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The 'Good' War on Terror

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, September 23, 2006 Posted: 02:59 PM JST

Interesting read:

The Good War on Terror
How the Greatest Generation helped pave the road to Baghdad

What is not mentioned in the article is the underlying philosophical construct of the US that will always lead it to war. The US believes in, thrives on and exists because of the concept of competition and a Zoroastrian belief in a struggle between good and evil.

The first drives many Americans to incessantly look for competitors, who are quickly seen as enemies.
The second makes these people think in black and white, instead of in tones of grey.

Both good and bad are born from this.
But the bad is real bad:

The US defines itself by its enemies. It needs enemies.
Without them, the country seems to loose its reason to exist.

Note Oct 14 2007: Article by Uri Avnery, Israeli author and activist and head of the Israeli peace movement, "Gush Shalom".

Keywords: opinion_item

Kjeld Speaks at the Tokyo American Club

Kjeld Duits, Friday, September 22, 2006 Posted: 12:42 AM JST

The Women's Group of the Tokyo American Club has once again invited me to speak at their annual Disaster Awareness Program on October 15, 2006 (Sunday). There will be a a question and answer session as well. More info

Time: 3:30pm - 6:30pm
Where: Tokyo American Club in Minato-ku, Tokyo

Kjeld Speaks at Apple Store Osaka

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, September 21, 2006 Posted: 03:20 PM JST

Design Matters has invited me to speak at the Osaka Apple Store on October 18, 2006 (Wednesday). More info

Time: 7:00pm - 8:15pm
Where: Apple Store theatre (second floor) in Shinsaibashi, Osaka city

Japan Loath to Discuss Incestuous Abuse

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, September 16, 2006 Posted: 09:35 AM JST

(The Japan Times) - Although incestuous abuse of a female child by her own father takes place frequently in Japan, the Japanese media refuse to critically discuss it, regarding it mostly as a plain taboo. Meanwhile, the Japanese legislature and the judiciary collusively dismiss this crime against humanity, thereby encouraging it.

During the summer when "Chitose" (not her real name) was 11, she was at home with her father one day watching TV in the dining room, when he suddenly grabbed her breast for a few seconds. According to Chitose, now an adult, "It was as if an atomic bomb had been dropped during peacetime." Read article

Keywords: national_news

Tokyo Designers Add Politics to the Fashion Statement

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, September 14, 2006 Posted: 09:34 AM JST

(by International Herald Tribune) - One of the first to kick off the 2007 Spring/Summer Tokyo Collections was Ritsuko Shirahama, whose works combined a fragile femininity (crocheted lace on demure knitwear) with political undertones (tank tops imprinted with photographs taken by the former supermodel Helena Christensen).

Shirahama said Christensen is "an ideal" for Japan's working women, having morphed from a fashion icon into a professional photographer, while having children and maintaining a home in between.

In a culture where women are finding it difficult to juggle the personal with the professional, Shirahama's message carried relevance - if not reality - and was a prelude for what was to come. Read article

Keywords: fashion arts_entertainment culture_news

Poll: Majority of Japanese Support Female Monarch Despite Prince's Birth

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, September 12, 2006 Posted: 11:18 AM JST

(The Associated Press) - The majority of Japanese want a law change that would let a female reign as empress despite the recent birth of a new prince, a poll said Monday.

Fifty-six percent of respondents to a poll published Monday by public broadcaster NHK said they support reforming Japan's imperial law to allow women to inherit the Chrysanthemum throne.
Only 33 percent said there was no need to reform the law, which says only men in an all-male line to the emperor can assume the crown, according to NHK.

When those for reform were asked when the change should take place, 33 percent replied as soon as possible, while 67 percent said ample time was needed for debate, NHK said. Read article

Keywords: national_news

Our Biggest Enemy?

Kjeld Duits, Monday, September 11, 2006 Posted: 09:38 PM JST

"There's still an enemy out there that would like to inflict the same kind of damage again." -- George Bush, after visiting Ground Zero in New York on September 10, 2006.

"The war on terror is more than a military conflict—it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. And we’re only in its opening stages." -- George Bush on September 7, 2006.

"Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror." -- Franklin D Roosevelt, 1933


Schedule for the LDP Presidential Election

Kjeld Duits, Friday, September 8, 2006 Posted: 10:16 AM JST

The LDP Presidential Election Committee has announced the campaign schedule for the Wednesday, September 20,2006, presidential election. Hereby the outline for the LDP Presidential Election Campaign.


Parliamentary Secretary Quits over Bill

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, September 7, 2006 Posted: 10:42 AM JST

(Japan Times) - Masazumi Gotoda, parliamentary secretary in charge of financial services, said he resigned Wednesday to protest a draft bill to lower the ceiling on consumer loan interest charges because it would allow lenders to continue to charge up to 28 percent for nine years after the bill is passed.

"I cannot accept a loophole in which a high ceiling will be left for a long time," Gotoda said at a news conference after his resignation was accepted by Financial Services Minister Kaoru Yosano. Read article

Keywords: national_news

New Facts about US Payoff to Japan's Biological Warfare Unit 731

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, September 6, 2006 Posted: 03:40 PM JST

(by Tsuneishi Kei-ichi; translated by James Orr) - [Sponsored by the Nagasaki Peace Museum last July 9, the top Japanese researcher on Japan's wartime biological weapons (BW) program, Tsuneishi Kei-ichi, gave a public lecture in Nagasaki together with the director of China's Unit 731 War Crimes Museum in Harbin. Tsuneishi's talk, entitled "The Image and Reality of Unit 731,"? explained the declassified American intelligence records he discovered in 2005, revealing that U.S. Occupation authorities not only granted immunity from prosecution to Japanese scientists in exchange for their unrivaled BW data, but also made direct cash payments to obtain their experimental results. ("The United States and the Japanese Mengele," a recent Japan Focus article by Christopher Reed, reproduced the 1947 documents from GHQ's G-2 intelligence unit.)


Japan Has New Prince

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, September 6, 2006 Posted: 10:07 AM JST

Princess Kiko gave birth to a boy by Caesarean section at 8:27 this morning. The 39-year-old princess is the wife of Prince Akishino, the emperor's second-eldest son. This is the first boy in the imperial family in 41 years. Prince Akishino himself was the last male to the imperial family. Japanese law doesn't allow women to inherit the Chrysanthemum throne, so the birth of this prince is considered to be of extreme importance in Japan. He is the third in line to the throne after Prince Naruhito and Akishino. The birth of the new prince however does not solve the succession crisis. It just puts it off to a later date.


Immigration is Changing Japan

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, September 3, 2006 Posted: 11:15 PM JST

(Newsweek) - A few years ago, when Milton Minoru Takahashi first set out to improve conditions for Brazilian guest workers living in Nagoya, he thought he'd be telling Japanese about soccer, samba and Brazilian beaches. They were the sales hooks the Brazilian-Japanese Takahashi—who works for a nonprofit foundation that aids the 60,000 foreigners in Nagoya—thought could open locals' eyes to the beauties of Brazilian culture. But, he says, "the Japanese didn't want to hear about those things. They wanted to talk about noise and garbage"—problems allegedly caused by the Brazilian immigrants in their neighborhoods.

Takahashi now spends most of his time on more mundane tasks, trying to help his fellow Brazilians overcome the bewildering array of barriers to integration into Japanese society. But he still wonders why the Japanese government is largely indifferent to the problems facing foreigners. What would he like to see from Tokyo? "Action," says Takahashi. Something, anything, to acknowledge that there are immigrants in the country—and that they require recognition and support. Read article

Keywords: national_news

Japanese Beauty Doesn't Come Easily

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, September 3, 2006 Posted: 12:42 PM JST

(The Japan Times) - Beauty is big business. In Japan there are more people working in the beauty business than there are in wedding and funeral services, auto repair and software combined. Those beauty factories, the "aesthetic salons," are so many and are growing so large that the governmental ministry involved is at present creating a separate industrial classification for them.

There is an obvious demand for such services. The tides of fashion depend upon them, as do the occasional tsunami of cosmetic enthusiasm. They float upon central contemporary concerns such as gendered identity and its relationship to new forms of consumer capitalism.

Japanese body aesthetics are thus a reflection of the relationship between appearance and self-esteem. As such it is a subject fit for anthropological investigation, and it just this that anthropologist Laura Miller brings. Read article

Keywords: book_news

Nationalism at Japanese Kindergarten

Kjeld Duits, Friday, September 1, 2006 Posted: 09:30 PM JST

(Asahi Shimbun) - At a kindergarten in Osaka Prefecture, 23 young voices ring out in unison. The teacher reads a line of verse, and the children echo it, obediently reciting the archaic Japanese.

Three generations ago, this would have been a familiar scene. The text the children are reciting is the Imperial Rescript on Education, the Meiji Era (1868-1912) edict that became one of wartime Japan's most potent symbols of nationalism.

The formal reading of the rescript was forbidden during the Allied occupation as part of efforts to restore democracy. The edict had come to be reviled as a method of thought control for Japan's youngest and most malleable minds.

But recently, the rescript has been experiencing a creeping resurgence. Read article

Keywords: national_news

Average Japanese Father Spends 3.1 Hours with his Children

Kjeld Duits, Friday, September 1, 2006 Posted: 02:45 PM JST

Japanese fathers spend extremely little time with their children, an interview survey by the National Women's Education Center has revealed. The Japanese center conducted an international comparative survey on education at home between March and June of last year. It was addressed to approximately 1,000 parents living with their children aged 12 or under in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, U.S.A., France, and Sweden.


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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
Stone Bridge Press

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