Friday, November 19 2010 @ 01:05 AM JST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Akikan's days are numbered
Sengoku, the former ambulance chaser, is now in defense of China
A little more than two months ago, the presidency of the Democratic Party of Japan as well as nation's premiership was being contested between the double-dyed villain by the name of Ichiro Ozawa and the firstrate idiot named Naoto Kan. At that time I told my audience that the country was getting stuck "in between the devil and the deep blue sea" as the old American song goes.
As usual most of you thought I was exaggerating or just analogizing the
situation the Japanese are in. But I wasn't. What I meant to say was that
Japan is already a dead nation. The country still shows weak vital signs, but that is only because it is on an artificial respiration system.
Since the burst of the bubble economy in 1990, mythomaniacs
in Japan's media organizations have acted like they are mandated to invent one false contention after another to dupe their credulous audiences into believing
there still are valid alternatives to choose from.
Among other tactics to put people off the scent of real issues, it is especially noteworthy that they make believe every problem has its roots in laws, and thus, can be solved by new legislation, or amendment to an existing one. Along these lines, they always cite a law which is actually irrelevant to the issue at hand, or focus on the wrong article of a relevant one.
Take the Constitution for example. They always talk about whether to amend its war-renouncing Article 9, whereas you can't even get to Chapter II which includes the particular article before getting stuck with Chapter I that defines the role of the Emperor in such a way that eviscerates Chapter III which supposedly defines the "rights and duties of the people." The fundamental law of a nation serves as the master agreement between an individual citizen and the country where he lives. That is why I have recently terminated my contract with this failed country.
Another example is the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and Japan. In the last half century, not a single pundit who was not under the influence of communism has discussed the invocation of Article 10 of the treaty which provides for the procedure for its termination. To sidetrack people from the real issue, media obscurantists are untiringly talking about other clauses such as Article 5 or auxiliary pacts such as Japan Status of Forces Agreement in order to instill in people the absurd delusion that in an emergency, the Americans will come to the rescue of the Japanese even at the cost of their own lives.
Since early September, the Japanese have heard of yet another bunch of laws. When voters in and outside the DPJ faced the insoluble dilemma between
Kan and Ozawa, Yoshito Sengoku, Chief Cabinet Secretary and Ozawa's
archrival, got the press corps in Kantei Kisha Kurabu, or the press club collusively attached to the Cabinet Office, to focus
solely on Ozawa's violation of the Political Funds Control Law. Sengoku thought he could gloss over the ineptness of the Kan administration just by scapegoating the former Secretary General of his party.
It was as if the DPJ could have gained power from the Liberal Democratic Party last year without Ozawa's unparalleled skills in pork-barreling. Also it was as if Sengoku and Kan had proved morally stainless. The matter of the fact remains that they are just petty thieves when compared to the unrivaled master of robbery.
Ironically, though, a series of criminal cases broke out around that time where small fish such as a manager at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare were found to have been framed by public prosecutors and judges to save a little bigger ones close to the DPJ administration. Since it was obvious that these exonerees were just the tip of the iceberg, the entire judicial system of the nation could have discredited itself.
But once again the media kicked in; this time it was Kensatsu Kisha Kurabu, the press club attached to the Public Prosecutors Office, that artfully localized the implication of false accusations as if they were isolated cases. As a result, Ozawa has still remained Public Enemy No. 1.
That is how the Chief Cabinet Secretary could help Kan retain Japan's premiership. The cabinet
approval rating shot up to 70% despite the fact that the incompetent Prime Minister had delivered, or would deliver, absolutely nothing on his promise about "Least Unhappy Society."
If you are not familiar with Sengoku, here's his bio. The bastard was one of those empty-headed campus activists before
he dropped out of Tokyo University's Faculty of Law in 1968. Until he got into politics
in 1990, he was a left-leaning courtroom lawyer. That is why he sounds so confident when talking about laws.
On September 7, a tiny Chinese trawler gave a soft pat on two patrol ships of Japan Coast Guard in the "disputed" waters off the Senkaku Islands, Diaoyutai in Chinese. The incident gave another legal challenge to the former lawyer. This time it was something about the United Nations Convention on the
Law of the Sea and Japan's Code of Criminal Procedure.
To make a long story short, his expertise in laws didn't help him a bit in handling the Senkaku incident. While he is totally unable to look beyond laws, the Chinese don't give a damn to the international law simply because it meant absolutely nothing in the twilight years of Pax Americana where the Law of the Jungle prevails everywhere. Who could have resisted temptation when it was something like taking a candy from a baby to brush aside Japan's sheepish territorial claim and demand the immediate release of the skipper of the trawler?
As an old proverb goes, the cock is bold on his own dunghill. Now the former ambulance chaser started acting like an attorney retained by the Chinese accident faker. Emboldened by dull-wittedness and docility of his fellow countrymen, Sengoku started giving them lectures on Article 248 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that says in certain circumstances, it's left to the prosecutor's discretion whether to indict a suspect. Unlike with the Chinese, it was a piece of cake for Sengoku to insinuate the Japanese into believing the specific circumstance, where the Chinese captain declared, after his release, that he would do the same thing in the future, justified the invocation of Article 248.
In the meantime, it was slowly dawning on these retarded people that it was about time to have seen, with their own eyes, the video footages which were said to show how the Chinese ship rammed into the patrol ships of Japan Coast guard.
As I have repeatedly said, the right time to act in international relations is before your opponent acts, or at latest, immediately after that. But the Japanese have never learned that the right time, once missed, will never come back. That is basically why I'm inclined to call them unviable creatures.
Totally unaware it was too late to effectively respond to the provocation by the Chinese, the opposition camp led by the LDP and the general public blindfolded by the media started voicing their desire to take a peek at what had really happened in the East China Sea on September 7.
Now amid the outcry for the disclosure of the videos, Sengoku had to turn to Article 47 of the same Code of Criminal Procedure; he kept saying it would run counter to that article to make public the touchy videos.
To be more precise, however, Article 47 prohibits, in principle, the disclosure of evidence prior to the opening of trial. But never mind, nobody has bothered to question Sengoku's distorted interpretation of the law because he is an oracle, after all, who passed the highly competitive bar exam many years ago, and the reporters stationed in Kantei Kisha Kurabu were still enthusiastic about covering up the transparent trick behind Sengoku's alibi exercise.
Then, on the night of November 4, someone uploaded some video footages on YouTube that showed unspectacular scenes of the Battle of the East China Sea.
Now Sengoku faced, or thought he was facing, another legal issue. Typical of Japanese men of his age, he is totally in the dark about the way information flows in the era of WikiLeaks. And yet, the dolt didn't realize he was barking up the wrong tree when he proclaimed that the leak constituted a crime in the light of Article 100 of the National Civil Service Law that stipulates the "obligation to preserve secrecy."
This was yet another false issue because nobody but the Chinese should get hurt looking at the videos and any information that had been accessible to all employees of the JCG and dozens of lawmakers before the "leak" could not be considered classified. But dozens of lawyers, ex-prosecutors and law professors appeared on TV waido sho ("wide shows") day and night to chitchat about the "issue."
Wide shows are run by all TV stations with nationwide network exactly in the identical format, and boast highest viewer ratings in this brain-dead nation. Since these programs deal, at a time, with a wide variety of topics ranging from failed relationships between untalented tarento (TV personalities) to bizarre criminal cases, to Prince William's engagement, to politics, these self-proclaimed pundits can only scratch the surface of "serious" topics such as the video leak.
On November 13, a 43-year-old Second Navigation Officer of the JCG turned himself in, saying he had thought the Japanese had the right to know the truth and that he was prepared for any punishment. On November 16, the public prosecutors dropped the charge against the whistleblower in the face of the public outcry for his release. He may have lost his job, but the same contention is still going on in the Diet and on TV as of my writing this post.
At the beginning of this 2-plus-month-long ado about nothing, Kan owed Sengoku a lot for his initial advance which was so striking that some American pundits hailed him as a savior of the ailing country.
But after all this legal gibberish, his approval rating nosedived from somewhere around 70% to an astounding 27.8% according to Jiji Press.
Now we have seen hundreds of people rallying here and there to demand the reinstatement of the Devil. In a sense, they have a point. At least Ozawa wouldn't have begged Hu Jintao on his knees to set aside at least 25 minutes on the sidelines of the APEC Summit Meeting for a bilateral talk. Akikan or the Empty Can, as the Japanese dub Kan lately, desperately asked Hu's
mercy to save him from losing the right half of his face. At the ASEM Summit Meeting held in Brussels last month, Akikan had already lost the left half when Wen Jiabao gave him 25 minutes in a hallway.
At the last minute, Hu agreed to give Kan just 25 minutes on the condition that he not un-shelve the touchy Senkaku issue. In 1978 Deng Xiaoping forced his Japanese counterpart to swallow the idea of shelving it practically for good.
Not all those who were disappointed by the Kan administration think that trying to live with the Devil is a little better than jumping into the deep blue sea. So some of them have now started to talk about the Grand Coalition between the DPJ (minus Ozawa's faction) and the LDP. But they have learned no lessons from the past either. And there still is the public discourse about seikai saihensei (political realignment) lingering on. But it has long tested unworkable, too.
Throughout my 46-year career and 75-year life, I have studied various laws including Commercial Code, Civil Code, Securities Exchange Act, tax laws, antimonopoly legislation and Labor Standards Law as necessity arose. But I have never thought about becoming a law practitioner or doctor of juridical "science" myself. Here's the reason:
I have known in person not a single man with legal background who understands the very basics of a legal system. People tend to think laws govern their lives and thoughts, but actually it's the other way around; it's them that write, abide by, defy or rewrite laws.
In the U.S., the situation is a little different because America, unlike Japan, has a great Constitution that embodies the founding principles of the nation. But as I observe, most American lawyers are there only to stymie their clients' attempt to look beyond state and federal laws which are unconstitutional to varying degrees. As a result, now you can see a striking resemblance in behaviors between the U.S. administration headed by the alumnus of Harvard Law School and the Japanese government practically run by the dropout of Tokyo University's Faculty of Law.
Small wonder that America is quickly getting Japanized these days although it will take some time until the American people understand they are getting nowhere if they remain stuck between liberals and conservatives. · read more (102 words)
Sunday, November 07 2010 @ 08:21 AM JST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Confucius (551- 479 BC)
Most scholars and pundits in America and some other Western countries are
ignorant enough to attribute Asiatic backwardness to Confucianism. Worse,
they are also arrogant enough to assume they wouldn't find any new wisdom
if they bothered to go straight to the horse's mouths: The Four Books compiled circa 300 BC by early disciples of Confucius. The same can be said of their Japanese counterparts who are all yellow
Yankees. It is true that they have learned in schools of maxims from The Four Books that recapitulate the Confucian principles. But they have never really understood the principal tenet incarnated in one of The Four Books titled 大学 (Great Learning). It reads: 修身斉家治国平天下.
There seems to be no standard way of expressing the idea in English. But
an English-speaking Internet user has given it a try. This person translates
these words like this:
"To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put
the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family
in order, we must first set our hearts right so as to cultivate our personal
life." (I made some modification to the last part of the quote for the
sake of clarification.)
In short, your integrity as an individual is all that matters.
Policymakers and self-styled political analysts who habitually invert the Confucian logic should shut their mouth altogether if that means they can't make a fast buck anymore.
You don't have to convert to communism distorted by the bastard named Mao
Zedong; neither do you need to agree with Deng Xiaoping who gave a new
twist to Maoism. You just have to sober yourself up from the delusions
being disseminated by Western demagogues and ideologues in order to see what is really at issue in this messy world.
As of writing this post, APEC 2010 is going on in this port city of Yokohama. As usual, participants from developed countries and developing countries seem to be divided over every issue on the agenda. It's quite predictable that at the closing session, the Japanese chairman will celebrate his own success in having all attendees sign the empty statement that essentially says, "Let's go on swimming together if only to sink together." · read more (124 words)
Capitalizing, directly or indirectly, on the blessings of the Internet, political analysts have
been proliferating all over the world. In America, alone, there are millions
of them if you include self-styled pundits.
You can classify them into two types: weather forecasters and Monday morning
quarterbacks. It's a known fact that there always is a cozy relationship
between the two groups. Unless pundits who specialize in predictions are
so prone to misread clues to future events, MMQBs are out of work. And
if MMQBs have a good command of sophism to convince their audience that
they are not just secondguessing, prophets lose their jobs.
In between the two categories, you sometimes come across amphibians who
have the guts to play the two different roles all by themselves. By doing so,
they effectively hedge against the risk of losing jobs.
It's some of these amphibious pundits who foresaw the emergence of a new
and viable Japan in June when Naoto Kan and Katsuya Okada succeeded Yukio
Hatoyama and Ichiro Ozawa as prime minister and secretary general of the
Democratic Party of Japan, respectively.
In fact, though, signs of the total collapse of the country have since been felt, rather than just imagined, around the clock and on every corner of the Japanese archipelago. Those who have good ears even hear the entire edifice crashing down.
Five months after the misogi-like transition of power, even these zombie-like people can tell the Kan administration will fall apart in a matter of months.
When it comes to foreign relations, the Tokyo government is now in total
gridlock because Moscow, Beijing and Pyongyang are steadfastly closing
in on the doomed nation. I'm inclined to term it the MBP strangulation
regimen after the ABCD alliance against Japan in 1941.
Kan and his foreign minister Seiji Maehara are counting even more on their
American counterparts for help. They know that if the Republicans are to regain lost ground toward 2012, that won't make a bit of difference
to the absurd security arrangement between the two nations, one dead and
the other dying.
This is yet another confirmation of Douglas MacArthur's testimony at a
joint committee of the Senate. On May 5, 1951, the general exquisitely
said: "Measured by the standards of modern civilization, [the Japanese
would be like boys] of twelve, as compared with [Americans' and Germans']
development of 45 years."
MacArthur was so foresighted that he also knew by 2010, all Americans would look like 104-year-olds.
So, are amphibious pundits in America blushing or scratching their empty
heads these days?
No, that's what they will never do. As usual, they have a good excuse, particularly in
this November. "Currently we are too preoccupied with the midterm
election to be really concerned about Japan. Maybe we were a little too
optimistic when we said the country was getting back on the right track.
But so what?"
It's in this intellectual vacuum that a growing number of political analysts in the U.S. have started twittering. The eagles have lost their piercing eyes to identify their targets
and sharp claws to cut out enemies' hearts. So all they can do is just to keep chirping.
It's true that they can't outdo the Japanese who are very good
at compressing ideas into the traditional 17-syllable format. But that doesn't really matter; Haiku poetry and tweets are basically the same thing. · read more (88 words)
Thursday, October 28 2010 @ 03:53 AM JST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Chen Tien-shi's book about statelessness
One year ago today, I stumbled on a Japanese book titled Stateless. I instantly gave it a five-star review on my website.
If you look at customer reviews on Amazon Japan's website, you will think
I am not alone in being so enthralled by the book. As of today, the Amazon rating has averaged 4.5 stars.
But actually I have very little in common with these readers.
A comment posted by a reviewer who gave the book a 3-star rating reads
like this: "I found the book very informative but I can't agree to
the author's way of thinking because of its tilt toward negativism."
An oldish Japanese woman, who is one of my former colleagues, has once
told me the same thing about this book. She said something like Joseph
McCarthy would have said sixty years ago: "I find the author's negativism
really disgusting. Her family came over to Japan on their own. Nobody brought
them here against their will. So, love it, or leave it."
The Amazon reviewer, and Japan's McCarthy alike, have much more in common with
many other ignorant and arrogant people in and outside the United Nations than with this blogger;
they all have a bug-ridden logic circuit embedded inside their skulls. They constantly mix up things at issue with their take on them. That is basically why they use these words, positive and negative, so lightly.
Because of this confusion, they always distort the arithmetic rule. While, for instance, a negative view of a negative thing makes a plus, my positive view of something they think has a negative value does not always mean I am a negativist.
Take statelessness for example.
Those whose brains are prone to logical confusion take it for granted that
any word suffixed with "-less" is a negative thing. But what
about the word "flawless" for instance? You say, "I got
your point." But hold on, because you don't. If I say, "Your
skills in pickpocketing are flawless," how would you respond?
In fact, things are all neutral - neither positive nor negative.
The word stateless simply means that the nationality column of your passport
says you have no nationality - no more, no less. It's you that should decide
whether or not statelessness is a desirable status to be in.
To me that status is something you have to be proud of. You are mistaken when you label me as a negativist simply because I'm in favor of statelessness which you think is a negative thing.
The same can be said of humanright advocates in and outside the U.N. They keep mixing
up subjects with objects. That's why, for instance in 1961, the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees drew up the "International
Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness" based on the obsolete
document called "The Universal Declaration of Humanrights."
If you are stupid enough to insist that the international body founded
when the Chinese continent was still under the rule of Chiang Kai-shek has not
yet outgrown its raison d'etre, you should give us a specific reason you
think statelessness should be reduced, rather than increased. Or at least you should tell us why
no more than 19 countries have signed the treaty of 1961 thus far despite
the ardent call by the UNHCR in the last half century.
I think it's not only useless but also harmful to cling to the outdated
hypocrisy based on the absurd assumption that Pax Americana will last many more years, if not forever.
With the pathological obsession with statelessness as something undesirable,
these people are contributing to the proliferation, not the reduction,
of stateless population. They claim that they know no borders, but actually
they know them more than anyone else does. Besides, they have put up another
wall that separates the stateless from the "stateful."
Here, I am talking about a book written by a first-rate scholar who specializes in ethnology
and international law, and people's responses to it. It's a different story
when it comes to what doers do.
Actually author Chen Tien-shi has another face; she is a dedicated activist.
Besides delving into issues
with statelessness and the "Chinese Diaspora", she has also engaged in grassroots activities such as building up a worldwide
network for the stateless. So it's quite understandable that she has no
guts to tell these individuals, in person, that they should be proud of
the plight resulting from their status. Presumably, all she can barely say is: "You shouldn't feel ashamed of the predicament you are going through."
Life is not so simple as you think it is. · read more (40 words)
Tuesday, October 19 2010 @ 10:38 AM JST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
The flag of the Ryukyu Independence Party
The natives of the Ryukyus, better known as the Okinawa islands, call themselves Okinanchu or Uchinanchu when they want to stress their distinctive cultural identity.
On the other hand, they call the people in the main part of the Japanese Archipelago Naicha or Yamatonchu. The connotation of the former appellation is contemptuous while the latter is a neutral word. In that sense, Naicha to Okinawans are what gringos are to Latin American people.
The biggest difference you see between the two peoples lies in their quality as human beings measured by integrity, maturity and viability.
Traditionally, Naicha leaders have all been known for their propensity toward indecision, inaction and procrastination in the face of crises. Especially when it comes to foreign affairs, they have always let things drift until the problem solves itself. To them politics is like weather, as Ian Buruma once observed. They invariably fall into a state of thanatosis until the ferocious typhoon is gone.
That is why they make believe timeliness in action is not that important in diplomacy.
This way Japanese leaders have piled up formidable problems which should
have been addressed much earlier and more straight ahead.
Just to mention a few, the Russo-Japanese
dispute over the "Northern Territories," the Sino-Japanese feud
over oil and gas fields in the East China Sea and the issue with the Japanese
citizens kidnapped more than 25 years ago by North Korean agents all remained unaddressed until
the other side had fully entrenched its interests there.
Believe it or not, never once has the Japanese government shown its readiness for a bloody warfare against the other claimant of the disputed territory or filed its territorial claim with the international arbitration organization. Instead it keeps grumbling all the time out of fear that a provocative word or act will inevitably lead to an all-out confrontation.
It is true that leaders of other countries sometimes procrastinate, too. But they are fundamentally different from Japanese procrastination artists. They always act first to get a head start and once a fait accompli is established, they start buying time to defend status quo, whereas Naicha leaders just wait and see all the while and start selling time when the other end wants to buy it.
More or less the same thing can be said of the issue with the Senkaku Isles, Diaoyutai in Chinese.
On September 7, a Chinese trawler collided against a patrol ship of Japan Coast Guard in the disputed waters off Senkaku. At the onset, Prime Minister Naoto Kan and then Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Seiji Maehara were saying they would handle the incident "strictly in line with Japanese law."
But once again it proved totally useless for them to raise their voices to repeat the same old claim that Japan has a "legitimate" right on the uninhabited islets. As always the Chinese leaders by far outsmarted and outpaced their Japanese counterparts. In retaliation, they arrested four employees of a Japanese construction company on the charge of spying military facilities in Hebei Province.
Amid the fuss, Maehara, now as the new Foreign Minister, visited New York where he had a talk with his U.S. counterpart. The moron was momentarily heartened by Clinton's signature lip service. She said, in effect, that the disputed isles were included, albeit implicitly, in the 1972 bilateral deal to "return" Okinawa from the U.S. to Japan, and thus, Article 5 of the bilateral security treaty could be invoked to secure Japanese interest there.
Back home the media were also stupid enough to gush over the "diplomatic victory" Maehara had achieved. But in a matter of hours, China could bring Japan to her knees like taking a candy from a baby. The skipper of the Chinese fishing boat was freed.
Yesterday, I was really taken aback by Kan's declaration of 有言実行・引き延ばし一掃内閣
(a cabinet to act without delay.) In his mistimed as well as misplaced declaration, the moron
wanted to say that habitual procrastination in the past decades, mostly under the rule by the Liberal Democratic Party whereof he used to be a member, has now taken a devastating toll on the fate of this country and that he is now fully determined to quickly fix it.
What a laugh.
Actually things are getting even uglier. Yesterday, China released three hostages out of four in a gesture to mend the
relations between the two countries.
The dull-witted Yamatonchu felt at a loss because with China's move, the problem was three-quarters solved before they could attain anything. They just kept wondering why only three until it slowly dawned on them that the Chinese government wanted to keep the
unlucky guy in custody to deter the Japanese government from releasing the video of the crime scene. The Chinese knew one hostage is enough to stop the move.
The embarrassing situation triggered an outcry from among Japanese lawmakers of both camps for the release of the video footage - something none of them had thought about demanding from the Okinawa prosecutors in the last three weeks.
Political commentators and self-styled China experts, too, responded to the situation larghissimo. They started saying the video should be made public "immediately" to show the "international community" how the Chinese vessel hit the patrol ship, twice, in the starboard only when the problem had been 75% solved unilaterally by the country which had created it also unilaterally.
As usual, the idea of releasing the hard evidence occurred to these quarterbacks only when it was already Monday morning. Now there were only two options before the Naicha government.
Option 1: Turn the clock back to September 7 by complying with the demand to release the video. Option 2: Swallow the remaining 25%.
Whichever way it goes, the end result is the same. Japan goes around in circles forever.
Small wonder Kan's cabinet supposedly to act without delay has started stalling for time once again in a matter of hours from his declaration of no-procrastination policy. · read more (619 words)
Monday, October 18 2010 @ 09:40 AM JST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
You know what - there are weapons even more dangerous than nuclear devices or biochemical substances; they have been developed for the use in more covert
hostilities including cyber-warfare.
The unconventional weaponry they use in modern-day battlegrounds is more of
corrosives or toxics than explosives.
These agents are by far more perilous than any other weapon for the following
● There is an ample supply of this type of weaponry. It is available to
everybody and everywhere at affordable prices. Normally it doesn't cost
you anything more than your cheap soul.
● More often than not, they are invisible. That also means you can't really
identify your enemy.
This always constitutes a formidable challenge to organizations responsible for national security. While overt cyber attacks by Chinese or revelations of military secrets
by the likes of WikiLeaks are relatively easy to handle, the hardest part lies somewhere
U.S. Cyber Command, for one, is at a loss over who it is really fighting against, let alone what for. Head of "USCYBERCOM" Gen. Keith Alexander cannot even tell what his invisible enemy's target would be and what weapons the enemy is equipped with.
To me, however, it's easy to answer the last question; the weapons most commonly used against him are information spread around, verbally and visually, in every layer of cyberspace. In short, they are words and images.
If there is anything in which USCYBERCOM can find consolation, it is the fact that hordes of cyber warriors are giving it a helping hand from every corner of the country, and even from the other part of the globe,
including Oslo, Norwegian capital.
Most recently, a highly-acclaimed Chinese dissident named Liu Xiaobo was enshrined as the year's Peace Prize laureate by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Liu's wife Xia reportedly quoted her husband as saying, "This prize goes to all of those who died on June 4, 1989," when she visited him in prison.
Very touching, isn't it?
You can't figure out how the Lius are going to share the prize money of
SEK10-million with the deceased, but stupid Americans of both camps have
wasted no time to gush over their empty rhetoric about a free China.
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan was not so enthusiastic about Liu's feat in deference to his Chinese boss, Wen Jiabao. He reportedly said: "My view is that the release [of Liu from prison]
is desirable, but in what form we should seek this will need to be discussed."
Setting aside the absurd remarks made by the Japanese idiot for now, I wonder if you have read the now famous Charter 08 signed by 350 pro-democracy
activists including Liu. If you haven't, I think you better forget it for good.
be a total waste of time to examine the wordy manifesto because as anyone
can easily predict, wornout, empty, banal words, such as representative
democracy, universal suffrage, humanrights and freedom, are scattered all
over the Charter. These reform-mongers based it all on an outdated and watered-down
ideology that dates back to the days long before the Internet took hold.
And what is totally missing there is a clear vision of a free China and
the real life of 1.3 billion individual citizens living there. It's as though they think a change in the
political system will automatically bring about change in people's way
of thinking and living, while in fact, it's the people that change the system.
This way these obscurantists are constantly turning the Internet into a "disenabler" of real change whereas it's potentially a powerful enabler of it.
Unfortunately, it was nothing new that the Oslo-based Committee had discredited
itself by crowning leading ideologues such as Liu.
In his will, Alfred Nobel said to the effect that the Peace Prize should be awarded to the person who "shall have done the best work" to promote peace. But the Committee seems to have
rewritten Nobel's will like this:
"The prize should be awarded to a person who talked most frequently and audibly about peace, freedom and humanrights. Whether or not the person has actually delivered on his promises should not affect the Committee's decision."
As a result, it now looks as though the Committee sponsors an annual speech
contest. You just splash flowery words about an oppression-free, nuclear-free
and emission-free world, from your toolbox, which is actually an arsenal
filled with digitalized TNT or fissile material, on notable websites, or
better yet, through the mainstream media. And you become eligible to be
nominated by the Norwegian Committee.
It still remains a mystery why Mahatma Gandhi was passed over every time
he was nominated. Among other years he was shortlisted, 1948 was the year
he had already been assassinated by a fellow Hindu for his unique contribution
to India's independence. No one could deny that "The Father of India"
had done "the best work" by that time.
The same is true, perhaps to a lesser degree, with Ronald Reagan who missed
the medal in 1990 when Mikhail Gorbachev was singled out for the well-deserved
In my previous post, I talked about my way of classifying people I have known in person into four types. Every once in a while, however, we see a man of integrity like Gandhi or Reagan who I would classify into a fifth category.
But actually, an increasing number of dignitaries
who hadn't made any outstanding contribution to Nobel's cause have been awarded the Prize.
They included Henry Kissinger (1973), Eisaku Sato (1974), the Dalai Lama
(1989), Aung San Suu Kyi (1991), Yasser Arafat (1994), Kim Dae-jun (2000),
Kofi Annan (2001), Jimmy Carter (2001), Al Gore (2007) and Barack Obama
· read more (221 words)
Mr. S is the one who reminded me of Mencius' words about man's innate spontaneity
through his devotion to adding rare materials to the exhibits of the Cyber Museum I launched three and a half years ago.
Once again he brought in a large pile of photocopies of old magazine articles
written by or about my father Mineo Yamamoto. I said, "I really appreciate
your efforts, but I'm afraid I may not have them uploaded to the site because
I don't have time, money and most importantly, enthusiasm to do so anymore."
The selfless guy said, "That's no problem."
He added: "This time I have realized that your father was primarily
an educator, fully dedicated one."
Among the batch of paper in front of us, there was a 1943 article in a
questions-and-answers format from a magazine meant for schoolchildren.
One of the questions asked of my father was: "Why and how can an airplane
fly high defying the law of gravity?" He was enthusiastically answering
the question by citing how a kite soars and how an atomizer works.
This is what Mr. S had in mind when he said my father was a good educator.
I have inherited from him many things including Parkinson's disease. But
among other things, I owe him this particular attribute. Like him I have
believed throughout my life that the only effective way to learn things
is to teach them, and sometimes vice versa; most of the things I've learned have been learned through teaching. This is where the learning process of human beings differs from that of apes.
Ten years ago, I taught an MBA class at International University of Japan.
I had a lot of fun teaching 30 or so foreign students there. I hope they
also had fun discussing with me the use of the networked computers as an essential enabler of renovation in business. But that was only for a semester and my only experience
lecturing at a higher-learning institute.
So I usually introduce myself as a businessman-turned-blogger. But to be
more precise, I was born to be a fully committed educator before anything else. It always sickens me to have to deal with intellectually lazy, learning-disabled guys even when their idiocy is none of my business.
And what exactly have I taught them?
In my recent post entitled A Graveyard for the Musical Legacy of the West, I talked about the inversion of the ends and the means. In that connection I wrote the only thing that can set right the inverted value-creating chain is versatility.
Just remember that George Washington was primarily a farmer and agronomist, and Thomas Jefferson had many faces such as architect's, astronomer's and inventor's. I don't think we can expect single-minded political racketeers and tunnel-visioned political analysts to be able to reverse the ongoing process of the decline of civilization.
That is why I have always adhered to interdisciplinary subjects.
Have I succeeded so far? Only to a certain extent.
I remember educating on-the-job an intern by the name of Nathalie Guy when I was a senior manager at a Zurich-based trading company. I taught the brilliant French lady how to manage the foreign currency positions on a handmade system of my own based on Macros and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications.)
Our teacher-student relation was very fruitful because Nathalie was so
enthusiastic not only about learning computer systems, forex and business
as a whole but also about reciprocating.
When it came to my interaction with Japanese audiences including my bosses,
peers and subordinates, it was a disaster most of the time. Simply they don't have willingness to learn. The same is
more or less true with my own kids.
To borrow Wynton Marsalis's way of saying it, since they think everything has its place, they don't need to look for a new place.
I think I once wrote about Karl Jaspers, a German psychiatrist and philosopher.
Although he has had little influence on my way of thinking and living,
I was deeply impressed by an anecdote inserted in one of his books I read
some 55 years ago. It went like this:
The director of the mental hospital is known for his unparalleled compassion
toward the inmates. One day when he strolled around the garden, he spotted
an inpatient casting a fishing line into the swimming pool. The director
stopped by the patient. Smiling knowingly, he said, "What kind of
fish do you catch here?" The madman replied: "Don't be silly,
doc. You can't catch any fish in a swimming pool."
I'm inclined to classify people into four types like this:
Type 1: Bigmouths who boast they went fishing at the seaside and caught a big
fish while, in fact, they went nowhere and caught nothing.
Type 2: Gripers who claim to have been out at sea for fishing but came home empty-handed; they spend the rest of their lives telling sour grapes stories, or inventing plausible excuses.
Type 3: Tricksters who admit they cast a fishing line at the poolside but caught a big fish which is actually nothing but the product of a delusion.
Type 4: Madmen who fall under the same category with Jaspers' patient.
Throughout my adulthood, I haven't known, in person, a single individual who doesn't fit any one of these descriptions. · read more (191 words)
Friday, September 24 2010 @ 08:57 AM JST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
The tomb of my aborted book
The idiot by the name of Naoto Kan barely defeated the bandit named Ichiro Ozawa in the September 14 presidential election of the Democratic
Party of Japan. On the surface, the tumultuous days are over with the revolving door of the prime minister's office coming to a halt.
Wasting no time, American political analysts have already resumed disseminating the same old hogwash about Japan as a reliable partner that shares more or less the same values and the same
problems with the United States. Still they don't know what they are talking about.
Totally clueless about the intricate plot of the political Kabuki, these intellectually lazy Japan experts (or are they just retarded?) have started claiming they now see an unmistakable sign that the country is getting back on the right track.
For my part, the never-ending farce is constantly distracting me from concentrating on something I ought to finish before I go. It bothers me not precisely because it's a farce. To me the most irritating thing is to hear so many educated Americans talk about Japan like they are morons.
I know I can't afford to waste a single minute to try correcting Americans' take on the series of events unfolding
here. But I also know there are times when I must defend my principle regardless of whether the issue at hand is my baby.
Two and a half years ago, I was working on a book which would have been titled The Unviable Japan.
At the beginning, the American literary agent was saying it would instantly
hit the list of bestsellers. Completely in the dark about the reality of the rotten publishing industry in America, I took her words at face value. I didn't notice that actually the broad was just looking for catchy titles such as mine. So I did a lot of preparatory research to fully substantiate my heretical theory.
I had a brother-in-law who was an executive at Nissan North America for many years. He was an extraordinarily versatile
person. But his last years were mostly devoted to writing a book about the foundation of the nation currently called Japan.
He tracked it back to the third century when a shaman queen named Himiko was governing the main part of the archipelago because all the prehistoric truth was sealed off by two history books compiled by court-retained historians in the early-8th century.
To that end the ailing retiree strenuously went through antique books and ancient documents, 1,500 of them.
The former Nissan executive sent me his book weeks before he passed away.
In the enclosed memo, he wrote: "I'm really looking forward to reading
your The Unviable Japan."
In early March 2008 I sent an outline of my book to the agent. A week or
so later I called her up to see what her take on my document was like.
At the end of a lengthy conversation, the agent handed down her verdict
in a roundabout way. In effect, she said: "It's you, not your country,
that is not viable."
I shouldn't have expected an American literary agent to
understand that at times there are wannabe writers who seek truth much
more than money and fame.
Two and a half years have passed, but many educated Americans still remain ignorant,
arrogant and complacent.
For one thing, they never understand, or want to understand that you can't reset history, let alone change it, no matter how fervently the swindler in the White House insists you can.
In general, Americans process thoughts that fit comfortably into their ideologies, or business lines, purely on an ear-to-mouth basis, whereas they let heresies like mine pass through from the right ear to the left. They don't seem to need a brain at all. But let me quote Harvard public policy professor Robert D. Putnam one last time.
He explains his theory about "path-dependent trajectory" like this:
Where you can get to depends on where you're coming from, and some destinations you simply cannot get to from here.
Recently I'm learning more from Nikkan Gendai, the most popular tabloid here, than from other dailies published by the Big 5 media groups about what is exactly going on in and around the DPJ administration. Despite its vulgar sensationalism and unprincipled gossipiness, truth sometimes smells between the lines there.
I have analyzed the ongoing scene of Act Five of the political Kabuki using this relatively reliable source together with Putnam's theory.
For now my conclusion can be summarized like this:
· read more (1,141 words)
It was General MacArthur who taught us the merits of democracy and pacifism and guided us with kindness along this bright path. As if pleased with his own children growing up, he took pleasure in the Japanese people, yesterday's enemy, walking step by step toward democracy.
- from the Asahi Shimbun daily, April 1951. (English translation by Ian Buruma.)
If the Anglo-Saxon was, say, 45 years of age in his development, in the sciences, the arts, divinity, culture, the Germans were quite as mature. The Japanese, however, in spite of antiquity measured by time, were in a tuitionary condition. Measured by the standards of modern civilization, they would be like a boy of twelve as compared with our development of 45 years.
- from Douglas MacArthur's testimony at a joint committee of the senate on May 5, 1951.
One of my sons is the leader of a nonprofessional jazz band. Unlike his father and paternal grandfather, this guy is a people person from tip to toe. The only criterion he uses when selecting pieces for the next concert is what his men want to do and what his friends expect him to do. That leaves him no room to comply with his dad's request for "pure" jazz or heed his advice about the articulation and phrasing particular to it.
I would find his attitude toward music more or less acceptable if ever my son were a mercenarily-motivated professional musician. But that is not what he is.
He is not alone; the Japanese, in general, do music in order to bring themselves together, while in a civilized society, the priority is diagonally different; people come together for the purpose of doing music, and not the other way around.
You can see the same inversion of the ends and the means everywhere.
Take sports for example. To them win or lose does not really matter because it's not what sports are all about.
This all stems from their forced immersion in the Wakon Yosai potpourri which has made their behavior toward state policy ambivalent and noncommittal. Over time, people have developed a weird habit of responding to messages from above, or even from peers, without mental engagement. There is no sense of commitment; there is only a sense of obligation.
Against this backdrop, Japanese rulers have found out that the most effective way to prod their subjects into swallowing the cause they can't really relate to is to condition them the same way Ivan Pavlov did his dogs. Now they know it's a breeze to get their messages through in the total absence of common values if they use musical tones in place of verbal messages.
This way the Japanese have become accustomed to reflexively reacting to particular musical pieces artificially associated with particular messages as if they still owe allegiance to the failed regime.
One small example is the
street concert given by the garbage truck practically every morning. Over and over we hear the familiar Scottish tune Comin' Through the Rye in between taped messages from the city hall and the local police station. Especially in recent months, this message is repeated over and over again: "Don't remit your money to the designated bank account just because someone you can't positively identify tells over the phone you owe him something; it can be a scam."
I have nothing against the idea of using music for practical purposes. Basically it does no harm to deal with music that way because musical art, or any other art form for that matter, is not consumable. But it's a different story when it comes to the Japanese way of constantly subordinating musical values to something else. They go way over the top in that respect. As is the case with my own son, the younger generations now refuse to receive what little cultural heritage we have to pass on to posterity.
Like any other country, Japan has a statutory anthem which is titled Kimigayo, or His Majesty's Reign. But if you listen to this song, you will notice there are fundamental differences between Kimigayo and other national anthems.
For one thing, the Japanese anthem does not represent any value inherent to the regime in the way La Marseillaise is a manifestation of liberty, equality and fraternity. It is still widely believed that the reign of His Majesty dates back to 660 B.C. when the son of the sun goddess created this country. Kimigayo represents an absurd myth, not values.
Small wonder its lyrics never touch your heart strings. Actually, no Japanese understands, or wants to understand, what these enigmatic words want to say.
To make the lyrics even more incomprehensible, the tune does not fit into the drawling words in terms of articulation and intonation. It is said an obscure German composer by the name of Franz Eckert wrote the melody with the help of two Japanese. He should have known that it was next to impossible to make his tune, which is more or less in line with the Western scale, go with the Japanese words, which are as flat as the Great Plains.
All this has made Kimigayo the world's most yawnful (disgustingly so) national anthem. Yet Japanese have never thought about abandoning it, because to them a national anthem does not have to bear any musical value, let alone represent such values as liberty and equality.
Deep inside, however, they wish they could sing a more singable song with straightforward lyrics, such as Das Deutschlandlied (The Song of Germany) composed by Joseph Haydn.
That is evident from the fact that in the late-1940s NHK virtually selected Beethoven's 9th Symphony, often referred to as Daiku (or No. 9) here, as Japan's second national anthem.
In this country there are thirty professional orchestras including the one owned by NHK. If you include semiprofessional and
nonprofessional ones, there are thousands of them. And believe it or not, especially in December, practically every one of them takes up this particular symphony for its regular concert.
Once again, the selection was nothing but arbitrary; the substitute anthem didn't necessarily have to be Daiku. Any other musical piece would have been considered to serve the purposes as long as it comes from the West, and sounds grandiose.
Now even a plumber can sing along to the famous theme of its 4th
movement. Of course they don't have the slightest idea about what Friedrich Schiller's lyrics say. To them, the more incomprehensible the words, the more profound they sound, as is true with the sutra chanted by the Buddhist monk at the funeral.
Rajio Tiaso, or Calisthenics on Radio and TV
If you have visited a Japanese company, or foreign company owned by the Japanese, first thing in the morning, it is likely that you have seen the employees doing an exotic exercise at the company yard or in the office to a boring tune on the radio. You thought they were warming up for the day's work, or just trying to physically keep in shape. But you were wrong. Rajio Taiso is not aerobics or Tai Chi.
Actually it's yet another invention in the wartime NHK should be given credit for.
In those days, the broadcaster repeated a slogan that went: "A hundred million hearts should burn like a fireball (一億火の玉となって)" to fight back barbarians from the West. The broadcaster thought a gymnastic exercise was needed to spark that fireball.
Hitlerjugend (the Hitler Youth) was doing a similar thing, but it was primarily intended to develop physical strength and agility. Besides, the Germans never thought they could train adults that way.
It's interesting to know that the "new NHK" thought it was necessary to revive the same Rajio Taiso format even under the war-renouncing Constitution. Once again it was intended to nourish a sense of oneness among people and loyalty to organizations to which they belong. Even today the Japanese are doing the standard exercise to the supposedly airy tunes (there are two sets of routines) at home, in the workplace and school yards. This ensures harmony and unity among the 127 million people by mentally, or even spiritually warming them up every morning. .
Is There Japanese Equivalent of the Phrase "Captive Audience"?
Actually there is none simply because they don't need such an expression. Around the clock the Japanese are in captivity wherever they go.
I have already talked about the street concert by the garbage truck. Since the walls of my apartment are not really sound-proof, it's as though I am sitting in the front row of the concert hall.
I remain in captivity wherever I go. Even when I go out for my meal, the musical noise never sets me free. I sometimes think I might as well wear earplugs all the time. It's almost as though the articles of incorporation of every Japanese restaurant prescribe that music should be the integral part of its customer Saabisu.
One of my American friends living in this neighborhood once said: "I have been impressed to know the Japanese are avid music lovers without exception. They seem to appreciate all kinds of music all the time." I said: "No, that's not what they are. On the contrary, they disdain music as if it were rubbish. These apes just can't see the difference between Bach and Hippu Hoppu."
When eating out at an eatery you haven't visited before, you've got to be prepared for the annoyance caused by a very unlikely combination of food and music.
If you already have the knowledge about the particular combination, the piped-in music won't bother you too much, though. For instance, I know at a Udon shop I frequent, I hear smooth jazz played by the likes of Chet Baker, Stan Getz, and Bill Evans although it sometimes includes the East Coast stuff which is not too smooth. I am an avowed jazz fan. So I don't have any problem swallowing the Japanese noodle while listening to jazz. I sometimes wonder how other customers, who don't look to appreciate jazz, can easily digest Udon in the roaring sound of the American music. But that's none of my business.
On the other hand when you are not sure about the type of music the restaurant owner is partial to, it can be a disaster. You never know what it feels to have Japanese breakfast of Natto (fermented soybeans) and Miso-Shiru (soybean paste soup) when the entire place is filled with the solemn sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio. (This happens especially in the holiday season.)
The other day I was having American breakfast at a restaurant in a small hotel in this neighborhood. The music for the grand finale of Swan Lake was going on in an earsplitting volume. Tchaikovsky's hyperbole really drove me crazy. I motioned a waiter over. He was a punk with a loony face. I said, "I don't want to eat my fried eggs at the Bolshoi Theater." My message didn't get through to the idiot until I pointed at the outlet of the intercom with a frowning face.
By comparison, catering establishments run by Chinese are a little more tolerable because these restauranteurs are more civilized than their Japanese counterparts. They know when sitting at the table, the normal human being concentrates on food, and some other personal tasks such as witty conversation, reading and writing - except at a dinner show.
At times you may hear those wavy, whining tunes in their places. But you will never suffer motion sickness because these Chinese songs are only faintly audible.
· read more (815 words)