News / Asia

    Japanese Authorities, Jewish Scholars Condemn Desecration of Anne Frank’s Diaries

    A ripped copy of Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" picture book is shown by Shinjuku City Library Director Kotaro Fujimaki at the library in Tokyo Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
    A ripped copy of Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" picture book is shown by Shinjuku City Library Director Kotaro Fujimaki at the library in Tokyo Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
    Sarah Williams
    Japanese authorities are looking for suspects responsible for defacing almost 300 copies of books by and about Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who’s famous Diary is considered one of the best-known testimonies about the Holocaust.

    News of pages being torn from the books in 31 public libraries in Tokyo has left Jewish scholars shocked.    

    “We know that there are scores of libraries and at least hundreds and maybe more copies of the diary of Anne Frank and other books that deal with Anne Frank, that have been vandalized, ripped apart, desecrated,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

    Frank ’s Diary of a Young Girl  was written in World War Two by the Jewish teenager as she lived in hiding with her family in Amsterdam, then occupied by Nazi Germany.

    The family was discovered and sent to concentration camps.  Anne died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen in 1945.  Her father Otto was the only member of the immediate family to survive the war.  He published Anne’s diary in 1947 and it has sold millions of copies, becoming a symbol of the Holocaust.

    The Wiesenthal Center issued a statement expressing its concern about the book’s destruction in libraries in the Tokyo area.

    “Obviously, you’re not talking about one or two incidents, you’re talking about a wide geographic location, and we’re talking about some sort of organized effort,” Cooper said.

    Cooper is a frequent visitor to Japan, and after the news of the vandalizing broke, he contacted a member of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s staff to air his organization’s concerns.

    Cooper said the recent defacing campaign emerged earlier this month when Tokyo librarians noticed that numerous copies of the diary were damaged.

    Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga condemned the destruction of the books.

    Rotem Kowner, professor of Japanese history and culture at the University of Haifa in Israel, said Diary of a Young Girl has been popular in Japan since its publication there in 1952. 

    “The popularity has not dwindled during all those years, I think by now more than five million copies have been sold, so this is probably one of the most popular books for youth in Japan throughout the postwar years,” Kowner said.

    The development also comes at a time when tensions concerning atrocities committed by Japan during World War Two have risen, with critics in China and South Korea calling on Tokyo to do more to atone for its past.  

    Abe recently visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a monument to the country’s war dead that also includes the remains of 14 convicted war criminals, an action that caused immediate condemnation from Bejing and Seoul.

    “There is a huge internal debate and struggle within Japan, and of course across Asia, of coming to grips with what happened in the era of Imperial Japan and the atrocities that took place in Asia, and the current tensions between China and Japan,” Cooper said.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    February 26, 2014 9:11 PM
    I think this incident has nothing to do with Abe's visit to Yasukuni shrine because destruction was disclosed to have been conducted before his visit in late last year. It is true Anne's diary has been very popular in Japan as it is shown in school textbooks.
    I guess this crime was conducted by an individual suffering some psychiatric disorder. Defacing and ripping away manners are too childish to consider this issue as having some political background.
    In Response

    by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
    February 27, 2014 9:51 AM
    You may know the fundamental law: Inevitability involves contingency. Inevitability consists of contingencies. Japanese desecration of Anne Frank’s Diaries, this might be individual conservative contingency. How do You plead a range of conservative contingencies have occurred in Japan:

    Abe worshiping WWII war criminals in the Yasukuni Shrine,Japanese government denying sex slaves in WWII.and denying Nanjing massacre.having territory conflicts with every neighbors .now destroying wwII history books…..MR.Yoshi,I want to ask you: why was Germeny accepted by his neighbor countries?why can’t Japan be accepted by the neighbor countries?

    The linchpin is that hypocritic Japanese are lack of sincere desire.Japanese get use to saying one thing and doing another.
    Don't play fraud with all people.

    by: TAKESHI from: JAPAN
    February 26, 2014 5:28 PM
    People in the world often misunderstands that most of the Japanese are nationalist and supporting such a shameful doing.
    Almost all the Japanese are disappointed this event and feel sorry to it.
    But person tearing book isn't identified as Japanese yet.
    We are more considering that tearing book doesn't make benefit to Japan and Japanese completery but nearby countries disliking Japan.
    I hope all the people in the world gets to know there is a complicated situation.
    Particuraly, to tell that such a worst doing are our Japanese's hope is completely wrong.
    Japan doesn't have tendency to right wing on the whole.
    It is a great pity for me that a part of Chinese and Korean say it's all Japanese will ! It's misleading world people. Please don't say such a terrible propaganda.

    by: Jonathan huang from: canada
    February 26, 2014 1:46 PM
    worshiping wwii war criminals,
    eating dolphins,
    denying sex slaves in wwii
    denying Nanjing massacre
    having territory conflicts with every neighbors
    now destroying wwii history books
    So what is really in Japans mind?

    by: Qing ChunHua
    February 26, 2014 1:05 PM
    "Japan Red Army" is the most famous anti-judea group in Japan and left-wing terrorist. please google "Lod Airport massacre" and "Japan Red Army".

    by: Taichi Robinhood
    February 25, 2014 6:51 PM
    The international community should be alert to the Japanese militarism who will revenge the Americans for dropping two A-bombs to the Japanese during W W II.

    by: shimpei from: NL
    February 25, 2014 4:56 PM
    no one cares
    In Response

    by: neznaika
    February 26, 2014 3:51 PM
    Notice, those who devides people by etnic groups considers their own group as the highest.
    It seems to me, Japanese are peacefull people. Otherwise, it would be a disappointment.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora