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August 15, 1945

August 16, 2006

I woke up yesterday and turned on the TV to find every single channel showing the Japanese Prime Minister walking around some kind of temple or shrine, with loads of people watching, and reporters aplenty. I assumed he must have been in some kind of scandal, since that:s the only time politicians recieve any attention in NZ, but I couldn:t understand what.

 

I got to work, and found out that August 15 was the anniversary of when Japan surrendered in WWII, marking the beginning of the end of the war. This day was a day of rememberance for all the soldiers and other victims of the war, from all countries. The PM had been visiting a famous shrine to pay respects to the dead. There was a national minute of silent prayer at midday. The guy who told me all this explained how Japan didn:t want to forget about it, and how this was why the Chinese and the Koreans hated the Japanese now. The guy seemed quite sad about it, but very accepting, like it was just the Japanese's cross to bear. His grandfather had also been killed in the war. It made me pretty uneasy to think that my grandfather had fought in the war, on the other side.

 

I just found that really sad, how the actions of 61 years ago still seemed to have such huge repurcussions on the present. By that, I mean the resentment towards Japanese from other – especially Asian – countries. Though of course, I can see why, it is a shame that generations down the track, there's still bad blood. But I was impressed (albeit sadly) with the fact that the Japanese were attempting to attone for it, by offering vigil to all their victims, though accepting that it would never make up for it.

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