Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
The June 17, 2012 book review “Japan: the history behind its love affair with dogs” by Jeff Kingston about Aaron Skabelund’s book Empire of Dogs was interesting. I may read it.
People overlook that when we talk about our pets we really are more often than not talking about ourselves, using animals as a metaphor of human life. We project ourselves into and through our pets just as we do through our architecture and fashion, music and literature, art and laws, sports and wars, history and aspirations, etc. This kind of confusion is rampant today especially with ‘animal rights’ advocates who either have forgotten that animals are not human, or who just don’t care.
The famous loyal dog Hachiko is cast as a paragon of Japanese virtue, and people are proud that it stands as a symbol, both figuratively and literally. We are told ad nauseum that Hachiko symbolizes loyalty. More accurately, I think, Hachiko represents profound, beastly stupidity. The dog was conditioned to wait at Shibuya Station in Tokyofor its master to return home from work each day. After its master died at work and failed to return the beast lacked the intelligence to learn a new behavior. And this is considered a good example for human beings?
I’m not a ‘dog person.’ I’m more of a green pond turtle person who admires Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Suess as perhaps the best book ever written on the topic of turtle stacking. So what I think is biased, which does not mean I am wrong.