Something too hard to get used to

Sunday, October 21 2012 @ 09:22 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

旅に病んで夢は枯野をかけ廻る
- 松尾芭蕉

Stricken on a journey/My dreams go wandering round/Withered fields
- A haiku piece of Matsuo Basho totally spoiled by the second-rate translator named Donald Keene.


Bloody May Day of 1952 in
front of the Imperial Palace


Anpo uprising of 1959
Relatively honest people surrounding me often say one thing and do quite another. I know this is a fallout of the essentially seamless transition of power from the Shogunate to the Emperor, to MacArthur, and then back to the Emperor now disguised as a mere "symbol of national unity." Each time, the Japanese sang a different tune but all along they have remained practically unchanged. It takes you a lifetime to become used to these sick people.

On May 1, 1952, three days after a nominal sovereignty was returned to Japan in San Francisco, the sheepish people, who had never rebelled against Emperor Hirohito or the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, staged one of the only two major uprisings in modern Japanese history, called the Bloody May Day. True, it was bloody by the Japanese standards, but in fact, it was yet another ritual that signaled a change of the tunes. The new one was to herald the arrival of the Cold War in this country.

Seven years later I graduated from university amid the nationwide turmoil over the Japan-U.S. security treaty, known as Anpo Toso. Needless to say the anti-treaty students joined by some unionized workers were fighting a proxy war as puppets manipulated by the Soviet Union and the new-born China. The distinctive feature of Anpo Toso was that the heads of most factions were future business leaders such as Seiji Tsutsumi, a scion of the Seibu conglomerate.

These guys would later lay the groundwork for the rapid rise of Japan Inc., and more importantly for its ultimate collapse in 1990. It's no accident that Anpo Toso ended up in a total failure. Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, an undercover agent of the CIA, signed the treaty on January 19, 1960 in Washington DC.

Almost 53 years later, I hear the same old blues which now sounds more like a cheap funeral march. With this tune lingering on in my ears as if it's specifically meant for me, now I'm desperately fighting back against the second round of executions of the attachment order to seize 30% of my pension annuities.

Yesterday I had a bitter experience with "AK", the wife of DK who helped me, financially and morally, out of the jam caused by the first round attacks from the city hall. AK is a staff writer at Kanagawa Shimbun. The Yokohama-based newspaper publisher is known for its relatively impartial news coverage despite its close affiliation with mainstream news organizations and its membership in the information cartel known as Nihon Kisha Kurabu or Japan Press Club. I thought it would help me recoup lost ground if AK could influence the editor to take up my case against the municipality. Obviously hardships senior citizens are going through are his favorite topic.

After I updated her on the recent situation, however, she concluded she didn't want to write a cover story on my constitutional battle. The reason she declined my offer was that I am primarily at fault for the mess, after all, because I should have paid on time these income-unrelated taxes since I left the employment of SAP Japan in 2006. Then I would have avoided piling up tax bills this high. She added that several years ago her family of three could somehow get by with her salary, which was as small as my pension (I doubt it), when her husband was temporarily out of work. In short, I deserve all this suffering and all I need is to impose austerity and discipline on myself.

AK really let me down. At the onset of the battle, she was enthusiastically giving me cheers although they somehow sounded noncommittal. Has she changed her mind? Not at all. She remains the same, half-awake and half-honest person I've known for years.

I was too tired to repeat my lecture on the Constitution to the youngish reporter, but my cause all comes down to my commonsense interpretation of Chapter 3 of the fundamental law. Its Article 30 says, "The people shall be liable to taxation as provided by law," while Article 25 of the same chapter stipulates, "All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living." My points are that in this chapter the rights and duties of the people are defined purely on a reciprocal basis and that the standards for "cultured living" can't have remained unchanged since 1947 when the now-hollowed-out Constitution was enacted. Those were the days when we were fed with food stuff even the swine wouldn't appreciate very much.

Also I felt insulted when AK treated me like I am an uneducated, unskilled and inexperienced 22-year-old, while in fact I am a 76-year-old with a 50-year-long career behind him. I thought I have lost another friend because now it's evident she is one of those Japanese news reporters who are only good at playing the tune of the time. I only hope this won't affect the friendship between her husband DK and me in any way.

Back on February 21, the day my last girlfriend turned 29, I reluctantly let go of her because her parents had started urging her to get married before she misses the "marriageable" age. I don't care too much if the number of my friends, who wholeheartedly empathize with my way of thinking, living and now dying, remains very small. But I do care if it gets even smaller because in my definition of the words, it's an auditory hallucination if nobody but myself and a couple of others can hear this song about a free Northeast Asia to emerge after the coming collapse of the evil American Empire.

Overnight the systolic reading of my blood pressure has shot up to a critical level (190mm Hg.) Now I think I need some rest.

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TokyoFreePress
http://www.TokyoFreePress.com/article.php?story=20121021212228447