U.S. greenlights Japan’s march back to militarism


As I’ve often written, I’m a big proponent of the historical record — if for no other reason, so we can look back at the past and learn from our mistakes.

That has been a major issue for the current Japanese government. As hundreds of historians have publicly stated, the Shinzo Abe administration has been systematically working to deny (or in Abe-speak, “beautify”) Japan’s worst wartime ugliness, on an increasingly obvious quest to reconfigure Japan as a military power. In other words, the right is marching the country back to the Japan that nearly annihilated itself 70 years ago.

But I’m even more disappointed with the historical amnesia of the Americans. Abe’s standing-ovation tour of the United States in April, during which the two allies established the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, has basically helped Abe further destabilize the region.

That’s awful news. The U.S., Japan’s strongest ally and chaperone for most of its foreign policy, is, given Japan’s powerless leftist opposition, basically the only one who can stop this.

The U.S. has great sway over Japan due, again, to history. After World War II, America did an outstanding job of enabling Japan to get rich — thanks in part to its provision of advantageous trade and exchange-rate agreements and a subsidized security umbrella.

As the Asian extension of America’s Marshall Plan (a means to keep European countries from warring again by making them economically integrated, interdependent and successful, rather than leaving them to exact wartime reparations and revenge), Japan’s economic success is still seen amongst Washington’s foreign policy wonks as proof of their ability to foster democracy worldwide.

But the U.S., now assuming the post-Cold War mantle of world’s policeman, is undermining that goal by continuing to meddle in Japan’s politics.

We first saw this happen in the “reverse course” of 1947, when it was clear that China was going communist. Back then, Washington feared that labor unions might gather enough strength to force Japan into a similar leftist lurch (as seen in Italy, where the Americans also intervened and set Italian politics back into an unstable, corrupt funk that lasted decades).

So, in the name of “containing communism” at the dawn of the Cold War, the U.S. released the Japanese war criminals they hadn’t executed, who then went on to become prominent politicians, businessmen, organized-crime figures — even a prime minister.

It also basically handed back the levers of power to Japan’s prewar governing elites — for example, by reviving the zaibatsu industrial war-machine conglomerates (as keiretsu cartels), overlooking the domination of the education system by historical revisionists and blood-nationalists (the education ministry has since steadily reinstituted prewar traditions of suppressing history and enforcing patriotism), forgiving egregious war misdeeds (through the overgenerous Treaty of San Francisco in 1952), and allowing the re-creation of Japan’s military (as “Self-Defense Forces”) soon after the U.S. Occupation ended.

The blowback, however, is that America has been constantly snake-charmed by those elites. Their professional “gaijin handlers” (see “Japan brings out big guns to sell remilitarization in the U.S.,” Just Be Cause, Nov. 6, 2013) have decades of experience of playing the anticommunism card to suppress their mortal enemies — Japan’s leftists.

Even as Japan embarked on the road to recovery, the U.S. made sure that “our bastards” (to paraphrase at least one American president) remained in power, creating a shadowy electoral slush account for the Liberal Democratic Party called the “M-Fund,” and fostering a one-party state that lasted several decades.

Then came the infamous U.S.-Japan Security Treaty amendments in 1960, forced upon the Japanese electorate without due process, causing enormous public opposition, riots and social damage, both in terms of property and political polarization.

This overt circumvention of Japan’s democratic institutions stunted the political maturation of Japan’s civil society: Japan never had, for example, the healthy subsequent antiwar grass-roots activism that unseated leaders worldwide in the late 1960s and beyond. As prominent American analysts themselves put it, Japan became an economic giant but a political pygmy.

Fast-forward to April 2015 and Abe’s U.S. tour. Despite years of media and academic attention on Abe’s revisionism, the U.S. bestowed upon him honors that no other Japanese PM has enjoyed, essentially legitimizing Abe’s campaigns worldwide.

Contrast this with how non-LDP left-leaning prime ministers have been treated: President Bill Clinton publicly humiliated Morihiro Hosokawa in 1994, and Washington hobbled Yukio Hatoyama five years ago (see “Futenma is undermining Japanese democracy,” JBC, June 2, 2010) on trade, military-base issues and reordered relations with China. Both PMs were so discredited that they were soon swept away by LDP re-elections, with reenergized conservatives on the rebound making reforms that set the stage for Japan’s recidivism today.

Why are the Americans resuscitating these toxic security guidelines? Simple: to contain China. But, to return to my original point, has Washington learned nothing from history? Can’t they see that the Cold War has been over for decades, and replacing the Soviet Union with China is a bad fit?

Granted, one can make a convincing case that China’s attitude towards democratic institutions ill-befits the Pax Americana. But the PRC is not the USSR — if anything, it’s precisely what the Marshall Planners would have wanted to happen to China.

China’s rapid economic growth and heavy integration into the world market, both as its factory and lender of last resort, indicates that it shall not (and should not) be so easily contained. Containment strategies drawn up by George Kennan 68 years ago are clearly obsolete.

Unfortunately, Washington seems eager to start Cold War II, with Japan again acting as America’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in Asia. Except this time, it does not have an American at the steering wheel in Tokyo, and the blood-nationalist in charge is a descendant of the ruthless right, bent on settling old personal scores and putting Japanese weapons and military forces overseas.

I don’t think the Americans are fully aware of what they are encouraging. Abe will erode the very democratic institutions (including the pacifist Constitution) the U.S. established to “cure” Japan’s war-like tendencies in the first place.

Abe has already enacted the means to engineer public opinion through media censorship, half-truths and big lies, as well as to intimidate critics and punish whistle-blowers.

Now, freshly emboldened after his trip to Washington (he even recently sent his “liberal” wife to visit war-celebrating Yasukuni Shrine), Abe will soon legally reconstitute the mythological version of Japan — the one that made so many Japanese support total war and carry out continent-wide genocide.

If you think I’m exaggerating, look again at history. Japan has swung back from liberalism before, after the “Taisho Democracy” of the 1920s. The flowering of democratic institutions, moderate tolerance of dissent and unprecedented prosperity did happen, but it only lasted about 15 years before the ruthless right took over.

This time it lasted much longer, but Japanese society has numerous bad habits that foster a reverse-engineering into militarism. Five years ago I thought remilitarization inconceivable after generations of a pacifist narrative, but seeing now how fast Japan has snapped back is cause for great alarm. This will be confirmed beyond doubt once we see the revival of prewar politics by assassination, the natural progression from the current trends of intimidation and death threats.

This will certainly abet Japan’s domestic conversion from a mild police state into a much harsher one. And then what? If the past 15 years are any guide, Japanese society’s latent suspicion of outsiders will manifest itself in the targeting of its non-Japanese residents with even more force.

Why? Because it can. They’re here and subject to our laws. If they don’t like it, they should leave. Because Japan is for the Japanese, as the blood-nationalists would define them.

Look out, non-Japanese residents, you’re going to attract even more attention now — as lab rats for Japan’s nascent foreign policy. Nice work, America, “Arsenal of Democracy.” History shows that once again, you’ve encouraged more arsenal than democracy.

Debito’s own 20-year-old historical archive of life and human rights in Japan is at www.debito.org. Twitter @arudoudebito. Just Be Cause appears in print on the first Monday of the month. Comments and story ideas: community@japantimes.co.jp

  • Liars N. Fools

    I do not quite agree with Arudou’s analysis of why the supposedly peace-loving Obama administration has wound up supporting a much more militarily inclined Japan. I think it starts with the classic problem of American politics in which the Democrats are viewed as weak on security while the Republicans are tough on a range of enemies, including Chicoms, North Koreans, Muslim extremists.

    So why did the Obama administration adopt such a hard line against the DPJ which really did want to take the views of Okinawa into consideration. But the Obama-ites made it clear they disapproved of Hatoyama and Kan and insisted in the Futenma Replacement Facilities (Henoko). A lot of it had to do with built in Pentagon ideology on the indispensability of FRF and revised guidelines and more Japanese boots on the ground in a few more places in support of the stressed and stretched American military. They had to be just as tough as the Republicans, the Obama-ites believe, and the great irony is the melding of the progressive Obama with the right-wing remilitarist Abe Shinzo.

    America really should consider whether they have lost some morality here even if they are correct to confront Chinese excesses.

    • tisho

      because Obama or US congress is not in any shape or form in control of the Pentagons actions. Pentagon has their own self interests and they protect only them and nothing else. What hatoyama tried to do was not in the interests of the Pentagon. What Abe does is in the interests of the pentagon. Every group has their own self interests and they want to protect them irregardless of the interests of others. Anyone who thinks Obama is in any way in control of what the pentagon does is delusional.

  • zer0_0zor0

    The interests of the respective oligarchs in the USA and Japan (as well as the UK) are being threatened by China’s rise, thus, they are circling the wagons and gutting civil liberties in their own countries on the basis of projecting the China threat.

    Japan is a client state of hegemonic America in the “New Greater East Asian Co Prosperity Sphere”, and while the oligarchs are indeed brothers of a sort, “in arms” is sort of an exaggeration, because the oligarchs don’t do the fighting…

    • So is China. China is a lever to use against you; Japan is not a lever against China. There will be no war. The militarisation is:
      a. A source of power against one’s own citizens
      b. A source of money for corrupt regimes. Why? Nowhere else is there less accountability than in a military regime. A corporate contracting environment does not permit the same level of corruption as the state contracting.

  • skillet

    I think it is a good idea for Japan to re-arm. Japan is no different from any other country. Japanese WW2 learders were stupid to start a war with the USA. But the USA also was looking for a fight.

    But that was a long time ago. Japan is not an EVIL country that should be banned from having a military.

    I think the fact that so many of the young Japanese men are effeminate is because they do not emphasize military enough. Military training would be great for the young men of Japan. That would allow them to regain the respect of Japanese ladies and increase the birthrate. I want to see a strong, proud Japan. I certainly gained from experience in the US military.

    The Japanese were a little arrogant when I lived there in the early 1990’s. 1990-1998. But it was so nice to see the optimism of the bubble economy days. It seemed like the way I imagined the USA of the 1950’s.

    I prefer the Japan of samurai to that of hikikomori.

    American women want to be men and Japanese men want to be women.

    • Evil is an attribute of people, not nations. Effeminate men are more easily scared into submission. Ready submission is “evil” in the hands of ambivalent minds. Should Japanese people have the right to self protect? Of course. But that is not the proposition. The problem is:
      1. Japanese elite forcing Japanese to finance the militarisation – power away from them.
      2. America not being a competitive regime to USA (or even China), but a fellow franchisee in global political subjugation of the taxpayer.
      This is not a war against china. This is a common assault upon personal sovereignty. Yes, your ego, or lack of it.

      • skillet

        I kind of see the fight being bred out of the Japanese as a greater humiliation.

        I do agree that a military industrial complex can take power away from the people. Like the USA and the black projects. But military service can bring dignity to a people also.

        I am a grassroots nationalist. I do agree that globalism is the problem.

        Believe me, I would not want to be in a Japan where foreigners were ostracized. But the Japanese are right to resist opening the floodgates.

        Countries like Sweden are following a self-destruct model in the name of goody-goody liberalism.

      • I don’t think the military complex takes power away from people, I’d say the extortion-based representative democracy system does that, since reason is not the standard of value. The problem is actually not unaccountable politicians, its unaccountable, disempowered voters, who have even less reason to engage their minds. Military service can bring genuine or false pride to soldiers. I’ve met both idiot and very smart (US, Aust, Kurd) soldiers. I don’t support nationalism, as its a basis for collective renunciation of personal sovereignty and mental efficacy. Globalism is not the problem. If you think about it, universal law of ethics should entail expansion or reconciliation of law into a global framework. The problem is the lack of competition. This is why I’d welcome a stronger Russia, moreover an intellectually strong Russia. I’d love to give Putin a few twets to attack Obama daily, if I thought he could handle them, and would welcome them. Sadly, they come from the same collectivist school. Japan does not ‘need to’ open up immigration, but they do need to improve their fear-based collectivist thinking. Their ‘way of living’ needs to be differentiated from their thinking. Aside from ‘collectivist’ nationalism, what is destructive in northern Europe?

      • skillet

        Listen to red ice radio. I have some problems with their extremely extreme right wing views. Even if I am rather right wing by 2015 standards. But listen to all the back shows on Sweden. (Henrik P. is Swedish, even if he is outside the mainstream.)

        They talk about things that cannot be said in the PC west.

      • skillet

        Comment on Debito Arudou in general. His articles on Japan are among my favorite. Most of what he says about Japan is true. Even the negative.

        That being said, even with the mild discrimination, Japanese treat gaijin pretty well.

        I am glad I left when I did in 1998 at age 34, but it was perhaps the happiest time in my life. My “half” son is going back to Japan this year.

        I am so excited for him studying in Kyoto.

      • There is a big difference between inner city and outer suburbs of even Tokyo. I think its worse now with the greater tourism.

    • 6810

      Keep dudebro culture out of Japan. Who cares is Asian dudes are effeminate?

      Seriously. If the alternative to wimpy dudes is over-testosteroned man-children who live to drink, fight and play violent sports, invade other countries, contribute to out of control per-capita crime and imprisonment rates and delight in creating whole areas of the the country that are crime riddled and unsafe… gross.

      Sounds like you have some gender/sexuality issues going on and are extrapolating them to fit a culture inhabited and created by a hundred and twenty something million people.

      • skillet

        What about slow death due to low birthrate. I am not talking about dudebro culture. I am talking about yin yang balance.

        When I was in Japan, with all their faults, the Japanese salarymen were tough.

        But this younger generation has people dropping out of society because it it too hard. I know it is hard, but a higher testosterone culture might help them meet the challenge.

        Nothing like a little anger to get that going.

      • Steve Jackman

        “When I was in Japan, with all their faults, the Japanese salarymen were tough.” Yes, they are, if by tough you mean stubborn, obstinate and thick as a brick (I’m not referring to the Jethro Tull song here!).

        However, success in today’s business world requires flexibility, agility adaptability. Most Japanese salaryman have none of these attributes.

      • zer0_0zor0

        Today’s business world has problems, regulatory problems that need to be fixed, and the TPP, for example, promotes a form of corporatism that moves in the opposite direction.

      • skillet

        I would say the opposite. I would say they put forth a facade of being conformist to fit in. But are highly adaptable.

        However, here is something to think about. A liberal arts major may get put in a job that requires scientific skills and a scientist may get put is sales. I saw this first hand when I talked with students in company classes. I was highly impressed. Adaptability.

        I was often surprised when I taught in companies how my English language salaryman students were expected to adapt to any situation.

        My Japanese brother in law, after getting laid off(or forced out) from a major Japanese bank began heading up the accounting for asmall Japanese familiy owned company with a foreign branch in the USA. Lives in USA. Accounting was not even his major. But he had to understand in English enough American tax laws and navigate the waters. No help from headquarters because little expertise at headquarters.

        He is now not replaceable. Such a small company has difficulty finding the resources to replace such unique qualifications.

        His experience with the bank was like boot camp when he was younger. Was required to do highly involved work with little sleep. Usually 4 hours home sleeping, then back to the office. Went to work even when sick with flu, fever of 103.

        I look up to him.

        But I think they are more, not less adaptable And tough as nails. . Many Americans often have difficulty outside the major fields of specialization.And usually expect a fairly narrow job description.

        I know I do.

      • Steve Jackman

        I think we’re talking about two different things. I was referring to an inability to adapt to changes in the marketplace and a lack of creativity. What you are describing is the Japanese practice of developing mostly generalists at companies here in Japan. This is actually a problem, since there are not enough functional and subject matter experts at Japanese companies.

        Almost everyone at Japanese companies is a generalist, and as such, they usually have a very superficial knowledge of their jobs. I have worked with these generalists at Japanese companies and most of them are sorely lacking in the skills required for the jobs their companies put them in. This is also a reason why Japanese companies are so far behind their competitors in other developed countries when it comes to following global best practices.

      • skillet

        My 2000 Toyota Corrolla is still running strong. Best deal I have ever had on a car.

        I am not sure what global best practices means. When I lived in Japan, like Debito Arudou, I found it frustrating to think that as a gaijin, I could never be a salaryman and make it to the top.

        But that is a small point in the grand scheme of things. The Japanese company is hard and demanding. Karoshi is still a problem.

        But now I still see the Japanese company in a very positive light. It is still a middle to upper middle class institution. It offers a hardworking motivated JAPANESE a solid lifetime middle class position, and in exchange for tremendous sacrifice, gives back.

        The top managers are very well paid, but the pay structure is highly moral. Top executives are paid like upper-middle class managers, not gods.

        I personally find it comforting to know that there are still companies that practice meritocracy. Even if for some, the price can be karoshi.

        The pay structure of the company is a great best practice. And I like the nationalist aspect to it.

        A Japanese company for Japanese people. That is not racist. And the Japanese should not give in to PC.

        Just because we have allowed globalists to trash our own country does not mean the Japanese should.

        (Americans should follow a different strategy of Fortune 500 boycott,national and individual self reliance, tarriffs, entrepreneurship, protectionism for our own economic revolution We should be Americans. But that is another topic.)

      • Steve Jackman

        Did you ever work at a Japanese company, because I have? You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how Japanese companies work. They are not meritocracies and Toyota is not a typical Japanese compny.

      • Might you be posturing a false dichotomy? Why can’t men and women be analytically engaging? Then I could care less if they had beefy or effeminate bodies. Under an extortion based political system, beefy, brutal people are more useful. That makes ‘skillet’ useful. lol

    • blondein_tokyo

      American women don’t want to be men. They want to be equal TO men.
      American men are definitely head and shoulders above Japanese men when it comes to working together with women as equals, but its not because they are strong and domineering- it’s because they have learned that cooperation works far better than constantly butting heads.
      The problem with Japanese men then, isn’t that they are physically weak and girly. It’s because they are now facing a generation of women who want to step outside traditional gender roles, and they don’t yet quite know how to deal with that. It’s the exact same problem American men faced after the first wave of feminism. They should take a cue from them and stop butting their heads against the brick wall, trying to maintain their position and power, and instead start working together with women. If the “new Japanese woman” intimidates and emasculates them, then it’s time for them to rethink what masculinity really means. Hint: it’s not beefy and brutal.

      • skillet

        That is the feminist mythology. Most men I know are happy to have the extra cash when there wife out-earns them, which has been periodically the case for me. I get along very well with my female boss here in the USA. I have not seen any dudes where I work having a problem with it. Natural as breathing.

        But I noticed while I was teaching in Japan in the 1990’s, they were teaching everybody to be way too nicey nice in a very emasculating way. I think this is damaging to men growing up properly.

        Feminsits love to speak of male inability to accept women becoming powerful. That is generally not true. I knew several dudes among my Japanese friends who were disappointed when their wives quit working. They wanted the extra cash but she wanted to be sengyoushufu or housewife.

        I actually did not see even American feminism as a problem until the recent campus “rape culture” hysteria. Was very pro-feminist. I remember some Japanese dudes even chucking a little in 1992 when I told them I was a feminist.They were not critical, just thought it was humorous.

        But here in the USA, it is getting pretty bad.Insane even.

        They are actually going to start subsidizing false rape accusations in California by giving free tuition to any girl who can win a rape conviction in the college kangaroo courts.

        (Note that the new rape is usually not rape at all but just drunks having consensual sex, but the univerisites rules are being written in a manner that this can be called rape.)

        That being said, I do remember in the 1990’s, there was a problem with chikan or groping. If that is the case, there would definitely be a good emphasis for Japanese feminists.

        Or perhaps even better, having men learn pride of being men. A real man has too much pride in himself and humanity to grope in a train. It is the emasculated men who never grew into real manhood that do that sort of thing. A positive view of masculine virtues would help with that.

        Military training could help with that.

        I hope Japan does not follow down the USA path and try to raise up women my lowering the dignity of men in the “Men are Homer Simpson” culture.

      • blondein_tokyo

        The plural of anecdote is not “data”. Your experience as a man is going to be quite different from that of women. Japan is not an egalitarian society, and sexual harassment, including groping on trains, is not a problem that was left behind in the 90’s. It’s going be quite a while before Japanese women are accepted as equal to men in the workplace and the home.

      • Jonathan Fields

        There you go. Feminists love their R words. I don’t think anyone said Asian men aren’t masculine and strong. The conversation is about the current retraining of men to have more feminine traits.

        A boy feels uncomfortable around his more masculine peers, and he’s told that manliness can be defined in many ways and that he’s beautiful just the way he is. That used to be a lesson in working hard and not letting others bully you about.

        Feminism is the reason for the increase in creepy guys in America, and it will happen in Japan too.

      • blondein_tokyo

        You implied very strongly that Japanese men don’t fit the masculine stereotype, even going so far as to say they’re being retrained with feminine traits. If you hold Japanese men to the western ideal of masculinity (especially your form of it) and find them wanting, then I’d say that fits the definition of racism pretty snugly.

        From your point of view, all boys should be forced into what you feel is the ideal masculinity even if it’s not natural for them and not what they identify with. Again, that’s very narrow minded and tells boys that unless they fit into that role, there’s something wrong with them.

        Personally, I think if people aren’t comfortable with who they are, they should be free to change. But I’m against arbitrarily assigning personality traits and gender roles to people whom they don’t fit or who reject them. You don’t get to make the rules for other people. You only get to decide how you want to live.

      • Jonathan Fields

        No, I definitely never said that. And I haven’t read all the other comments, but I don’t think anyone else said that either. I’m not going to use the R word because I think it’s a terrible way to argue, but I wonder why you seem to think that masculinity differs between ‘The West’ (whatever that is) and Japan. Perhaps the one who is working from within a narrow world view is yourself.

        And for the record, ‘Japanese’ is not a race. And Japanese men are masculine; they’re stoic, unemotional, and athletic. Men in all developed nations are being told to reject that.

      • blondein_tokyo

        You said masculinity is beefy and brutal and that men are being retrained with feminine traits. Since the post we are both replying to outright calls Japanese men effeminate and posits that is why the birth rate is falling, it seemed logical that is what you were referring to; but now I see that you’re talking about “men in developed nations”.
        Concepts of masculinity and femininity are shaped by culture, so yes – the concept of masculinity in the US, for example, differs from the concept in Japan. Japanese men, for example, aren’t particularly stereotypically masculine in the sense of ‘beefy and brutal”. Would you rather Japanese men be forced into that mold, regardless of whether it fits them or not? This is a real question; no sarcasm intended.

      • Jonathan Fields

        So you are, as is the norm on this site, conflating culture and race.

        Japanese men absolutely are beefy and brutal. But if we’re talking about the sexes, how would an argument across cultures benefit us? Japanese people have an entirely different diet, PE system, and environment.

        Masculinity is beefy and brutal regardless of the culture. The base for comparison is femininity, not White Americans as you seem to believe.

        Again, maybe you should question the framework you’re utilizing to build your argument. You have a lot of preconceived notions that you seem unaware of. Just a thought.

      • blondein_tokyo

        I didn’t define either race or culture, so I have a very hard time seeing how you could possibly get that from my post.

        I would like for you to define what you mean by “beefy” and “brutal” though, because the way you seem to be using them doesn’t really mesh with the dictionary.

        beefy: muscular or robust. synonyms:muscular, brawny, hefty, burly, hulking, strapping, well built, hard-bodied, solid, stalwart, strong, powerful, heavy, robust, sturdy, heavily built.

        brutal: savagely violent., cruel, vicious, ferocious, brutish, barbaric, barbarous, wicked, murderous, bloodthirsty, cold-blooded, callous, heartless, ruthless, merciless, sadistic

        In Japan, positive male traits of masculinity tend to favor men who are slim and slightly built, who are not particularly aggressive. I don’t see how that fits into the dictionary definitions above.

        There are very big differences in how people in different countries and different social groups see masculinity and femininity, not to mention different roles they expect them to take on or traits ascribed to them. In India, for example, engineering is seen as a “female” occupation; in the US, it is a “male” occupation; in the US, men are “supposed to” control the finances, in Japan, women are.

        I don’t think you are doing anyone a favor by trying to force your definition of what masculine or feminine is onto other people. I asked you several time whether you thought it was fair or right to force people who don’t fit that definition into a mold that doesn’t suit them or that they reject. I’m interested in your answer.

      • Jonathan Fields

        Again, you’re wrapped up in this idea that races and cultures are hugely different and that we need to be focused on that. The basis for comparison is not culture, but sex. Men are beefy and brutal compared to women.

        I’ll concede that Japanese society seems to favor men that are slight of build, but it favors even smaller women. I worked at a middle school four years ago and the baseball boys were dragging tires around at full sprint in the dirt and hurling balls 70m while the girls struggled to hit a volleyball over the net or shoot a three pointer. Beefy and brutal, wouldn’t you say?

        This is why feminism is broken. Starting with the assumption that white males run the world and all other groups are marginalized taints any discussion you want to have.

        Now who is jamming people into categories? Is it the one who is basing his argument on biology, or the one who somehow saw that as a “strong implication” of Japanese male inferiority?

      • blondein_tokyo

        First you said I conflated race and culture, and when I shot that down, you tried another tack. The new tack is no better than the old one, however, as you conflate sex with gender, and then try to say that only sex characteristics, that is, biological ones, are the sole determiner of what is masculine or feminine. But we know that isn’t true.

        We know that there are women who have stereotypically masculine physical traits, such as strength, and men who have stereotypically feminine ones, such as a slender build. We also know that culture plays a huge role in determining gender roles, which in turn plays a large part in determining whether a person is perceived as masculine or feminine by other members of that culture.

        BOTH biological traits (sex) AND gender (socio-cultural) determine how individuals in a culture view masculinity and femininity.

        I’m basing my argument not only on biology, but sociology and anthropology.

        You haven’t answered my question, either. You keep avoiding it.

        Who is jamming people into categories? Certainly not this non-gender conforming person. I wholeheartedly support people being who they are; as I said in my original post, women don’t want to “be men”. They want to be themselves, and be treated equally to men. That means giving both men and women the right to outright reject the gender role of the sex they were born into.

        PS: dictionaries always give synonyms as a way to clarify meanings. PPS. Ad hominem much?

      • Jonathan Fields

        A male child and a female child who are otherwise identical until puberty will be vastly different afterward. The male child will have 30% more muscle mass, will be 10-12% faster, and will be 30% more likely to act aggressively toward his peers. Those are humans. Regardless of culture, we’re all made to eat and reproduce, and sexual dimorphism with a beefy and brutal male is how we are. Masculinity is beefy and brutal. If some men don’t want to conform to that, it’s fine. But it doesn’t make it untrue.

        You will not make this an argument about culture and race. I simply chimed in and said your statement that masculinity is not beefy and brutal was wrong and you flew off the handle because the social science to which you subscribe is built around theories of culture and race. I will not answer your question because it’s built on a silly premise.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Actually, you just answered my question. Thanks.

        “If some men don’t want to conform to that, it’s fine. But it doesn’t make it untrue.”

        This tells me (and correct me if I’m wrong) you think it’s fine if they don’t conform, and you don’t think they should have to conform, but you also think it’s not normal.

        Well, it’s good that you don’t support persecuting people for being different, but this kind of thinking still makes it difficult for non-gender conforming people to be themselves and feel accepted…which really amounts to the same thing. But since you said “preservation of people’s feelings” as though that isn’t important, I assume you don’t care.

        Since we will never agree on this point, I think it’s time to call it a day. Thanks for the discussion. Over and out.

      • skillet

        But all the data is totally phony. Gathered by interested parties. Gender studies research done by misandrists has about as much value as GMO crop data done by Monsanto.

        All fake.

        I will stick with my intuition and anecdotes.

        Gender studies research can be best understood in the following way. “The figures don’t lie but liars sure can figure !”

      • blondein_tokyo

        “The data is all phony”

        Oh, really? Are you a creationist, I wonder? Of the mind that science knows nothing and your ignorance is just as good as an expert’s knowledge? Perhaps a climate denialist? Anti-vaxxer? Believe in “toxins”? Believe in UFOs? Think 911 was an inside job? Lochness monster Bigfoot?

        Sure. All data is false and your personal feelings is all that matters. No cognitive bias here!

        I’m seriously laughing my head off. :) I think we’re done here.

      • skillet

        Go enjoy your scientfically engineered GMO corn syrup. Monsanto data proves it’s healthier than honey.

        Too bad you are in Japan. If you were in the Good ol US of A, you could benefit from having corn syrup mixed in with honey with no label. With TPP in the works, you may yet get to have your corn-syrup in Tokyo)

        Wanting a label is anti-science, isn’t it ?

        (I sure hope the Japanese keep out GMO’s and gender studies. Even if I have to stomach them at times when I step outside my garden into society, it is good to know that somebody, somewhere does not. And yes, I am an active truther researcher in various domains and an organic suburban homestead survival micro-farmer specialist in fruits, veggies and chickens.

        Nice gitin’ aquainted ma’am. Much obliged. How’s the weather over there ? ).

      • blondein_tokyo

        “Wanting a label is anti-science”.

        No. Rejecting scientific studies done by people who are experts in the field, and instead going with “my feelings” is anti-science.

        At least I know now I can completely ignore your posts from now on. I encourage you to do the same to me.

      • skillet

        “Science” bought and paid for. Do you really think the scientists at Monsanto conduct objective science. Or a femi-nazi gender studies professor will conduct fair research.

        The former has millions of dollars invested in proving that spidergoat-salmon are healthier, and the latter has her career staked on proving men are all rapey pigs.

        Intuition beats gamed pseudo science every time.

        My grandfather went with his intuition and was ahead of his time with organic farming even in the 1940’s and 1950’s. He did not believe pesticides were safe, but had no evidence.

        When asked by peole who found him eccentric, he just said, “I am afraid that whatever gets the bug might get me.”

        He devised his own more labor and observation intensive methods of pest control and was a genius. I seek to emulate him to this day.

        The more “scientific” farmers on the other side of my family more often died young. I particularly thought my uncle with neurological degenerative disorders twictched like a poisoned bug prior to losing his ability to even stand up. Reminded me of how bugs moved when I tortured them spraying Raid as a seven year old. Heh, but if you want some of that glyphosate….

        Many farmers who believed the “Better living through chemistry” myth are dead. Not to mention our men in uniform running toward the nuclear bomb tests in the 1950/s to advance “science”..

        All these scenarios were devised by “experts”. How can that be ?

        (And if you need a leftist source as opposed to the Alex Jones or Helalth Ranger type folk, Amy Goodman also discussed this.)

        But if you want to sign up for the US Army trials with depleted uranium and go pioneer science to be equal “with the boys”, Ill just say what we say to all “strong women” these days,

        “You go, girl”.

      • J.P. Bunny

        Welcome to the tin foil hat corner.

      • Jonathan Fields

        Masculinity is beefy and brutal. You can’t redefine biology just because it doesn’t fit your world view. Modern feminism is ridiculous.

      • soccerteesandplaydoh

        “My personal conception of masculinity is beefy and brutal.”


      • blondein_tokyo

        It can be, sure. You get to be you, and I’ve no desire to try to make anyone conform to my personal standard. In my view, there’s enough room in this world for all forms of masculinity.

        You on the other hand, seem determined that everyone else fit your personal definition if masculine, otherwise you deem them “unmanly” or somehow “wrong”. I can’t help but feel that’s rather closed-minded and judgmental, not to mention rather racist, as it’s engineered so that Asian men can’t possibly fit that description. Rather self-serving, no?

  • Steve Jackman

    American foreign policy is driven in equal parts by those in the government, State Department and Think Tanks who are ideologically driven and those who have a more pragmatic outlook.

    Right now, it is the ideologues (with their cold-war mentality and hatred of communism) who are in the driver’s seat and they are using Japan as a pawn in their China-containment foreign policy. However, if you look at the history of American foreign policy, the pragmatists always win in the end.

    This time is not going to be any different. Fast forward twenty years and China will be an economic and military super power. Japan, on the other hand, will be a minor country and will be largely irrelevant. U.S. will mend ties with China in the name of pragmatism and the growing economic links and interdependence between the two countries. Japan will then be left holding the bag as the odd man out, with no possibility of reconcilliation with China and it will pay economically for its follies.

    • The only idealists are libertarians, and then only sparingly so. Its not about ideology, its about preserving or raising military budgets, because military dollars are ever so ‘unaccountable’. Its not exactly ‘productive’ investment that anyone would account for. Better safe than sorry right?

    • BillnOpusForPresident

      ” Japan, on the other hand, will be a minor country and will be largely irrelevant ” Kind of like the UK is today. They seem to be doing OK to me. Might be a good thing to let someone else be the worlds policeman for a while.

      • Steve Jackman

        There is nothing wrong with being a minor country. The problem in Japan’s case is that there would be a disconnect between its self-image/ambitions and reality. Also, China is never going to forget their historical grievances and Japan’s antagonistic relationship with China will be a problem for Japan when it is a minor country.

  • kyushuphil

    Both America and Japan are getting the logical consequences of their schooling.

    In Japan, the main lesson is for no one ever to question anything. Thus all fit the group regimentation. In areas such as history and English (just look at the textbooks) all infantilize.

    With virtually no one learning to write essays, and so handle complications, it’s all the easier for fantasylands such as Abe’s to gain currency.

    And things don’t differ much in the U.S. There, now, standardized testing snuffs out K-12. And in “higher” ed, everyone cowers in one’s own department. As all learn to balk at ever referencing anything in any other department, or anything from any of the humanities, all more than ever speak wonk speak.

    So the truly evil emerge steroided. TPP is coming. The populations of both America and Japan are left with the mass lies of consumerism

    • Tony Alderman

      I hope Japan signs up to TPP.

      • skillet

        I hope they protect their rice. Yes, it is inefficient in a way. But a little inefficiency is preferable to transferring more power to companies like Monsanto.

        Everybody should see the beauty of the Japanese country side. I do not just mean the rice paddies, but also the way they grow gardens/small farms.

        It is truly an art.

        National cultures need to be protected. National defense. National art forms, national agriculture etc.

        I kind of like the mentality of taking in information from abroad but adapting without altering the Japanese spirit.

        Importing foreign knowledge and adapting to Japan is something the Japanese do well. I would hate to see PC take over where everything you do in your own interest gets called “racist”.

        The California style PC is a Trojan Horse Japan should shun at all costs.

        Develop military. Don’t take crap.

        (Just be careful who you start wars with. Japan should stop being allow themselves to be shamed for what happened early last century.)

      • zer0_0zor0

        Yes, but it’s not just an art, it’s a sustainable form of agricultural activity and economics in terms of both the environment and culture.

        Corporatism and big argibusiness are not sustainable and have no connection to culture (not to mention art).

      • PulSamsara

        I’d love to see that country side. looks amazing in photos and video. I bought my car from Fuji Heavy… try some good California rice Japan.

    • Toolonggone

      The worst nightmare is that Abe administration would push further for privatization of public good–especially in the central area of Japan.

  • PulSamsara

    Japan would be insane (and suicidal) if it did not prepare for Chinese belligerence.

    In fact, not preparing – only encourages the belligerence.

    • zer0_0zor0

      You obviously don’t know anything about history.

      The belligerence is being initiated by Japan (backed by the US).

      • PulSamsara

        I know much about history… and pre-history.

        I know about China’s history too.

        I know about the history of state sponsored propaganda machines and their internet stooges too : )

        I know enough about your history to know who you are and what you represent.

      • zer0_0zor0

        Troll much?

      • PulSamsara

        Maybe it’s you who needs to crack the books : )

      • Harry Hirsch

        You’re getting defensive, because truth hurts, doesn’t it? Pathetic.

      • PulSamsara

        you’re a funny child “harry” : ) you make little sense – but you’re funny.

      • zer0_0zor0

        Name calling, definitely defensive…

      • PulSamsara

        : ) got anything else ?

        (another internet paper tiger)

    • skillet

      Japan needs nukes.

      • PulSamsara

        Japan could build a 50 nuke strike force over a long week-end.

        Everyone knows this.

  • COYP

    Arudou and his followers frequently accuse the Abe government of ‘taking Japan back to the 30s’. However they lose all credibility in doing so due to their constant apologism for a nation that has annexed its neighbor, imprisoned political dissidents and refused to allow elections among other things.

    • skillet

      I agree with what you said. But he is right about a lot too.

      His article a while back about aging gaijin in Japan was incredible. It is one of the best articles I have ever read. I will still remember that article in 10 years.

      Even if he often comes across as a spoiled brat. Many of the negatives he correctly points out are necessary for what makes Japan such a wonderful place.

      Japan is a great place to be. For foreigners and Japanese. But if they made if fair in the sense that we conceive of fairness in America, the best aspects of Japan would be ruined.

      I experienced discrimination in Japan. But I was also treated as a privileged character. I realized pretty fast that I would not be one of the Japanese no matter how hard I tried. I knew I would always be an outsider. But nevertheless, I was always treated well.

      I am a fan of Arodou’s work, but I hope he fails in most of the changes he wants to bring about.

      • tomado

        Japan is great for everyone! We can all just keep on keeping on. That’s very helpful to the status quo. And if you want to change something, whether you are Japanese or foreign, whether it’s overwork or underpay or what have you, skillet is here to tell you to shut up. Maybe he’ll/she’ll also tell you that she is a real protector of the Japanese way (whether she is Japanese or not).

      • skillet

        Well, now that you mentioned it, I would like to change Japan’s gun laws.

        They had a fine tradition of producing arms such as the Arisaka 99-shiki in WW2. I am impressed at how well mine shoots compared to other rifles of the era.

        I can only imagine how much some of the nerdy salaryman of Japan would cry tears of joy if they shoot something like that. Here in the USA, they are available for purchase at any large gun show.

        But I did read with much delight that Japan is loosening up their firearms laws to allow hunting and deal with crop pests. (Change can be good !)

        I would love to go over to Japan and save them from ferocious animals threatening their food supply.

        Smith and Wesson is good, but just imagine the precision weapons if Japan was in the market.

        And (relating to the other posts on masculinity), it would re-introduce a masculine tradition to a samurai warrior culture.. It is sooo much more healthy for a dude to spend an hour cleaning his guns than primping his hair.

      • skillet

        And why should I have to get ammo for a Japanese firearm made in, of all places……SWEDEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Japan needs to re-militarize and FAST !

    • Steve Jackman

      I have never read anything by Debito or his so-called “followers” in which they have taken an apologist position towards China. Saying that China is well on its way to becoming an economic and military super power is not being an apologist, it is just stating facts.

    • Toolonggone

      I know some of them are pretty much blunt on Abe regime, but I have never heard anyone in the group making such a ludicrous statement. Your description of apologist sounds nothing more than manufacturing demagoguery by right-wing sympathizer.

  • RickDick

    A really sophomoric article, completely ignoring the realities of growing Chinese and Russian militarism. The Senkakus, the island building (and arming) in the South China Sea, and the military buildup in China, especially its blue-water navy do not augur well for Japan; and the almost weekly Russian overflights of northern Japanese airspace are not signs of friendliness either. To add to the worries, throw in the little chubby and erratic dictator of North Korea, and you have some serious burgeoning security issues around Japan. In such an environment, it would be both irresponsible and stupid for Japan not to re-arm and be more aggressive in defending its strategic interests.

    • zer0_0zor0

      You obviously support US hegemony in East Asia, right?

      • RickDick

        I support the current status quo with the USA guaranteeing the peace. I do not support Chinese and Russian militarism and expansionism in East Asia at the expense of the rest of Asia and freedom of navigating the seas as well.

      • zer0_0zor0

        The US is hardly “guaranteeing the peace”. In East Asia, its support for Japanese militarism, perhaps extending as far as supporting revision of the Constitution of Japan that the US itself drafted after WWII. Talk about revisionism!

        Moreover, we have international institutions that are supposed to be responsible for guaranteeing the peace. No one appointed the US as sheriff of the planet, and there are those who won’t stand for the US trying to impose its agenda on them.

        It is an aggressive hegemon, whether it thinks it is justified in seeking regime change in Syria and Ukraine or not. Lately its schemes haven’t been meeting with much success, and I certainly hope that the string of failures is not extended to East Asia.

      • PulSamsara

        Japan will re-arm to protect itself against China’s aggression. So, you see what you’ve done with your belligerence ? : )

  • Alfonso

    Great article !

  • Al_Martinez

    While I agree with much of what he has to say, David is prone to exaggeration. Japan is just too integrated with the rest of the world, and its citizens are much more exposed to foreign cultures to ever let it come to what David envisions. There will be racial tensions and ugly flare-ups in the years to come as Japan imports more labor from abroad, but this will be more of a result of a homogeneous society coming to grips the loss of that homogeneity.

    “President Bill Clinton publicly humiliated Morihiro Hosokawa in 1994, and Washington hobbled Yukio Hatoyama five years ago.”

    It’s curious that David doesn’t mention Obama by name.


    “…working to deny (or in Abe-speak, “beautify”) Japan’s worst wartime ugliness,…”

    “Ugliness?” Odd choice of a word. Isn’t David, here, also mitigating Japan’s wartime atrocities, doing exactly what he’s accusing Abe of doing?

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Is this nut (Arudou) still around? The Japan Times must really be scraping the bottom if this is the kind of writer they need to full their space with. Pure anti-Japanese rubbish, and lots of it.

    • Al_Martinez

      The anti-Debito crowd is far more adept at producing acrimonious piles of rubbish. Try arguing the points he made instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks right from the start.