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War Crimes Trials in the Wake of Decolonization and Cold War in Asia, 1945-1956

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In both Japan and the Netherlands Indies, as in many other places, the interwar period was, moreover, witness to domestic power struggles between older, vested imperial orders and rising, modernizing nation-building middle classes in various incarnations. In the period leading up to and including World War II, we can identify in both Japan and the Netherlands Indies attempts to manipulate global questions of power and history between the West and the rest—questions that had never seemed riper for the answering—toward the resolution of these fundamentally domestic, national-level struggles for social power and social harmony.

As such, it held as great or even greater appeal for those historically on the left of the conventional political spectrum as those on the right. At the same time, in its insistence on a harmonious society transcendent of class antagonisms, Asianist rhetoric also functioned to acknowledge and accommodate the 7 Chatterjee , , Wallerstein , Cooper and Stoler , Mehta , , and Dirks are among those offering compelling historical explorations of these contradictory impulses and interwoven logics of empire-building, nation-building, capitalism, and contending class interests.

See, for example, Young and Gordon Ideally, representatives of the state and the es- tablishment would be converted and co-opted into the shared national cause. This compromised political positioning, however, also opened Asianists and their rhetoric to state and establishment co-optation. In public discourse across the former empire, the militant racial and cultural exceptionalism and anti-Westernism emphasized dur- ing the war years now gave way to a universalist modernism and internationalism that rejected racism, fascism, and imperialism in all its forms, whether Japanese or Western.

Yet in many postwar and postcolonial national contexts, Asianism as trans- national ideology—defined, that is, as a worldview with a lengthy historical lineage not limited to or originating out of Japanese experience alone but rather out of a regionally shared political, social, and cultural problematic—proved of more lasting durability. Okakura wrote The Ideals of the East while visiting Tagore in Calcutta in —2, and their association prompted exchanges of artists from their respective schools. See Hay , p.

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It highlights the general nature of Asianism and its transnational and transwar appeals. See Rodgers , p.


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In his early teens, he departed his native Batak homeland to attend Dutch-language secondary school in nearby Padang, the largest city in the Minangkabau region of West Sumatra. This spiritual- scientific creed was first propagated in late nineteenth-century colonial India and claimed both English and Indian adherents before spreading overseas to places that included the East Indies, where it found a receptive audience among both Dutch and elite indigenous social reformists.

In the Indies, the association between the leading Dutch theosophist D. For more on Theosophy, see Sears , particularly pp. Only through a marriage of the best of old and new, of East and West, of science and religion, they claimed, could mankind light a way beyond both the aspiritual materialism of modern life and the irrational, static dogma of religious institutions and outdated traditions, eventually reaching a naturally predestined world of justice, plenty, harmony, and fulfillment for all.

On his religious orientation, see n. Encouraged by devel- opments in struggles for national independence in such places as China and India, liberal U. Still, difficulties in mobilizing the masses and the growing specter of government suppression were to cast an increasingly somber pall over the movement. It depicted Airlangga in a struggle of conscience, torn between a personal desire to withdraw from the throne to pursue writing and meditation and the social and political need to fight threats to the unity of his kingdom, chiefly in the form of successional squabbles within his family.

See, for example, Shiraishi and Dahm Yet behind this Mahatma lies a past that stretches out over thousands of years and com- prises in its entirety a nation of three hundred million. Behind Gandhi stands India, the East. This is why his struggle is a wonderful world-historical event, a reflection of the struggle between two cosmic principles: spirit and matter in the battleground of the manifest.

It would remain so until the momentous events of late and early forced a shift in his field of vision. Japan has secured a significant place among the great powers but does not appear capable of bringing changes to the world political or economic structure; in fact, where the lighting of new paths and the opening of new perspectives is concerned, it has achieved little. The task of leading a searching mankind, of laying new social foundations in the light of the eternal, falls to India. It will undoubtedly fulfill this calling, because the powerful Hindu spirit, still unbowed, still alive, mute witness of the rise and fall of so many realms and cultures.

He seemed to stand at a distance from—and suffer from a selective myopia toward—the contradictions and complex- ities of the modern Indian colonial society in which he found himself.

The man triumphantly told me that it was of inestimable value because it had only just been dug up and was most definitely hundreds of years old. We continued our walk. It was busy in the narrow, steep, picturesque streets. You could see proud Bengalis and Punjabis, with high white turbans, women from the United Provinces in tasteful multicolored saris, widows from the northern districts with fine, white faces in dark clothing, all with large glittering or dreamy eyes. It was a celebration of colors, of lines and gestures, which even the most gifted poet could not describe. Here people tread in a land of peace and quiet, of beauty and mercy.

Before the entrance 23 The reference is to Surakarta and Jogjakarta, the two main cities of central Java, home to the royal courts maintained under Dutch rule and also known as the centers of Javanese culture. Above my dreams the copper lotus knobs and spires in the opal sky.

The sonorous tones of countless temple bells, echoing through the air, over the Ganges, and the city of cities as a powerful song of sorrow, of melancholy, set my soul to a shiver of sudden longing for times gone by. Oh, where was it that I too once stood like this, with flowers as offering in my hands, with the lonely, pearl-emerald sky above me, listening to the elegy of the evening bells?

Was it perhaps at the edge of this same holy stream, in lives long past? Pane c, p. Still, if the term selective may be applied, perhaps the term myopia is not entirely accurate. Such misery as I have witnessed in many Indian villages, confounding all description, is difficult to find in our country, and from the viewpoint of hygiene, the cities strike me as merely middling. The average sadhu is a parody of a reshi.

Another, greater [social] ailment is the caste system in its current form, just as in the normal sadhu—ship the [mistaken] interpretation of a good principle. A good principle, that is, in the so-called Vedantist period, when it was still applied in the spirit of the old law-givers, [and] it appeared to be capable of representing a sturdy social foundation.

Compra con confianza

The latter, albeit appre- hended only in glimpses, shined through as a hopeful, reassuring beacon for the former and for the rest of the world as well. Shortly upon his reentry to Java, he assumed joint and subse- quently sole editorship of the pioneering Dutch-language nationalist journal Timboel, to which he had submitted the previous essays. This was reflected, for example, in the platform of the nationalist Gerindo party that he founded with fellow Sumatrans Amir Sjarifuddin and Mohammad Yamin in Gerindo supported, for example, the no- tion of cooperation with the Western democracies, including the Netherlands Indies colonial government, in an international antifascist front.

In sum, even as it represented the most incisive modern mode of identification, analysis, and critique of domestic and international systems of capitalism and impe- rialism—and held a powerful appeal to the disenchanted in the non-West for this reason—Marxism was itself permeated with Orientalist cultural and racial assump- tions. In the form of the so-called Asiatic mode of production, for example, these assumptions reinforced the notion of an Asian cultural and racial heritage that pre- disposed a historically static Asia to an alternative economic logic from that which governed in the dynamic West Fogel As global views of the workings of Western capitalism darkened during the global economic crisis of the s and s, Marxist-influenced Western scholars such as the economist Professor Dr.

Boeke, whose views were extremely influential among both Dutch and nationalist intellectuals, produced a more positive if equally Orientalist picture of the precapi- talist Indies economy as representing, at the village level, a form of spontaneous, organic socialism of a nature unknown in the West Boeke , pp. Historical idealism is also guilty of the same one-sidedness and is, where it conjures with metaphysical terms as world-spirit and world-soul, a delicate complex of speculative ideas that leave room in reality for capitalist-imperialist actions.

What mankind desires is a social system wherein the individual takes part in pro- duction in the way that best fits his psychological and physical constitution and receives in goods as much as is needed to maintain his living and spiritual require- ments.

What I Love and Hate Most About Japan - #asksharla Q&A

As the state recognizes man as an individual, so, in the international organization, must the race ras be honored as a psychological unity. Summarized in brief, the task of the national movement is: to strive for an independent Indonesia, with a socialist-collectivist political ordering, in which psychological factors are taken into account in the organization of production and distribution.

The combination would produce the na- tional social power, security, and harmony necessary both to defeat and transcend Western imperial modernity and the unfortunate, divisive legacies it had left to the East and, second, to coexist in a postcolonial world of competing but like-minded nations e. Its central character is the daughter of a native capitalist.

Justice in Time of Turmoil

Compensating for the extremism and limitations of these two earnest but implacable modern male foes, and reconciling their seemingly irreconcilable positions, she personifies a harmonization of ancient domestic traditions and modern progress. Thus does her character enable a gendered resolution of the tensions inherent in the opposing constructs of a competitive, in- dividualistic, masculine West and a peaceful, communal, feminine East. His claim had the effect not simply of stressing the Asianness of Japanese but of specifically linking them to the maritime southern world, as opposed to the conti- nental Eurasian world of the Mongolian and Turkic peoples.

Both honored their ancestors. Now the West was falling into a chasm of confusion kekaloetan and death kebinasaan ; worse, it sought to take the rest of the world down with it. What of Islam, and the alternative global and Asian order that it suggested? They approach society. Mankind cannot attain an identical level, an identical ability, an identical character.

What can be imagined and aimed for is to accord as good a place as possible to every person, according to his temperament, his character, and his ability. It is imaginable that in times past the hearts of many Indonesians were drawn to Marxism vulgar Marxism , as a [form of] resistance against an arbitrary colonial regime, but they must now be aware that the times have changed.

The qualification alone was enough, however, to suggest that a conditional and selective appropriation of Marxist theories and principles, ju- diciously tempered with an ample dose of Eastern spirituality and culture, might yet have its place in a new, postcolonial and postcapitalist Asian order. Second, in the context of Japanese hegemony, the theme of culture as the answer to the challenge of Western modernity, within the aim of modern nation-building, had been brought into sharp relief, presented with a new conviction and intensity.