Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Recommendations for Reading As I Vamp Away

Having a lot on one's plate keeps one from committing acts of serious cogitation.

So in line with yesterday's recommendation of Peter Tasker's essay I will recommend a few more thought pieces by friends and acquaintances as I put off writing my rant about Slate's misleading article on the sōshoku/nikushoku divide (first, Fukusawa did not invent the terms and second, since when is an episode of a television talk show ever been evidence of a cultural shift?) or a slightly calmer piece on whether the July 12 Tokyo municipal elections should be considered a referendum on Asō Tarō's tenure as prime minister or not.

Anyway, devilishly handsome Yokota Takashi has been writing essays for the revamped Newsweek to good effect. For the June 22 edition he outlines some of the most compelling of the reasons why it is unlikely the government of Japan will take even tiny steps toward developing nuclear weapons, no matter the dreams of U.S. neoconservatives.

Over at the Far Eastern Economic Review Ulrich Volz discusses the remarkably steady progress toward the creation of a robust financial safety net for the economies of East and Southeast Asia. We do not hear much about these initiatives, despite the GOJ's being not only being proactive but working in close cooperation and enjoying equal billing with China. Then again, the lack of scenes of embarrassment or rancor is probably the reason we do not hear much about these initiatives. Herr Doktor Volz has also recently sent me the book on the subject that he edited with Koichi Hamada and Beate Reszat, which I am reading in spurts.

If you did not get a copy of yesterday morning's edition of the Mainichi Shimbun, then you missed a keeper. The cover article discusses the Fujisaki apology, a topic which until now has been actively ignored by the press. The cover story and a companion article on page three also examine how revisionist writings and activities have impacted Japan's relationship with the United States. One idea that emerges from the reading: that the burst of right wing revisionist writing from the late 1990's and early naughts made it almost imperative for the Japanese government to issue apologies, meaning that the fantabulists' attempt to reawaken a sense of stubborn, defensive, unapologetic pride (hokori) in Japan's history backfired...completely.

Good work guys and gals of the right.

On the inside, in color, across two pages, is a graphic showing the taxonomy, genealogy and evolution of writers critical of Japan's relationship with the United States. The graphic resembles Richard Samuels' famous diagram in Securing Japan showing the ebbing, flowing, mixing and disappearance of intellectual currents controlling Japan's foreign policy. Given the subject matter, I would venture a guess that the authors of the Mainichi adapted Samuels' illustration to fit their purposes.

I have my copy... and I am keeping it.


RMilner said...

I sincerely hope that Japan will not develop a nuclear capability however I do not believe the objections made in the Newsweek article are fundamentally insurmountable.

YM said...

Any idea where I can get a higher resolution copy of the Samuels-esque diagram? You can barely read the print on the .jpeg graphic on the Mainichi website.

MTC said...

RMilner -

"Not fundamentally insurmountable" is a given. The political hurdles to instigating such a terribly unpopular policy, however, are beyond the capacities of this or any potential governing coalition.

YM -

I will see what I can/should do about uploading a jpeg of my print copy.

You are right, the micro image
is a travesty.

MTC said...

For some reason, the comments function cut off the tail end of the above URL.

Here is a replacement:


Anonymous said...

Yes, please try to post a larger jpeg of the graphic. And if you can please also provide some translation and commentary. It would be a public service.

Also, for those of us who are not fluent in English, what do you mean by "vamp away"? I apologize for my ignorance.

MTC said...

Anonymous -

I will post the big jpeg soon.

As for "vamp away" I am using "vamp" in the sense of "improvise simple accompaniment or variation of a tune" as a means of whiling away the time until I produce something more substantive.