Japanese ways of saying all kinds of things during the war, not only about the necessity of hierarchy and the supremacy of spirit, were revealing to a student of comparative cultures. They talked constantly about security and morale being only a matter of being forewarned. No matter what the catastrophe, whether it was civilian bombing or defeat at Saipan or their failure to defend the Philippines, the Japanese line to their people was that this was foreknown and that there was therefore nothing to worry about. The radio went to great lengths, obviously counting on the reassurance it gave to the Japanese people to be told that they were living still in a thoroughly known world. ‘The American occupation of Kiska brings Japan within the radius of American bombers. But we were well aware of this contingency and have made the necessity preparations.’ ‘The enemy doubtless will make an offensive against us by combined land, sea and air operations, but this has been taken account of by us in our plans.’ Prisoners of war, even those who hoped for Japan’s early defeat in a hopeless war, were sure that bombing would not weaken Japanese on the home front ‘because they were forewarned.’ When Americans began bombing Japanese cities, the vice-president of the Aviation Manufacturer’s Association broadcast: ‘Enemy planes finally have come over our very heads. However, we who are engaged in the aircraft production industry and who had always expected this to happen had made complete preparations to cope with this. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about.’ Only granted all was foreknown, all was fully planned, could the Japanese go on to make the claim so necessary to them that everything had been actively willed by themselves alone; nobody had put anything over on them. (中略)
American went as far in the opposite direction as the Japanese in theirs. Americans threw themselves into the war effort because this fight had been forced upon us. We had been attacked, therefore let the enemy beware. No spokesman, planning how he could reassure the rank and file of Americans, said of Pearl Harbor or of Bataan, ‘These were fully taken account of by us in our plans.’ Our officials said instead, ‘The enemy asked for it. We will show them what we can do.’

昨日のセンター試験の英語の長文問題ではない。これは、米国の文化人類学者、Ruth Benedict女史の有名な著書、「The Chrysanthemum and the Sword(邦題:菊と刀)」の中の一節である。この本は、第二次大戦中、米国が敵である日本について研究するために、国策によって彼女に出させた「日本人論」で、どうすれば日本を効率よく負かすことができるのかという観点で、自分たちとだいぶ異なった考え方をもつ日本人について、詳細に分析されたものである。

Bookmark this on Delicious