics which move within it are oppositional and highly differentiated to those of the West. It’s probably true that people who are self-identifying in the Western tradition have often admired elements about Japan, particularly imperial Japan. There’s a degree to which there’s not so much a symmetry as a meaningful asymmetry by which the Japanese are perceived as a people who wanted to be themselves in their own way.
One reason I’m drawn to study the work of Japanese revisionists is that they are actually afforded enough discursive space for there to be a somewhat rational debate on whether or not the different aspects of the history of WWII in Asia they address have been interpreted accurately.
This press conference held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan reveals the gulf that exists between Japan and the West when it comes to freedom of speech on the subject of WWII.
Many European historical revisionists have been imprisoned and fined since 1945 simply for attempting to have the kind of civilized discussion displayed in the above video.
On October 26, 2015, pioneer of Alternative Right politics and post-war historical revisionism Willis Carto passed away at age 89. In reading some of the eulogies published about him on websites such as Counter-Currents, I was amazed to discover that Carto had been shot by a Japanese sniper on Cebu Island in May 1945, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. This factoid reaffirmed my belief that Carto was a man who strove for objectivity in his political and historical research.
I knew of Carto’s support for those whom the FDR administration persecuted in the early 1940s for their refutations of that regime’s pro-war arguments. Ralph Townsend was one such victim of the Stalinist show trials which are described vividly in The Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944 by Lawrence Dennis and Maximilian St. George. Carto would allow pro-Japanese interpretations of WWII in Asia to be published in the publications under his auspices, in spite of the fact that he had succumbed to a Japanese bullet during that war. That was the kind of man he was.