• UPDATE: Oh Lucy! A darkly funny movie that asks: Can learning English in Japan change a woman’s life? The answer…..

    “I think being able to speak English will change a Japanese person in the most unexpected ways,” she said. “The Japanese language is just not conducive to self-expression, whereas English is all about expressing yourself, your needs, your emotions. Setsuko discovers after landing in LA that in the US, life isn’t about getting by and being right, it’s all about survival. You have to speak up, you have to make your needs known and you have to convince people of your worth. Otherwise, it’s over. It’s as simple as that.”

  • Let’s have a war! The reincarnation of a war criminal, The LDP, and militarising Japan

    “Rich nation, strong army” (fukoku-kyohei) was the nineteenth-century slogan the ruling elite used to rapidly industrialize in the advent of the Meiji period to protect national interests against Western colonial powers. It was also the slogan that led Japan to bolster its military and eventually steer the nation toward colonial expansion into Korea, China, and other neighboring nations. Fomented by both the international and domestic media, we are too often conditioned to pay attention to the most fashionable international threat of the week and yet are blind to actions occurring right before our eyes. Recent developments led by Abe’s administration eerily echo the prewar slogan, and we as members of the international community should view these events with extreme caution, as for all we know history may repeat itself.

  • Japan’s Peace Constitution, Article 9, And Why Abe Wants To Dismantle It: A short primer

    RENUNCIATION OF WAR

    Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
    In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

  • State Shinto Nightmares in Abe’s Japan

    Like many foreigners observing the Moritomo Gakuken scandal play out, I am fascinated by the interplay between Shinto, nationalism, and government. There are questions that come with the scandal: Why is it a problem? Why shouldn’t the school use the Imperial Education Rescript? Why is the world watching so carefully? (Originally published in Spring of […]

  • “The Only Woman in the Room”/ How The Amazing Beate Wrote Equal Rights For Women Into Japan’s Constitution

    Is Japan’s peacetime constitution going to be trashed by the ruling party and returned back to the Imperial Constitution, which did not give suffrage or equal rights to women?
    This question will be on the mind and haunt your waking hours after reading “The Only Woman in the Room” by Beate Sirota Gordon. In this memoir, she takes us through the various events in her life made remarkable by the fact that in late 1945, she became a member on the US Occupation team that drew up Japan’s National Constitution. Not only was she the only woman in the room, she was just 22 years old.

UPDATE: Oh Lucy! A darkly funny movie that asks: Can learning English in Japan change a woman’s life? The answer…..

“I think being able to speak English will change a Japanese person in the most unexpected ways,” she said. “The Japanese language is just not conducive to self-expression, whereas English is all about expressing yourself, your needs, your emotions. Setsuko discovers after landing in LA that in the US, life isn’t about getting by and being right, it’s all about survival. You have to speak up, you have to make your needs known and you have to convince people of your worth. Otherwise, it’s over. It’s as simple as that.”

Let’s have a war! The reincarnation of a war criminal, The LDP, and militarising Japan

“Rich nation, strong army” (fukoku-kyohei) was the nineteenth-century slogan the ruling elite used to rapidly industrialize in the advent of the Meiji period to protect national interests against Western colonial powers. It was also the slogan that led Japan to bolster its military and eventually steer the nation toward colonial expansion into Korea, China, and other neighboring nations. Fomented by both the international and domestic media, we are too often conditioned to pay attention to the most fashionable international threat of the week and yet are blind to actions occurring right before our eyes. Recent developments led by Abe’s administration eerily echo the prewar slogan, and we as members of the international community should view these events with extreme caution, as for all we know history may repeat itself.

Japan’s Peace Constitution, Article 9, And Why Abe Wants To Dismantle It: A short primer

RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.