Belgrade blog, Neretva River and Japan Probe solved the mystery of a couple of pictures (and discovered many more from the same source) depicting Japanese people wearing Serbian and Croatian uniforms – images that greatly disturbed many Serbian and Croatian bloggers for whom the war is still fresh in memory. Read their excellent posts and comments.
Even more puzzling was the fact that the uniforms were from several different periods and wars. There were Serbian and Croatian uniforms from the most recent conflicts, but also WWII-era uniforms of partisans, Chetniks and Ustasha.
Apparently, the Japanese had a fun weekend doing battle re-enactments. This one was a Battle For Mostar which, in real life, was not fun at all (and was, mostly, between Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims, not Serbs). I knew the Americans like to do Civil War battle re-enactments, but I had no idea the Japanese did the same. And why would they re-enact OTHER PEOPLE’s battles!? (OK, growing up we played ‘cowboys’ and ‘Indians’, as well as WWII-themed games with “Germans” and “partisans”)
Perhaps, this soon after the war, when the issues are far from settled, war criminals are still at large and the cangaroo court in The Hague (ICTY – International Tribunal for Yugoslavia) is still re-enacting Matlock episodes, the only place where one can safely “play” Balkan wars is a place as geographically and culturally distant as Japan (which was also one of the countries that was the most neutral during the conflict and had by far the best media reporting on it during the 1990s).
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