I belong to an English teachers' organization. The organization holds an annual national conference every summer. This year it was held in Kyushu, which you visited last year on your school excursion. Our organization invited guests from Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. They were English teachers and high school students. I had a fun time chatting and joking with them and also had a precious time listening to nuclear bomb victims together and discussing how we can make a peaceful world.
One Korean high school boy suddenly asked me "Do you like Pe Yong Ju?" I was embarrassed and couldn't speak, then he took out a picture of Pe Yonh Ju and said, "I'll give this to you." He may have supposed all Japanese middle-aged women love Pe Yong Ju." Another Korean boy sang "Winter Sonata" in Korean at a party. That was nice. Vietnamese people said the drama "Winter Sonata" is broadcasted in Vietnam too. That is surprising, isn't it?
When Korean students talked about their daily lives, we realized how long and how hard they must study for university entrance exams. They say they have as many as nine classes every day at school till nine o'clock. They eat lunch and dinner at school! Wow! Maybe that's one reason why Korean students looked more tired than the Philippine girls and the Vietnamese girl after our field work to visit museums and some ruins.
We listened to Mr. Hirose. Do you remember him? He told you about his experiences when a nuclear bomb was dropped in Nagasaki at Nagasaki Prince Hotel. He used to be an English teacher, so he made the speech in English to the Asian guests. This time he brought us to a school where quite a few people died on August 9, 1945. This is the picture of the school and Mr. Hirose and us. We also listened to two other victims and visited Peace museums. One museum called The Oka Masaharu museum displays pictures which prove how cruel Japanese armies were to people in other Asian countries like Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam. At first I was afraid the pictures were so shocking to the guests whose ancestors might have been killed the same way in the pictures that their hatred toward Japanese people might get stronger. So we wondered if we should take the Asian guests to the museum or not. However it had the opposite effect. They appreciated the museum, they looked rather relieved to know that the negative aspect of Japanese history was not hidden but was open for the public to learn. They said telling the truth and apologizing for one nation's brutality, is a courageous and humble act. Informing the public of one's history of aggression allows its own people and other peoples of the world to learn better the lessons of war.
Suppose you were kicked by someone. If that person said "sorry", you would forgive him or her and could be good friends. If that person didn't say "sorry", what was worse, he said "I didn't kick you", you wouldn't be his or her friend and you might be afraid that person would kick you again.
This summer some Chinese soccer fans were violent at soccer stadiums. I think their deeds were bad, but I hear many Chinese people believe (or are made to believe) that most Japanese people don't feel sorry for Japanese army's violent acts or don't admit what they did to Chinese people. That's why Chinese people still hate Japanese people and they are afraid Japan will do the same thing to other Asian people. Next year or some day I hope our English teachers' organization will invite Chinese teachers and students to Japan and let them know there are many Japanese who admit our ancestors guilty and try not to let Japanese government do the same kind of cruel things.
But unfortunately The Tokyo Educational Board decided to adopt a history textbook which doesn't explain properly about the facts caused by Japan in the World War II. I wrote that I'm against such a decision and mailed it to The Tokyo Educational Board. I believe students must be taught the truth and become good friends with people from all through the world.
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