A truce is unlikely to herald lasting peace between Japan and its neighbours
一时休战不太可能预示着日本与其邻国之间将出现持久的安宁。

JAPAN’S nearest neighbours have long been less ready than has the rest of Asia to forgive and forget the country’s aggressive past: a brutal colonisation of Korea in 1905-45 and a creeping occupation of China from 1931 leading to total war. Both projects were pursued ruthlessly and entailed civilian massacres, torture and slavery in factories, mines and military brothels.

长久以来,较之亚洲其他国家,日本最近的邻国们在宽恕并忘却该国侵略历史这一问题上,始终显得更不情愿:这段侵略史包括日本在1905至1945年间、对韩国的野蛮殖民化,以及自1931年起、并最终引发全面战争的对华蚕食行为。日本残忍地推行这两项计划,致使平民遭受屠戮,人们被施以酷刑并在厂矿和慰安所受人奴役。

So Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s new prime minister, has pleased the neighbours by promising that rule by his Democratic Party of Japan would transform Japan’s relations with them. He made the pledge in both Seoul, where he met South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, on October 8th, and then in Beijing at a three-way summit with China’s leaders. Unlike the weasel-worded Liberal Democratic Party, which long ran the country, Mr Hatoyama’s new government, he says, “has the courage to face up to history.”

因此,新任日本首相鸠山由纪夫通过承诺在其所率日本民主党的统治下,日本与邻国的关系将出现变革这一点,赢得了邻国的欢心。他既于10月8日在首尔与韩国总统李明博会晤时作出了这一承诺,也于之后在北京的中日韩三方峰会上对中国领导人重申了这一诺言。与长期统治日本、在历史问题上含糊其辞的自民党不同,鸠山称其新政府“有直面历史的勇气”。

Both Mr Lee and China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, were delighted. Dealing honestly with historical matters, they affirmed, would make it much easier to tackle contemporary challenges together—notably, getting North Korea to give up its nukes, and deepening economic co-operation. Mr Lee said Mr Hatoyama had opened the way for “future-oriented relations”. The talk now is of reviving old plans for an undersea tunnel linking South Korea and Japan. Emperor Akihito may visit South Korea, a first. Both South Korea and China have applauded Japan’s proposal for a jointly compiled history textbook.

李明博和中国总理温家宝都对此感到高兴,两位领导人肯定地表示:坦诚地解决历史问题,将使各国携手处理今日所遇之挑战变得容易得多,尤其是令朝鲜弃核以及深化经济合作等问题。李明博称鸠山已经开创了“面向未来的关系”之路。如今的谈判议题便事关重启一项旧日的计划,该计划打算建设一条连接韩、日两国的海底隧道;而明仁天皇也可能访问韩国,成为历史上第一位访问韩国的天皇。对于日本所提之共同编纂历史教科书一事,韩、中两国也已表示欢迎。

If only it were so simple. For all the bonhomie now, past hopes for “future-oriented” relations have often been frustrated. One problem is disputed territory (see map). Japan contests Dokdo, a rocky outcrop controlled by South Korea, while China claims the Senkaku, held by Japan. In addition, Japan contests Russia’s control of four northern islands seized in August 1945. Over the years Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and Russian diplomats have all berated The Economist over our maps.

如果问题真要那么简单就好了。尽管眼下各国和和气气,但以往那些“面向未来的关系”之愿景大多以失望收场。其中一个问题便是存有争议的领土(见地图)。日本对独岛这座处于韩国控制下的露头岩礁的归属提出了异议;而中国则声称由日本所控制的尖阁列岛之主权应为中方所有;此外,俄国对北方四岛的控制(这些岛屿在1945年8月被俄方夺取),也受到了来自日本的争议。多年以来,中、日、韩、俄的外交官员都曾就地图问题,向《经济学家》杂志发出过严厉的谴责。

Japan insists Dokdo should be called “Takeshima”. The South Koreans insist on the “East Sea” in place of the Sea of Japan. Over Dokdo/Takeshima, the websites of Japan’s and South Korea’s foreign ministries wage a virtual war, with pop-up cyber “history halls” and the like (in South Korea’s case, in nine languages). Yet both sides look merely ridiculous. Japan’s justification glides over the fact that its 1905 claim marked a first step in imperial annexation. South Korea argues that Dokdo has been “Korean” since 512, but uses the name for a country that did not exist until 1948. Competing for legitimacy with North Korea, the South also insists on the “East” rather than the “Chosun” Sea, since “Chosun”, a much more common reference in old Korean documents, is these days associated with the North. Empty specks of rock do duty as stand-ins for wider and even touchier historical issues.

日本坚持认为独岛应当被称为“竹岛”,而韩国则坚称日本海应改名为“东海”。在独岛/竹岛问题上,日韩两国的外交部网站还使用以弹出窗口形式出现的网络“历史馆”或与之类似的程序(在韩国外交部的网站上,这一程序以九种语言显示)发起了一场虚拟战争,。然而双方看起来都很荒唐,日方所提理由略过了这样一个事实:1905年的主权宣示恰恰标志着其帝国式吞并征途的第一步;而韩国提出自512年以来,独岛便属于“韩国”,然而这个国名直到1948年方才出现。与朝鲜的正统性之争,也使得韩国坚持使用“东”海,而非“朝鲜”海,因为“朝鲜”这个在古代韩国文件中普遍程度高得多的提法,在如今却与北部的朝鲜联系在一起。荒凉的几片岩石,正在作为范围更加广泛、内容也更敏感的历史问题之替身。

Things would be better if Japan were now readier to call a slave’s spade a spade. It has apologised many times for its brutal past, but only in vague terms, expressing “remorse” for ill-defined damage. Most apologies, including the one that has since become a template, by the then prime minister, Tomiichi Murayama, at the 50th anniversary of the war’s end, appear to say sorry to the Japanese people first. Mr Hatoyama does not call for the imperial family to break the so-called chrysanthemum taboo by admitting guilt on behalf of the wartime emperor, Hirohito. Nor does he suggest that the Diet (parliament) pass a law expressing national contrition instead of merely making statements. So, on this, he does not look like a mould-breaker. But then the leaders of South Korea and China may not want him to be. Being able occasionally to beat Japan for its lack of remorse is not all bad.

如果日本如今更愿意以开诚布公的态度谈论奴役他国的历史,那么情况将有所好转。该国已为其往日的野蛮行径进行过许多次道歉,但这些歉意表述含糊,只对界定不清的伤害表示了痛感。包括日后成为标准表述、由时任首相村山富市在终战五十周年纪念时所发表之言论在内的大部分致歉言论,看起来都在首先向本国民众道歉。鸠山并未呼吁日本皇室通过代表战时天皇裕仁承认战争罪行,以此打破所谓的皇室禁忌;他也没有提议国会通过一份表达国家悔过之心的法案,以替代仅仅发表声明的做法。因此在这一点上,鸠山看上去并不像一位打破传统之人。不过或许韩、中两国的领导人也不希望鸠山开时代之先河,因为能不时以缺乏悔悟为由、敲打一下日本也不错。

But Alexis Dudden of the University of Connecticut points out* that as vague apologies proliferate, the human victims of imperialism, though winnowed by old age, are ever less ready to accept them. The many wartime “comfort women”, or sex-slaves for the army, of whom South Koreans made up the biggest number, for example, want individual apologies and redress from the state. Despite abundant and harrowing testimony, Japan admits only general responsibility. The foreign ministry refers not to the women, but to “the issue known as ‘wartime comfort women’”.

不过康涅狄格大学的艾历克西斯•杜登指出:当含糊的道歉不断增多时,那些尽管由于年事已高、而数量不断减少的帝国主义受害人,正变得愈加不愿接受道歉。例如,许多军队的性奴——战时“慰安妇”(其中韩国人所占比例最高)便希望得到个别的道歉,并获得来自国家的赔偿。虽然证据的数量充足、内容触目惊心,但日本方面只对普遍责任给予了承认。日本外交部不去提及这些女性,而只是谈论“名为‘战时慰安妇’的问题”。

When America’s Congress called on Japan in 2007 to apologise for the comfort-women system, Ichiro Ozawa of the DPJ, now the party’s secretary-general, threatened a Diet resolution damning the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His demeaning of the comfort women was grotesque but symptomatic: even today, many Japanese believe the atomic horror washed away any guilt for devastation in other parts of Asia.

当美国国会于2007年呼吁日本就慰安妇制度进行道歉时,现已成为民主党干事长的该党成员小泽一郎,威胁要通过一份谴责广岛、长崎遭受原子弹轰炸的国会决议。他对慰安妇的贬低既令人匪夷所思,又体现出了该国思维中的症状:纵使时至今日,许多日本人仍然相信核弹的烈焰已经洗尽了该国在亚洲其他地区的劫难中所负有的罪责。

Small comfort
慰藉寥寥

But then the South Korean government gets more worked up about Japanese claims on a guano-flecked rock more than it does about the comfort women. After all, many of the men sending women to the front were, well, Koreans, working for the colonial authorities. Later, from 1948, the instruments and executors of Japanese repression were hitched to the new South Korean state—under American military tutelage to boot. That is all too inconvenient to highlight today.

不过在那之后,较之慰安妇问题,韩国政府在处理日本对一块遍布鸟粪的岩石的主权宣示问题时更为投入。毕竟,许多将女性送上前线的男子正是为殖民统治效力的韩国人。之后自1948年起,日本镇压体制的机构和执行人员便被吸纳进新的韩国国家体制之中,而且这一切是在美军的监护之下发生的。这些在今日都是非常不便于被强调的。

So official versions of history tend to veer away from the truth, not towards it. You only have to look at the Chinese history on display at the extravaganzas for last year’s Beijing Olympics or this month’s National Day celebrations. The first (traumatic) 30 years of the Communist Party’s 60-year rule were airbrushed out. History, as Simon Schama, a master of the craft, says, should be the instrument of self-criticism, not self-congratulation. Not just in dictatorial China, but also in democratic South Korea and Japan, history still has far to go if it is to serve that aim.

因此官方版本的历史往往倾向于回避真相,而非直面历史。对此,你只需看一看为去年北京奥运或本月的国庆节庆祝活动所举办的华丽展示中、所陈列出的中国历史便可明白。在其中,共产党六十年统治的前三十年(伤痛岁月)被加以掩盖。正如历史学大师西蒙•沙玛所言,历史应该是自我批判的利器,而非自我讴歌的工具。然而历史若想实现前一种目的,则它不单在专政的中国,也在奉行民主制度的韩国和日本,都还有很长的一段路要走。