A review of Gunter Grass's memoir

by Ian Buruma, one of my favourite writers:

War and Rememberance (The New Yorkers, 18/9/06)


Ian Buruma is the author of Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan

Ian Buruma's official site


In Wages of Guilt, Buruma recounted a public discussion between Gunter Grass and Oe Kenzaburo at the 1990 Frankfurt Book Fair:

[Grass said] A unified Germany was a danger to itself and to the world. Oe nodded gravely and added that Japan was a great danger too. The Japanese, he said, had never faced up to their crimes. Japan was a racist country. Yes, but so was Germany, said Grass, not to be outdone, so was Germany; in fact, Germany was worse: what about the hatred of Poles, Turks, and foreigners in general? Ah, said Oe, but what about Japanese discrimination against Koreans and Ainu? No the Japanese must surely be worse. ...