Archive for November 19th, 2005

The poor job Japan has been doing in educating post World War II generations is manifesting itself in a popular comic book series.
A young Japanese woman in the comic book "Hating the Korean Wave" exclaims, "It’s not an exaggeration to say that Japan built the South Korea of today!" In another passage the book states that "there is nothing at all in Korean culture to be proud of."

In another comic book, "Introduction to China," which portrays the Chinese as a depraved people obsessed with cannibalism, a woman of Japanese origin says: "Take the China of today, its principles, thought, literature, art, science, institutions. There’s nothing attractive."

The two comic books, portraying Chinese and Koreans as base peoples and advocating confrontation with them, have become runaway best sellers in Japan in the last four months.

In their graphic and unflattering drawings of Japan’s fellow Asians and in the unapologetic, often offensive contents of their speech bubbles, the books reveal some of the sentiments underlying Japan’s worsening relations with the rest of Asia.

They also point to Japan’s longstanding unease with the rest of Asia and its own sense of identity, which is akin to Britain’s apartness from the Continent. Much of Japan’s history in the last century and a half has been guided by the goal of becoming more like the West and less like Asia. Today, China and South Korea’s rise to challenge Japan’s position as Asia’s economic, diplomatic and cultural leader is inspiring renewed xenophobia against them here.

Many know of the acrimony that has existed between Japan and China for centuries. This isn’t unique in Asia-other countries have similar issues with Japan. From 1910-1945, Japan occupied Korea, murdered the royal family, and basically raped the society. My wife’s parents, who grew up in that world, were forced to speak Japanese in public. They had been subjugating Korea for centuries before that as well. Only after Japan surrendered in 1945 to the allies did they leave Korea for good. The wounds have been slow to heal, mainly because Japan has done a poor job of making amends. Worse, Japan has been the polar opposite of Germany in terms of educating their young with any candor about historical mistakes.
This was, on most levels, a political and diplomatic issue. Seeing it spill into media in such a popular way is disturbing and despicable. Can you imagine the backlash if we had a best selling comic book which said "there is nothing at all in Mexican/Canadian/Native American culture to be proud of." If Japan doesn’t wake up the backlash will be worse than the insults they are adding to past injury.

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In God We Trust

Kip Esquire offers a thoughtful commetary in light of the latest effort to remove In God We Trust from US money. He rightly points out that the motto is NOT rooted in the US constitution, and dates in practical terms to the 20th century (although it first appeared in 1864). Kip doesn’t offer an opinion, but from the material cited appears to infer that if the motto were removed it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
And it wouldn’t be (sorry Dad). But it would be kind of a bad move in my view.
I commented:
I differ, I guess because mainly I do see any reference to God or even Christian holidays slowly being expunged by a vocal minority who strike me as fearing a new Inquisition if they don’t get their way. "In God We Trust" is a nice thing to say. It doesn’t harm anyone that I can see, and it doesn’t establish any religion.

Court witnesses take an oath on the bible, no? Public servants are sworn in with their hand on a bible. The Constitution does not establish "In God We Trust," I agree, but the Declaration of Independence recognizes a Creator who bestows on us all unalienable rights. I just don’t see the harm in keeping it, but I do sense in some camps a maliciousness in having it removed. I tend to agree with Scalia’s dissent, mainly because I view the distinction between Monotheism and Deism as a semantic one.

Aren’t there bigger problems in society than references to God on cash?

I think it is clear that in America, there is a vocal minority that hates religion of any kind and has successfully changed the landscape of society to make even a "Merry Christmas" sign politically incorrect. We have, in my own municipality, a life sized community creche that was outlawed (and has since been erected by private parties on the same site) because of the religious message. This is a shame. The message of Christmas has always been a "peace and good will" message. It is a shame that we are acquiescing the the efforts of a few who find the means behind the message to be offensive.
The same goes for money. In some camps, "In God We Trust" translates into "theocracy." It doesn’t. And they know it. They just want to impose their will on the rest of us, which is utter hypocrisy, because that is what they are decrying to begin with. Except that the only time it really happens is when they get their way.

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Any News?

Is there any news that doesn’t center on Iraq suicide bombings, trivial indicators that the real estate market will not remain historically hot, or the president’s approval rating?

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