On October 18th the English-language Daily Yomiuri newspaper here ran a domestic story in which it reported that Internal Affairs and Communication Minister (now newly promoted Foreign Minister) Taro Aso said during a speech in Fukuoka that Japan is “one nation, one civilization, one language, one culture and one race” (“Aso describes Japan as‘one-race’ nation,” October 18th). Just as with former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone’s contentious, not to mention obviously and patently false claim in 1986 that Japanis a “homogenous nation,” I have to wonder if Aso, a salaried public official and therefore my employee as a Japanese taxpayer, actually knows anything at all about our country. But I feel certain that politicians just make these things up without thinking about hem as they go along.
We know that these ideas are not true - by which I mean not factual - so, why do not better informed Japanese shout it from their doorsteps and spit it from their mouths not in a rude manner, but in a brotherly loving way of correcting the learning impaired in our midst?
In addition, contrary to Aso’s next quoted remark that Japan is “like nowhere else,” I suggest instead that every place in the world is pretty much like every other place, only more so. I mean, there is far more about divergent places that are shared and held in common than there are that separate them and discriminate one from the other. Most differences are merely cosmetic. So, it takes a special kind of shallow mentality to see only the separation and differences.
Japanese have an almost pathologic appetite for fantasy about themselves. But pathology, or sickness, is exactly what this menu of cant is. It’s sick. People who talk like this are sick.