Osaka mayor should be watched

Tokyo

In my understanding of human nature, most of us have a hidden agenda in our dealings with the world at large — private thoughts and desires often not shared with those nearest to us. I believe this is even more true of politicians. Assessing the depth and width of their humility and humanity is usually impossible to do!

William Pesek’s intelligent and interesting June 6 article, “Hashimoto flourishes in a Japan tired of status quo,” attempts to explain Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s views as Pesek himself interprets them, but perhaps not as Hashimoto sees them.

Pesek is right to state that he finds some of Hashimoto’s platform “borderline creepy,” his party’s training for aspiring leaders smacking of nationalism, his “inquisition against teachers who refuse to stand and sing” the national anthem “rightwing silliness,” and his attitude toward tattoo-bearing city workers “just weird.”

I agree that we should not compare Hashimoto to Adolf Hitler, but we must keep a wary eye fixed on any politician who sets out and then puts into practice theories that are “borderline creepy” and “weird” and that “smack of nationalism” and “rightwing silliness” along the lines of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.

“Hashism” may indeed be in its embryonic stage, but we must guard against its spreading from a relatively few acolytes into the body of Japan. The eloquence of great orators can inspire or abhor us, lead us to greatness or destruction, but we must never forget that we must know a man by his works and not by his words.

We must closely watch and evaluate this young man now and not be blinded by his rhetoric. It may be too late to do so later!

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

paul gaysford