DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 5 2015

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 5 2015

Table of Contents:

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ENFORCING JAPAN’S NATIONAL NARRATIVE

1) Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus carries full text of my interview with Dr. Herbert Ziegler on GOJ pressure to censor his history book of “Comfort Women”
2) NYT Opinion: Mindy Kotler on “The Comfort Women and Japan’s War on Truth”, an excellent primer on the issue
3) Kyodo: Japan didn’t meddle with U.S. “Comfort Women” textbook, Japanese Ambassador to US Sasae claims; meanwhile GOJ panel established to “Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan”
4) Renewed GOJ projections of hard and soft power: Yomiuri argues for remilitarization “to protect J-nationals abroad”, Reuters reports GOJ reinvestment in overseas universities, claims “no strings attached”
5) ABC News Radio Australia interviews me on multiethnic Japanese Ariana Miyamoto’s crowning as Miss Japan 2015
6) Koike Yuriko in World Economic Forum: “Why inequality is different in Japan” (= because “We Japanese have a deeply ingrained stoicism”)

ENFORCING JAPAN’S SECURITY

7) JT: “Should Japan beef up its anti-terrorism measures?” Renewed political opportunism to further erode Postwar civil liberties, go soft on right-wing groups
8 ) Suspicious recent death of NJ after being “restrained” on the street by Tokyo Police in daytime warrants more investigation and attention
9) PNS: Deaths of unknown persons in the custody of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police: At least 5 in past year
10) Japan Today: Narita airport ends ID security checks for non-passengers

MISC

11) Spoke at Washington University at St. Louis Law School Colorism Conference April 3, on skin color stigmatism in Japan

… and finally…

12) Japan Times JBC 85, Mar 5 2015: “US author recounts ‘lecture’ he got about ‘comfort women’ from uninvited Japanese guests”, with targeted textbook text on Debito.org for the record

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ENFORCING JAPAN’S NATIONAL NARRATIVE

1) Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus carries full text of my interview with Dr. Herbert Ziegler on GOJ pressure to censor his history book of “Comfort Women”

Last week I offered Japan Times readers an abridged version of an interview with Dr. Herbert Ziegler, historian at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, on Japanese Government pressure to censor all mention of Japan’s official sexual slavery during WWII (the “Comfort Women” issue). The full text of the interview is now available at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus’s website (a very valuable resource, in case you haven’t heard of it before). An excerpt that did not make the cut in The Japan Times due to space limitations:

Dr. Ziegler: I mentioned earlier about the woman who came as the Consul’s interpreter and I looked into this a little bit. I remember some time ago that she came to my office, I didn’t know her well but she was a student at this university, and she asked if I had a collection of World History books. And I do, sort of, just to see what the competition is like. So my whole shelf over there is full of World History textbooks. So she asked if she could go through them and look at them. And now, with hindsight, I’m thinking, “She was on a spying mission.” Not that I cared then, but this is my thinking now: This was started some time ago, perhaps. I mean, how does the Consul, who barely reads English I assure you, read my textbook?

http://www.debito.org/?p=13141

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2) NYT Opinion: Mindy Kotler on “The Comfort Women and Japan’s War on Truth”, an excellent primer on the issue

Kotler: We know of Lieutenant Nakasone’s role in setting up a comfort station thanks to his 1978 memoir, “Commander of 3,000 Men at Age 23.” At that time, such accounts were relatively commonplace and uncontroversial — and no obstacle to a political career. From 1982 to 1987, Mr. Nakasone was the prime minister of Japan. Today, however, the Japanese military’s involvement in comfort stations is bitterly contested. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is engaged in an all-out effort to portray the historical record as a tissue of lies designed to discredit the nation. Mr. Abe’s administration denies that imperial Japan ran a system of human trafficking and coerced prostitution, implying that comfort women were simply camp-following prostitutes.

The latest move came at the end of October when, with no intended irony, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party appointed Mr. Nakasone’s own son, former Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, to chair a commission established to “consider concrete measures to restore Japan’s honor with regard to the comfort women issue.” The official narrative in Japan is fast becoming detached from reality, as it seeks to cast the Japanese people — rather than the comfort women of the Asia-Pacific theater — as the victims of this story. The Abe administration sees this historical revision as integral to restoring Japan’s imperial wartime honor and modern-day national pride. But the broader effect of the campaign has been to cause Japan to back away from international efforts against human rights abuses and to weaken its desire to be seen as a responsible partner in prosecuting possible war crimes.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13148

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3) Kyodo: Japan didn’t meddle with U.S. “Comfort Women” textbook, Japanese Ambassador to US Sasae claims; meanwhile GOJ panel established to “Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan”

Out come the Gaijin Handlers, backed up by officially-complicit revisionists…

Kyodo: Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae has rejected criticism by U.S.-based historians that Japan tried to meddle with descriptions in an American textbook over the use of “comfort women” at wartime Japanese military brothels. The academics “allege interference by the government, but this is not a matter to be considered from that angle in the first place,” Sasae told Japanese reporters Friday in Washington.

Japan Times: A special Liberal Democratic Party committee on Thursday discussed ways to better convey Japan’s views on wartime historical issues to counter a public relations blitz by South Korea. During the sixth gathering of the Special Mission Committee to Restore the Honor and Trust of Japan, chaired by Hirofumi Nakasone, some members said a carefully crafted strategic plan is needed to gain the understanding of the international community when it comes to the issue of “comfort women,” a euphemism for those who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13146

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4) Renewed GOJ projections of hard and soft power: Yomiuri argues for remilitarization “to protect J-nationals abroad”, Reuters reports GOJ reinvestment in overseas universities, claims “no strings attached”

Yomiuri: To prevent Japanese nationals from being targeted by international terrorism, the government must comprehensively reinforce countermeasures to protect Japanese living abroad, gather information on terrorism and guard key facilities. […]

Terrorist attacks must also be prevented in Japan. Immigration checks need to be tightened further to block terrorists at the water’s edge. Security at governmental organizations, airports, nuclear power plants and other key facilities should be enhanced. It is also vital for the government to cooperate with the intelligence agencies of other countries. […] Are there suspicious people apparently devoted to radicalism, collecting weapons and explosives? Investigative authorities must vigilantly monitor online activity, detect any sign of terrorism and respond swiftly.

Reuters: The Abe government has budgeted more than $15 million to fund Japan studies at nine universities overseas, including Georgetown and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as part of a “soft power” push to counter the growing influence of China and South Korea.

The program, the first time in over 40 years that Japan has funded such studies at U.S. universities, coincides with efforts by conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to address perceived biases in accounts of the wartime past — moves critics say are an attempt to whitewash history. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Georgetown University in Washington will receive $5 million each from the Foreign Ministry’s budget for fiscal 2015…

http://www.debito.org/?p=13045

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5) ABC News Radio Australia interviews me on multiethnic Japanese Ariana Miyamoto’s crowning as Miss Japan 2015

http://www.abc.net.au/newsradio/content/s4207325.htm

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6) Koike Yuriko in World Economic Forum: “Why inequality is different in Japan” (= because “We Japanese have a deeply ingrained stoicism”)

Koike: We Japanese have a deeply ingrained stoicism, reflecting the Confucian notion that people do not lament poverty when others lament it equally. This willingness to accept a situation, however bad, as long as it affects everyone equally is what enabled Japan to endure two decades of deflation, without a public outcry over the authorities’ repeated failure to redress it. This national characteristic is not limited to individuals. The government, the central bank, the media, and companies wasted far too much time simply enduring deflation – time that they should have spent working actively to address it. Japan finally has a government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that is committed to ending deflation and reinvigorating economic growth, using a combination of expansionary monetary policy, active fiscal policy, and deregulation. Now in its third year, so-called “Abenomics” is showing some positive results.

COMMENT: Here we have another LDP spokesperson peddling Japan’s exceptionalism to worldwide socioeconomic forces, and to an international audience. While food for thought, it’s clear by the end that this is just Koike shilling for PM Abe’s economic policies, spiced up with some Nihonjinron. Once again Japan gets away with shoehorning in “Japan-is-unique” mysticism within any social scientific analysis just because Japanese are seen as “funny quirky people from an island country affected by a long history of self-imposed isolation”. I’ll be talking a bit about the politics of that in my next Japan Times column, coming up on Monday April 6 (out on Mondays starting in April).

http://www.debito.org/?p=13134

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ENFORCING JAPAN’S SECURITY

7) JT: “Should Japan beef up its anti-terrorism measures?” Renewed political opportunism to further erode Postwar civil liberties, go soft on right-wing groups

Related to the increasingly tightening domestic security over Japanese society in the wake of attacks on Japanese citizens abroad, here is an overlooked article by Eric Johnston in the Japan Times a few days ago. It’s a long one, with contents excerpted below as germane to Debito.org. As we have talked in detail in the wake of other wakes, e.g., the G8 Summit in Hokkaido, the G8 Summit in Nago, the 2002 World Cup, other anti-democratic habits brought out in Japanese society whenever Japan holds an international event, and also a longstanding theory that Gaijin are mere Guinea Pigs (since they have fewer civil or political rights) to test out pupal public policy before applying it to the rest of the Japanese population, I believe what’s going on here is a long arc of further eroding Postwar civil liberties in the name of security and ever-strengthening police power in Japan — in favor of rightist elements. Read on:

JT: However, former Aum members are not the [Public Security Intelligence Agency’s] only concern. Another four pages are devoted to the activities of groups trying to stop the construction of a replacement facility at Henoko for the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, voicing support for keeping the 1995 Kono Statement regarding the “comfort women,” criticizing the government’s pro-nuclear energy policy, or protesting collective self-defense and the state secrets law that went into effect late last year…

Over three pages, the Public Security Intelligence Agency claimed “extremist” groups were cooperating with overseas organizations to criticize the government’s position on the comfort women issue, and that the Japan Communist Party was involved in anti-nuclear demonstrations in Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, and in front of the Diet and the prime minister’s office… Two pages were devoted solely to the Japan Communist Party’s leadership and membership, and its criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government… By contrast, only 2½ of the report’s 75 pages were devoted to right-wing groups…. There was no mention, by name, in the Public Security Intelligence Agency report of Zaitokukai…

http://www.debito.org/?p=13159

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8 ) Suspicious recent death of NJ after being “restrained” on the street by Tokyo Police in daytime warrants more investigation and attention

Tokyo Weekender: A short article reporting the death of a 29-year-old English teacher who fell into a coma after being restrained by the police raises more questions than it answers. The Jiji Press reported that the teacher, who was from the US, died in a hospital following a February 11 incident in the Akasaka area of Minato Ward. The Jiji article, reprinted on the Japanese version of the Wall Street Journal, is scant on details, aside from the following: At around 5:30 pm on the Foundation Day holiday, police received a call about a foreigner behaving violently. When police approached the man, who was reported as a resident of Setagaya Ward, he responded violently. A total of six officers restrained the American by his arms and legs. In the struggle, the man went into cardiac arrest and was taken to a nearby hospital. The man did not regain consciousness after the incident, and died on March 1. Police stated that the man did not seem to have suffered any external injuries. No other information —- the man’s name, his home town, employer, or additional details about the conflict—has been provided thus far.

COMMENT: That’s the entire article, and nobody is being held accountable for fuller disclosure. However, we can speculate with some certainty on the following:

1) This happened on a Wednesday afternoon before it was fully dark, meaning the chances of this person being drunk and disorderly were pretty low.
2) This happened in a part of Tokyo that sees NJ as a public-security threat, with cops trained to racially-profile potential perps and carry out legally-questionable search activities.
3) This happened on National Foundation Day, a day where there were nationalistic demonstrations by Japanese celebrating the accession of Japan’s first emperor. While demonstrations on a day like this are not newsworthy enough to indicate that there was a concurrent demonstration in Akasaka, it is not a stretch to imagine this person being targeted by violent xenophobic elements, and the NPA taking the side of the rightists and targeting the NJ.
4) The NPA not only has a record of lethally subduing NJ in custody, but also of covering it up.
5) We don’t even have the basic information on who he is or even if international officials have gotten involved in the investigation. All we have is the deceased’s age, nationality, and occupation. That is insufficient, and the fact that more details are not forthcoming suggests a mishap or a coverup on the part of the NPA. (It’s happened before. Many times.)…

We simply don’t have enough information for a more informed assessment. And we should. Were there no witnesses? With this much commotion and no doubt an ambulance called, didn’t anyone see anything in this densely-populated part of Tokyo? Or is this just another case of another unknown fungible NJ winding up as the Dead Gaijin on a Gurney?

http://www.debito.org/?p=13126

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9) PNS: Deaths of unknown persons in the custody of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police: At least 5 in past year

PNS: A troubling pattern of deaths of suspects in police custody is emerging in Tokyo, Japan. At least five people have died in police custody in the last year, with little publicity or investigation. The names of the victims have not apparently been released, which puts Japan at odds with international norms of transparency and police accountability.

Unknown man arrested May 12, 2014 in Meguro Ward
Unknown man arrested May 25, 2014 in Shinjuku
Unknown man arrested May 31, 2014 in Konan
Unknown man arrested August 25, 2014 in Shinagawa
Unknown man arrested February 11, 2015 in Akasaka

All cases have resulted in fatalities of those in custody.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13136

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10) Japan Today: Narita airport ends ID security checks for non-passengers

JT: Narita International Airport on Monday abolished ID checks for non-passengers at the airport in Chiba Prefecture. Since the airport opened in 1978, cars and buses have been stopped at various points, with occupants having to show ID such as passports, even if they weren’t departing on flights. Drivers were also required to get out and open the trunk of their cars. The ID checks at railway ticket gates have also been scrapped. […] A state-of-the-art camera surveillance system consisting of 330 individual cameras will be used with 190 of the units dedicated to facial recognition and related tasks, while the other 140 would be monitoring the exterior of the buildings and tracking license plate numbers, suspicious behavior and other relevant security information.

COMMENT: One of the larger issues that Debito.org has taken up, that of Instant Gaijin Card Checkpoints (as in, racial profiling) for people for walking in public while NJ, might be (overtly) coming to an end, at least in the place where new entrants (and their entourage) get their first taste of it: Narita International Airport.

We have discussed Narita Airport’s treatment of NJ customers in detail before. According to the article below, they are installing spy cameras instead of having the labor-intensive (and unnecessarily invasive, given that the Narita Prefectural Police Force stoppages that Debito.org has concentrated on were targeting NJ who had ALREADY cleared security screenings) face-to-face singling out of people for extra scrutiny in a not-at-all-random manner. One might counterargue that this is swapping Big Brother for Bigger Brother. But I will still say that not having a potentially temperamental local cop, trained to see NJ as suspicous, getting into a jet-lagged person’s face is an improvement. Let’s at least see if this will make Narita Airport behave less like a fortress, with cops manning the pikes against the international hordes.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13179

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MISC

11) Spoke at Washington University at St. Louis Law School Colorism Conference April 3, on skin color stigmatism in Japan

If anyone here is in the St. Louis area tomorrow, I’ve been invited to present at a very high-profile Global Perspectives on Colorism Conference at the Harris World Law Institute, University of Washington at St. Louis School of Law, joining some excellent speakers with impressive backgrounds. The first day (today) had some really informative presentations (much more rigorous and thoughtful than the Ethnic Studies class I took at UH), and I hope to be just as rigorous and thoughtful tomorrow during my fifteen minutes.

Title: Skin color stigmata in “homogeneous” Japanese society
Speaker: Dr. ARUDOU, Debito, Scholar, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Abstract: Japanese society is commonly known as a “homogeneous society”, without issues of “race” or skin color stigmata. This is not the case. The speaker, a bilingual naturalized Japanese of Caucasian descent, has lived for a quarter century in Japan researching issues of Japanese minorities. He has found that biological markers, including facial shape, body type, and, of course, skin color, factor in to differentiate, “other”, and subordinate people not only into “Japanese” and “non-Japanese”, but also into “cleaner” and “dirtier” people (and thus higher and lower social classes) within the social category of “Japanese” itself. This talk will provide concrete examples of the dynamic of skin-color stigmatization, and demonstrate how the methods of Critical Race Theory may also be applied to a non-White society.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13187

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… and finally…

12) Japan Times JBC 85, Mar 5 2015: “US author recounts ‘lecture’ he got about ‘comfort women’ from uninvited Japanese guests”, with targeted textbook text on Debito.org for the record

JBC: The debate on Japan’s history of wartime sexual slavery (aka the “comfort women” issue) has heated up again, with the Japanese government extending its efforts to revise school textbooks overseas.

In November, McGraw-Hill, publisher of the world history textbook “Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past” Vol. 2, by history professors Herbert Ziegler and Jerry Bentley, was contacted by Japan’s Consulate General in New York. The request: that two paragraphs (i.e., the entire entry) on the comfort women be deleted.

On Jan. 15, McGraw-Hill representatives met with Japanese diplomats and refused the request, stating that the scholars had properly established the historical facts. Later that month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directly targeted the textbook in a parliamentary session, stating that he was “shocked” to learn that his government had “failed to correct the things it should have.”

In the March issue of the American Historical Association’s newsmagazine “Perspectives on History,” 20 prominent historians, including professor Ziegler, signed a letter to the editor titled “Standing with the historians of Japan.” They stated that they “agree with Herbert Ziegler that no government should have the right to censor history,” and “oppose the efforts of states or special interests to pressure publishers or historians to alter the results of their research for political purposes.” Professor Ziegler met with JBC on Feb. 17…

Excerpt ends. For the record, what follows is the full text of the textbook entry on the “Comfort Women” issue being targeted by the Japanese Government:

http://www.debito.org/?p=13103

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 5 2015 ENDS

28 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER APRIL 5 2015

  • The Japanese Locksmith Association (日本鍵師協会) allows any Japanese adult without a criminal conviction to sit for their “open test,” while non-citizens and others are “in principle barred, but may be allow to sit as exceptions, when backed by a guarantor who passes [their] background check.”

    (本試験はオープンの試験ですので18才以上で、原則的に前科が無く、日本国籍のある人ならどなたでも受験できます。但し、外国人等の場合でも当協会の審査による認めらられた保証人等が存在する場合には例外的に受験が可能です。)
    http://www.kagishi.com/examination/method/

    These restrictions are incoherent if not based on the idea that people with Japanese citizenship are more law-abiding, more trustworthy, and more deserving of the tools of a trade than others. It’s rather ironic then that on another of their pages they make an appeal to the “high social status of skilled locksmiths in America and elsewhere.”

    (アメリカなどでは技術レベルの高い錠前技術者は「ロックスミス(Locksmith)」と呼ばれ、マイスター(上級技能者)として高い社会的地位が与えられています。)
    http://www.kagishi.com/examination/

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Government adviser sees no problem with population decline, believes that short term blue-collar labor be brought in (and sent home) to prevent drain on Japan’s resources.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/04/15/business/economy-business/immigration-zoning-reforms-need-central-guidance-succeed-adviser/

    Excerpt: To cope with the aging, declining labor force, the government should be selective in allowing entry to foreign laborers, Hatta said. It is acceptable to recruit foreign construction workers for a limited period to deal with a supply shortage, but in general, foreign workers should not be brought in as a cheap source of labor, he said.

    “We should decide who lives in Japan for the benefit of Japan,” he said. “If low-income people come to Japan, they will eat up the nation’s social services. We shouldn’t do that.”

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    While Abe and the right-wingers are decrying the way the neighbors remember the war as ‘Japan bashing’, paying respects to war-criminals at Yasakuni, asking why we ‘can get over it, ot was 70 years ago’, and desperate for younger Japanese to see the war in a positive light, Germany is even today prosecuting war-criminals when they find them;

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32392594

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Just want to know if anyone else thinks it’s strange that revisionist war-crime denier Abe has been invited to address Congress on the 29th?
    After all, it’s Hirohito’s birthday, that’s why it’s a public holiday. IMHO that’s an insult to our veterans, but I’m waiting for the Japanese press to start making an issue out of it.

    — I’m not sure one could read too much into it. After all, the 29th in the US is the 30th in Japan (and Japanese newspapers are most assiduous about keeping time across the International Date Line). Moreover, calendars across nations fill up with holidays and commemorations, so I’m not sure there’s a timed insult here. Having that “731” on the fighter jet that Abe sat in for the photo op, on the other hand, is much harder to think of as accidental.

    Reply
  • @Jim (#5) Now that you say it, I do think it could have been done on purpose, i.e. the J-Gov. pushing for this very date for Abe’s visit. Even though it is easy to read to much into it, as Debito remarks, there is some evidence that symbolic dates, numbers, seating arrangements, etc., are much more significant in East Asian culture than over in the West. Patrick A. Smith’s very interesting book “Japan: A Reinterpretation” contains a recollection of Akihito’s accession to the throne ceremony, where the foreign guests (politicians and royalty) were seated in such a way that it was very clear they were a couple of levels “beneath” the Japanese. That ceremony even contained a segment where Akihito kicked a ball with continents painted on them, i.e. – he kicked around the Earth.
    For more anecdotal evidence, I can report that I had some very unfortunate run-ins with a couple of Japanese friends (or so I thought) over here in Germany lately, after Merkel’s visit to Japan. It turns out that Merkel, in the eyes of these people, has “insulted the emperor” and was now nothing less than “Anti-Japan”. I asked how she insulted him, but never got a straight answer, but I think the reason was that she did not take a whole day off for her meeting with the emperor, but had another thing planned for that day, which counts as an insult. Another person said that she shook his hand instead of bowing signalled that she “did not care about Japan enough”.

    It’s pretty obvious that the Japanese take these symbolisms very seriously, and think of anyone who doesn’t as “ignorant” – so whatever the foreigners so, it’s a win-win situation for the Japanese. If we do care about their symbols, we automatically accept Japanese culture as special. We we don’t, we’re just ignorant wildebeests who’re beneath such a refined culture as Japan.

    One has to wonder if there is any way at all to handle such a pathological neediness to prove one’s import to the world professionally. As for the date of Abe’s visit, whatever motivation may or may not behind it, the Western world can only lose if it spends time or energy to worry about such things, because after all, they don’t matter.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG, #5

    I don’t think it matters to the people in the US. They didn’t care much except for the fact 1) he was a leader of enemy in WWII, and 2) he died in the early 1989. It’s not gonna be the same as his party commemorated national restoration day with “banzai” chorus in Japan a couple of years ago. Besides, the name of national holiday was replaced by Flowers & Greens Day(Japanese version of Earth Day, maybe?) 25 years ago.

    — My Japanese calendar still says 昭和の日.

    Reply
  • “It’s not gonna be the same as his party commemorated national restoration day with “banzai” chorus in Japan a couple of years ago.”

    They scream “banzai” every time they win an election. It creeps me out every time. A bunch of old dudes screaming “banzai” on TV?

    I don’t see a difference between right wingers screaming “banzai” on a holiday vs. all politicians screaming it after an election. It was an official imperial policy to scream “banzai” at certain times and places in fascist Japan. It is no longer just a “cry of happiness.” It’s the remnant of a fascist regime, and fanatical religion.

    I really wish the old guys on TV had some sense and cut it out.

    — Or it could just mean “hooray” in certain contexts, like the electoral one. It is possible for formerly contentious phrases to be defanged into banality over time with common usage in a society. Paraphrase it with undying loyalty to the emperor beforehand and yes, that would be a throwback.

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    “any way at all to handle such a pathological neediness”? “she “did not care about Japan enough”.
    I think she has the right idea. Why bother caring too much? We will be perpetual foreigners no matter what we do.

    And if we do know the deep intricacies of Japan, we will be labelled a “henna gaijin” and seen as “cute, like puppy dogs, but not to be taken seriously” (Powers, Working in Japan, 1990).

    I remember this American guy I worked with in the early 90s, he tried hard to fit in, but was taken advantage of. So one day, in a clear turning point, he said “Sod them, I am just going to use my exotic status as NJ to exploit and get as much out of this I can.” The bitter disappointment in his tone was very evident. And he got me thinking that maybe I was missing out if I didnt take the same road.

    Sad, but I wonder if the system is deliberately geared to promote this bitterness and bad blood, all just so NJs leave disappointed after 3 years?

    It cannot have done any good for Japan if we leave as detractors, despite the J Foundation et als lame, in denial of reality propaganda overseas after the fact.

    I believe Japan is now reaping the seeds of NJ discontent they sowed in the 80s.

    Ah. “In recognition of the importance of China to the German economy, by 2014 Merkel had led seven trade delegations to China since assuming office in 2005. The same year, in March, China’s President Xi visited Germany.[60]”wiki.

    Japan passing, much?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Maybe some of you have seen this;
    https://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/03/23/confessions-of-former-japanese-netto-uyo-internet-racists/

    It’s an interesting selection of comments from recovering Japanese Internet nationalists that explains the loneliness and alienation that led the to being Internet uyoku.

    For me, the shocking thing was that praise of Japan by foreigners actually inspires Japanese racism and increased lack of tolerance!
    I guess I could posit that NJ apologists suffer from the same effect;
    Rather than being ‘accepted’ in J-society due to thier alleged linguistic and social skills, perhaps they are, like these J-nationalists that they apologize for, culturally isolated in thier little bubble with no meaningful human relations that validate them as human beings.

    Reply
  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Loverilakkuma and Debito – Hirohito’s birthday, April 29, was Greenery Day (緑の日) from Hirohito’s death until around 2006, when it was changed so as to be clearly named for him, with Greenery Day moved to the otherwise-unnamed holiday on May 4. So it’s only in the last decade that we’ve seen 昭和の日 on our calendars.

    I must admit that I prefer to see Imperial birthdays named for things that the emperors were known for rather than just their names: Mutsuhito, the Meiji Emperor’s birthday is Culture Day and we are reminded of the tremendous influx of world culture that changed Japan during his reign. Hirohito was famous for his scholarship of botany and Greenery Day was a nice nod to that. I suppose that today there are greater odds of Culture Day turning into Meiji Day than there are of Greenery Day being brought back to April 29.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Abe’s idea of ‘moral education’ revealed by textbook as being racist in talking about the ‘inherent good manners of we Japanese’, but much more disturbingly, is based on a rose-tinted glasses theme park imagining of the Edo-era.

    This is wrong in so many ways, I’m sure readers can find as many fails as I do. But the really disturbing thing is that it imposes social values that reinforce a feudal society without universal rule of law and without the concept of human rights and democratic values under the guise of harmlessly reminding people of ‘proper Japanese behavior’.

    Any educator that teaches with this text should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/01/national/schools-get-edo-era-knickers-twist/

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, that article seems to have disappeared.
    It was really bad, saying that basically, these imagined Edo era are required for a ‘diverse’ society to get along. It was like something straight out of the ‘Co-prosperity Sphere’.

    I have screen caps, I will mail them to you.

    — The new link to the article is at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/04/08/national/schools-get-edo-era-knickers-twist/. It’s awfully short and with a new date.

    Reply
  • From now on, to Archive internet pages BEFORE they disappear, one can first go to Archive.org, and paste into the top box: the page you want to archive, and hit enter.

    That will take you to a page which says “Hrm. Wayback Machine doesn’t have that page archived. This page is available on the web! Help make the Wayback Machine more complete! Save this url in the Wayback Machine.”

    Click that final “Save this url…” sentence, and then wait about 7 seconds for the “page saving” to be completed, and suddenly you will see this message, “Page saved as: https://web.archive.org/web/…”

    Copy that link, because now that link is evidence of what was written on that page at the moment you archived it. That link will continue to show what was written on that page even after the page owners decide to change or delete what they had published.

    This is even better than a screenshot, because this Internet Archive link is trusted by the world (and even by courts) as being an independent impartial trustable archiver of Internet pages: the Internet Archive link PROVES that at X site published Y words on Z date. History can no longer be erased so easily, if you make sure to do the steps listed above. 🙂

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG, #16

    There’s a clear mismatch between the title and content. The title says “opinion divided…” but it doesn’t provide any survey data or opinions from people they interviewed (makes me wonder if a writer ever did that). And the JT staff publish this as the news article? That’s even shorter than a short column in Japanese newspaper. Ridiculous.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Thank you for putting that up Dr.!
    Thank you also for the comments guys.
    Yes, this article is absurd in so many ways. I have to wonder if this is a case of self-censorship for fear on Abe’s wrath?
    After all, the textbook pictured, along with the opinion for it, are laughable, but straight out of Abe’s ‘beautiful country’ fantasy.
    Why haven’t we seen this allegedly 3 week old story covered elsewhere?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, the more I think about that moral education text book, the more I think I know why it disturbs me.

    There’s an excellent book by Vlastos; The Mirror of Modernity.
    In it, Gluck has a chapter about how the Edo era is remembered, and what that represents.
    She puts forward the idea that the Edo era is not remembered as it was; economic collapse, famine, poverty, social disorder and popular uprisings, buy rather remembered the way the Japanese wish it was; a perfect paradise of peaceful Japanese culture- a high water mark of Japaneseness brought to an untimely end by the invasion of westerners and all thier western ways and ideas.

    In this sense, the memory of the Edo era serves as ‘the storehouse’ of Japanese culture.

    Gluck must have written this 20 years ago, but the textbook pictured in the article bears out her thesis 100%.

    How can an era of national isolation teach youngsters to live peacefully with ‘diverse people’ as the publishers claim? It cannot. It can only serve to reinforce differences, and forces an unrealistic (and historically inaccurate world view) onto children that reinforces the fantasy basis of the ‘we Japanese’ V’s ‘others’ divide.

    Therefore it is easy to see why the Abe government has got the hots for this. In an era when Japan is failing in many international arenas, clearly the Japanese government is yet again doubling down on discredited policies rather than embracing the opportunities inherent in change.

    Most Japanese will be happy to gobble this up, I believe, since it’s a step-by-step guide to how to display their credentials as a Japanese social insider, and as such will give them the positive group reinforcement they desperately need in this era where Korea and China are challenging Japan’s identity as best friend of the US, or most important country in Asia.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Hi all,
    I just want to throw this out there as a matter of record.
    here at Debito.org we have (indeed, the Doctor himself even) commented that the J-Inc. rush to develop robots to eliminate the need for immigration is rather a dead end, since robots don’t pay tax or make babies, or get a salary to go out and spend.

    Well, I can’t have been the only one to notice that J-Inc. seems to be spending rather a lot of money developing robot receptionists and the like.
    For the record, I put it to you all that the story about developing robots to prevent immigration is an exploitative lie that plays on a whipped up fear of NJ.
    In fact, I would suggest that this lie conceals a disturbing truth; since we know that the J-elites (like Abe) believe in a Japan where women belong in the kitchen, and making babies (after all, how’s that ‘A Japan where women can shine!’ initiative coming on?), I believe that the unspoken goal behind J-gov financial support for robot development is to force women out of employment, to be replaced in office and customer service roles by robots that mimic ‘traditional’ subservient women.

    Just for the record.
    Let’s see how it looks in 10 years.

    Reply
  • @Jim

    I think you’re onto something with the idea that much official anti-foreign sentiment in Japan is ultimately a tool for elites to accomplish their more fundamental economic goals.

    While the political bent of this site tends toward middle-of-the-road US/UK liberalism, I would encourage anyone interested in the tension between automation and consumption to study Das Kapital, where Marx was already treating the topic in great detail during the 19 century. Essentially, the argument is that individual capitalists acting rationally tend to undermine the capitalist system through efficiency-enhancing technological developments (e.g. robots) which enhance profits, but reduce the number of wage laborers who are able to purchase the capitalists’ products. [Keyword: Relative surplus value]

    Japan as much as anywhere else is bound by the rules of capitalist production, and in the long term replacing humans with robots is bound to generate much more instability than the mere presence of people raised outside the Japanese education system. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that any individual business can opt out. Nor can the agent of the bourgeoise, the government.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Among other things, the Japanese government now wants to collect NJs credit card numbers;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/09/national/japan-to-force-airlines-to-hand-over-personal-data-on-all-passengers/

    To be honest, would you trust the J-gov to manage any of this collected data correctly?
    Given J-gov connections to the Yakuza covered on Debito.org before, does this seem safe to you?

    Even when there is no financial incentive to share personal data, the J-gov has a pretty poor record of keeping it safe (millions of lost pension records, anyone?).

    Reply
  • @Jim Di Griz

    I am not sure if you are trolling here or your hated of the Japanese govt has limited your ability at comprehending written English, but the article you cite states the data to be collected will be for all passengers. Since many Japanese travel abroad one can assume this is not an issue targeting NJs as your comment implies.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Norseman, #24

    Contrary to your scoffing attitude toward one of the posters, it’s pretty much legit to concern over the state demanding personal data from commercial airlines. Or are you implicating that anyone addressing the impact on NJ is getting ‘hysterical’ because this is equally(?) affecting Japanese passengers, too?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Norseman #24

    Why should I be trolling?
    Does the article, or does the article not state that all manner of private information, including credit card numbers, will now be collected by law, from airlines, regarding passengers traveling in and out of Japan?
    Hint (in case your English comprehension skills are lacking); it does.

    I have a hatred of Japan’s right-wing, revisionist, war-crime denying, human rights subverting government. But rather than that blinding me, it is because of having my eyes opened to Japanese government abuses of power that I hold such an opinion.

    The Japanese public seem to like thier government abusing thier human rights just fine (Abe has won three elections), so why should I be concerned that they won’t defend thier own human rights? In fact, I’m only concerned with the fact that NJ will have thier credit card info farmed by the Japanese government (an institution that has shown again and again that it cannot manage the safe and ethical storage and usage of data).

    Do you not agree that being forced to give the Japanese government your credit card number is an invasion of privacy?
    Are you convinced that such data will be safe, handled and shared safely, and ethically?
    Prior to reading my comment, did the Japanese government, directly, or via news media, contact you and explain that they will collect this data and why?

    Or has the whole thing been done under the table, with as little fuss as possible (just like Aso’s much admired revision of the Weimar Constitution by the Nazis)? If you agree that it’s been conducted discretely, why? What motive is there for that?

    Unless your love of Japan has blinded you to all the malpractice and corruption, and Abe’s dream of recreating the 1930’s fascist state? Never mind, go back to your ‘dreamy day’.

    P.S. Thank you Loverilakkuma.

    Reply
  • @ Loverilakkuma and Jim Di Griz

    I have no problem with anyone objecting to a measure to collect data from _all_ airline passengers entering Japan. What I do object to is the seemingly willful misreading of the article and claiming that this proposed measure targets NJs as the original comment implies.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Norseman,

    JIJI article provides the key words(such as “counterterrorism,”; “terrorists”; ” immigration control and refugee recognition law”) that describe the intent of government’s attempt to collect data. These terms clearly give people an idea that subjects from ‘foreign’ soil are likely to be under further scrutiny due to given concern(whether it is novel or compulsive). I wouldn’t be surprised that will make NJ feel being ‘targeted’ at all. The government has a historical record of intensive scrutiny at airport ‘customs’ fortress that put foreign subject additional layers of scrutiny. That led to the criticism for hampering swift distribution of humanitarian aid (e.g., keeping Swiss search dogs at quarantine) in the wake of Kobe-Hanshin earthquake two decades ago. Their urge for further counter-terrorist attack measurement seems to be aimless, since Japan has already high and sophisticated airport security system at the international airports.

    Really makes me wonder if this is what you call ‘seemingly willful misreading’ of the article.

    — That’s why I approved his comment. I want Debito.org Commenters to sharpen their skills in exercising caution in interpretation, bearing in mind that people on the illiberal side of history will take advantage of any possible shred of doubt as an attempt to void an entire genre of points. As is happening with the “Comfort Women” debate: one discredited source in the Asahi, and suddenly there’s “no evidence” of coercion or government involvement in the wartime sexual slavery. You can spend this much time proving him wrong afterwards. Or you can anticipate the trolls’ counterarguments and word your original claims in a watertight manner.

    Reply

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