“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. Continue reading

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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」

Continue reading

Aishah binti Ismail from Penang – is she for real?

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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 history textbook. Kids learn how Japan fought to free Malaysia from Britain. Really?

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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