Typical Japanese soldier? Brutal or “regular”?

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    I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ ‘The War’ on PBS, and I’m struck by the picture of ordinary Japanese soldiers during WW II it presents, as opposed to the sympathetic view in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Letters From Iwo Jima.’ In the latter, the lead and many of his compatriots are just ordinary grunts like U.S. GIs, who’d rather be at home than fighting a war they don’t really understand or believe in. Burns’ film presents the picture we are more familiar with: brutal fighting machines who would do anything to win. U.S. veterans tell stories of surrounded lone Japanese soldiers who fought to the death rather than surrendering, like German or Italian troops did. And we’ve all heard about the many suicide bombers near the end of the war. My Filipino boyfriend couldn’t even watch ‘Letters’ because he has such anger toward what ordinary Japanese soldiers did to his country: raping and disemboweling women and children, torturing prisoners, watching thousands die in the Bataan death march. Burns’ films repeats these tales of cruelty by ordinary Japanese soldiers. So what was the typical Japanese soldier like? Of course, I know not all soldiers are the same and that there were both types. I’m curious as to what MOST Japanese soldiers were like: the brutal killers in Burns’ film or the poor Joes in Eastwood’s film? It seems that most Japanese soldiers bought into the fervor with which Japan wanted to rule the world and that this guided their actions on a personal level. True?

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    Name : Mark, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 49, City : New York, State : NY Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
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