People today when asked about Japan during WW2, will usually respond by saying that how terrible it was for US to drop two atomic bombs on Japan and cause so much suffering to that nation.
However what has been almost completely removed from the public historical awareness and is rarely discussed by the media was that before and during WW2, Imperial Japan was a despotic, murderous, genocidal regime, intent on expanding, murdering, pillaging and raping anything and anyone in its path, all in the name of their beloved Emperor Hirohito.
From 1937 and up until its surrender Japan and its emperor were responsible for the deaths of up to an estimated 20,000,000 people, the majority of whom were Chinese.
Japan also attacked and occupied Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Burma, East Timor and China.
The Japanese reign of terror and insanity, with its inhumane crimes against the local population, mirrored those of Nazi Germany's in Europe.
The Japanese considered the Chinese racially and culturaly inferior, and as historical enemies, much in the same way as the Germans considered Jews, Slavs and other goups of people of being racially inferior. To the Japanese, the Chinese were subhuman, so you could do anything you wanted to them, and the Japanese did.
For example, in 1937 Japanese imperial forces occupied Nanking, the capital of the Chinese republic, and commenced a six weeks orgy of destruction, massacres and rape of the local Chinese population.
At one point the Japanese had contests between themselves, of who could behead the most Chinese civilians, or rape the most Chinese women, etc… etc…
After six weeks of hell on earth, the Japanese murdered up to 300,000 people, raped up to 80,000 women and left Nanking a pile of ruins, all in the name of their beloved emperor Hirohito.
The death toll in Nanking alone exceeded that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, but I wonder how many people today, who know about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, know about Nanking?
Two Japanese officers, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda competing to see who could kill (with a sword) one hundred Chinese people first. The bold headline reads, "'Incredible Record' (in the Contest to Decapitate 100 People)—Mukai 106 – 105 Noda—Both 2nd Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings".
The Japanese also practised rape on an industrial scale wherever their army was busy occupying. It is estimated that the Japanese army employed hundreds of thousands of comfort women, or forced sex slaves, all over its empire and military bases. These women would be raped on a daily basis, sometimes tens of times a day. Countless of women died after literally being raped to death by Japenese soldiers and officials.
The Japanese also conducted horrendous medical experiments on thousands of innocent people, including women and children, and also on prisoners war by the infamous unit 731 of the Japanese army.
And what seems as something unbelievable but has been documented extensively, the Japanese army practised cannibalism on a wide scale and ate their POWs.
In fact former US president George Bush senior barely escaped from being eaten alive when his US bomber went down close to a Japanese position. His crew were not so lucky. They were captured and slaughtered by their Japanese captors who then had surgeons cut out their livers and thigh muscles and prepared the human flesh as dinner for their officers.
Now almost all of this suffering, death and destruction that the Japanese people caused has been "nuked" from public memeory and is only remembered today by historians, history buffs, and people who live in the Asian and south east Asian countries that Japan occupied during WW2.
Today everyone knows about the crimes that Germans perpetuated during WW2. Most people even know about the Russian war crimes during WW2. However, ask anyone about the Japanese war crimes during WW2, which were as bad as the German/Russian, and all you'll get is "what happened to Hiroshima was terrible."
To put this into perspective, imagine if people today commemorated the allied bombing of Dresden, in Germany in 1945, but knew absolutely nothing about Nazi Germany's war crimes during WW2, and treated Germany and the German people as being the victims of WW2.
Theodore Harold White, "In Search of History."
Duncan Anderson, "Nuclear Power: The End of the War Against Japan."
Robert Harvey, " The Undefeated: Rise, Fall and Rise of Modern Japan."