In a society that prioritizes consensus, Shintaro Ishihara chose controversy. His death early this month was marked around the world with obituaries that singled the former Tokyo governor out as “notorious” (Financial Times), an “intense nationalist” and “firebrand” (The New York Times), and a “politician who peddled hatred” (Asia Times).

Some of these comments are undoubtedly deserved, the inevitable legacy of a man who went on record as saying that he wished to die a hated figure. Churchill’s famous words come to mind: “Show me a man without enemies and I will show you a man who has never stood for anything.”

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