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Over the interwar period, fascist governments in Europe heavily promoted anti-Slavic propaganda. In Germany, they were labelled as Untermensch alongside the Jews, and in Italy, Slavic media, languages, and businesses were banned. During the war, the persecution evolved into an outright genocide, with millions of Slavic civilians and POWs being massacred in concentration camps.

Was there any similar attitude or activity against Slavs in Imperial Japan? I doubt that Japan ever found enough Slavic people to make something like the Holocaust possible, but were there other forms of persecution? Unlike Germany, Japan occupied part of Russia in the interwar period (see this and this). How were the Russians living here treated? Were Eastern European expats and POWs in Japan discriminated against because of their ethnicity?

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    Did the Japanese have enough contact with the Slavic people to need to form a policy for dealing with them? – KillingTime Jan 23 at 19:16
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    In cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai (which had many white russian refugees) the Japanese for the most part they left the Russians alone. They did not inter them in any camps etc. Individual soliders mistreated them but it was not a policy to do so. – ed.hank Jan 23 at 20:07
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    It seems quite contrary - Imperial Japan was often helping persecuted Jews and Slavs from Germany-conquered territories by providing them with Manchukuo passports. pahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_settlement_in_the_Japanese_Empire – Yasskier Jan 23 at 20:59
  • Considering that country spent nearly its entire existence at war with Russia, it might be a bit tough to untangle their ethnic feelings from their political feelings. – T.E.D. Jan 23 at 21:59
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    Unlike Jews and Roma, Slavic people were not subject to genocide during WWII. (They were not killed just because they were Slavic. There is a big difference between the Nazi attitude to Slavs and Jews. Look at the legal definition of genocide.) – Alex Jan 24 at 21:12
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No, they did not.

Imperial Japan never subscribed to the racial ideology of the Nazis. Instead, like many in East Asia at the time, they adopted a somewhat self-deprecating racial attitude; as they enthusiastically adopted modern Western practices during the Meiji Restoration, there appeared a strain of thought that the Western races were superior to the Asians, and that Japan needed to "de-Asianise". This can be seen later during WWII, where their soldiers might freely commit atrocities on Chinese civilians but leave Westerners alone.

Instead, it's groups like the fascist Harbin Russians who persecuted Jews in China, with actions such as kidnappings for ransom; the Japanese occupiers tended to turn a blind eye to such events, as they wanted these Russians' support for their anti-Communism.

As for their attitude towards the Jews, they had little history with them and were baffled by the West's anti-Semitism. The focus was to keep them out of trouble, in places like the impoverished (but unwalled) Shanghai Ghetto. Starting shortly before and continuing through Shanghai's occupation, the city took in tens of thousands of European Jews as it was one of the few places in the world still accepting these refugees. Towards the end of WWII Germany did push Japan to hand over the Shanghai Jews, but they were persuaded against it by a local rabbi:

The Japanese governor was curious and asked "Why do the Germans hate you so much?"

Without hesitation and knowing the fate of his community hung on his answer, Reb Kalish told the translator (in Yiddish): "Zugim weil wir senen orientalim—Tell him [the Germans hate us] because we are Orientals." The governor, whose face had been stern throughout the confrontation, broke into a slight smile. In spite of the military alliance, he did not accede to the German demand and the Shanghai Jews were never handed over.

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    I would think the Japanese victory over the Russians including crushing defeats of their naval forces during the Sino-Russian war would not make them think westerners were superior but that western culture was. – Daniel Jan 24 at 7:51
  • @Daniel still, they felt Westerners were superior to Asians - except themselves, because exceptionalism - and Asia needed to be brought under their tutelage. Anyway this topic is too complicated; no comment will do it justice. – congusbongus Jan 24 at 22:00
  • Your last comment reads like a contradicion to "self-deprecating". Is it? – LangLangC Jan 25 at 10:21
  • we're talking about a century's timespan - from the Black Ships to WWII. Of course there are going to be changes in a nation's psychology over that time. – congusbongus Jan 25 at 11:02
  • To me it looks as if OP and your A focus this mainly on shortly before '45? It is my impression that the military had a pretty racist outlook then to everyone else, Asians, Slavs included? – LangLangC Jan 25 at 13:27
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Was there any similar attitude or activity against Slavs in Imperial Japan? I doubt that Japan ever found enough Slavic people to make something like the Holocaust possible, but were there other forms of persecution? Unlike Germany, Japan occupied part of Russia in the interwar period (see this and this). How were the Russians living here treated? Were Eastern European expats and POWs in Japan discriminated against because of their ethnicity?

It is a bit hard to say, we ( Japanese ) were completely different from Nazi Germany but it is 100% we did not build such a systematic death propelling system like concentration camps for anyone.

The problem is, we passed "Peace Preservation Law" over and over many time before the WW2, which eventually led to the purge of communists in Japan back then, and the existence of the de facto war like "Battles of Khalkhyn Gol", which is not so much popular but Japan clearly saw the Slavic-Soviet people as one of the enemies.

Luckily for Slavic people, they were not able to move freely from mainland to the other countries back in 30's and 40's so that there were quite few Slavic people in Japan. ( But I think anti-Slavic (or more correctly anti-Soviet sentiment ) sentiment was widespread especially for military group.

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There were two reasons that the Japanese did not persecute Slavs.

1) Unlike Germany, the Japanese (islands) did not have any common borders with Slavic peoples, nor did they have to worry about Slavic migration. Yes, there was some friction with "Russians," in Manchuria and Siberia, but this might be viewed as "colonial," issues, something like French-German disputes over Morocco in Africa, not an existential threat.

2) Although they weren't exactly "British," Slavs were Europeans, and therefore "white." This at least put them above "Asians" (other than Japanese) in Japanese eyes.

3) While the Slavs were "backward" in economic development compared to the Western Europeans, they were actually fairly similar to the Japanese level of economic development. The Japanese respected the Slavs.

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    At that time, Japan bordered Russia/Soviet Union at Sakhalin Island (back then the Island had a Russian northern half and Japanese southern half), and at North Korea which was back then a part of Japan. – Bregalad Jan 26 at 17:23

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