“Hate the enemy!” cries an editorial in the Mainichi today. Under this startling title the vernacular points out: “Enemy air attacks on medium-sized cities are becoming intensified. In the near future there may not be a single medium-sized city west of the Tokaido that has escaped being made a target of enemy attacks . . . . How are our people reacting? Or how should they react?”
Answering its own question the Mainichi proceeds: “Most Japanese are strongly inclined to giving up easily to fatalism. When attacked by the enemy they are liable to regard themselves merely as sufferers. . . . of a natural calamity.” This the paper urges, is wrong. It is not the way the men at the front feel. It is not even the way the people felt during the civil wars between the feudal lords.
No, “against enemy atrocities the Japanese people, especially those who have suffered directly from enemy bombings, should be inspired with strong abomination and indignation. It absolutely cannot be permitted to regard the enemy’s hideous violence with fatalism. Generous Japanese!” concludes the Mainichi. “You must remember that to hate the enemy now is a sacred duty.”
One must think twice to discover exactly why that is so startling. True, it has been said: “Love thy neighbor” — “Turn the other cheek” — “. . .as we forgive those who trespass against us.” One is not used to seeing these gentle admonitions challenged so nakedly in the morning newspaper. But after all the Japanese are not Christians. They are not one-tenth as bound by the evangelical precepts as those flag-waving archbishops who howled for the obliteration of Berlin or who find it hard to remember that God made the Japanese too in His own image and likeness.
What is startling is that the exhortation to hate was thought necessary at all. The “generosity” of the Japanese is a flattery too gross to be swallowed. Their “fatalism” is a first-class political fact. A fire-raid can be accepted more naturally in a land of earthquakes. A blockade does not demoralize a people with an Oriental tradition of famine. Or is the subtle emphasis of the editorial on the object of the hate it evokes? Are the Japanese urged to “hate the enemy” lest they should hate persons closer to home?