Chinese Buddhism and the Anti-Japan War

Re: Chinese Buddhism and the Anti-Japan War

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:19 pm

I'd argue that the end of the Vietnam War was a benefit to the US, and hence, the anti-war movement won that war (sometimes from within the armed forces itself)
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5374
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Chinese Buddhism and the Anti-Japan War

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:52 pm

Indrajala wrote:
kirtu wrote:Japanese militaristic society controlled how people thought and some Buddhist teachers had written that the war was just. It's difficult to oppose contrived thoughts and conclusions in isolation.

Kirt


Are you unaware how many Japanese elites at the time tried to avert war with America? Like Konoe?


I am well aware that *some* tried to avert war and even opposed militarism. But not that many.

Much of what you have written here is slanted.

Educated Japanese weren't stupid either. They knew the Americans wanted to see the collapse of Japanese power in the Pacific which would have left Japan isolated, defenseless and humiliated.


It is highly doubtful that the US wanted to secure the Pacific essentially as an American lake. This is not the general thrust of American history, even given it's nature as a bi-oceanic nation. See for example the US decision to have the Filipinos determine for themselves whether they wanted to be independent or remain part of the US.

Roosevelt wanted the Japanese to strike first so he could finally get American public backing for entering the European theater,


yes he did -

though he underestimated Japanese military capacities.

No, he didn't. There was of course some racism amoungst military leaders. There were also military leaders who had great respect for the Japanese military (afterall, the initial shock of Japanese military capability was some 50 years or so in the past at this point). Secondly, the Japanese had been conducting war, war that had become genocidal on their part, on the Chinese mainland since 1932. People were well aware of Japanese military capabilities.

In fact, Roosevelt's administration already had plans for a preemptive attack against Japanese cities from the air well before Pearl Harbor (the plan was approved on July 18th). The plan was to launch air raids using the Flying Tigers from China and destroy major Japanese cities between September and October, 1941.


I have never heard of this before. Do you have other details?


And then there's the Hull note which was seen as an ultimatum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hull_note

The Japanese were stuck between a rock and a hard place. This is what actually fueled public support for militarism.


Hold on - the Hull note was an ultimatum - an ultimatum to stop the aggressive and unprovoked war that the Japanese were waging on Chinese territory since 1932.

People felt understandably threatened by the West and Soviet Russia. There were extreme elements in the Japanese Army and Navy, yes, but much of the state was simply responding to difficult circumstances.


On the Japanese side, people were trying to secure peace through total domination so part of their motivation was valid. However they fell prey to total fear. But I don 't see this as logical at all. It's like the mania that has engulfed the US after 9/11 resulting in perpetual war.

After becoming acquainted with the Japanese perspective of the early 20th century, I can understand why Buddhists generally fully supported the Japanese state. It was an ugly situation, yes, but they had no other alternative. America was not a friend to Japan in the two decades before 1941, so what other alternative did they have? Japan needed resources to support its industrial base. The alternative was becoming prey to a western power or Soviet Russia.


American *was* indeed a friend to Japan in the two decades prior to 1941, certainly until about 1937. The concerns about securing resources, etc. is true. However war, and esp. genocidal war, is not the answer.

I have seen this "no alternative" argument before - in released tapes of the surviving mid-level military leaders of the time made in the 60's or 70's. I heard them a few years ago and they were shocking. It's like the Germans making a "no alternative" case for the conquest of Europe because of the rise of communism - which was exactly one of the Nazi arguments.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4530
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Chinese Buddhism and the Anti-Japan War

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:00 pm

Indrajala wrote:
rory wrote:I wonder if Buddhism wasn't semi-abandoned by the Japanese people because they lost the war. Many Buddhist ceremonies had to do with the preservation of the state and the rituals and the gods didn't do their part.
gassho
rory


I'm not so sure the majority of people knew that much about Buddhism. For most people, it was about blessings, rituals and social activities (like funerals), not unlike how it is in most Buddhist countries today.


Still rory has an historically valid point. Stevens mentions this behavior in "Marathon Monks of Hiei".

Materialism is the unofficial ontology of the Japanese education system. That leaves no room for actually existent kami, to say nothing of Buddhist karma and so forth.


Nonetheless many Japanese believe in real kami. So do some Japanese-Americans. In a slightly different context, so do some people who have lived in heavily Japanese-American cultural areas (like Hawaii, for example - although this is more the reinforcement of different but similar beliefs).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4530
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Chinese Buddhism and the Anti-Japan War

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:41 am

kirtu wrote:I am well aware that *some* tried to avert war and even opposed militarism. But not that many.


The top war planners, even Tojo, were well aware Japan probably would not win a war with America. They had two years of oil stockpiled, and in a war scenario that meant they had a year and a half of oil, whereas the Americans had a virtually unlimited supply of oil from their own wells. The Japanese plan was to hopefully force a ceasefire with the US and then consolidate themselves in SE Asia. Nevertheless, prior to Pearl Habor a lot of elites wanted to avoid war with the US as they knew they were at a great disadvantage. War with China was another matter. If it wasn't for the Pacific War, Japan would have eventually rolled over the KMT.


It is highly doubtful that the US wanted to secure the Pacific essentially as an American lake. This is not the general thrust of American history, even given it's nature as a bi-oceanic nation. See for example the US decision to have the Filipinos determine for themselves whether they wanted to be independent or remain part of the US.


America was just as much an imperialist land-grabbing nation as anyone else. Just talk to the Mexicans or Hawaiians.



No, he didn't. There was of course some racism amoungst military leaders.


They were pretty damn surprised at how successful the Japanese were in Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong and Singapore.



In fact, Roosevelt's administration already had plans for a preemptive attack against Japanese cities from the air well before Pearl Harbor (the plan was approved on July 18th). The plan was to launch air raids using the Flying Tigers from China and destroy major Japanese cities between September and October, 1941.


I have never heard of this before. Do you have other details?


Most Americans and westerners for that matter are completely unaware of this fact that the Americans were planning the same "unprovoked, premeditated attack" that Roosevelt complained about with the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

    Unofficially, President Franklin Roosevelt immediately agreed to an idealistic plan for the covert bombing of Japan. The plan had been proposed some seven months earlier by Claire Chennault, leader of a volunteer group of Chinese-based American pilots known as the Flying Tigers. The group were employed as mercenaries by the Chinese government in their fight against Japan. Chennault was keen to make pre-emptive strategic bombing raids on Japan itself. He had approached the American government for covert support, and had received some financial backing for his group but not approval for his plan. Then in May 1941 Roosevelt’s adviser, Lauchlin Currie, visited China and on his return revived the plan.
    Roosevelt and some of his senior staff, along with the British, were enthusiastic in spirit but felt it impractical. However, on 23 July – the day after the Japanese southward move in Indochina – Roosevelt and top military officials such as Admirals Hart and Turner put their signatures to Document JB 355 (Serial 691), titled Aircraft Requirements of the Chinese Government. Among other things, this authorised the use of 66 Lockheed Hudson and Douglas DB-7 bombers (other planes to be made available later) for the following clearly stated purpose: ‘Destruction of Japanese factories in order to cripple production of munitions and essential articles for maintenance of economic structure of Japan.’ As it happened, there was a delay in securing the planes, and other events were to overtake the plan before any bombing raids were attempted.


See Kenneth Henshall, A History of Japan From Stone Age to Superpower Third Edition (London, UK: Palgrave Macmillian, 2012), 124-125

The Americans were not necessarily the 'good guys' as patriotic American history likes to proclaim. Roosevelt's administration was not really so different from the Tokyo administration. They were both looking out for their own self-interests and ultimately they clashed.



Hold on - the Hull note was an ultimatum - an ultimatum to stop the aggressive and unprovoked war that the Japanese were waging on Chinese territory since 1932.


The Japanese never intended for that to become an all out war and actually tried to contain it at the start, but the situation exploded and there was no turning back. That's how politics and war work unfortunately.



On the Japanese side, people were trying to secure peace through total domination so part of their motivation was valid. However they fell prey to total fear. But I don 't see this as logical at all. It's like the mania that has engulfed the US after 9/11 resulting in perpetual war.


If you were a Japanese elite in the 1930s, you probably wouldn't feel it appropriate to sit on your hands and let predatory nations get too close.


American *was* indeed a friend to Japan in the two decades prior to 1941, certainly until about 1937. The concerns about securing resources, etc. is true. However war, and esp. genocidal war, is not the answer.


Violence is an extension of political processes whether we like it or not. It has always existed and always will. As Buddhists we might try to avert war as much as possible, but in some situations you have two options: flee or fight. I mean if you look at the history of lunatic Marxists like Mao or the Mongolian communists, as a Buddhist you couldn't exactly negotiate with them or come to some kind of compromise. They wanted to destroy you and your whole religion. Buddhists in Japan could presumably see such similar possibilities on their own horizon in the early twentieth century.

I have seen this "no alternative" argument before - in released tapes of the surviving mid-level military leaders of the time made in the 60's or 70's. I heard them a few years ago and they were shocking. It's like the Germans making a "no alternative" case for the conquest of Europe because of the rise of communism - which was exactly one of the Nazi arguments.


They're only shocking because they were on the losing side.

The arguments for nuking and fire bombing Japanese cities is seen as justifiable nowadays by a lot of Americans, but then they won the war and get to call the shots with respect to justifiable violence.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: Chinese Buddhism and the Anti-Japan War

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:56 am

Heterodox Garden wrote:There are also enormous amounts of gold, silver, and art, treasures, and precious artifacts that have accrued in many temples over the past millenium and a half without being plundered, for the most part.


This was in large cause for the anti-Buddhist sentiments in the Meiji period and the subsequent attack against Buddhist establishments. They were awfully rich and people resented them for that.

Clenliness can go a long way to enhancing the impression of prosperity.


I think even today a lot of hereditary priests are quite prosperous. They pay no taxes and their kids go to expensive private universities and seminaries (one seminary program I looked into is at least US$10,000 / year). Komazawa University (Soto Zen) costs about the same per year. These sons of priests often go to the PhD level, so think $10,000 x 9 years, plus living expenses in Tokyo. Not all my colleagues at grad school there were visibly rich, but a lot of them displayed outward signs of wealth. I had a full scholarship, otherwise I would have never been able to afford the tuition and cost of living on my own unless I worked several years in advance.

In recent decades this income source has been dwindling along with the general downward drift of the Japanese economy, but it is still a potent revenue stream. General donations and tourist fees also remain strong.


There's increasingly more and more secular-oriented funeral services, like one would find in North America for example. You just pay a set fee, get a tasteful service and that's the end of it. It isn't like in Japanese Buddhism where you pay continually years and years after someone has died.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Previous

Return to East Asian Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

>