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24 December 2013

"Chinmoku (Silence)" by Japanese Christian novelist

The novel was written by Japan's most notable novelist in 20th century, Endo Shusaku.

Recently the news that Hollywood decided to make the story into film next year was reported. The setting of the story was early 17th century of Nagasaki, Japan when the government ruled ban on Chrisitianity and entry of foreigners except Chinese and Dutch. That policy was aimed to get rid of western influence on its society in order to avoid colonization. Dutch was neutral as for this matter. Dutch hated Catholic nations and advised Japanese government to stop trading with Catholic nations.

The story started with a news that one most prominent and highly respected missionary sent to Japan abandoned his faith after severe torturing by Japanese authority. That shocked two Portuguese Catholic priests. They decided to secretly enter into one secretly Christian village in order to locate the missionary and continue Chrisian preaching for the localies.

However, they were found and arrested by Nagasaki authority and then their followers were tortured to death. One of the two died. One surviving one prayed God for his tortured followers but no salvage was done. God kept silence.

Later he finally met the person he wanted to meet from the beginning. The missionary he once respected whom he tried to locate. He was advised by the missionary to abandon his faith just as he did. Then he followed his advise. What he did was stepping on plate of engraved Jesus Christ picture. That was most usual custom to check if a person is Christian or not in those days. If you could do that, that proved you were never Christian or you just abandone your faith by doing so. He stepped on it to save tortured followers. It was a deal with the authority.

Since that era, Japanese Christian teaching was totally abandoned until it was re-allowed in late 19th century.

Surprisingly the story is based on real characters and real events. In the book the authority says "Christianity can never place roots on Japanese land. It is never universal teaching." That sounds true.

In fact centuries after that era, even after freedom of faith was insured by the constitution, less than 1 % of the population are Christian today. More surprisingly in this season you can veiw many illumination and Christmas trees and find Christmas events in Tokyo. But very few of them are dedicated Christians. Japanese Christmas events are nothing but commercial purpose.

One remain of Christianity of that era may be tea ceremony. There is a legend that Japanese tea ceremony was modeled after Christian mass ceremony in that era. In fact founder of tea ceremony, Sen no Rikyu was a man of the era that Christianity was still allowed and his wife and daughter were Christian.

If that is true, Christianity was continued throughout banned era. The root was placed. Praise Jesus and Praise tea!

 

30 October 2013

TV show "Covert Affairs", US version of Ninja

I recently rent DVD series of TV show “Covert Affairs.” The story is about a female CIA agent who is multi-lingual and her associates.

 

The show reminded me of 1970’s most popular TV show, Charlie’s Angels. But the main character, Annie Walker is not as sexy as the angels. It is more of how spies do covert activities. It is like female 007.

 

Her mission is not just steal classified information or investigate what is happening but recruit someone on target side to be information providers. Like in some episodes, Annie approached embassy worker of Syria to get access key of the embassy. She also convinced secretary of prime minister of Yemen to be that. It is like making someone another spy for CIA.

 

I am not sure how realistic the stories are. But recently news that cell-phone of German Chancellor, Merkel was tapped came out. US spends huge budget on covert activities. They do actually things like that to get what they want. That is most important matter in diplomacy.

 

Speaking of spies, there were people called Ninja in feudal Japan. Like Annie Walker and James Bond, they had extra-ordinary physical strength and spying ability. They were trained to be Ninja from their childhood. They were hired by regional lords to spy and assassin opponents.

 

Covert capability is like secret military for nations. Such spy matters should go on as long as human being exists. That is why such shows are interesting.  

16:18 Posted in Film, Politics, USA issues | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: 007

23 September 2013

Destroying "Finding Nemo"s World

Last weekend I visited Okinawa, Southernmost prefecture island. Over there I saw such cute view like Disney's animated film "Finding Nemo."

okinawa, military,

Clown fish over sea anemone with a blue fish. Looks like Marlin and his son, Nemo and their friend, Dolly. I was amazed but felt so sad at the same time. Because their lives are now in threat by planned construction of US Marine Base runway expanding from Camp Schwab.

The fish were in Ohura bay, which has been designated as most vulnerable place for environmental destruction because of rich bi-diversity such as clown fish, blue coral reef (the world biggest and Northernmost of its kind), dugongs and so on. If the runway is constructed by reclaiming the sea, the sea current will change and environmentally harmful substances would be released from the base. That must give adverse effect on wildife there.  

okinawa, military,

  I scuba-dove into the sea from the opposite side of the bay to the U.S. Marine Base. Far away behind me in the above picture is where US Marine Camp is and where runway is planned to be constructed.

Growning opposition has emerged recently from localies. But the US and Japanese government are pushing hard to implement the project.

That coincides with hypocrisy in the film. That was, of course animated fiction. Fish don't talk and read. The film portrays them as good living creatures like human beings. In reality we eat fish and hunt them and put them in small aquarium unit just for viewing. In fact after the release of the film, clownfish were hunt overwhelmingly.

U.S. pretends like tropical fish loving and environmetally friendly nation but the reality is opposite and their act is very hyporitical. Not just Disney's fantazy but US policy against Japan's whaling. US is accusing Japan of whaling but at the same time it is harming most endangered marine mammals, dugongs in the bay with Defense Ministry of Japan. Some environmetal activists like Sea Shepherds even oppose dolphin hunting in Taich town of Wakayama Prefecture.

"Finding Nemo" is after all, Finding Nonesense and Hypocrisy.

30 July 2013

Film"EMPEROR" Honne (true feeling) and Tatemae (appearance)

I just saw the film. It was not excellent but not bad, actually it was good considering it was made by Americans. It was indeed made from American perspective but thoroughly desriptive about Japanese personality and culture.

The story was based on memoirs of a former military officer who did research on the emperor's responsibility for the second world war. He interviewed with former politicians, military officers, and servants for the emperor to learn about what Emperor actually did before the war and end of the war. He also tried to find where his loved Japanese woman was.  

One of impressive things about the film was one former prime minister said "Japan just followed what US and European nations did in terms of invading China and Phillipine. But why were westerners never convicted?"

The film described difference between Honne (true feeling) and Tatemae (appearance). Japanese seem to be calm in apperance but in their mind they have strong feeling and devotion which can make them brutal.

Emperor's role was very ceremonial so he was not actual starter of the war. It was the nation and militants that led the war.

However, I want to rate this film "B" not "A." It contains love romance essence but the conclusion of the romance was not what I expected. It was reverse and not so good.

Emperor has no responsibility for the war act. Not totally true. Recent research suggests the emperor actively coped with military people.

I just could not be totally satisfied with the film. I wanted more twists and surprises. Kind of clechay for Japanese who has studied this part of history.

Personally it was really helpful to me. I recently started to write a novel on the same period of the history. Mine is gender reverse. American woman and Japanese man. The woman character is inspired by a true character who helped rebuild and democratise Japan in post-war era. She visited Japan before the war.

Hope mine will come out as a film like this film.