"Equality" and "Human" Defined by Genocide

Essay by partygyrl03University, Bachelor'sA+, November 2006

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In the English language, it is not uncommon to fully understand a concept until you understand its polar opposite. For instance, in order to understand the Democratic party, one must also be acquainted with the Republican party. Antonyms truly help to define their counterparts by giving us a basis of comparison. Keeping this in mind, we can explore the meanings of "equality" and "humanity" by evaluating the meanings of "inequality" and "inhumanity." By understanding the type of discrimination in Japan, the Rape of Nanking, and how to define genocide, we can effectively understand the meanings of "equality" and "human" in Japan in the mid-twentieth century.

Because Japan is a homogenous nation, human rights and equality have been particularly biased in favor towards Japan's ethnic majority. The country's discriminatory behavior has been embedded both culturally and historically because the nation's citizens generally haven't been exposed to people from outside nations.

This type of discrimination is endemic and is particularly profound because it affects the current generation of Japan as well as those that proceed it (Fogel, Online). There is an inherent idea of Japanese superiority that can't simply be stamped out overnight. When Admiral Perry came to Japan in the late nineteenth century, Japan was rudely awakened to its newfound technological inferiority to the West. Furthermore, Japan believed that it was their responsibility to lead Asia into an age of colonialism.

With their feeling of superiority towards the Asians and the desire to compete with Western powers, Japan was compelled to begin a colonial empire of their very own. After declaring to become a colony of Japan through the Meiji Restoration in 1889, Okinawa, or the Ryukyu Islands, one of the early Japanese colonies, was exploited for its raw materials. In 1895, Japan began to colonize outside of the Japan...