Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hakubun Shimomura is a perfect example of the sort of people that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stacked his Cabinet with: ultra-nationalists who would like to take Japan back to the kind of country it was during World War II.

In the Jan. 4 article, “Foes of female reign bask in prince’s birth,” Shimomura is quoted as saying, “For 125 generations over the past 2,000 years, the male paternal line has been unbroken and I believe we should make efforts to maintain this culture and history.” But according to the Columbia Encyclopedia, Japan’s early history is lost in legend. The divine design of the empire — supposedly founded in 660 B.C. by Emperor Jinmu, a lineal descendant of the sun goddess and ancestor of the present emperor — was held as official dogma until 1945. Actually, reliable records date back only to about A.D. 400.

The Japan Times article goes on to say that, “Traditionalists like Shimomura continue to argue that it is essential to maintain the male paternal line in the Imperial system. They stress the belief that Emperor Jinmu was the first monarch, and that he was a descendant of Amaterasu Omikami, the mythical progenitor of the Imperial family and the principal Shinto deity. The article closes with another Shimomura quote, “I believe that the Imperial family exists as the source of Japanese identity.”

A statement like that ought to set alarm bells ringing in the heads of most Japanese. The fact that Shimomura remains safely ensconced in his job attests to how successful the rightwing has been in aiding and abetting this nation in forgetting its not so distant past.

eric hilton

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