Sunday, April 06, 2008

And I thought Edwin Reischauer was long gone

until I read this from 2002 CFR article:
...China and Korea in particular have taken great exception to the textbooks’ handling of Japan’s atrocities in Nanking and the treatment of the issue of “comfort women” from Korea, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It is important, however, to keep this issue in perspective: historical accounts are subjective, and every country teaches revisionist history to some extent...
...Sounds like words right out of the mouths of some of the extreme rightwing here---many push this very view. Everyone does it, so if Japan pretends it did no wrongs in the war it's all just fine, just a different interpretation of history.
Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine have also raised concerns that Japan is becoming too nationalistic. It is important to bear in mind that while Yasukuni Shrine houses class-A war criminals; it also holds the remains of Japanese citizens who have died in the service of their country since the 19th century, much like Arlington National Cemetery...
Yea, it's just another Arlington. The Japanese rightwing argument again.
Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo, has been regarded as a staunch nationalist because of his strong, offensive remarks concerning immigrants. However, Ishihara does favor a U.S. alliance because he recognizes that Japan cannot defend itself alone right now...
That ain't all Blinky has said, but our author couldn't be bothered with anything too controversial. And Ishihara is considered a nationalist "because of his...remarks concerning immigrants"? Was that a joke?
...The nationalist movement in Japan does not have to gain widespread popularity for it to gain widespread influence. If some of the views put forth by this movement become popular enough, they could garner enough backing to influence the Japanese government...
Has it not had widespread influence for years? Does it not hold the LDP by the gonads? It did in 2002 when this article was written and it does now.
Japan currently does not have any fascist leaders poised to come to power, but there are some politicians with nationalist tendencies who are popular enough to warrant U.S. attention. A study of political history suggests that the United States should be concerned and should definitely keep this movement on its radar screen.
Ahh, a strong, decisive conclusion. Who would have thunk of that if the author, Eugene A. Matthews, hadn't told us. Perhaps this was a briefing for Little Bush.

This reminds me of Reischauer's 1977 (?) "classic": The Japanese. You read it and couldn't always say that this or that was entirely wrong or untrue, but you knew it was pure sugar-coating---anything less than attractive being sweetened up and explained/excused away.

The full Council of Foreign Relations 2002 article is here.

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