JT on corporate threats to student activists’ futures (SEALDs in particular); this is probably why they suddenly turned craven


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Hi Blog. One particular topic Debito.org has not touched upon enough is activism in general by liberal-minded students, in particular the group attracting much attention called Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs). I have only mentioned them here and in my year-end round up of the Top Ten Human Rights Issues for 2015 for the Japan Times (I placed them at #6), where I wrote:

“On the other hand, the most high-profile youth group against the Abe Cabinet’s right-wing push (and darling of the international media), the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), decided to flame out with flair. At an news conference in October at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, SEALDs leaders announced that with their impending graduation from college, they wouldn’t just be stepping down in 2016 as organizers — they would disband the group without a transition to a younger generation.

“Coming off as more concerned with their own short-term individual interests than the larger movements within Japanese society, SEALDs seemed to show that even Japan’s most vibrant, cosmopolitan and appealing young activists (which matters, as this year the voting age will drop from 20 to 18) are nonetheless intimidated by power, and treat human rights advocacy as a temporary hobby.”

While I am not changing my position regarding the cravenness of SEALDs organizers, let’s be fair. They have been overtly threatened by authority. Check out this article from last August. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

Should SEALDs student activists worry about not getting hired?

Summer 2015 — 70 years since Japan’s defeat in World War II. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling coalition have rammed two security bills through the Lower House that overturn decades of interpretation of the Constitution by enabling Japan to engage in collective self-defense. Now he hopes to do the same in the Upper House.

Opposition to the government’s aggressive push to loosen restrictions on the use of military force is being heard from many corners. The beacon for students opposing the bills has been the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy, or SEALDs. Under the slogan of protecting “freedom, peace and democracy,” these students have loudly voiced their opposition to the government’s push for militarization at protests around the country.

SEALDs have put paid to two tired tropes that have been regularly trotted out over the years about Japan’s students: first, that they have no interest in politics, and second, that student social movements here are a thing of the past. Inspired by SEALDs, even high schoolers and mothers who had never before engaged in social activism have taken to the streets to demand that our country commit to never again waging war, and that our youths are never asked to kill those of other countries. Jumping on the bandwagon have been the elderly, under the collective banner of OLDs, and even the middle-aged, or MIDDLEs.

This resolute, relentless movement has already begun to have a clear impact on our society. The recent drop in support for the Abe government is at least in part a result of grass-roots movements such as SEALDs. One Liberal Democratic Party member of the Lower House tweeted: “SEALDs members just don’t want to go off to war, i.e., their actions are based on extreme selfishness.”

But if these youths were only thinking of themselves, would they really be engaged in a collective social movement like SEALDs? Also, the idea that not wanting to go off to war is “selfish” is itself a serious attack on individual thought and freedom of conscience. It reminds me of the totalitarianism that prevailed before the war, and I was shocked to hear a modern-day politician utter such a comment. I assumed he must be some old fogey, so when I discovered it was 36-year-old Takaya Muto, I was flabbergasted.

The fact that a lawmaker would use such extremist language perhaps offers some insight into the extent of panic within the LDP at SEALDs’ growing strength. The comment caused quite a stir. That and some alleged financial shenanigans led to Muto’s resignation from the LDP on Aug. 19.

For politicians chomping at the bit to deploy Japan’s forces overseas, SEALDs are apparently quite an irritant. An independent member of the Yukuhashi city assembly in Fukuoka Prefecture also stuck his foot firmly in his mouth when he riffed on a comment by one SEALDs member that “we tremble at the thought of going to war.” Shinya Kotsubo parodied it on his blog on July 26, titling his article “SEALDs members should tremble at the thought that they’ll never get a job.” He explained further, writing, “You are demonstrating now while you’re students, so don’t come crying when no one will hire you later on.”

“When companies scout for students,” he elaborated, “they look at the name of the university. They don’t look at the students themselves. All the power lies in the side that selects. … Since the corporation is the one that selects, everything must follow the company’s rules and interests. This is reality.

“To give a specific example, say a sports club becomes involved in a rape scandal. The university’s reputation is damaged and it affects all students. The rapists’ reputations are of course damaged, but the university is also seen as ‘that kind of university.’ The fellow students who were unable to prevent such a scandal become tainted as people who would be likewise unable or unwilling to protect the reputation of the company. So there would be no reason to hire such a student.

“The university’s reputation was not built by the current student body. Since it was not acquired by current students, they have no right to protest. … This reputation was a gift given to current students from their seniors who have already graduated and gone out into the world, making a name for the university. If they damage the reputation of the university to which they belong, it’s obvious how things are going to play out. We should do everything possible to eliminate the risk of this. A corporation should not be asked to shoulder such a risk to its reputation.

“Careers begin with an offer from a corporation, but it’s already too late for that. The result is that they will all be shot down. Some students are at prestigious schools such as Waseda or Keio University. These students are probably OK since many famous politicians, police and bureaucrats are from there. Selection takes precedence in all cases, so the impact on these students will only be slight. However, students at universities with little power, history or tradition won’t be so lucky. They will not be selected and as a result, all will be eliminated. I have even heard of cases where the professors join the demos and egg on their students.”

To sum up, Kotsubo says: 1) Corporations have all the power over whether to hire; 2) when hiring, corporations place great weight on the reputation of an applicant’s university and don’t really look at the students themselves; 3) if the university’s brand name is hurt, all students attending that university lose credibility; 4) students engaged in social movements are damaging the brand value of their universities; 5) the risk for students at prestigious colleges like Waseda and Keio is slight, but students at less prestigious schools are a write-off (i.e., They will never get a job); and 6) I am saying all this for the benefit of students, but the most guilty are the professors who encourage students to protest without warning them of the risks.

Let’s examine Kotsubo’s rant from the perspective of labor law…

Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/08/30/issues/sealds-student-activists-worry-not-getting-hired/

25 comments on “JT on corporate threats to student activists’ futures (SEALDs in particular); this is probably why they suddenly turned craven

  • Jim di Griz says:

    And there’s the fact that the female ringleader (can’t remember her name right now- Beniko?) came out of this with a modeling contract already. SEALDS was praised so heavily for their ‘skillful marketing’, so it all seems to have been a self-promotion stunt on her part.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    To be fair, not all people joining in the demonstration were on the same page in terms of vision-sharing and the stokeholds. Compared to 3/11 crisis, the stakes on revised national security bill are limited to selective number of people–e.g., those who have sons or daughters joining in the SDF.

    Very few of those in the group were able to enlarge their canon of rhetoric on government’s totalization of national politics through anti-bilateral security bill rally. There’s one thing lacking in their movement: an appeal to materialistic grievance that connects to their ordinary life.

  • IMHO, whilst many adults with a genuine concern about various aspects of Abe’s administration joined the demonstrations ‘organized’ (so they claimed) by SEALDS, it seems that the core organizers were just playing at activisism because they sensed that it would make them ‘cool’.

    And in effect, they were right; there was so much gushing in the press about how they had ‘switched on’ a generation through their slick marketing campaign.

    And yet, how many reasoned essays, news articles, and opinion pieces did these ‘activists’ produce? None.
    How many interviews and TV debates did they join? Abe dragged one of the boy leaders into the Diet to speak so that Abe could ‘prove’ he was listening to the will of the people, but does anyone actually remember what this young firebrand said to Abe’s face in the Diet? No. Nothing at all, because the guy didn’t really have anything to say beyond the usual ‘Japan is a peace loving nation’ routine. He had no passion at all.

    And then they all got jobs on the back of their self-promotion, and any suspicion that the leaders of the movement actually believed in anything disappeared over night; being ‘cool’ as a means to getting a job job was the best effort the Japanese people could manage to protect their country.

  • paul arenson says:

    Do a littl more dhecking. His father is an activist baptist based in Kitakyushu who has been harrassed for operating a group that helps street people, day laborers, hakke workers, etc. to become

    . The project is admired by the sellers of Big Issue I know here in Kyushu, compared favorably with Moyai in Tokyo. They provide decent housing too. The major food coop, Green Coop, a more radical version of the more famous one known as Seikyo, is in a partnership with them. They also habe roots in the anti nuclear movement.

    You are writing them off too easily think I

    — Who is the activist’s son you are referring to? And we’re not talking about SEALDs members’ parents in this blog entry. Good for him, whoever he is, for having a socially-conscious father. Pity he doesn’t seem to be following suit despite having an excellent role model.

  • Hans n Frans says:

    Another nail in the coffin for the idea that there is in fact a possibility of true democratic participation in Japan. Regardless of the motives of this group of people (even if it was mainly self-marketing), it is clear to me that they were just “playing a part” in order to satisfy a shallow, superficial “style” they thought was interesting. Exactly like the Japanese Elvis impersonators of yore, or the impeccably suited, but menially tasked “salaryman”, or the Louis Vuitton wielding Japanese “Madames” in Ginza. Political activism is just another Western concept that was appropriated mainly for stylistically reasons, because they thought it was “oshare”. It had been done in the late 60s in Japan, when student revolts were popular around the world. Then, of course Japan also had to have such a thing, of course styled impeccably in army jackets and messy hair. But all this is just theatre, something like a fun pastime to fill in the void that is left by the eradication of all truly critical thought in the school system.
    But the real power structure in Japan, the ultra-nationalists complex made up of corporations, politicians, and the mob, still hasn’t even gotten the slightest dink in its armour. It rules unchallenged, and it will rule unchallenged to the day when Japan is again forced to change from the outside, like MacArthur tried to but failed miserably (due to greater political ideas at play).
    Japan is just a well-marketed North Korea after all. It’s tedious and unnecessary to get ones’ hopes up for change. Believing in these SEALD activists is exactly like believing the news of SMAP breaking up. Yeah right, as if “they” (in this case, pedophile Johnny Kitagawa and his Yakuza investors) would let that happen against their wishes.

  • Kotsubo’s arguments don’t add up:

    “2) when hiring, corporations place great weight on the reputation of an applicant’s university and don’t really look at the students themselves;”

    “5) the risk for students at prestigious colleges like Waseda and Keio is slight, but students at less prestigious schools are a write-off (i.e., They will never get a job);”

    If the former is true, the latter bears no connection to students’ political activism. Even if we accept 3) and 4) without question (“3) if the university’s brand name is hurt, all students attending that university lose credibility; 4) students engaged in social movements are damaging the brand value of their universities”), it only logically follows that the deleterious effects of social activism ought be enough to prevent students from supposedly prestigious universities from getting jobs. (I like the implied assumption that social activism, without regard to its message or intentions for society, is inherently bad.)

    Even still, there is a double standard at work here:

    “’The university’s reputation was not built by the current student body. Since it was not acquired by current students, they have no right to protest.'”

    Kotsubo made a mistake and switched verbs from “built by” to “acquired by,” which are not equivalent. Nevertheless, Kotsubo is sorely lacking in his failure to establish a reason why students should receive, a priori, the endowments of prestige, without also receiving the right to add to, modify, change, or go against that same history. In other words, “Here’s a gift. You didn’t earn it or ask for it, but I’m giving it to you. Now you’re obligated to continue in the path we think it specifies. At the same time, if you go against that path, you will have lessened the value of the gift.” The gift cannot be improved or added to? Does the gift of prestige belong to the current students, so they construct its future? If so, they can make it better. Or is it unrelated to the current students, so their actions do not change it, for better or for worse? It cannot be both ways.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Paul #4

    If you’re trying to tell me that the father of the SEALDS guy who flopped in the Diet has a famous activist father, then his poor performance, and closing of SEALDS because he is now ‘too busy working’ just looks even more pathetic.

  • >And yet, how many reasoned essays, news articles, and opinion pieces did these ‘activists’ produce? None.

    SEALDs are a bourgie, antintellectual group who were debilitated in part by their non-materialist conception of society. (Honestly I don’t know what else could have been possible when, in Japan, Cold War levels of paranoia about serious leftism still reign, and most people’s standard of living, while falling, is high.)

    Still, I think it’s only fair to mention that they did publish a bestselling book on their theory of activism.

    I’m much more bothered by their open hostility to foreigners and the old left.

    They mercilessly bullied a Korean researcher in Kyoto (鄭玹汀 ) for drawing attention to how noninclusive their kokumin-centric, patriarchal sloganeering was.

    Their Azarashi-tai subgroup was also recorded physically attacking Marxist groups who had the audacity to participate in the open rallies, presumably because they were afraid SEALDs themselves be tarred as radicals.

    Japan desperately needs radicals, but the conditions to create them don’t seem to exist domestically now.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @XY #9

    I agree.
    SEALDS completely rejected genuine activism and activists under the excuse of seeking to distance itself from the memory of ANPO demonstrations and ANPO demonstrators, because of the perception that the right-wing dominated media gives of ANPO being an evil communist plot to destabilize Japanese ‘harmony’.
    Of course, this is rubbish; the right-wing via the media was seeking to force anti-Abe elements to muzzle themselves and shun real activism, thereby ensuring that SEALDS was really just the state-approved trappings of civil activism so that Abe could continue to pretend that Japan was still a democracy.

    For not being smart enough to see that they were thus manipulated OR intentionally complicit in Abe’s theater of the absurd, the leaders of SEALDS deserve a proper slamming for being poseurs.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Jim, I see youve appropriated my “theater of the absurd” term! Yes, Japan once again is just another postmodern trap, a consumerist (western) society- SEALDS were poseurs, it was a fad, a trend for young men, but now its time to “get conservative” (we discussed statistics on this site showing how as Japanese voters get older they become more conservative).

    Just like the Social Justice Warriors in South Park, who are really just in it to appear cool to women, they are being used by the media and the establishment to as useful tools to further another agenda, be it media control or corporate interests.

    “the right-wing via the media was seeking to force anti-Abe elements to muzzle themselves..ANPO being an evil communist plot to destabilize Japanese ‘harmony’. ”

    The “unique” Japanese twist on this is that it is the right that seeks to destablize Japanese democracy. And thus stability and the postwar peace Japan has enjoyed.

  • Baudrillard says:

    Japan is THE postmodern nightmare- relationships are between imaqges (Debord) or identity fetishists, as the roles the Ginza madams and “beatboys” or “actvists” play.
    @Hans n Frans, “Political activism is just another Western concept that was appropriated mainly for stylistically reasons, because they thought it was “oshare”.”

    THey are what they buy (into).

    Further reading


  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Self-shutdown of SEALDs is a clear indication that consensus-based dissent is ‘rational’ and desirable discourse in the public sphere. This assumption is problematic because it clearly overlooks the complex dynamics of social problem that cannot be addressed without an attempt to break conventional/traditional norms–i.e., patriarchy, monotheism, mono-culturalism, racial/cultural segregation. I second with commenter #8 on the need for radical possibility to break the tradition. Of course, that’s not the same as becoming angry violent protestors to destroy public properties and confront with police by throwing molotov cocktails. But, here’s my point. Activism is not just a mere movement of mass people chanting and screaming. It also involves the display and construction of ‘body,’ and creation of identity.

    Look at what is going on in Flint, Michigan right now. Look at Black Lives Matters. Look at BAT and Opt-Out Movement. Or the activists from both sides engaging in numerous public controversies like abortion, gun rights, gay marriage, immigration, police brutality, health care, and Creationism on daily basis. Even such crazy Hakujin Zaitokukai Bundy Group (a.k.a ya’ll-Qaida’) in Oregon knows how to craft their visions in their activism–which seems to be deficient in key leaders of SEALDs. Regardless of political partisanship–left or right, no single activist would ever succeed in sustaining the movement, if s/he instigates action based on the hegemonic logic of ‘sekentai’ or conventional norms.

  • j_jobseeker says:

    I agree with #12. SEALDs have done a good thing. They took the first, fearful steps to put themselves in public scrutiny. Their initial marches and rallies through the streets of Shibuya were looked upon with disdaining eyes by youth of their age and younger. But they persisted, building an effective campaign that quashed the stodgy, and–let’s face it–to the eyes of young Japanese, archaic image of 60s activism and made it “cool” and acceptable. I do believe they were and are serious. They have held and continue to hold symposiums and talk events; even one of their leaders (Okada I believe) went to speak at the Diet. These are not the actions of people who are not serious about their engagement. Going out every night and screaming your voice horse is not the behavior of someone who is transient in their views. That is why they were able to mobilize so many and why they struck a chord with a wide range age groups.
    That being said, however, to put all that hard work into building the SEALDs brand, then to disband it rather than pass it on to the next generation is exactly what Loverilakkuma is talking about. One has to construct a body and create an identity under which people rally. To not do so is a grave mistake. For a time, the name SEALDs had LDP members looking over their shoulders. Now, LDP politicos are laughing at the mention of the name. Whether they are bucking to unseen social pressure or outright threats by corporations, it’s a shame that their talk of “democracy and freedom” in the political sphere does not seem to extend to the realm of “democracy and freedom” in Japan’s archaic, stodgy social sphere.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ j_jobseeker #13

    Are we talking about the same SEALDS?

    I guess you missed the part where the leaders sold out and became ‘corporate haves’ as vested interests in the status quo, and sold the whole movement down the river by shutting shop?
    All the hype about them being ‘turned on, media savvy, heralds of a politically engaged youth’ was shameless PR for their own job hunting. After all, what kind of ‘engaged activist’ gives up after one summer?
    And worse, SEALDS was an exclusionary group that dominated the media limelight as Abe’s ‘safe’ function of presenting Japan to the world as a functioning democracy, whilst suppressing media coverage of many other groups against Abe’s agenda, whom have all been ‘written out of the narrative’ that says that SEALDS was the voice of the people against Abe, and that voice is now skulking off. This disempowers and devalues so many other legitimate protest groups that didn’t get any media attention since they were eclipsed by the media’s gushing over SEALDS.

    And that in itself should tell you everything you need to know; in the wake of the Fukushima disaster there were huge anti-nuclear demos for weeks outside the diet, and the J-media refused to cover them, and yet, they gushed over SEALDS! Why? We know that the J-media is scared of the Abe administration, and how sensitive he is to criticism (not to mention his personal lack of inhibition in directly intimidating them).

    So the sensible conclusion would be that the Abe administration desired gushing over SEALDS to create the pantomime of activism and democratic tolerance for dissent. In the end, Abe got his way totally, SEALDS is gone and anti-Abe policy activists have been discredited and marginalized, and the former SEALDS leaders have all landed cushy jobs in the establishment.

    It was a scam, and we all bought into it.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Jobseeker, #13

    Sorry, clearly, you are missing miss my point. If you believe the leaders of SEALDs had clear and transparent goal, they could have kept it rolling even after the bilateral treaty bill was passed. No doubt the bill was one big agenda, but it is not the only agenda people are dealing with. There are still plenty of issues they could choose for their agenda-setting, like income inequality, revised labor dispatching law, employment harassment, etc.

    While I am willing to give them credits to their courage to speak up, I am highly skeptical if any of those leaders in the group was fully committed to their collective action–what kind of people they are, what do they really want to achieve through their action? And how many of those would be willing to work as public advocacy or task force in the long run? Hard to find one.

    I’m not gonna slam the group for who they are. But I have to say they shut themselves down before responding to unanswered questions about their identity, commitment, and clarification of movement goal to prove their ethos of authenticity as an activist. Seeing the body of dissent turn into a prurient hobbyist—if not a goofy dancing puppet—that gains public attention and spectacle of display once captured in ‘the public screen’ is the moment of deja vu. It’s a kind of prepackaged rebellion sold out by mass culture—stuff you see in Thomas Frank’s “Conquest of Cool”, like corporate advertising and TV commercials in the 80s/90s. It tastes like a saccharine-taste bubble-gum.

  • Baudrillard says:

    As comments #14 AND #15 above, “SEALDS was the voice of the people against Abe, and that voice is now skulking off. ”

    The impression they (sought to) give is that, 1. there is now no need to oppose Abe, its all OK now (a horrible, gross miservice or misdirecton to the public) or

    2. It was just a SUMMER JOB. Something to put on the resume. Had a dialog once with PM Abe, wow.

    ” body of dissent turn into a prurient hobbyist—if not a goofy dancing puppet—that gains public attention and spectacle of display once captured in ‘the public screen’” is absolutelt right.

    Though I think it makes me want to puke more than have a moment of deja vu.

    The only bright side to this is that we can now all forget about who the h3ll SEALDS were. They have had their 15 seconds of fame.

    I m sure chicks were impressed with their acquisition of the “thoughtful, conscientious” role.

    Images, Debord says, have supplanted genuine human interaction.
    Thus, Debord’s fourth thesis is: “The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.”

  • Baudrillard says:

    just a footnote to what I just posted, about Abe and SEALDS

    “human perceptions are affected, and there’s also a degradation of knowledge, with the hindering of critical thought.[7] Debord analyzes the use of knowledge to assuage reality: the spectacle obfuscates the past, imploding it with the future into an undifferentiated mass, a type of never-ending present” wikipedia.

    Yep, the Abe show (this weeks, guest star, new boy band SEALDS!!) is all about obfuscation the past.

    DONT MENTION THE WAR. Lets just enjoy Safetly Japan and Unique Products while SMAP/AKB48 provide high quality of Japanese entertainment during your visit Mr Ambassador, but I digress just slightly.

  • Yes boys and girls, today’s phrase is: Controlled-Opposition. Weak “Opposition” easily controlled with bribes/threats. Thus, not real opposition, not real revolutionaries. In the pocket of, and sometimes even reading lines written by, (at the very least: neither as strong nor as intelligent as) the people they claim to be against. As Lenin stated, “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

    Just as Dave McGowan discovered, our favorite “revolutionary” “opposition” “hippie” “love & peace” “anti-war” rock-stars from the 1960s almost all coincidentally had fathers who were high ranking in the Department of Defense. Coincidentally, of course. The most shocking example being Jim Morrison, who most naive fans never realized was actually: the order-following son of the order-following Department of Defense Admiral George Stephen Morrison, Commander of the U.S. Naval forces during the Gulf of Tonkin “they shot at us first, really, honest” incident which sparked the escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War.

    When some respected, intelligent, clean-cut, eloquent, Ivy-league professors were beginning to give dangerously effective speeches about the need to end the war and bring home the surviving troops immediately, suddenly (coincidentally, mind you) a bunch of Department of Defense children were bought homes in Laurel Canyon and the big media outlets gave ample amounts of coverage time to these West-coast non-clean-cut, non-eloquent, non-effective “hippie” rock-stars, while concurrently halting giving coverage time to those powerful speeches given by the East-coast anti-war professors. The end result was that these Department of Defense children in Laurel Canyon successfully (oops, “coincidentally”, “accidentally”) took the media spotlight away from the eloquent professors who actually had a chance of convincing the average voting majority of Americans to end the war immediately. The grabbing of the media spotlight (and thus the grabbing of the minds of Americans), combined with a suspicious LACK of any actual revolutionary “end the Vietnam war now” lyrics or speeches, resulted in the majority of Americans to NOT force the end of the war: this Laurel Canyon “movement” instead helped the Department of Defense (whether with malicious intent, or “coincidentally”, either way) to achieve the goal of continuing the war business in Vietnam for many more years. Thanks Jim! Your revolutionary “C’mon Baby Light My Fire” distraction really helped. Why didn’t you speak out strongly against the war? Why didn’t you tell us your father commanded the fleet who sparked our involvement in this war? And the same goes for all of your Laurel Canyon rock-star buddies: what happened? Were you stupid revolutionaries rebelling against mercenary fathers, or fake revolutionaries working at the behest of mercenary fathers? Accidental failure to speak strongly against to stop the war, or purposeful failure?

    So, about Japan’s controlled opposition actors known as SEALDs, will we discover, decades later, that they were DIRECTLY controlled, with family relations to Abe and various fascist right-wing war-desiring cronies, and/or receiving secret payments to keep their “revolution” weak and ineffective, or will it turn out to be merely the less-shocking case of non-related non-bribed innocent left-wing-leaning kids who were just playing around, trying to look cool and get laid for a few semesters, who were then INDIRECTLY financially motivated by the system in general, to put on a tie, join a corporation, and quit their past “rebellious” “revolutionary” “activism”.

    Either way, directly controlled opposition, or indirectly controlled opposition, these “revolutionary” figures didn’t speak strongly enough and didn’t act strongly enough, and thus, their results were weak, non-effective, non-existent. Actually, their failure to fight the war-desiring enemy successfully in fact resulted in helping their enemy succeed. The net result of the SEALDs weak “revolution” was that the average Japanese person decided, “No, after looking at these weak hippie students, I am even MORE supportive of Abe’s goal of attacking China, I mean Abe’s goal of DEFENDING us against a future China attack, by beginning preemptive strikes against China now, hopefully America will help us in this upcoming war. Japan needs to be STRONG again. Even if this upcoming war kills half of the young generation. NIPPON. Banzai!”

  • Yes, Baudrillard, my “SEALDs = Laurel Canyon psy-op” analogy is a stretch, I just wanted to share my extremist opinion that: even the folks who the media convince us are “revolutionarily left-wing” (politicians, singers, writers, folks like even the great Chomsky) often turn out to be Controlled Opposition, or Weak Opposition, because even though they claim to be “the left” and claim to want “a revolution”, since they don’t effectively propose actual revolution FAR ENOUGH to the extent actually needed, I see them as merely Left-Wing-Gatekeepers, who leave observers with the false impression that “the middle ground we should take” is… somewhere in-between them and Right-Wing-Fascists’ goals. I think the middle ground we actually should take is MUCH further to the left than these various left-wingers present. That is all. 🙂

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Baudrillard #19

    Not to derail the thread but Julian Cope (of Teardrop Explodes) wrote an excellent book about pre-J-pop Japanese rock music, and there was lots of anti-establishment bands, songs, and lyrics in the 60s and 70s. That’s literally all history now.

  • And yet, I can also argue AGAINST what I just posted, as follows:

    “Yes, Anonymous, the problem you stated DOES exist (the problem of “left-wing” activists promoted by the media being too weak, too un-revolutionary, too close to the right-wing-stance) and that weakness DOES lead folks to accept a “middle-ground-compromise zone between the two sides” which unfortunately ends up being not really in the proper middle but skewed towards the fascist military/control/war/dictator ideal. Point taken. But the opposite problem ALSO exists, Anonymous. What about when the fascists sneakily promote a person/group who proposes very easily-acceptable left-wing policy suggestions WHILE concurrently that same person/group additionally proposes the extremely far-left ultra-freedom policies…

    (extremely far-out proposals such as: a new law which pronounces all taxes, just like charities, 100% voluntary, yep, you heard me right, that’s an extreme position which I support, as well as the extreme position of a new law which pronounces all humans the freedom to move freely all around this earth we are born in, instead of your chance birth location preventing you from living anywhere you want (so no more rich countries keeping poor people out, yep, no more borders, no more passports, no more visas, just one worldwide law: don’t damage or incite damage of people’s bodies/hearts or people’s property, and yes that law about “Don’t hurt others, that is all” would also de-facto legalize ANY action which doesn’t hurt others, for example, the victim-less personal consumption of ANY substance), as well as the extreme position of all of the arable land being divided as equally as possible and each living human receiving at birth an equal parcel which they own, and can trade or sell if they want, thus allowing folks to be born with land ownership AND having the ability to move around to various spots and try out various living locations (this is the extreme “physical right to LAND from birth” pronouncement, which the founding fathers initially were considering, but then changed to weak, meaningless, “non-physical right to pursuit of happiness”), as well as the extreme position that a REAL democracy means ZERO leaders (that’s right, democratic REPUBLICS are all shams, since you are simply electing mini-dictators who have the ability to do the exact opposite of what the majority wants, until you install a new dictator who does the same, again and again, instead, how about we try the REAL democracy which gave Greece a 500 year Golden age, of people only voting on ACTIONS, not voting on people, voting on actions, but of course this time allow all people to vote, not just some people), anyway, these are some of the extremely far-out ideas which I would like to see implemented…)

    So, Anonymous, if the media were to promote a real revolutionary like you, the average non-thinking regurgitators will reject your far out ideas TOGETHER with the easily-acceptable left-wing ideas. They will throw out the baby (the easily-acceptable left-wing ideas) TOGETHER with bathwater (the far-out extremely revolutionary ideas). This technique is called Discrediting-By-Association, and is a technique used by the fascist control freaks AS WELL.

    So, Anonymous, while you complain about the left-wingers being too weak, let’s also admit the unfortunate reality that if the left-wingers propose too strong ideas it can backfire and cause society to react by moving AWAY from the seemingly-crazy left and moving instead TOWARDS the right. Uh-Oh.

    So, it really is a deep issue, about how to get 7 billion people to move in the right direction (the direction of freedom, liberty, equal rights, equal land, coupled with strong protection against any human hurting any other human.) One method is to simply state one’s own ultimate truths fully, honestly, openly, as I did in my extreme paragraph above. Lay one’s cards on the table, all of them, and let folks react however they react. Simply write a book full of proposed laws and wait for society to come around to realizing the proposed laws are logical. OR, one can instead use the “salami” technique, of simply asking for people to consider one tiny easily-acceptable proposal at a time, and thus, over the course of hundreds or thousands of years, slowly and gradually reveal the eventual far-out real revolutionary proposals.

    Anyway, I obviously have expanded the conversation far beyond the initial question of whether these SEALDs really in their hearts wanted to prevent a future war or not. I apologize for the thread drift. OK, let’s get back on topic folks! Especially you, Mr. Anonymous. You need to get better at staying focused on each respective thread topic! 🙂

    — Amen.

  • Baudrillard says:

    @Anon “kids who were just playing around, trying to look cool and get laid for a few semesters” check out the poseur and the heavily made up moll in this SEALDS poster

    And why is the girl standing behind the guy? Male domination? She is an accessory, a trapping of coolness?

    If this isnt all about identity fetish/acquisition, fake consciousness, and SJW’s out to get laid, I dont know what is. South Park’s Parker and Stone should do a episode of their current story arc set in Japan. Maybe I ll write in and suggest it, as PC Principle is still in the series, travelling the world.

  • EDITORIAL: SEALDs has disbanded, but individual action must not end
    The Asahi Shinbun, Asia-Japan Watch, August 17, 2016

    The student activist group SEALDs, which played a prominent role in protesting against the controversial national security legislation pushed by the Abe administration and advocating constitutionalism, disbanded on Aug. 15.

    True to the qualifier “emergency” in its name–Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy-s–the group had said from the start of its emergency action in May last year that it would disband after the Upper House election, which was held July 10.

    Protest rallies in front of the Diet building, which typified SEALDs’ actions, demonstrated in a readily understandable and cool manner how members of the public might express their opinions rather than through the election process of representative democracy.

    The group made enemies, but there is no question that it galvanized not only young people but older citizens as well into active political participation.

    SEALDs started a sea change and eventually grew formidable enough to influence political parties–an achievement that is definitely impressive.

    A book published by the group states its aim: “We want our society to become a place where every person who is a unique individual can live together with other individuals.” This, actually, is one of the fundamental principles of constitutionalism.

    Aki Okuda, 24, a co-founder of SEALDs, attended a special Upper House committee meeting last September that deliberated on the national security bill.

    There, he appealed to the lawmakers, “I want every one of you esteemed politicians to remain an individual. Please stand up for what you believe is right, have the courage to engage in solo contemplation and act on your own decision.”

    This did not stop the Diet from adopting the bill. But Okuda’s appeal for action based on one’s conscience, rather than on what the party or organization says, must have resonated with many citizens.

    For the Upper House election, SEALDs formed a citizens federation together with groups of academics and mothers opposed to the national security legislation. And in urging opposition parties to form a unified front, SEALDs was instrumental in ensuring that the opposition parties fielded a unified candidate in every one of the 32 single-seat constituencies.

    Even though the election resulted in giving greater power to the forces favoring constitutional revision, it is worth noting that the opposition camp won in 11 single-seat electorates.

    SEALDs served as a bridge that united opposition parties, and brought the latter and citizens together.

    Having won the Upper House election, the Abe administration is expected to add constitutional amendment onto its political agenda after this autumn. And to keep the administration’s excesses in check, collaboration between the opposition camp and citizens will become all the more crucial.

    Although SEALDs has disbanded, this does not mean all is finished. In fact, the group’s attitude is “when it’s over, let’s start again.”

    SEALDs Ryukyu, which is a branch of the group representing Okinawa Prefecture, will remain in action.

    Quoting what one member said at a news conference following the announcement of its disbandment: “Our friends ask us if we are really disbanding and what we intend to do from now. But before they ask us, we want them to think about what they themselves want to do.”


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