politics

Aso apologizes for remarks about Japan's historical unity

41 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

41 Comments
Login to comment

This is factually wrong, Jomons and Yayoi circa 300 AD weren't of same ethnicity speaking same language; they weren't even of same age; Jomons were still living in the stone age while the Yayoi brought Iron age to Japan.

Heck, most of Japan spoke mutually unintelligible "dialects" during the Sengoku era.

6 ( +23 / -17 )

Aso isn’t really known for being sensitive or eloquent. He’s another loudmouth rich kid that thinks he’s intelligent because mommy and daddy were rich. We have one of these running the US at the moment. In fact, one of these is also running Japan at the moment.

23 ( +30 / -7 )

Idiot. Well said chip

8 ( +17 / -9 )

No idea where to start with this A-grade ignorance coated in xenophobia and your run of the mill racist undertones.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

The Jomon were in Japan as early as 10,000 BC and were already living in villages, raising livestock (boar), fishing offshore and doing things far more advanced than one may think. The Yaoi starting in 200BC brought rice cultivation and flat faces along with iron. The ethnic background of Japan is far more complex than the outdated view voiced by Aso Taro, a big mouthed idiot whose only qualification for even being in politics is family and money. Japan's official history clings to the Yamamoto and the lineage of the Imperial throne. It is utterly one sided and ignores all the people and cultures that they conquored, collectively known as the Emishi (sometimes Ebisu). This extends to the present day Ainu population. The only thing this article proves is that Aso continues to be an idiot.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

That statement couldn't be further from the truth. 2000 years ago, Yamatai, which later became known as Yamato was not even established yet. According to historians, Japan as nation-state was established during the Meiji restoration. Before that, there was no such thing as Japanese identity. Throughout the entire history of Japan, the archipelago was divided between many States, that had their own identity, religion, King and often even ethnicity. Evidence for this is the fact that, many States were sending tributary gifts to China in exchange for support. The gifts, often golden plates, were not signed as "Nihon", but as the name of the State or the King of the State. Unlike China, there never was a single State that would conquer the rest and unify the entire archipelago. Yamato was a confederation of States that got together to become more powerful, similar to the EU. However, again, unlike China, the Emperor and the Yamato elites did not had actual power, the clans, or the States had all the power. Hokkaido and the Ainu were not subjugated by the Yamato people, but by Matsumae clan, or Matsumae State which is located on modern day Aomori. Kingdom of Ryukyu was colonized by Satsuma State in modern day Kagoshima. According to historians, if you traveled back in time before the Meiji, and asked people, nobody would've identified as "Japanese". 2000 years ago is when the modern Japanese language was beginning to form. Certainly not all States shared the same language for a long time, and certainly not the entire Northern Japan, North of Tokyo before at least the 10th century (roughly year 1000-1200). Many historians have said that, the name of the Yamato capital "Nara" comes from Old Korean "Uri Nara" which means "my land". Of course many modern day Japanese historians deny this.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Aso must have been reading his history books with one eye closed. Or maybe both of them, given that his version of history could be described as blind ignorance.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Another Japanese politico with a skewed version of history...

9 ( +11 / -2 )

You would think that Aso would have watched samurai movies if he hadn't studied any Japanese history. What do you see in those movies? Japanese slicing up other Japanese from different clans or kingdoms.

Good points and history above posters.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

No mention of Okinawan?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Many years ago, I was doing a project for the government of Hokkaido and was asked to translate a poster that stated, "It's been 100 years since human beings have inhabited Hokkaido!"

I refused to translate it, which led to a flurry of meetings, reports being sent, more meetings and consultations with "experts." Eventually, they got the point.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

While not a specialist on Japanese history, I seem to recall that there is the Ainu language, and the various Ryukyuan languages, as well as seven dialects of Japanese.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

More bad PR for Japan, they do it themselves as well.

Here's an interesting book on the history of the Japanese language and how there's only ever been one common tongue since the Meiji period

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/907083.The_Japanese_Language

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It was only around 800CE that repeated punitive expeditions operating in the then frontier region of Northern Honshu eventually succeeded in extending the tentacles of the state to those hitherto ‘free’ places. Even today, the bloodshed and depredations practised on the folk of the north still rankles. Next time you’re there, check out the stele below the balcony of Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto, that seeks to assuage the offended spirit of the north and expiate the guilt of the descendants of the Yamato State for their shameful betrayal of the Emishi warrior Aterui.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Talking history, I don't think there's a country that even comes close to the lies being taught by this country. Aso ? He Is the Grand Marshall of foot-in-mouth gaffes.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

No words to describe this piece of well .............he isnt a nice person, comes from a terrible family with a rotten war time history, entitled, outspoken, ill mannered.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Yet another reminder that native-born ethnic Japanese people are the ones most likely to propagate myths about Japanese people being an undifferentiated monolith. In my admittedly limited and anecdotal experiences (but hey, every person's experiences are limited and anecdotal) native-born ethnic Japanese people appear highly likely to say things like "All Japanese are the same," "Japan has no immigrants", or "Japan is a unique country unlike any other."

I doubt this attitude will change much. Japanese appear conditioned to view homogeneity as a constitutive part of their country and a source of strength for the nation.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Anyone wanting to learn something useful about the history of Japan would learn more from some of the posters on this thread than they would from Government Minister Aso.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

BigYen - Anyone wanting to learn something useful about the history of Japan would learn more from some of the posters on this thread than they would from Government Minister Aso.

This is quite true especially if you want to learn historical fact and not cultural fiction.

There is a huge oxymoron in Aso’s statement. Japan can no longer support a monoculture and must rely on immigrants to prop up the workforce and economy. However, all these immigrants are supposed to be proficient in Japanese language and culture to avoid any cultural diversity. He’s a nutter!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It's hard to know what was going on 2000 years ago, as the Japanese were illiterate at the time. The only records were by Chinese visitors who didnt stick around for long.

However, archaeological evidence suggests a couple of waves of Korean migrants during that period, who played a big role in founding the Yamato culture. Even the last emperor acknowledged this.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Coming back from holidays overseas its not surprising to see the blabbering Taro A idiot circus is carrying on as usual.

Many years ago, I was doing a project for the government of Hokkaido and was asked to translate a poster that stated, "It's been 100 years since human beings have inhabited Hokkaido!"

Nice one!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Bertie's story goes to show that good translators must follow their conscience and not just parrot the script they are given.

Aso's version of Japanese history was no slip of the tongue, but a Freudian slip revealing the fictitious, nationalistic version of history the Japanese rightists have been promoting ever since they regained control of the country after their defeat in 1945.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

This idiot puts his foot in his mouth more than my dogs do.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Who would think that being unchanged for 2000 years is a good thing?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

BertieWooster

You could also have opted for a meaning-translation, along the lines of "We're complete ignoramuses!"

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Aso is taking his gaffes to Ultra Instinct levels.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A load of nonesense that is factually incorrect. A number of contributors on here have pointed out the truth in a matter of hours - unfortunately he won’t be called out by the national media and his comments will just be left to linger in the air for the right wing (and most of the middle) to feast on.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The Japanese media (but apparently not Yomiuri or Sankei) is reporting this as a quick search of 麻生が謝罪 reveals.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What a non-apology. Nothing new there.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

And he’s bragging about Japan of being an isolated country??

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What a jerk! Time to retire and enjoy what is left of his life.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Aso is giving Trump a run for the money for the title of world's biggest idiot politician. Of course, it's a crowded field, what with Johnson, Trudeau, and Morrison also all being gold medal candidates.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Chip Star:

Aso is more of a Biden (gaffer that apologizes, even if doesnt mean it) than a Trump (doubles down or denies ever said something - fake news).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

He’s just repeating what he heard at the last Nippon kaigi meeting....

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan was like "Game of Thrones" with the wildlings in the north and nomadic horse riders on the Asian continent periodically attacking.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

However, again, unlike China, the Emperor and the Yamato elites did not had actual power

In the 4th century, the elites were building huge "key-hole" shaped tombs that were bigger than the Pyramids of Giza so that would indicate that they had some kind of power and authority.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In the 4th century, the elites were building huge "key-hole" shaped tombs that were bigger than the Pyramids of Giza so that would indicate that they had some kind of power and authority.

And once again, we have a poster being downvoted just for telling us a straightforward, historical fact. What is wrong with some people?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

u_s__reamerJan. 14  01:38 pm JST

Aso's version of Japanese history was no slip of the tongue, but a Freudian slip revealing the fictitious, nationalistic version of history the Japanese rightists have been promoting ever since they regained control of the country after their defeat in 1945.

Totally wrong, This version of history centered on the "Yamato Minzoku" permeates Japanese culture as evidenced by the tie between Shinto shrines and the Imperial throne. Goes back over 1300 years at least.

If you belive "rightists regained control after 1945", then who in the world do you think was running the country 1930-1945?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If you belive "rightists regained control after 1945", then who in the world do you think was running the country 1930-1945?

Er, rightists/fascists/militarists?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

u_s__reamerJan. 15  11:24 pm JST

If you belive "rightists regained control after 1945", then who in the world do you think was running the country 1930-1945?

Er, rightists/fascists/militarists?

Correct. They lost control of the country in 1945. They have never regained control since.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese rightwing have a major influence within various government factions and supporting groups.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites