An interactive and taboo-free journalism based in Japan

Welcome to TokyoFreePress Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 09:23 PM JST

Acid Tests

Naoto Kan has long been out of his mind. The
headline simply reads: "The Prime Minister
is Nuts." For an obvious reason, the daily failed
to point out those who voted for him are
nuts, too.
As I have written a dozen times since 3/11, there always are people who can turn a disaster into a blessing for themselves by causing others an added suffering. Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan is a good example. According to the independent journal Nikkan Gendai, an unconfirmed report has it that on the day the quake and tsunami hit this country, Kan said to one of his close aides: "Hot dog! I can stay in office for two more years."

On April 20, the same daily wrote that when Kan took a secular pilgrimage several years ago to get purified of his political sin, his brain must have already been badly impaired. I think you will agree if you look at the surreal photo of this person. The obvious lesson to be learned here is that one has got to be a nutter, if he wants to benefit from a national crisis such as 3/11.

The reason the Japanese people haven't shown signs that they will revolt against the government anytime soon is quite simple: they have been so used to having such a leader in the last one and a half century. Just for one thing, in 1945, they had to endure twin disasters when a couple hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated while the bastard who had started the war from his palace was going to be acquitted of his responsibility.

All in all, 3/11 was the final confirmation that Japan is a dead country.

On the other side of the Pacific, the American people still make believe that despite their mounting frustration over Japanese ways of dealing with them, Japan is a nation that has unparalleled ability to "reinvent" itself over and over again as the stupid Harvard professor named Joseph Nye put it a little more than 3 months ago.

Masataka Shimizu, TEPCO's president, went down on his
knees before the evacuees and
press corps in Fukushima
Today the president of TEPCO, the power company whose sales totaled US$60 billion in 2010, visited one of the evacuation centers in Fukushima Prefecture and offered a tearful apology in the traditional dogeza position. Believe it or not, the on-site ritual tacitly staged by the media will certainly pave the way for the government to make up for the consequences of its mishandling of the crisis with taxpayers' money.

If many Americans still remain believers in Japan's viability after viewing this image, their country is also terminally ill, and most probably doomed to failure very soon.

They should know these zombies exactly mirror the way they will be tomorrow, if not today.

As to the massive relief operation by the U.S., code-named Tomodachi (friendship), the vast majority of people on both sides of the Pacific think it's a touching display of genuine altruism. It's nothing new to note Japanese dupes haven't learned that there is no such thing as a free lunch despite the fact in the last 150 years, they have repeatedly fallen victim to America's fatherly imperialism. But now even in the U.S., only a small number of people know that in reality, any country, or any individual for that matter, can't be that selfless.

There are several speculations. Some are saying, Washington will, in return, ask Tokyo to write off part of its holding in U.S. Treasury Bonds (roughly $5.7 trillion) because the Republicans are currently blocking the Obama administration from raising the ceiling on sovereign debt. Perhaps they are right, but I still believe Okinawa is one of the reasons behind Operation Tomodachi.

As any sane person can tell, it was the surest way to ruin for an ailing country such as the U.S. to have grown this dependent on a failing country such as Japan.

In recent years I have lost one American friend after another over my harsh words against them. It can't be helped because today's Americans are too arrogant and self-complacent to accept the fact that there is no such thing as a truth that does not hurt. But I still hope their country is not yet done for, as long as there are some, if not many, Americans who are sober enough to see my points, which are nothing more than a matter of commonsense.

A couple of days ago I came across an American on my website. His user name is Diogenes. By this unusual handle, he means the Greek philosopher known as "Diogenes of Sinope" (412 or 404-323 BCE). He wrote to me, offline, like this:

"Diogenes wandered around with a lantern during the day, looking for one honest man. It looks like I can extinguish my lantern now because I've found one in Japan."

Although I don't think I really deserve his compliment, it was very heartening to know there still are a small number of Americans who value commonsense and honesty more than anything else. He relit my hope for the resilience of America.

But I think the American people have thus far seemed to be flunking the acid test given by the catastrophe of 3/11.

Even in my private life, I have realized through my acid tests that some of my kin and local friends are not really kin or friends. For one thing, my elder son didn't ask his 75-year-old dad if he was OK when the big quake hit the northern half of Japan's coastal area facing the Pacific. We will remain friends because I don't have any grudge toward him. The guy had to care more about his wheelchair-bound wife, his mother (my ex), and his colleagues working for him. If you are a people person like my son, you don't have to be committed to everybody simply because, lip service aside, that is impossible. This is especially true in the face of a crisis. Needless to say, though, it's a different story if you are the leader of a country.

On the other hand, thank God some others have proved to be real ones. My young girlfriend, for one, sent me a text message immediately after her handset device resumed working. She said the moment she felt a jolt, she thought of his old boyfriend. To me that is more than enough.

For these reasons, I think a crisis sometimes does me a favor on the premise that I always keep my courage to face the reality of life.

Story Options


Trackback URL for this entry:

No trackback comments for this entry.
Acid Tests | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Acid Tests
Authored by: samwidge on Friday, April 22 2011 @ 08:39 PM JST

There are those among us who figure that America's president wears a similar hat. The only difference claimed is that Obie's is a tin hat, designed to keep him safe from alien mind control. Allegedly, the tin doesn't work.

You and I know that our leaders are troubled people and that today our powerful countries may be suffering greater leadership problems than they have ever faced.

I have come to think that no nation will ever be sustainable. Nations, like the moving globes in a Lava Lamp will always develop, float and self-destruct. If these births, bubbles and bursts were understandable, then we would have stopped the bursts long ago. We would prevent them from happening ever again.

I work with several people who are mentally deficient. It simply does not matter how hard any of us work to help these people, they will die early. They cannot sustain themselves and exist only because others are willing to support them.

Nations have nobody to support them. Nobody... with the possible exception of outfits like Tokyo Free Press to nag them into responsible, survivable behavior.

It could happen but I am not holding my breath.

Acid Tests
Authored by: Diogenes on Saturday, April 23 2011 @ 09:40 AM JST
Most people in Japan appear to be under a spell. There is no other way to explain how people can continue to stay living near a nuclear reactor after it has been admitted that it is melting down. I live 50 miles from exactly the same kind of GE reactor. I'm probably the only one in my county with a Geiger counter and a grab-n-go bag near the door. Eric Larsen wrote about the American version of this spell in his book , "A Nation Gone Blind: America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit." After reading this book, much of what I was witnessing began to make sense. I felt like I was not the crazy one, but one of the few sane people in the country.

I saw a native American artist one time that created a clay sort of Janus, an object with a face on two sides. On the one side was a traditional Indian with head feathers and beads. Underneath that image was written: tradition kills change. On the other side was an Indian with his hair in a ponytail and wearing a suit. Under that image it said: change kills tradition. He called this piece the dilemma of the modern Indian. This, it seems to me, is the modern Japanese person's dilemma as well.

The High Treason incident of 1910 (Taigyaku Jiken) was an attempt to wake up the Japanese people from their long slumber by cutting this Gordian Knot. The plot to murder the imperial family failed, and four members of that plot, Buddhist priests, were tried and one executed--Uchiyama Gudo. In his best known published work, "In Commemoration of Imprisonment: Anarcho-Communism-Revolution (Nyugoku Kinen-Museifu Kyosan-Kakumei) he made this statement which would have shocked his contemporary audience.

"There are three leaches who suck the people's blood: the emperor, the rich, and the big landowners...The big boss of the present government, the emperor, is not the son of the gods as your primary school teachers and others would have you believe. The ancestors of the present emperor came forth from one corner of Kyushu, killing and robbing people as they went. They then destroyed their fellow thieves, Nagasune-hiko and others...It should be readily obvious that the emperor is not a god if you but think about it for a moment.

"When it is said that [the imperial dynasty] has continued for 2,500 years, it may seem as if [the present emperor] is divine, but down through the ages the emperors have been tormented by foreign opponents and, domestically, treated as puppets by their own vassals...Although these are well-known facts, university professors and their students, weaklings that they are, refuse to either say or write anything about it. Instead, they attempt to deceive both others and themselves, knowing all along the whole thing is a pack of lies." (From Zen at War, pg. 44)

If we look at how far Japan has come since that incident, it seems that not much progress has been made. Magical thinking still reigns with the President taking a holiday to "cleanse him of his political sins." And the absurd bowing, crying, and apologizing from TEPCO officials is a form of sick Kabuki theater. At least in Kurosawa's film Dreams, the clip "Mt. Fuji in Red" has the nuclear power plant official recognizing his guilt and he jumps off the cliff. Shouldn't the TEPCO officials at least perform seppuku? Uchiyama Gudo, where are you now that we need you?

Tradition kills change. Change kills tradition. Which one is going to win? Only the kami know for sure, and they aren't telling anyone their secrets.
Acid Tests
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Saturday, April 23 2011 @ 02:06 PM JST


Your Janus analogy tells everything. If there is anything to add to it, I would paraphrase it this way: To native Americans, change and tradition are a dilemma. But what is facing the Japanese since the mid-19th century is not. As you can see in a Kabuki tragedy, the two always kill each other.

This is exactly why I think Japan is a dead country. If its zombie-like, or anime-like people still look alive, that is because not a single U.S. President or Japanese Prime Minister has ever thought about terminating the 50-year-old arrangement called The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. The rotten partnership has always served as a life-support system for the Japanese.

Any sane person can tell for sure where this "stay together till death do us part" or "swim together, sink together" kind of mindset brings the two nations - HELL.

Yu Yamamoto
Acid Tests
Authored by: Diogenes on Saturday, April 23 2011 @ 03:17 PM JST
I always wondered about that treaty. You describe the classic host and parasite image. What kind of answer do you think a survey of Japanese people would bring if they were asked: Should the Japanese government cancel this treaty and tell the Americans to leave? Would anyone even dare publish such a survey question?

I just learned that Germany has never signed a peace treaty after WWII, and because of that, the German government still can't pass any legislation without consulting the four WWII allied powers. So if that is a fact, then the German government can't tell the foreign occupiers to leave.

The lesson appears to be: lose a war, get occupied forever. These days you don't even have to be the aggressor. Look at Libya, Iraq, Haiti, and Afghanistan.
Acid Tests
Authored by: samwidge on Saturday, April 23 2011 @ 04:41 PM JST

Now there's an interesting thought!

If we presuppose that "leadership" by the free world is a benign sort of thing, then none of this is bad. If we presume it to be an undesirable sort of thing, then there is nothing that anybody can do about it except... Hitler's solution.

He correctly deduced that the agreements of WWI were simply untenable. Right or wrong had no meaning to him or to anyone else on either side. His people were starving and had no chance to reenter world markets and improve their lot. Something had to be done.

It is particularly telling that Hitler, with pistol in hand, committed murder in the Bundestag and nobody did anything about it.

Explanations provided by today's newspapers and textbooks are childish and irrational a kind of suppression.

We might have predicted all that happened but we were stuck in the right/wrong argument. We had not bothered to consider the problem of survival. Was there a similar paradigm for Japan? Is the information on that paradigm suppressed?

I think so. In fact, there are those among us who become angry and outraged and demand to suppress the idea that both Japan and Germany were forced into their circumstances. That attitude always leaves me concerned. It is as though we are not allowed to study and ask honest questions.

I think that there is no morality on the international stage. There cannot be. Governments are, after all, not people. They neither have nor need moral imperatives. Governments do not learn. Governments are fleeting things created by agreement of people. They never are created by all the people, just those who will control. It is their judgement, whether accurate or not, that demands us to do what we do.

At the ends of conflicts there are winners and there are losers. In the states, we presume that we make very kind adjustments by trying to make everybody into winners. We think that we could have raped and pillaged completely. In fact, there were many who wanted exactly that. Some demanded that the Japanese islands be burned down to hot lava. Others wanted the women removed and then the islands burned down to hot lava.

At the end of WWII we held more than a million German prisoners without food or water for more than four days. Nobody seems to have felt any guilt over this.

Hard to predict. Maybe America will be the next one to get it. You just can't tell.

Holy mackerel! You opened a whole new intellectual vista. Thanks for opening this thread.