Actor Tom Hanks has stated that he believes America held a racist view of the Japanese people.
Let’s talk about the Japanese and the Bataan Death March for a moment. In 1942, after the Battle of Bataan, 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were marched 60 miles to prisoner of war camps. The cruelty and atrocities inflicted upon those prisoners and civilians along the route by the Japanese included beatings, beheading, stabbings, cutting of throats, disembowelment and a host of other atrocities. They were given little or no food or water. The march is viewed by history as a war crime.
In 1943, the Japanese used prisoners of war to construct the Burma-Siam railway. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, “…the notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar). Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre.”
It is a fact that slavery was commonplace in Japan throughout the country’s history. In fact, during World War II, 200,000 “comfort women” were forced into sexual slavery to satisfy the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy personal.
Rewriting history has become the bread and butter of today’s Hollywood. I suggest Mr. Hanks and the other revisionists in Hollywood actually study history before they go about rewriting it. This is yet another example of why history is so important. Revisionists in Hollywood and in our education system do the world a terrible disservice when they slant history to fit their personal or political agendas. We learn not to repeat the atrocities and the wrongs of the past by studying the atrocities and the wrongs of the past.
Now, Hanks contends that Americans had a racist view of the Japanese people. Ask a survivor of the Bataan Death March if he is a racist. Ask a man who was used as slave laborer on the Burma-Siam railway if he is a racist. My guess is their answer would be no. It was war and war is hell. -Lew-