Japanese Army was ‘God’s Army’ for former Malaysian foreign minister, Tun Ghazali Shafie. Yeah, sure…

Another meme which has gone viral in revisionist Japan is the following speech purportedly made by former Malaysian foreign minister Ghazali Shafie when he visited Japan in summer 1988.

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What wrong did Japan commit?  When the Japanese army marched south down the Malay peninsula during Dai Toa Senso (Great East Asia War=WW2) they were amazing.  You conquered Singapore within 3 months, and vanquished the British who we had always thought were invincible.  I was still young, but at the time I thought that God’s army had arrived.  Japan was defeated, but the British military could not retake Malaya, and so Malaysia became independent.

Malaysian foreign minister, Ghazali Shafie’s speech in Akasaka, Japan, July 19 1988

◎ ガザリー・シャフィー マレーシア元外務大臣 「日本はどんな悪いことをしたと言うのか。大東亜戦争で、マレー半島を南下した時の日本軍は凄かった。3ヶ月でシンガポールを陥落させ、我々にはとてもかなわないと思っていたイギリスを屈服させたのだ。私はまだ若かったが、あの時は神の軍隊がやってきたと思っていた。日本は敗れたが、英軍は再び取り返すことができず、マレーシアは独立したのだ」

This speech can be found all over the net in Japan, for example on the ultra-rightist Nippon Kaigi (日本会議) website here, on Happy Science (幸福の科学)religious cult’s site, on the Soumou Local Policymakers Association (草莽全国地方議員の会) website here, as well as countless tweets like this and this, on YouTube movies like this, and private blogs like here, here, here, and here.  It even appears in a 2005 book by Professor Hitoshi Nitta, a professor of Shinto from the ultra-rightist Kogakkan University.

I’m wondering whether Ghazali Shafie really made this speech.  After all, could King Ghaz  possibly forget the Malayan Union and Federation of Malaya years which came after Japanese occupation?   Ultra-rightists in Japan like Prof. Hitoshi Nitta of Kogakkan University, and the nice people at Nippon Kaigi probably couldn’t care less about details of Malaysian history like that, but how could Ghazali Shafie forget?

Bunn Nagara, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) in Malaysia in his The Star article Reverting to History’s Infamy recalls

When former Malaysian foreign minister Tun Ghazali Shafie spotted me in the hall, he came over to assure me that everything was under control and that the Malaysian embassy had a staff present to take notes.

So I’m wondering whether somewhere in the filing cabinets at the Malaysian embassy in Tokyo there might not be accurate notes regarding what Tun Ghazali actually said.  In the meantime, his speech in Tokyo serves to re-affirm the historical revisionists’ conviction that Japan was truly the Light of Asia, shedding its blood in WW2 on behalf of all the countries of Asia.

page image from book by Prof. Hitoshi Nitta "Why on earth shouldn't the PM pay respects at the Yasukuni Shrine!!"

page with comments from former Malaysian foreign minister Ghazali Shafie as well as former Malaysian upper house member Raja Dato Nong Chik, Malaysian historian Zainal Abidin, as well as former Indonesian PM Mohammad Natsir, taken from book “Why on earth shouldn’t the PM pay respects at the Yasukuni Shrine!!” by Prof. Hitoshi Nitta (新田均『首相が靖国参拝してどこが悪い!!』(PHP刊 2005年))

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