Masumi ちゃん just said my shades and mask make me look like a 暴走族 (bōsōzoku)!!! Those punk motorcycle gangs…
AARgh! And she laughed….
: Ragweed : I Hate Allergies!!!!
Right when I thought my late spring/early summer allergies had disappeared, I find my self sniffling and rubbing my eyes. Stupid ragweeds are in season from mid-August! Man, my body is like an allergy clock: Pollen enters the air and sets off my allergy alarm! Last night, I drugged myself with Benadryl. 2 tablets and I’m out like a light, with a solid 8 hours of sleep. Lovely! But in the light of day, I’m gonna have to revert ot my old disguise to fool the pollen. Ugh, sniffle, kusame!
Xanga for the really bored reader
: Reconsideration :
of “Not Living Up to Expectations”: Why am I writing this, Is there a point? Tomorrow…
: Response : to Comments to Suicide Bombers 2 below
Capstew: Maybe during the war Japanese people felt “Japanese” because they weren稚 Americans or the West but it isn稚 clear to me what Japanese people felt they “were,” beyond being the Emperor痴 loyal subjects葉hat is one identity but was it the Japanese people痴 only one? Wives could feel loyalty but still wish the war would end so their husbands could come home. Would you characterize this as a conflict: one identity as a Japanese citizen and one as a Japanese wife/woman?
Indeed, identity is a conglomeration of different experiences, so one person’s J-identity will certainly be different from another’s. But we might also find some similarities. First and foremost is one’s identity formed through education–as you know, one of the goals of the Meiji government was to promote a sense of nationalim through education, since pre-Meiji identity/loyalty was regional. As a result, many identified strongly with national symbols, the most obvious being the emperor. This certainly does not occupy the totality of their identity, but I would think it took a significant amount. As for women, I do not see a conflict in identity between a Japanese citizan and a Japanese wife/mother, because a “Japanese” anything is a Japanese citizen. But I do see a conflict between a J citizen and a wife and/or mother, if you exclude the Japanese part from the equation. The question is: is it possible for the J-woman to be just a woman? That is exactly the point I’m getting at. I don’t think any of them could divorce themselves from that identity, J-women, J-men, J-boys and girls. And the scariest part is that the identity is absolute, unchanging, unforgiving… The identity that was defined and developed through education and reinforced by society at large was too firmly attached to the individual. I think J-identity, certainly back then, would not allow an individual to make decisions without standing in its shadows… But like I said, this is just my opinion… I truly appreciate your… even though you don’t post on your own site… haha
Piratechan: Isn’t it a pretty universal concept that “soldiers die for their country and all it stands for”? Whether or not soldiers actually think that, the country using them generally uses that stand to get them to join up in the first place in times of war. Get ’em revv’d up and idealistic, and send them off to do “right”.
Yes, but these soldiers–to varying degrees–have an expectation of surviving the war. Many brave men go with a willingness to die for their country, but not with the goal of dying for their country. The kamikaze of Japan went with the intention of dying. And many, I believe, knew the odds were against Japan successfully turning the war around with these kamikaze attacks. So why did they do it? Why do you think Americans got out of Vietnam? To avoid further bloodshed over a futile war. But not Japan, nooooo… Japan being attacked was almost an attack on there very identity, since it was so closely tied to them. Yes, there is definitely a difference, I think… but then I could be wrong of course… By the way, do you like baseball? Are you Pirate-chan ‘cuz you live in Pittsburgh?
Sleetse: Ah dont take my comments so seriously, I’m a tainted/perverted American.
Hah! Too late, I’ve exposed your serious JA side… YES! [ both fists raised in air ]
: Suicide Bombers 2: Japanese Identity
Sleetse’s commented on my last post about suicide bombers:
- according to Kobayashi, Yoshinori who wrote some comic style novels about WWII Japan… the suicide bombers diaries and letters show that the majority of the young soliders were fighting for their family and loved ones rather than Japanese religion, nation, belief, tradition, etc… but most people at that time did not really have the right information to make their own judgement because everything in print was censored/distorted.
Sleetse’s comment–besides suggesting that he is more than just the sarcastic wise-cracking leader of Japan II–indicates that the Japanese were fighting for there loved ones… Now, I don’t doubt this a bit… I too believe that they “believed” that it was for their loved ones. But it has to be more than this.
Think about it. What would really make them go to die? Their loved ones? What is the logic in that? Will the family itself profit or gain honor? The only honor they gain is through prestige as reflected through their identity not as individuals, but as Japanese. No? And that, I believe, is the crux of the Japanese identity dilemma. They are so bound to their identity as Japanese, that they have trouble detaching themselves from it. Even as the people of today want to express their individuality, it is always tied somehow to being Japanese, to being special. How many of you have heard a Japanese insinuate that only Japanese chefs can truly make good sushi. I have personally heard many say this. In general terms, this means that those things that the Japanese identify as culturally Japanese (sushi) can only be appreciated and reproduced by Japanese. It is a part of their identity and they are not about to let it go. This facile logic suggests that every Japanese chef who cooks spaghetti can’t really do it justice because they are not Italian. (Did I write about this before?) Of course, I do not refer to all Japanese, particularly those who have lived here for a few years and spent their youth here. They have probably been “tainted” with American ideas of individuality…
I admit, I used to be one of these people. I thought the Japanese were special. The genius, Ian Levy–who left me high-and-dry during my graduate work–convinced me that identity, Japanese or otherwise, was a state of mind. He was not speaking of the Japanese race, but the culture: language, thought, attitude. He wrote a novella in Japanese, Seji no kikoenai heya, that was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize in Literature and won the Noma New Writer Award, and in it he reveals his thoughts of what being Japanese is for him. But I’m getting off point.
Basically, the Japanese during WWII were closely tied to their identity as Japanese particuarly with the J-education system as it was: highly censored, highly controlled. As such, they probably didn’t have to state it for people to know it. They probably didn’t have to write it explicitly in letters or diaries. They didn’t die for their military leaders or because of the orders they were given. They died for their loved ones, they died for Japan.
Please note that this is a personal opinion–actually, as I read it over, it sounds more like rambling or ranting–based on an intertextual conglomeration of experiences: about ten years of my adult life living in Japan, the rest living with and among Japanese in the US, Japanese books too many to list here, hundreds (if not thousands) of J-movies and J-TV shows, etc. This commentary has nothing to do with any class I have taught or may teach in the future…