Hundreds of Copies of Anne Frank’s Diary Vandalized in Japan

Though no one knows who is to blame, the discovery of these vandalized books deepens the sense that Japan is undergoing a pronounced right-wing turn

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Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

Ripped pages of Anne Frank's Diary of Young Girl are displayed at a library in Tokyo on Feb. 21, 2014

Japan’s slide to the political right appeared to take an alarming new twist with the discovery this month of hundreds of vandalized copies of the famed diary by Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

So far, more than 300 copies of The Diary of a Young Girl and other books related to Frank have been found with pages torn out or slashed at public libraries throughout Tokyo. Although no one has claimed responsibility, suspicion has fallen on conservative or rightist elements that have been pushing a revisionist view of Japan’s wartime and colonial history.

Officials in southern Japan were heavily criticized overseas this month for submitting farewell letters and other documents from World War II kamikaze pilots for inclusion in the UNESCO register of world cultural heritage.

The Frank diary, which chronicles the life of a young Jewish girl as she and her family hid from the Nazis, was added to the UNESCO heritage register in 2009.

“Twenty-first century Japan is in the throes of a culture war led by right-wing reactionaries who feel emboldened under Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe,” says Jeff Kingston, a professor of Asian studies at Temple University’s Tokyo campus. “The vandalism might be a colossal coincidence, coming so close to the uproar over the kamikaze letters — but I doubt it.”

An Abe administration spokesman has condemned the vandalism, and Tokyo police have created a task force to investigate. Library officials said the first case was reported a year ago, but that most of the vandalism appears to have taken place this month.

Japan has little history of anti-Semitism. A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Tokyo said officials have received thousands of messages of support from Japanese citizens since reports of the vandalism surfaced.

“We are convinced this is a singular act by an individual or small group and does not represent the general opinion in Japan about Anne Frank or the Holocaust. We are very thankful for the support,” says spokesman Ronen Medzini. He said the embassy and local Jewish groups plan to replace all the vandalized books once a complete list is compiled. The Tokyo Metropolitan Library reported that it had already received 100 copies of the Frank diary from an unidentified donor this week.

Abe took office in December 2012 promising to focus on the economy, but in recent months has pursued a more nationalist agenda. In December, Abe drew a rebuke from the U.S. State Department for visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which glorifies Japan’s role in World War II.

A senior official at national broadcaster NHK, appointed by Abe, drew similar condemnation this month when he charged that the U.S. had fabricated war-crimes charges against Japanese leaders to cover up American war crimes, which he said included the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo.

Frank’s diary documents her family’s life while hiding for two years in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. They were apprehended in 1944, and Frank died later of illness in a concentration camp. She was 15. Kingston said public reaction has helped offset the damage done. “The Japanese public has loudly and widely repudiated the vandalism of Anne Frank’s diary. Overwhelmingly, this is seen as a repugnant act contrary to Japan’s norms and values. It’s a signal that core values remain robust despite the era’s culture wars,” Kingston says.

41 comments
Indomitable_1
Indomitable_1

Vandalizing books is so not Japanese. I used to got yelled at as a kid just for stepping over (not on, over) them. BTW, vandalized books were immediately replenished by donations by (real) Japanese. 


Also do note that Japanese have no reasons to pick fights with Jewish, if anything we had a very friendly relationship with Jewish people (e.g. imperial Japan aiding escape of >6K Jewish (c.f. Chiyune Sugihara)). 


This is another cowardly and pathetic attempt by  a certain group to portray Japan as becoming dangerous and barbaric. 


Meanwhile, Koreans promote the "patriotic" act of going around vandalizing maps in libraries to erase Sea of Japan... Hmm...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDd7Kkbx7p4

Ocsicnarf
Ocsicnarf

The incident is very disgusting but you cannot insult a country of more than 100 million people.

nukodaisuke
nukodaisuke

For your information.
Just now, South Korea attempts to trumpeted that Yasukuni Shrine is similar to the Auschwitz.

bluesea1y
bluesea1y

Pathetic Japanese. This happened in Japan, not in Korea, not in China, by Japanese Nazis, the same kind as your Prime Minister and his minions.  Don't try to smear your own feces on innocent neighbors. 


DEAL WITH IT like adults, you Japanese Nazis.

PaulVerheecke
PaulVerheecke

Nobody read Meier MH, Caspi A, Ambler A, et al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. PNAS-USA:doi/10.1073/pnas.1206820109 online July 30,2012

Mean IQ loss of 10 pts

Bombkiller007
Bombkiller007

Kirk Spitzer again conjures up more fantasy than facts in this latest hack piece.  


Unfortunately, the resurgent fascism that resembles Germany of the 1930s is not in Japan but in China and sadly some Korean ultra nationalists.    


I would like to (again) do some basic reporting of facts that Herr Spitzer has overlooked or purposely omitted in his frantic attempt to link the book vandalism with the current administration in Japan.


1.  Beginning in the fall of last year, various neo-Nazi organizations such as VANK began to try and equate Japan to Nazis in the 1930s.  The campaign extended to various politicians in the US and in Europe as well as press outlets, academic institutions, and museums.  A PR blitz had began.


2.  However, a bit of history was overlooked in the grotesque attempt to link the Japanese with the Nazis and particularly twisted and demeaning to the victims of the Holocaust:  The attempt to equate Koreans with Jewish victims of Genocide.


3.  In January 21st of this year, a positive article came out in the JTA (Jewish Telegraph Agency) reporting on the Japanese love for Anne Frank, and the enduring support that Japanese have for both Anne and the Jewish experience in WWII.  (Chinue Sugihara who's books were also vandalized saved up to 10,000 Jews, and the Japanese also refused the Nazi requests to deport Jews to German control, in spite of the recent alliance with Germany in 1941 (Japan actually fought Germany by proxy as the Nazis actually supported the Koumintang and Chiang Kai Shek until late 1939/1940).  


The article is here http://www.jta.org/2014/01/21/news-opinion/world/behind-japanese-fascination-with-anne-frank-a-kinship-of-victims


4.  One month later, the books were vandalized in the libraries.  


5.  ONE DAY after the vandalism is reported the Anne Frank House and Museum in Holland (Run by the Dutch) announces a partnership with a Korean ultra-nationalist group to support a letter campaign raising awareness that the Japanese were the Nazis of Asia and Koreans their victims.


6.  Another valid theory is that the strong ties between the Jewish and Japanese community got in the way of the narrative, and the JTA article, which was making its rounds to many Jewish communities was too much of "an inconvenient truth" and needed to be countered.  Japanese crimes against property are statistically very very low (disproportional to other nations).  It is just as plausible to point out that an Ultranationalist group of Koreans or their Chinese fascist supporters destroyed the books to support their false narrative.  Most Jewish community groups know Japan sheltered us during the Shoah.  But the propaganda and false narratives being put out by the likes of Herr Spitzer are both disgusting and reprehensible.  


7.  Also just as valid (perhaps with more motive) are the thousands of foreign nationals in Tokyo to include over 2,000 students from areas in the Middle East that heavily indoctrinate their youth on Anti Semetic lines.  These youth, suddenly exposed to the Japanese love for the Jews and Israel, could just as easily attempt to destroy what they see as offensive to them.  


There are many possibilities, and Kirks cherry picking (or inventing) that Abes policy is somehow responsible is about as probable as Space Aliens did it.


The Israeli Government as well as many in the Jewish community knows that this does not represent either the Japanese people, or the current administration, and is in no way a cause and effect of Abes policies.  If anything, the attempt by some to make that equation trivializes the horror of the Genocide in Europe.  


Israeli statement here:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/177953#.UxOBTv3Ysdt

TimmyO'Toole
TimmyO'Toole

@i.sagum  Xenophobic how exactly?  I am asking a very simple question .... how does anybody know that this was done by a Japanese?  Show me the proof?  Show me a definitive source that shows  that this could not have been done by a South Korean or a Chinese to try and tarnish Japan's image on the international stage. Please do so.  I am willing to listen to any factual evidence that you may have.



nukodaisuke
nukodaisuke

"South korea hitler bar"
Please search on the Internet.

tpng813
tpng813

John Kerry tells south korea and china to just forget about the past horrors committed by japan, how come he doesn't say that to Israel? Japan has always hated jewish people. the evil imperialistic country committed its horrible crimes just 60 years ago, its only one generation ago. They will continue to deny and act arrogant towards history this is not a sane country

ALW888CN
ALW888CN

"Right wing"!? The most famous Japanese Anti-Jewish is everything "Left" Wing" group!!.it is historical fact in japan.

 e.g. "Japan Red Army" ,"Japan Revolutionary Communist League-National Committee",
"Japan Revolutionary Communist League (Revolutionary Marxist faction)",
"Revolutionary Workers' Council",etc.....they are Pro-PLO(Palestine Liberation Organization) and Anti-Israel and Anti-Judea extreme-left terrorist group..... Please google "Japan Red Army Lod Airport massacre"

Hamlet's_Ghost
Hamlet's_Ghost

It's no great loss. "The Diary of Anne Frank" was a forgery written after the war ended. Perhaps someone in Japan got tired of the barrage of fraudulent Holocaust propaganda and decided to take matters into his own hands.

DayBeeToe
DayBeeToe

To relate Japanese rights with neo-Nazism just reveals your ignorance.  Japanese even don't know Jews and there are no reasons to like or dislike them.  Even during the wartime, Japan even accepted Jew refugees and rejected Nazi Germany's request to hand them over.  Perhaps Japan was less anti-Semitic than the USA or Switzerland.


In addition, Japanese rights are rather imperialists and than ethnic supremacist.  Chiune Sugihara, a wartime Japanese diplomat to Lithuania who provided visas to Jew refugees, are their pride and NEVER their shame.


To sum up, Japan's shift to the right, if such a thing exists (I strongly doubt it), has nothing to do with the vandalism.  I suspect the vandalism has perhaps no political background.  For example, the perpetrator could be a young lunatic literature buff who is in the similar age of Anne Frank of that time and extremely jealous with her talent (you shouldn't forget that Anne Frank intended her diary to be later published).  Of course this is just a possibility, but what is the most important is that no one knows who the perpetrator is and what his/her motivation is.


I seriously concern that too many journalists, both Japanese and non-Japanese, easily associate any bad things in Japan with Abe without serious consideration and conclude that Japan is shifting to the right.  It is a terrible essentialism.


It is true that our country did terrible thing decades ago, but it is also true that it has been very peaceful one for more than half a century.  PLEASE do not treat us like criminals despite the fact almost all of us living today were not grown up or even born at that time.  Or are you saying that criminals' children are also criminals?  Okay, then Hitler might be right.  Jesus of Nazareth was executed by Jews (well, Jesus of Nazareth was himself a Jew, of course).

Naomi_Karina
Naomi_Karina

Zaitokukai, a group whose members constantly have made hate speeches against Koreans living in Japan, is going to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Adolf Hitler in April.

http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2139036896660358701

Still it is not clear if this has something to do with this Anne Frank books' vandalism.

TimmyO'Toole
TimmyO'Toole

How does anybody know that this was done by a Japanese or a Japanese group?  With the constant and concerted smear campaign currently undertaken by China and South Korea against Japan it is entirely possible that this was done as a premeditated plan to have Japan appear to be a racially biased and warmongering country. It is no coincidence that South Korea is trying to garner support from the Jewish community in the USA over the comfort women issue ... what better way to do that than to have a bunch of Anne Frank diaries be vandalized in Japan to make that happen.  Seems very suspicious to me. 

l0k1_deplume
l0k1_deplume

But... why only in Tokyo? I mean, you cannot find a library that does not hold a copy of Anne Frank's Diary (note that there's no such thing as "anti-semitism" in Japan... in fact there's no Japanese word to describe such concept), and believe it or not, there are LOTS and LOTS of libraries in Japan. Those copies were never ever vandalized for decades... but why now? Why only in some selected libraries in Tokyo?


That reminds me... biblioclasm was never a part of Japanese culture, ever. Could it be because words are considered "spirits" or "souls"? In any case I cannot help myself but to suspect who's really behind this vandalism.

eulergauss
eulergauss

This is quite an inaccurate and irresponsible view.  Vandalism against Anna Frank's diary has nothing to do with political shift.  It is just a criminal action.  These days your magazine's reporting about Japan is strongly biased as if we are heading to war. This is stupid and totally unacceptable.

odyseuss
odyseuss

Seeing the latest episode of right-wing movement in Japan somehow reminds me a quote: "The only lesson we ever learn from history is that we never learn". I just wish that we won't repeat the history that happened 60 or so years ago.

Hut1
Hut1

@Bombkiller007I found your post to be insightful, right up to this point:

"Also just as valid (perhaps with more motive) are the thousands of foreign nationals in Tokyo to include over 2,000 students from areas in the Middle East that heavily indoctrinate their youth on Anti Semetic lines."

So with no evidence, proof or even hearsay or rumor you conveniently ignore the authorities own contentions about the culprit(s) and painted an entire group of people with a hateful brush.  By your own twisted logic, it could be Jewish peoples themselves responsible for the vandalization in a preemptive attempt to garner sympathy and hijack the national dialog on Israeli/Jewish issues. 

Bombkiller007
Bombkiller007

@tpng813  Japan has been the most supportive of Jewish people in all of the nations in Asia except for arguably Thailand.  Since 1905 when the Jewish American community assisted the Japanese to lobby for loan guarantees to finance the war against anti semetic Russia, the Japanese have been supportive.  In the 1930s Japan allowed Jewish refugees into all areas they controlled in China, and many to reside in Japan.  In 1940 when Japan signed the Tripartite treaty with Germany, she refused all German requests to extradite the Jews from Japanese administered areas, treat them as criminal, etc.  Sugihara is memorialized at Yad Vashem in Israel, and is personally responsible for tens of thousands of lives saved from Europe.  



tpng813
tpng813

Lol japan liked jews? Lol they agreed to wipe their race out with the nazi's and wanted to take over asia. Committed unspeakable crimes. I think you need a real history lesson and not just dreams you make into reality

Naomi_Karina
Naomi_Karina

@DayBeeToe


I admit I am very poor at history.  I prefer science rather than history.
It was only since I came to see more news about comfort women or Nanjing massacre that I began to read and study these problems.


Still I don't agree with your idea that you doubt Japan is shifting to the right.


Years ago, there was no hate speech like recent days.
It is true once old Japanese people derided Korean people.
When I was a child, I heard old people say "Mr. X isn't efficient. That is because he is a Korean." or things like that. I thought this was a very strange logic. But anyway they never made hate speech.


Also only yesterday I was surprised to find some right wings say Hitler did some good things in Yahoo Japan's comment colum.

I was really scared.  Of course I suppose these people are still quite minority.



i.sagum
i.sagum

@DayBeeToe
Don't be fooled.


What people, except you, worries is that Japanese right-wing is as dangerous as Nazism, not that is dangerous to Jewish people.


And, even for criminals' children, praising their parents' crime is WRONG. People should teach the children as so in the name of humanity, not Christianity which you wrongly quoted.

i.sagum
i.sagum

@TimmyO'Toole @Makiko

Very Interesting idea. 

Now, please tell me. What is the difference between your xenophobic accusations and Nazi's?

l0k1_deplume
l0k1_deplume

Good news. At least one of those vandals is caught on several security cameras at ジュンク堂池袋本店 (Junku-do Ikebukuro shop).

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@odyseuss

If so, we may skip the whole "war" part and jump straight to the "Let's end this thing" strategy employed by Truman. 

The trouble with nationalists is that they, literally, live in a delusional state.  And given the waves of "Banzai" charges they did under the delusion that it would work (none ever did) and the idea that they wouldn't be hurt by bullets in World War II (and how badly that worked out for them), being susceptible to delusional states may be a cultural thing for them.

Japan has never fared well when it starts wars.  Its strength has always been in defense. Their nationalists would do very well to remember that.

Hasd
Hasd

Oh don't fool people that video is nothing about Nazzi it's just against the massacre in middle east by Israel toward Muslim

Bombkiller007
Bombkiller007

@Hut1 @Bombkiller007  When Jewish books are vandalized, anti-Semitic groups are potential perpetrators.  There has been little discussion regarding persons from the Middle East conducting the vandalism as a possibility, which has more potential as far as motive and prior history as well as methodology.  In today's mobile and global society, third country nationals are as likely to commit crimes in other nations as they are their own.  Take the February 14th, 2012 bombing in Bangkok Thailand.  The perpetrators were Iranians against the Israelis and the secondary target not hit was going to be an American led Chabad house.  India, Mumbai two years before it was Pakistani terrorist against hotels with foreign visitors and again a Chabad house.  Both nations were merely the stage for the anti-Semitic attacks and not the perpetrators.


Past incidents of vandalism in books in Germany in the 90s was found to be Islamic Turks and Lebanese, but for weeks the Conventional Wisdom blamed the Germans.  The same pattern is a potential in Tokyo, where the Japanese are very pro-Jewish since 1905.

Bombkiller007
Bombkiller007

@tpng813  You sir are an idiot.  The State of Israel honors Chinue Sugihara at Yad Vashem for his saving of almost 10,000 lives from Eastern Europe.  On three occasions at a minimum Foreign Minister Togo refused German overtures to extradite the Jews to Germany, and one request to set up a camp for the Jews.  Japan allowed the Jews to enter into Manchuria from the Soviet Union in 1940 where they were refugees from Germany and the Soviets (then allied with the Nazis prior to the German invasion of Russia) threatened to extradite them back to German controlled areas.  This was done repeatedly over the objections of the Germans.


The Japanese synagogue in Kobe has the names and histories of the families that were sheltered there during the war, supported by the Japanese people, who themselves had almost nothing due to the effective allied blockade and beginning in 1944, the bombing campaign.


Please keep your revisionist rhetoric to your little bunker in the basement.


DayBeeToe
DayBeeToe

@tpng813

"Lol they agreed to wipe their race out with the nazi's"

SOURCE PLEASE.

DayBeeToe
DayBeeToe

@Naomi_Karina

"I prefer science rather than history"

Well, I am too.

 "Years ago, there was no hate speech like recent days."

I admit there is some worrying tendency.  But still, I am quite sure that the things on the whole have been steadily getting better.   The number of hate speakers is tiny, while such a kind of casual racism as the old people you mentioned has drastically weakened in the last few decades.

Either way, it is certain that virtually no one in Japan has the idea to invade any neighbor nation.  This article's accusations of militarism, fascism or imperialism is just hilarious.


”Also only yesterday I was surprised to find some right wings say Hitler did some good things in Yahoo Japan's comment colum."

Well, 20 years ago it was reported that the poison gas cult Aum Shinrikyo taught their children that Hitler was a great politician.  Hitler's sympathizers in Japan used to be similar kinds of people i.e. UFO believers, 9/11 truthers or any other occult believers and conspiracy theorists.  We cannot "exterminate" such a kind of people but either way their number will remain << 1% of the population and they can never affect the public opinion.

The difference between Japan and Europe is that we can totally be objective on Nazism because we have, unlike Europeans, no motivations to minimize or deny the Holocaust.  We have no one to wish to be innocent concerning the Holocaust or we don't share the Europeans' traditional hatred against Jews.

After all, Japanese nationalism and anti-Semitism are totally unrelated things. What we should care about is the former.  There are no reason to worry the latter.

DayBeeToe
DayBeeToe

@i.sagum @DayBeeToe

"Japanese right-wing is as dangerous as Nazism"

Nice propaganda, Dr. Goebbels.

"And, even for criminals' children, praising their parents' crime is WRONG."

About whom are you talking?  I admit there are some (but not many) deniers, but who justifies them?

"People should teach the children as so in the name of humanity, not Christianity which you wrongly quoted."

I didn't mention Christianity.  Stop your terrible straw-man argument.

TimmyO'Toole
TimmyO'Toole

@Naomi_Karina  Your post proves nothing that the person(s) are Japanese. A Korean or Chinese agent could easily perpetrate the vandalism of these books.  

Makiko
Makiko

Koreans who were born in Japan speak / read Japanese. They have Japanese surnames and live like Japanese. I cannot tell Koreans from Japanese if they speak perfect Japanese. More than 800,000 Korean live only in Tokyo.


And more than 164,201 Chinese live in Tokyo. Chinese look like as Japanese and read Chinese characters. Japanese use Chinese characters as well.  I do not mean to say this crime was by non-Japanese.  But I know Japanese have no hatered against Jewish people. Anne Frank's Diary is one of best sellers on Amazon Japan.




DayBeeToe
DayBeeToe

@Yacko @l0k1_deplumeWell, there IS a Japanese word for "anti-Semitism": 反ユダヤ主義 (han-Yudaya-shugi).


Anyway, as far as I know, you don't need a library card in Japan to simply enter the library.  You need one only when you would like to check out books, CDs etc.

Cabaedium
Cabaedium

@DeweySayenoff @odyseuss  Pretty idiotic and racist to suggest that this sort of delusion is limited to Japan. America plays host to far more delusional nationalism than Japan ever did.

i.sagum
i.sagum

@DayBeeToe @i.sagum  

Hello, it's good to see you again.

First of all, I'm neither as influential as Goebbels nor representing any regime. Therefore, I'd like to hand the title to the current NHK president,  Mr. Katsuto Momii.

And you know what? I wish I hit a straw man. Unfortunately, Mr. Abe,  other right wing politicians, and right wing activists are real person with flesh and bone. So, I can say many of Japanese are justifying, or at least in sympathy with, the right wing based on the fact that The Liberal Democratic Party is the major in Japanese congress. Many people are supporting the deniers! It is called 'Majoritarianism'. Democracy 101.

For your information, Jesus of Nazareth is believed as Christ by Christians. That's why the religion is so called 'Christianity'.

EdKim
EdKim

@Makiko  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Go ahead and blame the zainichi fifth column.  Popular since the Kato Earthquakes.