The name of former Malaysian foreign minister Ghazali Shafie crops up quite often on ultra-rightist Japanese websites which quote him as having said
“Why does Japan apologise? Without Japan South East Asia would not have gained independence”
The quote seems to have originated from a 1991 book “Sekai kara mita Dai Towa Sensou (Dai Towa War in the World’s Eye)” by Futaranosuke Nagoshi and published by Tendensha, which uses quotes attributed to famous people both in Asia and in the West to establish that Japan’s war was a holy war of independence for Asia, and to explode the ‘myth’ of Japanese invasion of Asia.
Since Ghazalie Shafie is not a well known politician in Japan, oftentimes you will see the websites use photos of Sukarno or Mahathir Mohammad instead so that the unwary reader will be impressed by an image of someone they think they recognize.
TRANSLATION: Without Japan there would have been no Independence for South East Asia – “why do you apologise? It was a wonderful thing that Japan did in that war. you Japanese who are no bigger than us Malays chased away the big British men. Without Japan there would have been no independence for South East Asia. To deny this priceless sacrifice that Japan made is like looking only in the rear view mirror”. Malaysian foreign minister – Ghazali Shafie
TRANSLATION Ghazali Shafie
In conversation at an event which took place on July 19th 1988 at the Akasaka Prince Hotel, Tokyo, Ghazaie Shafie is reported to have said to Kenji Tamai, Futaranosuke Nagoshi and Shinjiro Nakajima as follows (according to the book “Sekai Kara Mita Dai Towa Senso (Dai Towa War in the World’s Eye)” written by Futaranosuke Nagoshi and published by Tendensha).
“In response to a certain Japanese diet member who said to me “I am sorry for the nuisance that our nation inflicted on your country during the previous war”, I replied “why do you say such things. It was a wonderful thing that Japan did in that war. You Japanese who were no bigger in physique than us Malays, chased away the big tall British. As a result, Malaysia was able to achieve independence. Without the Dai Towa War, we cannot imagine independence for any of the south-east Asian countries including Malaysia and Singapore”. In front of Kenji Tamai, Futaranosuke Nagoshi and Shinjiro Nakajima, he continued to say “I dislike both those who are bossy, as well as those who bow and scrape. I suggest that Japan should open your eyes more towards Asia. Nowadays, in terms of the amount of development aid money given to developing nations of the southern regions, Japan is number one. Without question Japan is the pre-eminent economic powerhouse of Asia. The call to ‘Look East’ and ‘Learn from Japan’ is not restricted to just Singapore and Malaysia. Although the others do not say it outloud, this is what all the countries really believe. Even in those countries where there was strong anti-Japanese feelings, more and more the feelings are of friendliness towards Japan. Such being the case I would like Japan to look not only at America and Europe but to be a nation which is responsible for Asia. In the past, Japan felt responsible for Asia and that’s why Japan made such a great sacrifice during that war. To see the inheritance of that precious war negatively, is akin to looking only at the rear view mirror. If you drive a car without looking in front of you, you will take a wrong turn”.
Also attributed to Ghazali Shafie in the book “Sekai Kara Mita Dai Towa Senso (Dai Towa War in the World’s Eye)” written by Futaranosuke Nagoshi and published by Tendensha, the following:
“In September 1988, the Malaysian foreign minister Gazali Shafie criticized a Japanese politician who apologised for the past war. Ghazalie said ‘My belief is that it is a shame that there are Japanese politicians who deny the fact that Japan has done more for Asia than any other country. If he were a responsible politician, he should have said “Back then most nations of Asia were colonies of Western countries, and almost none were independent nations. It was the Japanese army who chased all those Westerners away. Was it not natural for us to repress the guerilla and terrorist insurgents in order to maintain law and order? Have you forgotten how for tens and hundreds of years you had been harshly mistreated by the colonialists? How you all cheered and welcomed the Japanese army when we were advancing but how you you conveniently forgot your part in this and placed all the blame on us when we lost. The root cause of not being able to escape colonialism is Asian characteristic of not taking a stand”.
It is amazing to see how a lot of Japanese people read these quotes from a famous Malaysian foreign minister and suddenly start to believe that the world history that they learned at school was a form of American brain-washing. From that day on, these people start to ‘discover’ the hidden history of Japan’s holy war in Asia and the deep gratitude that all Asian nations feel toward Japan for having liberated them from colonialism.
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, 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
, 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. Continue reading
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.
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」
Koichi Takeda asked her “What if there was no Japanese landing at Kota Bahru?” Aishah’s reply was “There would have been no country called Malaysia. We would still be a British colony”.
I’m wondering whether Aishah actually exists. Koichi Takeda, the author of the viral Malaysian Textbook meme (ie. Japan fought to liberate Malaysia from the British…) writes
in April 2009, I visited Mr Ismail bin Razak at his home in Penang, Malaysia. The pictures below are from the textbook that I was given by his daughter Aishah who was in Form 3 of Penang Secondary School.
So she would’ve been around fifteen years old in 2009. Well she looks about that age, but her father Ismail bin Razak according to Takeda would’ve been like 82 years old in 2009 so he would’ve been 75 years old when Aishah was born. Is that for real? Continue reading
Malaysian National Curriculum Secondary School Form 3 History textbook “Sejarah Tingkatan 3” written by Ramlah Binti Adam, Abdul Hakim bin Samuri & Muslimin bin Fadzil, 2004 (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka)
Today, there’s an ever growing number of websites and blogs in Japan which push a revisionist view of WW2 history. In this ‘alternative history’, Japan fought WW2 in order to free Asia from western colonialism… and the people of Asian nations are naturally grateful to Japan for the noble sacrifices Japan made in fighting that war…
One narrative that’s really popular among the extreme right wingers in Japan takes Malaysia’s secondary school history textbook and explains that the textbook says that Malaysia had no history before the Japanese forces landed at Kota Bahru in 1941 in order to fight courageously to free Malaysia from the British.
This ‘hidden history’ has gone truly viral in Japan so you’ll find the same Malaysian textbook pages replicated all over the place – on YouTube videos here and here, on personal blogs here, here, here, here, here, and here as well as on hundreds or perhaps thousands of tweets like here, here or here.
Here for the first time in English, is a translation of the Malaysian history textbook meme. Continue reading