Thursday, 16 May 2013


I see the Japanese nationalists have opened up shop in Abiko next to the Italian restaurant opposite Peppy's English school.

I also note that there are a lot more stories* about Japan's rightward march and its rattling of sabres with China and general nastiness to Koreans, most recently with the governor of Osaka (the Chicago to Tokyo's New York) tacitly defending the Imperial Army's use of sex slaves which they shipped from vassal nations of their East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Only this time, Mayor Hashimoto suggested that Japan's friends in the American forces of occupation ought to make use of sex workers more rigorously and thus avoid those pesky troubles that randy Marines cause when they go off and rape Okinawan schoolgirls and such.

Where to begin?

The problem is, I get what Hashimoto is saying. Sort of. Armies do have a habit of raping and pillaging. That is kind of the point of them, isn't it? It's rape of life and liberty by the bayonet rather than the todger. And the whole edifice is indefensible. Certainly, the Imperial Japanese use of 200,000 Chinese, Filipino and Korean women as sex slaves was abhorrent. But then so is war. And so was the systematic use of 200,000 Japanese women in brothels by the US, Australian and British after the war. But, two-hundred thousand wrongs don't make a right.

There are massive differences between battlefield rape, sexual slavery and prostitution. (As there are to speaking off the cuff as a blogger with an audience of dozens than as a mayor of a city of millions.) I may have got the wrong end of the stick here, as usual, but to conflate sexual slavery with prostitution as some kind of excuse for a shameful episode of Japan's history, not to mention such a casual fuck-you to the quaint notion that women might have some kind of right in 2013 to not be sexual fodder for the military machine, makes me glad to know that the Abiko Japan Restoration Party campaign headquarters will be long gone after the upper house elections in July.

I look forward to strolling past Peppy's on the way to savour my margarita pizza in peace, along with the rest of Abiko.

*This reminds me of the flurry of stories of radiation hot spots in cities in the aftermath of Fukushima. Some were hot spots of radiation, but most were hot spots because people were looking for hot spots. They weren't objectively particularly hot. Just saying. But I still think Fukushima, on the whole, was bad. Very bad.


Scott said...

Here's to the beginning of the end of the JRP and maybe the LDP if we're lucky. How perfectly ironic for it to be toppled by its insensitive, historically challenged founder.

The public may be leaning right but not bat shit crazy right. Now it's Abe's turn to get a taste for his own foot. I hope it's in time for the summer elections.

Hashimoto, Ishikawa, and Abe are all birds of a feather in their misguided beliefs of an infallible imperial army and horrible case of WWII war crime denial and they need to be shown for who they really are too the international community. Japan is better than these men... But maybe not by much. History needs to be properly taught here to avoid creating any more of these bitter little men..

Patrick Sherriff said...

I don't really think the country is leaning right. Given the choice in the last election, what was sane voter to do? Abe's not my cup of tea, but he has played what cards he has pretty well so far. Hashimoto is busy painting himself into a rhetorical corner all his own making but a week in politics is a long time and all that. Proper history? Well, I wouldn't hold your breath.