[The below is a draft post, with sections left incomplete.]
The first official return of sovereignty day commemoration ceremony, complete with the presence of their Imperial Majesties, was held on April 28, the 61st anniversary of the end of the Occupation.
The official ceremony garnered attention worldwide, much of it not appreciative.
Despite the domestic and international temperatures raised by this event, the ceremony itself passed relatively smoothly.
There was only one unscripted moment, dutifully ignored by all the major broadcasters except the center-left TBS network. One of the attendees started shouting, "Tenno heika banzai!" ("May the Emperor live 10,000 years!"). Much of the rest of the audience soon joined in, causing the Imperial Couple, who had been leaving, to freeze like two deer caught in the headlights. (Link – J video)
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, when asked later about the banzais, responded that they were an impromptu and natural occurrence. (Link -J )
A trio of banzais probably should not be seen as a harbinger of world's end. Given that the attendees were the cream of the nation's revisionist political class, a little off-script self-described loyalist enthusiasm should have been expected.
In terms revisionist theater, the official ceremony in the morning was a strictly amateur production.
The professionals made their appearance in the afternoon at People's Assembly For Return To Sovereignty Day (Shuken kaifuku kinenbi kokumin shukai) at the Hibiya Kokaido -- a general overview of which has been provided to us by Channel Sakura. (Link – J video)
The above linked video has just about everything one could hope for:
- A "materials-bought-at-the-100-yen-store" studio set
- The organizer Ijiri Kazuo (former columnist for the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, adjunct professor at Takushoku University, member of Sakurai Yoshiko’s Fundamentals think tank and member of the New Textbook group) boasting of filling up the lower tier and half of the upper tier (How thrilled is Ijiri about the turnout? He insists on going over it twice with the announcer.)
- The Amazon event hostess (yes, the tall lady in the denim tube skirt and the sandals in this shot who runs the non-profit that cleans up beaches, is a Channel Sakura announcer and a member of the Self Defense Forces Reserves.)
- The complete hash made of the singing of the Kimigayo (It takes a special kind of impatience to mess up a performance of the world's shortest national anthem.)
And that is what you get in the first 2:50 of the Channel Sakura digest, before any of the featured speakers opens his or her mouth.
And who were the featured speakers?
Based upon the videos uploaded to YouTube, about 20 VIPs were on the schedule, with one would be speaker, the one with the highest government office of the group, having his brief greeting read out by the hostess.
I present the speakers and links to their speeches below in what I believe is the proper order, with the names of active members of the National Diet in bold:
Kobori Keichiro – emeritus professor of comparative literature, Meiji University. Studied German literature at Tokyo University alongside Nishio Kanji), member of the New Textbook group. (Full Speech – J)
Noda Takeshi - Chairman of the Diet Members' League for a Return of Sovereignty Day, Chairman of the LDP House of Representatives delegation, chairman of the LDP's Tax Committee, former member of the Liberal Party. (Full Speech – J)
Shindo Yoshitaka (in absentia) – Minister of General Affairs and Telecommunications, member of the House of Representatives, grandson of Kuribayashi Tadamichi -- the commander of the defense of Iojima. (Read Message - J)
Takaichi Sanae - Chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, member of the House of Representatives, leader of the Diet members delegation visit to Yasukuni on April 23 (Link), seated at the right hand of Abe Shinzo when Abe was elected LDP president (Link - Amari Akira was to his left), graduate of the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, former aide to U.S. House of Representatives members Patricia Schroeder (Full Speech - J)
Hiranuma Takeo - Acting Representative of the Japan Restoration Association, member of the House of Representatives, former leader of the Sunrise Party, leader of the postal rebellion against Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro, adopted son of convicted Class A War Criminal Hiranuma Kiichiro. (Full Speech - J)
Kiuchi Minoru - Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hiranuma disciple, former postal rebel (successfully fought off Koizumi candidate Katayama Satsuki), former Ministry of Foreign Affairs bureaucrat. (Full Speech - J)
Yamatani Eriko -member of the House of Councillors, deputy chairman of the LDP committee on security and terrorism, former special advisor to the prime minister on education revitalization, former editor in chief of Sankei Living, originally elected to the Diet as a DPJ proportional seat candidate. (Full Speech - J)
Araki Kazuhiro – Professor of International Relations at Takushoku University, member of Sakurai Yoshiko’s Fundamental think tank, former Ground Self Defense Forces officer, GSDF Reserves member. (Full Speech - J)
Sugihara Makoto – Chairman of the New Textbook group, publisher of works on war responsibility, member of the Advisory Committee of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact. (Full Speech – J)
Nishida Shoji - LDP member of the House of Councillors, vice chairman’s of the parliamentarian’s league promoting visits to Yasukuni. (Full Speech – J)
Uto Takashi - Deputy chairman of the House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, LDP member, graduate of the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, former Air Self Defense Forces fighter pilot. (Full Speech – J)
Akaike Masaaki – Guest professor at Meiji University, former LDP member of the House of Representatives, graduate of the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, former principal of the Japan Aviation High School. (Full Speech – J)
Nishioka Tsutomu – Professor at Tokyo Christian University, chairman of the national association for the aid to those abducted by the DPRK. (Full Speech - J)
Koike Yuriko - Chairman of the LDP Public Affairs Division, member of the House of Representatives, member of the board of directors of Renault, former chairman of the LDP General Council, former minister of defense, former minister of the environment, successful Koizumi candidate in 2005, former member of the Liberal Party, former television announcer, graduate of Cairo University, English and Arabic speaker (Full Speech - J)
Yamada Kenji - member of the House of Representatives, director with Societe Generale Private Banking, former employee of Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, seconded for a while to the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry. (Full Speech
Tamogami Toshio – Chairman of Hang Tough Japan! All Japan Action Committee (Ganbare Nippon Zenkoku kodo iinkai), the former Chief of Staff of the Air Self Defense Forces who was relieved of his command and forced into retirement for composing a controversial essay (Link) exonerating Japan's pre-1945 government of war guilt. (Full Speech – J)
"But wait. This event took place at the Hibiya Kokaido? Isn't that the hall where...?"
Yes, the hall where this happened (video has a viewer discretion warning).
Grotesque and utterly inappropriate?
Yes and no.
Perversely, along with Asanuma Inejiro, the hopes of Japan's revisionists were felled on that day 52 years ago. Asanuma's televised assassination delegitimized the ultra-patriotic and the revisionits, condemning them to a political Siberia from which they were to not to emerge for 45 years. Asanuma's 17 year-old assassin hanged himself in his cell a few weeks after the killing, seemingly sorry not for robbing a man of his life, but for having caused trouble for his comrades.
[The phrase the assassin scratched on the wall of his holding cell wall before taking his life? "I would give up life seven times more for my country. Tenno heika banzai!"]
In retrospect, Japan's Left probably never had what it took to push the revisionists and ultras back. The deniers had to, and did, do themselves in.
Now, after a half-a-hundred circuits about the Sun, we face perhaps a new reality.
If the above video of General Tamogami does not sate your craving for fulminating resentment, you can catch him live tomorrow (May 3). He will be participating in a panel discussion in Iwakuni (where the U.S. Marines base is) at the Iwakuni Shimin Kaikan.
"So who's on the panel with him?"
Funny you should ask that. One name: member of the House of Representatives Kishi Nobuo.
Yes. The prime minister's younger brother. (Link – J)
Springtime for Japan's revisionists: one does not have to exaggerate, construct tenuous connections or issue paranoid prognostications.