Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I consider myself being a German, but I have a strong link to my Japanese ancestry.
Being half German, half Japanese, I am concerned about the bad turn of the relationships between Japan on one hand, China and South Korea on the other hand.
When I was a child I was a boy scout and I had a very kind female friend here in Germany. She was South Korean, a girl scout and liked me a lot. We were about 12 years old, and even though being so young she was somehow shocked when she heard that I am half Japanese. Later at my school there was a South Korean boy, he was a cool dude and I respected him. When we were at a party and he was drunk, he showed the big problem he had with my Japanese origin.
Now I am 27 years old and I still like China and Korea. Despite all odds there is also friendship, especially among comic book fans and fans of computer online games.
We in Germany know about our past. The dimension of cruelty which the holocaust represents is too huge for a human's mind to capture, but we learned from the past and are about to re-gain a good national conscience again and have no seriously bad relations to our neighbors.
The Japanese do face their war crimes very slowly, but I am happy Koizumi does at all. I can understand that Koizumi wants to mourn the fallen soldiers of his country. On the other hand, Koizumi makes a mistake to mourn soldiers AND war criminals all together. It shouldn't be difficult for him to announce, that rapists and criminals in uniform are EXCLUDED from his memorial.
Our German schoolbooks hide nothing about the past and although our patriotism suffered heavily in the last decades, we slowly become patriotic again without being arrogant towards other nations. Japan should go the same way and I think many Japanese people feel the same. No one wants them to give up their national dignity. It is rather a sign of dignity to confess mistakes.
I just want you to know that there are Japanese people outside for sure who understand your reasons and who share your opinion and are interested in a good inter-Asiatic relationship.
By the way, my cousin is the local candidate of the communist party in his hometown in Japan. I am not a communist myself, but I am proud of him, because he gives hope to 23,000 electors!
I didn't want to bother you with this long e-mail, I just wanted to express my compassion and my hope for better times.
Karlsruhe / Germany
(China.org.cn November 2, 2005)