Khuniri comments

Posted in: Emperor opens festivals marking 50th anniversary of Okinawa's return See in context

I remember the mood at the time of the reversion. It was not a “right” vs. “left” question, though one sensed that for some people there was more fervor for the cause of reversion in the abstract than for the actual welfare of Okinawa’s citizenry. Fortunately, that is not true of the imperial visitors, past and present.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Two top Japanese universities drop in British magazine's world ranking See in context

I’m a retired prof at a prestigious university, so I can’t be accused of either ignorance or sour grapes when I express hearty agreement with those skeptical of the ratings racket. I’d sooner trust a chap in dark glasses evaluating telephone scam artists.

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Posted in: Alcohol price hikes add to bars' woes as they adapt to reopening Japan See in context

Glad I’ve switched to non-alcohol beer, though my wife says that too is expensive. The only thing that could drive me again to drink is the shrill cry of the neo-Prohibitionists—allied with the usual Japan bashers.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Posted in: Unification Church tries to derail ex-believer's press conference See in context

The problem is not “religion”; the problem is people. People are are prone to greed and hunger for power. There are those who think that if the beliefs they happen to reject would just go away, we would all live in some sort of utopia. Ah, such touching faith in flawed humanity!

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Posted in: Kishida pledges $30 bil over next 3 years for Africa See in context

What does “overcoming challenges in the region mean”? One is sorely tempted to wax cynical here…

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Posted in: Majority of Japanese show scant interest in established religion See in context

"It depends how one defines 'religion'. The need for a belief system is built-in to humans. Where traditional religion does not meet that, a majority will turn to pseudo-religion. In Japan, that means the 'religion' of most people is simply endless navel gazing about 'being Japanese'. In the West, we see the rise of pseudo-religions like climatism and wokeism."

WiiliB puts it well. Sino-Japanese 宗教 (shuukyou) tends to refer to organizations rather than faith systems. If many Japanese are skeptical about or even hostile to "shuukyou," that may have more to do with a negative view of "groups" rather than of ideas...The Japanese tend to be eclectic in their beliefs and unlikely to pass any sort of "theological literacy" test, but they are also remarkably tolerant...One is arguably safer being a practicing Catholic in Japan than in some parts of the United States.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Foreign employees at Lawson claim unfair treatment such as forced sushi and Christmas cake purchases See in context

Not so long ago, there were no non-Japanese retail clerks. Whenever I make a convenience-store purchase and note that the person ringing it up has a non-Yamato-minzoku name, I want to say encouragingly; 日本で頑張って下さい。Why must so many articles of this kind dwell on the negative? The good news is that Japan is facing up to the fact that it now has immigrants. (I just hope that it has better sense than some other countries one might mention.) I find this story quite fishy...

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Posted in: Snickers owner apologizes after referring to Taiwan as a country See in context

What a wimp! I'm not snickering!

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Posted in: Do you consider the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be war crimes? See in context

In a perfect world, there would be no violence. In our imperfect world, we try to limit violence by establishing some sort of rules. But then circumstances, along with advancing technology, undermine those rules. The lamentable destruction of human life and property is undeniable; the moral label we would put on it, alas, makes for endless discussion...My family has an old friend who lost a cousin in the Hiroshima bombing--and yet she is among those Japanese who say that she might otherwise have wound up dying, as she and her classmates fought American troops with make-shift pitchforks. I don't presume to question her judgment, as I was but a few months old at the time...

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Posted in: For once, Cherokee actor Wes Studi cast as romantic co-star See in context

What an interesting and most heartening story!

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Posted in: Japan defense minister had help from Unification Church in elections See in context

The Japanese, including their politicians, are hardly known for their theological sophistication. Ask Japanese students about religion and you're very likely to get a stereotypical answer, indicating both ignorance and indifference. Shuukyou (宗教) is typically associated with organizations, not ideas, and organizations in Japan tend to be very demanding and even coercive, so it's no wonder that most people don't want to get involved. But then there are those "looking for something," and, alas, too many of them are gullible. The Moonies are not Christian, and what they teach makes the "moon as green cheese" theory seem almost plausible...My family and I support the LDP and admired Abe-san, but we have no illusions about the opportunism of most all politicians. We still don't know the full story, but anyone who would have anything to do with the Moonies is guilty of very bad judgment.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Don McLean looks back at his masterpiece, 'American Pie' See in context

A friend of mine was living in a thatched-roof house in the countryside in the early 1970s. To get there, one had to take a bus, which ran only every two hours. More than once we sat waiting in a cafe, listening to AP. I never cared all that much for American pop music, but AP was somehow quite enthralling.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Shooter signaled Abe killing in letter to Unification Church critic See in context

In the wake of a terrible event, there is often the strong urge to “make sense” of it by seeking someone to blame…Those who loathe religion (as they think they understand it) are now out in force. Well, let us imagine that the suspect’s mother had lost a lot of money investing in a dishonest convenience store chain, with supposed ties to the LDP. Would anyone now be calling for outlawing all convenience stores?

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Posted in: Medical aid in dying is still called 'assisted suicide' -- there's a problem with that See in context

There is a crucial moral difference between allowing nature to take its course and actively engaging in "euthanasia." Those who argue, quite nihilistically, about a "right to die" should consider that such leads all too quickly to a "duty to die." It might be remembered that even before the Nazis began systematically to murder in the name of "race," they were killing people because they were judged to be infirm...Beware of those who engage in word games.

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Posted in: Shinzo Abe leaves divided legacy See in context

"He also was a driving force for Japanese conservatives’ efforts to whitewash wartime atrocities and push for an end of apologies over atrocities."

Whenever I read anything by Mari Yamaguchi, I know what the spin is going to be. This is another example of misrepresentation. No one should give approval to "whitewashing" the horrors of militarism, but there have been distortions in the historical account. The mythologizing of Japan's misdeeds is the real issue.

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Posted in: Shooter says he believed Abe promoted religious group that bankrupted his mother See in context

u_s_reamer quite misses it with his “opium of the people” talk. There are good ideas, and there are bad ideas, just as there are good people and bad people. The vast majority of Japanese have nothing to do with “cults.” One could argue that those who are victims of mad or unscrupulous groups claiming to be religious are all the more vulnerable because of the spiritual vacuum they feel…The LDJ is secular. There are Shintoists, Catholics, Buddhists, and atheists. I have no idea what Abe-san’s personal beliefs were, but I am sure that he was a truly admirable patriot.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Court rules in favor of French man's wife over child custody rights See in context

My eldest, with a fine education and a good job, was married to an alcoholic, abusive, adulteress. He put up with her for the sake of their daughter. Weary after a hard day’s work, he returned to find the door double-locked…The woman wound up, as expected, with custody of the daughter, whom he has now been unable to see for many years. And this is all in Japan. My wife and I once took care of our grandchild after her mother overdosed on pills, but then we returned the girl, who is now a teenager. We are fairly certain that we shall never see her again.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Ex-PM Abe in critical condition after being shot while campaigning in Nara See in context

Given the forum and the level of many commentators, I am not surprised to read “I was no fan of…, but…” in my family, we are sorrowing a death. The fact that we support and vote for Abe-san’s party is secondary.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: High court rejects paternity harassment allegations by Canadian man See in context

I sympathize with Wood-san and reflect that when my children were born, I was on holiday from a rather cushy job. Life is indeed unfair. Japanese courts tend to resist anything smacking of legislation from the bench. They keep their noses to the legal grindstone. We see that clearly in the plight of fathers whose children have been abducted by their ex-wives. Sometimes a long legal fight is unavoidable, but sometimes one has to keep one’s head low and quietly make a deal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: A Chinese invasion of Taiwan: Too costly to countenance? See in context

I remember when Taiwan was a poor country, its people living under a dictatorship, albeit one not as vile as the one across the waters. Now it is a wealthy country—and, more importantly, democratic and free. That is why the tyrants hate it so much.

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Posted in: Osaka court rules same-sex marriage ban not unconstitutional See in context

Meiyouwenti (没有問題): Thank you! You will be scorned by those who think that it is we who are the “ bigots,” when, in fact, we’re defending common sense. I am proud of Japan!

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

Posted in: Uyghur-heritage candidate urges Japan to embrace diversity See in context

JohansawadaToday 11:24 am JST

"the article just focuses on her ethnicity and the fact that she is a female with very little mention of what really matters - her values and how she plans to make the lives of japanese people better!"

Not so many years ago, the very idea of anyone of non-Yamato-minzoku origin being Japanese was widely rejected or at least doubted. That has changed or is at least well on its way to change...Hurray! I speak as a member of a "minority." But I am not in favor of "minoritarianism" or identity politics. JohansawadaToday makes a good point. We should be judging candidates for political office primarily according to their abilities, knowledge, honesty, and commitment...I am more interested in Arfiya Eri-san's political views, with which I happen to agree, even if some commenting here attack her for the same.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: When all else fails to explain American violence, blame a rapper and hip-hop music See in context

In regard to the case of Willie McCoy, what the article here conveniently fails to note is that he was indeed in possession of a handgun, in illegal possession thereof, and had been arrested for kidnapping and human trafficking...If this had been Japan, it is highly unlikely that he would have been shot, and it is most regrettable that he was killed instead of being brought to justice. But then America is not Japan...The police must deal with some very bad people in very bad situations...

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Posted in: Japan embraces CBD despite drug taboo See in context

I belong to the hippy generation. We thought that it was sooo cool to smoke dope and that doing so was somehow proof that we were more intelligent than and morally superior to the rubes…Cannabis may not be as dangerous as many other drugs, but overall it’s still bad…And to those who want to distract us from that reality by railing about alcohol consumption in Japan: Spare us the what-about-ism. Japan is no longer a nombei paradise, and that’s all to the good. It’s also a country determined not to become another San Francisco.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: A Buddhist look at pets, food and funerals in Japan See in context

As a translator of many of the Buddhist stories about animals, I was quite interested in this. In one, a warrior is ordered to go deer hunting but is reluctant to obey, as he has dreamt of his mother, who tells him that she has been reborn as a deer to expiate her sins and that he may wind up killing her. That is indeed what happens…Note that it is taken for granted that it’s better to be a human being than an animal. A lot of modern sentimentalists, with more money than common sense, think otherwise.

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Posted in: New law enacted to help people pressured into porn See in context

A daughter of mine dreamed of becoming a TV announcer but then saw how the line between being a tarento and a target for sleaze and exploitation is a thin one indeed...I asked her once what she thinks of young women who get caught up in the sorry netherworld. She replied coldly (in English): "They're losers." No, it's much more complicated than that. Genuine victimhood, greed, narcissism, and sheer stupidity...It's a mixture that is terribly difficult to sort out. But one thing is clear: In a society with clear moral standards, there would be much, much less of this...(I fully expect to get attacked for saying that.)

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: China vows it will fight to the end to stop Taiwan independence See in context

Kyo-san: The indigenous people of Taiwan are not “Malay tribes”; the correct term is “Austronesian.” Their languages are related to those of Malaysia, the Philippines, and Polynesia, among many others. They constitute a tiny minority. The real issue here is freedom and equality before the law, not ethnicity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's outdoor mask relaxation yet to filter through See in context

Where I live, in the general Tokyo area, very few people are not wearing masks outside. I put mine on as soon as I get to the lift in my condo building. And then I keep it on. Why? Because I don't want people to think I am 非協力的 (uncooperative). Yes, I'm a cowardly conformist...But let's be patient, everyone! Suddenly, there will be a consensus about dropping masks, just as there seems to have been about smoking in public, the latter, unlike the former, causing genuine harm.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Posted in: Japan-born American files suit against Japan's dual nationality ban See in context

The land of my birth tolerates dual citizenship. I’d opt for Japanese citizenship alone, but I own property in said land and don’t trust the government to respect my rights if I am no longer a citizen there. When renewing one’s Japanese passport, one fills out a form that asks whether one has another nationality. I answered truthfully the last time and was then told in a kind and pro forma tone that I should do something about it. I replied humbly but vaguely…I have grandchildren who are Japanese citizens, even though one of them has never been in Japan. It does seem arbitrary, but it’s more humane than strict consistency. The lesson is: Don’t make a spectacle of yourself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Train conductor left behind by own train in Ibaraki countryside See in context

Rodney. Thanks for the upbeat story!

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