Not doomed, but eternally haunted - 奥崎謙三に見る日本人像

Monday, September 09 2013 @ 03:33 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto


       Last night I saw upon the stair
       a little man who wasn’t there.
       He wasn’t there again today.
       Oh, how I wish he’d go away.

                    - from a popular rhyme composed by William Hughes Mearns

Let me reiterate the single most important fact about humanity:

No one but yourself can manipulate you.

Surprisingly many adults in America refuse to accept the self-evident proposition which a kindergarten kid wouldn't have difficulty understanding. Some of them even insist this is something you have to prove, but can't.

Kenzo Okuzaki (right) at the tomb of his fallen comrade
It's as though they are saying that when a human being comes into existence, his identity has to be proved by someone else. Actually he already knows for sure that he is what he is. What he has yet to learn is something else.

Here's a simplest example. When a TV commercial made you think about buying the fancy product, you normally say, "I selected it from among other alternatives." You never say the product selected you. You even brag about the fact that you picked the right one. But once something went wrong with it, you would start to complain that you were deceived by the ad, although deep inside you can't deny it's none other than yourself that deceived you.

In 2001, a stupid white man made a fortune from the book about stupid white men he wrote for stupid white men. He was a notch smarter than these kindergarten kids because at least financially he was a little savvier than them. Since the beginning of this century, we've seen thousands of fraudulent writers and speakers emerging from obscurity using the same formula of Michael Moore. These crisis mongers, conspiracy theorists and doomsayers have invariably based their arguments, either explicitly or implicitly, on the false premise that human beings are manipulable. This is exactly how they could "dupe" millions of gullible Americans into buying bogus merchandise from them.

I'm not really concerned about the intellectual vacuum quickly spreading all over America. It's not my job to cure their refractory mental illness caused by developmental failure. What really concerns me is where my fellow Asians, especially Japanese, are headed.

In that respect, one question has long haunted me: What is this thing called the Emperor?

Is it a tyrant? The answer is "No." A plain idiot can't have a supernatural power to manipulate the hundred million subjects at a time as Hirohito did and his son Akihito is doing. Moreover, if Hirohito had been a dictator, then he must have been executed by the people before Douglas MacArthur acquitted him of the responsibility for driving the 3.1 million people to sacrifice their lives in the unwinnable war. Then, is it a mere puppet which is manipulated by someone else? The answer is also "No." Once again nobody can manipulate others. And if Hirohito had been a puppet, it must have bowed out as soon as these puppeteers were sent climbing the 13 steps to the gallows.

In 1947 MacArthur formally ordered Hirohito to step down from deity to become "the symbol of national unity." Time and again in the past, I have tried to explain to my audience the Japanese Emperor isn't a figurehead in the sense it's defined in the dictionary. American Heritage Online defines a figurehead like this: "A person given a position of nominal leadership but having no actual authority." If it were just a figurehead, even the super-generous Japanese taxpayers wouldn't be willingly shoulder an annual 20 billion yen to feed it, its kin and servants.

By now I have concluded it's just a phantom which isn't actually there. It's invisible, and yet it's always being felt by the Japanese people as if it were existent. Asian peoples, especially the Chinese and the Koreans can still visualize what other peoples can't. But my way of explaining what it's like to live in the haunted imperial shithouse has never really worked with my predominantly American audience. That's why I have often had to turn to visual aids.

There is another barrier facing me in that respect. My audience has all been brainwashed most typically by moviemakers in Hollywood to believe in the stereotypical perceptions and images of the Japanese. More than anyone else, the legendary film-maker Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) should be given credit for the total falsification. The truth is that although he was a well-built man (6 ft 00 in,) Kurosawa was given an exempt status from the draft because his father was in a position to influence a high-ranking officer in charge of conscription. He not only dodged the draft but also avoided facing the reality of the haunted country. These are why he kept sucking up to mindless movie distributors in the West throughout his career.

With all this in mind, I strongly recommend you watch the documentary film embedded at the bottom of this post if you want to learn the untold truth about this country, and you can afford to spend 2 hours viewing it. Since I'm completely in the dark about cinematography, I can't tell whether this 1987 movie titled The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On meets the standards of cinematic art. Yet, I'm sure unlike Kurosawa's baloney, it tells you the undistorted truth about the haunted people - their effete, self-pitiful, self-hateful, self-deprecating, self-destructive, mentally disintegrated, overly apologetic, and sometimes narcissistic attitudes. And beware you shouldn't expect yet another cheap story about a man who chases wartime superiors to bring them to justice. FYI: You can turn on English or Spanish caption by clicking the white icon placed at the bottom of the screen.

The protagonist is a Pacific War veteran named Kenzo Okuzaki. He was one of the handful of survivors of the suicidal New Guinea campaign. After he returned home in 1946, Okuzaki attempted to avenge himself on several people, including wrong ones. But his ultimate target was Emperor Hirohito.

On January 2, 1969, thirteen years before the shooting of this film started, he attempted to hit Hirohito with four "pachinko" balls (lead pellets) fired with a hand-made sling shot, for which he served a 1.5-year term in prison. This incident leaves you wondering what exactly Okuzaki was aiming at by his seemingly farcical attempt of symbolic assassination. Some of you may even suspect he was a psychopath. But actually no prosecutor, judge or courtroom lawyer ever thought he needed to take a sanity test.

The real question to ask is why he didn't kill Hirohito despite the fact that it would have been a piece of cake to get him. He had everything necessary with him - the resolve, the motive, the weapon, and the chance. In Japan you are not allowed to possess a firearm unless you are a soldier, cop or yakuza gangster. But it's evident that Okuzaki knew where to get one. In the mid-1980s, he visited the home of one of his former superiors carrying a real gun. When he knew the target wasn't in, Okuzaki fired a shot or two at one of his family members at point-blank range. He served a 12-year term in prison on charges of attempted murder. It should also be noted that he could approach the balcony close enough for the sling shot attack when his target stood on it. In those days, the balcony wasn't walled with bulletproof glass because it was totally inconceivable that Hirohito might be assaulted by its subject.

My answer to this question is as simple as that he knew his Hirohito wasn't there, or to be more precise, the weird thing waving its hand to the crowd from the balcony was nothing but a double of the phantom. His real target was deep within himself. It seems to me Okuzaki couldn't find a workable way to kill the "inner Emperor," as anti-establishment Japanese often put it, until the last day of his life. He died on June 16, 2005 at a Kobe hospital. The local news coverage was next to nil. But according to a foreign correspondent, his last word was "バカヤロー" (Fuck you!). He shouted out the same word over and over as if he was suffering a serious aphasia.

Admittedly Okuzaki was an uneducated man. He didn't have the ability to conceptualize things. Small wonder what the protagonist of the film says and does is more often than not incoherent. To make it worse, the director and the producer of the film don't seem to have understood his real message. So they keep the cameras running when these characters are talking about irrelevant things such as cannibalism which was commonplace in the jungle of New Guinea.

From late Saturday night through early Sunday morning, every fourth Japanese was glued to the TV to witness live the pretentious ritual taking place in Buenos Aires to select - through rigged vote - the city to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The moment Jacques Rogge, outgoing president of the venal International Olympic Committee, announced Tokyo was the winner, the entire nation went into raptures. In the last couple of months these self-deceptive people had acted like drug addicts showing serious withdrawal symptoms. But now the 128-million junkies got everything they need in the next seven years.

You can't imagine what it feels like to spend the last days of one's life surrounded by these haunted people who now hope to see their imperial shithouse emerging as a viable nation toward 2020 with its land miraculously decontaminated of radioactive materials.

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