Do Mr Arudou a favour: don’t stop being an apologist

Here we go again – straw men and old chestnuts get knocked down.

We must now teach a sanitized version of Japanese history, or young Japanese might just find a reason not to "like" our country.

Must "we"? I think there is a common perception amongst foreigners that the early 20th century history taught in Japanese schools runs something along the lines of "There were some unpleasantnesses, then Japan got nuked", but I’ve heard enough to suggest this is incorrect.

My point is that reducing public debate to "like or dislike" is too unsophisticated for thoughtful social critique — especially when it is being enforced from above.

A great big Wicker Man.

Remember the oft-cited axiom of "putting a lid on smelly things" (kusai mono ni wa futa o shirō) to explain away censorship and coverup?

No. Can you give us an example?

How the Olympus and Fukushima fiascoes were handled are but two examples.

OK, two concrete examples. For Olympus I agree that there was self-censorship in the mainstream press when Facta initially broke the story, but the covering up by the board would not be covered by that set phrase. For Fukushima, that set phrase is too easy a dismissal of a very complicated set of occurrences and actions.

Ever notice how you are supposed to say "I like Japan" at every opportunity?

I really ought to get a Wicker Man icon for these articles.

I was even compelled to devote an entire column (JBC, Feb. 6) to what I like about Japan.

:?: I’m not sure what is the best icon to put in here.

The common retort to any criticism is, "Well, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?"


Because, linguistically, you can stigmatize and shut them up for walking on the wrong side of the dichotomy.

It sadly hasn’t worked for you. Furthermore, is the home of the one-dimensional "Apologist!" shouters.

So do Japan some good: Offer some fresh ideas.

We’re still waiting…

Oh, as a bonus the letters page has a reply to last month’s article from:

Walmington-on-Sea, England

He probably has something else to say to Mr Arudou.

Leave a comment ?


  1. @Sixth Sense

    Brilliant. Wouldn’t it be perfect is Fight back was indeed, Debito himself.

    And as for Jim Di Griz, or should I say “Jim Di Griz” on pseudonyms…

  2. @Level3

    Sorry, but i just wanted to clear up the question of why you were taking a bus to your ‘site’. Doesn’t your company have company cars or provide you with a rental?

  3. @VK: No one has any illusions on the state of main stream media. It’s obvious they are desperately trying to compete with new media. they’re all trying to win back viewers from facebook twitter etc.. In 2011 Hillary Clinton was trying to raise funds because “America is losing” an information war that Al Jazeera and Russia Today is winning. When she stated that RT’s online presence had 30 million hits.
    But thanks for your critique on that piece, it was very informative. I just wanted to point out what the west is seeing when it’s informed on the state Japan’s economy or politics.

  4. @6810:  And now we find out that Morning Musume were a band of little Leni Riefenstahls
    ! – does this count as an example of Godwin’s law? :twisted:

    (And as far as I can google, they have the lyrics wrong to begin with! :headdesk: )

  5. @Sixth Sense: 日本の未来は (Wow x4) 世界がうらやむ (Yeah x4) says a random Geocities page. “resurgence of the Japanese empire” :roll: You couldn’t make that stuff up.

  6. DeBourca seems to be suffering from a terminal case of get-off-my-lawn-ism. Either that, or just showing off an embarrassingly superficial knowledge of pop culture (past and present, Japanese and Western).

    “The fashions, music, film, and TV of 50s-80s America were an unbroken vista of art and sophistication that will stand the test of time. Now, all we have is One Direction, Jersey Shore, and My Little Pony. I blame fluoridation.”

    Culture is nuggets of gold buried under mountains of crap that get filtered away with time. Armchair critics think the past was always superior to the present because they can’t be bothered to dig for the present’s gold or remember the past’s crap.

  7. it'sthatortaylorswift

    They seem to be on a roll.

    Once you start seeing fascist sub-text in Morning Musume lyrics I think you’ve lost your last shred of perspective. Still, I guess it’s gaijin hip to criticise the latest generation of pop tarts. For all the pseudo-critical posturing, though, who can honestly say they haven’t rubbed one out to AKB48 at least once, I mean that’s what they’re there for really, isn’t it?

    Come to think of it (and I often do), that’s probably why I’m not allowed to take the bus anymore.

  8. I’ve never rubbed one out to AKB.

    I have an iPhone and access to

    As well as greasy safety gloves in the outdoor privy down the back of the factory.

  9. it'sthatortaylorswift

    @iLikedolphins: Ah, so more of a Morning Musume fetish after all. Don’t worry, the Akiba babes will be graduating to there sooner or later. Don’t let the gloves dry out.

  10. If anyone is looking for confirmation that David Oldtwinkle is an idiot, you could go no less farther than here:

  11. Who knew there was a perfect storm combination of white colonial paranoia and ’80s androgynous pop?


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