Monday, 18 April 2011

On Japan

Occasionally, in the course of human affairs, there arises a movement so mind-bogglingly idiotic and disturbingly pervasive that I feel the need to write a facebook note just so, when I see it, I can go "You are a fucking idiot, go read this, and then kill yourself". With the recent backlash against American efforts to support a post-tsunami Japan, such a movement has arisen once more, so please, if you encounter one of these sad creatures, show them this note. If you know anyone who might have need of it, tag them.

There is a not insignificant number of people who have been voicing complaints regarding America providing aid, or even simply prayer, to the Japanese in the wake of this horrible natural disaster which has shaken their country. The logic these people use for bitching about us aiding the Japanese boils down to "This is payback for Pearl Harbor".



Go type the words "pearl harbor" in that search bar at the top of the page, and then look at "posts by everyone". You're going to need a few minutes to breathe after that, maybe punch some things. I'll wait.

You good? Alright, let's continue.

I'll start with the obvious. It has been a few months shy of seventy years since Pearl Harbor. I can't find exact figures, but I feel reasonably safe in saying that you have enough fingers to count the number of people still alive who had any hand in that attack. If there is some higher power settling the score for America, he took his sweet time. And speaking of settling the score... I would think we already did that with those two atomic bombs. But more on that in a moment.

Moving on from the obvious, let's look at the less-obvious-but-you-should-still-know-this-shit. The 1930s and 1940s were a bit of an anomaly in terms of Japanese foreign policy. From the moment Commodore Perry bullied the Japanese into opening their ports in the nineteenth century up until today, Japanese relations with America have always been at least cordial, and generally warm, with the exception of those two decades. Since the conclusion of the second World War, Japan has been one of America's closest allies, providing us with a vital base of operations to protect our interests in the Pacific and Eastern Asia.

If you want harder evidence of this alliance, look no further than whatever room you happen to be sitting in right now. We amuse ourselves on game systems that were designed by the Japanese. We talk on cell phones designed in Japan. A sizable number of us drive Japanese cars. A staggering number of us grew up watching Japanese cartoons. The japanese probably had some hand in designing the computer you are reading this on at this very moment. I should point out that, had Pearl Harbor not occurred, America would not have aided Japan in rebuilding after the war and, with the Empire of Japan's comparatively limited industrial capability compared to it's post-war incarnation, it is unlikely that any of these modern conveniences would be available to you today.

But maybe all that is irrelevant. Maybe Karma is just looking at things in terms of death tolls, and this is all about avenging those who died at Pearl Harbor. Let's take a look at some numbers, shall we?

Number of American deaths as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor: 2402 [1]

Oh my, that is a rather large number, isn't it? Certainly a heinous crime deserving of retribution. But... remember those two bombs I mentioned? The ones that we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the war? Let's look at just how many deaths those lead to.

Number of Japanese deaths resulting from the bombing of Nagasaki: Est. 60,000-80,000
Number of Japanese deaths resulting from the bombing of Hiroshima: Est. 90,000-166,000 [2]

The above is only ballpark figures, and the site lists these as only "acute" deaths, which is to say those who died shortly after the bombings, either from the blasts or severe radiation sickness. There is no way to even guess the number who suffered from the long-term effects of radiation exposure such as cancer, but the important thing you should be taking away from this is that between these two bombings, nearly ten times as many people died as those lost at Pearl Harbor. For further context, let's look at the projected death toll of the Japanese Tsunami.

Projected Japanese Tsunami Death Toll: >10,000 [3]

For those of you bad at math, this is a little more than four Pearl Harbors.

These figures really should stand for themselves, but I suppose the point I'm trying to make here is that if Karma really is in the business of avenging death tolls decades after the fact, we Americans should really consider moving elsewhere.



  1. You have a lot to say about dat Earthquake brah.

  2. Wow, that was a lot to say.

  3. 10000 dead in japan, america is in a panic, thousands die in africa everyday, and we dont care. woo! go america!

  4. looks like to be interesting, following!

  5. I've read some of those people saying that karma thing that kind of ignorance really annoys me, hope they would read this.

  6. i feel sorry for the pets involved :(

  7. Nice use of references bro.