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Kawaii, Somber Japan
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Osaka, 2018

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Before my recent trip to Tokyo, Kawasaki and Osaka, I emailed an American friend, “Japan contrasts so sharply with chaotic and dirty Vietnam. Unlike here, almost nothing happens on Japanese sidewalks, no eating, drinking or even smoking!”

He replied, “Myself, I would prefer ‘dirty’ Vietnam to Japan, any day.” Though only in Vietnam as a soldier, he still has fond memories of the country.

On the way to Tan Son Nhat Airport, the young taxi driver asked where I was flying to.

“Tokyo, I answered. “It’s my second time. They have a great subway system, brother,” and it is the most reliable, cleanest, safest and easiest I’ve ever used, with great amenities at most stations. “Who knows when Vietnam will have something similar?”

He guffawed, “We’re five hundred years behind them!”

From Narita, I took three trains to Nippori, Hamamatsucho then Azabujyuban, from where I walked to my room at International House. On the way, I passed the Juban Inari Shrine. All Japanese temples are elegant and understated, even when huge. Crossing the street was suddenly no longer an adventure. Though Vietnamese have become much better at stopping at red lights, many still bristle at the idea.

Japanese do occasionally jaywalk, and I would see more of it in Osaka than Tokyo. There are also more graffiti and littering in the home of takoyaki, Japan’s only remaining red light district and its worst slum. Japanese are not as anal as Germans, who would stand alone at a curb at 3 in the morning, waiting for the walk signal to change, with not a single car in sight in any direction.

Opening the shoji blind, I could see the tastefully landscaped garden where Yukio Mishima had his wedding reception. After unpacking, I became reacquainted with the heated toilet seat, the anus shower whose jets could be adjusted and, most comfortingly, the stream of warm air that dried even my nuts.

Vietnam’s leading novelist of that era, Nhất Linh, also committed suicide, but only quietly, with poisoned wine. Unlike badass Mishima, Nhất Linh didn’t have a gay lover hack at his neck repeatedly with a samurai sword.

During my previous visit to Tokyo, I spoke to a bookstore audience of my admiration for Japanese boldness, “Although transgenderism is in, with everybody cutting his penis off, only a Japanese could come up with the idea of offering it as a meal, at a banquet.” To my surprise, no one there had heard of Mao Sugiyama.

Sugiyama’s ballsy announcement, “Please retweet. I am offering my male genitals (full penis, testes, scrotum) as a meal for 100,000 yen… I will prepare and cook as the buyer requests, at his chosen location.”

There was no time to waste. Within hours of arriving, I was in a Roppongi restaurant with a few of my Tokyo friends. While downing beer and sashimi, we talked about their troubled nation.

Translator Miwako Ozawa shared that she didn’t know her neighbors, and that Japanese only say hello to strangers in elevators and on mountain trails. Her husband, photographer Samson Yee, added that I shouldn’t judge Japanese sociability by my friends, for they are all cosmopolitan writers and intellectuals, “If you meet an ordinary Japanese, you’ll have to climb so many walls before you get to know them.” As another indicator of the Japanese’s shrinkage from direct experiences, Samson pointed out that only 23% even hold a valid passport.

We’ve all heard about young Japanese recluses, the hikikomori, but did you know that at least 43% of Japanese between 18 and 34 are virgins? A third had never even been on a single date.

“How did Japanese go from bathing together, men and women, young and old, to being mostly alone?” I asked. No one could answer.

Writer Mieko Kawakami said that Japan’s previous tranquility and equilibrium were achieved only with much sacrifice by women, and the continuing breakdown of traditions is actually freeing women from onerous roles. Probing this theme, she is working on a novel about a woman having a baby without a man.

Many Japanese now live alone, then often die without anyone noticing, sometimes for weeks. Family members don’t call or even email them. Through a friend, I was able to visit an octogenarian who rarely left his messy apartment. His is the generation that built contemporary Japan. In the same complex, we passed a door whose letter and peep slots had been sealed by tape, to prevent the dogged stench of putrefaction from seeping out. It’s a common sight there. With its stigma of sordid death, the apartment will be hard to rent, thus adding to the glut of empty houses in Japan.

The live man’s apartment smelled bad enough. It’s a stagnant, fermented funk which actually made me pause at his genkan, and I’m no olfactory pussy, dwelling in Saigon. Carrying two six packs of Asahi beer as gifts, I braved my way in.

Next to his bed were six bottles of hard liquor and a stack of illustrated sex manuals. Cheered up by such rare visitors, he chattered away, and anyone could tell he must have been quite charismatic in youth, and a ladies’ man. He admitted to having a crush on the woman, sent by a charity organization, who came twice a week to clean.

“Is she young?” I grinningly asked.

“Yes, very young. Maybe 55!”

ORDER IT NOW

The neighborhood was a post-war new town development, filled with identical apartment blocks, and very few stores or restaurants within easy walking distance, especially if you’re on your last leg. A playground with its slide and jungle gym sat empty. “This is incredible,” I said to my friend. “We haven’t passed one cafe or bar. If this was Vietnam, people would just sit outside, drink and socialize.” There was a tiny seniors center at a forlorn strip mall. We strayed in to find six old people lounging around a coffee table, sipping tea. When they all got up to leave, I asked, “Why are they all leaving at once?”

“It’s the Japanese way. We do everything together!” Or at least they used to.

Convenience stores are ubiquitous in Japan. At a Family Mart, the owner told us that for many old people nearby, his little store was not just where they could get grocery, but a few words addressed to them, plus a smile.

In Japan, more than a third of the population are older than 60, and adult diapers outsell those for babies, yet everywhere you look, there are cartoon figures. It’s a country that balances its business suit graveness with the infantile. A supermarket chain’s logo is a kawaii dog, with a slogan in English, “Smile every day!” Vending machines feature a round-eyed boy flashing a victory sign, “We’ll Be Happy!” Pachinko parlors are tsunamis of cartoon characters and childish colors.

One day, I talked to a class at Waseda University, and among the students was a remarkable 20-year-old. Having lived in Indonesia and Australia, she was fluent in Indonesian and English by age 15, but for three years in high school, took English courses, like everybody else, and to not show up her classmates or teachers, pretended she didn’t already know the language, and even faked a Japanese accent. At age 16, she became an idol singer, thus a minor celebrity. Idol starlets are presented as impossibly cute airheads, thus her profile page lists her interests as Rilakkuma, teddy bears and panda dolls, but away from this public persona and obligation, she is a supremely mature and confident woman.

Her singing career, then, is merely theater, a form of cosplay, and she’s been playing it well, but it’s nearly time to move on, hence her serious studies at a good university. Japan, too, has shown an exceptional ability to switch gears. From not eating beef for over a millenium, it now produces the best beef in the world. Overnight, it went from being America’s fiercest enemy to its most ardent emulator.

In contrast to the spectacularly colorful images of Ginza or Shinjuku, much of Tokyo is rather drab, and its citizens are mostly dressed quite somberly. As for school kids, they’re austerely uniformed. Even Germans aren’t so severely attired. For most Japanese, then, the windows for making any individual statement, in fashion or anything else, are actually tiny.

At a subway station, there’s a poster reminding people to hold onto the handrail while riding the escalator. The illustraton showed two long rows of commuters, separated by sex, with all the men in identical blue suits and yellow ties, and all the women in identical pink coats.

In Vietnam, the improvised, slap dash and sloppy are routine, but in Japan, each detail has been well-calibrated, and every gesture well-choreographed and rehearsed. This rigorous attention to particulars result in Japan’s stunning beauty, for nothing there is ugly, not even its kitsch, but perhaps I’m just betraying my gaudy Vietnamese esthetics here. In Osaka, there’s a supermarket chain, Super Tamade, that features bombastic, multi-colored displays of lights outside, while over the merchandises, there are neon and crayon-colored cartoon whales, dolphins, octopuses, blow fish, submarines, airplanes and helicopters, etc. Pointing out a Super Tamade, my Japanese friends expected me to laughingly sneer, but I only swooned, “That is very beautiful.” Who needs Jeff Koons or acid when you can just shop at Super Tamade?

In Shibuya, I stared for a good minute at a small, round, cast iron plate on the sidewalk, because the floral pattern on it was so gorgeous, and many Japanese manhole covers belong in art museums.

Dining with editor Shigeki Tabata, I picked up a bottle of soy sauce and gushed, “Look at how beautiful this graphic is. Look at this subtle greenish gray!”

Editor and translator Motoyuki Shibata tempered my enthusiasm, “When everything is overly determined, it can be oppressive,” and I do agree, and perhaps Japanese life should be more unscripted, for the sake of its stressed out citizens. High, exact standards are particularly burdensome to those who have to serve, Samson pointed out to me, and he’s witnessed angry commuters scream at subway employees.

Even more than Singapore, Japan is filled with signs telling everyone to do everything. At a small neighborhood temple, I encountered a sign showing a round-eyed schoolgirl in uniform, and instructions on “How to worship.” Written in both English and Japanese, they weren’t just meant for ignorant foreigners, “1. Bow twice. 2. Clap your hands twice and pray. 3. Bow once more.” At subway stations, there are elaborate charts showing which numbered car to get into to make your particular transfer the easiest. Near apartments blocks filled with old people, large signs encourage you to say hello and smile at the old farts to cheer them up. Sidewalks are pasted with warnings against smoking in public. Hotel lobbies forbid the use of cellphones. Has there ever been a more anal society?

In Vietnam, on the other hand, rules and boundaries are often never acknowledged or ignored, so everything blurs and blends. Very well-traveled, with three years in Africa and one in India, Samson has visited Vietnam three times. Like me, he likes to wander aimlessly, so once found himself in an alley, where he sat down at a restaurant table. Only after minutes did a woman appear to give him a cup of tea.

“I’d like a menu, please,” he asked, but she looked surprised.

“Menu?”

“Yes, a menu, please.”

She laughed, “This no restaurant. This, house!”

Every state uses its educational system to indoctrinate, and in Japanese schools, kids are forced to form human pyramids, as high as ten tiers, a practice that each year causes more than 8,000 injuries requiring insurance payments. On her phone, Mieko Kawakami showed me image after image of children periliously stacked. From 1969 to 2016, there were actually nine deaths from kumitaiso, but to infuse unity and a sense of collective achievement, it persists, to the disgust and anguish of many parents.

ORDER IT NOW

Check out Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in her music video, “Candy Candy,” sung in infantile English. At the beginning, she runs, most bizarrely, with a piece of toast in her mouth, past a row of suburban houses, with their parked cars, manicured shrubs and kids’ sporting equipment. With her huge pink hairbow, strawberry colored hair and a pale pink and purple skirt that resembles an upside down lotus, deifying her nether regions, she’s a kawaii fantasy streaking through drab and uniform normalcy.

In Osaka, middle-aged women are known for their short curls and preference for clothing with the spots, stripes or face of their favorite big cat, but in four days of roaming the city, from its lowest to most chichi neighborhoods, I encountered only a single cheetah or tiger fashionista. Hopefully, this regional distinctiveness is not fading. Roar on, Osaka oba-chan!

To the amusement of my Japanese friends, I kept returning to Jonathan’s, a chain restaurant, for there I found an evocation of a much gentler and cheesier America. Many dishes were Japanese spins on American comfort food. Bathed in bright lights and muzak, I happily ate hamburger patty smothered in demi-glace, roast beef kissed with a mild horseradish, fried chicken, potato wedges, french fries, corn and spaghetti, the last prepared with salmon roe, scallops and seaweed. The Coke, 7-up and punch flowed endlessly at the drink bar. I felt returned to a much improved version of my school cafeteria in Tacoma, Washington. There was a curious offering called “doria,” which turned out to be a rice gratin, topped in this instance by four Hiroshima oysters. Yum, yum, yum. Near the cash register was a selection of cheap toys, and the plastic coffee cups came in baby blue, pink and yellow.

Perhaps because so much has been lost, nostalgia, even for someone else’s past, is a strong undercurrent in Japan. One manifestation of this is the pervasive cult of childhood, when all doors are supposedly still open. In his scrisp, well-tailored suit, a virginal salaryman stares at the soft porn dancing girls while colored lights flash and hundreds of metal pellets bounce downward. Though with the world on his shoulders, he’s still a child.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Japan 
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  1. Though with the world on his shoulders, he’s still a child.

    Ultimately, it is the self-sacrificing nature present in the Germanic and Japanese peoples which, Atlas-like, holds the world aloft.

    I am reminded of Ruth Benedict’s The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, where she writes that the films the Japanese produced to maintain popular support for the Pacific War were perceived by Americans as deeply moving pacifist films.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Truth
  2. tfiddler says:

    Thank you for this journey. I felt I was there with you wherever you traveled.

  3. DB Cooper says:

    Kawasaki has always been a drab, pollution ridden and crowd city as seen by John Pilger in this documentary made some years ago. Japan has peaked three decades ago and is still going down with no end in sight.

  4. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    “How did Japanese go from bathing together, men and women, young and old, to being mostly alone?” I asked. No one could answer.

    When too many people have just one child, there will be no uncles, aunts, and cousins. Too many Japanese kids grew up as only-children without siblings. That means no niece and nephews. And if the child’s parents also grew up as only-child, then the kid has no uncles and aunts.

    Having only one child is a death spiral for society, especially one like Japan where people tend to be less socially open. In the past, even a shy kid would have uncle, aunts, cousins, and then nephews and nieces. Now, he’s all alone and even more alone if his parents were also only-child.

    • Replies: @follyofwar
    , @Reg Cæsar
  5. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Writer Mieko Kawakami said that Japan’s previous tranquility and equilibrium were achieved only with much sacrifice by women, and the continuing breakdown of traditions is actually freeing women from onerous roles.

    Complete nonsense. What ‘sacrifice’? What was ‘onerous’? Men toiled all day at work. The women needed to keep the house and raise the kids. That was ‘onerous’ ‘sacrifice’? As opposed to men working all day?

    This is all feminist BS. The fact is modern women got shallow, narcissistic, and vain. The only thing they care about is me, me, me. So, they just went clubbing and began to act trashy.

  6. @DB Cooper

    At about the one minute mark: “Japan is certain by the year 2000 to surpass the United State in GNP . . .”

    I love old documentaries.

  7. eah says:

    …not as anal as Germans, who would stand alone at a curb at 3 in the morning, waiting for the walk signal to change, with not a single car in sight in any direction.

    “LOL” — a lot of truth in that — and 50% of those “3 in the morning” Idioten would hiss a reproach if you dared to cross against the light — a compromise is to wait for the light if children are present, even at 3am.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  8. Given the control of Japan by USA (and significantly Jewish) occupiers after the war, one must wonder if the low birth rate of the Japanese since then, was explicitly an intended, targeted result of social engineering by the occupiers

    In other words, a genocidal project, as with Germany and Europeans and the white-culture west in general

    1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide
    “Genocide means any of the following …
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”

  9. utu says:
    @Hyperborean

    Their propaganda did not do as much vilification of the enemy as American or British propaganda. One explanation is that in authoritarian disciplined societies like Japan or Germany people just do their duty while Americans had to be motivated with hate.

    • Replies: @republic
  10. Anonymous[346] • Disclaimer says:
    @Brabantian

    E. Michael Jones, whose was in Germany doing research for a book on Heisenberg, does a good job giving a short synopsis of the what the Jews did to Germany immediately after WWII (Morganthau Plan, Kaufman sterilization plan, subversion through sexual liberation):

  11. This article is an interesting contrast to Black Pigeon Speaks’ YouTube videos. He seems hopeful about the future of Japan, particularly since they’ve resisted the globalist mandate of forced mass migration. I hope he’s right!

  12. @Brabantian

    In sub-Saharan Africa, (d) may become necessary!

  13. dvorak says:

    Japan has peaked three decades ago and is still going down with no end in sight.

    Dinh’s Tokyo seems to be quite livable, with $17 hotel stays and $1.23 beer cans from vending machines. Modern Tokyo is livable for families, old alcoholics and young Internet billionaires alike.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  14. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:

    I don’t believe there is really anything wrong with Japanese society. The ill effects that Linh highlights is from Japan buying into Mercantilism and Keyneseism.

    This in effect put a cap on how prosperous their society could become since it meant that their economy was built on keeping their exchange rate low and exporting ever cheaper items.

    This meant the brunt of their society took the blow and the average Japanese had to work twice as hard to maintain their lifestyle.

    If Japan had said no to the west and let their currency float, it would have meant more wealth for the country as a whole and the average Japanese would not have to kill themselves just to survive.

    • Replies: @Chuck
    , @SteveK9
  15. Ling Chow says:

    …..”There are also more graffiti and littering in the home of takoyaki, Japan’s only remaining red light district and its worst slum. “

    Should be “is” more graffiti and littering….

    Also, “Takoyaki” is “grilled octopus” in Japanese-there is no district in Tokyo-red light or other, with that name

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @anonymous
  16. With a high concentration of population they need a lot of orderliness. Which probably explains the stacking phenomenon.

    The population of Tokyo may be a bit hard to understand because of the way the figures are laid out. The 23 wards claim a population of 9.2 million, but the metropolis has a population that exceeds 13 million. The greater Tokyo metropolitan area, which is spread over 3 prefectures, is much larger and has a population that is estimated to be over 36 million. That means the greater Tokyo area is home to 25% of Japan’s population, and it’s the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The metropolitan area is so large, in fact, that it is 1.5 times larger than the world’s next largest metropolitan area, Seoul.

    Maybe Linh can visit South Korea next.

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  17. @Anon

    What, you think Japan in the past was like your stupid American suburb? What a bonehead.

    • Troll: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  18. republic says:
    @utu

    Ruth Benedict was a jew who was a member of the Boasian school of Anthropology which denied there are races.

    This was pointed out in the magisterial book, the Culture of Critique , by Kevin B MacDonald

  19. DB Cooper says:
    @Si1ver1ock

    Tokyo is a ugly and depressing city with no planning whatsoever. Linh Dinh captures the general mood of Japan pretty well. Thirty years of national decline with no end in sight whatsoever will make any place depressing. The government has been using nationalism to distract its citizens from the government’s incompetence. The right wing, long a fringe of the society has become more mainstream. Anti-Americanism bubbled up every so often hidden under a façade of politeness. Japan is a shell of its former self. A far cry from the heady days when Japanese politicians openly calling the US workers lazy and illiterate. The US better keep this country on a short leash.

    • Replies: @dvorak
  20. dvorak says:
    @DB Cooper

    The US better keep this country on a short leash.

    You must be lost. This is Unz.com, poison to neocons and neolibs. You are a neolib. HISSSSSSSS, begone.

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  21. @obwandiyag

    ‘… What a bonehead.’

    There’s a definite irony in one of the least intelligent posters at this site repetitively calling everyone else stupid.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    , @Truth
  22. Linh Dinh says:
    @dvorak

    Hi dvorak,

    The quoted prices are from Kamagasaki, Osaka’s and Japan’s worst slum, with the homeless lining up in a grim park to get rice gruel.

    Linh

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  23. Linh Dinh says:
    @Ling Chow

    Hi Ling Chow,

    “home of takoyaki” means Osaka, where the dish originated. Since your English comprehension is seriously flawed, do refrain from making too many linguistic corrections.

    Best,

    Linh

  24. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    And this just in:

    TOKYO–Osaka police have arrested Takuji Maeda, the founder of the Tamade supermarket chain, on charges of receiving prostitution revenue from a store rented to yakuza members. Tamade is famous in the Osaka area for having ridiculously low prices as well as unique and colorful storefronts.

    According to investigators, Maeda knowingly rented a store in Osaka’s Tobita Shinchi area (Osaka’s largest red light district) to members of the yakuza who wanted to use it for a prostitution business. The Tobita Shinchi business came into the spotlight in May when its manager and his wife was arrested for violating anti-prostitution laws following an investigation with a female employee.

    Further investigation led to Maeda’s arrest on Dec 3. Apparently, he had been receiving tens of thousands of yen on a monthly basis for rent from its former managers. The total profit he made off of this little side-business adds up to hundreds of thousands of yen..

    In the past, Maeda has also been exposed for labor violations regarding non-Japanese employees, including making foreigners on student visas work beyond their legally allowed allotment of working hours, so he doesn’t have the best reputation.

    Netizens have expressed mixed feelings about the arrest. While many don’t exactly condone his actions, they also love the insanely cheap prices at Tamade []

  25. DB Cooper says:
    @Linh Dinh

    “The quoted prices are from Kamagasaki, Osaka’s and Japan’s worst slum, with the homeless lining up in a grim park to get rice gruel.”

    Hi Linh, can you take some pictures of what you described and post here? You posted a lot of pictures of the seedy side of Philly. Like to see the same for Japan. Thanks.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Bombercommand
  26. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @DB Cooper

    Hi DB Cooper,

    I couldn’t take photos of the prostitutes or homeless lining up for charity food, but I did take a few photos of the slum. There will be another article on Japan soon.

    Linh

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
    , @Anonymous
  27. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ling Chow

    I see that the author responded, but just to be clear it took me ten seconds to confirm that the word “graffiti” is properly used as both the singular and plural. (I also was reminded that “graffito” is purely singular.)

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  28. Good article Linh Dinh. Well done.

  29. DB Cooper says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Thanks. Looking forward to it.

  30. @Colin Wright

    Typical graceless clueless hopeless predictable non-response response. The bonehead.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  31. DB Cooper says:
    @dvorak

    Japan has never reconciled its WWII history with its neighbors as shown in the John Pilger film. In fact Japan has been pushing an alternative history in which it is Japan that is the victim. Inside the Yasukuni shrine complex there is a building dedicated in explaining that it is the US that has tricked innocent Japan into bombing pearl harbor and other tales. Note that the Yasukuni shrine is not some obscure temple, it is in the heart of Tokyo and successive Japanese prime ministers and their cabinet members paid tribute there in official capacities every year. As years past this narrative has been gaining acceptance among the gullible Japanese public. Japan has a huge grudge on the US but it dares not to speak out aloud. This is why I said the US should keep Japan on a short dog leash.

  32. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @DB Cooper

    No public on Earth is more gullible about its imperialistic government than the American public. Check the polling data just reported by Eric Zuesse over at, among other sites, Zero Hedge.

    You like Uncle Sam with a leash in his hand? You’re collared.

  33. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi all,

    Suddenly, I can’t access my blog, and this has never happened during my ten years of blogging. Please click on Postcards from the End of [the] America[n Empire,” and tell me if it works. If nothing shows up, then I may have been erased by Google, which owns Blogger, or maybe it’s just a temporary glitch. If the link works, then my blog is being firewalled inside Vietnam.

    Linh

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @aandrews
    , @Da Wei
  34. Anonymous[868] • Disclaimer says:

    Your blog link works for me.

  35. republic says:

    Linh:

    Your great site is still up. Hope that you have backed up all your files somewhere offline. Lots of stuff is being erased from the web these days.

    What is the link to all those expats living abroad series?, found the Brighton one,but nothing else.

  36. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @AaronB

    Hi all,

    After being inaccessible for more than an hour, my blog is back up, so it was just some technical problem.

    As for the Escape from America series, here’s the link.

    Linh

  37. Truth says:
    @Hyperborean

    Ultimately, it is the self-sacrificing nature present in the Germanic and Japanese peoples

    They done sacrificed a few non-German and Japanese people along the way as well…

    • Agree: Plato's Dream
  38. Truth says:
    @Colin Wright

    No, actually it’s fairly common here.

  39. @DB Cooper

    ‘… Inside the Yasukuni shrine complex there is a building dedicated in explaining that it is the US that has tricked innocent Japan into bombing pearl harbor and other tales. Note that the Yasukuni shrine is not some obscure temple, it is in the heart of Tokyo and successive Japanese prime ministers and their cabinet members paid tribute there in official capacities every year. As years past this narrative has been gaining acceptance among the gullible Japanese public…’

    On the one hand, this is true…and more. On the other hand, what do you want?

    That morbid German ‘ve ver zo bad’ going on and on forever? That’s at least as useless.

    Nations — like people — need to construct a version of their past that allows them some self-respect.

  40. @obwandiyag

    ‘Typical graceless clueless hopeless predictable non-response response. The bonehead.’

    You’re not actually black, are you? It would be ironic if you were; you’d be involuntarily confirming so many racist beliefs with every post.

  41. @Anon

    And smart phone make the kids even more alone. Kick the kids outside and don’t let them come back until dinner time, which is how it used to be. Smart phones, high tech video games, and facebook are a death sentence to society.

  42. @DB Cooper

    Well, when you have two atomic bombs dropped on your cities for no good reason (the war was already lost) by a megalomaniac president (Truman) with an inferiority complex, then how could you not feel the victim? The Nagasaki bomb, coming only 3 days after the Hiroshima bomb, was even more egregious. Eisenhower was against using them. It is now common knowledge among historians that FDR tricked the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor.

    • Replies: @Excal
  43. @eah

    The sort of Germans who would stand alone at a curb at 3 in the morning are rapidly dying out and being replaced by a “new” sort of German. In Berlin jaywalking is already shockingly ubiquitous.

    • Replies: @anon
  44. @Anon

    In the past, even a shy kid would have uncle, aunts, cousins, and then nephews and nieces. Now, he’s all alone and even more alone if his parents were also only-child.

    We just buried my stepfather this year. He was the fourth child of essentially two only children. (His mother had a brother, after whom he was named, who died in an epidemic before he could marry.) So they had no first cousins.

    That was corrected in the next generation, and he had descendants, direct and lateral, at both his funeral and his burial, which were months apart due to climate. Few made it to both, however, due to geographic dispersion, a common complication in America.

    Such bottlenecks are often broken through. Pocahontas had only a single great-grandchild. But she has tens of thousands, if not hundreds, of living descendants today. First Ladies Wilson and Reagan were among them.

    Perhaps William Shakespeare left a child or two in London in all his years in self-imposed exile there. His legitimate Stratford line died out.

    • Replies: @Will Jones
  45. Tokyo is a ugly and depressing city with no planning whatsoever.

    Almost no cities in the Old World are planned. Young Sapporo is Japan’s exception, modeled after Kansas City, of all places. Perhaps they took seriously the latter’s claim to more boulevards than any city other than Paris.

    They even have a hotel named Grids.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  46. Is Mao a Japanese surname, too? Or is this guy of Chinese origin, like Sadaharu Oh?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  47. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @DB Cooper

    Hi all,

    I talked about the Yasukuni Shrine and the firebombing of Japanese cities in my previous article about Japan, “Tokyo Dreaming.”

    Linh

  48. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Reg Cæsar

    Hi Reg Caesar,

    All the Japanese names here are presented as given name/surname, i.e. Yukio Mishima, so Mao is Sugiyama’s first name.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  49. @Linh Dinh

    Thanks.

    But that makes it weird for a different reason. Unless Mao is a Japanese given name, too.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Hyperborean
  50. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Reg Cæsar

    Mao is a Japanese female first name. The 2010 Olympic silver medalist in figure skating was Mao Asada.

  51. @Reg Cæsar

    But that makes it weird for a different reason. Unless Mao is a Japanese given name, too.

    It is, but I think usually for women.

  52. To my surprise, no one there had heard of Mao Sugiyama.

    If you’re surprised, that means you (rather like your friend) are stuck in a social cul-de-sac in Japan, or, should I say, glancing at the sky from the bottom of a well…

    Why don’t you go to the sea? Why don’t you get out of Tokyo (especially Roppongi–ack!) and Osaka, stop eating at Jonathan’s, make friends who aren’t idiosyncratic, like your leftist litterateurs?

    They have a great subway system, brother,” and it is the most reliable, cleanest, safest and easiest I’ve ever used

    I’ve only seen people sleeping in subway stations twice in Japan–one was an older Japanese man and one a black man. Think on that from a probabilistic perspective. That’s how Japan will change in the future.

    We’ve all heard about young Japanese recluses, the hikikomori, but did you know that at least 43% of Japanese between 18 and 34 are virgins? A third had never even been on a single date.

    Of course, there was arranged marriage in the past, and they had “nightcrawling” but not dating I expect. My guess is that the period 1960-1990 saw an unusually large amount of dating in Japan, and, generally, the Anglo-American assumption of everyone participating equally in romance through experimental short-term pairs participating in middle-class activities is a human abberation that will fade in popularity and prevalence in the future.

    “How did Japanese go from bathing together, men and women, young and old, to being mostly alone?” I asked. No one could answer.

    I have a theory about this. In the past, group activity was centered on locality. People did things with families, neighbors, those in their temple’s “parish”, customers and sellers, and fellow townspeople, and few people moved. The country really operated like a large extended family, and doing things together was both habitual and made life easier, while sharing with family and neighbors with whom one shared everything didn’t seem to diminish privacy significantly. Today, people still do things in groups, but the groups aren’t created organically through the accident of birth but created through processes of sorting characteristic of modernity (taking aptitude and achievement tests, becoming a factory worker, becoming a fan of performers who are mediated by electronics, etc) for purposes that benefit other people, and the enforced group activity creates artificial and self-conscious conformity, which seems to diminish individuality and privacy, resulting in a psychological reaction or backlash.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  53. @Reg Cæsar

    Edo (pre-modern Tokyo) had a substantial amount of planning, just not planning based around modern lifestyles, public transportation, cars, etc. Same is true of the old capital, Kyoto.

    Linh Dinh is partly right. Tokyo is rather boring in a way, but this has more to do with its lack of history (after being burnt down twice recently in the Great Kanto earthquake and WWII firebombing) and consumption by business rather than lack of planning. I should also point out that there are people who really like Tokyo. There are large swathes of the city where the buildings are low (mostly 2-3 stories), streets open, and sky visible. In general, I’d say the place is probably good for a 2-day visit, bad for a 2-month-to-2-year stay, and good as a place for established citizens living everyday life.

  54. @anonymous

    It’s an interesting sentence. Since “littering” should take a singular and “graffiti” can take either, it probably should be “is”. We usually distribute the verb. For example, “there is more milk and honey in heaven” sounds better than “there are more milk and honey in heaven,” despite the fact that milk and honey are two things.

    Also, interestingly, I would say that an uncountable noun trumps a countable noun when they’re combined. Compare “there is less meat and potatoes in the Soviet Union” with “there are less meat and potatoes in the Soviet Union.” Works the other way, too: “there is less potatoes and meat in the Soviet Union” versus “there are fewer potatoes and meat in the Soviet Union.”

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @SafeNow
  55. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    But is “milk and honey” analogous to “graffiti and littering”? We’ve agreed that graffiti are things that can be counted, so wouldn’t substituting “cows and honey” be the test, and show that the author was correct?

    Also — and this may expose my ignorance about “distribute the verb” — the sentence can be read with “more” describing only the graffiti, littering being conduct absent in the one place, present in the other.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  56. Excal says:
    @follyofwar

    The idea that there was something odd about Pearl Harbour is not without foundation. The history of the midget submarines which attacked the base before the main raids started is intriguing.

  57. SafeNow says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    A helpful and quite interesting grammar lesson, thank you. The PBS News Hour (which I am forced to watch) should hire you as preventer of foreseeable solecisms. For example, last week, two different esteemed PBS journalists said that Mr. Bush would be “laying” in state. Your job would be to prevent grammatical and basic-knowledge errors, which occur frequently, and make me think, If that, what else? PBS, hire this person, or someone like him. Job requirement: Paid attention in high school.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  58. Chuck says:
    @Anonymous

    Mercantilist used to go on about how the Japanese are screwing foreigners by offering products for sale below “market” prices. Doesn’t seem like such a good deal for the Japs. They work to provide for themselves and foreigners too!

    Note this all happened after Japan was conquered and occupied by a foreign power. Japan’s “mercantilist” economy is really a tributary economy. The Japanese are partially enslaved to produce stuff for their masters.

  59. @anonymous

    I wouldn’t say we agreed it was countable. I’d say we agreed it swings both ways. As a matter of common usage, the trend is for uncountable, according to Google Ngrams…

    https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=There+is+graffiti%2CThere+are+graffiti&year_start=1960&year_end=2010&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CThere%20is%20graffiti%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CThere%20are%20graffiti%3B%2Cc0

    I would agree, however, that “there are more cows and honey in heaven” sounds better than “there is more cows and honey in heaven,” so I guess my second point above was not universally correct.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  60. @Chrisnonymous

    Actually, “graffiti” is an interesting word, as it is a foreign loan word that is trending towards uncountable.

    The normal pattern for foreign loan words in English is to be used in their native plural form and then trend towards the adoption of an “s”. For example, you can see that “ninjas” and “katanas” didn’t start to be used until “ninja” and “katana” had been in use for some time….

    https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=ninjas%2Cninja%2Ckatana%2Ckatanas&year_start=1850&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cninjas%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cninja%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ckatana%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ckatanas%3B%2Cc0

    This is not a universal rule, but since “graffiti” is a plural Italian loan word and the singular of graffiti is graffito, we would expect the trend to be towards increased use of “graffitis”.

    I suspect the governing issue here is that we often think of graffiti as something that occurs in an indiscriminate mass.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  61. eah says:
    @Anon

    The fact is modern women got shallow, narcissistic, and vain. The only thing they care about is me, me, me.

    Instagram fact check: TRUE — the average young female’s Instagram account is full of pouty lip selfies and trash pop culture.

  62. osakajin says:

    “There are also more graffiti and littering in the home of takoyaki, Japan’s only remaining red light district and its worst slum.”

    I too was confused by the poor wording of this sentence. Yes, Osaka is the home of takoyaki (the food) but the way it’s structured makes it sound as though takoyaki is the name of the red light district (or Tobita) to anyone who is unfamiliar with Osaka.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Linh Dinh
  63. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @osakajin

    tandem backpedaling?

  64. Anon[774] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    “I’m fearful for the future of Japan.”

  65. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    IOW, Linh Dinh’s usage is correct.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  66. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @osakajin

    If it was the name of a district, it would have been capitalized, eh.

    It’s the equivalence of this sentence: Philadelphia is the home of the cheesesteak, one of America’s biggest open-air heroin markets and the Liberty Bell.

    • Replies: @RudyM
  67. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @anonymous

    Hi anonymous[340],

    Most Italian masculine nouns end with an o, and become plural when o changes to i, as in one panino, two panini, but in the US, it’s perfectly fine to say, “I’d like a panini, please.”

    A much more egrerious misuse of an Italian word is “bimbo,” which simply means “boy” in Italian, but becomes a hot but vapid woman in English.

    Of course, every culture deforms foreign words. Italians say “water” to mean a toilet bowl or toilet, and in Vietnam, “hamburger” is often used to mean any type of sandwich with two buns.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Yevardian
  68. Talha says:
    @Anon

    I highly recommend not falling into the same trap as the feminists who have devalued motherhood. “Mother” holds a sacred place in most traditional cultures for good reason; she imparts the wisdom, spirit and traditions to the next generation – she is the cornerstone of them becoming fully human.

    Feminists made the fatal mistake of trying to value the sacrifice of motherhood on the same scale and metric as the sacrifice of fatherhood.

    Raising four kids, I can readily say; my children easily owe more to their mother than me.

    Peace.

  69. @SafeNow

    Preventing basic-knowledge errors on TV news? Sounds like too much work.

  70. supertjx says:

    Thanks for this Linh Dinh. I always enjoy your perspective and your writing.

  71. Has there ever been a more anal society?

    Well, you seemed to be proposing Germany as a candidate earlier in the ramble.

  72. yep..the usa is an influence..both good and bad..all in the 73 years since the end of WW2….maybe you can write a post cards from the end of japan…and germany too..have you checked out the brits ,and the russuians yet?..with your eye,we all can get the picture…good insights,as usual.

    • Replies: @duncsbaby
  73. Will Jones [AKA "Jim Douglas"] says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Pocahontas has lots of wannabe descendants today also, like Elizabeth Warren.

  74. jim jones says:

    Korea has a much more sensible attitude towards children and family:

    • Replies: @neutral
    , @anonymous
  75. Anonymous[253] • Disclaimer says:
    @Linh Dinh

    You need a hidden camera, Linh Dinh. Maybe in your glasses or on your coat?

  76. @DB Cooper

    Mr. Cooper, its locally known as Nishinari, and not Chicago east side at all, actually fun, with cheap accommodation and food. Search Nishinari, lots of blogs and photos. One very cool thing about Nishinari is the Tobita Sinchi, a street off the main drag, where they still operate the “Tea Shop” system, a delightfully quaint type of brothel out of a samurai film. The Tea Shops, one after another, are open to the street, with the mamasan and one girl sitting right there, you can walk the street and pick your girl. Take off your shoes and go in, mamasan checks to see if you’re OK, go with the girl. $130USD for 40 minutes, she even offers a little plate with tea and a sweet to maintain appearances. Be sure to be very clean, and a perfect gentleman, this is Japan. A lot better than the Tokyo ” Spa” that will leave you $600 lighter. Ahh, what the world has lost….

  77. Halsmail says:

    Hi Mr. Linh Dinh, been a fan of yours since the days I frequented the now dying Counterpunch. Poets are more prone to depression and highs than most and here’s an Urdu poetry symposium to cheer you up.

    BTW, its not religious but about romance.

    Visit India, Iran or Pakistan to see Poetry live and well. You will actually enjoy it.

  78. Half-Jap says:
    @DB Cooper

    History’s written by the victors, and ours of recent Japan is a grim one. As Tolstoy remarked, ‘History would be a wonderful thing if only it were true.’ I do not accept the Yasukuni narrative whole, and Japan is not an innocent victim, especially when playing in the great empire-building game. One thing lead to another, Japan found itself in a corner, blockaded, and the US/FDR wanted war badly, so he need only push Japan just some more to increase the odds of Japan striking back, to remove the US from the Pacific theatre as part of breaking the global blockade against Japan and ending US support towards Japan’s enemies. However, even basic research based upon primary and secondary evidence do not support what our neighbors have been claiming.

    What is accepted as history today is merely common beliefs based upon what is akin to reading headlines and titles and believing one knows all about the content and references. There are demonstrable war crimes, but the Tribunal was a sham, doing no justice to the victims or defendants. One could read the lengthy dissenting opinion of Judge Pal to get an idea about this. And then there are the US high officers who knew their actions against Japanese cities to be crimes themselves, but for their victory.

    As if torching and nuking our cities weren’t enough, there was heavy censorship and thorough destruction of publications during the occupation, with mandates on the educational system, solely for the benefit of the Americans and for the vilification of Japan by implanting war guilt.

    As more of us learn of what has and hasn’t happened, and seeing the almost systematic incompetence and subservience of our politicians and bureaucrats, we are rather pissed. We would welcome some more independence, which you, perhaps, and certainly others, especially China, declare as growing militarism.

  79. neutral says:

    Japan does not have long, it is a US puppet and despite what some people here say about it being immigration restrictionist I am seeing ever more stories about how it needs to open itself up for mass immigration. The jews want to destroy white lands specifically, but they cannot have exceptions to their imposed ideology (how diversity is the only way to be wealthy), and since Japan does whatever is dictated to it by the US – how else can this end?

  80. When you take off the civil-ilizatory chains from the people, and the natural man, the individual, become the common place in given society, we can observe how artificial or organic selection has been there. Japaneses, seems, has been the highest levels of internal incompatibility, among all types of categories or peoples, from male to female to individual to individual. More organic selection is, more functional will be in post modern scenario or without ”civilizatory’ force homogeneizing superficial or social behaviors.

  81. Yevardian says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Do you plan on visiting South Korea anytime soon? I’d love to read an educated opinion of the country today, past the usual tropes of it being a ‘smelly, dirty version of Japan’.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  82. neutral says:
    @jim jones

    Even so the decline of fertility rates in South Korea is still happening. Combine that with the fact that South Korea is a US puppet and this could mean that one day North Korea “unifying” with South Korea would not make much sense as South Korea is no longer Korean.

  83. “How did Japanese go from bathing together, men and women, young and old, to being mostly alone?” I asked. No one could answer.

    All technology which makes the far-away close, makes the close far-away. Whether it’s Shinkansen, Walkmans, pornography… Japan is at the forefront of making the world come to the individual, but at the same time shrinking the soul and personal relations.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  84. Anon999 says:

    Mr. Dinh, thanks for your article.

    You make an interesting point regarding the Japanese cultural slant toward the infantile. As I read the piece I found myself hoping that you would comment on Haruki Murakami and his works, as the Japanese seem quite convinced that he should win the next Nobel Prize for literature. Personally, Murakami’s writing reminds me plenty of Richard Brautigan, the 60s hippie who wrote “Trout Fishing In America”, etc. Occasionally entertaining, but overall just mind-numbingly infantile. Or maybe it’s a Japanese thing and an Anglo American just isn’t going to have the cultural data bank to get what he’s doing?

    I would be interested in any comment since you have a foot in both Asian and American culture.

  85. anonymous[871] • Disclaimer says:
    @jim jones

    Korea has a much more sensible attitude towards children and family

    How so? Korea’s fertility rate is just about the lowest in the world (1.17 compared to Japan’s 1.44) and their suicide rate is nearly the highest in the world (50% higher than Japan’s).

    https://bpr.berkeley.edu/2017/10/31/the-scourge-of-south-korea-stress-and-suicide-in-korean-society/

    South Korea has the highest suicide rate in the world for children ages 10-19 and extremely high elderly (60+) suicide rates.

    …Many elderly commit suicide due to poverty, and, to a lesser extent, the breakdown of Korea’s traditional family structure. According to the OECD, roughly half of Korea’s elderly population lives in poverty. Many retired South Koreans have no source of income, as the country’s pension system only began in 1988. They may have no one to rely on either; as Korea is becoming more and more economically advanced, more Koreans are abandoning their elderly parents in the countryside and sending them money less frequently.

  86. Che Guava says:

    Linh has me as commentor to ignore, which is good.

    Anybody who makes two brief visits to a place and exclusively is with upper-class people and in upper-class areas can only give the most superficial impressions.

    No drinking, eating, or smoking on the pavements?

    Even in Tokyo, it is far from uncommon. As for the smoking, I despise those who don’t carry a portable ashtray, there is a push to make it a police matter as the ‘lympics approach. The more fools discard cig. butts, the more that will be pushed.

    As for eating, forbidding that is an old custom, and the govt. seems to have cracked down on street stands, similar shape to in Singapore of old or Vietnam of now, many I used to know are gone, even one close to Tokyo station. Still existing in regional places,

    At least part of the reason for that is that the permission for space was Yakuza-controlled.

    As for red-light districts, there is certainly one five stops from Tokyo station, and several between there and there, even some on on the eastern side of Tokyo station.

    Not my interest, no red lights, but existing.

    Red lanterns in Japan, as I would guess you were gathering, means a place to eat and drink.

    I will stopping there, could say more in reply, you have little idea and are misled by the upper-class people you meet
    and areas you see.

  87. Che Guava says:
    @Half-Jap

    An off-topic comment, friends used to tell me that the Lucky Strike cig. brand logos were supposed to represent the two atomic bombs, it was a popular theory here at the time (a rumour, with no WWW to amplify it). I don’t know if it was true or not, but very widespread.

    It is interesting that, in the battle of Okinawa, aside from the Japanese army and marines killing many Okinawans on land, the U.S.N. lost more tons of ships than in any other battle. So, a tactical victory.

    • Replies: @Half-Jap
  88. Nothing against Vietnam but to compare any thing of it to Japan would be akin to comparing Henry VIII at the height of his power to the king of Zulu no matter how many virgins line up to line dance to get the attention of the half naked beast… the six wives of the former is much more interesting. Of course, one can like Vietnam on its own merits, just like one would appreciate the savages for their raw appeal!

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  89. @DB Cooper

    You write as though you’ve never been there.

    And, in case you haven’t noticed, every advanced country is going down, with no end in sight.

    Japan is making a much better fist of it than everyone else, for mine.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  90. @Chrisnonymous

    I think you are absolutely correct. All the groups and ‘friends’ on social media networks are not held by any kind of real social cohesion or glue. Japanese society lost this cohesion when it industrialized, China is almost there and India is starting to do the same.
    As a 63 years old, I feel immensely sad for today’s youth. But humans are magical and I’m sure they will find a way

  91. Prusmc says:
    @Half-Jap

    Half Jap:

    Agree FDR wanted war and baited Japan to attack. For what ever bad or good American education did in Japan, it was not designed to make Japanese hate themselves, as happened in Germany. Or if self hate of Japanes was the objective, it was a miserable failure while it was an unparalled success in Germany.

    • Replies: @Half-Jap
  92. RudyM says:
    @Linh Dinh

    I feel that sentence could quickly be built into a Linh Dinh article.

    Kim, our waitress, was taking classes at Drexel to become a phlebotanist, when her heavily tattooed boyfriend from Fishtown introduced her to junk. Until a few months ago, she had been living under a train overpass on the outskirts of Center City.

    Chuck, a regular who inexplicably commutes to this South Philly bar every day from Manayunk, jokes with Kim. “Hey Kim, why don’t you show more flesh the way you used to!”

    Kim shoots back: I thought that’s what your wife back in Manayunk was for!

    The bar roars. I scratch my nuts and order another Sam Adams.

  93. anon[932] • Disclaimer says:
    @Half-Jap

    As if torching and nuking our cities weren’t enough, there was heavy censorship and thorough destruction of publications during the occupation, with mandates on the educational system, solely for the benefit of the Americans and for the vilification of Japan by implanting war guilt.

    how many Chinese civilians did you slaughter?

    how many SE Asian countries did you invade?

    you’re not the victim

    • Replies: @By-tor
  94. Ibound1 says:

    I travel to Japan quite often for business and trust me, it is not your “gaudy Vietnamese esthetics”, I also see virtually nothing ugly in Japan. When you look around, everything is so fine, everything is perfectly done. Nothing is shoddy. If you order a draft beer, the head on that beer will be the same height every time. If you buy a small gift, it will be wrapped perfectly. Everything is arranged with care. It may be difficult on the Japanese to always maintain this level of perfection and I am certain it is inefficient, but I do appreciate it.

  95. Curle says:

    I always look forward to your posts. And now I know you’re from Tacoma!

  96. mcohen says:

    Great country great people.

  97. DB Cooper says:
    @Half-Jap

    “As if torching and nuking our cities weren’t enough, there was heavy censorship and thorough destruction of publications during the occupation, with mandates on the educational system, solely for the benefit of the Americans and for the vilification of Japan by implanting war guilt.
    As more of us learn of what has and hasn’t happened, and seeing the almost systematic incompetence and subservience of our politicians and bureaucrats, we are rather pissed. ”

    How many people in Japan today know of Unit 731? I don’t know whether Abe know about it but if he does it is even more disgusting because he make a mockery out of it by posing himself in front of an aircraft with the decal 731. Anyway what you wrote is very revealing and just prove what I said earlier. Japan has not come to terms with its war past and is nursing this old wounds against America. This is why the US should keep Japan on a short dog leash.

    “We would welcome some more independence, which you, perhaps, and certainly others, especially China, declare as growing militarism.”

    And also historic revisionism and irredentism.

    • Replies: @Half-Jap
  98. anon[932] • Disclaimer says:

    in the first photo on the right, is that a geisha?

    wasn’t sure if it was a real girl or a sexbot

  99. DB Cooper says:
    @Reuben Kaspate

    At this point in time Japan is still richer and more prosperous than Vietnam. But Vietnam is catching up fast. Japan distinguish itself by being the first and for a while the only Asian countries to have industrialized and this allow it to ravage Asia in the last century. Today all of Japan’s neighbors are in different stage of industrialization wiping off any comparative advantages Japan once enjoyed with regards to its neighbors. I just checked the IMO (International Mathematical Olympiad) ranking and Vietnam consistently done slightly better than Japan, even though Japan has more people than Vietnam. This means Vietnam has better human capital both in absolute terms and in per capita terms. If we can discern any pattern I have no doubt that Vietnam will be the next industrial power following South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and China. The Vietnamese has the smarts to do so. Japan was admired by its neighbors after the war because of its economic miracle but as the economic differential between Japan and its neighbors shrink further this admiration will turn to contempt because Japan has not reconciled its war pasts with its neighbors. This kind of contempt has already been seen in South Korea. This century will be painful for Japan because it is one thing if you are rich, people will tend to see past your old peccadilloes and grudgingly accept you. It is another thing if you are not that rich (Japan is already poorer than Hong Kong and Singapore) and your neighbors become rich. All your sinful past will be dredged up and Japan would be a despicable pariah within its own Asian community.

    • Replies: @Reuben Kaspate
  100. Iberiano says:
    @Half-Jap

    You forgot the most egregious restriction placed upon the Japanese, short lived as it was–the banning of Judo for a few years after the war. Judo is arguably the foundation for modern day BJJ, and for that, we are all thankful to Jigoro Kano and student, Mitsuyo Maeda who basically is responsible for the creation of BJJ (merging Judo, European Folk style wrestling and Catch).

    Everything anyone would ever need for self-defense is taught in basic Judo (not the current sport version). Gracie Jits is basically pre-WW2 Judo.

    • Replies: @Half-Jap
  101. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Yevardian

    Hi Yevardian,

    I’d love to visit South Korea, but I’ll have to wait until I have more cash in the bank. My Japan trip was paid for by my Japanese publisher, Kawade.

    Presently, I’m in the hills, to help my brother-in-law manage his plastic recycling plant. It’s eating on the floor and cold showers, but on the other hand, I don’t have to deal with Saigon’s insane traffic.

    Most Vietnamese have never heard of my remote, tiny town, Ea Kly.

    And thanks to all who have contributed enlightening comments, and to those with kind words.

    Cheers!

    Linh

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  102. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Linh Dinh

    P.S. “Kawaii, Somber Japan” has already been translated into Japanese and will appear next month in Shincho, a leading literary magazine founded in 1904.

    • Replies: @Half-Jap
  103. Sam J. says:

    “…We’ve all heard about young Japanese recluses, the hikikomori, but did you know that at least 43% of Japanese between 18 and 34 are virgins? A third had never even been on a single date…”

    I have no first hand knowledge but watching videos made by Japanese in Japan they say it’s not true and are surprised that people think this. It could very well be another farce put up by the Japanese so that people will feel sorry for them and not raise tariffs on their mercantilist trade monster.

    As for some who say that nonsense I know good friends that lived in Japan for years. The steel in their cars, at this time, was much thinner. They have for years put up vast barriers to other countries products. The US did the same to Britain with the same results.

    I do admire the Japanese though. I couldn’t be like them but they have done very well for themselves. Any talk about their decline should make note the severe loss of workers from the country getting older yet they still hold their own. My own country, USA, is falling into a ditch while they still have clean, safe places to live.

  104. By-tor says:
    @anon

    He, Half-Jap, did not slaughter civilians, nor invade anyone else’s country by force, nor change the leadership of a country by subversive coup. But, Imperial Japan did, and the US still commits all four of the aforementioned.

    • Replies: @anon
  105. anon[932] • Disclaimer says:
    @By-tor

    He, Half-Jap, did not slaughter civilians, nor invade anyone else’s country by force, nor change the leadership of a country by subversive coup

    he made the call when he said “our cities”

    i like Japan and the Japanese people but i’m done hearing this bullshit about the nukes etc when they did much much worse

    • Replies: @Half-Jap
  106. JessicaR says:

    “Japanese are not as anal as Germans, who would stand alone at a curb at 3 in the morning, waiting for the walk signal to change, with not a single car in sight in any direction.”

    This is in fact true. I can recall travelling in Berlin. Germans would stand obediently at the light even though no cars were coming at all.

    In France, even the nuns jaywalk.

  107. Da Wei says:
    @Linh Dinh

    You’re on line in Hong Kong, LD. It’s Friday here, half past 11 A.M.

    • Replies: @Da Wei
  108. Da Wei says:
    @Da Wei

    That’s Friday, December 14th.

  109. Da Wei says:

    Linh Dinh, this is a beautiful piece of writing, the perfect accompaniment to a duck egg and red wine breakfast on this welcome day off. It is nicely worded and your final paragraph sings, no it hums a fine resolution to the preceding melody. It reminds me of the early work of Edward Field, and you are likely familiar with his second book, Variety Photoplays. From that comes “The Bride of Frankenstein” and these lines: “in spite of her big tits she was just a baby.” If you don’t already know this poem, you may enjoy reading it, as I find your writing, somber yet unpretentious in tone, to so reminiscent of Field’s. Thanks for fighting the good fight, Linh Dinh.

  110. Half-Jap says:
    @DB Cooper

    It appears you missed the point, but that’s what is expected with the emotionally affected thought.
    As I said, there are those that are demonstrably true crimes, and those that are not. Emotionally thinking, any allegation of atrocities, and any piece of evidence, are accepted with little critical thought. Such is what the Brits were counting on when ‘babies on bayonettes’ and like propaganda were used to affect world opinion against the Germans nearly a century ago.

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  111. Half-Jap says:
    @Iberiano

    Not only Judo, but other martial arts as well. My grandfather and his friends deliberately subverted the ban and opened up a Kendo club in Tokyo, perhaps daring for the GHQ to enforce the ban upon a club formed by many well connected members, including a founder of the so-called Self Defense Force. It’s guys like Kano that kept some of our culure intact, to which I am grateful.

    • Replies: @Bombercommand
  112. Half-Jap says:
    @anon

    I understand where you are coming from as I was of that belief and negative emotion as well, but cared enough to look into things of the recent past. Most do not, here or elsewhere, but that does not change the content of available evidence that form my current understanding of things. Subject to change, as always, provided good reason and evidence.

  113. DB Cooper says:
    @Half-Jap

    “As I said, there are those that are demonstrably true crimes, and those that are not. ”

    Ok, please be specific. What are those that are not?

    • Replies: @MacNucc11
  114. Half-Jap says:
    @Prusmc

    There was that objective of instilling war guilt, but it did fail, at least gradually. That generation at least had parents and elders who believed in the justice of our cause, though it is still an invasion even when the goal is the overthrow of colonial administrations (excluding China, a whole dif. story, and a grave error imo). Also, we didn’t have a consistent government during the war period, or policies designed to ethnically cleanse a certain demographic to constantly be beaten over the head with. Even further, we seemed to have wanted different peoples to become us. Kinda reminds me of the Borg.

  115. Half-Jap says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Good publication…Congradulations!

  116. @Half-Jap

    If GHQ wanted to shut down your Granddad’s kendo club they could have done it in a nonce, he wasnt “daring” anything, but it makes a good story. The ban was to prevent paramilitaries from organizing under cover of dojos, but it soon became clear the Japanese wanted nothing of the idiocy that brought them defeat. Japanese(and Okinawan) martial artists were employed in large numbers to teach US soldiers, and those soldiers were humble and respectful students that brought what they learned back home, creating the explosion of interest in your(and Okinawan) arts in the States. The US occupation gave Japanese women the vote, and redistributed farm land to the peasants that worked it. American engineers were in every Japanese factory, to help it not hinder it, and we provided American markets for Japanese goods. The American ban on all film formats but 35mm was the sound base for the success of Japans camera industry. American occupation forces were schooled in respect for Japanese culture and each was given a textbook to make sure they remembered, I have my Dad’s. Sure, it was guys in their 20’s and they could, and did, act like idiots, but it was benign compared to Japanese behavior in Korea, China, and anywhere else you guys set foot, and Americans never tried to destroy Japanese culture like you guys tried in Korea. Hell, a Korean girl told me, to this day, parents will tell misbehaving kids “You better be good or those Japanese will get you!!”. Please pardon my lecture, I mean no disrespect.

    • Replies: @MacNucc11
  117. TheBoom says:

    Enjoyed the article. I live in Eastern Asia and am on my third country. A couple of thoughts :

    1. There is obviously a lot to be said for the orderliness of the first world countries like Japan and Singapore. (Although not a country, HK can be added to that list.) However, I find the quirkiness of the more chaotic, less state of the art ones, specifically Vietnam, Philippines, and Thailand, more to my taste. There is a quirkiness and sense of people enjoying life (even with the economic struggles) that I don’t find in the more thoroughly modern, developed Asian countries.

    2. I would be curious to read Linh’s insights into other areas in Japan and more about how life compares between Japan and Vietnam. I have visited Tokyo but haven’t lived there.

    Reading about Japan in the West, one gets the picture of an economically stagnant country that is in a death spiral unless it floods itself with Muslims. Yet talking with Asians who visit Japan frequently, work in Japanese companies or live in Japanese populated expat zones, a different picture emerges. I hear nothing but raves about the experience of being in Japan (especially the attention to detail, food and beauty), the positive experience of working in Japanese companies ( something that is the opposite of the stories of working in them in Japan) and the plush lifestyle led by Japanese expats.

    Granted Japan has a low birthrate and there seems to be a lot of loneliness and sexual disfunction but everything is relative. To other Asians Japan seems like a wonderful place. I never hear the same about Singapore which is seen as soulless. HK seems to be viewed far more positively by whites than Asians.

    • Replies: @TheBoom
    , @Che Guava
  118. TheBoom says:
    @TheBoom

    Interestingly enough, the biggest Japan boosters I have worked with are Chinese both in the PRC and Taiwan. I was expecting the mainlanders to hate Japan because of the occupation and Taiwanese to hate Japan for being made a colony. Reality: with one exception the mainlanders wanted China to follow the Japanese path to being a first world nation including more freedom. Most middle class Taiwanese travel to Japan 3 to 4 times a year for vacation rather than vacationing in Taiwan. They wish that Taiwan was cleaner, had more attention to detail and had more beautiful cities like Japan.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  119. duncsbaby says:
    @felix giordano

    The U.S. has been influencing Japan since Commodore Perry initiated Gunboat Diplomacy in the 1850’s.

    • Replies: @anon
  120. Che Guava says:
    @TheBoom

    Linh writes (or wrote) great slice-of-life pieces on the U.S.A, good pieces on Europe, and since his return, Vietnam (and I will repeat that I was the only commentor here to ask why and to express the expectation that he should be allowed to return), but is almost completely ignorant and misinformed w.r.t. Japan.

    So, please, no to your request!

    • Replies: @AaronB
  121. MacNucc11 says:
    @Bombercommand

    The U.S. refused to allow the Japanese to surrender conditionally so they could come in and exploit the Japanese labor market and restructure their society. The auto industry was built and eventually led to bankrupting the U.S. auto industry so labor was exploited in both countries. What kind of country goes into another and gives their women the right to vote and redistributes their land other than an evil empire? I have to give Muslim countries their due here. Any country that invaded them and then attempted to do what we did in Japan would have been killed at every opportunity as they should be. It does not matter what we “gave” to Japan. They neither asked for it nor wanted it and are now reaping the collapse of their society torn down and rebuilt on usury as will the west.

    • Agree: Carroll Price
    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  122. MacNucc11 says:
    @DB Cooper

    Try and apply some of the lessons we have learned just recently and see if you can apply them to what has been said of the Japanese. Let’s just review a couple recent; Assad and his gas attacks, Skripal novichok poisoning, Russians elected Trump, Iraqi’s throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait, 9/11 done by Arabs on planes, etc, etc. Going further back the black legend of the Spaniards against the native populations in the Americas. All lies in some form or other to defame a particular group to the benefit of another. Most have been definitively disproved. Another good one is the inquisition which was largely fabricated. Once many years have passed the truth gets harder and harder to get to but lies repeated over time become part of our history. Eventually only very few ever question the story that is repeated to school children. I remember that the sinking of the Maine when I was taught it in school mentioned that it was possibly a false flag although they did not use that term. I doubt that is even mentioned anymore although that one seems pretty safe as no one really expected Spain to be able to hold onto her colonies in the Americas once we decided we wanted them.

    • Replies: @Half-Jap
    , @anon
    , @DB Cooper
  123. Che Guava says:
    @Anon

    I would do a simple ‘agree’, but you are not entirely correct.

  124. Che Guava says:

    I wonder if it may have had some connection with the police Kendou club, not to denigrate what you are saying, but that was quite important, I have met two older men (possibly now no longer with us) who had been members.

    The police were the only armed group allowed by the occupation govt., until some time after (or during) the Korean war.

  125. AaronB says:
    @Che Guava

    I tend to agree with you here. I enjoy Lin’s writing a lot but he does not seem to understand Japan.

    The nostalgia he mentions as a constant undercurrent is deeply rooted in a Japanese aesthetic that derives from Buddhism and its sense of the impermanence of things, and is not a response to any recent loss. It is ancient, and in its lyricism is one of the finest products of the Japanese consciousness, and highly appreciated by sensitive people.

    I for one lament that such delicate emotions are absent from American culture.

    And the kawai culture, while it can be cloying and over much, celebrates an aspect of life that is neglected in the overly masculine West, while it also expressed the Japanese love of fantasy in all its forms. To merely deride it as infantile seems to miss the point.

    And then the cliches about orderly Japanese – while true, it’s just an old cliche. What would have been interesting would be an exposition of the fascinating ways Japanese society actually tolerates a tremendous amount of social disorder and freewheeling behavior, which is so against popular stereotypes of japan – and Lin had a perfect entree into that topic as he saw a suited and imposing Japanese man stumble drunkenly. Disorderly America would never tolerate socially such a thing.

    On the whole, this article is disappointing – it is what I would expect an American who is unfamiliar with Asian culture to write.

    But perhaps Lin has not spent enough time back in Asia yet – and I hope his other Japanese essay is better.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  126. anon[399] • Disclaimer says:
    @duncsbaby

    and on behalf of (((which merchants)))?

  127. Che Guava says:
    @TheBoom

    Very true. My close friend is older, but she is Taiwan born, but not native Taiwanese, Roughly, that is true of the majority.

    The original islanders, the mainlanders who went there before Chinese invaders, drove them away.

    After that, invasion.

    Then the Japanese colonial period.

    Then the 国民党 (kuomintang), to set up the Republic of China.

    By the way, if you want to understand
    Taiwain (Republic of China) politics, the above is a better brief guide than you will find anwhere else.

  128. @DB Cooper

    Perhaps, the mandarins (Vietnamese of Chinese descent) in Indochina are the key to emerging tide but there’re not enough of them to lift the leaky boat that is Vietnam. But all the best to them, as they have suffered much!

  129. @MacNucc11

    Japan surrendered conditionally.
    Even after hostilities had stopped Japan formulated new demands.
    Italy also did not surrender unconditionally.
    The only country that did was Germany.
    Robert J.C. Butow, ‘JAPAN’S Decision to Surrender’, Stanford, 1954
    Mario Toscano, ‘Designs in Diplomacy, Pages from European Diplomatic History in the Twentieth Century’, 1970 Baltimore

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  130. Half-Jap says:
    @MacNucc11

    Exactly my main point. Thank you.

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  131. SteveK9 says:
    @Anonymous

    There is some advantage in mercantilism for a developing country at the beginning. But, eventually it is counter-productive. But, by then I think it is a ‘habit’. If China really wants to become a World power it needs to let its currency float, stop running a huge trade surplus. They are trading real goods for numbers in a computer, instead of goods and services for themselves. Why they don’t seem to see this (I think they may be beginning to do so) is beyond me. By the way the same thing applies to a country like Germany, whose people could live MUCH better based on their productivity, if they were not determined at all costs to run a huge trade surplus, which is also doing immense damage to their unfortunate partners locked in a currency union with them.

  132. Sparkon says:
    @AaronB

    It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Japan. When I was there, many of the women were small and slender, but it was not difficult to find the debu-chan types either, like the dumpy woman in the picture, who might show up for work later in a kimono.

    In juxtaposing the two images, I suppose Linh Dinh is trying to draw a contrast between the dumpy dame and the big-eyed sex doll, like which would you choose?

    When I departed, the Japanese had just decided to let the yen float against the dollar, which would never again buy 360 yen, and indeed fell to ¥77 in the mid 80s when Reagan’s Voodoo Trickle Down Economics policy was wrecking the dollar and sucking it dry.

    Currently $1 = ¥103.

    A huge 600mL bottle of Sapporo back in the late 60s cost me ¥300, or about 83¢, and you could easily find bars selling cheaper drinks for ¥100, and with some effort, even ¥50. In the shops, I bought a 2L bottle of Sapporo or Kirin for maybe ¥500. We called them “combat jugs” and sometimes took one to the movies in a plain brown wrapper.

    The Japanese do like to drink, but even when drunk, they are orderly.

    Well anyway, in case anyone is curious, the kanji character 飴 on the sex doll’s packaging is pronounced ame (“ah-meh”) as we can tell by the furigana アメ, katakana that are placed atop uncommon kanji to show the pronunciation, or reading.

    飴 means candy.

    The other labeling at the top of the package is in katakana
    リラクゼーション
    that reads rirakuzeshon.

    I think some observers recognize what German guilt about WWII has done to Germans but the effects on the Japanese psyche are more cryptic, like rirakuzeshon.
    .

  133. anon[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @Brabantian

    Given the control of Japan by USA (and significantly Jewish) occupiers after the war, one must wonder if the low birth rate of the Japanese since then, was explicitly an intended, targeted result of social engineering by the occupiers

    agree

  134. anon[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @MacNucc11

    Another good one is the inquisition which was largely fabricated.

    last i checked wikipedia said only 2,000 victims over the 50 most active years of the Spanish Inquisition

    big F’ing overblown whoop

    apparently the big crime is that 95% of them were jooos

  135. anon[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    The sort of Germans who would stand alone at a curb at 3 in the morning are rapidly dying out and being replaced by a “new” sort of German

    perhaps you meant

    new sort of “German”

    ?

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  136. DB Cooper says:
    @MacNucc11

    I agree with what you said. But just because some are lies doesn’t mean all are lies. If you hold this logic then anything can be dismissed as lies. Japan atrocities in East Asia is irrefutable.

  137. DB Cooper says:
    @Half-Jap

    I agree with what you said. But just because some are lies doesn’t mean all are lies. If you hold this logic then anything can be dismissed as lies. Japan atrocities in East Asia is irrefutable. And I agree you said history is written by victors. And this is the reason the history of Unit 731 is not well-known. The US got the medical results of Unit 731 in return to not prosecute the perpetrators of Unit 731. There is historic revisionism going on in Japan. Abe even openly state in the Diet that whether Japan is an aggressor in WWII is still up for debate.

    Japan should patched its relation with its Asian neighbors when it is at the top of its game and admired. That time has past and I can’t see any reason Japan will rises again. Japan will be a despised member in the Asian community in this century.

    I asked you specifically what crime you think Japan is wrongly charged but all I got is silence.

  138. Che Guava says:
    @jilles dykstra

    Jilles, it is impossible to compare Japan’s conditional surrender (afaik, the only condition was to preserve the Showa emperor) with Italy’s which was in two stages, the first under General Badaglio (same name as the moron pope of now, but different spelling), and the Italian Social Republic. The latter had no conditional surrender, the former was simply a traitor.

    Italy had no conditional surrender.

  139. @Stebbing Heuer

    Economics do not drive a society to violence or crime.

    Theoretically Southeastern Europe is poorer than the US overall but does not have the same level of violence.

    The US also has to pay for endless wars, unemployable inner-city underclasses and borders a Third World country that sends endless illegals and hard drugs.

  140. @anon

    [After having been given a second chance, you have resumed your previous practice of leaving a huge profusion of comments redundantly reflecting your personal opinion on a small number of topics, which was bad commenter behavior and cluttered up numerous comment-threads, thereby irritating many other commenters. Either drastically reduce your output of comments, greatly improve their quality, or expect all your future comments to be trashed.]

    German-American Perspective

    Germany has had Kurds since the seventies but they were containable in ethnic urban ghettos.

    People also overlook the degree of petty crime teenage GI’s commit. Usually stealing bikes or assault, but also the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer (Ironically the grandson of Germans) who may have been responsible for several sex crimes.

    The difference is that these were containable in the past. Now refugees are being resettled everywhere.

  141. Anonymous[258] • Disclaimer says:
    @TelfoedJohn

    All technology which makes the far-away close, makes the close far-away. Whether it’s Shinkansen, Walkmans, pornography… Japan is at the forefront of making the world come to the individual, but at the same time shrinking the soul and personal relations.

    I get how consuming porn and blocking out the world by plugging into headphones can negatively impact personal relationships…but how does a high speed train do this? Taking a train, even a fast one, is a much more social experience than flying, driving or taking a bus. After convenience it is one of rail travel’s main selling points.

    • Replies: @TelfoedJohn
  142. @Anonymous

    I get how consuming porn and blocking out the world by plugging into headphones can negatively impact personal relationships…but how does a high speed train do this?

    Being able to travel such distances quickly reduces the need for local communities. You think it’s giving people freedom, but it just destroys the relationships with those living around you. In the early 20th century, there were different ideas amongst the Amish about which technologies to adopt. Some of those Amish communities said yes to the car. Those Amish communities no longer exist. They were destroyed by the siren call of personal freedom.

  143. For some excellent details on exactly what FDR was
    doing in the summer of 1941 to enrage the Japanese
    to the extent they decided to finally attack the USA,
    please take the time to find yourself a copy of
    George Morganstern’s outstanding old book:
    ”The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor”.
    Published back in the late 40’s or early 50’s,
    Morganstern’s (might te MorgEnstern, can’t remember)
    book is one of the best. He documents how the delightful
    USA frose all of Japan’s financial assets in America, cut
    off all scrap metal shipments, oil, rubber, everything.
    And finally, insulted Ambassador Nomura with it’s
    ULTIMATUM presentation.
    It’s exactly the same sort of craziness we now see Turd Trump doing relative to North Korea’s Chairman Kim.
    EVERYTHING AMERICA’S WAY, NOTHING JAPAN’S WAY.
    And so Japan attacked. Foolish, sure, just like Hitler was foolish to invade Poland when he was not able to deal with the fallout that came with such a move. That does not mean to imply that Hitler had no excuse to move on Poland. He did, but when you don’t have the muscle to take on the entire world, you have to give it up, which Hitler could not understand. The Italian Duce, Mussolini, begged Hitler not to move on Poland in 1939, nor 1940 or 1941, because he thoroughly understood Hitler did not have the military nor industrial might to wind up fighting not just Poland but England, France, Russia, Canada and of course, the most dangerous enemy of all, the USA because it was and remains surrounded by 2 huge oceans, and as such, it’s war production factories could not be destroyed, as
    ultimately was Germany’s and Japan’s. You can’t win that way, so there were some particularly stupid people running the governments in Germany and Japan back then and the USA took advantage of it. Winning at war gets into more than right or wrong.
    How pathetic, the Japs and Germans, neither are allowed to teach their children the truth about their own past. Both are, today, run by stooge governments, totally under the control of USA politicians, corporations, media, educational institutions of higher corruption. Neither dares to break out of the control web that surrounds them.

    • Replies: @üeljang
  144. üeljang says:
    @nx0t radio

    “How pathetic, the Japs and Germans, neither are allowed to teach their children the truth about their own past. Both are, today, run by stooge governments, totally under the control of USA politicians, corporations, media, educational institutions of higher corruption. Neither dares to break out of the control web that surrounds them.”

    This is not really true in the case of the Japanese.

    They may put on a front (tatemae) of contrition and willingness to criticize their country’s wartime actions, but this is patently for show, and all but the dullest Japanese individuals are conscious of this fact.

    If the Japanese as a group might be described concisely with a single word, it surely would be “liars.”

  145. Johan says:
    @DB Cooper

    Some years ago? It is from 1987.

    The image quality is terrible on YT, here are some better versions of the same documentary:

    https://archive.org/details/vimeo-17183771

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