Tokyo Gov Ishihara at it again, calls NJ judo Olympians “beasts” spoiling Japan’s sport


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Hi Blog.  The Sanitizer-General I referred to in my last Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column is at it again:


(読売新聞 2012年8月4日06時03分 スポーツ報知)courtesy of MS




Translation (by Debito):

Yomiuri:  Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro (79) said at his regular press conference on August 3, regarding the difficulties the Japanese judo team is having at the London Olympics, “Watching Westerners do judo is like watching beasts fight.  An internationalized judo has lost its exquisite charm.”  He added, “In Brazil, it’s said that they eat chocolate in their norimaki, but I wouldn’t call that ‘sushi’.  It’s a shame that judo has also gone the same way.”

That’s the entire article.  How sporting of him.  These are the type of people who, for example, seek to keep NJ out of Sumo by limiting stable to one “foreign wrestler”, and they include naturalized citizens as “foreign” as well (unlawful under the Nationality Law; still waiting for the lawsuit).  Judo will be the “Japanese sport that got away” since they “internationalized” it, I guess; but that’s why it’s an Olympic event and Sumo, run by racists (and sexists), will never be.

Anyway, for the record.  This will be my penultimate post before vacationing for the summer.  Arudou Debito

66 comments on “Tokyo Gov Ishihara at it again, calls NJ judo Olympians “beasts” spoiling Japan’s sport

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  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Debito, perhaps you should compile a list of all Ishihara’s anti-NJ ‘gaffes’/hate speeches, and send them by e-mail to the Olympic committee in every individual participant nation, asking them what the olympic policy on racism is?

  • This is the epitome of ridiculous and petty. Many different sports from many different nations are Olympic events. I wonder if any other countries complain this way. And, yeah, sounds pretty racist what he’s saying, the classic civilized/barbarian dichotomy.

  • kickintheye says:

    So I am a member of a Karate forum and a debate was started by a Nikkei American Karate instructor who was asking for opinions about why Japan is winning fewer and fewer gold medals. The sensible opinion of many is that there are more athletes who are better trained than there were 20 or 30 years ago so it’s a natural consequence of when you have a bigger talent pool and top-class competitors that one country won’t tend to dominate a particular event.

    This is only the seed of an argument I know, but you would think it made some sort of obvious sense.

    Not to the senior Kendo instructor I talked to last week. It was the same tired old stuff; the Japanese are pure and go for “ippon waza” (a knockout/down win, and- implied- the product of a high level technique and (further implied- a budo/zen-like mindset) rather than just going all out to win. The Japanese found it difficult to beat the インチキ waza of the gaijin, who were more liable to be more ruthless and zurui about winning.

    Let me put in a disclaimer here before I go on any further. I actually have some sympathy for some of this because of my own experiences in Judo. As a schoolboy I did a lot of judo and already it was an arms race toward thuggery. We were encouraged to win no matter what, and do everything we could within the rules, and how to bend them and how do disguise knuckle punches, put the elbow in, etc. to win. We used to call this Koka Judo (Koka is the minimum score, like when you bundle someone down to the mat gracelessly and their back does not touch the mat). The idea was “stuff Ippon Judo, just win!” This was not peculiar to our highly competitive and slightly deranged coach- most schools were doing it. The result was a lot of graceless Judo. But hey, winning is the game, right?!

    Looking at the Judo of the 1908s in the Olympics, I can see Koka Judo at its worst. Lots of really weird tactics being used by many players just to win, many graceless fights, and Japanese Judoka (as today) still trying to stay upright and go for Ippon Waza. So to a certain degree, I can see the point from a traditionalist point of view.

    On the other hand I think Ishihara’s comments are just further down an extremely sore looser and prejudiced continuum that the Kendo teacher had entered.

    Behind the Kendo teacher’s opinion is the assumption that Japanese are somehow different and pure, and the foreigners are somehow cheating. Judo is a budo and the foreigners treat it as a sport. How distasteful.

    Some Kendo people are outright snobs who look down at other martial arts such as Judo (which sold its pure Japanese budo soul to the devil by becoming a mere sport) and Karate (an Okinawan working class discipline not of pure Japanese samurai origin, etc.) and there is an element of the belief in Japan by other more traditional martial arts that somehow Judo sold out by becoming a sport.

    But again we come to laughable prejudices and assumptions that are just quite bemusing. The idea that there are some physical activities that have spiritual aspects that can only be understood properly by Japanese. When myths of inherent otherness or superiority are destroyed by reality, then blame the foreigners or talk about how the purity of something Japanese has been soiled by exposure to gaijin.

    What a bunch of b*****ks

  • Sour grapes from Blinky given that Japan did not do well in the judo.

    Hopefully the IOC are made aware of his comments.

  • Can’t somebody just put this old git down? He’s so far past his sell by date now.
    He just cannot accept that Japanese judoists are longer supreme on the world stage. Pathetic!
    Debito, I hope you have a great holiday and thanks for all your hard work!

  • I agree with Jim Di Griz,
    The old bastard is making another bid for the 2020 Olympics when he himself and Tokyo to some degree do not deserve it. I have heard, though can not confirm, that if Tokyo gets the Olympics, he is going to make changes to the rules of Judo so that it is more “Japanese” and less “beastly” as it were. (again this is something I heard back when he was bidding for the next Olympics but can’t confirm).
    It’s time to start compiling his wonderful little quips—like the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake was divine punishment for Japanese losing “their way”—and send them to the Olympic committee or find that group that was against the previous bid and give to them so they can pass it on to the committee.
    With what’s going on in Nagatacho at this very moment, and what is still going on at Tohoku (or not as it were), Tokyo still does not deserve the event.

  • Assuming he retains enough of his mental faculties to remember that Tokyo’s bidding for the 2020 games, I think he’s very quickly going to regret this outburst.

    I’d give it forty-eight hours before we hear some muttered apology involving “misunderstandings”.

  • Thanks very much for picking that up. I hadn’t heard about this until now. The sooner he retires the better it will be for Japan’s international future. Unbelievable really … privately, at a bar, maybe, but at a press conference?

  • Odorikakeru says:

    I would like to ask the governor whether the reason chocolate norimaki can’t be called sushi is because it contains chocolate, or because it’s from Brazil and not Japan.
    Also, I second Jim’s idea, but there’s no reason why we need to ask someone else to do all the work, we can all pitch in to create the list, and this can be item number one as it’s actually about the Olympics.

  • So, I was reading about this on Japanese message board sites, fully expecting everyone to be like “Yeah, kick the foreigners out!”

    But, much to my surprise:

    My favorite comment:

    03. 2012年8月05日 16:20:11 : XthO7uoUss




  • I really do wonder if the IOC realizes what a racist senile xenophobe Ishihara is and if they even care. My guess is even he ponies up enough cash, they won’t care at all.

  • Markus Deutschmann says:

    Does Ishihara ever travel abroad? I’ll watch the news if he ever visits Germany and make sure I’ll be there, with a few eggs and maybe even a pack of Natto, sourced from our fine Korean grocery shop here in Berlin, to cool him down.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Just to enlarge on some of the things mentioned above.

    Re: Judo as a ‘Japanese tradition’.
    Judo is a modern invention (Meiji era), see the chapter called ‘Ossu!’ in Valstos’s excellent ‘Mirror of Modernity’, IIRC.

    I always love it when non-practitioners of budo criticize NJ who do budo. Does anyone know if blinkey has a grading in judo?
    I practiced kendo at university in Japan everyday for 4 years, but still had to listen to endless J-boys who had never picked up a shinai telling me that I can’t understand kendo the way they do because I am not Japanese. The argument that any budo is more correctly understood by Japanese than NJ is just an expression of racism.

    I posted a link to this article on facebook yesterday (in the context of all his other anti-NJ gaffes), and lost a load of J-‘friends’ almost overnight. Surprising thing for me is that although those former friends have studied abroad, or are married to NJ, many of them felt the need to say that blinkey is not a racist, and they support him, and if I don’t like it, ‘why don’t you go home?’ This seems to demonstrate that most Japanese, even the ones who consider themselves, ‘international’ have really very little understanding of the concept and practice of racism. People like blinky need to made an example of, to send a message to the wider society that racism is not acceptable.

    Still, ‘this is Japan!’, so fat chance.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    After all, this athlete was kicked out of the olympics following a racist tweet;–greek-triple-jumper-removed-from-olympic-team-after-making-racist-comments-on-twitter.html

    — Sadly, there seems to be no way to disqualify this governor from his games.


    Greek triple jumper removed from Olympic team after making racist comments on Twitter
    Yahoo News Wed, Jul 25, 2012 11:13 AM EDT

    LONDON – Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was banished from the Olympic Games on Wednesday after making racist comments and expressing right-wing sentiments on Twitter.

    Papachristou was scheduled to fly to London next week from her training base in Athens when the Hellenic Olympic Committee – Greek’s Olympic federation – made the decision to expel her from the team.

    Papachristou, 23, made a racist and tasteless comment on her Twitter account, @papaxristoutj, that highlighted the number of African immigrants in Greece.

    “With so many Africans in Greece … at least the West Nile mosquitos will eat homemade food!!!,” Papachristou wrote. She also reposted a comment from controversial Greek politician Ilias Kasidiaris, who has strongly criticized his government’s “soft” immigration policy.

    The West Nile virus was first discovered in Uganda, but cases have recently been found during the European summer. Papachristou’s tweet was met with a flood of angry responses, but she didn’t respond until Wednesday, when it became clear she might lose her spot in the Olympics.

    “I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account,” she said. “I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights.”

    By then, it was too late. Greek Olympic chiefs consulted with senior members of the Greek parliament, including aides to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, before making their decision. Part of the reason for the expulsion was to punish Papachristou for her actions, but the decision was also made in hopes of avoiding a backlash from anti-racism protestors at the Games.

    The financial crisis gripping Greece – where strict austerity measures have affected the lives of millions – has forced the country to rely heavily on corporate sponsorship to fund its Olympic program. Officials feared that contributors may rethink their commitment if Papachristou remained on the team.

    “There is never a good time for something like this to happen,” one source with knowledge of the decision told Yahoo! Sports. “But this is especially a bad time. Action had to happen. To not act would have been negligent and place Greece in a very negative light.”

    Greek officials later released an official statement announcing Papchristou would be placed “outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.”

  • Baudrillard says:

    1. I actually “met” Ishihara once, by accident. It was weird. It was a relatively deserted part of Tokyo (Sendagaya crossing) and Ishihara and a bunch of people were off duty, going into a Ramen Shop or something. This was way back around 2000 or so. I was with my Japanese GF and (I think some people, as soon as I typed that, can imagine what came next) and he visibly started at the sight of me and her, as if he was surprised to see me, or knew me. She noticed it too, and commented on it. He really stared at us. Draw your own conclusions. Mopho’s bar comment above made me think of this.

    2. I liked this comment “The idea that there are some physical activities that have spiritual aspects that can only be understood properly by Japanese. When myths of inherent otherness or superiority are destroyed by reality, then blame the foreigners or talk about how the purity of something Japanese has been soiled by exposure to gaijin.”

    Even if there was a spiritual side to it only understood by Japanese, those Japanese are long dead. Postmodern Japanese have a better understanding of Disney. Even back in 1990 I was hard pressed to find any Japanese at all who could explain any of these Japanese concepts to me properly. Which was a shame as it soured me on them after being a real “Japan fan” and trainee apologist in the 80s.

    So now I see that when they said “its difficult to explain it to a foreigner” what they mean is
    1. I cannot explain it well. I am not good at explaining or
    2. I dont know
    3. I am not going to lose face by admitting to a foreigner I dont know so I will just lay it all indirectly at your feet for being foreign
    4.I am out of the Japanese-Japanese “so desu ne” comfort zone where the other J-person can fill in the gaps for me, ie. language as ego massage and mutual flattery, as opposed to genuine exchange of information, but I slightly digress.

  • Hello, all!

    As usual, no surprise here, is there?

    I just told my friend last week that the Olympics could be looked at as indicative of each country’s attitude to sports and victory: the US and China are willing to pay as much as possible to have people trained to WIN, whereas Japan has relied, quite frankly, on mediocrity and arrogance to buoy athletes in so-called “Japanese” sports like Judo. As many wise folks mentioned, this is sour grapes at its best, and most Japanese are basically indifferent to Japan’s Olympic results anyway.

  • Markus Deutschmann says:

    JJ, I think that’s not quite right. All the Japanese I know follow the Olympics very closely, even the sports they usually do not care about at all. I noticed that both the Japanese public and media will be very interested in the Olympics as long as Japan is still in a particular competition, like “soccer”, and basically obsess about it, but as soon as Japan is eliminated, silence will set in and the Olympics or sports in general are suddenly the least important subject of conversation or reporting. This is in stark contrast to Europe, where people will follow their sports, i.e. “soccer” very closely even if the team they support doesn’t have a chance or has been eliminated.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jim #15, thanks for that factoid. Yet another postmodern irony, a so called “Japanese tradition” being a relatively recent invention.
    I am surprised ancients like Ishihara dont know that. He is just ignorant or in denial about what is “Japanese”. He will be telling us whaling and tempura are Japanese traditions next….

    I have given up trying to discuss the gaffes of Ishihara with most Tokyoites; they tend to get all defensive, usually along the lines of “he just wants a strong Japan, that’s all”. Pretty much the justification for J-whaling is the same; it’s just to stick 2 fingers up at gaiatsu, the international community, and cling to the belief that Japan has any real independent foreign policy from the USA. (Even Germany could oppose the Iraq war, I doubt Japan ever would although Ishihara talks this talk without having to walk the walk; he just makes destructive, irritating gestures like buying disputed islands without doing anything constructive.)

    Such a shame that his notion of an “independent Japan” tends to revert to the preset programming of Imperialist revisionism and anti-Chinese/Asian WW2 style, rose tinted nostalgia- but what do you expect from Ishihara, who spent his youth sucking up to Mishima?

  • “I posted a link to this article on facebook yesterday (in the context of all his other anti-NJ gaffes), and lost a load of J-’friends’ almost overnight.”

    Dude you broke the golden rule- never say bad things about Japan, its not allowed here. Youll loose any “friends” you thought you had, and get shut out of any group you worked your way in. You can bash America, or whatever country of your choice, but in order to keep that all too important group harmony BS, you best never ever talk bad about Japan

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I appreciate that the news article I linked referred to an athlete, but the point I failed to make was that Olympic committees are rather attached to those pesky global standards on racism that GC hates so much. I am certain that if challenged on his ‘beasts’ comment, blinkey would try to weasel out of it as ‘bad translation’, or ‘misinterpretation’ of Japans ‘unique’ culture etc, so it should be shown in the context of his on-going racist diatribes, rather than a ‘one off’ misinterpretation of his words.

  • To be honest, while Ishihorror`s latest racist outburst is both idiotic and infuriating, I`m much more worried that his lunatic rhetoric and plans concerning the Senkakus will result it in a real incident and actual bloodshed. Perhaps it would be good if Tokyo did get the 2020 Games because it might deflect his attention from areas where he could do deadly damage with his stupidity.

    — I think that would provide the wrong set of incentives: Be racist, get rewarded.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @Mike 22

    Thanks, you are correct, but after all these years in Japan, I am too tired to fake that Japan is perfect. The constant mutual faking between many NJ and J does not help Japanese understand the way they are really perceived in the world, and stifles progress (as I am sure you know). I tell it the way it is, because I don’t have to fake. That’s an NJ freedom from ‘the eye’ that controls them. I refuse to be controlled.

    @ Baudrillard #21

    Tying in with my above, most Japanese haven’t got a clue what an international embarrassment blinky is. NJ shouldn’t hide this opinion from them. After all, what the Japanese crave more than anything else is international recognition and influence. Blinky certainly gets recognition from the likes of the BBC with his gaffes.

  • Frankly, I hope that several influential people send a list of Ishihara’s choicest racist quotes to the IOC. Why on earth should the IOC award the honor of hosting the Olympics, a fantastic international gathering that celebrates all our diversity and talents, to a city governed by a closed-minded, regressive and deeply racist old git? Why am I not reading articles in international papers to the effect of “IOC Concerned About Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s Recent Racist Comments” or “IOC Announces That, In Light of Recent Racist Comments by Tokyo Governor Ishihara, It Will No Longer Consider Tokyo as Host for the 2020 Olympics.” Let’s not forget this essential fact: by the time 2020 rolls around, that nasty piece of work known as Shintaro Ishihara will have long been cremated, but most of the folks who voted for him, knowing him to be a racist, will still be living in Tokyo. And let’s not forget the idiotic and racist preparations the Japanese made leading up to hosting the World Cup. Frankly, Japan has absolutely no business hosting an international event of any kind, and this goes double for Tokyo. It would be like asking North Korea to hold a world symposium on freedom of the press. Sadly, Ishihara is the embodiment of a significant portion of the Japanese population – I’d say he pretty much gives voice to the deeply held thoughts of about 30% of Japanese males between the ages of 40 and 80, and his views are probably also shared by a surprising number of younger folks and women. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you had to point to one person who embodies all the reasons why Japan is failing so miserably in the present day, you could do no better than Shintaro Ishihara. His close-mindedness, xenophobia, ignorance, jingoism, conservatism and arrogance are all crucial reasons why Japan is stagnating so fast you can almost smell the fetid aroma of decay. And, in closing, I’d like to engage in a bit of armchair psychoanalysis: what really drives men like Ishihara and his ilk (including Mishima) was the simple fact that Japan lost WWII. That one cruel fact is something they’ve never been able to come to grips with. And, they’re so twisted and dishonest, both with themselves and with others, that they can never simply understand this fact. They can never say: “We picked a fight with an adversary stronger than ourselves.” No, never. It always comes seeping out in twisted and hateful rationalizations and slurs, like “foreign judokas are bestial.” Really, you’d have to look long and hard to find a man whose soul was as twisted and hateful as Shintaro Ishihara’s. As George Plimpton observed about Mobuto, the former president of Zaire, you really, really have to feel sorry for the women who are associated with that man. Given the nature of Ishihara’s worldview and deep hatred of foreigners, it doesn’t take too much of a brain to figure out that the man must surely be sorely lacking in the department that makes a man a man.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @Jim “I am too tired to fake that Japan is perfect.” Oh absolutely true. It ties in with microagressions. Just a load of little tiny straws or needles that finally make all but the most downtrodden of us rise up finally and say ENOUGH! Or give up because we are just too tired. I just want to sleep, stop ringing on my doorbell to see the gaijin card…(true story). its a huge effort to live in Japan, its all about how good an ACTOR you are in the Theatre of the Absurd. Go on holiday for a couple of weeks and then come back, and the first week you try to live like a normal human before being chastised for not following the rules etc.

    @ Eric (above) “what really drives men like Ishihara and his ilk (including Mishima) was the simple fact that Japan lost WWII.” Please do not compare Ishihara with Mishima, though Ishihara would love that you do. The reality was that although Mishima was a nationalist only after the war, he realised what a postmodern joke Japan had become. He said many times his nationalism was a vehicle for his erotic fantasies. Mishima, like many Japanese, desperately wanted foreign recognition and had many foreign friends and admirers; I certainly cannot say the same for Ishihara. Finally, Mishima was determined to rebuild himself physically and remade himself thru bodybuilding into a “hero”; Ishihara looks pretty out of shape to me!Ishihara is just blah blah blah. Mishima believed in action; he craved a battle and a hero’s death. In sum I see none of these qualities in Ishihara, though I am sure Ishihara would send men to their deaths in any showdown with Korea or China.

    FInally, I remember what apologists for Ishihara used to say to me around 2000 or so, how he was “colorful” and “I like him because he is outspoken at least, it doesnt matter so much what he says”. I am sure some said the same of Hitler in the late 20s. Then after Ishihara started to make anti foreigner comments, it was along the lines of “Oh he doesnt mean gaijin like YOU, he means the Chinese in Kabukicho, etc etc”.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @Eric C #27

    I agree with you whole heartedly.
    In passing, I was looking at the Spike Japan site a couple of weeks ago that had a link to a BBC doc about Mishima, in which Mishima was interviewed. Mishima confesses to faking illness at his Japanese Army entrance medical exam, and running home in tears at his own cowardice, and that that experience was a motivating factor behind his later ultra-nationalism (that is to say ‘guilt’). It is interesting for me that blinky’s idol is what would otherwise be considered a ‘draft-dodger’.
    Again, historically, the blame for the continuation of such racist ideas in mainstream Japanese culture is a direct result of SCAP’s leniency during the occupation.
    Look at the trouble the Korean olympic soccer player got into for holding up the Dokdo sign in London. Compare that to the silence of the international media in criticizing blinky.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Someone outside of Japan could probably start a ‘Don’t let racist blinky host the olympics’ FB page with relative impunity, couldn’t they?

  • Baudrillard says:

    p.s. Cant resist @ Jim ” The constant mutual faking between many NJ and J does not help Japanese understand the way they are really perceived in the world, and stifles progress (as I am sure you know). I tell it the way it is, because I don’t have to fake. That’s an NJ freedom from ‘the eye’ that controls them. I refuse to be controlled.”

    You are right of course, and good for you to be yourself, but being fake is what its all about in postmodern Tokyo and thus by extension in the greater part of Japan. Being “genki” to get along, to get those few remaining crumbs at the bottom of the pork barrel, its part of the job description and until you grow jaded and burnt out, it will get you work gigs and dates (at which you will again be expected to be genki and fake).

    You go to Disneyland to have a good time, right? None of the children of all ages there want to to be told by the grumpy gai-oyaji (actually not that grumpy, just not grinning inanely like theyre on coke or at a genki fake audition)that Walt was actually an anti Semite or that Emperor Showa was buried with his Mickey Mouse watch on; his prize possession despite WW2. Actually that last example might go down quite well but you get what I mean.

    “Japan”; a great amusement park to visit and spend money at but I wouldnt like to live there. DO they even let NJs live there? (comment heard overseas in the 80s).

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Eric C #27
    @ Baudrillard #28

    I have absolutely no doubt that blinky would be the first onto the podium to pump up impressionable Japanese youths to die a patriotic death in order to satisfy his own hubris. But I was thinking recently, that Japan has had such a long spell of unbroken peace (even in Iraq the SDF base was protected by the Dutch Army) that maybe (bear with me) what Japan needs IS a little spat over a disputed rock in the ocean somewhere. Britain for all it’s imperial glory, got it’s nose bloodied in Northern Ireland, the USA for all it’s military-industrial complex, found itself in a decade long ‘funk’ after losing Vietnam, and the USSR couldn’t win in Afghanistan despite having virtually no domestic media criticism. So I concluded that maybe what Japan needs to finally get over blinky and it’s national Napoleon syndrome is to pick a spat with Korea, Russia, or China, and fall flat on it’s ass. Hell, as Japan’s major trading partner, China doesn’t even have to fire a shot. It could just block all Japanese imports/exports in and out of China and sit back until the J-economy is reduced to a barter system.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #31

    I think that you have commented before about Disneyland as the perfect business model for the Japan Inc. ‘life of packaged experiences’ where no experience is unplanned or unexpected; there are no surprises. I recently read ‘Japan: A little bit kindergarden, a little bit prison camp’.

    Japan= Mouschwitz sprang to mind as a good way of expressing the sentiment. After all, ‘Disneyfication’ doesn’t quite capture the sinister element of RFID tracking and fingerprinting, along with uyoku trucks, wartime atrocity denial by politicians, rampant impotent nationalism over rocks, and (of course) the ‘ware-ware nihonjin’ exclusion, to a background of hello-kitty, high-pitched cuteness, and over-sexualization of (fake) prepubescent girls in groups of 48.

  • @ Baudrillard #28

    Sounds like you’ve bought into the myth that Mishima self-consciously cultivated. Thanks JDG for calling Mr. Baudrillard on that.

    I stand by my point: both men are cut from the same cloth: namely, geezers who can’t (couldn’t) stand the fact that Japan got their asses handed to them in the war and don’t have the intellectual honesty to admit that that is what drives all their actions and thoughts. Most importantly, as JDG rightly points out, their exactly the sort of men who would love to send young Japanese men off to die in some hopeless war. They are pretty much the direct equivalent of the “Chicken Hawks” who sent the American boys off to die in Iraq.

  • It always amazes me when these “pure” and “traditional” Japanese politicians/bankers/whomever utter such jingoistic tripe. Since if they really, REALLY believed and practiced what they preach, then they would surely fall on their sword, as “honourable” men from this illustrious traditional past to which they all covet, did. Thats the “tradition”..neh!

    How many do we see falling on their sword, either literally, or metaphorically (ie resigning their post in shame/disgust) when making gaff’s (and embarrassing their superiors/party) or unable to deliver on their promises???….er…none.


  • maybe Americans should give the j-boys a little irony and say that they will never understand baseball either because it was started by us and not them.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ #34 and #35, Yep. I respect Mishima. Because he DID fall on his own sword. He put his money where his mouth was, and died for what he believed in, however misplaced his fantasies. I dont need a source, this is historical fact from when he tried to get the men of the Ichigaya barracks to join him in a revolution. When this failed, he committed ritual suicide.

    Now if we can just get Ishihara to also commit Seppuku, maybe to apologize for all the gaffes…nah. The man is too full of himself to ever die for what he believes in.

    And that is why I insist they are different and he is not fit to lick Mishima’s Tate No Kai uniformed boots!

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Jim #36, apparently some Japanese baseball coach was insisting on playing “pure baseball” in the 70s which meant not using any NJ players.

    How’s that for postmodern irony? Baseball as a Japanese game! But yeah, surely it is not the same as baseball played by Americans, lol.

    — Would love a source for the “pure baseball” coach statement. It relates to my research.

  • Agreed Jim. And further, The Js don’t understand and are beastly in football/soccer, tennis and boxing as these sports were started in the UK.
    Ishihara is just getting worse and worse in his dotage.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Eric C #34

    I didn’t mean to call Baudrillard out on the Mishima thing at all, really. I accidentally stumbled upon a link that showed an old doc interview where Mishima ‘fesses up, had I not done so, I would have been equally oblivious to his counterfeit nationalism. Baudrillard is an astute commentator on Japan, and I have the highest respect for both of you.
    More importantly, in the same BBC doc, the US translators who brought Mishima to the attention of the outside world (and thereby his international recognition) are also interviewed. Guess who is the most outspoken of Mishima’s ‘greatness’? Don Keene!!! I’ve said it before, and I will say it again; ALL of Japan’s problems are linked by a very small number of people.

    Here is a link to the doc:

    The Strange Case of Yukio Mishima (BBC, 1985).

  • Jim Di Griz says:


    Re: my comment above,

    You could make a JBC out of that.
    Keene shares a responsibility for inflating Mishima’s nationalist ego by giving him (and his perverted nationalism) international prestige due to translating into English. This makes Mishima lauded and adored domestically for his ‘world recognition’, and gives him ‘credibility’ in Japan. This credibility attracts other fantasists like blinky. Blinky shoves said perverted nationalism down the throats of every NJ in Japan.
    All started with Keene….

  • Contrast:

    IOC withhold South Korean’s medal over protest sign
    By Reuters | Eurosport – Sun, Aug 12, 2012 14:59 BST

    Midfielder Park Jong-woo was pictured at the end of the game holding up a sign which read “Dokdo is our territory” following his team’s 2-0 victory over Asian rivals Japan.

    The 23-year-old was due to have picked up a bronze medal during a ceremony at Wembley but was told not to attend, and he will not be given his medal until the outcome of a FIFA disciplinary case is known.

    IOC president Jacques Rogge confirmed that he will not be given his prize until FIFA decide on possible sanctions.

    “We will take a possible decision of what will happen with the medal later,” Rogge said.

    The incident risked inflaming an already tense political situation between the two countries over the islands which are known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, and which lie equidistant from the two nations.

    On Saturday, Japan said it would take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice, after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak made a surprise visit to the islands this week.

    After the visit, Japan recalled its ambassador to South Korea.

    “We have opened an inquiry and have asked the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Korea for an explanation,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement on Saturday.

    It called on South Korea’s National Olympic Committee to take swift action and had urged the player not to attend the ceremony.

    FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against him, who has until August 16 to respond, the international soccer governing body said in a statement.

    South Korean NOC chief of staff John Moon told Reuters before the ceremony: “We just heard about what happened yesterday, we are looking into this incident but we are taking it very seriously.

    “According to the IOC rules politics has no place in sport.”

    An official for the Japanese NOC said he was unaware of the incident.
    It is believed the sign was shown long after the game had finished, in which South Korea won their first Olympic football medal.

    The photographs swiftly spread on Twitter after being published by a Korean news agency.

    Played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in front of 56,000 sports fans, it had been a fiercely contested match during which seven yellow cards were shown, four for the Koreans and three for Japan.

    The disputed islands are believed to contain frozen natural gas deposits potentially worth billions of dollars.

    Lee became the first South Korean leader to make the trip to the islands, which have been a persistent irritant in relations between the two countries.

    Officials in South Korea said Friday’s visit was meant to highlight the islands’ importance as a natural reserve and was not aimed at stirring up trouble.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #38

    A J-friend of mine was telling me recently that the reason Japanese players were not doing so well in the US is because they are used to Japanese baseballs, which are all made perfectly identical due to some ‘advanced Japanese’ production method, and that US made balls were ‘irregular’ in some ways, and therefore inferior. I replied that if balls in the US are made in the traditional way, and that if this includes irregularities due to the production method, then this was correct. At this point my J-friend virtually exploded at my (apparent) ignorance of the issue; ‘All baseballs must be perfectly identical!’.
    Then I told him that the oldest set of baseball rules come from the UK (recently sold at auction), and that all modern baseball is incorrect to baseballs ‘true’ tradition lol!

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Debito #42

    Let’s get that FB page up! Think of all the millions of Koreans and Chinese that will agree with us!

  • We could start a campaign for not having the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, because of Ishihorror`s racist rhetoric and other actions.

    However, this would also punish ordinary Japanese, and that seems unfair to me.

    Could we learn something from the last time a racist ruler tried to use the Olympics to show off his nation`s racial superiority? In 1936 a certain little man with a funny `tache was humiliated by the performances of such black athletes as Jesse Owens.

    Picture Tokyo 2020: doddering old Shin-chan being forced to see that non-J Olympians are every bit as good at judo and other sports as Japanese. He just wouldn`t be able to cope with it. If he sincerely believes in J-superiority, he is bound to be sorely disappointed.

    So, I`m not sure that I agree that Tokyo should be denied the Olympics. The Games could aid reconstruction, and serve to confront blinky with the falseness of his own beliefs. Besides, at the age of 88 you could practically bet on him saying something really, really, really stupid and sinking his and his associates` reputations further.

    — Nah, sorry, I don’t buy it. Giving people like this what they want just encourages them, and the “ordinary Japanese” you say are being “punished” doesn’t wash with me either because a) plenty of Tokyoites don’t want the Olympics either, and b) people are suckers for “winners” (Japan is not a society that appreciates underdogs, for example). So giving Ishihara what he wants only encourages and justifies more people thinking like he does. Never underestimate the self-perpetuating power of incumbency and precedent — people have deluded themselves that it is PRECISELY his racism that keeps him in power.

    Besides, if you think holding an Olympics (given their record of bankrupting cities) is itself not a financial punishment, read up here.

  • @Baudrillard #37

    Frankly, I find your admiration for Mishima puzzling. I did read the Spike Japan piece on the man and I do know a little bit about him. Frankly, I don’t see what’s admirable about Mishima. He offed himself in a fit of rage because Japan would not return to the martial values that left millions dead across Asia. What on earth is admirable about that? And let’s not even get into the pathetic spectacle of him dressing like some deranged bellhop to slice open his guts. The Japanese may have been taught at certain times in their history to glorify suicide, but it’s nothing to be glorified. Yes, I support it in cases where someone is terminally ill and living in constant pain etc, but killing oneself in a fit of pique because the country refuses to return to the martial values that got the place bombed into smithereens? Come on! That’s just sad and stupid. Why don’t you choose a Japanese hero who worked to open the country, to internationalize it, to bring it into the modern world? I must say, you have a strange and incomprehensible taste in heroes. And, you better believe I stick by my original comment: Ishihara and Mishima are birds of a feather: pathetic old men who live (lived) in the past, too cowardly to fight, too dishonest to admit their real motivations, and more than willing to send young men off to die for their pathetic fantasies of national glory.

    — Okay. Now let’s move on.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Oh Jim, you have proven the fake, postmodern nature of Japan, all thru baseball! A great example.

    “A J-friend of mine was telling me recently that the reason Japanese players were not doing so well in the US is because they are used to Japanese baseballs, which are all made perfectly identical due to some ‘advanced Japanese’ production method, ”

    Your friend is parroting the postmodern notion of quality; ie. elimination of defects thru mass production, as pioneered by the Japanese car manufacturers in the 70s for which they won a Deeming Award for quality.

    The old notion of high quality is imperfection, e.g. a top end car but you might get one that breaks down sometimes.Because it was hand-made by craftsmen, like your American baseball made in the traditional way.

    ” I replied that if balls in the US are made in the traditional way, and that if this includes irregularities due to the production method, then this was correct. At this point my J-friend virtually exploded at my (apparent) ignorance of the issue; ‘All baseballs must be perfectly identical!’.

    So, Japanese worship the COPY, not the original. The mass produced one, devoid of defects. Thats the simulacra, the postmodern fake right there.

    I find this ironic actually, considering the traditional Japanese notion of beauty was supposedly imperfection, e.g. yaeba or crooked smiles in women. Of course this is now being erased thru mass cosmetic surgery.

    On the other hand when the crowd applause a Kabuki pose, they are in fact applauding the perfection of a pose and the poseur. I am not sure if this is a perfect copy of what was once Kabuki as I am not a Kabuki expert, but I suspect it is just another copy they worship.

    Back to Ishihara, to stay on track. Ishihara described Mishima’s politics as “a joke.” Now that is irony. I wonder what Mishima would have made of Ishihara’s dabbling in politics. I must research it but I have a feeling he would not have been impressed.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Debito the source for “Pure Japanese baseball” excluding Americans is probably but not exclusively Robert Whiting in “You gotta have Wa”. More here;

    Interesting how the opening comment is that indeed, Japanese baseball is NOT baseball. They worship the copy, not the original. Authenticity is of no matter, which is why J pop is so popular, authentic rock far less so.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    The Yomiuri Giants were famous for having no foreign players (no, Sadaharu Oh is not “foreign”) when they won nine pennants in a row back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Robert Whiting mentions in “You Gotta Have Wa” that fans took pride in this fact, but I don’t know if it was ever team policy never to hire one. When they finally did, Davey Johnson, one of the smartest players of his time and later a very successful manager, was the one to break the barrier.

    As for baseballs themselves: yes, the ‘craftsman’ aspect is definitely there for the major leagues. Game balls are hand-rubbed before the game with a very light layer of a special mud (I think it’s from Delaware) that takes the sheen off the hide surface. (See George Will’s “Men At Work”, 1990, for some details on this.)

    I wouldn’t say that the Japanese preference for mass-produced, 100%-identical balls has anything to do with worshiping simulacra; it’s just a different way of looking at things. I do think that Jim’s friend was totally wrongheaded when talking about how baseballs “should” be made, since the sport originates in the USA. I imagine that Mayor Ishihara would disagree vehemently with this friend, given Mr. Ishihara’s respect for the culture that is the originator of the sport in judo’s case. Surely this logic would extend to baseball… wouldn’t it?

    — I think we both know that question is rhetorical. 🙂

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ Eric. How could Mishima be old when he killed himself so young? Anyway, he was a literary (and other) genius who respected western arts and culture, and his work is far superior to the sensationalist, self-promoting crap Ishihara wrote “on a whim”.

    Getting back to Ishihara, I found a good article which explains alot of his psychology, that of a nasty elitist with an obssession against communism and America (Mishima loved America and admitted he had nothing against communists, he just needed an opponent);

    “Most obviously, Ishihara has smug certainty about his world and believes deeply in the myth of individuals fully in control of their own destiny. The characters of Season of the Sun seem completely oblivious to the fact that wealth affords them the freedom to be delinquent and carefree. ”

    “But this is Ishihara’s problem today: His outrageous behavior as a youth — which was fresh and probably warranted in the 1950s — still informs his current personality. Shintaro got gray but he never mellowed out nor became self-aware.”


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