Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Flowers For Korekiyo


Today is the 78th anniversary of the 2/26 Incident (Ni-ni-roku jiken). (Link)

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has been relying on Takahashi Korekiyo as the guide star and historical anchor for his Abenomics economics policies (Link). Do you think the PM has sent flowers to the old man's grave today or to his statue in the park next to the Canadian Embassy, the site where the soldiers found him and killed him?

I was trying to think the other day of what Abe could do to demonstrate that his 'escape for the postwar regime' is more than just a glorification of the Meiji State. "What could he do to repudiate the course the country took under the Meiji Constitution?" I asked myself. "Perhaps he could reverse a historical wrong, proving that he is not in thrall to the myth of a virile and respected pre-1945 Japan."

I tried to think how far back in time one would have to go for Abe Shinzo to be able to admit, "OK, what the government did there was wrong."

"If not apologies for the invasion of China, not the assassination of Zhang Zuolin, not the annexation of Korea, how about a partdon of Kotoku Shusui, tried and executed in 1911 for the High Treason Incident of 1910? That was a domestic affair so there are no implications for Japan's current fraught relationships with its neighbors. And since it all happened over a hundred years ago, who could have any problem with it?"

Then I had to clap my hand to my forehead:

"Idiot! Of course there is someone who would have a problem with it. Member of the House of Representatives Hiranuma Takeo, Abe's Best Friend Forever and the co-leader of Abe's Sosei Nippon movement (Link) is the adopted son of Hiranuma Kiichiro - the prosecutor of the High Treason Incident defendants!"

One hundred and three years on...and hopeless impediments to realistic and healing assessments of history are still with us.

And now the sun is going down.


Philippe said...

I think we’d have a small problem there. The neighbours in the West would be happy though. A whole part of the more nationalist inclined in Abe Shinzo’s beautiful country might be wee bit angry. Kotoku Shusui was also supporter of the Korean Independence movement (beside being anarcho-syndicalist and co-translator of the great Peter Kropotkin). According to Wikipedia (en), when he was arrested, he was carrying a postcard commemorating Ahn Jung-geun. I didn’t know that one tidbit.

Anonymous said...

Last year I visited the Edo Tokyo Architectural Museum in Koganei, West Tokyo. There were the buildings of many a Meiji, Taisho and pre-war Showa style buildings, transferred brick by brick from their original sites and all reassembled at that site.

Of the many buildings in feature, one was the residence of Takahashi Korekiyo, and it was a quite harrowing experience to stand in his bedroom, in the very spot where the assassin's shot him in his sleep before hacking his body with their blades.