Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reading the debate over Charlie Hebdo

The ongoing debate if Charlie Hebdo is racist seems endless, though it is interesting to read those arguments. I think questioning who are exploiting this situation is more important.

I had been watching the live coverage of the "unity march" in Paris on Al Jazeera English website. I believed most of the people attending were sincere. At the same time, some world and public leaders appeared to be trying to exploit the situation (It was almost surrealistic that Netanyahu and Abbas were marching together). but, because the people there were so diverse and they appeared not to care about someone's agenda, I thought only time would tell if anyone could really control as they wished. Even though there were already many concerns, it was strangely moving. 

It appears that the incident has already started affecting the people's everyday life and perception. And the French government is so quick to decide to deploy the army to Iraq, is strengthening surveillance, and is busy arresting "those who are not Charlie."

Well, I actually don't know how things are going on there, since I'm in Tokyo. Here I can learn different views on identity, religion, freedom of speech, political correctness, etc. So, I don't suggest the debate should be stopped. At this moment I don't have even a copy of the magazine, so I don't judge.

Just additionally. Even if it is true that Charlie Hebdo, an atheist magazine, is criticizing all the institutional religions equally with good intentions, as the magazine and its supporters claim, nowadays many forms of atheism, especially vulgar ones like this, don't function as "intended." The same holds true for Richard Dawkins and his allies. I actually prefer some subtler atheist thinkers to those vulgar ones. When an incident like this happens, all the subtleties get lost.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Should I leave Japan again? (2)

SAPPORO, Japan — Takashi Uemura was 33 when he wrote the article that would make his career. Then an investigative reporter for The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest newspaper, he examined whether the Imperial Army had forced women to work in military brothels during World War II. His report, under the headline “Remembering Still Brings Tears,” was one of the first to tell the story of a former “comfort woman” from Korea.
Fast-forward a quarter century, and that article has made Mr. Uemura, now 56 and retired from journalism, a target of Japan’s political right. Tabloids brand him a traitor for disseminating “Korean lies” that they say were part of a smear campaign aimed at settling old scores with Japan. Threats of violence, Mr. Uemura says, have cost him one university teaching job and could soon rob him of a second. Ultranationalists have even gone after his children, posting Internet messages urging people to drive his teenage daughter to suicide.
--Martin Fackler, Rewriting the War, Japanese Right Attacks a Newspaper, the New York Times, Dec. 2, 2014

Should I leave Japan again?

What can I say? Some, especially those Japanese who only see the mainstream Japanese media may call this article simplistic. But, I think it is fair--fair in a way it depicts how Japan looks like now, and I must say appearance is more important than, for instance, the ambiguity the secret laws pose. I mean, law scholars can discuss how the laws actually work, but their interpretations do not really matter for those in power as long as the laws silence people (as a threat, whatever). The article also describes how much of a control freak Abe is, which I agree fully. People like him a decade or so ago were marginal, are now mainstream. He is still a Neo-Nazi-ish people's hero. But, my concern is that there appears to be a tacit agreement between relatively moderate conservative voters not to question his agenda.

History tells that whatever (a war, a nuclear disaster, etc.) happens, people can quickly get used to it, and that makes me pessimistic. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Well Said!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


"[Global Network reported reporter Guan Chao] has always been to 'big mouth,' said Deputy Prime Minister of Japan Taro Aso, who because of 'loose lips' and offend the Japanese people, but unfortunately was forced to resign as prime minister, and the government ceded Democratic Party of Japan, but in recent days, 'mouth' has exposed alarming remarks, saying 'Japan's constitution, the Nazi Germany was able to learn the way.' According to Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun << >> July 30 reported that the Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso in Tokyo on the 29th constitutional amendment regarding the speech, said: 'do not want a situation in rampage decision. Should wait until public opinion is already in comparison state of complete calm again. ' Aso noted that the Hitler regime that is known as the most democratic constitution << >> the birth of the Weimar Constitution, he said: 'Weimar Constitution also eventually became the Nazi constitution, we are not also can learn about this technique , till all the people are no longer controversial, wait until they come to accept, rather than in a situation in turmoil decision( '"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Negri's first appearance in Japan

Until the 90s, the Rolling Stones was banned from entering Japan. It appears to be as exciting as their first Japan tour that this month the ban was lifted on Negri. His last (I think) failed attempt was 5 years ago, when the 2008 G8 summit took place in Japan (Hardt was allowed to enter, but Negri was not). On Friday night he visited the sight where an anti-nuclear protest took place.

On Saturday he and Japanese scholars, such as Yoshihiko Ichida who specializes in the History of Social Philosophy, Chizuko Ueno who specializes in Sociology and Gender Studies, Yoshitaka Mouri who specializes in Sociology, Cultural Studies, and Media Studies, Mamoru Ito, who specializes in Sociology and Media Studies, gave lectures and exchanged their views, putting Negri's terms in the context of the situation in Japan after the catastrophic earthquake and nuclear accident in 2011. The event was entitled "Multitude and Power: The World after 3.11."( I could not make it, but it was aired by an independent media called Our Planet TV. Another lecture is scheduled for April 12.(