Donald Seekins comments

Posted in: Charges dropped against immigration officials over Sri Lankan woman's death See in context

Impunity for Mandarins, harsh penalties for everyone else. In other words, KANSON MINPI, or "worship officials, despise the people."

Some things never change.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Posted in: Japanese society begins to grapple with microaggressions See in context

One of the micro-aggressions that constantly bothers me is the use both in print and conversation of the word "foreigner" by Japanese to refer to non-Japanese, rather than "expatriate" or "foreign resident." Foreigner in English has a very strong nuance of disdain, exclusion and dislike (e.g., "there are too many foreigners in this town"; "you can't trust foreigners"). Whenever I see the word or hear it, I have a twinge of dislike. I know this might seem too sensitive, but when you are living here (a "foreign resident"), the resentment builds up.

We could at least start talking about this.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Posted in: Biden urges N Korea to right 'historic wrong' of abductions of Japanese See in context

President Biden's meeting with the abductee families is simply a dog-and-pony show meant to please his Japanese hosts. The Japanese right has been using the issue of the abductees to cover over their colossal blunder in 2002, blowing up over the issue after Kim Chong-il made the significant concession of allowing five of them to visit Japan and apologizing. If Pyongyang-Tokyo relations had stayed on track, Northeast Asia might be much more stable and peaceful than it is today.

I feel sympathy for the abductee families, but they are being used as chess pieces by the government to get support for their hawkish policies against North Korea and China. Which of course pleases Washington.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic film debuts in Japan; headed next to Cannes See in context

Can't we just forget about the Tokyo Olympics? The apparatchiks in Tokyo put the people of Japan at risk last summer by holding these meaningless games. Covid cases reached a record high while Japan Inc. celebrated the "Olympic spirit"!

The 2021 Olympics are a classic case of KANSON, MINPI," or "revere officials, despise the people."

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Kill Japan's elderly? Cannes film probes chilling idea See in context

Japan, like many if not most "developed" countries (including my country, the United States), values (economic) pragmatism over human dignity. In the end, what counts is the bottom line, although in "Plan 75" this grim reality is sugar coated. Perhaps old people being pressured to be put to death in Japan would be told "living at your age is selfish; just think of other people!" If the State took this line, I'm sure many people would choose to go along with it, i.e., "I shouldn't cause trouble for other people."

Everyone in this society is supposed to be "happy," with a smile on their face. But the "happiness" they embrace is empty.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Musk warns Japan will cease to exist if birthrate continues decline See in context

Who cares what Elon Musk says? He's just a rich guy with a motor-mouth.

I doubt that any Japanese couples are going to say: "let's have three-four-five kids. Because Elon Musk said so!"

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Posted in: As Ukraine war rages, Biden team revives Asia focus See in context

Perhaps Washington DC should have been a bit more concerned with understanding the Russian point of view before the first invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Neither Putin nor any other Russian leader would tolerate a former republic of the USSR becoming a NATO ally. But instead, Biden, like his predecessors save for Trump, has approached the geopolitics of Eurasia with the same Hollywood good-versus-evil worldview that "informs" much other American foreign policy. By insisting on being the world's Good Guy, America finds Russia AND China lined up against it. And its so-called "allies" in the Middle East (including the murderous Saudi Arabian royal family) unwilling to donate oil to the west to make up for a Russian shortfall.

A wiser policy would have recruited Russia as an ally against China. Russia and China are natural enemies. Back in the 1960s-1970s, Chinese and Russian troops fought each other on the Amur River, and China went to war with its pro-Soviet neighbor, Vietnam, in the late 1970s. They have long borders which virtually guarantee antagonistic relations - that is, if Washington wasn't pushing them together.

Of course, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is horrible. A crime. But so was the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and our dear Saudi ally's mass murder in Yemen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Okinawa seeks Tokyo's help lowering tensions with China See in context

Re: Thomas R Mountcastle: "The PRC will do exactly as it pleases. Everyone else will have to react. Do you imagine when the PLA invades Taiwan, they will ignore Okinawa, Sasebo, & Iwakuni?"

Here we go, the old rationale for war, war and more war. The PRC is identical to Hitler. Compromise on anything with Beijing, and they'll be the wolf at your door.

C'mon people, grow up. Try diplomacy for a change!

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Posted in: Okinawa seeks Tokyo's help lowering tensions with China See in context

Having lived in Okinawa for many years, I have great sympathy with Gov. Tamaki's request to lighten the prefecture's unfair military burden. But unfortunately, that will never happen for two reasons:

(1) given the tense atmosphere in the East China Sea, even if all the US military bases are shut down, they will be replaced by SDF bases. The military occupation of the island will have a mainland Japanese rather than an American face; and,

(2) given the determination of the rightwing hawks in Tokyo to use China (and North Korea) as a pretext for re-armament, tensions will continue, and become worse. At best, the future will be a new Cold War in Asia.

Tamaki is right to advocate for better Tokyo-Beijing ties, but given the attitudes in Tokyo and Washington, I am afraid his goal of regional peace will not be attained..

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Posted in: Japan holds annual event to press claim to S Korea-held islets See in context

"I have an idea. Instead of wasting billions of yen on campaigns and meetings, why not strike a deal with South Korea to share them?"

Excellent idea! But then xenophobic politicians won't have a loudspeaker to crow through.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Posted in: It's all about legs See in context

"It's nice that they included a Japanese translation in small print out of consideration for the Japanese-speaking minority of this nation."

A foreign resident in Japan, I've always tried to give Tokyo a miss. This only confirms my image of Japan's claustrophobic capital.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese, S Koreans in China hold mixed views on Beijing hosting Olympics See in context

"It won't be long before China claims Kimono as their own, being derived from Tang dynasty era attire. Maybe before that, China will go after Okinanwan dress first.

China already claims Korean and Vietnamese dress as their own."

Frankly, who cares? Lots of people around the world wear trousers, or "pants." They seemed to have been invented by the nomadic Scythians back around the 5th-4th century B.C. If there are any Scythians alive today (they may have descendants in Russia, or Ukraine) they can "claim" trousers as their own thing. And I'll be grateful for their having invented a way of keeping my legs nice and warm in winter.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese, S Koreans in China hold mixed views on Beijing hosting Olympics See in context

"Learn to appreciate the country where you reside. Foreigners living in Japan should learn to appreciate Japan and stop bashing Japanese system. The same goes with foreigners living in China. As foreign residents show some gratitude to your host country! If you hate the country you reside in then go back to your own home country!"

This comment by "Jim" could have been made by Xi Jinping, or perhaps Japan's homegrown Nazi, Sanae Takaichi.

Foreign residents in Japan work, pay taxes and obey the law (if they don't, they're punished for it just like anyone else). They are not allowed to vote, being non-citizens (fair enough). But what goes on inside their heads is their own business and if they're critical of the Japanese system, it's their right as human beings. The Japanese constitution guarantees freedom of speech. Sure, bad-mouthing Japan will make you lots of enemies, but that's your own freedom.

Informed criticism of Japan's system might be good for Japanese to hear, and think about. Back in the 1970s, people here seemed rather open to foreign criticism, even though much of it was ill-informed, but they're much more closed-minded now.

2 ( +15 / -13 )

Posted in: COVID-19 entry ban could deter interest in Japan: UK scholars See in context

"The wide issues that also need to be considered within the context of the pandemic, it tells non-Japanese people that they are second rate people in Japanese society, whenever there is an issue they will be cast aside, They will be blamed and they will be excluded."

I have lived in Japan for a long time. This has largely been due to practical reasons (work, pension). The widespread attitude of Japanese people (not only officialdom) that foreign people are "second rate" has deterred me from becoming a Japan specialist. Covid has been miserable for me because I can't get to that region where I find really interesting things going on, and receptive people: Southeast Asia.

So, I'm stuck in a world where most people seem happy as long as they have 100+ varieties of Mr. Donut or 400 types of KitKat chocolate bars. When is Covid going to go away?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Posted in: Watch where you ride See in context

My wife comes from Nagasaki, which probably because of its hills is relatively bicycle-free. When we go down there and walk around, it's such a pleasure not having to worry about a dimwit coming up soundlessly from behind and running us over. Especially dimwit mothers with their offspring in that infamous vehicle named a "mama-char."

Actually, I think the lack of bicycles is more a sign of the greater consideration of people in Nagasaki than the topography. There are so many rude, inconsiderate cyclists in Kansai!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Posted in: Watch where you ride See in context

Not only are cyclists zipping along recklessly on the pavement dangerous, but they invade the space of pedestrians as they pass inches away from them. Very rude. "Baka" cyclists are one reason why I believe Japanese are NOT really a polite people.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Posted in: Student turns herself in to police over alleged university exam cheating See in context

In imperial China, a candidate taking the civil service examinations was put to death for cheating.

Just a fun historical fact!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: WHO staff accuse Japanese director of racist, abusive behavior See in context

Seems like Kasai was trying to turn WHO into a Japanese high school.

"Power corrupts, and absolutely power corrupts absolutely." But the situation is much worse when you have a leader with the typical Japanese hierarchical mindset.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Posted in: Symbol of Japan #MeToo movement again awarded damages in rape case See in context

"Ito has said she believes Yamaguchi's close ties with then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, about whom he has written a best-seller, might have discouraged prosecutors from pursuing the case."

In Japan's political rice paddy, there are some nasty vipers lurking. One of the worst is Shinzo Abe.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Tiger attacks 3 workers at Tochigi safari park; one loses hand See in context

I'm sorry for the woman who lost her hand and the other two injured people. But let's face it, TIGERS AREN'T CUTE! Especially when they're hungry or irritated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Uniqlo Japan’s lucky bag creates chaos at Tokyo store See in context

Heavens! It seems that some Japanese people have a lot of time on their hands. Can't they spend their minutes and hours doing something constructive, like sleeping?

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Posted in: Civic group denounces arson attack on Korean settlement in Japan See in context

"The suspect, identified as Shogo Arimoto from neighboring Nara Prefecture . . ."

Doesn't surprise me. Nara is the prefecture which is represented by Sanae Takaichi, who gained international recognition as an admirer of Adolf Hitler.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

Posted in: Battle to restore iconic Osaka brothel building See in context

Speed: "Bring back old Japan."

No, let's NOT bring back old Japan. It was horrible. The Taiyoshi Hyakuban may look lovely to modern day culture vultures, but I doubt that the women working there had the same opinion.

Why is Japan one of the few countries in the world to actually glorify prostitution? The sex industry is ugly, and sprinkling it with mindless aestheticism doesn't make it any less so.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan ruling bloc on course to keep lower house majority: exit polls See in context

If life was like Japanese politics, one would die of boredom or kill oneself, since there would be absolutely nothing to look forward to but More of the Same.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan warns citizens of possible attack in 6 Southeast Asian nations See in context

Singapore? Singapore (and perhaps Switzerland) are about the only countries in the world that are "safer" than Japan.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Posted in: Takaichi joins race to be next PM; outlines 'Sanaenomics' policy See in context

Let's look a little more closely at the notion that Takaichi Sanae is a "nationalist." Often, a nearly equivalent word is "patriot," meaning one who loves his/her country. A true nationalist or patriot wants to make their country better: a good standard of living and quality of life for the people; improvement of education not only to make the country competitive technologically but because students' minds need to be broadened, so they can live life to the fullest; protection of the environment to be able to live more harmoniously with nature; basic freedoms so that people can choose the life they wish to live without harming other people; honest politicians who take public service seriously, not thinking they are exempt from the rule of law; and peaceful relations with other countries, resorting to armed force only when necessary for self-defense.

If Takaichi became prime minister, would she pursue these sort of goals to make Japan better for its people? I doubt it. She seems - in the manner of many shallow-minded Japanese people - nostalgic for Japan's wartime totalitarian society, which caused great suffering for Japan's neighbors. She wants to amend the constitution, perhaps to make it a replica of the Meiji Constitution. She's in there in a big way with the Liberal Democratic Party's plutocracy. Don't expect "clean" politics. Remember Abe and the Moritomo scandal.

Will she make Japan better? I doubt it. She's a woman. Who cares? So was Eva Braun, the companion of someone in modern history Takaichi greatly admires.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Posted in: Abe supports conservative ally Takaichi as Suga's successor See in context

The ironical thing (deeply ironic) is that the United States has supported and cultivated the rise of politicians like Abe and Takachi whose political ideas are streamlined replicas of 1930s Japanese ultra-nationalism. If Japan was not backed up by American military bases and nukes, the Japanese political caste couldn't afford to sprinkle sugar on its World War II atrocities, deeply offending Chinese, Koreans and other Asians.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Posted in: Japan urges Myanmar to prevent repeat of raids on embassy, aid staff See in context

So, what is Japan going to do about these incursions? Cut off all Japanese ODA and private investment in the country?

Doubt it.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: JOC to watch for hateful online posts during Tokyo Olympics See in context

Big Brother is watching! Remember what comrade Seiko Hashimoto told us: "your happy smiles will make the Olympics a success!"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Why are Olympics going on despite public opposition, medical warnings? See in context

I may be cynical, but I have a feeling that if the Olympics turns into a super-spreader event, Suga & Co. will blame all those "undisciplined" foreigners.

When everything else fails, the pols will reach for "Ware Ware Nihonjin" ("We Japanese").

6 ( +6 / -0 )

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