go around celebrating their colonial past. And, the colonial wars happened over a century ago, while the history of the Opium War is still considered the darkest and most humiliating moment of our entire history, no one with a living memory of that time period is still alive.
But the Japanese invasion and WWII is a completely different story.
First and foremost, the Japanese never apologized the same way the Germans did.
Compared to the shining example of the German people, Japanese' apologies are at best insincere, at worst insulting. So far it had been along the lines of "our condolences for your loss during the war". None of their prime ministers had visited the Nanjing massacre memorial, let alone kneel in front of it. On top of that, Japanese government and the their right wing militarists have always been actively trying to change their history books to erase Japan's war crimes, they have always been actively denying the practice of Comfort women, arguing that these women entered the service out of their free will, while in reality they're Chinese and Korean women forced into sex slavery and raped and tortured to death. They have actively denied the Nanjin massacre even with overwhelming historical evidence.
There has been occasional relatively more sincere apologies, but these kind of statement is rare and far between. And for every "relatively sincere" apology they made, there're 10 other denials from high level officials. It's like every time they try to make a step towards owning up their WWII war crimes, their right wing militarists walks 10 steps backwards and double down on their militarist frenzy.
I think a lot of western people don't really understand what it means. They just don't get it. For them, Japan is this benevolent economic power producing high quality appliances, cheap reliable cars, and cutesy little cartoon thingys. For them, Japan is the shining beacon of western democracy and capitalism in eastern countries. While China is the evil communist empire who just won't leave poor Japan alone, even after they have apologized again and again. This is the narrative Western people are so used to.
Let me put this into perspective, like I've done it so many times on Quora. And until western folks really get the picture, I'll continue repeating myself like a broken record because history is important:
Say the German government (I'm not talking about fringe white supremacist groups, I'm talking about the German government, from its prime minister to every level of their government officials) deny that the holocaust ever happened. They deny the killing, torturing and experimenting upon of Jewish people. They deny the concentration camps. They give half ass apologies saying "we're sorry for your loss during the war". And on top of all that, they set up a shrine for their falling soldiers including Hitler, Goebbels, Heydrich... All of the worst war criminals, and their government officials, let me repeat this, German government officials, every prime minister since WWII until this day, pay annual tribute to Hitler and his Nazi buddies.
That's what the Japanese government is doing, right now, every year.
It is not simply what Japanese did in WWII was horribly cruel, but also because they had never owned up to their crimes. And everything so far had shown to us, Asian people who had suffered in WWII, that the Japanese don't think what they did was wrong. Unlike German people who had very clearly expressed their apology and had done everything they can to make sure history never repeat itself, the Japanese had never done any of that. For German people, they lost WWII because they're fighting on the wrong side of history, they're morally wrong. For Japanese people, they lost the war because they're beaten by a stronger opponent. It is the Übermensch philosophy Japanese had always believe in, a truly strong power doesn't need to abide by morality. They can do whatever they can as long as they have the power to do so. And it's not far-fetched for us to expect that if given the chance, Japan WILL DO IT AGAIN.
Someone just told me today, someone from a respected news agency no less, had just told me today that, Japan has been peaceful, Japan had no intention for war. I find this simultaneously funny and scary. Funny is that how could a so-called "Asian expert" of a reputable news agency be so out of touch, scary is that Japan had masked its militarism tendencies. Scary that western world seems to be so blind with its worshiping of the war criminals.
So yes, this Chinese person will continue to demand a proper apology from Japanese government. I'll continue to demand they remove the war criminals from their shrines. I'll continue to demand they teach the truth of WWII in their history text books. I'll continue to demand they acknowledge their evil practice of comfort women and provide compensation to the survivors. I'll continue to demand they truly, sincerely apologize for what they have done to Chinese people, Korean people, and other Asian people.
The bottom line is, if the anti-Nazi Willy Brandt can find it his humanitarian heart to kneel in Warsaw, one of the Japanese prime minister should kneel in Nanjing.
Update: for those who commented on "But Chinese did their fair share of evil things too", and listed various Chinese evil deeds (Tibet, Taiwan, Culture Revolution, and other shitty things you think you know about China), Here's my comment:
Let's just say, for the argument's sake, that everything you accused China is actually true. One evil doesn't justify another. What Chinese supposedly did to Tibetans and to its own people doesn't justify Japanese' war crimes in WWII. It doesn't "disqualify" Chinese people from demanding an apology from Japanese officials.
It's like saying "but Black people enslaved other black people back in Africa, long before colonists came around", and use that to justify White plantation owners enslave black people. You can't say "but Native Americans have tribal wars long before American came over and nearly wipe them out". or "It's the Jews that killed Jesus, so... they deserve it". That's so fucked up I don't think it even deserve a reply. You're basically saying "because Chinese people are evil, they deserve to be killed in the millions." So for those who give me this crap, consider this my official once and for all comment: FUCK OFF and crawl back to whatever racist hellhole you climb up from.
Secondly, what you think you know about China, Tibet, Taiwan, culture revolution, the great leap... all that, you know nothing about it. The fact that you use this as an argument against Chinese' demand on an apology for WWII tells me that you know nothing about China, Japan, WWII, and history in general. So let me repeat my once and for all comment: FUCK OFF and crawl back to whatever ignorant hellhole you climb up from.