“The Japanese occupation nurtured Malay nationalism” – attributed to Zainal Abidin Bin Abdul Wahid, historian

Another internet meme which has gone viral on revisionist Japanese websites and blogs is a quote attributed to one of Malaysia’s foremost historians, Datuk Zainal Abidin bin Abdul Wahid.

[translation] Zainal Abidin Bin Abdul Wahid, historian “The Japanese occupation sowed the seeds and nurtured the growth of political awareness among Malays who were at the time the most politically backward people in South-East Asia, and played the role of a major “catalyst” for the birth and development of ethnic nationalism in Malaya.”

[translation] Zainal Abidin, historian “The Japanese occupation sowed the seeds and nurtured the growth of political awareness among Malays who were at the time the most politically backward people in South-East Asia, and played the role of a major “catalyst” for the birth and development of ethnic nationalism in Malaya.” (source: Nippon Kaigi website – https://www.nipponkaigi.org/opinion/archives/844 )

Today, this ‘quote’ attributed to Prof. Zainal Abidin has spread all over the Japanese web, on hundreds of personal blogs like this, this, this and this, and this.

But where did the eminent Malaysian historian say this?  Since the only book of Prof. Zainal Abidin published in Japan is Glimpses of Malaysian History, where he acted as editor, and also wrote many of the chapters concerning the WW2 and post-war history of Malaya, this seems like a good place to start.

Glimpses of Malaysian History edited by Zainal Abidin bin Abdul Wahid - cover of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka edition 1980, and the Yamakawa Shuppansha, 1983 translated into Japanese by Toru Nomura)

Glimpses of Malaysian History edited by Zainal Abidin bin Abdul Wahid – cover of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka edition 1980, and the Yamakawa Shuppansha edition 1983 published in Japanese translation by Tooru Nomura)

WHAT ZAINAL ABIDIN SAID ABOUT THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION

Chapter 16. The Japanese Occupation and Nationalisms (日本占領期とナショナリズムの勃興) of Glimpses of Malaysian History begins (I quote below from both the Japanese and the English language editions in that order, because the internet meme which has gone viral in Japan is in the Japanese language):

「日本のマラヤ占領は、マラヤの人々の間に政治意識の覚醒をもたらした。このようないい方は一見矛盾しているように聞こえるかもしれないが、日本軍政は我が国におけるナショナリズムを育成・発展させるうえで、いわば「触媒」の役割を果たしたということができるのである。」[ザイナル・アビディーン(編)『マレーシアの歴史』 p. 97]

[English text] “The Japanese occupation encouraged the growth of political consciousness amongst the peoples of Malaya.  It acted as a catalyst for the emergence and development of Malay nationalism which later became the basis of Malayan nationalism;” [original English text from the 1980 edition of “Glimpses of Malaysian History” published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka]

ザイナル・アビディーン著『マレーシアの歴史』第16章「日本占領期とナショナリズムの勃興」の書き出し

『マレーシアの歴史』の第16章「日本占領期とナショナリズムの勃興」(ザイナル・アビディーン著)の書き出し(クリックすることで画像を拡大できます)

This passage on first sight resembles the ‘quote’ attributed to Prof. Zainal Abidin by the revisionist Japanese websites and blogs, which reads:

ザイナル・アビディーン 歴史学者「日本軍政は、東南アジアの中で最も政治的意識が遅れていたマレー人に、その種を播き、成長を促進させ、マラヤにおける民族主義の台頭と発展に、大きな〝触媒″の役割を果たした」[from the official website of the Nippon Kaigi 日本会議HPから]

[English translation by pastajump] Zainal Abidin, historian “The Japanese occupation sowed the seeds and nurtured the growth of political awareness among Malays who were at the time the most politically backward people in South-East Asia, and played the role of a major “catalyst” for the birth and development of ethnic nationalism in Malaya.”

Although the wording looks similar however, if you continue reading Glimpses of Malaysian History, it becomes clear that it was not the intension of the Japanese to give independence to the Malays as the Japanese regarded Malaya as a Japanese colony and a source of raw materials.  Someone in Japan put a ‘spin’ on the professor’s words in order to make it seem as though Japan’s intension was to stimulate Malay nationalism in preparation for independence.  Actually, the professor continues to explain how :

「こ の「新秩序」をつくりあげてゆく過程で、日本は東南アジアのいくつかの国々に対して、新秩序実現のあかつきには独立を付与するとの約束を与えた。ところ が、日本はマラヤに対しては将来の独立を認めようとしなかったのである。これは、日本がマラヤをむしろ日本の植民地ないしは原材料の供給地とみなしていた ためであろう。」[ザイナル・アビディーン(編)『マレーシアの歴史』 p. 183]

“In the creation of this New Order, the Japanese promised independence to some of the South-East Asian countries.  But Malaya was not to be granted independence.  Japan regarded Malaya more as a colony and a source of raw materials”.[“Glimpses of Malaysian History” p. 98]

Glimpses of Malaysian History Chapter 16. The Japanese Occupation and Nationalisms

Glimpses of Malaysian History Chapter 16. The Japanese Occupation and Nationalisms (click to enlarge)

and that it had not taken long for the Malay nationalist organisation KMM (Kesatuan Melayu Muda) to discover that the Japanese government could not be trusted to give Malaya its independence:

「KMM が1942年の6月という段階ではやくも、マラヤの独立に関しては、日本政府の約束がまったくあてにならないことを見抜いていたことはまことに興味深い。」 [ザイナル・アビディーン(編)『マレーシアの歴史』 p. 187]

“It is interesting to note that as early as June 1942, the KMM had already discovered that the Japanese Government was not to be relied upon completely in terms of the granting of independence in Malaya”.[“Glimpses of Malaysian History” p. 99]

It was only when defeat seemed likely that Japan started to encourage the Malays to become politically active:

「そ のうち日本政府も、戦況が思わしく進捗していないことに焦燥感をつのらせはじめた。そこで日本は連合軍側の反撃をくい止めるべく、作戦を練りなおしはじめ た。この日本政府の新たな政策は、マラヤにおいては、独立達成を目指すマレー人の政治意識を刺戟するというかたちをとってあらわれた。そして、その当時の 日本政府は、マラヤの独立はマレー半島とインドネシアとを併合することによってのみ達成が可能なはずであると考えた。」 [ザイナル・アビディーン(編)『マレーシアの歴史』 p. 188]

“Meanwhile the Japanese Government began to realise that the war was not going to end in its favour.  It then started to take measures to combat the possible return of the Allied Powers.  In Malaya, it took the form of encouraging the Malays to become more politically active with a view to attaining independence, and this independence was to be achieved in the context of Malaya’s incorporation into Indonesia”.[“Glimpses of Malaysian History” p. 100]

After reading what Prof. Zainal Abidin actually wrote in Glimpses of Malaysian History it becomes very clear that the ‘quote’ that we find on Japanese revisionist sites such as Nippon Kaigi has been taken very much out of context with an intent to mislead the reader.  Here is the ‘spin’ that Nippon Kaigi puts on the professor’s words, in effect using his good name to endorse Nippon Kaigi’s revisionist view of history:

ザイナル・アビディーン 歴史学者「日本軍政は、東南アジアの中で最も政治的意識が遅れていたマレー人に、その種を播き、成長を促進させ、マラヤにおける民族主義の台頭と発展に、大きな〝触媒″の役割を果たした」[from the official website of the Nippon Kaigi 日本会議HPから]

[English translation by pastajump] Zainal Abidin, historian “The Japanese occupation sowed the seeds and nurtured the growth of political awareness among Malays who were at the time the most politically backward people in South-East Asia, and played the role of a major “catalyst” for the birth and development of ethnic nationalism in Malaya.”

nippon kaigi website

世界はどのように大東亜戦争を評価しているか(クリックすると日本会議公式サイトの記事が開きます)


WHO WAS THE SPIN-DOCTOR?

It is interesting to note that the ‘doctored’ quote attributed to Prof. Zainal Abidin predates the foundation of Nippon Kaigi (日本会議 ).

isbn4-569-64365-5

Why shouldn’t the Prime Minister pay his respects at the Yasukuni Shrine!! by Hitoshi Nitta (2005)

The Shuusen 50 Shuunen Kokumin Iinkai

In his book Why shouldn’t the Prime Minister pay his respects at the Yasukuni Shrine!!(首相が靖国参拝して何が悪い!!), right wing historian Hitoshi Nitta (新田均)repeats this ‘doctored’ quote in Chapter 9. What sort of opinion does the world have about the Dai-Toa War? (大東亜戦争を評価する世界の意見には、どのようなものがあるのですか?).  Nitta writes that he has taken the quote from a pamphlet entitled DAI-TOA War for Asia and Japan (アジアと日本の大東亜戦争)published in February 1995 by the Shuusen 50 Shuunen Kokumin Iinkai  (終戦50周年国民委員会).  Although this is 2 years prior to the foundation of Nippon Kaigi in 1997, the Nippon Kaigi website notes that in  the Shuusen 50 Shuunen Kokumin Iinkai  (終戦50周年国民委員会)was founded in April 1994, in order to petition against the government’s plans to apologise for Japan’s actions during WW2 in the 50th anniversary marking the end of WW2.

The Masaharu Taniguchi Sensei wo Manabu Kai

While researching the various revisionist sites in Japan, I also found the ‘doctored’ Zainal Abidin quote on the  Hikari no Shingun(光の進軍) website operated by the Masaharu Taniguchi Sensei wo Manabu Kai(谷口雅春先生を学ぶ会) – an extreme rightist splinter-group of the Seicho no ie (生長の家)cult.

hikari no shingun article

The article “How the Dai-Toa War is seen by the World(大東亜戦争を世界はいかに評価しているか)as it appears on the website of the Masaharu Taniguchi Sensei wo manabu Kai (谷口雅春先生を学ぶ会) – a fundamentalist cult group which splintered from the Seicho no Ie (生長の家) cult.  http://hikarinoshingun.giri.jp/03-aikoku/0301akk-sendou-ronbun/05daitouasen-sekai-hyouka.htm

Yasushi Sendo, the Seicho no Ie cult, and the Nippon wo Mamoru Kokumin Kaigi

This article containing the Zainal Abidin ‘quote’ is interesting.  In the preamble to the article, the author – Yasushi Sendo (仙頭泰) notes that the information therein was compiled by Nippon Kaigi (日本会議). However, at the bottom of the page he notes that the article originally appeared in a pamphlet issued on 12th June 1994 by Nippon wo Mamoru Kokumin Kaigi (日本を守る国民会議) under the title of Dai-Toa War for Asia and Japan (アジアと日本の大東亜戦争) in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war.

So the Dai-Toa War for Asia and Japan(アジアと日本の大東亜戦争)pamphlet is first published  in 1994 by the Nippon wo Mamoru Kokumin Kaigi (日本を守る国民会議)and then a few months later in 1995 by the Shuusen 50 Shuunen Kokumin Iinkai  (終戦50周年国民委員会).  The article How the Dai-Toa War is seen by the World (大東亜戦争を世界はいかに評価しているか)from these pamphlets is today reproduced on the Masaharu Taniguchi Sensei wo Manabu Kai (谷口雅春先生を学ぶ会)’s website Hikari no Shingun (光の進軍)and also on the Nippon Kaigi (日本会議)website with a slight change in the title to How does the World see Dai-Toa War (世界はどのように大東亜戦争を評価しているか).

「光の進軍」(谷口雅春先生を学ぶ会HP)と日本会議HPに掲載された仙頭泰著「大東亜戦争を世界はいかに評価しているか」

「光の進軍」(谷口雅春先生を学ぶ会HP)と日本会議HPに掲載された仙頭泰著「大東亜戦争を世界はいかに評価しているか」(画像をクリックして拡大できます)

So who is this Yasushi Sendo (仙頭泰)?  In another article by Sendo on the website of Masaharu Taniguchi Sensei wo Manabu Kai (谷口雅春先生を学ぶ会)he is described as the former head of Seicho no Ie‘s Hawaii mission (元生長の家 ハワイ教化総長).  According to right wing writer and former Seicho no Ie adherent Masaki Shinomiya (四宮正貴), Sendo is described as being a graduate of the naval academy, and a high ranking disciple of Masanobu Taniguchi, having served as a lecturer at the Seicho no Ie HQ, as a executive member of the headquarters, head of the Seicho no Ie Youth Group, as well as the head of the Hawaii Mission.

Yasushi Sendo as remembered by Masaki Shinomiya

Seicho no Ie and Yasushi Sendo as recalled by Masaki Shinomiya.

So here is another member of the Seicho no Ie cult who has been busy behind the scenes to spread misinformation, attributing ‘quotes’ to famous which have been deliberately changed from their original meaning, in order to make reality fit the fantasy of a Japan which can do no wrong.

Yasushi Sendo and Nippon Kaigi

Although the names of the organisations change, the small group of right-wing extemists behind the scenes do not.  It is interesting to see that Yasushi Sendo today is on the executive board of the Tokyo Chapter of Nippon Kaigi (日本会議東京都本部理事).  It is no wonder then that his imaginary ‘quote’ from Zainal Abidin’s Glimpses of Malaysian History sits proudly on Nippon Kaigi(日本会議)’s website here.

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