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Another Side Of The Story This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Do you know what day December 7th is? Yes, it is Pearl Harbor Day, the infamous day 54 years ago that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor without declaring war.

What do you think about it? Do you think that it was a sneaky and cruel thing to do? Do you hate Japan for it?

One day, in my U.S. History class, we watched a video entitled "Remember Pearl Harbor." The video began with beautiful scenes of Hawaii, showing innocent children smiling and beautiful women dancing. Everyone commented that they just couldn't imagine anything bad ever happening to such a beautiful place at that time.

Then the scene dramatically changed. It showed Japan, the Japanese army saluting the emperor, and the Japanese navy exercising while wearing nothing but loincloths (which is part of the Japanese culture). The Japanese looked so full of militarism, weird and stupid. The contrast was clear; good guy America, bad guy Japan. As an exchange student from Japan, I was pretty upset.

What was I upset about? Of course part of it was because my country was being insulted, but that wasn't all. What made me so upset until I felt sick was that the video was only showing the American side of the story.

You may have never heard it, and you might not believe it, but there is a Japanese side to the story. For instance, did you know that Japan actually had tried to declare war? It took so much time translating and making copies of the declaration that it just couldn't make it in time. Well, you might still think that it's our fault. But did you know that America knew about it? By the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, America had already decoded most of our secret passwords and knew that Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor before the attack. America wanted to join the war. So if you try, you can see it like this: America sacrificed Pearl Harbor to join the war.

I'm not trying to justify what my country did. I still think the attack was an unfair, cruel thing. What I want you to know is that there's another side to the story of "Remember Pearl Harbor," that Japan wasn't totally bad and America wasn't totally innocent. So, I hope you won't only think of Japan in a bad way. That's all I'm asking - because it hurts to see my country so badly thought of. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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rhea752 said...
Jun. 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm
I appreciate the new perspective.  I have always wondered what other countries thought of us and what American students weren't learning. It seems that politics will always be in the way of the whole truth. Thank you for sharing this.
 
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