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October 01, 2018


Sounds like the existence of pompous twits isn't confined to one polity, or one continent, or ...


It's a wonder any sane people go in for public service.

And then Japan wonders why its birthrate is low and its population is falling. Gee, can't imagine....

The incident held up council business for eight hours.

Shows real commitment to the social order.

Is this kind of attitude Still prevalent throughout Japan, or is Kumamoto something of a provincial backwater?
(From your Buzzfeed link, there's clearly some pushback, as well as those supporting the repressive attitudes.)

Kumamoto is a bit of a backwater (inaka in Japanese), but because of the outbreak of mercury poisoning caused by the Chisso company in the 50's , there is actually a counterbalance of grass-roots populism and leftist politics. Not enough for me, but at least there's some.

I didn't realise Minimata was there.

My question was to what extent those attitudes are still prevalent in (say) Tokyo ?
(And to what extent there might be a cultural divide analogous to the one in the US.)

Sheesh indeed. lj, do you think the situation would have been similar if a man had been sucking a cough lozenge (obviously I think I know the answer), and if not, is there much recognition in the wider Japanese media and public that this is sexism generally or part of an anti-Ogata vendetta particularly?

The way things are breaking in the world at large, in nearly all of the first world countries surely, toward oppressive revanchist cultural and economic nationalism, in its various versions of standing athwart history and yelling the word いいえ, would lead one to suspect that in Japan's case the throat lozenge could be an Archduke Ferdinand moment in which the furious Yukio Mishima rises from his troubled rest and turns the sword that sliced his abdomen open on those who presume to challenge Japanese traditional conservative cultural/social druthers.

How's that for "psychoanalytical b.s."? Spengler-worthy, maybe? Hanh?

Maybe it's merely a polite version of the petulant 12-year-old mp telling Cynthia Vega that she "never" thinks in his anti-press anti-conference the other day.

What is the Japanese for "Suck on THIS, Cynthia!"

If you look at mp's cowed, enabling, asswipe vermin republican staff surrounding him while he was letting us know how fucking bad and nuclear things COULD be if He was a sloppy, crapulent drunk like Kavanaugh, they had looks on their faces that said "Yeah, let me out of here so I can chug a fifth of Johnny Walker Black with a bleach chaser."

I don't get why journalists are not allowed to carry arms at these press conferences.

Kumamoto reminded me of a Japanese Alabama. Especially the blue tarps on half the roofs 2 years after the last big earthquake, in an area prone to monsoons.

I did not see much of the high tech I expected (in my apparent ignorance that it is a big diverse country) or saw in Tokyo.

I did enjoy all the cartoon characters that apparently everyone has as a trademark, including the police station.

How the other "other half" thinks about the Other:


Joel Hanes makes a good point in the comments.

Mp just now:

“It is a scary time for young men in America. You can be accused before you prove your innocence."


I guess we won't be hearing this sentence ever again in an American court room: "Will the accused please state his full name for the Court."

That somehow reminds me of Carlin's dislike of the phrase: "The undisputed heavy-weight champion of the world."

Well, if it is undisputed, what was all the fighting about?

Boo Radley stabbed the wrong guy:


In other literary reappraisals, Lowry demands Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man discard the cloak of invisibility so lovingly fashioned by William F. Buckley.

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Um, Spencer Tracy?

You can call me Mista Tibbs, or not, Buckwheat is fine too.


Solution: make those tax cheats permanent.


Is there a maximum number of traitors who can be place before a firing squad at one time, or must we do it in relays?


I think mp's North Korean pretties have perfected efficiency in this area.

Let's consult.

Nigel, GftNC, I think that attitudes are better in Tokyo, if only because there are more people, more diversity and more young people. However



The difference I suppose is this


Have ANY Republicans been schooled if ANY sort of diplomatic language or norms short of "We're All Gonna Die!"


"Take out!" sounds to me like "Fire!!"

The difference I suppose is this

So there is a debate going on - and notable in that report was the PM’s wish to increase women’s representation in parliament from 3% (!) to 30% by the time of the Olympics.
The picture of her abuser (or at least the one of them who actually admitted to it) bowing to her in apology is quite striking.

So definitely not quite cough sweet territory at the national level.

This probably should be a post, but I'm pretty swamped with the beginning of the term here.

I love Japan, but the misogyny here is astonishing. It often has me reflect how much of it is 'baked in'. While I'm trying to get some talk about non-Kavanaugh stuff here, I have to reference this, which references Kavanaugh's time at Yale and the atmosphere of the campus


What is surprising, however, especially in light of today’s priority on hearing and empowering the voices of society’s underclasses, is the extent to which Winter and all the alienated kids who arrived on Yale’s Old Campus (where all the freshmen live) in the fall of 1983 regarded the social structures and their places in it as normal and expected.

This is all my opinion, but when it is all 'normal and expected', you have to be careful about faulting people for not taking up arms. The costs of stepping up and stepping out are too high. However, you have to call them out. But you have to take care when you do so in that kind of atmosphere because you never really know if they are doing it because they have a mean streak or if they honestly just don't realize what is happening. When things do break open, you have a chance to see how much it is people who are genuinely clueless and how much it is people who have a mean streak. Which is both good and bad, because you find the people of real value and you find the people who are not, but you find yourself often disappointed.

Turning back to Japan, Abe's wish for increased women's representation represents the challenge of figuring out whose helping and whose not. To my mind, Abe is just another LDP dinosaur and he mouths those platitudes, but provides no leadership to make those things happen. Abe could have gone to that LDP corner where multiple men were heckling Shiomura and told them to fess up. As it was, one guy fell on the sword, providing the nice image of an apology and things could go back to normal. The apologist was only (and here is another Japan centric notion) 51, which made him the low man on the totem pole, so he had to go out and apologize.


Osamu Yoshiwara, the chief secretary of the Tokyo assembly’s LDP contingent, was asked why he didn’t out Suzuki right away since he was sitting so close to him, and he said he didn’t know it was Suzuki because he was asleep at the time. Suzuki didn’t confess until five days after the incident, and according to assembly rules a member cannot be censured for “talking out of turn” if the request for censure is submitted more than three days after the problem statement was uttered. Shiomura tried to file a censure request June 20, two days after the heckling but it was rejected because she didn’t name anyone. Tokyo Shimbun thinks the LDP kept Suzuki quiet until the three days were up in order to avoid censure, which might have had deeper repercussions since the party pledged to boost women’s “options” during last year’s election campaign. Moreover, the Tokyo assembly is now discussing an anti-bullying bill, whose purport the heckling clearly contradicted. Some commentators think the remarks directed at Shiomura sprung from a feeling of “arrogance” on the part of the LDP, who won all 59 seats they vied for.

Suzuki had previously made news by going to one of the uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu islands that Japan and China are contesting ownership, so it's pretty clear to me that he's a right wing tool and trotting him out there as a sacrificial lamb underlines that, so I don't think he was itching to make an apology, it was a calculated face-saving move with no actual reflection on why it was stupid. However, Japanese are probably number one in the world in dealing with cognitive dissonance, so I don't see much changing.

increase women’s representation in parliament from 3% (!) to 30%


Thanks, lj, that and the link are very interesting.

From your link, this seems to be reported without irony - is that right ?

The coverage suggested that Shiomura was less the target of abject sexism than a victim of the kind of juvenile taunts you hear when a girl insists on joining an organization the boys think is exclusively theirs. The difference may be academic, but Suzuki claims he got caught up in the adolescent excitement and had no desire to hurt Shiomura’s feelings....

I note that the governor of Tokyo is a woman -and similarly right wing to Abe.

Yes. And the boys will be boys defense is alive and well here in the land of Wa.


and a bit older

These are the elite universities in Japan.

yes, Yuriko Koike,
"I think what we have is a battle between a rightist movement and an extreme rightist, and the extreme rightist is, of course, [Tokyo Governor Yuriko] Koike. I think that the western media has pictured her as if, because she's a woman, she must be in some way liberal. Well, she's not," Tokyo-based Nicholas Smith, Japan strategist at brokerage and investment group CLSA, told CNBC's "Squawkbox."

"A couple of ... the most senior people in her party are supporters of Satoru Mizushima, who was the maker of the film 'Truth about Nanking' that says that the Nanking Massacre never happened," Smith said.

she formed her own party because the LDP wasn't right wing enough and she thought she could peel off voters.


She's a member of Nippon Kaigi, a nationalist right-wing group

Koike is a woman who would probably get along very well with Trump

And, so much for Abe....

My colleague pointed out (I'm embarassed I didn't know this) Yuka Ogata's wikipedia page,

where it notes that after doing her undergraduate at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, she did a Masters at George Mason and then worked in Yemen as an officer in the United Nations Development Program.

Her blog (in Japanese) is here

It's interesting because she points out that the initial complaint was that some of the assembly politicians claimed there was a ban on eating and drinking in the chamber, but when they discovered there was no rule like that, they accused her of damaging the integrity of the assembly by addressing it with a cough lozenge in her mouth. This is obliquely mentioned in the Guardian article, but it is not surprising to see the use of a false complaint, and, when a loss of face is threatened, to find another violation.

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