Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Good read in today's Asahi Evening News

This is a pretty good read. This quote motivated me to share it with you.

"Precisely because history can be rewritten by governments and politically motivated individuals, each historian must strive for personal freedom and integrity to pursue historical reality."

-Akira Iriye, 71, a Harvard professor who is the first Japanese to have served as president of the American Historical Association

The piece was pleasant after having just read another reparations based diatribe here.

It gets old having to constantly correct what the reparations revisionists write and since they are funded by the American taxpayer they are relentless. Can't give up the fight, though because that's what they want.

Hopefully any person who would take the time to read this blog or visit Friends of Historical Accuracy has the knowledge to read Gary Okihiro's piece and pick out the historical untruths for themselves.

The column on Professor Iriye is here. Please give it a read.

The link may eventually die, so I'll paste it below.

I wonder if any more Bainbridge Islanders know the militarist textbooks discussed in the piece were also in use up and down the West Coast, many in English for the sake of the Nisei.

I wonder if Bainbridge Islanders know some ethic Japanese were coming out of the never discussed Japanese "Language" School on Bainbridge making comments such as "You'll be working for us someday!" to the white kids.

That's another chapter of forgotten history on Bainbridge Island. Well, deliberately forgotten for many, but never all of us...

We can rewrite history, but not erase the past
11/01/2005

Sixty years ago, a fifth-grader in Tokyo wrote in his diary: "Today being the first day of Allied occupation, American planes are flying extremely low and leisurely. This is most vexing, but there is nothing I can do but concentrate on my studies."

Later, at the order of the occupation forces, schoolchildren would smear black ink on passages in their textbooks that were deemed militaristic. This represented a complete refutation of their perception of Japanese history, which until then had been grounded in their absolute faith in the emperor.

From this experience, the boy awakened to the fact that history can be rewritten according to the outcome of a war.

This boy grew up to become Akira Iriye, 71, a Harvard professor who is the first Japanese to have served as president of the American Historical Association.

In his just-published memoirs titled "Rekishi o Manabu to Iukoto" (Studying history) from Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, Iriye recalls that his starting point as a historian went back to that time when he saw his school textbook whose passages were blackened with a brush.

Not one to subscribe to the simplistic theory that history is written by the victors of wars, Iriye asserts, "Precisely because history can be rewritten by governments and politically motivated individuals, each historian must strive for personal freedom and integrity to pursue historical reality."

The uniqueness of Iriye's scholarship lies in the fact that, in shunning the myopic vision of those who focus only on one nation, he paints an overall picture of the international community by keeping an eye on economic and cultural trends that cross national borders. He believes firmly that "scholarship must be free from nationalism."

The British historian E.H. Carr wrote, "History is an unending dialogue between the past and the present." But surely, this does not mean history can be interpreted so as to suit contemporary views.

Passages in school textbooks can be blacked out with ink, but history can never be erased. What we need is a sensible discourse with our blacked-out past. An example has been set by Iriye, whose dedication to the study of history had its starting point in his boyhood as a fervent little nationalist.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 31(IHT/Asahi: November 1,2005)

4 Comments:

At November 02, 2005 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what does Professor Iriye think about the internment? It's a shame to bring up his name without telling us his point of view on the subject of your discussion.

 
At November 04, 2005 8:29 AM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

Write and ask him! I'd be interested to know, too!

I find it more shameful that Japanese Americans fail to muster the courage to acknowledge the darker chapters of their own history.

 
At February 24, 2006 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What idiocy. Professor Iriye has been against the types of historical distortions concerning the internment that are seen in these very pages. That this blogger would dare to twist Professor Iriye's name is ridiculous. That this blogger would call himself a historian sullies the name of a profession that strives towards objectivity and completeness. Your racist one-man crusade against Japanese Americans is disgusting.

 
At February 26, 2006 12:04 PM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

If what you say is true, provide some of Prof. Iriye's writings on this history so I can read and debate it.

I'm just taking the professor's advice and striving "for personal freedom and integrity to pursue historical reality".

That's what this blog is all about, not hurling accusations of racism which seems to be all the opposite side of the debate is capable of doing.

P.S. I'm university educated in history.

 

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