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View Full Version : Did Japan's brutality and 'no surrender' actions contribute to its defeat?



Rising Sun*
04-21-2013, 09:40 AM
Japanese dishonour in surrendering ensured that few prisoners were available to be taken, while the general practice among Allied soldiers of killing wounded Japanese and not taking prisoners ensured that even fewer Japanese prisoners were actually taken.

The Allied practice was never an official policy, just something that troops on the ground did as a response to endless examples of Japanese brutality and inhumanity towards Allied prisoners on the battlefield and Allied casualties caused by actions by or booby traps on Japanese wounded or dead, and very occasionally from casualties caused by Japanese pretending to surrender.

If the Japanese militarists’ creation of the ‘no surrender’ code and the corrupted Bushido code which generated appalling mistreatment of civilians and service people wherever the Japanese went 1933-1945 had not generated the Allied practice, there would have been hundreds of thousands of Japanese prisoners taken. This would have started in late 1942 – early 1943 in Guadalcanal and Papua with some thousands of prisoners and mounted steadily as the Allies advanced towards Japan, steadily increasing the burden on the Allies of maintaining the POWs.

It has just dawned on me (probably about 70 years after Allied commanders and logisticians recognised it) that this conferred a major advantage on the Allies by avoiding:
1. Allied troops and resources being diverted to POW guard and transport duties from the battlefield to staging to permanent camps.
2. Burdens on Allied medical services from battlefield level upwards.
3. Logistical burdens of housing and feeding prisoners, and transporting necessary supplies by sea or air where local supplies were insufficient.

Contrast this with the guarding, logistical, and medical burdens on the Allies in North Africa and Western and Southern Europe in dealing with large numbers of German prisoners, not to mention huge numbers of Italian prisoners although the latter were rarely wounded in proportion to the total number taken.

At battlefield level, about all the Japanese militarists’ brutal codes achieved was to energise the Allies against them by extremely savage but ultimately pointless mistreatment of Allied battlefield casualties and prisoners. A less brutal but more calculating enemy would have used the casualties to reduce the forces facing them, without energising those forces. For example, on the Kokoda Track and at Milne Bay the Japanese often left terribly tortured and mutilated Australian corpses in their wake. These engagements were often fought on narrow to very narrow jungle fronts at platoon to, in what in some places were major engagements, company level. Finding three mutilated bodies merely energised a company of about 120 men to wreak vengeance on the enemy. Leaving three living casualties needing stretchering would have taken 12 men, or about a third of a platoon or a tenth of a company, out of the battle line to take the casualties back to medical aid.

The unintended consequence of the militarists’ creations was that, once the tide turned against Japan, those creations contributed to Japan’s defeat.

This is another glaring example of the failure, or perhaps inability, of the militarists and their supporters to understand and predict the effect on their enemy of their actions, in the same way that they failed to understand and predict the effect of Pearl Harbor in galavanising American public opinion in favour of total war against Japan.

I’m inclined to the view that (as with some modern Islamic strategic brutalists like bin Laden who favour spectacular but ultimately strategically and tactically inconsequential events which merely ensure a disproportionately destructive response against them and their ilk by a vastly better equipped foe) part of the problem for the Japanese militarists lay in extolling the virtues of their narrow and distorted view of medieval military values which had no place on the modern battlefield against a modern enemy with industrial and technological superiority which, with the ‘spirit’ generated by Pearl Harbor and subsequent Japanese atrocities, would prevail against an industrially and technologically inferior aggressor which saw its racially and culturally pure ‘spirit’ as capable of overcoming all.

Nickdfresh
04-21-2013, 10:15 AM
I forget where exactly I heard or read this, but another thing to consider related is that Japanese soldiers indoctrinated under the pseudo-Bushido code were told they were no longer Japanese if they surrendered. I've heard that many took this literally and the relative few that surrendered and made it safety to a rear area would often go out of their way to cooperate in order to impress their new masters as they considered themselves now stateless and the only hope was to ingratiate themselves with whatever nationality that captured them...

tom!
04-22-2013, 04:15 AM
Hi.

Well, an enraged enemy makes more mistakes. And brutality also causes fear among the enemy (at least initially). These psycological effects shouldn´t be underrated.


AFAIK:
The japanese brutality against the enemy started during the chinese expeditions after 1928 and reached ist peak during the Nanking Massacre.

IJA and IJN had massive losses during the 1937 Shanghai operations (around 100.000 soldiers were KIA, MIA and WIA) and it also took much longer than expected to secure the town. This caused unrest among the japanese people which were told the whole chinese-japanese "incident" would be a fast and low cost military adventure. To destroy the chinese will to fight the army was told to act with maximum brutality during the next operations and they did in Nanking (between 100.000 and 300.000 civilians and some 80.000 chinese POW were killed in every possible way within 6 weeks....). From that time brutality was standard during military operations and also the treatment of POWs. The problem is that it didn´t really work as intended on the long run and it caused major diplomatic problems (which was really appreciated by the military leaders to weaken the political establishment).

This incident was definitely a contribution to the japanese defeat at least as it increased the support for China by the allies and the Soviet Union which finally lead to the Pacific War. During the fightings itself the effect was far lower than one might expect as both sides would have fought as hard as possible anyway (maybe not that brutal...).

Yours

tom! ;)

Rising Sun*
04-22-2013, 07:38 AM
Hi. And brutality also causes fear among the enemy (at least initially). These psycological effects shouldn´t be underrated.

Agreed, but the effect depends upon the level of training, discipline and commitment to the cause of those opposing the brutal force.

Along the lines of my original post, it is potentially counter-productive to have a reputation for (by war standards) excessive brutality when facing well trained etc troops as they will fight harder in the knowledge that surrender is not an option.


AFAIK:
The japanese brutality against the enemy started during the chinese expeditions after 1928 and reached ist peak during the Nanking Massacre.

IJA and IJN had massive losses during the 1937 Shanghai operations (around 100.000 soldiers were KIA, MIA and WIA) and it also took much longer than expected to secure the town. This caused unrest among the japanese people which were told the whole chinese-japanese "incident" would be a fast and low cost military adventure. To destroy the chinese will to fight the army was told to act with maximum brutality during the next operations and they did in Nanking (between 100.000 and 300.000 civilians and some 80.000 chinese POW were killed in every possible way within 6 weeks....). From that time brutality was standard during military operations and also the treatment of POWs. The problem is that it didn´t really work as intended on the long run and it caused major diplomatic problems (which was really appreciated by the military leaders to weaken the political establishment).

This incident was definitely a contribution to the japanese defeat at least as it increased the support for China by the allies and the Soviet Union which finally lead to the Pacific War. During the fightings itself the effect was far lower than one might expect as both sides would have fought as hard as possible anyway (maybe not that brutal...).

That opens up a huge range of historical issues, but I’ll confine myself to a few observations.

The Japanese mentality underlying their treatment of the Chinese was the usual requirement for profound inhumanity of regarding the enemy, in this case the Chinese, as inhuman. As indeed did the Western Allies in their views of the Japanese after, and frequently before, Pearl Harbor, which also allowed inhumane treatment of Japanese by Allied servicemen who would not have treated Germans the same way and, in the case of units which fought both the Germans and Japanese, didn’t.

There is a good treatment of the alteration by the militarists etc of Japanese attitudes towards the Chinese from indifferent to hostile in the 1920s and later in some autobiographical writings by Saburo Ienaga, but I can’t quote a source at the moment. A lot of this was obviously attributable to attempts to justify the initially economic and later military / colonial expansion by Japan into China to profit from its riches. Which, conveniently ignored or not understood by some Western historians and commentators, involved a contest with Western interests doing exactly the same thing in China, as indeed they had been doing economically and militarily for about a century before Japan intruded on Western exploitation of China.

A good deal of the brutality by Japanese troops was encouraged or ordered by superiors to ‘blood’ their troops, particularly in the use of the bayonet. This flowed from the corrupted Bushido code advocated by the militarists, almost none and possibly all of whom were not qualified by descent or training as true inheritors of the true Bushido tradition.

By Western standards the Japanese conduct was appalling, but the Japanese weren’t operating on Western standards which they had abandoned as a result of various insults from the West ranging from immigration restrictions on Japanese in America and Australia; to insults in the Versailles Treaty negotiations following WWI, in which Japan had borne a strategically important role as an Ally even if that role involved little fighting; to the oppressive naval treaty restrictions imposed on Japan by the English speaking powers in the 1920s.

Japan’s failure as an Asian nation to operate from 1933 on Western standards was less mystifying than the Germans in the USSR, and domestically with Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others consigned to concentration and death camps. Which leads to the interesting observation that, as with Allied units which fought both the Germans and Japanese, German units which behaved badly in the East didn’t when re-deployed to fight the English speaking Allies in the West.

What is also almost universally ignored is that the Chinese at the time were often no less brutal than the Japanese in their treatment of Chinese opponents in their various contests between the Nationalists and Communists and sundry warlords, just less organised and less efficient than the Japanese. The numbers of dead are bound to be rubbery, but the Japanese certainly weren’t the only ones murdering Chinese in vast numbers 1933-45, as covered at http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/CHINA.CHAP1.HTM

So why is Nanking so well known in the West, and not the Chinese inhumanity towards their own people? Because it’s what the Western governments and press, and perhaps Western propagandists, at the time chose to focus on from the perspective of the West offended by the intrusion of Japan into a China which the West had been happily exploiting for a century or more.

None of that excuses Japan’s appalling conduct in China, and everywhere else it went 1933 – 45, but it puts Japan’s conduct in a different perspective to the simplistic notion of Japan as the awful invader of poor little China. It’s also the case that after the Boxer Rebellion there were many murders and massacres by Western troops of Chinese about as brutal as the later Japanese murders and massacres, although I suspect that the swordsman in this one in front of German troops might have been Chinese or Japanese.

6494

Ardee
04-23-2013, 11:53 AM
I think you may be looking at things from a cultural-centric point of view, just as the Japanese did when creating the "Bushido" code of WWII.

Military thinking is often hampered by the "what would we do?" syndrome. For example, IIRC, one reason for the relative dearth of heavy anti-armor weapons among the Japanese was that the light stuff they did have worked just fine against their own lightly-armored AFVs. But not so much against heavier Allied vehicles. I suspect similar thinking lies behind the Bushido concept.

While your post so far has been discussing the negatives it resulted in for the Japanese, I think you also need to consider the advantages it brought. As I understand, the bulk of the Japanese population in the 1930's/40's was technologically ignorant and illiterate (i.e., peasants in a society with lots of feudalism still in place). How do you train and inspire such troops, create a vast military, and motivate them for a modern war of conquest?

Different cultures will answer that differently. Japan had a long history (as most cultures do) of believing in its own innate racial superiority. In the Bushido of WWII, was Japan doing anything other than capitalizing on an existing asset, building a spirit among their troops, a determination, a belief in themselves?

In your scale, how are you weighting the costs of Bushido, as you describe at least some of them above (mostly external costs, to the Japanese military), versus the perhaps less tangible/quantifiable internal benefits of morale, cohesion, devotion to duty, etc?

I sure don't have an answer, nor do I have enough familiarity with Japan to say what the Japanese "should" have done to reach their desired result without (or at least mitigating) the cost. I certainly wasn't there at the time! But the people who were there, who understood their culture, chose that particular route. If the technological playing field had been a little more level, industrial resources more evenly distributed, etc, might things have gone differently?

To me, given the actual situation of the 1940's, it seemed the Japanese were gambling on the collapse of the West, under the weight of the European war and the striking power of their own forces. They viewed the West as morally weak, decadent. They were racially and culturally superior. Ergo, the war would be short: all they had to do was smash the will to resist. Certainly the German campaigns up that point could be taken as an indication quick victories were the "norm." Nobody considered/took seriously enough the implications of a longer war. If their scenario had proved correct, the Bushido Code may have been the perfect answer to their needs.

fredl109
04-23-2013, 08:17 PM
I forget where exactly I heard or read this, but another thing to consider related is that Japanese soldiers indoctrinated under the pseudo-Bushido code were told they were no longer Japanese if they surrendered. I've heard that many took this literally and the relative few that surrendered and made it safety to a rear area would often go out of their way to cooperate in order to impress their new masters as they considered themselves now stateless and the only hope was to ingratiate themselves with whatever nationality that captured them...


Hello to all, Nikdfresh I think that when you so-called "pseudo-Bushido" you are mistaken heavily, it is not a pseudo code, but beautiful and well a manner to be and it is difficult has conceive for western as us.
We always take our own values of reference that are in controlled general as a basis, and it is a mistake if one wants to understand the mentality of the Japanese.
When one interrogated of the American sailors victims of attacks Kamikaze, the thing that comes back the more that is that they don't understand how a human being can kill himself deliberately while throwing themselves with his plane on a target and even nowadays the few vétérants that they remain says the same thing.
If made not you abstraction of your own belief you will have the pain and it is not your mistake, has understand a people that has a civilization two millennial times and of which the beliefs and customs are anchored so deeply in their lives, what became an emanation natural of them even. Besides, they live in a monarchy or the monarch him even is considered like a living god and all his/her/its topics must him an absolute obedience, what they make the world the most naturally because their life style is bound has a code more that millennial or the sovereign is their center of the world. If you don't take into account this and it is in part of has it an education that we have all, then you will hurt has understand their behaviors.
the théme of this post is Did" Japan's brutality and "no surrender" actions contribute to its defeat?" he/it is in him same carrier of a false intérrogation because he/it doesn't take a physical fact of an action of fight as a basis but altogether on a behavior of human beings in the occurence the Japanese that struck and struck again today all those that study them, it is a false question in the sense or, if one emits the hypothése that he behaved like western they could have won the victory, the answer and well evidently no, the war doesn't sum up unfortunately has an attitude comportementale of the belligerents, but has a balance of powers materials altogether.
My subject here is not to say if it is well either pain, but well to attract the attention on a mistake that a lot of people make and that I as also have me makes in the past, on the behavior that one judges too quickly irrational of the Japanese soldiers, without trying to understand of or it comes and especially not to bend on the very history of Japan, history that explains the fundamental of the Japanese mind exactly.

Forgiveness to have been a little long but I held has make you part of my point of view on the topic and excuse me also by advance but I use an English translator and I hope that my sentences its explicit enough.

Best Regards Fred

Rising Sun*
04-24-2013, 05:29 AM
I think you may be looking at things from a cultural-centric point of view, just as the Japanese did when creating the "Bushido" code of WWII.

Military thinking is often hampered by the "what would we do?" syndrome. For example, IIRC, one reason for the relative dearth of heavy anti-armor weapons among the Japanese was that the light stuff they did have worked just fine against their own lightly-armored AFVs. But not so much against heavier Allied vehicles. I suspect similar thinking lies behind the Bushido concept.

While your post so far has been discussing the negatives it resulted in for the Japanese, I think you also need to consider the advantages it brought. As I understand, the bulk of the Japanese population in the 1930's/40's was technologically ignorant and illiterate (i.e., peasants in a society with lots of feudalism still in place). How do you train and inspire such troops, create a vast military, and motivate them for a modern war of conquest?

Different cultures will answer that differently. Japan had a long history (as most cultures do) of believing in its own innate racial superiority. In the Bushido of WWII, was Japan doing anything other than capitalizing on an existing asset, building a spirit among their troops, a determination, a belief in themselves?

In your scale, how are you weighting the costs of Bushido, as you describe at least some of them above (mostly external costs, to the Japanese military), versus the perhaps less tangible/quantifiable internal benefits of morale, cohesion, devotion to duty, etc?



Good post.

Thanks.

Yours are all good points that I hadn't thought of to balance against my coldly logistical etc, rather than cultural, comments.

The points you make were all advantages to the Japanese, and the ones I made were disadvantages.

The advantages you presented were all of great benefit to the Japanese in their advance phase from 1941. Perhaps without those advantages they would not have had the spectacular successes they did, certainly on land.

There was ultimately a degree of unintended adverse consequences for the Japanese in their retreat phase from early 1943, which was what I was thinking about.

Ardee
04-24-2013, 11:27 AM
In chess, they say "every weakness is a strength, and every strength a weakness." ;)

J.A.W.
05-06-2013, 07:26 PM
Short answer..
Yes, of course it did, essentially similar to Hitler's 'Triumph of the Will' self-deluding mentality..

Fanatical & unreasoning 'faith' cannot overcome brutal application of industrial fire-power in overwhelming quantities..

I recently discussed this with a local veteran of the New Guinea fighting.

& he told me that the Australian veterans transferred from the North African theatre,
where they fought the Afrika Korps - in a professional soldiering way - quickly adapted a practical 'extermination policy'
in response to the Nippon mindset..& got on with the job..

However, in many instances...they saw it was fairly pointless to fight for fighting's sake over worthless jungle..

Rising Sun*
05-07-2013, 04:59 AM
However, in many instances...they saw it was fairly pointless to fight for fighting's sake over worthless jungle..

In many cases it probably was. This is covered in detail in Peter Charlton's book The Unnecessary War: http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/21334526?versionId=45188944

Charlton's thesis is rejected by many subsequent historians, summarised here: http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australian-strategy-and-the-unnecessary-war/

As with many things, the truth is probably somewhere between the two, but I'm still inclined to favour a view closer to Charlton's in many respects.

A simple example which supports Charlton's thesis is that MacArthur, on his path to glory of regaining the Philippines as a purely American victory, decided to withdraw American units from various parts east of his advanced New Guinea positions in 1944. They were to be used in his westward advance on the Philippines.

The withdrawn American units generally were not engaged in aggressive, or usually any, action against the Japanese, who by then were isolated and preoccupied with growing their own vegetables etc to survive. It was a case of 'live and let live' by both sides.

Blamey ordered that the Australian units which replaced the Americans would engage in aggressive actions against the Japanese, which they did and which resulted in many deaths and wounded to no advantage to Australia or the Allies I can see balanced against maintaining the Americans' 'live and let live' approach, which supports your veteran's view.

Rising Sun*
05-07-2013, 05:35 AM
Fanatical & unreasoning 'faith' cannot overcome brutal application of industrial fire-power in overwhelming quantities..

Maybe not, but the Japanese 'spirit' worked brilliantly in Japan's advance phase 1941-42 and made the Allies gain all ground at great cost as the Allies pushed the Japanese back 1943-45.

I'd dispute that it was just "Fanatical & unreasoning 'faith'". The concept of Chi or Qi and its variants in Chinese and Japanese martial arts and related thinking is long established as, ultimately, the ability of spirit to overcome the body's limitations. It's not really all that different to Western special forces training to the effect that when you think you're physically finished then you've just begun to tap into the physical reserves you have if your mind allows you to overcome your body's messages and distress and press on.

As for "brutal application of industrial fire-power in overwhelming quantities", often it wasn't successful against dug in Japanese defenders who survived massive bombardments in island assaults and came out to fight sustained and vigorous defensive campaigns.

And in Papua New Guinea, the Australians who did the vast bulk of the ground fighting 1942-44 never had 'industrial fire-power in overwhelming quantities'. Mostly it was just a horrible infantry grind, for both sides. The Australians' advantage was in better logistical support against under-supplied and at times pathetically starving but still fighting (the 'spirit' in action) Japanese and in significantly American but still strong Australian naval and air operations which denied the Japanese the logistical support they desperately needed. But there was also an Australian and American 'spirit' which, while different to the suicidal Japanese spirit, overcame the Japanese spirit at the basic infantry level of fire and movement against excellent entrenched Japanese defences.. Witness the reduction of the Buna - Gona etc beachhead in late 1942, and the steady infantry reduction of the many excellent Japanese defensive positions as the Allies advanced 1942-44.

JR*
05-07-2013, 08:41 AM
I recall an American wartime cartoon (can't remember the author). Two G.I.s are sitting in a foxhole, manning a machine gun, as a "Banzai" charge of sword-waving Japanese rolls towards them. One G.I. turns to his buddy and exclaims "souvenirs !". The "Banzai charge" approach may have been effective against an enemy first encountering it, but was in every sense suicidal when employed against heavily-armed opponents who knew what to expect. More successful, perhaps, was the kamikaze airborne campaign against US shipping - but not much. It can equally be argued that it involved a stupid diversion of material resources and of human life that had no substantial effect on the outcome of the Pacific war.

As regards the spirit of the Allied armies - certainly there was one and, at times, it did not differ much in practice from that of the Japanese. One thinks, for example, of the British (Indian) Army commander who launched an old-fashioned cavalry charge against a Japanese position in the Burmese jungle (!), an action that resulted in the (pretty pointless) death of the officer in question and of most of his men. More generally, however, Allied soldiers showed spirit - with the important exception that they did not go out of their way to have their heads blown off unless there was some concrete purpose to the exercise. I saw an interview recently with an American Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, who was thus honoured for an incident on a Pacific island in which he ventured forward no fewer than five times with his flamethrower to knock out Japanese bunkers (he needed to return four times to replace the fuel tank of his flamethrower). He was quite good-humoured about the whole thing in his old age - "Nobody said, 'it's my turn' when I came back any of those times', he said. No pseudo-Bushido there, but some hero ... Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
05-07-2013, 09:16 AM
More successful, perhaps, was the kamikaze airborne campaign against US shipping - but not much. It can equally be argued that it involved a stupid diversion of material resources and of human life that had no substantial effect on the outcome of the Pacific war.

Two aspects to that.

First, and I wish I could track it down from reading it long ago, but the first 'kamikaze' attacks by aircraft were apparently by American fighter pilots early in the conflict who rammed their planes into enemy planes in desperate attempts to stop the Japanese,

Second, to the extent that Japanese kamikaze attacks on US (and the occasional non-US) warships had any overall effect in the closing stages of the war when the US could replace ships, planes and pilots a lot faster than the Japanese could even find fuel for their ships, the Japanese kamikaze air attacks were ruinous from the Japanese perspective because, unlike the Allies who could produce pilots fairly quickly and ships and planes and fuel even quicker, the IJN in particular insisted upon maintaining a good part of its long (up to two years) pre-war training program. Which goes back to Midway when the IJN lost the cream of its pilots, and never recovered, while the US pumped out naval and air force (USAAF at that time) at exponential rate with its relatively short training programs.

Ardee
05-07-2013, 04:53 PM
From JR *
The "Banzai charge" approach may have been effective against an enemy first encountering it, but was in every sense suicidal when employed against heavily-armed opponents who knew what to expect.

Perhaps belaboring the obvious, but for the initial years of Japan's war (i.e., 1937 (at the latest) to 1941), I dare say the Banzai charge was quite effective, no matter how many times it was employed. The Chinese had few modern weapons, horrible morale, etc., etc., etc. After years of success, as well as for cultural reasons, I'm sure a suicidal charge retained some appeal to the Japanese. Certainly the Japanese were neither the first nor the only ones to suffer an inflexibility of tactics when fighting an opponent with a different style of combat.

On another tact, I wonder if their might be a thread of racism here as well? I don't know how the Japanese viewed/ranked Americans and Europeans vs the Chinese. But I'd guess they viewed the Chinese as being a "better" race, since they looked more like the Japanese, and cultural similarities, a vast history of Empire, etc? And perhaps, like (and perhaps influenced by) the Germans, Americans were seen as just a bunch of mongrels anyway. So something that worked against the Chinese should certainly crush the fragile morale of inferior races? Anybody know the details of Japanese thoughts on this subject?

Rising Sun*
05-08-2013, 04:11 AM
On another tact, I wonder if their might be a thread of racism here as well? I don't know how the Japanese viewed/ranked Americans and Europeans vs the Chinese. But I'd guess they viewed the Chinese as being a "better" race, since they looked more like the Japanese, and cultural similarities, a vast history of Empire, etc? And perhaps, like (and perhaps influenced by) the Germans, Americans were seen as just a bunch of mongrels anyway. So something that worked against the Chinese should certainly crush the fragile morale of inferior races? Anybody know the details of Japanese thoughts on this subject?

The Japanese, who previously had no particular animosity towards the Chinese, were educated in the 1930s to have contempt, even hatred, for the Chinese. This was well described in an article I read quite some time ago by Japanese historian Saburo Ienaga, which recounts his personal experience during that time and the indoctrinated change in attitude to the Chinese. I can't find the article on the internet, but elements of it are summarised in this review of one of his books


The Imperial Japanese Army lost its humanity in China, where national pride became the ugliest kind of racism. "Chinka, Chinka, Chinka," as the translator renders a poem that appeared in Japanese schools in the 1930s: "they're ugly and they stinka." A grade-school boys would be told that his duty and his privilege when he grew up would be to kill "hundreds of Chinese." (Military training began in elementary school, and each middle school had a military cadre to lead the boys in drill.) http://www.amazon.com/review/RBAOBCSOWN5EA

I can't recall the reasons for the indoctrination. I suspect it may have been conveniently allied with Japanese militarists' and capitalists' ambitions to invade and exploit China.

Japan's attitude towards the West wasn't simple racism like its contempt for the Chinese but was generated by reaction to various anti-Japanese actions by the West, such as the anti-Japanese immigration policies of the US and Australia in the first few decades of the 20th century; Western trade policies which Japan, quite reasonably, saw as unfair to Japan; the Western Allies' rejection at Versailles of Japan's racial equality proposal; Britain's rejection of continuing alliance with Japan; and the naval treaty which limited Japan's production of warships so that its navy would remain inferior to those of the US and Britain. The effect of these sorts of actions was to reinforce Japan's well founded sentiment that it was not being treated equally by the West and that the West held the Japanese in much the same contempt as the Japanese held the Chinese in the 1930s.

The West reaped what it sowed, but the racism towards China seems to originate in Japan rather than in reaction to anything China did

Ardee
05-09-2013, 01:49 PM
From RS*
The Japanese, who previously had no particular animosity towards the Chinese....

Hmmm. Perhaps the key words here are "particular animosity." While I can no longer recall the specific sources, I have previously read of the Japanese being very sure of their racial superiority over their neighbors, going back for centuries. IIRC, even the centuries-long isolation of their islands was due in part to avoid outside "contamination" (especially in terms of culture, but certainly not entirely). If you believe yourself better than all others, I guess it doesn't always merit picking out single groups for particular disdain: you can treat everybody with equal contempt? Note I'm not bashing the Japanese in particular for this attitude: I think every culture has had it, and probably still does, if to a more or less virulent degree over time.


From RS*
...by Japanese historian....
Yet, unless I confuse you with another, you have often made posts on the topic of Japanese revisionism of history?


From RS*
I suspect it may have been conveniently allied with Japanese militarists' and capitalists' ambitions to invade and exploit China.
Of that, I am pretty sure. Always demonize the enemy. And China was a prostrate giant, weak, divided, and backward. I'm sure the last thing 1930's Japan would want was a strong, united, technologically advanced neighbor who also saw themselves as the natural center of the world. From their view point, China would be the natural target, to make sure it doesn't become a threat.

Rising Sun*
05-09-2013, 05:57 PM
Yet, unless I confuse you with another, you have often made posts on the topic of Japanese revisionism of history?

I certainly have. It is still a major problem in the ruling elite in Japan, who are in many respects the successors to the militarist / nationalist / zaibatsu elements which propelled Japan into China and the Pacific War.

But Ienaga was opposed to them, and fought a long and courageous battle to inform post-war Japanese about what really happened, as outlined in his obituary below.


Saburo Ienaga

One man's campaign against Japanese censorship

Jonathan Watts
The Guardian, Tuesday 3 December 2002 02.38 GMT

For more than three decades, the frail, bald and bespectacled figure of the Japanese historian Saburo Ienaga was a familiar sight, leaning on his walking stick outside a Tokyo courthouse. Ienaga, who has died of heart failure at the age of 89, led a 10-trial battle against his government's censorship of school textbooks, a crusade motivated by his need to erase a sense of wartime guilt at indoctrinating students to fight for a god-emperor, but also to expose and understand wartime atrocities.

His stubborn campaign for free speech, even while suffering from Parkinson's disease, won him international admirers. In 1999, he was nominated for the Nobel peace prize by the European Union, domestic political parties and scholars, such as Noam Chomsky.

Ienaga was born in Aichi prefecture, in central Japan. At school, he was taught that the Japanese race was descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu, and that the emperor was a living divinity. Later, he would use primary school textbooks from the 1920s and 30s to demonstrate the dangers of government control over education. But, after graduating in literature from Tokyo Imperial University in 1937, he became part of the system.

At the time of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Ienaga was a high school teacher in Niigata, north eastern Japan, spreading what he later described as war propaganda and imperial divinity myths to students who would soon be sent to the front. Although opposed to the war, he was intimidated from speaking out by the government clampdown on dissenters. Instead, he escaped into the past by researching the safe topics of Buddhist culture and 10th-century art.

Only after the war did Ienaga feel able to assuage his sense of powerlessness and remorse by writing a textbook exploring the darker side of modern Japanese history.

The US forces that occupied Japan in 1945 imposed a very different kind of censorship on nationalist publications, while enshrining the principle of free speech in a new constitution. In this more liberal climate, Ienaga began writing a history that detailed such atrocities as the 1937 Nanjing massacre, in which imperial army troops slaughtered 200,000 to 300,000 Chinese civilians; the inhuman experiments carried out by Unit 731, the army's germ warfare unit, on Chinese prisoners; and the suicides forced on many Okinawans by the military.

But by the time the book was ready for use in Japanese schools, the education ministry had introduced strict criteria for the textbook screening system they had inherited in 1952 from the departing US administration. Ienaga was told to make 200 revisions to his text. All references to Unit 731 were to be cut because, the education ministry said, there was insufficient research to confirm its existence and activities - although other scholars had already exposed the biological weapons programme.

Ienaga refused to back down. In 1964, he launched the first of three lawsuits, demanding damages for a screening policy that he condemned as obscure, biased and a violation of the constitution. "As one of the Japanese people who experienced the misery of war, I cannot stand silently by and ignore the screening process, which is an attempt to pluck the spirit of pacificism and democracy from people's consciousness," he said in court.

In the event, Ienaga won few of the trials and appeals that he launched over the following 32 years, though he always said he wanted a moral, rather than a legal, victory. And the strategy had some success. Although he could not get his books adopted by schools for several decades, he was able to draw attention to their contents, and 25,000 people signed up to support him. In the early 1980s, he also won the backing of China and South Korea, forcing a Japanese government apology over euphemisms for the country's aggression.

In 1990, pressure on the education ministry prompted a reform of the screening process, which is now more transparent, though no less controversial. Many textbooks now include passages about the Nanjing massacre and the enforced conscription of Chinese, South Korean and other women from Asia to work in army brothels as sex slaves, euphemistically known as "comfort women".

The most high-profile breakthrough came in 1997, when the Tokyo supreme court acknowledged that Ienaga had been right about Unit 731, and ordered the government to pay 300,000 yen (£1,200) in damages. The judgment quoted the novelist Rutaro Shiba: "A country whose textbooks lie will inevitably collapse."

But on the bigger issue of whether the screening policy was constitutional, the court ruled in favour of the government. In the years since, the education pendulum has also swung away from Ienaga as nationalist academics have organised a campaign against "a masochist view of history". However, there is now an outcry if books fail to mention the Nanjing massacre, Unit 731, or the comfort women.

· Saburo Ienaga, historian and campaigner, born September 3 1913; died December 1 2002

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2002/dec/03/guardianobituaries.japan

Rising Sun*
05-10-2013, 08:58 AM
Hmmm. Perhaps the key words here are "particular animosity." While I can no longer recall the specific sources, I have previously read of the Japanese being very sure of their racial superiority over their neighbors, going back for centuries. IIRC, even the centuries-long isolation of their islands was due in part to avoid outside "contamination" (especially in terms of culture, but certainly not entirely). If you believe yourself better than all others, I guess it doesn't always merit picking out single groups for particular disdain: you can treat everybody with equal contempt? Note I'm not bashing the Japanese in particular for this attitude: I think every culture has had it, and probably still does, if to a more or less virulent degree over time.

Many years ago I heard of a Chinese saying along the lines that when mankind was made the people were put into an oven to be baked. Some came out white, and were under done. Some came out black and were over done. The rest came out a perfect golden yellow, and they were the Chinese.

As you say, every race and nation believe they are superior to some others, and often all others.

It's certainly not peculiar to the Japanese leading up and during WWII, as evidenced by the Western propaganda and private views likening the Japanese (and Germans) to various forms of sub-human beasts.



Always demonize the enemy.

Yes. Among other things, it allows us to do bad things to them which may conflict with our normal moral standards.

Ardee
05-10-2013, 03:03 PM
@ RS*: Thank you for the added perspective on Saburo Ienaga. And I enjoyed your myth on the orgins of mankind -- though I fear the tale is a little, um - half-baked? :)

J.A.W.
05-15-2013, 05:01 AM
Rice Crackers all.. some maybe a bit crispier.. Sons of Nippon, like the Kaiser 1/2 a century earlier, wanted their place in the sun..

As does the Red Celestial State today..

JR*
05-15-2013, 07:28 AM
... and some of the people came out of the oven vulcanised, because the Gods, in their wisdom, knew that they would need to be particularly resistant to rainfall. And they became the Irish ... Just kidding, JR.

J.A.W.
05-15-2013, 06:21 PM
Rubbers are legal now in the 'Emerald Isle'! Begorrah!

Rising Sun*
05-16-2013, 06:31 AM
Rubbers are legal now in the 'Emerald Isle'! Begorrah!

IIRC it was J.P. Donleavy in his 1960s book The Ginger Man who had one of his characters see used condoms floating down the Liffey and observe that they were waterproof socks, or something along those lines.

Rising Sun*
05-16-2013, 06:36 AM
... and some of the people came out of the oven vulcanised, because the Gods, in their wisdom, knew that they would need to be particularly resistant to rainfall. And they became the Irish ... Just kidding, JR.

Yes, and those same gods, ever generous to the Irish, turned the oven off before they'd dried the peat out enough to be coal. ;) :(

(I know it's long and immense pressure that's required to convert peat into coal, but the facts would interfere with my response.)

JR*
05-16-2013, 10:50 AM
Many years ago - long before Little Rubber Objects and Other Strange Devices became legal in Ireland - large quantities of letters coming into Ireland through the post were, let us say, French, at least in contents. This occasioned considerable inconvenience for our Customs service which - notwithstanding the fact that it was in all probability controlled by officials who were card-carrying members of the Knights of Saint Columbanus - frankly had better things to do than intercepting this sort of contraband. At one point, one of the Revenue service's senior officials (a Knight if ever I saw one) proposed to a middle-ranking official of the Department of Finance that this problem should be addressed by informally reclassifying condoms as "adult clothing", which was VAT zero-rated at the time, thus disempowering the use of purely Revenue powers to intercept them in the post. This happy arrangement was agreed, and survived for some months - until a very senior Department of Finance official/Knight of Columbanus-type discovered the arrangement, and ordered that it be abandoned. I kid you not. I could not make this up. And also ... I Was There .... JR.

Rising Sun*
05-16-2013, 11:26 AM
Many years ago - long before Little Rubber Objects and Other Strange Devices became legal in Ireland - large quantities of letters coming into Ireland through the post were, let us say, French, at least in contents. This occasioned considerable inconvenience for our Customs service which - notwithstanding the fact that it was in all probability controlled by officials who were card-carrying members of the Knights of Saint Columbanus - frankly had better things to do than intercepting this sort of contraband. At one point, one of the Revenue service's senior officials (a Knight if ever I saw one) proposed to a middle-ranking official of the Department of Finance that this problem should be addressed by informally reclassifying condoms as "adult clothing", which was VAT zero-rated at the time, thus disempowering the use of purely Revenue powers to intercept them in the post. This happy arrangement was agreed, and survived for some month - until a very senior Department of Finance official/Knight of Columbanus-type discovered the arrangement, and ordered that it be abandoned. I kid you not. I could not make this up. And also ... I Was There .... JR.

You don't need to kid me.

When I was admitted to the bar here some 35 years ago, there were pockets of Catholic / Irish triumph in the public service (pretty much the same way there are now with Indians / Sri Lankans but a surprising absence of equally large or larger ethnic groups of similarly recent arrival, some of which have eschewed the public service for much bigger incomes for even less work in largely unregulated, albeit irregular, industries to do with popular powders, and I don't mean cosmetics).

The land titles registrar when I was admitted was, IIRC, a Mannix or similar (probably preceded by F. X.) and his underlings were Dohertys and Murphys and the like.

Down here they were the Knights of Columbus, with youthful variants, notably the Holy Name Society, who sat in the front pews with their proud black and white banners announcing their presence. On the other side of the aisle were the Daughters of Mary in their blue capes or veils (can't recall which), similarly bannered, and a source of eternal frustration to pubescent boys like me (I was well over the holy altar boy phase by then), which is why I spent a lot of time with the more malleable girls from the state high school who were not inhibited by the endless guilt imbued by a Catholic education which I fought heroically to overcome in their relatively liberal presence.

Ardee
05-16-2013, 12:38 PM
Perhaps a university researcher somewhere would want to study this thread as an example of how things drift off topic? Or maybe its just a demonstration of how the loose mind seems to have a preference to turning towards things sexual? Would the research qualify as psychology, sociology, or what? ;)

tankgeezer
05-16-2013, 12:58 PM
IIRC it was J.P. Donleavy in his 1960s book The Ginger Man who had one of his characters see used condoms floating down the Liffey and observe that they were waterproof socks, or something along those lines.
In New York, they were called "Coney island Whitefish" IIRC.

J.A.W.
05-16-2013, 06:50 PM
Ah, the joys of naughty catholic convent-girls.. doing their bit to gather some juicily authentic confessional content..

Mind you some of those hard bitin' lifer monks/nuns would give the Nippon nasties a run for their money in practices of fanatical cruelty..

J.A.W.
06-01-2013, 03:03 AM
Had a good yarn session with the old boy PNG veteran today..
He reckoned that he got the fright of his life once while on picket duty up the jungle..
Having a bit of an on-duty doze when awakened by a soldier of the Emperor..
Amazingly [& fortunately for Bill] the Japanese wished to surrender..
Most unusual.. but subsequent to an interrogative check the reason was clear..

Even duty to the God-Emperor had limits & being on the menu for your comrades was beyond it..

I shit you not.. cannibalism.. due to logistical problems..

Rising Sun*
06-01-2013, 11:35 AM
I shit you not.. cannibalism.. due to logistical problems..

Nothing remarkable about cannibalism by the Japanese, although it was rare. They ate their own; their enemies; and even consumed enemy organs by the likes of Col. Tsujii in a primitive ritual supposed to give the consumer the strength of the defeated enemy (which is an inherently illogical exercise by all cultures which think they will gain strength by consuming part of someone they have defeated).

Cannibalism by the Japanese was well established in desperate circumstances in the Gona / Buna / Sanananda reduction as early as late 1942, and indeed I've read references to it in the diaries of Japanese troops under siege in that campaign.

The Japanese don't have a monopoly on eating their own in desperate circumstances, as illustrated by the case of R v Dudley & Stephens and others long before WWII http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Dudley_and_Stephens and the much more recent famous Andes plane crash cannibalism.

As for your PNG veteran "having a bit of an on-duty doze when awakened by a soldier of the Emperor", the Australian soldiers I know and have known who served against the Japanese and in Korea and Vietnam, and I know from my own service during the Vietnam era, would regard "having a doze" on what was apparently a forward picquet position in the face of the enemy as a gross breach of his duty to his mates and richly deserving of the harsh punishment which should come from having allowed an enemy soldier to get close enough to wake him up while on picquet.

J.A.W.
06-01-2013, 06:05 PM
Bill [the old digger] reckons that his most in his unit were pretty crook [ill] too,
..as worn out by the jungle as the Japanese were..
..if somewhat better fed.. & I don't think he was literally asleep, more 'caught napping'.. & he wasn't punished..
He was a bit of a unit mascot really.. some of his AIF African-war veteran mates took him under their purview..

As a Kiwi with some Maori blood ancestry, I am aware of the cultural/nutritional cross values inherent in cannibalism..

Although, for them it was a way of literally & usefully turning enemies into shit..
..as well as metaphysically enslaving any 'Mana' [ prestige/repute] that an enemy of renown may have had..

Rising Sun*
06-02-2013, 06:07 AM
Bill [the old digger] reckons that his most in his unit were pretty crook [ill] too,
..as worn out by the jungle as the Japanese were..
..if somewhat better fed.. & I don't think he was literally asleep, more 'caught napping'.. & he wasn't punished..


Fair enough. Sorry.

I mistook it from the way you referred to "having a bit of an on-duty doze" that he was a sloppy soldier.

It was certainly the case that many Australian soldiers were exhausted, undernourished, and ill from malaria (which accounted for a lot more casualties than battle wounds) and many other diseases, notably dysentery, at various stages of the PNG campaign, notably the Kokoda retreat and the Gona etc reduction. As indeed were the Americans at Buna.

But so were the Japanese, and usually worse off, notably on their Kokoda retreat and especially the Gona etc reduction where they were often reduced to a pitiful state because of the failure of their lines of communication, but kept fighting nonetheless.

JR*
06-04-2013, 07:04 AM
Yes, there is no reason to believe that malaria was any less of a problem for the Japanese than it was for Caucasian soldiers. The "White Man's Death" of 19th century Africa is a serious, chronic problem even, to a great extent, for people who live in a highly malarial environment. Malaria was certainly killing and periodically incapacitating soldiers on both sides who had contracted it long, long after the end of the war. Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
06-04-2013, 09:10 AM
Yes, there is no reason to believe that malaria was any less of a problem for the Japanese than it was for Caucasian soldiers. The "White Man's Death" of 19th century Africa is a serious, chronic problem even, to a great extent, for people who live in a highly malarial environment. Malaria was certainly killing and periodically incapacitating soldiers on both sides who had contracted it long, long after the end of the war. Best regards, JR.

What is not generally understood is that the absence of effective anti-malarial drugs for the Japanese while the the Australians (Allies?) in New Guinea had such drugs put the seriously ill Japanese at a huge disadvantage in their ability to fight their, at least as far as malaria was concerned, quite healthy opponents from 1944 onwards.

I posted a link to a more detailed and learned article on this topic on this forum some years ago, but can't find it now. This is an adequate summary.


In the New Guinea campaign of World War II, the control of malaria by the Australian-developed drug atebrin was a powerful contributor to victory. Before atebrin, in December 1943, the incidence of malaria in Australian troops in New Guinea (except the Aitape-Wewak area) was a staggering 750 cases per 1000 per year. After atebrin prophylaxis was introduced, this fell to less than 50 cases per 1000 per year in September 1944. During the same period, malaria rates in the Japanese army approached 100%, with mortality at a steady 10%.

http://www.defence.gov.au/health/infocentre/journals/ADFHJ_apr04/ADFHealth_5_1_02.html

As I've also mentioned before, even simple measures such as Australians in New Guinea being ordered to roll down their sleeves before dusk had measurably useful effects.

The Japanese were doubly unfortunate as their excellent medical services from the Russo-Japanese war saw a decline by WWII as the idiotic notion of 'spirit' was spruiked as being able to overcome disease.

The major achievements of Japanese medical research during WWII came out of Harbin, being utterly pointless cruelty, while the Allies refined antiobiotic treatments, anti-malarial treatments, and so on. Without any of the pointless cruelty of the Japanese. Not that the Allies lacked brutality in their own medical experimentation.
Australia tests mustard gas on its own soldiers in wartime. http://www.ozatwar.com/mustard.htm
America tests anything on anyone in peace and war, but mostly prisoners and the disabled. http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/27/horrific-us-medical-experiments-come-to-light/
Britain confines its serious testing to sheep: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/1457035.stm
New Zealand avoids testing anything potentially harmful on sheep, for well known reasons.

pdf27
06-04-2013, 12:21 PM
Actually, I'd say the biggest medical advance of the allies was DDT. That will have had a major effect not just on Malaria, but on a significant number of other insect-transmitted diseases as well.

JR*
06-05-2013, 09:09 AM
It is strange, nonetheless, that Japanese arrangements to control malaria were, clearly, so completely inadequate. Admittedly, malaria is not exactly curable, and prophylaxis against it is much more advanced today than was the case in the 1940s. However, quinine has been known as a reasonably effective treatment for malaria attacks since the 17th century (although its mechanism was not understood until towards the end of the 19th), and the medical literature of the early 1930s was already discussing the pros and cons of quinine-related drugs like Atebrin as treatments for malaria, either solely or in combination. Another example, perhaps, of the same cultural blinkering that seems to have prevented the Japanese from forming a rounded view of the value of armour ? A technological issue ? I am not sure.

On a not wholly unrelated note, while trawling through the malarial swamps, I came across an article on the University of Salford website by Douglas Ford, entitled "Dismantling the ‘Lesser Men’ and ‘Supermen’ Myths: US Intelligence on the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of the Philippines, Winter 1942 to Spring, 1943" which is viewable at http://usir.salford.ac.uk/19102 (PDF accepted draft). Though, then again, perhaps the question of US Intelligence (or,early on, lack of intelligence) should find a place in its own thread ? Best regards, JR.

J.A.W.
06-07-2013, 03:32 AM
Whereas the G & T soaked Brits & sundry other colonials knew full well that a decently constant serum level
of ETOH & Quinine extract did the job..

Unit 731, talk about Evil Scientists.. Ugh..

But I'd reckon maybe my grandfather was a particularly evil scientist.. he developed several quite nasty
strains of cancer..[ joke.. sort of..]..

As for the quality of NZ sheepmeat, mmmm..delicious grass-fed, not dirt/dry-fed like ah..arid places..

royal744
07-26-2013, 04:24 PM
... and some of the people came out of the oven vulcanised, because the Gods, in their wisdom, knew that they would need to be particularly resistant to rainfall. And they became the Irish ... Just kidding, JR.

I am constantly aware of the supreme irony that the lowly new world potato first "saved" the Irish and whose later "failure" forced the Irish to emigrate to the new world whence came the humble potato to begin with.

royal744
07-26-2013, 04:37 PM
Down here they were the Knights of Columbus, with youthful variants, notably the Holy Name Society, who sat in the front pews with their proud black and white banners announcing their presence. On the other side of the aisle were the Daughters of Mary in their blue capes or veils (can't recall which), similarly bannered, and a source of eternal frustration to pubescent boys like me (I was well over the holy altar boy phase by then), which is why I spent a lot of time with the more malleable girls from the state high school who were not inhibited by the endless guilt imbued by a Catholic education which I fought heroically to overcome in their relatively liberal presence.

Our experience in the states was rather the reverse: non-Catholic boys were quite likely to "run the bases" and hit "home plate" with frustrated Catholic schoolgirls than their heathen sisters educated in co-ed establishments.

Rising Sun*
07-27-2013, 10:23 AM
Our experience in the states was rather the reverse: non-Catholic boys were quite likely to "run the bases" and hit "home plate" with frustrated Catholic schoolgirls than their heathen sisters educated in co-ed establishments.

Well, I suppose such contrary conduct is to be expected from a contrary nation which drives on the wrong side of the road; can't spell words such as colour and theatre properly; calls a car boot a trunk and a car bonnet a hood; and thinks that sucking on a *** is disgusting conduct between gentlemen instead of smoking a cigarette. ;) :D

Yup. Sucking on a *** seems to be in the 'must be asterisked to avoid corrupting the young' category, in the US anyway.

Down here, we grew up sucking on fags, which were lollies imitating cigarettes like most of our parents smoked.

Way back before the wowsers decided that more than two alcoholic drinks a day was positively ruinous for men, and one for women; and smacking children should be a crime; and smoking the same; not to mention the horror of gambling; despite the governments which promote those negative messages:
1. Being dependent upon the tax on alcohol;
2. Belting the **** out of kids in government care since time immemorial; and,
3. Being dependent upon the tax on cigarettes.
4. Being dependent upon the tax on gambling.
5. Issuing, for a fee, the right to sell alcohol, cigarettes and gambling.

Anyway, here's what a packet of fags looks like.

Which, curiously allows the plural fags through but not ***, which makes me wonder if ****s could get through but not ****.



6638

royal744
07-28-2013, 04:53 PM
Well, RS, I used to live in Canada where the non-essential vowel "u" was used. I respect the fact that we are divided by a common language but point out that we outnumber you by a healthy margin thus the "common usages" of language as you delight in point out all tilt in our favor. I'm not sure how many countries still drive on "your" side of the road but even Canada never went along with that and, as I recall, Sweden changed to the "other side" some time ago over a single weekend. I think the Japanese still drive on the left, but that's no recommendation.

J.A.W.
07-28-2013, 10:30 PM
U.. non essential?
But what about the crucial difference in meaning in 'Poser' [ puzzle] & Poseur [ show-off]?..

Rising Sun*
07-29-2013, 07:59 AM
U.. non essential?
But what about the crucial difference in meaning in 'Poser' [ puzzle] & Poseur [ show-off]?..

A poser may be regarded as essential.

A poseur is not.

Rising Sun*
07-29-2013, 08:19 AM
I respect the fact that we are divided by a common language but point out that we outnumber you by a healthy margin thus the "common usages" of language as you delight in point out all tilt in our favor.

Usage by a majority does not determine correct usage.

If it did, text messaging language would be correct English usage, as would gangsta rap.

Sometimes it falls to a minority to preserve a language, or other standard, in the face of corruption by a majority.

Which, mate, is why us down here speak English proper. ;) :D

JR*
07-29-2013, 10:18 AM
One of the few things that stuck from my college linguistics classes is that linguistic purity is a myth. The improvements in communications over the last century are likely to promote homogeniety; in all probability, we will all be speaking a variety of American English down the road. Mind you, I still find some "Americanisms" irritating - such as the relatively recent habit of preceding the most inappropriate piece of communications with "so ...". I believe we can thank the tv series "Friends" for this linguistic tragedy (sigh !). Best regards, JR.

Rising Sun*
07-29-2013, 10:42 AM
One of the few things that stuck from my college linguistics classes is that linguistic purity is a myth. The improvements in communications over the last century are likely to promote homogeniety; in all probability, we will all be speaking a variety of American English down the road. Mind you, I still find some "Americanisms" irritating - such as the relatively recent habit of preceding the most inappropriate piece of communications with "so ...". I believe we can thank the tv series "Friends" for this linguistic tragedy (sigh !). Best regards, JR.

Add:

- 'like', the modern gap filler for "Um", as in 'She was, like, totally out there and, like, she was like off her face and, like, when I told her she was like drunk 'n shit, she was like **** you and I was like then **** you too. And then, like, she didn't like that. 'n shit.'.
- 'they', the plural used as a gender neutral singular attached to a singular verb to conform with the demands of the anti-sexism nazis. As in "when the person does this they are" .... As distinct from the converse: "When hundreds of people do this they is ....."
- constant misuse of singular verbs attached to plural nouns and vice versa, like, they is and, like there are a number of and, like, the government are and, like, the club are and like the nation are ......
- American preference for several words when one is sufficient, as in "At this point in time" = "Now"; "That is a negative" = "No"
- Australian preference for several words when one is sufficient, as in "playing group" = "team"
- management speak preference for empty words as in "You all need to be in the tent so we can get traction for lift off to pick the low fruit on the way to the stars."

royal744
07-29-2013, 11:14 AM
U.. non essential?
But what about the crucial difference in meaning in 'Poser' [ puzzle] & Poseur [ show-off]?..

Haha, JAW. Americans don't use "poser" for puzzle in any case...

Ardee
07-29-2013, 11:40 AM
U.. non essential?

A new meaning for "U don't say!"?

Actually, much as I hate supporting those folks on the wrong side of the pond, I'll note that English is the world-wide lingua franca of the aviation industry. And unfortunately, the industry is misguided enough that its standard is British English. Maybe that's the reason for so many foul-ups at airports? :)

royal744
07-29-2013, 05:08 PM
Language is an endlessly fascinating topic.

In the US:

If you don't agree with someone, or have no answer, or are just baffled by the complexity of life, just say, "Whatever..."

On TV, a currently useless phrase is. "From now 'going forward'..." Forward to where, exactly? Just tack it on the beginning or end of any sentence to enhance the appearance of erudition.

Anything vaguely or overtly disreputable or low-class: "That's really ghetto..." My daughters use this a lot.

Or, "To your point..." The point on your head, perhaps?

Gratefully, the youthful word, "tubular" has gone out of use and we're back to "cool". The overuse of the word "cool"

The obnoxious overuse of the word "awesome" applied universally to things that are anything but "awesome"

The decorous word "Wassup?", now elegantly replaced with "'Sup?"

And when someone says "Duh" after you've said something, you've been made to look like a dumb ***.

The disastrous use, in any kind of public writing of text-speak "words" such as "str8" for "straight", "ur" for "your" or "you're", or "b4" for "before", or IMHO for "in my honest opinion" (without it, should we think it might not be an "honest" opinion?) LMFAO, ROFL are all part of this...

The English use of "massive(ly)" for "hugely", LOL. The use of LOL...

Use of the phrase, "That's random...", the meaning of which escapes me completely but must be vaguely negative...

Many schools in the US are abandoning teaching cursive writing and reading because no one uses it any more. Reminds me of studying German in "Fraktur" which I swear caused astigmatism...

And on and on...

Fun, but often annoying...

J.A.W.
07-29-2013, 05:25 PM
& here in 'Straya' we have 'average/ordinary' used as meaning sub-standard, & '2nd-hand' as utterly worthless..

Yet 'sick' [or preferably, 'fully sick'] is tops..

JR*
07-31-2013, 06:51 AM
One for horse racing enthusiasts - some British and Irish trainers will describe a horse as "moderate". This tends to mean that, on mature consideration, they have concluded that the horse actually does have four legs, but is never likely to win anything. Not, mind you, that they object to deluded owners continuing to pay for the donkey-wonkey's training and keep ... JR.

Rising Sun*
07-31-2013, 08:40 AM
In the US:

If you don't agree with someone, or have no answer, or are just baffled by the complexity of life, just say, "Whatever..."

I like the US usage, primarily by offended women, of "Excuse me?" as a challenge rather than an apology. The obvious response of "Why, what did you do?" is guaranteed to raise the next "Excuse me?" a few octaves.



Anything vaguely or overtly disreputable or low-class: "That's really ghetto..." My daughters use this a lot.

Equivalent here (at least in my state - usage varies from state to state) is 'povvo' = poverty.



The obnoxious overuse of the word "awesome" applied universally to things that are anything but "awesome"

I reckon there are several Ph D theses in the use of extreme words applied to modest and non events. 'Awesome' used to annoy me a lot more until I recalled that in my childhood / youth the standard term for something very good was the equally misapplied 'terrific'.


The decorous word "Wassup?", now elegantly replaced with "'Sup?" Gets even further up my fundamental orifice when it has 'dog' appended, as in 'Sup dog?'.


The English use of "massive(ly)" for "hugely", And the upper class use of 'ghastly', as in 'What a ghastly dress."

The universal misuse of 'enormity' for 'immensity'; 'fulsome' as a positive, as in 'fulsome praise'; literally for figurative expressions, as in 'When I saw she was wearing the same dress as mine, I literally died.'; 'incredibly' for things which are entirely credible; 'absolutely' as a substitute for misusing incredibly or just 'Yes'; and so on ad nauseam, all literally piss me off immensely.

royal744
07-31-2013, 10:38 AM
Usage by a majority does not determine correct usage.

If it did, text messaging language would be correct English usage, as would gangsta rap.

Sometimes it falls to a minority to preserve a language, or other standard, in the face of corruption by a majority.

Which, mate, is why us down here speak English proper. ;) :D

Except that the majority doesn't speak or write "text" or "gangsta". Still, the differences among us is what keeps things interesting.

Rising Sun*
07-31-2013, 10:47 AM
Except that the majority doesn't speak or write "text" or "gangsta".

Depends on the age bracket you choose.

I know academics who are distressed by the frequency of text language elements in essays, which essays commonly regard Wikipedia as an authoritative source.

I also know that among some of my children's (23 and 19 yo) more boneheaded friends, the word 'lol' is a synonym for 'laugh'. As in "I really lolled when she said that.'

J.A.W.
08-01-2013, 01:02 AM
I find the retort 'Whatever' to be generally used as a rude, supercilious, dismissal..

& in that circumstance, will usually reply by saying "who-ever, when-ever, if-ever.."

royal744
08-07-2013, 12:02 PM
I find the retort 'Whatever' to be generally used as a rude, supercilious, dismissal..

& in that circumstance, will usually reply by saying "who-ever, when-ever, if-ever.."

Yes, it probably is all that and more. And who knows what the shape of language will be 20 years from now. We may not like it, but I won't be around to deal with it either.

Ardee
08-07-2013, 04:51 PM
Personally, I think it's long past time for a Mod to close this thread...its hard to think of another that has gone on so long, so off topic.... JMHO. :)

J.A.W.
08-09-2013, 04:30 PM
Ardee, that's hilarious.. & to quote Monty Python, "Shut up you silly bitch, its only a bit of fun"..

Ardee
08-09-2013, 05:29 PM
JAW, what you lack in wit, manners, and experience here is clearly not made up for with your sense of tact.

As you may have noticed -- I claim no knowledge as to your actual powers of observation -- I have participated in some of the fun you mentioned.

I *might* suggest that it is also not smart to call other members here names, even when buried in a quote, especially when you've already been temporarily banned at least once that I know of.

In any case, my polite suggestion was exactly that -- a suggestion. And if you get the sense I'm laughing at you -- you would be completely correct. Toodles!

Nickdfresh
08-09-2013, 05:32 PM
His comment to Ardee, noticed after the temp ban, is resulting in a permaban...