Inspired by the Confederate posting but decided to do a question that will have some actual variation in responses.
For forums like ours, it’s pretty easy to get somebody’s opinion on Nazi Germany. One of the most evil country in history or THE MOST EVIL is probably the most common response. However Imperial Japan is where it gets tricky, in part due to a lot of weird post-war rationalizations you’ll find modern understand of Imperial Japan all over the map. It’s gotten to the point you can’t really discuss Imperial Japan without jumping into various defenses of it people bring up which you will almost never see about Nazi Germany on a “serious” board. So I’ll post the five most common (at least from what I seen) interpretations of Imperial Japan in World War 2 (along with their reasonings) and you decide which of these you most agree with, from strongest anti-Japanese to most pro-Japanese opinions.
Imperial Japan was worse than Nazi Germany
In overall numbers Nazi Germany directly killed more people in World War 2 than Japan or any other country in World War 2. However if you include the various indirect or far-reaching deaths caused by Imperial Japan (mainly involving it’s total war against China) including famines, forced relocations, lost lasting biological warfare, and deliberate floodings, Imperial Japan has far more blood on its hands. In addition it mastered a brutality against the Chinese populace even Nazi Germany rarely practiced.
Imperial Japan was just as bad as Nazi Germany
Just as it says in the description, Japan and Germany during World War 2 were guilty of the same sins. Genocide on a scale never before or seen since on the populations it controlled. For both they practiced wars of annihilation against most of the peoples it fought, and it is hard to determine who was actually more brutal.
Imperial Japan wasn’t as bad as Nazi Germany, more along the lines of Fascist Italy or Soviet Russia.
The most common (and safest) response I normally see, the horrors of the Holocaust outweigh everything Japan ever did. While Japan massacred millions it did so in a way that most other totalitarian or colonial governments of the time practiced just on a larger scale, unlike the slow bureaucratic horror of the Holocaust. They were an evil country but not the most evil of the war which is solely reserved for Nazi Germany.
Imperial Japan was simply doing what other Colonial Powers were doing
Much like Britain in India, France in its African colonies, and the United States in the Philippines, Imperial Japan just did what everybody else did with its colonies and is unfairly signaled out for its behavior. It is no more evil than the United States was, which is still plenty evil but not something to be especially horrified of. Japan doesn’t even make the Top 5 of the most evil countries in World War 2, as the atomic bombings against Japan were far more heinous than any war crimes it actually committed.
Imperial Japan was innocent of the crimes accused of it
Japan was unfairly railroaded into war by the United States and Nationalist China and simply tried to defend itself against foreign invaders. All war crimes Imperial Japan has been accused of have also been greatly exaggerated by the imperialist powers that be.
For me personally I gravitate towards 1 and 2, mainly 2 but sometimes I’ll feel more towards 1 depending on what I’m reading.