Education About Asia: Online Archives

The Burmese Harp

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DIRECTED BY KON ISHIKAWA
CONNOISSEUR VIDEO
COLLECTION,
INGRAM FILM INTERNATIONAL
APPLAUSE PRODUCTIONS
1575 WESTWOOD BLVD., SUITE
305, LOS ANGELES, CA 90024
1956. 116 MINUTES
BLACK AND WHITE

In many classes, at various levels, it is necessary to deal with the role of Japan during World War II. America’s enemies in that war, Germany, Japan and Italy, are often portrayed in crucially different ways. In Europe, the Nazis misled the German people into a series of misadventures and cruelties. The war in the Pacific was a racial war; the United States fought against the Japanese people.

In part, this difference in attitude grows out of pervasive American racism. In part, it stems from the attack on Pearl Harbor which crystallized “the war” for Americans. Though Great Britain and the United
States officially agreed on a “Europe first” policy, the Pacific war was “our” war. In Europe, we demanded unconditional surrender. In Asia, our goal was extermination.