Now, the relationship between the U. But anyway, it is a worrying thing to rely so much on the U. It is a similar mentality to Japanese people who believe they won't have any problems if they get a position at a big company -- but I don't believe that. There are many first-rate aspects to Japan, such as our culture and food and manga, for instance, and our Constitution has lots of brilliant ideas that are suitable for this 21st century and which many countries look at and admire.
We have also been tackling environment pollution since early on, and Japanese companies have been earnestly working to remove pollution in their production processes. So, if Japan takes a lead in such fields, we will find our place on the global stage -- but we only ask the U. Another good thing about Japan is that it is what you might call "lukewarm" or "open-minded" about religion. Each of the monotheisms -- like Islam, Christianity and Judaism -- are having arguments and fighting, but if the world followed the tolerant Japanese way regarding religion, the situation would be far, far better.
Why do you write about the effects of the war on Japan? I've been searching for the answer to that and to discover what it is about Japanese people's fundamental mentality that brought the militarism about. This task has not yet finished, as the Japanese have not bothered to clarify the root causes or the responsibility for so long as they have hidden behind U. When the Cold War finished, the U. Fortunately, those countries have had their own problems -- China 's internal struggles, for example, and Indonesia becoming independent from the Netherlands -- so they could not make claims against Japan.
Now, though, they are looking to talk with Japan about wartime compensation. Many Koreans are also asking for individual-level compensation, but the government repels all these actions. On the other hand, the only case of Japanese becoming victims involved prisoners of war detained in Siberia -- and now those people are asking the Russian government for compensation. Russia insists the matter has already been officially concluded between the two countries, but they continue to make claims as individual cases -- and the Japanese government actually supports their action.
It is very contradictory, isn't it? This two-faced attitude gives Japan a reputation of just doing things to its advantage without there being any firm policy. If we don't change this attitude, we will lose our position in the international community. We have to admit our mistakes, and we have to overcome our past mistakes by ourselves for the sake of our future. What is the main reason Japan cannot overcome its problems with the past? The main problem is our education system.
Japanese children learn Japan 's history starting from the ancient period and moving toward modern days. Normally, in other countries, they learn history starting with the present and moving into the past to learn where things come from. But in practice in Japan , history teachers generally teach up to, and including, the Meiji Era  and they don't teach about the Showa Era .
Often this is because they run out of time to cover the curriculum -- which includes the Showa Era. This means that the government has not settled what is Japanese history yet, so history lessons stopped at the point where they suspend judgment on the Showa Era.
So they never talk about the responsibility of starting the war. Japan played a big role when the Kellogg-Briand Antiwar Pact was formulated in , and three Japanese -- including Foreign Minister Shidehara Kijuro -- were on the list of candidates for the Nobel Prize that year. So why did Japan plunge into militarism in such a short time? We should examine this question, and teachers should explain this history to children more clearly and precisely. Recently you published a children's book about the Constitution, and you sometimes you visit schools to give lectures to small children.
How do they react to your story? They understand it so well. The adults, however, don't listen to my opinion, and they just say it is an idealistic theory. Fundamentally, for example, the idea of the European Union was also said to be a dream idea, but everything sounds like a dream story when it starts. The balance of these two elements will make the goal happen in the end.
Your plays not only carry strong messages, often about political and social issues, but they are also high-quality entertainment at the same time. We take money from the audiences, so first of all we must make them enjoy the play. This is our -- theater people's -- job ethic. So many types of people, from normal housewives to old ladies, scholars, politicians and students gather in the theater and share the play, and we must make all of them interested in it.
This is the fundamental theory of the theater but, for example, shingeki [the "new drama movement" that started at the end of the Meiji Era under the influence of Western drama] was part of the social movement, so they emphasized parts that were a bit difficult for the audiences to understand. Well, they may have been very "important" plays, but in my opinion that's not real theater; that's a sense of elitism.
It's as if they thought they had a role to advance the stupid masses and raise their intelligence -- as if people should see the play even it's difficult and boring. That's completely wrong. There are many dialogues and arguments in your plays, but I also feel the actors throw the questions out to the audiences as well. Any staging is a quite serious fight between the maker and the audiences. A play should not be done only on the stage, and the words should reach out to every corner of the theater.
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We have to find the best way to get our message across. So we consider the most effective way of presenting the message, and I compose the lines to let the audiences think naturally during the play about the subjects or themes. This is professional theater people's work. The current tendency is that young playwrights do not tackle big subjects like political issues very often, and Sakate Yoji is one of the few writers who deals with big subjects.
Writers need to raise greater themes when they write daily-life plays; and naturally they need to describe small details well when they write big-theme plays. There are many young writers who can write about familiar, daily issues with sensitive observation. I hope to see more young writers who can use different-scale subjects that are the most appropriate for the occasion. In my case, I believe that individual lives are inevitably influenced by big social movements, and also that individual lives can have an influence on those movements.
So I try to put both -- ordinary people's lives and political or social issues -- in the play together. One other task, I believe, is for theater people to take responsibility for someone who is visiting the theater for the first time in their life. If that person enjoys the play, she or he will believe the magic of the theater and will continue to go even though the next play may be boring. Why will people still go to the theater in the 21st century? Completely different types of people may be standing in line to see the same play at a small venue, but strangely, each person's thoughts and feelings spread throughout the venue and they share that experience.
In the small space, each person becomes related to the others in an invisible chain. Furthermore, that also links to the stage, to the actors, and finally there is a magical moment, a sense of unity and cooperation there. So a good play takes people back to a pure condition, and I see so many people who leave the theater with a bright look like after having a sauna.
Your recent production of "Kamiyacho Sakura Hotel" was quite different from its successful staging. Why did you do that? It depends on the audiences. Plays change every day they are staged, and after a certain number of stagings the actors become able to adjust to the feeling of that day's audience. If they sense that many in the audience seem interested in a political matter like the issue of the Emperor's war guilt, the actors will take the stage more in that direction; while if there are many in the audience who loves jokes and wit, then they can switch direction.
So, people liked it because we adjusted the play depending on the structure of the audience each time. We never do exactly the same play; it changes every day. Actually, the audiences are the center of the theater world. When I went to Australia , I found out that they have drama courses at every university, so a huge number of drama students graduate every year.
One day I asked a professor how all those graduates found a job in the theater world. He said they are not only producing professional theater people, but they are cultivating informed theater audiences through that education. So many may start to work in non-theater companies, but they cultivate theater fans in each community. I thought that's a good system. What are your future plans? I have to write a play about Nagasaki regarding the atomic bomb.
This is top secret: I am planning to make a new play whose characters include Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and the Showa Emperor -- the gigantic dictators in the 20th century. I'll adjust the story to fit the history as logically as possible and let them meet all together. Because of them and the same trick -- reigns of terror -- people suffered for a long time.
Actually, nowadays the people holding power use the same trick as they control citizens by implanting a sense of terror. So, if I write about the 20th-century dictators, and I search for the fundamental mentality, the play will work for any time. Now, we also have offers from Britain and even from the U. When I did it in Moscow in , so many young Russians came to see it and they remained in their seats for a while after the play. Theater can break barriers -- and people are fundamentally the same, I believe. The next production by Inoue's Komatsu-za company will be an as yet untitled new work by him about the German pacifist, satirist, poet and novelist Erich Kastner It will run Jan See the following for further information.
Tanaka Nobuko is a freelance drama writer for publications in Japan and elsewhere. This article appeared in The Japan Times on 1 Oct It is published at Japan Focus on October 8, Miyake Shoko. Translated by Adam Lebowitz. This conversation is adapted from a longer roundtable discussion on the social responsibility of poetry that appeared in the September issue of the literary monthly Shi to Shiso Poetry and Thought. The chair is Shi to Shiso editor Nakamura Fujio.
Following this discussion, the translator presents text and illustrations from Kokoro no Noto Notes for the Heart , a patriotic textbook for primary and junior high school students that was published by the Ministry of Education in If you could give us a short introduction. He was foremost in considering the impact of reproduced images—photography, cinema—on culture, even while composing texts of incredibly fine linguistic minutiae.
My two children at that time were both of primary school age. As I worked my way through the text I kept asking myself: Whose voice is this supposed to represent, and to whom is it talking? Finally I was left with this chilling feeling, along with the very clear impression of what this text with its colorful images was supposed to provide for targeted students from the first grade through to the last year of junior high, in total nine years of compulsory education. What appear at first to be small changes to the language of the provisions actually constitute a degree turn in the relationship between the individual and the state.
Nakamura Fujio: Mathematician and essayist Fujiwara Masahiko has come out with a popular selling book recently entitled Kokka no Hinkaku National Dignity. Although there is not much to be said of its contents, its influence cannot be ignored. Basically he urges the necessity of feeling over reason, the national language over English, and the bushido psychology over democracy because through these Japan will regain its national dignity.
My initial impression after reading it is how it foregrounds the nation over all else, and a pretty inflexible vision it is of that. Within this situation it would be hard going for us poets to protect what we hold most dear, namely freedom and respect for the individual. As opposed to national dignity, I would say human dignity should take precedence.
It is us as poets who must be aware of the forces pressing for change. The nation cannot determine the direction education is supposed to take. It can only enact provisions for the goals already stated. Moral teachings are constituted in school lessons, meaning legal enforcement of the contents of the Kokoro no Noto. Morality, as in the pre-war period, functions within parameters defined by the state. Then there is Article Ten whose meaning is perverted in the most dreadful way.
In other words, the new law enables the educational authorities to be completely in control without having to heed criticism from teachers, parents, or civic movements. This is what I want to draw attention to. Education has been under the scrutiny and counsel of the citizenry; new laws make it the mouthpiece of government authority. A cooperative society protecting the rights of the minority is encouraged in the former statement. I bring this up because discussions about reform are premised on a decline of educational and moral standards.
To me it seems the state is taking these actions in the face of what it perceives are a dissolution of individual morality. It fears its own existence will be compromised if individuals refuse to acknowledge it as part of their subjective outlook. Yoshida-sensei, as a high school teacher what do you think of this in light of what Prof. Miyake has spoken about? You know, when I took my qualifying examinations we were required to commit Articles One and Two to memory. This is why I chose to work at a private institution. Miyake Shoko: The reform legislation takes this choice away.
In practice more and more teachers would be disciplined for not listening to their principal. In the morning going through the gate you had to have your school pin on. One very good point about the present system is that it approaches education from the position of the people, and from my own experiences as a teacher I can tell you that whatever the Education Law may state the classroom has its own reality.
How to make the best of it? In actual fact Article Two affects every aspect of public and private life outside of the school. This includes the systematic relationship between school, home tutoring, home, and community, not to mention continuing, adult, and pre-school education programs. Yamamoto Seiko: As a mother with children in the education system my first issues with this debate are how they are going to be affected. Even before the introduction of the Reforms things have been moving in the direction outlined by them for some time.
Feelings, desires, attitude, all of these concepts have become items for appraisal which means that school is assuming an increasingly parental role. And why is that? Miyake Shoko: Well, first off we have to make it clear the reforms are not the right thing to do. Consider the textbook Kokoro no Noto. It is a nationally registered textbook; as such, its message is that individual character is to be created by the State and not develop naturally.
This follows the spirit of Article 10 of the new Education Law. But the reforms would legalize it. Through the attitude of control of children, and the overall proposed changes to the Constitution, what exactly is sought? Writing after World War I, he theorized that the nation is able to monopolize violence through law. Domestically the use of force is the agency of the police, but in foreign affairs the army is the instrument of state violence.
The Writing on the Wall
The focus of instruction is on morality, beginning with cultivation of the correct individual attitude, extending towards mannerly interaction with school and community, and then encompassing a wider ideological love of country. The text reads remarkably like a religious pamphlet; students are asked rhetorical questions and then instructed to reject answers that appear immoral. Morality-based designs for living see the 23 Keys below are offered.
Another striking feature is the message that individuality is best fulfilled within group contexts and social ills are the result of too much individuality. The final section is devoted to the dignity of work, the importance of family, and patriotism. Patriotism aside, the political message is ideologically conservative with its emphasis on individual responsibility as the basis for social reward. The text can be viewed in full at: www.
Cover of Kokoro no Noto. This article was posted at Japan Focus on December 23, Adam Lebowitz is a teacher and translator who has lived in Japan for 15 years and is now at Tsukuba University in Ibaraki Prefecture. By Takashima Nobuyoshi. Translated by Kyoko Selden. Three national newspapers and Nihon Keizai Shimbun headlined the death of playwright and preeminent Shakespeare translator Kinoshita Junji on December 1, Playwright Kinoshita Junji died at age ninety-two.
On December 1, the three national newspapers, Yomiuri , Asahi and Mainichi , and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun , as if by prearrangement, reminisced about Kinoshita on the front page of their morning editions. However, they lacked historical perspective on the playwright and one important issue surrounding him. Each of the papers had provided a fairly detailed biography of Kinoshita the previous day in their society page or cultural column.
Yuzuru forms the libretto of an opera composed by Dan Ikuma. European and Japanese performances of Yuzuru. For educators, however, what comes to mind when we hear the title Yuzuru , is the fact that the Liberal Democratic Party attacked it as henko one-sided or ideologically biased when it was included in a public school reading textbook. The opera Yuzuru was performed in Seoul in Note: The Jiyu Shimpo text of June 10, read as follows:. Yuzuru: This story was presented to third or fourth graders. The famous story is said to have been the departure point for Kinoshita Junji.
And soon after the war ended it was staged with Yamamoto Yasue as the lead [the crane]. Playwright Kinoshita graduated from Todai in English literature. Yuzuru , it is said, is not actually a mere retelling of Tsuru no Ongaishi, which is a folktale from Echigo [part of present-day Niigata prefecture].
This stresses the sadness of human beings who, while loving one another, cannot but end in catastrophe due to money. Probably what is intended is a roundabout sarcasm toward capitalist society. This story has a sequel. He presented two representative folk tale books as a gift. Koizumi chose two items as most Japan-like. They were Tsuru no Ongaishi The Crane Returns a Favor [the original source of Yuzuru ] and Kasa Jizo Hatted Jizo about six stone jizo who bring gifts in return for the kindness of covering their heads against the snow.
Note: The story of Kasa Jizo is about a grandfather and grandmother. A weaver, the grandfather goes to town to sell his hats to earn money to buy food for the holiday. But as he sits by the roadside, no one buys his hats. Finally he gives up and heads for home. It is snowing. Seeing six stone jizo , hatless and cold, he gives each a hat.
When he returns home and explains, the grandmother says, You have done a good thing. At dawn they hear sounds. The jizo have come to return the favor. Both tales were branded ideologically biased by the Jiyu Shimpo in the s. But no report on this occasion pointed that out. At precisely this moment, in article two of a draft revision of the Education Law, which is the focus of the present Diet session, as many as twenty items of morality dotoku are listed one after another, even more than in the Meiji Education Rescript of Kyoiku Chokugo. At the same time, contemporary opinion is sharply divided over the interpretation of many of the themes enumerated: love of country and homeland, morality, initiative jishu , self-control and public spirit kokyo , and equality between men and women.
Despite that, when this draft is passed at the Diet, at the actual site of education, it is clear that teachers will be forced to teach the government interpretation of these themes as the only interpretation. That itself is a large issue as demonstrated by repeated punishment imposed on teachers by the Tokyo Education Committee following the establishment of the National Flag and Anthem Law. Thus it is natural that court case after court case, and protest after protest are occurring in the wake of the proposal for a new law.
If frivolous slander and criticism or unstinting praise by those in power are to provide the standard, then society will be in turmoil. That is contrary to education, which should be open and just. If you think about the sentiment of Kinoshita, whose Yuzuru was slandered, pointing out the injustice of that slander would have been the best way to commemorate him. Again, if the story were handled as something that proves the injustice of the proposed education law and directives from the Tokyo Education Committee, then Kinoshita would have been even more pleased.
Yet not a single newspaper referred to these points. This is indeed regrettable. I would like to say to Kinoshita afresh that we will hand down the story. Takashima Nobuyoshi teaches at Ryukyu University. The first volume of her Gems of Japanese Literature has just been published. Posted at Japan Focus on December 28, By Vaclav Smil.
But then an unexpected reversal took place. A closer look at the reasons for this reversal shows two surprising factors. Why did this happen? But this does not explain the post reversals of industrial energy intensity trends. Those are attributable to several concurrent trends. First, as large numbers of more efficient energy converters and processes that were installed before began to age, their performance began to deteriorate. Assiduous maintenance and upgrading can prevent such deterioration, but in many cases these steps were not taken because companies were short of funds as they faced contracting markets and foreign competition, or as they channeled their investment into setting up new facilities overseas especially in China and neglected the domestic infrastructure.
Contraction and stagnation of the Japanese economy and foreign competition also meant that many industries began to use their assets less intensively, and lower utilization capacities often translate into higher energy and monetary costs per unit of production. Finally, some industries tried to stay competitive by concentrating on production of higher-quality items that are often much more energy-intensive than the mass produced varieties that now come increasingly from China and India stainless steel vs.
The second reason was that Japanese citizens—after generations of relatively frugal living—had finally began to spend more on their interior environment, and nowhere has this increase been clearer than in the rising consumption of electricity. Table 1. Moreover, in , virtually every household had a personal computer, and nearly a fifth of them had a dishwasher, items that were relatively rare in Consequently, it would seem that Japanese homes are increasingly filled with electric and electronic gadgets. The fact that they still have fewer lights per household than the three largest European economies—17, compared to Shares of different lights in Consequently, the proper indicator of lighting intensity is the actual quantity of illumination, the amount of lumens available per unit of household area.
Table 2. And the Japanese, people with an even greater chronic sleep deficit than Americans, keep their fluorescent tubes and compacts lit much longer than do people in any other affluent nation, averaging about 3. The second factor is a sleep pattern common among Japanese high-school students: napping inemuri during the late afternoon and then studying late at night and into the early morning.
Since everyone follows a similar rhythm, it is difficult for an individual to change or even seriously question it. There is little doubt that the Japanese would illuminate their households even more if electricity prices were lower. His interdisciplinary research has roamed broadly over issues of environment, energy, food, population, economics, and policy studies. Published on April 2, He can be reached via email and his homepage. Calculated from annual data series in: Statistics Bureau. Japan Statistical Yearbook. Tokyo: Statistics Bureau.
The most recent volume is online: www. I dealt with various consequences of that transformation in: Smil, V. Japan and China: The next fifty years. Japan Focus Summer www. See, among many others: Smil, V. I have used purchasing power parity, rather than official exchange rate, to calculate the Japanese value from official energy and GDP statistics. Energy consumption, expenditures, and emissions indicators, Available online: www. Tokyo: The Energy Conservation Center. Energy Conservation Center Japan. Japan Energy Conservation Handbook. Tokyo: ECCJ. Statistics Bureau.
Japan Statistical Yearbook Compiled from data in and editions of Japan Statistical Yearbook. Waide, P. Paris: International Energy Agency. Improvements in the efficacy of electric lights are traced in detail in: Smil, V. Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties. Even in sub-Arctic Sweden with short winter days the average usage is only 1.
Trains are the Japanese second bedroom. What Japan Thinks , 7 December Available online: whatjapanthinks. Steger, B. Sleeping through class to success: Japanese notions of time and diligence. Fukumizu, M. Sleep-related nighttime crying yonaki in Japan: A community-based study.
Pediatrics 1 : Sioshansi, F. Pfaffenberger, eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier. The image is available at: Kitamoto, A. Tokyo: National Institute of Informatics: agora. In the first week of May , the Kingdom of Tonga was getting ready for a lavish wedding. Tuita is the second daughter of the controversial millionaire princess Pilolevu Tuita who runs Tongasat, a satellite communications company out of Hong Kong. Discussion in the press and on the streets centered on the magnificent karat engagement ring surrounded by diamonds.
But some Tongan citizens are asking whether this is the way to spend money in a country that is on the brink of financial ruin. Tonga, an archipelago in the southern Pacific that became a member of the British Commonwealth in , is broke and troubled. At least six lives were lost in the flames of ransacked stores. Some of the rioters were former members of California-based Polynesian gangs deported from the United States. But the opposition has not yet come up with a coherent plan to fight monarchy and feudalism.
Island groups in Tonga. When the rich decide to throw a huge party or to arrange a wedding, poor people have to supply them with food and gifts. What do the poor get in exchange? It is a system of submission and exploitation. But almost all of our people support the pro-democracy movement. If no changes come soon, the entire country [could] experience violence on a much larger scale than last year. She bumps confirmed passengers off the overbooked flight and calls the guard to take away anyone who dares to protest.
No compensation is offered, no apology given. Nobody would dare to suggest that she should be fired. The fact that it is now hiring so many foreign advisors shows that it has no idea how to solve the problems. The majority of our people support the pro-democracy movement, but the PM and ministers are defending the status quo. In Tonga, we grew up in a system where it was hammered into our brains that the nobles will take care of society.
It worked fine in the subsistence economy, but not in one ruled by the market. These days, nobles do nothing; they just sit in their compounds and take advantage of the majority of our people. The same with the budget: Tongan people are taxed and they are told that to pay taxes is their duty, but the government should also be accountable to the people and be transparent about how the money is being spent. Our people are suffering. Inflation is high. The standard of living of Tongans is declining.
We want to live peacefully. But there has to be some solution to the present problems. And patience is running out. The mood on the streets of the capital is tense. Groups of unemployed youth are aimlessly gathering at major intersections. Most downtown shops were leveled to the ground, as was the only multi-screen cinema in the country.
Tourism collapsed almost entirely. The Tongan National Center and National Museum stand almost empty; the miniscule expatriate community, consisting mainly of foreign advisers and relief workers, can be seen in the few surviving cafes. The park surrounding the War Memorial has been taken over by the Tongan military to protect one of the royal palaces, despite the fact that the king abandoned the ancient palace in the center of the city, moving to a lavish new California-style mansion at the outskirts.
With less than , inhabitants, the Kingdom of Tonga has more than soldiers. Facing no known international disputes, their primary role is to pacify the population. Another soldiers are scheduled to be hired this year. The Minister of Education was overheard joking that his country is hiring more soldiers than teachers. Tongan soldiers. The situation in Tonga is indeed bleak. Unemployment is high and so is inflation. The country has virtually ceased to produce, depending instead for its survival on remittances and foreign aid.
More Tongans now live abroad than in the Kingdom itself not an unusual situation in Pacific islands. Their remittances are a major source of income in the islands. Poverty is omnipresent in both the capital city and the countryside. And the press is tightly controlled with criticism of the monarchy taboo. The Economist visited Tonga in March and offered a cautiously optimistic assessment:.
That the royal family also benefited from big private-sector investments—including ownership of the mobile-phone industry, cable television, a brewery and the electricity utility—increased public disquiet. The monarchy responded with a pragmatic reform programme that began before the accession of King George Tupou V to the throne in September But Fred Sevele is widely believed to be linked to the royal family by common financial interests. The recent reforms have brought few gains to the majority of Tongan citizens.
Disappointment with local elites is growing, and tension is palpable in the streets. Sign erected after November riots. A small but influential Tongan intellectual group has expressed disappointment with both the ruling class and the so-called pro-democracy movement. One of them is Ms. Unfortunately, what we saw in November were just riots. And I hate to say it, but they were mostly ignited by racism. Even this school was built with Chinese funds. Several Chinese lecturers are teaching here. But there is envy towards hardworking Chinese immigrants. Right after the riots there was talk that several local businessmen paid young kids money to destroy Chinese shops.
Whatever the reasons, one of the last feudal strongholds on earth is shaking, its walls crumbling. But first of all, members of the Tongan opposition will have to clarify their own goals. There is no doubt that Tongan elites are corrupt and that the nobility has long exploited the great majority of Tongans. But what kind of society does the opposition want to build? Yet it often feels that these words are almost on the tip of the tongue of many Tongans, and that it is just a matter of time before they are pronounced and implemented.
Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker, playwright and journalist. Editorial director of Asiana Press Agency , he is co-founder of Mainstay Press , a publishing house for political fiction. He is presently living in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific and can be reached at andre-wcn usa.
Per page: 5 10 15 20 Sort by: Title Ascending Title Descending. Scientific Stereotypes East and West available in Spanish. Textbook Nationalism: Perspectives on China, Japan and Korea by Jin Hyun-joo [Among the debates critical of Japanese textbook nationalism that have raged in Korea, China and internationally in recent months, this is a rare example of a self-reflexive discussion among Korean historians of the logic and limits of nationalist perspectives on their own history and that of East Asia.
Teacher Suicides and the Future of Japanese Education. Teacher Suicides and the Future of Japanese Education by Hiratate Hideaki [ The quality and elan of primary and secondary education have long been regarded as among the achievements of postwar Japan. Inoue Hisashi: Crusader with a Pen. Inoue Hisashi: Crusader with a pen By Tanaka Nobuko So wide-ranging are year-old Inoue Hisashi 's talents and activities — including playwright, director, novelist, public intellectual and activist, that it is difficult to know which to focus on at the expense of others.
Yuzuru forms the libretto of an opera composed by Dan Ikuma Yuzuru , a widely circulated adaptation of the original folktale, concerns a man who saves a wounded crane. The crane comes to his house as a woman to repay his kindness. She works late into each night weaving a special cloth, which he sells in the market.
She works on one condition: that he does not observe her working. When, overcome with curiosity, he witnesses her at her work in her crane form, she ascends to heaven. Shares of different lights in Consequently, the proper indicator of lighting intensity is the actual quantity of illumination, the amount of lumens available per unit of household area.
Notes 1. Tonga in the south Pacific Tonga, an archipelago in the southern Pacific that became a member of the British Commonwealth in , is broke and troubled. Tongan soldiers The situation in Tonga is indeed bleak. Sign erected after November riots A small but influential Tongan intellectual group has expressed disappointment with both the ruling class and the so-called pro-democracy movement. Posted at Japan Focus on May 29, War is the Only Solution. A year-old freeter explains the plight and future of Japan's Marginal Workers. I have been thinking about this sort of thing often.
On a Sunday morning, after my night work, before coming home to sleep, I go out to a nearby shopping center and find a father who is about my age, who seems to be enjoying shopping with his wife and child. With men past age thirty, a marriage rush seems to begin like an angry wave. My friends from the past are deciding to marry one by one. On the other hand, I am far from marrying, but live as a parasite with my parents.
I have been forced for over a dozen years into a situation in which I cannot even support myself. For me, at thirty-one, the present situation as a freeter who lacks regular full-time employment is unendurable humiliation. On the news, I sometimes encounter direct criticism of freeters. Still, society is peaceful. Nor are the majority of company workers afraid of restructuring any time soon. I go to work late at night, work eight hours with no rest, come home at dawn, put on the TV, surf the net while drinking alcohol, go to sleep around noon, wake up in the evening, watch TV and go to work again.
My monthly salary is a little over , yen. I feel confined at home. I would like to live alone, renting a cheap apartment in Tokyo or elsewhere. When my aged father is no longer able to work there is no guarantee that a living will be possible. But where is the foothold for that? In modern society, in which becoming a regular employee after graduation is viewed as the proper path, only newly minted graduates are accepted by decent employers. These are far from stable occupations. What is harder than anything else is that society has no understanding of our adversity.
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Not knowing what we can do, we are pressed to do something. But however much we move our limbs, there is little probability that the situation will improve. In this situation, who will be able to live with hope? We entered society after the collapse of the bubble. I call this the post-bubble generation. Many of us will continue to live in the face of humiliation. A man in his thirties became homeless after coming to Tokyo from the countryside to look for a job, after being dispatched from place to place on assignment. Another example: a former salary man, who is working at odd jobs to support his family.
A third example: a farm family, which just barely manages to live by combining the incomes of all family members because growing strawberries simply adds to debt. His pension disappeared to the hospital where his wife is hospitalized. It is clear that a society in which people work hard yet cannot make ends meet is not in good shape. We should construct a society in which ordinary people who work in ordinary ways can lead ordinary lives. When I push this sense of unease further, I realize that the NHK program overlooks a great difference between the former salary man, the strawberry farmer, the tailor, and others who belonged to the economic growth generation, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a youth in his thirties whose only prospect is to become homeless, a freeter of the post-bubble generation.
While the former group is comprised of people who had families and obtained independence as human beings, the latter entered society after the collapse of the bubble. They could do nothing from the very beginning. The former group at least had chances. But by the time the latter entered society, labor was already constrained and chances did not exist. The problem lies in the fact that he cannot get welfare unless he abandons this. If that is dignity, then where is the dignity of us freeters, for whom marrying and having a family, or saving one million yen are a shadow of a dream.
Those who advocate overcoming social gaps stress the need for the elderly to maintain an affluent living standard to support their families, while for we young people all they demand of the administration is job training. Hardly any more than that. Both groups are regarded equally as the weak. Yet it seems to me that there is a great gap between the relief levels that they target. Why is this kind of inequality accepted? Therefore, looking at the equally weak, you seek to guarantee the livelihood of elders who have already consumed much, while it is fine to leave young people, who have consumed little, in poverty.
The reason is that nobody gives jobs to young people, and no one even lets others share jobs with young people. On the other hand, it is simple to pay inadequate wages to a young person who is, from the start, living single in an apartment, not allowing such a person to marry and get a house. Society therefore accepts this. Right after the collapse of the bubble, both enterprises and workers were thinking only about how to escape the collapse. Companies planned to reduce personnel and labor unions dropped their base-up demands and prioritized restructuring.
Both agreed that it was necessary to reduce to the minimum the hiring of new workers.
Enterprises cut new hires and tried avoid hiring regular employees. They did so by using agency workers, part-timers and arbeiters. Society sympathized with middle aged and older workers who were spared restructuring and ignored freeters who could not get regular jobs and were pushed to low-wage work. Because they were not employed from the start, staying unemployed was not considered a problem. Even now, more than a dozen years on, the situation has not changed at all.
According to the spring Keidanren survey of top management, just 1. This is the source of our hardship. In passing, But freeters are precisely those who were robbed of the opportunity for job training due to the recession. So, saying that we will hire freeters and NEETs on the basis of their experiences and abilities is the same as saying that we will not employ them. On the other hand, The one-sidedness is obvious. As long as there is a limit to the personnel budget for enterprises, reemployment of elderly employees means that young people like us who cannot get jobs will be excluded.
However, I hear no voices that look at this as a problem. This too represents the approach of differentiating the employment situation of the economic growth generation from that of the post-bubble generation. To stop this it is necessary not only to look at the present situation but to go back to the past and rectify the disadvantage forced on the post-bubble generation. Only in this way can the gap be overcome between the economic growth generation and the post-bubble generation.
As a result of an accumulated sense of inequity about which nothing can be done, the weak of the post-bubble generation, the youth, appear to be moving to the right. They neither think of launching social movements nor know how to do so. In this situation, opposing China, opposing North Korea, opposing South Korea, as some media agitate, serves to unify them.
But young people are not at all the fragile existences that they imagine them to be. But in fact, facing pressure from young people, society is moving to the right. The social movement of Netto Uyoku Net Rightwingers , through their blogs that are popular enough to sometimes top the search engines and through the introduction of their voices by the media, is inconspicuously pervading society like water whose color changes only slightly when ink is mixed.
That probably means that it functions as an effective social movement. This has to be recognized. From the viewpoint of young people, the object of their criticism is the very workers who are protected by the left. Therefore, young people look to the neoliberal government to go to the extent of robbing regular workers of their rights and sharing them with young people. True, it seems that the move to the right by young people is in conflict with their basic interests.
For example, the Horiemon boom of one time was full of contradiction in that poor young people supported the rich. The Koizumi administration pushed policies that enlarged the gap in the name of reform and the Abe administration undoubtedly inherits that line. Even so, young people react favorably toward the Koizumi and Abe administrations.
To put it very simply, if Japan is militarized, if there is war, and many people die, then Japan will become more mobile. I think that many young people want this to happen. In other words, the war expanded mobility, and as society stabilized, that mobility was gradually lost. Still, when the economy was expanding, there was no problem. Even without mobility, as long as the economy expands, salaries continue to increase. With wages rising, all workers are rewarded. These were the dreams of ordinary citizens. People were able to secure these things.
In an age of rising economy, even we could dream: now we are freeters, but one day we will support a wife and children. Since we were thrown out to society as low wage laborers, already more than ten years has passed. Yet not only does society not extend the hand of relief to us, it continues to revile us, saying that we push down GDP and we lack motivation. If peace continues, this kind of inequality will continue throughout our lives. To break this closed situation and create mobility—one such potential is war. But what we want is not so unrealistic.
The economically weak, like myself, seek a society that allows us to escape the distress of poverty, attain social status, support family, and attain human dignity as adults. This is a very realistic desire, natural for human beings. It is most regretful that we might have to use the instrument of war for this end. But to the extent that we are drawn to that, it means that the gaps in society are large and unshakeable. Unfortunately for the oldest remaining survivors, however, it appears that Japan will throw them away after all. Alexis Dudden contributed this article to Japan Focus.
Posted February 18, Contrary to the Japanese government's intentions, discontent with the performance of the Self-Defense Forces among the citizens of Samawa has rapidly increased. This is a report of the local situation. Where is Japanese support? Because of security concerns, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Self-Defense Force personnel rarely show their faces to the citizens.
While covering events for this article, there were only two Japanese journalists stationed in Samawa. Since the beginning of July, the mood that had initially welcomed Japan has begun to change swiftly. The temperature inside of rooms is 38C, higher than body temperature. Citizens live under conditions in which "water that comes out of the faucet is hot. Electricity was already in short supply in Samawa before the war requiring a planned electricity outage for two hours at night. Since the war, citizens have begun to compete with others in buying imported electrical appliances which have become cheap.
However, the power authority has postponed solution of the problem of electricity insufficiency. Currently, less than a third of the necessary electricity is provided. Hence, electric outages often occur daily. That makes the delivery of water from filtration plants difficult and water outages repeatedly occur. This summer, the number of patients due to heat prostration increased to more than 24, in Musanna prefecture. The citizens don't hide their frustration. One store owner complains, "The electricity does not last even for one hour.
The water condition is also bad. We don't need much help. Electricity and water would be sufficient. That was the only Japanese help the citizens here could see. The store owner says, "In fact, they only gave us the carp streamers. The Self-Defense Forces emphasize that they are our 'friends,' but there is no evidence of that. At the end of June, Samawa city council elections were held ahead of the transfer of political power. This new political framework was created under U. In this election, the first democratic one after the war, 39, citizens voted. In less than a month, the 13 elected council members put together a article plan for the redevelopment of Musanna prefecture.
This is a self-financed reconstruction plan to consolidate the social infrastructure that had been neglected since the Persian Gulf War. However, they lacked essential funds. Former Samawa city council head Hamed Abid Egal petitioned the Japanese embassy in Anman for financial aid, but the Japanese side's response was indifferent.
If the great cause of the Iraq War was the construction of a democratic nation state, the handling of the embassy and the Self-Defense Forces is incoherent. They emphasize the relationship with the tribes and the U. Relations with the city council have become stone cold. The support from Japan the citizens hope for is infrastructure such as electricity, water, and the building of houses. The former chairman of the city council says, "We are not satisfied with the aid so far. We want the priorities and budget to be decided by the Iraqi people.
We are the people who know which projects are most important. In Samawa where the majority of government officials are original Baath party members, Samawa's citizens find no difference from the Hussein regime. On August 1, the reconstruction of roads within the city began. The new chairman Saud Ajiz Jabbaru on an inspection tour points out the discrepancy between the aid given and the hopes of the Iraqi people: "This is not work a big country needs to do.
A developing country can do that by itself. On 6 August, the arcades of the city were decorated with Tanabata ornaments. Anmaru, the representative of the Japanese Friendship Association and others worked through the night to install them. Anmaru has continued to appeal to the Japanese side since January of last year to have a place where the Japanese side and citizens can discuss the content of the aid program. If there is mutual understanding, only then will both the carp streamers and the Tanabata ornaments become meaningful.
But at present there is nothing but one-sided imposition from the Japanese side. In mid-July, flyers announcing terrorist actions were distributed in the center of the city. In August, the camp was bombarded three times and the situation worsened. Flyers listed the U. The Self-Defense Forces was not on the list, but if they betray the citizens' expectations, the likelihood of becoming embroiled in anti-U. Some of the jobless citizens of Samawa have told me that, "If we cannot get work, we will support acts of terror. The author was stationed in Samawa in southern Iraq for more than half a year.
This article was published in Shukan Kinyobi, 1 October, , no. The analogy should be a chilling one for a nation that pioneered, in the wake of World War II, in pressing charges of prisoner abuse and insisting on responsibility both of the immediate perpetrator of violations of human rights, on up through the chain of command to the highest authority.
The U. But Japan saw the bombing of its cities as the deliberate targeting of civilians--and employed summary proceedings to punish captured American flyers as war criminals. Following the war, American military authorities concluded that treating Americans as war criminals was itself a war crime, because the Japanese procedures didn't meet the due-process standards of international law. Army officers carefully reviewed the level of due process the enemy had afforded American prisoners, and harshly punished them for falling short of what the U.
A Japanese officer stood trial in for war crimes, in one of hundreds of such proceedings. Yuri Kei was accused of directing his guards to bayonet to death an American soldier and forcing others to watch. In November, a federal judge in Washington shut down military commissions the administration convened to try prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, finding that they fell short of international legal standards. Today, a federal appeals court in Washington will hear the government's appeal -- and find that the long-forgotten history of the World War II commissions is suddenly at issue.
Guards watch prisoners from Afghanistan at Guantanamo Bay Prison "Our military prosecuted the Japanese officials who devised specious rationales to deny court-martial protections and Geneva Convention protections o our captured servicemen tried in Japanese military commissions," says Neal Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who is representing Salim Hamdan, a Guantanamo prisoner facing trial. That is the essence of our claim before the federal courts. Katyal argues, because it affords defendants fewer rights than American soldiers receive before courts-martial, in particular by denying efendants the right to confront all witnesses or see all evidence against them.
Hamdan, a Yemeni captured in Afghanistan after the U. He denies the charges, but acknowledges serving as Osama bin Laden's driver. The government's primary claim is that courts have no authority to second-guess the treatment of enemy prisoners. But the administration also contends its military commission will offer a fair trial. Nonetheless, the administration maintains that special courts are needed to try international terrorism suspects because of the grave threat they pose to the U. Under current rules, commissions can sentence convicts to any term or, on vote of a unanimous seven-member panel, death.
According to the U. American flyers "who do not violate international law will be treated as prisoners of war," but those "suspected of being felonious war criminals" would face Japanese military tribunals. Offenses "subject to military punishment" included "bombing, strafing and other acts of attack aimed at threatening and inflicting casualties on civilians," "damaging and destroying private property which has no military significance" and "any atrocious brutal acts that disregard humanity. Like the Bush administration's military commissions, the Japanese courts could consider evidence extracted through coercive interrogations.
But laws passed by the Japanese Diet and regulations issued by the Imperial Army spelled out procedures intended to ensure that prisoners weren't punished arbitrarily. As the war wore on, however, the Japanese deviated from their regulations, using samurai swords to behead convicted flyers because ammunition was too scarce to waste on firing squads. Dozens of Americans were executed after summary hearings with no right of appeal.
Prosecuted by the U. Onishi Hajime, charged with presiding over the execution of U. Besides, such procedures "would not have given the crew members any greater rights or protections than they received under the abridged procedure, and that it constituted a trial under international law. Army reviewers concluded in that "a Japanese tribunal could have reasonably found there was indiscriminate bombing" and that "in the course of a legal trial might well have found the [American] crew members guilty.
Onishi was sentenced to life at hard labor, although, on review, the sentence was recommended for reduction to 30 years. Advocates for the Guantanamo prisoners acknowledge that procedures the Japanese used against American flyers were far less fair than the Bush administration has issued for its current trials of enemy prisoners.
But they argue that the point of U. Charles Swift, a Navy lawyer assigned to defend Mr. Hamdan, says that the U. Charles Swift, a Navy lawyer assigned to defend before the Guantanamo military commission. A Pentagon spokesman, Air Force Maj. Michael Shavers, declined to comment on the World War II precedents, but said the new military commissions established by President Bush "provide a valid, more flexible way in which to hold those who violate international laws of war accountable while providing them their day in court and preserving national security.
Army Capt. Louis Zamperini spent 47 days on a life raft before being rescued by a Japanese patrol boat. Then his ordeal really began. Shipped through a succession of prison camps, he finally arrived at Japan's secret Ofuna interrogation center. There, prisoners thought to hold critical intelligence were placed under a strict regimen designed to make them break. Solitary confinement, blindfolding and compulsory calisthenics were routine. Prisoners were shaved and stripped, forbidden from speaking to each other and made to stand at attention or assume uncomfortable positions for interrogations.
Cooperate, and treatment might improve. Violate the rules and you might be slapped or beaten -- or worse. Zamperini, now 88 years old. Japan had never ratified the Geneva Conventions, and Ofuna inmates were told they had no treaty protections -- such as the right to reveal nothing but name, rank and serial number. Upon Tokyo's surrender, however, the U. Offenses as minor as failing to post camp rules or holding up a prisoner's meal were considered war crimes. A single count could bring a year at hard labor. David Cohen of the University of California, Berkeley, who has been collecting trial records from around the world for a War Crimes Studies Center1 he founded in Summary Executions Although Nuremberg and other postwar tribunals largely are remembered for prosecuting the Nazi leadership for crimes against humanity, the trials originated in the mistreatment of prisoners of war.
It was the German practice of summarily executing downed Allied flyers that in led Washington to begin planning for war-crimes prosecutions. Other than the flyers, Prof. Cohen says, American and British soldiers captured by the Germans usually received adequate treatment. Prisoners of the Japanese, however, faced grueling treatment across the board. Forced labor, meager rations and poor medical care were the rule, along with occasional beheadings by samurai sword and even incidents of cannibalism.
But as the U. For conditions that fell short of torture, prosecutors brought charges under the sweeping Geneva provision that barred "any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. Japan failed to register some prisoners or facilities with the Red Cross, delayed delivering their mail or Red Cross packages and denied some Americans POW privileges without full-blown judicial proceedings. Japanese regulations required that prisoners of war "be humanely treated and in no case shall any insult or maltreatment be inflicted. When complaints arrived from the foreign governments or the Red Cross, which then as now was the only independent group allowed to visit prisoners, officials forwarded them to military authorities.
Soda Pop and a Biscuit Mr. Zamperini, who still lives in his hometown of Los Angeles, says his first encounters with Japanese interrogators were hardly pleasant, but to his surprise, "they didn't beat you to get information out of you" -- at least not always. After subsisting on a diet of plain rice, Mr. Zamperini was led before "naval officers in white suits with gold braid" who sat feasting at "a table full of goodies.
Zamperini says he used a ruse, pretending to crack under pressure and then offering misleading information about the location of U. Government-appointed defense attorneys protested the vagueness of some charges. The World War II defendants insisted that they hadn't received proper training, or that prisoners exaggerated their mistreatment, or that any problems resulted from cultural misunderstandings or were appropriate punishment for breaking camp rules. Low-ranking guards claimed they were following superior orders, while top officers and cabinet ministers blamed rogue subordinates.
Defense lawyers argued that Japan wasn't legally bound by the Geneva Conventions and, even if it were, many prisoners, such as Allied flyers, had no right to treaty protections because they committed such war crimes as sabotage or "indiscriminate bombing" of cities. Hundreds of Trials While the international tribunals at Tokyo and Nuremberg focused on a handful of high-ranking Axis defendants, hundreds of lower-profile national military commissions tried the small fry. For instance, in November , a British military court at Wuppertal, Germany, sentenced three German officers to terms of up to five years for crimes at a Luftwaffe interrogation center.
At Yokohama, Japan, meanwhile, the U. Army conducted more than war-crimes trials through American prosecutors focused on Ofuna, a secret interrogation camp run by the Imperial Navy for pilots and other high value prisoners, including Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, the Marine Corps flying ace. Using affidavits and testimony from former prisoners, prosecutors depicted a grim world where men were broken through physical and psychological cruelty. When Japan failed to cooperate with the Red Cross, the U. Tamura Hiroshi, head of prisoner management, was sentenced to eight years hard labor for, in part, "refusing and failing to grant permission" to the Red Cross to visit prison camps, denying Red Cross delegates "access to all premises" where prisoners were held and refusing to let prisoners speak to the Red Cross without Japanese observers present.
Japanese authorities told Ofuna prisoners that they weren't POWs but unarmed "belligerents" who weren't entitled to Geneva's protections. Navy aviator James Balch testified that an interrogator "explained to me that I wasn't a registered prisoner of war, that I was a special prisoner of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and was, as far as the Japanese were concerned, still a combatant. The 'Ofuna Crouch' Japanese interrogators put captured Americans in painful contortions for periods of 30 minutes to several hours.
One hated position, the so-called Ofuna crouch, involved "standing on the ball of your foot, knees half bent and arms extended over the head," Navy Lt. John Fitzgerald said in a deposition. In an affidavit, Navy Capt. Captured after swimming to Java, Capt. Maher said Japanese officers "promised that we would be treated in accordance with international law. Prisoners were given just one cigarette a day and had to smoke it immediately, Capt. Maher said.
Many of the guards, he said, "were sadists, some obviously cowards who did not wish to see battle," he said. Interrogators used different tactics to obtain results. Some tried flattery, cajolery and sympathy; others used threats of violence. But the prisoner was never allowed to forget that he was in a subservient position and there was nothing that he could do about it," he said.
Mail between prisoners and their families was restricted to a trickle of censored letters, Capt. The Japanese frequently referred to the fact that we could write as soon as we left Ofuna, using that as an added incentive to talk and be rewarded by being sent to a regular prisoner-of-war camp. The chief of naval intelligence, Rear Adm. Takeuchi Kaoru testified that he had ordered that prisoners be treated well. Not to mistreat prisoners of war. And to conduct the interrogation in a free, conversational manner. Moreover, abusing the prisoners was ineffective.
Officers were held liable for their subordinates' mistreatment of prisoners -- even if they tried to stop the abuse. Camp commander Takata Suichi "took immediate action and investigated all complaints made by the POW officers as to abuses committed upon POWs, reprimanding the guilty," and also "tried to correct the food situation and living conditions in the camp," concluded Army reviewer George Taylor.
Two former prisoners -- the senior American and British officers held there -- wrote letters recommending clemency. In view of such "mitigating circumstances," Mr. Taylor recommended that Mr. Takata's punishment be reduced -- to 15 years at hard labor, from the original sentence of 40 years. Half the time, Army reviewers found the commissions too lenient and recommended that harsher sentences be imposed. On occasion, though, they accepted defense arguments. Prison guard Kikuchi Masatomo was convicted of compelling prisoners "to practice saluting and other forms of arduous military exercises on their rest days and at other times when they were tired.
Kikuchi of two "beatings. Kikuchi's sentence was cut to eight years hard labor, from Yokura Sashizo, an Ofuna interrogator, testified that he opposed beating American prisoners, even though beatings commonly were used to discipline Japanese soldiers. He said he had learned from an interpreter who studied in the U.
Prosecutors, however, contended that Cmdr. Yokura had subtly signaled guards to soften up prisoners for interrogation. Specifically, they introduced evidence that in December , Cmdr. Yokura delayed the meal of a captured B flyer, Maj. Walker, and forced him to perform kampan soji, an awkward floor-cleaning exercise using a no-handle mop that typically was used to discipline Japanese sailors.
These acts, prosecutors argued, contributed to Maj. Walker's "death by inches" nine months later, after he had been severely beaten by guards and denied medical attention. Yokura's defense attorney, Michael Braun, challenged this theory in his closing argument. Walker, just as we regret the deaths of , to , other Americans who died in the past war," he said.
Yokura denied holding up Maj. Walker's meal, but even if he had, Mr. Braun argued, he would have been justified because Maj. Walker refused to give his name, rank and serial number, as required by the Geneva Conventions. Army's own Rules of Land Warfare authorized "food restrictions as punishment," he observed. Braun urged the military commission not to apply a double standard. Yokura to 25 years at hard labor. But following Sept. Zamperini, the former Japanese prisoner, says that in today's war on terrorism, severe treatment of the enemy might be called for.
Posted at Japan Focus May 9, By Wakamiya Yoshibumi [ This is one of a series of articles on Japanese thinking about war, war responsibility, Yasukuni shrine, and Japan's place in East Asia. The series as a whole highlights deep divisions in Japanese thought both about the assessment of the war and the implications of that assessment for the future of Japan's role in East Asia. Koga Makoto When Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro began his visits to Yasukuni Shrine, they were meant in respect to the war dead and their bereaved families. He probably did not think the visits would so complicate Japan's relations with China and South Korea.
Things are now so divisive that Koga said June "It is also important that the spirits of the war dead rest in peace," implying that he hoped Koizumi would stop his visits to the shrine. But his comment angered the association, which then called on nationwide branch managers to help contain the damage. Why would Koga risk making such a statement? He is well-known for his pro-Chinese views. But his words must also reflect his personal situation. Koga, too, lost a family member in World War II. Koga's father was a soldier drafted in the Pacific War who died a hero's death on Leyte Island in the Philippines.
Koga, who was 2 years old at the time, does not remember him. While praying at the trenches where Japanese soldiers had holed up, he thought about what must have gone through his father's mind as he faced death, Koga wrote in an article in the February issue of Shokun! We have old guns, but we have no ammunition.
Why am I here and why must I die? It is nothing but poor political decisions that lead a nation to take the wrong course, causing many innocent people to go down with it. They reveal his deep resentment of Japan's national wartime leaders. I think Koga is unhappy that Class-A war criminals are enshrined in the same place as the brave people who fought and died for their country. One of its newsletters at the time printed this comment by its director: "Our fathers, husbands and sons who perished in the war did not go to war of their own free will.
They had no choice but to follow orders to go to battle, and they died. Yet the association does not oppose enshrining Class-A war criminals with other war dead. Itagaki Tadashi, a former director of the group who later served 18 years in the Upper House as an LDP member, is emblematic of such mixed feelings. He is the second son of Itagaki Seishiro , a general in the Imperial Japanese Army who was the wartime minister of the army. He was executed as a Class-A war criminal. At the urging of the Cabinet of Nakasone Yasuhiro, Itagaki moved to support plans to enshrine Class-A war criminals separately.
But he has always firmly held that "the Tokyo war crimes tribunal was unacceptable. The argument that the conflict was "a war of self-defense to liberate Asia" consoled bereaved families who did not want to believe that their husbands and fathers had died in disgrace. Such mixed feelings have continued to plague the association's members. I can recall a time when a Class-A war criminal was head of the association. That man was Kaya Okinori , who led the association for 15 years from Kaya was sentenced to life in prison. But after serving 10 years, he was released on parole and eventually made a smooth political comeback.
Kaya was a political heavyweight who eventually led the LDP Policy Research Council and held the post of justice minister. Kaya surely was among those who led the association into claiming Japan's war was "a just war. To my surprise, he had called the Japan-China war "meaningless" and repeatedly condemned Japan's war against the United States as reckless. As Tojo's finance minister, Kaya, who had been a ministry bureaucrat, opposed attacking the United States.
But in the end, he caved in to Tojo and the military. Kaya later repeatedly blamed himself, saying, "I deserve to commit hara-kiri for my war responsibility, no matter how much I opposed war. But on the other hand, instead of having foreign countries put Japan on trial, he wrote, "the Japanese should judge their war responsibility themselves.
There are people whose responsibility is grave because they seriously tainted Japanese history and put the people through great misery. I am one of them. He played a positive role by ensuring higher pensions were paid to bereaved families. While he also showed signs of being out of step with current thought by campaigning for state protection of Yasukuni Shrine, he continued to refuse any honors, and he blamed himself until his death in The following year, Tojo and other Class-A war criminals were enshrined in Yasukuni.
What would Kaya have said if he had known what happened? Today's association leader, Koga, lost his father in the war, while Kaya owned up to his responsibility for allowing that war. Although they came from positions far apart, they seem to have shared the same feelings. For people who insist the war was fought in self-defense, I recommend Kaya's book, "Senzen Sengo Hachiju-nen" Eighty years before and after the war, published by Keizai Oraisha. While it is out of print, it is worth searching for. Wakamiya Yoshibumi heads The Asahi Shimbun editorial board.
Posted at Japan Focus July 13, Newly unearthed documents show how the story of the A-bomb was suppressed and revealed. Nagasaki, Thirty days after the first atomic bomb people were still dying, mysteriously and horribly Sixty years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some of the first reportage of the deadly impact of radiation — before the term had come into popular use — has reemerged from behind the veil of US censorship, thanks to the uncovering of the dispatches of Chicago Daily News reporter George Weller.
Weller evaded military censors to reach Nagasaki by rowboat and train, and documented the destruction and the fate of GI prisoners, and the mysterious "Disease X," or radiation sickness. But because he submitted his stories and photographs to the occupation authorities for approval, they remained censored — until a copy of his original dispatch was found and published by his son this year.
The rediscovery makes a fascinating comparison with the best-known early account of Hiroshima by Australian war correspondent Wilfred Burchett. Truth telling: Australian Wilfred Burchett left and American George Weller told the A-Bomb horror story, but one report was reviled and the other suppressed At the end of the Pacific War, as the entire allied press corps focused on Japan's formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri, Burchett on September 2, set off on a hour train ride to Hiroshima, evading US military efforts to confine reporters to Tokyo and away from the A-bombed cities. Seated on a concrete block surrounded by devastation and typing on a Baby Hermes, Burchett began his dispatch: "In Hiroshima, thirty days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly — people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as an atomic plague.
It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world. His first account from ground zero, banner headlined in the London Daily Express on September 5, , told the world about the radiation that was the most mysterious and terrifying consequence of the atomic bomb.
The report prompted damage control measures by the US, which sought to reaffirm an official narrative that downplayed civilian casualties, flatly denied reports of deadly radiation and its lingering effects, and accused the reporter of falling for Japanese propaganda. Doctors in Hiroshima had told Burchett about the major symptoms of radiation, and their helplessness to treat it.
Then people without a mark on them, including some not even here when the Bomb exploded, fell sick and died. For no apparent reason their health began to fail. They lost their appetite, their hair began to fall out, bluish spots appeared on their bodies and bleeding started from the nose, mouth and eyes. And in every case the patient dies Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project, invited 30 reporters to New Mexico to set the record straight.
William L. Laurence, who coined the term "the nuclear age," wrote most of the official US statements about the bomb, and published a ten part series on the bomb in The New York Times that played down the destruction of the bomb and the dangers of radiation and celebrated the triumph of US technology.
Most important, Laurence faithfully echoed Groves' accounts denying the deadly effects of radiation. It was among the earliest and most handsome paybacks for what we now call embedded journalism. Weller's reports, a carbon copy of which were unearthed by his son, Anthony Weller, in a Rome apartment in , two years after the reporter's death at the age of 95, and serialized in Japanese and English in the Mainichi Shimbun paper and online editions in June , also make disturbing reading.
But some of Weller's conclusions differ profoundly from those of Burchett. Where Burchett warned of the dangers of nuclear war and raised disturbing questions about the US bombing, Weller staunchly defended the US from charges that anything was amiss in the decision to destroy the two cities with atomic bombs. Weller insisted that the atomic bomb was a bomb like any other: "The impression grows that the atomic bomb is a tremendous, but not a peculiar weapon. But hours of walking amid the ruins where the odor of decaying flesh is still strong produces in this writer nausea, but no sign of burns or debilitation.
Nobody here in Nagasaki has yet been able to show that the bomb is different than any other, except in a broader extent flash and a more powerful knock-out. Nevertheless, Weller, too, perhaps despite himself, came to recognize the special horror of the effects of Disease X. Men, woman and children with no outward marks of injury are dying daily in hospitals. We now know that by the end of , the bomb had taken the lives of , in Hiroshima and 70, in Nagasaki, while others would survive to reckon with the lingering effects of radiation.
Six decades ago, two reporters broke US censorship to provide compelling accounts of the impact of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of those, Burchett, told the story to the world, eliciting US official denial of such truths as the impact of radiation on its victims.
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The other, Weller, also documented the deadly toll not only of blast and fire, but of radiation, even while steadfastly denying the peculiar character of the bomb. It is his documentation of the impact of the bomb, and not the reflexive patriotism that led him to defend the targeting of civilians and to minimize the unique effects of radiation, that makes his long-censored report worth reading today.
And perhaps explains why his report, with its fervent defense of the bombing of Nagasaki, was suppressed by U. Mark Selden is a coordinator of Japan Focus. Cultural stereotypes are enduring lenses through which many of us understand others. Increased immigration and international travel as well as education in media literacy and critical thinking can help to erode such stereotypes.
Given the tragic history of exoticizing others, one would anticipate that social scientists would be particularly careful to avoid doing it in their work. Instead, sweeping generalizations backed up by questionable methodology and tendentious argument appear to be on the rise.
At the very least, they are not getting the scrutiny they deserve. This review examines some contemporary stereotypes in recent culturalist work on East Asia by North American researchers. I list these elite affiliations to show that the reader can rightfully expect that the book, even though targeted at a broad market, was ostensibly the product of a careful process of fact-checking, consideration of alternative hypotheses, and other standard tools of good academic research.
Many people have been convinced by this work. Moreover, Nisbett backs up his thesis by citing an extensive list of sources that have made this claim, while ignoring the numerous criticisms of such culturalist reasoning. Nisbett also makes frequent reference to other studies that appear primarily to have been conducted with graduate students in the US, Japan, China and elsewhere.
There appear to be no Europeans used in the studies, in spite of the fact that there is so much variation in perceptions and ideas distinguishing Americans from Europeans not to mention within those regions as well. Yet these tendencies are discussed through the bulk of the book as though they were vast, dichotomized differences in seeing the world that have persisted over millennia. Is this Science? Is there anyone out there who thinks graduate students are a representative sample of any population except perhaps fellow graduate students?
I mean this as no insult to graduate students, of course, having been one myself not so many years ago. Even in America, where there is a rather high rate of students proceeding to graduate school, no one would think of them as a representative sample of Americans, let alone the so-called west. But in addition, the study participants were graduate students in a few big cities and elite universities in geographically limited areas.
In other words, the sample was emphatically not representative of the larger populations of Europe, East Asia, and America: by income, social class, ethnicity, educational level, to mention a few critical variables. And the sample appears to have been self-selected, rather than randomly chosen, which biases the results even more. Hence, whether the study demonstrated anything has to be approached with a skeptical eye, employing the basic lessons of statistical literacy, as this is how science works.
It is of course possible that the reputed differences between Asian and western ways of thinking actually exist, just as any hypothesis is possible. But in order to make a convincing demonstration that the hypothesized phenomenon exists, one needs not only unimpeachable data.
One also has to employ the standard scientific methods that are used to reduce potential interference from the confirmation bias and other logical fallacies. Surely, had he done so, he would have put that in the book to strengthen the argument. Without a gauntlet of skepticism and criticism guiding the design of the experiments, the selection of subjects, the interpretation of the apparently weak results, and so on, the conclusions have little credibility. Common sense is what one agrees with, and because one agrees one is inclined to favour impressions and arguments that appear to confirm it.
Stereotypes are often easier to swallow when they lack hard edges.