Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
4-5-4 Shibaura, Minato-ku,
The Thursday, October 20, 2016 story “Ethnic slur hurled at demonstrators” reported on ongoing protests in Okinawa against a planned American military base relocation there. A police officer dispatched from the mainland city of Osaka to assist police work in the southern island was quoted shouting “dojin” (aboriginals, natives) to rowdy protestors. In the context, the word was clearly a slur.
Declaring things "unforgivable," as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is quoted here, is the hyperbolic Japanese way to show extreme gravitas. But it's silly and wrong, really, because in time most wrongs have to be forgiven, or at least closed simply to move forward with life. If we make an account of all the things that have been declared unforgiveable then society would unavoidably be a dysfunctional, dystopian nightmare of suspicion, hate, vengeance and all manner of ill feelings towards our fellows. And it's not, despite some people's claim that it is, which tells me that common people have more sense - greater moral sense - than the authorities who say such silly things. Another favorite is the expression "cannot be avoided," favored by magistrates to casually shed themselves of responsibility for their own actions, like snakes, when they are handing down harsh punitive sentences. Such expressions seem to show a paucity or lack of reflective consciousness and a moral conscience. I mean, they are not intelligent things to say. But I could be wrong. Here's a motto for Japan: in defeat, malice; in victory, revenge. But that hardly seems a recipe for a happy, good life.