The above quote is actually referring to the recent Tokyo gubernatorial election (which the candidate did lose) but if you read it close enough, it almost sums up the way angry right-wingers think about World War II: they are still unconvinced Japan was in the wrong.
The candidate in question, Toshio Tamogami, managed to draw over six hundred thousand votes. In a snowstorm. He lost, and big, but that is still a lot of votes. Too many to dismiss as crazies, frankly.
As it turns out, Tamogami (in orange on the above graph) did really well with young people which is terrifying. I always hoped that Japan’s least admirable traits - racism and sexism - were closely tied to its influential elderly population who control all levels of the government. But if that many twenty- and thirty-somethings are willing to support a guy who thinks Japanese colonialism was just swell, I am a lot less optimistic about this country’s future.
The kicker for me was this quote from the Asahi Shimbun:
“The truth of history is unknown, but I can take pride if I see things the way Tamogami does,” said a 26-year-old man.
"The truth of history is unknown?!" Buddy, World War II was a long time ago but it wasn’t that long ago. There are plenty of people STILL ALIVE who can tell you all about what happened. How they were raped. How their family was murdered. Hell, one person can tell you about how they’re enshrined in Yasukuni as a spirit of the war dead even though they are not dead.
National pride does not justify historical revisionism. You can’t shrug your shoulders about well-documented global conflicts with living witnesses and say “well we can’t know what really happened, so I’ll believe what I want to feel better about myself.” Fuck your patriotism, fuck your pride.
World War II was awful and Japan did awful things to make that war happen. There are real discussions to be had about motivations and Western influence and those atomic bombs we dropped, but the bottom line is that the Japanese government and military were responsible for many atrocities. To pretend otherwise is an affront to the millions of dead and the billions who live with the war’s consequences.