1. Can anyone source the history book, written in English that claimed that Japan tried to excise Chinese characters (kanji) from Japanese? Particularly in WW2, at Japan's worst of anti-Chinese hatred and sentiment?

  2. Why didn't Japanese eradicate all the kanji from Japanese? It appears contradictory to hate the Chinese so much as to commit war crimes against Chinese, but for the Japanese to keep using Chinese characters. It appears contradictory to use characters from a language and people that the Japanese consider "completely inferior", in the Japanese language.

This eradication appears linguistically possible. Korean and Vietnamese succeeded in removing Chinese characters without loss of semantics.

My Research

      The Japanese showed similar cruelty to the Chinese, but without the secrecy of the Nazi Holocaust. Apparently their goal was to lessen Chinese resolve through terror. Tens of thousands of women were not only raped but also, typically, mutilated and killed. Men were frequently forced to rape members of their own families. "Not only did live burials, castration, the carving of organs, and the roasting of people become routine, but more diabolical tortures were practiced, such as hanging people by their tongues on iron hooks or burying people to their waists and watching them torn apart by German shepherds."50 The behavior of the Japanese was so atrocious that a Nazi living in Nanking at the time described the massacre as the operation of "bestial machinery."51
Unlike the Germans, the Japanese have yet to come fully to grips with responsibility for the acts of their army in 1937, and those Japanese veterans who have faced up to their behavior and asked forgiveness have been targets of hate and violence from right-wing groups in Japan.

Journalist Iris Chang, who wrote the definitive work on the rape of Nanking, placed the blame for the genocidal actions of the Japanese army on indoctrination by "a dangerous government, in a vulnerable culture, in dangerous times, able to sell dangerous rationalizations to those whose human instincts told them otherwise."53 She believed, as have many others, that the behavior of the Japanese troops traced in part to the brutality, often in the form of severe physical abuse, that the Japanese army of the time inflicted on its own soldiers and officers.54 When turned loose on helpless civilians whom soldiers had been indoctrinated to believe were lower than pigs and ordered to massacre them, Chang wrote, it "is easy to see how years of suppressed anger, hatred, and fear of authority could have erupted in uncontrollable violence at Nanking."55 Such behavior does not seem so hard to explain when people (the teachers) in a known experimental environment, subject to no abuse, indoctrination, or coercion and under no obligation to authorities, could be led to inflict punishment that might (in their minds) lead to the deaths of colleagues in an experiment.

Paul Ralph Ehrlich. Human Natures Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect (2000). Page 262.

There was no top-down effort to demonize the Chinese, but anti-Chinese sentiment was constantly running high still as an easy boogeyman and object of frustration. Japanese troops wrote, during the Manchuria occupation and beforehand, that the Chinese were 'lower than pigs' and a 'completely inferior people'(4). In this light, it wasn't hard to see why the Japanese would have developed an outlook which completely dehumanized the Chinese. For example, Unit 731 referred to the prisoners as maruta, which is Japanese for 'log of wood'. They weren't even prisoners to them.

4 The Second World War by Antony Beevor, p. 60

  • 3
    This appears to be two separate questions, you might want to post them as such.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 8:17
  • 9
    One might as well ask why the British didn't stop using Latin letters and words of German origin during world war 2 - because after centuries of using them, there wouldn't be much language left if you removed them.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 11:57
  • 7
    Did the Japanese perceive the Japanese writing system as Chinese? When elements of the US perceived themselves to be at war with Arabs, they didn't stop using Arabic numbers. it is always very difficult to answer "why not", but this question seems founded on the assumption that brutality towards Chinese people was driven by a hatred for Chinese culture.
    – MCW
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 12:03
  • 9
    @MCW Time to invent "Freedom digits" :-D
    – SJuan76
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 13:32
  • 3
    I'm with @MCW on that last sentence there. I think the behavior was, objectively, evil. However, this whole question hinges on the assertion of "hate", which I don't think the question demostrates. Simply not caring about them as fellow human beings seems a sufficient explanation. That of course doesn't come close to making it OK. As Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, "Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference"
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 15:34


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