Murakami Haruki and Sino-Japanese relations

Joel Martinsen at Danwei posted a translation of an interview in the Southern Metropolis Weekly with Lin Shaohua, Murakami Haruki's Chinese translator.It is a bizarre interview, to say the least, starting with the unironic use of the word "bourgeois" to describe novels like Norwegian Wood. Bourgeois? I guess. And then there's a statement like, "his …

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Those other historical issues

Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio — a Lower House representative from Nagasaki of all places — remains under attack today despite backing away from his argument that the US atomic bombings "could not be helped."The Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly has, in fact, passed a resolution condemning Kyuma's remarks.Kyuma has once again showed his utter lack of political …

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Can anyone say straw man?

Komori Yoshihisa, defender of Japan's honor Sankei Shimbun's editor at large based in Washington, has "exposed" the alleged activities of Chinese-American groups in putting the screws on House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA-12) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-8) to get them both to support rapid passage of the comfort women …

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The hyper-nationalist spring offensive continues

Following pronouncements against Chinese war museums and the congressional comfort women resolution, Japan's hyper-nationalists have turned their attention once again to the Nanjing Massacre, arguing as before that "only" 20,000 people were killed in Nanjing, as opposed to the generally accepted range of 150,000-200,000 (IHT here; Japan Times here).The quibbling over numbers is one of …

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The nationalism question, revisited yet again

Although the comfort women resolution appears to be on hold until after Japan holds Upper House elections next month, the waters have been roiled by a full-page advert in the Washington Post taken out by a bipartisan group of Japanese legislators, as well as journalists and commentators (including Abe confidante Okazaki Hisahiko) laying out "The …

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Japan’s values void

Harold James, a remarkably erudite historian at Princeton and author of The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression, has a piece at Project Syndicate entitled "The Return of 'Asian' Values," in which he discusses Fujiwara Masahiko's The Dignity of the State (previously discussed here).While James raises interesting questions about the foundations of capitalism, …

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Into the realm of the symbolic

While I obviously recognize that Asahi and Yomiuri approach public affairs from drastically different perspectives, I have never thought that they were living in different worlds.Until today.In Asahi, prominently featured on the front page, was an article on a Japanese Communist Party report suggesting that a special Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) unit conducted surveillance …

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Why Japan is losing friends

The Jiji wire service reports that the minister responsible for public relations at Japan's embassy in Washington has called out the Washington Post for its "mistakes" and "not understanding sufficiently" the positions of Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese government on the comfort women question in its recent editorial on the issue, discussed here.I suppose …

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