Walking through New York City in the cold, I suddenly feel warmth.
This week, we talked about Rape of Nanking and the fundamental shift of Japan moving from Japan as the world to Japan in the world. When I read the Rape of Nanking, I felt awful, trying to understand why such atrocities happen in the world. Things have definitely changed since these times, but what could have caused the Japanese soldiers to do these things? I struggled to even find a single sentence or paragraph that stood out amongst the rest as the most horrifying, but any of them will do. “Perhaps one of the most brutal forms of Japanese entertainment was the impalement of vaginas. In the streets of Nanking, corpses of women lay with their legs splayed open, their orifices pierced by wooden rods, twigs, and weeds.” I realized that these acts may have come from the shift in ideology that accompanied the modern shift that had recently occurred in Japan following western influences. The idea of Japan as the world had come crashing down, and the Japanese people realized that they were just a small piece of a larger world. This horrifying act reminded me of the day in class when you mentioned to us that Japanese beaches are filled with trash; that while everybody makes sure they take off their shoes when they enter a home, they don’t care at all for the beach because it’s everybody’s beach and therefore is nobody’s beach. It is the only explanation I can find to explain why the Japanese soldiers would have committed this heinous act: the world that used to be theirs had become their beach. It wasn’t theirs, so they didn’t care about it. As you have said many times, “manners don’t matter when you’re on the road.”