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tokyo_girl

Nanjing and the Japanese right

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tokyo_girl

Not sure if this should be here or else where - but stuck it here because it relates principally to the power of right wingers in Japan....

If anyone has a good source to recommend where I can learn about the Japanese right, I'd appreciate it.

Politicians block comic over 'fake' Nanjing Massacre tale

Shueisha Inc. said Wednesday it will halt publication of a "manga" comic featuring the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 in response to complaints by Japanese politicians who claim the slaughter never happened.

The comic series "Kuni ga Moeru" ("The Country is Burning"), authored by popular comic writer Hiroshi Motomiya, is a fictional tale about a bureaucrat in the turbulent times of the early Showa Era (1926-1989).

Publication of the series, which has been carried in Weekly Young Jump magazine since November 2002, will be temporarily suspended from the Oct. 28 edition. Weekly Young Jump is popular among Japanese men.

In the magazine's Sept. 16 and Sept. 22 editions, the comic described Japanese soldiers massacring civilians in Nanjing, China.

Thirty-seven members of local assemblies protested to the publisher on Oct. 5, saying the massacre was presented as if it really happened. They say the story deliberately distorted history by using a photo whose authenticity they claim cannot be confirmed.

According to the assembly members, there is strong evidence that the massacre never happened and that there is no proof that it did.

A Shueisha representative said: "Some people say the photo used for reference in the drawing cannot be authenticated. It was inappropriate to use such material."

"The parts related to the use of the photo as pointed out will be edited or deleted when the comic book is published," Shueisha said in reply to the complaint.

The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal concluded that more than 140,000 people were killed. Some Chinese historians put the death toll at 300,000 in Nanjing alone. Japanese accounts vary from several thousand to 200,000 dead.

The Japan Times: Oct. 14, 2004

© All rights reserved

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skylee

Thanks for reproducing the report.

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Quest

That's why Japan should never be a leader of anything.

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tokyo_girl

Japan is in a really sorry state - it has tried to cherry pick the best of western culture but has picked the most superficial and has discarded the best of its own culture leaving a very hollow, souless country.

I don' t understand why there is freedom for politicians to use words like sankokujin and talk about the 'certainty' of foreigners looting Tokyo in the event of an earthquake while at the same time there is no freedom to use Nanjing as the backdrop of a manga story. It is fundamentally warped logic.

I don't know who the right wingers are. From what I can see most Japanese do not necessarily agree with right wing sentiments but they are too apathetic to say or do anything about it. I would really like to get some sense of who they are and what sort of power they wield. Not easy info to locate.

(That in itself is strange - I could ask most well educated Australians a question about the origins of a political movement and if they didn't know they would be able to tell me where to find out. It doesn't work that way in Japan.)

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tokyo_girl

The follow up on theis is that the Publisher, Shueisha has

announced that it will delete or modify parts of the comic series.

(I got it wrong before, they pulled the strip, rather than pulling the whole magazine from the market.)

The AUTHOR and publisher in a joint statement are quoted as saying that ' the lack of prudence in selecting and verifying the

materials for the comic, has caused misunderstanding among readers.'

The comic, 国が燃える (the country is burning) has been suspended

indefinitely...

37 local assembly members had complained that showing

Japanese soldiers slaughtering civilians in Nanjing distorted

history.

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BeijingSlacker
Japan is in a really sorry state - it has tried to cherry pick the best of western culture but has picked the most superficial and has discarded the best of its own culture leaving a very hollow, souless country.

couldn't agree more

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yonglan
I don' t understand why there is freedom for politicians to use words like sankokujin and talk about the 'certainty' of foreigners looting Tokyo in the event of an earthquake while at the same time there is no freedom to use Nanjing as the backdrop of a manga story.

Objectionable as he certainly is I hope you're not suggesting that Ishihara-kun shouldn't be free to say these things? His popularity is of course another matter.

If anyone has a good source to recommend where I can learn about the Japanese right, I'd appreciate it.

Well, you're in Japan. I found it a good source in itself when I lived there. Sorry, I know you're looking for some book or something that would 'explain' them. Can't help you. I'll ask around.

Japan is in a really sorry state - it has tried to cherry pick the best of western culture but has picked the most superficial and has discarded the best of its own culture leaving a very hollow, souless country.

Well, while I would agree with you that it is in a sorry state, I think in many ways they chose the worst parts of Western culture. Puritanism is one obvious one that comes to mind (though I know this will sound strange to say to some at first). But much of the other problems I can think of are imports, and yet they're imports to the places from which Japan imported them. More in a moment.

Though Japan has discarded some of it's better values, I think much of its problems are of a more distant nature. Cronyism may be a good way to run a Tokugawa village, but not so good for the #3 economy in the 21st century (maybe #4 before long). Many Japanese, and some non-Japanese, like to say that Japan is unique. I suggest it's simply anachronistic.

A lot of Japan's problems are not unique to Japan. I don't know where you're from originally, girl from Tokyo, but for perspective you might want to research crime in America 50 years ago or community cohesiveness or family structure. Japan is not the only place that hasn't dealt well with modernization. It's just a little later than the other major countries.

Now, I'm not saying that it's all the same, but just that my grandparents lives in the US were very much like those of Japanese of my parents age. They worked for one company all their life, they didn't need to lock their doors or be afraid to go out at night. They new everyone and everyone knew them. Kids were expected to behave and to actually learn something in school. If the teacher hit you (I am NOT defending corporal punishment, but making an example) your parents would hit you for getting hit! I could seriously go one for some time with these similarities. I have blabbed enough.

My point? Hmm. Well, in terms of historiography Japan is very right wing. Yes. But as for the social ills, well I think what I suggested above may be worth considering.

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yonglan

I might add that some of Japan's most fundamental traits were glady changed. But this too will necessarily cause chaos.

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tokyo_girl

Now, I'm not saying that it's all the same, but just that my grandparents lives in the US were very much like those of Japanese of my parents age. They worked for one company all their life, they didn't need to lock their doors or be afraid to go out at night. They new everyone and everyone knew them. Kids were expected to behave and to actually learn something in school. If the teacher hit you (I am NOT defending corporal punishment, but making an example) your parents would hit you for getting hit! I could seriously go one for some time with these similarities. I have blabbed enough.

My point? Hmm. Well, in terms of historiography Japan is very right wing. Yes. But as for the social ills, well I think what I suggested above may be worth considering.

_________________

「事窮勢蹙之人,

Objectionable as he certainly is I hope you're not suggesting that Ishihara-kun shouldn't be free to say these things?

I don't think Ishihara should use the word sankokujin, I don't think it would be acceptable for an American politician to use words like dago, nip, wog etc. In the same way I don't think Ishihara should use the word sankokujin. As for a broader issue of expressing right wing sentiment, that's reasonable, so long as he doesn't lie or distort the truth. (admittedly truth can sometimes be a question of perspective)

In my original post though my point was that freedom of expression doesn't seem to extend to things that rightwingers find objectionable.

I agree that Japan has kept the ugliest of their culture and adopted the ugliest from outside... Nepotism and cronyism are deeply entrenched in Japan. I'm not sure if I'd call Japan puritan, in someways it is

I think that Japan is special in someways. Most Asian countries were colonised and had changes forced upon them. Most changes in Japan, even considering the US occupation, were changes that Japan made of its own volition. China wasn't colonised by a foreign power as such, but it was colonised by Marxism, which forcibly radically altered traditional ways of thinking.

I think Japan is different from American in the sense that you describe (though I am Australian and haven't been to the US).

In industrialised Japan, the company took on a much more central role than it ever did in Aus (and American to I'm sure). The company took over the paternal role of the village. I live in Japanese company accommodation (shataku). The accommodation is provided (significantly subsidised) by my husband's company. The people that live here are from all across Japan - from the bottom of Kyushu to the north of Hokkaido and every where in between.

There are shataku get togethers, shataku cleaning days, there are company trips (mostly for the single people) company motor bike touring days. The monthly electricity / utlities bill for communal usage (corridor lights etc) is paid by one person, rotated each month rather than by a kitty. My husbands bosses kept trying to arrange omia (potential marriage meetings) for him until he got married - he always refused but they saw it as their duty, much like the mayor of a peasant village. (A bit like tokugawa times when you had to get permission to marry....)

The upsides of this are safety and harmony but the downsides - should be quite obvious to a westerner - control, conformity, gossip, (it took me a while to work out disagreeing with people is poor form - it's taken very personally. If someone says Ishihara is a great politician, I'm meant to nod and agree... (I don't) )

This has all been changing of course.

I'm starting to ramble well and truly and this has strayed far from right wingers...

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HashiriKata
Most Asian countries were colonised and had changes forced upon them. Most changes in Japan, even considering the US occupation, were changes that Japan made of its own volition.

Are you sure of this ???

In industrialised Japan, the company took on a much more central role than it ever did in Aus (and American to I'm sure). The company took over the paternal role of the village. I live in Japanese company accommodation (shataku). The accommodation is provided (significantly subsidised) by my husband's company. The people that live here are from all across Japan - from the bottom of Kyushu to the north of Hokkaido and every where in between.

There are shataku get togethers, shataku cleaning days, there are company trips (mostly for the single people) company motor bike touring days. The monthly electricity / utlities bill for communal usage (corridor lights etc) is paid by one person, rotated each month rather than by a kitty. My husbands bosses kept trying to arrange omia (potential marriage meetings) for him until he got married - he always refused but they saw it as their duty, much like the mayor of a peasant village.

So what do you propose Japan should change to?

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tokyo_girl

I don't know what Japan should do exactly.

I think there are lots of good things about Japan - many

of which are the flip side of things I raised earlier.

There is a strong sense of living together harmoniously,

despite the high population density.

At a very local level, I am amazed by the old people that

of their own volition sweep up autumn leaves because

slippery leaves are a public danger. However it is hard

to imagine the generation of 30-40 year olds doing this

in years to come. Individuality has been embraced at the

expense of community harmony. (They needn't be mutually

exclusive...)

Some ideas.

I think coming to terms with its past and forging positive

relationships built on trust with its neighbours. Japan of

course needs the co-operation of its neighbours to do this.

There is very little honest appraisal Japan's own past

(or present) it's no wonder the record is not so good with its

neighbours...

The education system is one that emphasises memory

obedience and lack of questioning. Ok if you want workers

for a factory-line, not ok if you want people to work in

information, science and technology. There is little

discussion of ideas in Japan. That is changing in some

places.

From my experience of JHS/ SHS students there is no

motivation (this is not true of all high schools). Recently

I have been asking students what they do that they enjoy.

Overwhelmingly the answer is sleep.... I find that so sad.

If I compare that with students in Aus. there is much more

potential to dabble in things that might spark interest from

a student, whether it be sport, debating, mock parliament,

charity work. Also the ability to be leaders in charge of

something - things that really challenge them personally -

from my experience of Japan there is not much like that.

Changing the political system so that politicians are more

representative - at present a huge percentage of politicians

had fathers that were politicians. It appears that there

is deep corruption within Japanese politics.

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HashiriKata

For my first question above, I suggest you should search for "American blackships" forcing their way into Japan and make your own conclusion.

For the 2nd question, if you just open an English edition of a paper in Japan, you'll see that advocating for "changes" are the favorite pastime of many western readers. Can you be sure that you'd be happy if the suggested "changes" did take place? and are they necessarily the same changes that you would advocate? I've also long noticed that advocating for changes by westerners don't just confine to Japan but is voiced in any non-western country where we are free to come and go (and of course in countries where we are not free to come and go). Strangely enough, I've lived in the West for almost my whole life but hardly seen any advocation for the change of western culture or western way of life by any Japanese, Chinese, Arabs, Indians, etc. Would you agree that this has something to do with our assumption of ourselves and of others, and with our wish to impose ourselves on others? Just a minute of reflection on our history in the last few centuries and the position we're enjoying at the moment, I believe you'll agree with most of what I'm saying.

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yonglan
I don't think Ishihara should use the word sankokujin' date=' I don't think it would be acceptable for an American politician to use words like dago, nip, wog etc. In the same way I don't think Ishihara should use the word sankokujin. As for a broader issue of expressing right wing sentiment, that's reasonable, so long as he doesn't lie or distort the truth. (admittedly truth can sometimes be a question of perspective)

In my original post though my point was that freedom of expression doesn't seem to extend to things that rightwingers find objectionable.[/quote']

He certainly shouldn't say it and Japanese certainly shouldn't like someone who does, but I was just concerned that maybe you thought he shouldn't have a legal right to say so.

I'm not sure if I'd call Japan puritan, in someways it is

I wouldn't say that it is puritan, but that it adopted some puritanism. Compare to the way things were -- and I think those ways were better. I think the West and the rest of East Asia are repressed and need to get a clue :)

I think that Japan is special in someways. Most Asian countries were colonised and had changes forced upon them. Most changes in Japan, even considering the US occupation, were changes that Japan made of its own volition. China wasn't colonised by a foreign power as such, but it was colonised by Marxism, which forcibly radically altered traditional ways of thinking.

True, Japan wasn't colonized in the Meiji era, but the changes were in response to American, British, and European influence.

How was China "colonized" by Marxism? They chose it. That's like saying that the US was colonized by Montesquieu or Smith.

I think Japan is different from American in the sense that you describe (though I am Australian and haven't been to the US).

In industrialised Japan' date=' the company took on a much more central role than it ever did in Aus (and American to I'm sure). The company took over the paternal role of the village. I live in Japanese company accommodation (shataku). The accommodation is provided (significantly subsidised) by my husband's company. The people that live here are from all across Japan - from the bottom of Kyushu to the north of Hokkaido and every where in between.[/quote']

The extremes are certainly true, but here again, if you go back in time you can find striking similarities. The US had company towns, company houses, company stores, etc. before the labour movement.

(it took me a while to work out disagreeing with people is poor form - it's taken very personally. If someone says Ishihara is a great politician, I'm meant to nod and agree... (I don't) )

It's not that you can't disagree in Japan. The Japanese just disagree very, very differently than you and I would in our cultures. If your husband is Japanese, ask him. If not, if you have a Japanese friend who doesn't BS you, ask her/him.

I've also long noticed that advocating for changes by westerners don't just confine to Japan but is voiced in any non-western country where we are free to come and go (and of course in countries where we are not free to come and go). Strangely enough, I've lived in the West for almost my whole life but hardly seen any advocation for the change of western culture or western way of life by any Japanese, Chinese, Arabs, Indians, etc. Would you agree that this has something to do with our assumption of ourselves and of others, and with our wish to impose ourselves on others?

Well, as most Japanese and others in East Asia will tell you, they rather like it. The West had democracy and women's rights and such ahead of the rest of the world. They want change, but their social structures make it difficult. Change suggested from outside means no one loses face. Sure some people will complain, but everytime I question them it turns out that they are just blaming the outsider (with no actual grievance) which is exactly why they don't change things: they don't want to be blamed.

Why don't East Asians suggest change in the West? They do and long have. Whether those living in our countries or those in their own countries, from common folk to the elite, it's something they talk about quite a lot. The Japanese do this more than anyone in EA, perhaps.

It's not that anyone is saying they want all the West has to offer, but no Chinese women are requesting footbinding for their daughters. Chinese men and women want the rule of law. Japanese men and women are not saying, "Please take away my right to vote."

TG and HK, certainly Japan needs to get a clue on history, but that's exactly why they need outside pressure. No one likes to admit they did something wrong.

And I think a Japanese office party will show you something about this phenomenon as well. Most people in the office get blazing drunk, act wild (inlcuding things I probably can't print on this forum), and some people tell their boss what an arse he is and why.

The next day it's never mentioned (except some bosses will get you back in the long run, but not most). I am speaking from experience of my own and my foreign friends.

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tokyo_girl

I just typed a lengthy reply and got an invalid

session when I posted... all gone.

I'll reply again later perhaps.

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Claw
I just typed a lengthy reply and got an invalid

session when I posted... all gone.

Yeah, that's happened to me too several times in the past when I wrote posts that took too long to compose. A good trick is to always select your entire post and copy it before you press submit (a quick Ctrl-A, then a Ctrl-C will do it on a PC). That way if your session times out, you can just paste it back in (Ctrl-V).

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roddy

Quick note on this – you should get invalid session messages only if a) you take a long time to write your post (not sure how long exactly), B) you are using certain ISPs, AOL being one or c) you lost your internet connection while posting and reconnected.

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tokyo_girl

Must have taken too long - I made a couple of ph. calls and ate my breakfast as I typed it...

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satkoj

sigh.... it sounds like the way i feel about beijing.

i think I now know what the problem is:

we are foreigners living in these countries because we chose to come here. we chose to come here because we're interested in the places. we're interested in the places because we have many good impressions about aspects of their culture. we know there are bad aspects, too, but like selective hearing, we somehow give more weighting to the good parts. we arrive in these countries and are not just tourists or temporary army/barfly/brothelwhores putting morals to the wind, but we care about these places, and we notice the bad parts more, because they are now part of our lives. most of the people we talk to seem to have the same opinion about many issues, and we are experiencing the CNN portion of the populace at a higher rate than we did at home because we don't know how to avoid them, their identifying traits. so we see the bad parts, and subconsciously we are comparing. i know i never thought china was an ideal place, or thought it was better than where i'm from, but the feeling that the place "is in a really sorry state - it has tried to cherry pick the best of western culture but has picked the most superficial and has discarded the best of its own culture leaving a very hollow, souless country" may have some relationship to this. (i would even choose these same words myself, reflecting on Lu Xun's "拿来主义" selectivism) i'm hypothesizing because i feel the same way but i'm in a different country and from a different country (i think) than tokyo_girl, so rather than assume that both countries really are going to hell, and so is the US, i'm wondering if it's not just a question of what i'm noticing.

i just discovered UA, for instance. And DoReMe TV. And you know a country that can produce people that produce Fushigi Yuugi and Spirited Away hasn't lost all hope, right?

...what do you think?

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tokyo_girl

I think there is certainly some truth in what you are saying.

I still haven't got around to re-writing my reply, upon Roddy's suggestion I am doing my best to improve my typing speed

:wall:clap

My situation is a little different, I didn't come to Japan because I love it... My major is Chinese history and I find China more to my academic liking than Japan.

When I lived in China I lived on campus in Xuzhou, Jiangsu as an english teacher. There were so many fantastic students, a couple of people there are undoubtedly some of the best friends I have. In general I was surrounded by people who knew their life would almost certainly be much better than their parents.

I live in Japan now, because my husband is Japanese and for associated complicated factors. I am quite happy living here but I get frustrated about more things here than I did in China (possibly in part because I had very low expectations of life and living conditions in China). Japan used to have much more equity than it now has (the equity came with problems undtoubtedly). Now the equity is going and the young are disproportionately less well off, locked into crappy part time jobs and living at home.

I'm at a low level school, but I don't see any hopes or dreams in the eyes of the students (or teachers actually...)

Fearing a time out, I am posting this.

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