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05 January 2017

Film "A Geisha" Feminist study movie

1st time I watch this film was more than 20 years ago. When I was attending US university. I took a course titled "History of Japanese and Chinese women." During the 4 month-long semester, the attending students had to see the old Japanese film as part of course requirement and the students all discussed matter related to the theme of the film. The film was of course, played with subtitle.

The film was released in 1953, 8 years after Japan's surrender to the war. Japan regained sovereignty and new constitution that ensures basic human rights and women's suffrage became effective. The story took in Gion district, famous Geisha town in Kyoto.

So women including Geisha girls should have basic human rights as other people. The two geisha got in trouble with their clients. One younger apprentice geisha (called Maiko) was about to be raped by her client so she fought back and hurt him. That aggrevated the client. Then the older geisha who ran Geisha house and hired the apprentice had to compensate by sleeping with the client's big client so that both can reach a big business agreement.

She was used as a prostitute and a tool for the business. The apprentice was shocked to know that because she thought that is not what a Geisha does.

In the last scene, the older Geisha says "You are living in a new era. I want you to keep your body clean."

A sad fact of Geisha life.

Nowadays, such thing should not be done so often, I believe.

A lot of people seem to misunderstand job of Geisha. Geisha literally means "Artist" or "Entertainer."

Geisha is after all, entertainer. Just showing dances, and singing songs in the party room. Of course they escort guests by pouring sake and chatting with them. They do not sleep with guests.  

They are not prostitutes. They have never been like that even in the very old days. But what happened to them is sometimes Geisha needed a big money to make a debut buying expensive kimono. So easiest way to get that is have patrons. Geisha agencies preferred that way so that the agencies could get back the debut fund they owed their hired geishas. Some popular ones did not have patrons because she could payback the debut fund only by entertaining guests in party rooms.  

Geisha not only entertain adult men but they entertain families including children. No alcohol, and nasty or obscure talk in the room. Just enjoying shows, meals, casual talk and views from the window. Independent and decent women's occupation.

That should be the tradition we have to preserve.

15:46 Posted in Film, Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, women, feminism, geisha, kyoto

30 December 2016

US Marine Osprey crashed in Okinawa, Japan! Finally!

An osprey (helo-plane type flying vehicle) crashed on the coast of Nago city, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, Dec 13. A major accident finally occurred 4 years after deployment in Okinawa. That was in fact, anticipated 4 years ago. Read this post.

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The crash site was near the US Marine Camp Schwab. The osprey seemed trying to land there after its propeller was damaged while inflight refueling training and had lost control of it. The accident was classified as Class A, highest rank, loss amount was more than 80 million US $. The osprey was torn apart to more than 4 pieces.

Top ranking official of US military stationed in Okinawa, named Nicolson, said Okinawans should appreciate pilots had avoided landing on nearby ground so no civilian casualty was caused. That comment outraged Okinawans who have been opposed to osprey deployment for a long time because of defective structure of the vehicle. Osprey cause accidents 3 times more frequent than other helicoptors. That rate has not changed since it was first introduced in US Marine more than 10 years ago.   

The news was reported and broadcasted nationwide. Not only Okinawa locals but Japanese citizens in general felt very distrustful of the U.S. army and the U.S government.

This crash accident is related to ongoing construction of new runways in U.S. Marine Camp Schwab site. A hundred ospreys will be deployed there after completion of the runways by landfilling the sea.

Okinawa governor, Onaga once cancelled landfill permit which was signed by a former governor but this month a week after the accident, Japan's Supreme Court made a ruling that Onaga's cancellation was illegal. Then he revived landfill permit but insists on his firm determination of stopping the construction by whatever method he could use. He still holds many authorities to do that.

Japan's central government and U.S. government do not mind local protest and proceed construction.

What will happen next year? The construction will never be done but distrutst and grudge will grow.

More news related to this construction and osprey will come up. US government might think it is a small matter in the far east. Actually this news is not widely reported in US.  

As I described in this blog, more Japanese are learning US military stationed in Japan no longer functions as defense. It is just for two nations' political or military establishment who want to maintain US-Japan defense treaty system.

At Japan's considerate citizen and Okinawa local level, US is just losing trust and friends by this issue.

US seemed very near-sighted. Maybe Japan is not very important any longer since China has become bigger economic power. But China cannot share the same democratic values with US like Japan does in East Asian region. Japan is necessary as bypass between US and China in many occasions.

But it is time that Japan diverts from friendship with America.

Okinawa might turn to be another Pearl Harbor between two nations.

Things might change if newly elected President Donald Trump alters the course. He may do so since he insisted on withdrawing US troops from Japan during the election campaign. He may find Okinawa bases are nothing but budget wasting place.

I am not very sure but he seems to know Japan very well since he has been to Japan many times as a businessman. One time he claimed Japan can defend itself like it did in the past like occupying China and ruled Korean peninsular. He looked not so intelligent but very clever and somehow very knowledgeable.

As for this Okinawa matter, Trump might be able to handle more wisely than Obama and Clinton (as Secretary of State) has done up to this point.

14 November 2016

Donald Trump trumped, Congratulation, America, Japan and rest of the world!

Not totally bad news for all of us in the world.

For Americans it is a great chance to liberate from establishment politics and two lookalike-party system.

For Japan, liberate from Americanism and U.S. military presence, especailly good for Okinawa island. He promised no more TPP and withdrawing US troops from bases in Japan. I like that since I have been engaged in protest activities against US military base presence including nuclear aircraft carrier in Yokosuka and new marine base construction in Okinawa. Please check posts in nuclear aircraft carrier and Okinawa tags. But above all, greatest thing is that we no longer see America as superpower or role model in the sense that such a man was elected as President.

So do people of the world.

America has great things such as Hollywood films, Apple Ipads, Hilton Hotels and so on. I got college education in America 2 decades ago. It was an excellent experience and that is why I have good command of English and write posts like here.

But at the same time I learnt America is not a role model for the world. America is not a model society. I remember a Japanese woman who was married to American man and settled in California, said so. She always said she wanted to go back to Japan. She and I attended the same college in Northern California.

Her boyfriend, who she married later was like Trump. He could be friend to Japanese but not to Blacks and Chinese.

It is rooted from his experience in his highschoolhood in San Francisco, where most of students were Blacks and Chinese, which made him minority in school. He was bullied and decided to quit the school and instead study at home and entered college without high school diploma.

White people around me seemed non-racist but in fact were racist when they could speak honestly. Books on IQ difference between whites and Blacks became best selling, which describes whites are more intelligent than Blacks not by education but gene.

Black people were offended and said they were still at war even after civil rights act era.

Some of Black people were kind of militant complainer, who use their race as a card to promote themselves. Mexican undocumented immigrants caused problems such as burgarly and theft. My college dormitory roommate often shouted "Fucking minorities." Poor young Latino had several children although they could earn very small income.

America is free and multi-national society. That is why such things happen.

Not just economy but complexity of the society drove such phenomenon.

America is still a great nation but not a role model which every nation should follow suit.  

The world leant that thanks to Donal Trump.

 

P.S. Did you know in Japan, name "Trump" is used as a noun to indicate 52 Cards like 1 through 10 and Jack, Queen, King of Diamond, Klover, Spade, and Heart plus a Joker, which coincides with Mr. Trump's business.

So when we say "let's play Trump" it means "let's play cards"?

Why not play this "Trump"?

04 September 2016

Okinawans are Rosa Parks and LIBERTARIAN

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I stayed in Takae district, Higashi village in Okinawa Prefecture last week. I have been there more than 10 times in last 7 years. Okinawa is southernmost prefecture, 3 hour flight from Tokyo, which is tropical and whose population is 1.4 million. It is like Hawaii or Guam in the U.S.

Articles in Okinawa tag describes what is happening there. As described, Okinawans are in desperate situation. They confront with new US military construction plans. One is in Henoko, Nago city, where US Marine Camp Schwab is located. V shape runways construction is planned landfilling the sea by the beach of Camp Schwab.

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The other is Takae, Higashi village, where Northern Training Area is located.

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In Takae, construction of 6 helipads is planned in the forest near the villagers residential area.

In both cases, newly constructed bases will threaten the environment of locals as well as wildlife including endangered species. There have been protest movement such as direct action like sit-in at gates of the construction sites.

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The Japanese government is pushing forward the project using massive police forces to clear out.

In Takae, last month one gate was cleared out by removing sit-in tents at the gate. Security guards and policemen are stationed at the gate. The photos are Before on the top and After in the below.  

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But Okinawans never give in. That is their history. Since the end of second world war, Okinawa has been occupied by US military forces until return to Japan in 1972. The big bases remained even after the return to Japan.

They always had troubles with US forces. To counter the oppression, what they do is sit-in protest direct action. They keep on doing until they win. They have suceeded in the past.

This time they try. In the opposite side to the gate cleared out by the police, they set up another big tent that can house hundreds of people. There are tens of benches inside. The place was another important entrance for construction. The tent blocks contruction workers to transport machines and materials to another places. The authority demands them to clear out. They refused.

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Inside a meeting was held every morning. The leader of protest movement said, their policy is non-violent but disobedient to the authority like Rosa Parks, Dr. King and Gandhi. They might break some laws but that doesn't matter if we can stop the worst thing. We do not have to follow bad laws.  

I stayed in the tent and was told that just sitting on the bench is good enough to counter the police. If hundreds of people are inside, the police cannot move out so many people from such narrow place.

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They also do sit-in protest on the road that construction trucks pass. Their sit-in delayed construction.

That is Okinawan way. That has been going on for decades.

Due to such circumstances, Okinawa has been most autonomous prefecture in Japan. Okinawa went through unique path. There was an independent kingdom until late 19th century. The island was annexed to Empire of Japan then.  

The Okinawan government is now fighting against central government regarding landfill permit of Henoko sea. The Okinawan government invalidated landfill permit so the central government sued the Okinawa to make it validated. The verdict will be issued on 16 of September. The Okinawan government says it will fight until the end and halt landfill of Henoko and construction of new base anyway they can.

Recently independence movement has been discussed among Okinawans. They found belonging to Japan is no longer advantageous to their land. They have different kind of culture and geographically separated from mainland Japan. They always wanted to claim independence. Now their patience has reached beyond limit.

That is like LIBERTARIAN way of thinking.

Interestingly, ROSA PARKS and LIBERTARIAN are sprits of their oppressors' nation. Maybe because of that, some US veterans sympathised with Okinawans. Last week some members of Veterans for Peace joined the protest. Last month Veterans for Peace in Berkeley made a resolution that new US marine base construction should be halted.

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They showed up in the tent. I talked with them. They were surprised to know that during Vietnam war era, Agent Orange was used in the village and villagers were used as simulated VetCont targets in the training. One young member who was stationed in Iraq said he had been deceived by the government. They really learnt significance of this protest movement like their own.

ROSA PARKS and LIBERTARIAN may be globally common concepts for living life.

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