Transparent trick to gloss over the dilemma

Friday, September 03 2004 @ 02:54 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has always been a self-proclaimed rebel since the days he wrote, as a young "novelist", an award-winning crap titled "Season of the Sun" (taiyo no kisetsu).

In 1951 French novelist Albert Camus wrote "L'Homme Revolte" (The Rebel). At that time some critics from J. P.Sartre's camp rebutted his political slant reflected, if not explicitly, in the novel. These critics were discussing the differences between a rebel and a revolutionary. They likened a rebel to a clown because he always wants his enemy to withstand his rebellious attack in order to remain a rebel. In that sense Ishihara can also be likened to a clown.

Who are behind Ishihara? Everybody knows the answer: millions of Japanese have voted for the obscurantist whatever office he ran for. If anything, Ishihara knows, inside out, how to handle his loyalists.

According to his "theory", a constant struggle is going on between a weak Japan and a strong Japan. And today the former prevails. But in the future, the latter will prevail simply because it should, in Ishihara's dreamland. In other words, today's Japan is dominated by a bunch of "castrates" who have been instilled with an undue sense of guilt over Japan's prewar and wartime atrocities toward Asian nations. He goes on to argue that the constant weakening of the Japanese is attributable primarily to the war-renouncing, pacifist Constitution. So one can draw a conclusion from this kindergarten theory that at present, a good part of his backers are also living in the Weak Japan. And in fact they are. This is where his dilemma lies although he is totally unaware of it.

To paraphrase all this, the moment he achieves the goal of strengthening the Japanese people, he loses his supporters. The late-President Reagan's way of saying this would be: "Ishihara is not the solution to the Japan problem. Ishihara is the Japan problem."

In fact a nation's strength hinges solely on each individual's strength whereas "strength" advocated by Ishihara and shown off by the same old group-oriented bunch of nationalists, regular visitors at Yasukuni Shrine, blind admirers of the Emperor, yakuza-affiliated ultrarightists, etc. is an unmistakable sign of weakness.

To get around the formidable dilemma, he has been habitually using a cheap trick since the late-1960s. It specifically involves the following steps:

Step 1: He bashes the morons the hardest way.

Step 2: The morons go into raptures at the bashing because that is their typical behavioral pattern. (The most recent reminder of this propensity is Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men". Millions of stupid white men gave a lot of applause when the book written by the stupid white man on stupid white men came out).

Step 3: His American friends, Malaysian friends and Taiwanese friends soon start to look up to him in awe, not because they are impressed by Ishihara's insight into things, or his integrity, but simply because millions of Japanese vote for him whatever office he runs for. (Maybe his outspokenness is another factor. But his outspokenness toward foreigners doesn't mean a thing because with his extremely poor English skills, he must be totally unable to discuss with foreigners a complex world like this one).

Step 4: His "popularity" abroad further fuels the Ishihara craze among local morons. (In relation to Step 4 of his trick, the following facts are noteworthy: As of 2000, registered "aliens" here accounted for 1.33% of the entire population of Japan, whereof those from Asian nations and Latin America represented almost 90%. That should mean that no more than 170 thousand North Americans, Europeans and Australians were living here. So it's appalling to see in every second TV commercials, a Caucasian or an Afro-American endorsing food or other consumer goods, or find most products named in English or "Jangrish". It's as though instant noodle makes TV viewers salivate only when it's endorsed by a foreigner).

This way it was a cinch for him to ride an upward spiral until he reached the top as an emperor with no clothes on. But not anymore.

There are signs that people have started to see the dilemma facing him and the cheap trick he has worn out by now.

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