Regarding the Sept. 15 article “Japanese media declare ‘dark times’ are on us“: Whenever there is a murder in Japan, especially of a young girl, there is always some kind of fear-mongering and citation of whatever other kinds of crimes and skewing of whatever statistics that happen to be happening/available in the moment.
This cultural knee-jerk reaction serves a purpose: it comes from an ideology that really believes that the way to avoid “undesirable behavior” is public shaming. Does this vacant catch-all mentality actually believe that the shaming of to-be future murderers would funk them out of becoming murderers, or is the purpose rather to continue to condition everyone to believe in a view of human nature that ensures that others will always control their lives?
“Anyone can suddenly turn criminal.” This is one of the core premises that defines Japan. This is why kids have endless school and clubs. This is why salarymen have seven hours of work stretched out to 14 or more hours. This is why a “vacation” amounts to a crammed-in 10 places over three days. This is why “duty, duty, duty.” This is why daily rituals and ceremonial time-wasting.
Philosophically speaking, this is a belief in a malevolent universe, and in the malevolence of the human spirit; a belief that individuals, if left to their own devices, will tend to choose to be evil or will choose to self-destruct; a belief that those that somehow end up being “normal” or “good” are so by mere chance, chance that was not worth the risk of setting everyone free from the necessary shaming and duty that ultimately protects the “wa” and ensures the continued existence of the bloodline/the people over the eons.
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.