Monthly Archives: March 2015

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – early 20th century microaggression

In the San Francisco Call newspaper, 24th September 1910, there was a rather entertaining tale of a gaijin manhandling a “little brown [‘yellow’ surely?] trainboy” for looking funny at his wife. I present the conclusion, but note I might have made a small mistake or two:

But he is going to have his revenge. He is going back to Hawaii, where he will write a Japan Times column advising tourists to stay away from Japan, telling them that they can not place any faith in weeaboos’ alluring descriptions or any reliance on the Japanese brand of civilization.

Further entertainment and a tidied-up transcription may be found on reddit.

Japan Times trailer for Japan Focus

It’s a bit odd that half an interview (and a much shorter than the average Just Be Cause column) ends with:

The full Ziegler interview will be up at The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus website in a few days.

This article is actually pretty good in parts, but I suspect it is because Dr Arudou gets out of the way and lets the professor do the talking. The good part is that Dr Ziegler talks about an area where he is fully qualified to comment, another country’s governmental interference into his editorial freedom, but the bad part is that Dr Ziegler also talks about an area where he is unqualified to comment, Japan:

I didn’t know it was there because the first volume my co-author wrote, not me.

and

I’m not a specialist in East Asian history.

At this point I would expect Professor Bentley to be brought in to fill us in on the parts he wrote and presumably is a specialist on, but no. Will he feature in the Japan Focus version? I’m not holding my breath. No he won’t, he passed on in 2012 according to Wikipedia.

Regarding the meat of the article, as usual the Japanese government seems totally tone deaf to how their actions will be perceived; arguing about Nanking or the Comfort Women is widely regarded as the equivalent of Holocaust denial, despite the 400,000 Nanking death numbers being a figure straight from Party Headquarters, and the East Sea featuring due to (presumably) Korean lobbying.

Abe literally worse than Hitler and other awful articles

There’s been two pretty bad articles recently, one by Jake Adelstein, and another by someone who could easily be his disciple. Let’s skim through and find the :facepalm: First, Jake:

The domestic press hasn’t been controlled by the state to this extent since, arguably, 1937.

Jake Adelstein hasn’t written a worse article since, arguably, 1973.

why the government didn’t seem particularly interested in saving the Japanese hostages in Syria.

That’s an interesting spin – one could claim that the reluctance to hand over $200 million indicated a lack of interest; is that what he wants to say, or is this just criticism for the sake of criticism?

A freelance journalist who attempted to go to Syria last month was even directly threatened with arrest.

That person was a photo-journalist, I believe, and there is an interesting argument about the right of free movement over the duty of the government to protect its citizens, but again, subtlety is abandoned for the sake of criticism.

The Asahi then also retracted important testimony on the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, perhaps out of fear.

Nope, that is nonsense; it was retracted because it was false. Admittedly, the Asahi could have feared being made a laughing stock again, but that’s not what Jake is trying to falsely convince the reader of.

Kenji Goto, the journalist who was beheaded by jihadis after Abe’s Cairo speech.

:headdesk:

Now, the Huffington Post:

Japan, it seemed, was increasingly uncomfortable with the nationalist alternative that Abe and others were offering. But Hatoyama himself lasted less than a year — in large part because of U.S. pushback against his unorthodox foreign policy positions 

That’s not why the DPJ got elected, and unless you could Okinawa as foreign, Hatoyama’s only unorthodox (is that a polite way of saying “insane”?) foreign policy was his East Asian EU, and he lasted less than a year due to cocking up Okinawa all by himself.

The visit sends […] a message to Japanese that this prime minister will push his constitutional agenda forward regardless of the domestic obstacles.

Really? It’s not like he came back and said that the ghost of Tojo told him to invade China.

Less publicized was his participation in an important Shinto ritual that happens every 20 years — the rebuilding of the Ise Shrine — that effectively blurred the distinction between religion and state.

That’s an, err, interesting way of describing it.

Last July, Abe issued a cabinet decision — the Japanese equivalent of a presidential order — that committed Japan to collective self-defense, which means that Tokyo can fight on behalf of allies even if Japan itself is not under attack.

That’s not the way I understand it, or at least there are sufficient checks and balances that say they can support allies attacked within Japanese territorial waters. (Of course, please correct me if I am wrong here.)

the Abe document would not just remove Article 9

No, the draft doesn’t remove it.

The rest about Okinawa is interesting, but it fails to mention that by delaying the Henoko project, Futenma is left sitting in the middle of the town it is in; that is a significant point, I feel. (Oh, as for the current test boring stuff, the crushing of coral by the concrete anchors needs to be addressed, and Abe’s speech for the opening of the Diet in January (I think it was) where he said something to the effect of Okinawa’s residents will be treated with respect has been shown to be empty words, but I’ve not seen anyone pick him up on it recently, either in English or Japanese.)