Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Men Of Straw

For a taste of how Japanese revisionists view Japan's and their own place in the world, a reading of former Ambassador to Thailand Okazaki Hisahiko's "Seiron" column for the Sankei Shimbun, a translation of which has appeared courtesy The Japan Times, is a great place to start. (Link)

Okazaki was a prominent foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo during the first Abe Cabinet in 2006-07. I do not know whether or not he has the prime minister's ear this time around.


Later - Thanks for the readers who alerted me out the mistake. The hyperlink has now been fixed.

Later still - The New York Times checks in with just the sort of editorial about Japanese nationalism that Okazaki would expect from The New York Times. (Link)

My only quibble with the NYT editorial is the misleading qualification of the number of Diet members who took part in the visit to Yasukuni on Tuesday. There is little value in saying that they were "mostly low-ranking legislators." When one has a group of sufficient size, and 168 is more than sufficient, then by definition most of them will be low-ranking.

6 comments:

Philippe said...

Your link points to a .time.com page (also linked to in a previous post). I think you mean this article.

--
That piece is so astonishingly poorly written & argumented. Is that the usual level of discourse among the current right-wing pundits? I don't often read their ‘stuff’ (anymore).

Toyotsu said...

Here is the correct link to Okazaki's ramblings: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/04/23/commentary/conservative-tasks-in-japan/#.UXfZREqi9Go

Armchair Asia said...

The link is incorrect.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/04/23/commentary/conservative-tasks-in-japan/#.UXfp8bXOkx4

MTC said...

Phillipe -

Revisionists live in a special mirrored bubble. It allows them to love the sounds of themselves talking without distractions while simultaneously admiring how tough they think their talk makes them look.

euroasiasecurityforum.com said...

The US position on these issues is logical from a perspective of national interest (Japan should focus on being a rich, tame subordinate ally, and not drag us into conflict or muddy the waters of our other alliances and relationships in the region), but I wonder if it is a bit slow to adapt to changes going on in Japan.

The staying power of Okazaki and Abe on these conservative issues are a bit of a puzzle. If it was just a generational grievance, then we would expect it to be fading, but they are back with it again and that means something.

I wonder if there is some cryptic meaning in the cause & effect trajectory of the relationship between these two history/defence issues. Earlier arguments said that Japanese people need to lose their false consciousness so as to enable them to be 'normal' in terms of using the military. Now it is the other way around - freer use of Japan's use of the military will encourage people need to change their view of Japan's role in history and therefore the present.

euroasiasecurityforum.com said...

woah, sorry for the sloppy comment editing. May I substitute my comment text with the following:

The US position on these issues is logical from a perspective of national interest (Japan should focus on being a rich, tame subordinate ally, and not drag us into conflict or muddy the waters of our other alliances and relationships in the region), but I wonder if it is a bit slow to adapt to changes going on in Japan.

The staying power of Okazaki and Abe on these conservative issues is a bit of a puzzle. If it was just a generational grievance then we would expect it to be fading, but they are back with it again and that signifies something.

I wonder if there is some cryptic meaning in the cause & effect trajectory of the relationship between the history/defence issues. Earlier it was said that Japanese people need to lose their false consciousness so as to enable them to be 'normal' in terms of using the military. Now it is the other way around - freer use by Japan of the military will encourage Japanese people to change their view of their nation's role in history and therefore the present.