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The International Writers Magazine:Japan's Soul

Tony Alexander

The last samurai's belly that kissed the tip of a sword was Mishima Yukio on November 25, 1970 in downtown Tokyo at 8:35am.  And as quickly as he was able to split his own belly his head was severed from his body in one fell swoop by his long time lover and friend.  In fact, it took several swoops before his head fell.   Yes, it was an enormous undertaking but it took two strong men to completely sever his head ( perhaps three or four neck chops before Mishima lost consciousness).
That day when Mishima was reborn through death he became a noble soul.  I often wonder what life would've been like for Mishima had he lived on? Do you think he could've changed the hearts of his countrymen? Or perhaps grew his shield society?  Japan lost its Soul on November 25th, a date that will live in my mind for a long time.  This is also the date the emperor enacted the special attack core 'kamikaze' as well.

It's time to reflect on the condition of the entire nation as a whole.  Just last year, immigration recorded a record number of foreigners in Japan.  I think the figure was around 2 million.  I guess maybe they can save Japan or at least revive her.   Will they even try?  They can never.

Long gone are the days of the late great Keizo Obuchi who became the 84th Prime Minister of Japan a man who too was inspired in November by another great man by the name of Robert F.Kennedy who was the 64th Attorney General of the United States from 1961 to 1964.  When young Obuchi was circumnavigating the globe in his quest for identity and purpose he met Mr. Kennedy by chance and it was that day he was inspired to enter politics. Obuchi's two major issues when he was prime minister was reviving the economy and signing a peace treaty with Russia, two central issues that are at the heart of Japanese politics right now; only if Shinzo Abe could've understood that.

I like Mr. Abe, don't get me wrong, but he was out of touch with his people.  He pushed unrealistic initiatives like "Beautiful Japan" and "Patriotism" which were good, but were completely out of touch with the needs of his people, much like when Mishima was trying to get the young officers core to acknowledge the emperor by calling him by his true name on November 25th atop Ichigaya Defense building in Tokyo.  It was all an attempt at reviving the Soul of a Nation that has been dead for quite some time now.   Although Mr. Obuchi was a man who was in touch with the needs of his people, he was also quite a nationalist himself.  He oversaw a Bill that designated the Hinomaru and the Kimigayo as the national anthem of Japan, something largely opposed by present day academia and people who believe in freedom of thought and speech.

These three men weren't the first to make an honest attempt at salvaging Japan's soul, there was Yasuhiro Nakasone who was elected the 71st prime minister of Japan in November of 82' and who was also a known nationalist and, first prime minister to visit Yasukuni Shrine, was  affectionately known as "Ron-Yasu" because of his close relationship with the late Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. 

Mr. Nakasone and Mr. Obuchi shared some of the same initiatives; improving relations with the then USSR and improving the economy.   We had Mishima and Abe who were both out of touch with the people, yet they were focused on reviving the Soul of Japan - both failed miserably, and then we had Obuchi and Nakasone who were in touch with the people, and who were both nationalist who both still failed to revive the soul of Japan; two who were quite unrealistic and two who were quite realistic, but still failed.  And then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who visited Yasukuni Shrine (enshrined war criminals) six times while in office and even he failed to revive the soul of Japan which leads me to a dead end.

What is the Soul of Japan ?   Or was there ever one to start with ?   How does one define the Soul of a nation ?   Calling the emperor by his true name; teaching patriotism in schools; singing the national anthem; visiting the shrine…all of these things wherefore are our Japanese people ?  Is it not enough that an overwhelming majority of Japanese oppose everything I just listed above, but yet they can call themselves proud Japanese ?  Is there something intrinsic about being a Japanese?  The solution?
Tenno Heika Banzai !  
© Tony Alexander October 2007

The symbols of beauty exist in many forms here in Japan; onsen, sake and Japanese  are central to that defining beauty.

In addition to that beauty, you have the Tenno or the living god of Japan who infuses that beauty into one whole beauty which is the country called "Land of the Rising Sun" for without Tenno there is no Japan !
When imbibing in that beauty, that sake, that onsen, and those other indulgences, and honoring The Symbol of that all defining beauty then you have achieved eternal life.
I think if one can understand this logic then one can evolve rather than devolving the responsibility of ones own happiness to excessive western excesses.   Learning how to appreciate the simple beauty of god and nature this person can then see the light.

Understanding Japan through Kant (transcendentalist) and how he relates reality to reason is simply not the right thing to do.  The less you think the more you learn, the less you learn the more you grow, learn to unlearn…in other words, you must unlearn what you have learnt and learn to appreciate things simply the way they are without reason or logic; the way things were intended to be understood in the first place.  You cannot improve perfection.
So let us enjoy more onsens and nihonshu and let us cherish our experiences here in Japan.

© Tony Alexander October 2007

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