Monday, March 19, 2012

Tanigaki Sadakazu And Godwin's Law

It had to happen eventually, and as almost as eventually, Liberal Democratic Party President Tanigaki Sadakazu was going to be the man at the center of the action.

Hashimoto Toru's blustery manner, tyrannical treatment of civil servants and pursuit of enforced patriotism has emboldened some of his followers to monitor at school graduations ceremonies not only whether teachers and school administrators were standing for the national anthem but whether their mouths were moving (J has led to elites, mostly based in the capital, to deride his Hashimoto's manner and his political quasi-party the Ishin no kai as representing "Hashism."

It was up to Tanigaki to violate Godwin's Law -- which means to confirm it, of course.

On Sunday, in a speech in Kyoto, Tanigaki stamped up and down on subtlety and seemingly stepped in kemo sabe.**

"In saying that party politics is no good, it is like like the emergence of the military faction in the teens of the Showa Era. It seems to be in the same atmosphere that Hitler and Mussolini emerged." (J)

OK, wow, he has gone and done it, called Hashimoto a neo-proto-Hitler.

Somebody had to do it.

One cannot not deride Tanigaki's musings as a full expression of Godwin's Law, where given time and an ever enlarging number of comments the chances of a debate devolving into comparisons with Hitler comes to equal 1. Kamei Shizuka called former prime minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro a "Hitler" in 2003 for having the temerity to use his powers a president of the LDP to force members to toe the line he set for the party (E). Boy, I am sure Kamei was surprised when Koizumi forced him out of the LDP two years later!

Tanigaki's comparison of Hashimoto Toru's rise that of Hitler comes prefaced by negative remarks about the rise of the military faction in the Japanese government during the 1930s.

Such talk would seem odd from the grandson of one of the generals who commanded the forces invading and occupying China. However, Kakesa Sadaaki was not your ordinary 1930s general. Indeed, he was transferred out of China and plopped on the island of Rabaul on the direct order of Prime Minister Togo Hideki for having being too solicitous and respectful of the Chinese.

One of Tanigaki's main political peculiarities, one which is not so peculiar given the example set by his grandfather, is his comfort with things Chinese as compared the rest of the LDP, which tends to be extremely suspicious if not paranoid about China. While his affection toward China is focused more on its classical tradition, thinking positively of China would, in a happier world, serve as a bridge between himself and Ozawa Ichiro, who has cultivated close relations with the leaders of China, despite the political unpopularity of such behavior.

Should sinophilia be seen a litmus test in Japanese politics against fascism? In Ozawa's case it is clearly does instill distaste of strong man rule, when the policies merit it. Just who might be the judge of the merit of said policies is the question. Ozawa clearly took Democratic Party of Japan's 2009 House of Representatives victory as a justification of the implementation of the party's 2009 manifesto. That the DPJ victory might possibly have been as much the result of disgust with the LDP as a stamp of approval for the manifesto did not serve as a bridle on Ozawa, who saw to it that the promises were carried out, even at the cost of party unity, party popularity and the term in office of his puppet Hatoyama Yukio.

But back to what happened on Sunday. Despite Tanigaki's tendency to misunderstand situations and concepts, his sincerity he feels in comparing "Hashism" to its namesakes is not as easy to dismiss as it would be had the above quote issued from other lips.


* This last news item has already been mentioned by another blogger. However I do not remember who it was. My apologies to him or her for not being able to extend a tip of the hat.

** This is a joke regarding an upcoming Johnny Depp movie. Don't worry about it.

Later - This post has been edited for greater clarity - MTC.

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