Tag: Japan

The argument for nuclear disarmament could not be better expressed than the words: Donald Trump versus Kim Jong-Un. You don’t have to take a side because your side has already taken you. You’ve been conscripted into a potential conflict no one can control. (More…)

In his magisterial War Without Mercy, John Dower convincingly describes how prewar anti-Japanese feelings were driven by populist American fears of Japanese immigration and actual military contingency planning, though military planners consistently underestimated the Japanese in racist terms. (More…)

It’s been just over 40 years since the Trilateral Commission issued their landmark report, The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies. Although the commission (which still exists) has become, in practical terms, fodder for the paranoid fantasies of fringe groups like the John Birch Society, in the 1970s, it was not always so. (More…)

The debate was about who knew Japan better: the “Japan Crowd” or the “Lobby,” on the right, or the “New Dealers” in the SCAP. The story of the US Occupation from, 1945 to 1952, is the story of these camps’ shared assumptions about the limitations of the Japanese psyche. In the end,  the conservatives won, disproportionately influencing Japanese politics, and America’s imperial administration. (More…)

In 1945, The Saturday Evening Post proudly proclaimed that “The G.I. Is Civilizing the Jap” by showing the “savage” and “dirty” natives how to fix cars without breaking them, and how to go to the bathroom. A 1951 follow-up subsequently reported that the Japanese they visited six year prior, with their nightsoil gardens and Shintoism, now had gas stoves and Christianity! (More…)

Media outlets are abuzz this week about the stabbing of a Japanese diplomat during an attempted kidnapping on Hada’a Street, in Sana’a. Tellingly, they leave out the information that is needed to put this event in context. Specifically, that there was a drone strike a few days ago that killed fifteen wedding-goers. (More…)

He should have been jailed long ago. By all accounts, anyone with a track record like Silvio Berlusconi had no business holding a seat in Italy’s Senate. Still, after two decades of steering the country, if not from its highest office, through the strength of his political parties, the 77-year-old Milanese billionaire was finally expelled from the legislature, on the strength of a successful criminal conviction. (More…)

According to a Pew poll released in July, the United States is only one of three surveyed nations where majorities approve of President Obama’s drone strikes. It’s joined by Israel, likely due to the popularity of its own anti-terror policies, and Kenya, where Obama’s roots continue to buoy him to popularity. Curiously, there’s a gender divide  of approval in other countries, by at least double-digits.  (More…)

International sanctions on Iran have devastated the country. In the past year, the latest round of US and EU sanctions due to Tehran’s nuclear development program are the toughest in Iran’s history. With a plummeting currency, medicine shortages, and rising food prices, Iranian students now find themselves struggling to gain admission to universities abroad. (More…)

We live in the Age of Restraint. Oh, it may not seem that way. Humans still reproduce at bacterial, rather than primate, rates. And as this weird new kind of “bacterium” grows, unlike any bacterial species, each member consumes more: humans are getting richer all the time (and I don’t just mean the 1%.) (More…)

Of course it’s a fish auction. A tuna auction. Why does it feel as though everything in Japan comes off of a conveyor belt? Should I include the ocean? Don’t get me wrong. It’s part of the appeal. Nonetheless, it often feels as though at its very core, Japan will always be a factory, including its natural scenery. If it isn’t a Sony digital camera, or a Toyota Prius, it’s carefully arranged displays of tea leaves. Or, in this case, sushi to be. Row after roe, so to speak. Tsukiji Market, Tokyo, 2006.