Ok

By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

22 April 2015

Dear Fellow Americans, JFK Exhibit is held in Tokyo

I went to the exhibition of John Fitzgerald Kennedy at National Archives of Japan located near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

 

history, JFK, war, homosexuality, gay, lesbian,

 

 

I went there with one old American couple whose young days were when JFK were alive as US President. They told me that the assassination was shocking to them because he was very popular at that time.

 

The admission was free. It has been held since early March and is scheduled to end May 10, 2015. The description of exhibits are mostly Japanese. So I explained to them what each one of exhibits was about. Actually they knew what they were because those things were very familiar with them already.

 

I focused on one corner. The exhibits that relate to his relationship with Japan before he became a politician.

 

history, JFK, war, homosexuality, gay, lesbian,

 

 

A cononut paperweight and a letter to former enemy.

These things come from his war-time experience in Solomon islands, Southern Pacific 1943. JFK was on torpedo patrol boat with his crews at night. The boat was hit by Japanese naval destroyer, Amagiri and sunk. JFK and his men were all thrown out to the sea but they swam to one island. There they met locals. JFK asked them to deliver a coconut which the message of calling for help was written on to the US military corp. Then he and his men were all saved. By that incident JFK was awarded medals.

After the war, JFK made the coconut into paperweight as a memorial. JFK wrote the letter to former captain of the destroyer, Hanami telling him that he wanted to meet the captain because yesterday’s enemy turned today’s friend. Later JFK invited him to his presidential election campaign. The captain could not go to the US but his best friend, Onozaki, who was also a crew of the destroyer went. The photo that Onozaki and JFK together were printed out in newspapers in US that might help JFK win the election.

 

He might have felt saved by the Japanese military. I speculate that the enemy did not shoot at them though they found them in the sea or even gave them a rescue boat or some way to save their lives?

 

JFK to me has weird relation. When I was in US two decades ago as a college student, some of my classmates said to me that I look like JFK. I was glad to hear that.

 

I remember when I went to Arlington cemetery in Washington, I could come to his grave without knowing the route, seemed like he invited me.

okinawa, military, dugong

 

 He and I have things in common. I am Catholic and have back pain problem from young days still struggling with it some time. He and I are very much interested in civil rights advocacy.

 

 The memorable thing I saw in the exhibit was his speech film on Civil Right Act in relation to Alabama state’s defiance to Federal court order to admit Afro-American students to its state university.

 

He said,

 

“We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?

Now the time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise. The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or State or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.

The fires of frustration and discord are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand. Redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades, and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives.

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and as a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives.”

 

That speech sounds like current President Mr. Obama’s endorsement on gay marriage.

 

After a half century, a new type of civil rights movement seems to be on. The same rhetoric are used for both pros and cons. Majorities vs. Minorities. Conservatives vs. Liberals.

 

Federal protection law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been on debate.

 

Just like that State of Alabama rejected court order to provide marriage licenses to gay couples.

 

That is why Obama is called, Black Kennedy. He succeeded JFK’s will to protect civil rights.

 

Interestingly enough, unlike race matter, sexual orientation matter is common worldwide. So America can be a good role model for this issue.

 

In relation to it, this coming weekend April 25 & 26, 2015, Tokyo celebrates gay pride event in Yoyogi Park that includes street parade. I will actually join it. Last March one ward of Tokyo, Shibuya passed an ordinance that provides partnership certificate to gay couples. The first political accomplishment in Japan’s gay movement.

Japan’s public opinion regarding gay issue has recently changed.

According to the recent poll conducted by Mainichi Newspaper, majority of Japanese support gay rights, especially among younger generation. More people approve of gay marriage than those who oppose it.

 

Is it due to what has happened recently in the U.S. ?

Good role model. Hope US keep being good role model for us.

 

Since I think of JFK, there are 3 songs that come up with. The songs released in the year he was assassinated. Did he hear the songs and enjoy them?

 

One is related to civil rights movement, "Blowing in the wind", one implies coming of Vietnam war, "Green Green." The other implies the oppression I am facing with many other people regarding US policy which current US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy (JFK’s daughter) has to deal with.

 

31 March 2015

Book: Germans living in Japan during the war time

I recently bought and read a very interesting book on Germans living in Japan during 1930's and 40's, when Japan was in war with China and the USA. The Japanese title is "Senjikano-Doitsujintachi." It illustrates very unique history between Japan and Deutchland.  

There were estimated over 3000 Germans living in Japan in that period. That is as much as number of Germans living in Japan now.

During that time Japan was allied with Nazi-Germany. But the German law did not apply. So Jews could live safely in Japan. Not only Jews but exiles did like a former judge who convicted Hitler in 1920's. Other European nations were too close to Nazi-Germany so anti-Nazi people escaped to Japan crossing the Russia.

For them, Japan was like a paradise. Japanese respect Germans because Germany was considered a civilized nation that Japan should model after and was indeed the most important ally for Japan.

Nazi influence was already there. Nazis established a branch in Japan, early 1930's. However, in order to arrest anti-Nazi German citizen, they needed to ask Japanese police to do that. The Japanese at that time did not get along with Nazi ideology, expecially anti-Jew stuff.

Japan and Nazi-Germany made a Cultural agreement that bans using Jew-related materials in education. But even in 1940's Heinrich Heine poems were taught in Japanese colleges. No Japanese could not see the difference between Jews and non-Jews.

The wife of Foreign minister of Japan at that time was Jewish German. Japan was reluctant to corporate with Nazis in terms of oppression on Jews.

Not only Jews and anti-Nazi Germans but Germans who had lived in Indonesia which was former Dutch colony came to Japan after they were freed by the Japanese military. Germans in Indonesia were put in internment camp after Germany invaded Netherland. They were welcomed as citizens in an allied nation.

Japanese praised Hitler as a good and powerful allied nation's leader but did not care about details of Nazis policies. The Japanese government at that time corporated with Germany mainly to counter the U.S.

But after Gemany surrendered in May 1945. Their situation was drastically changed. Japanese thought Germany betrayed them. Some were arrested as enemy spies.

I am thinking of writing a fiction novel based on these facts.

Where the story took place is in Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture, highland resort for high-society in 1945. But there were Germans staying to escape from air-raid in ciities.

Some were Jew or anti-Nazi and some are nazi-sympathizers or nazi-officials dispatched from their homeland. They got along with Japanese who welcomed them feeling complicated. Some were very thankful but at the same time not very happy because Japan was allied with Nazis and some thought Japanese were second-class people not being white.

I guess it is going to be very interesting. In order to write a good story, I am now learning Heine's poems. It may be a main topic of the story.

15 February 2015

Film"The Butler" Is that a story of Barak Obama?

A story of a man whose father was shot in front of him on the cotton field by a white farmer and later became a house servant of the farmer and then hotel servant and finally was hired by the White House.

It is a fiction but it is based on a real batler who served the White House from 1950's Eisenhower until Reagan's administration.

It was like Black history of America.

How Black people struggled with the oppression and finally be honoured by the society.

Maybe Obama should have experienced similar things.

In order to change the society, people need to be not only brave but also clever. You cannot just fightback. You might have to get along with majority of the society regardless of their unfair treament of you.

It is a fiction but surprising thing was even in the White House, Afro-Americans were discriminated in salary and positions. It was fixed after Reagan's administration 1980's.

I like that part of America's history, not interested in founding fathers.

It is common with current event happening in Okinawa, Japan.

 

Because of that, America is no longer my favourite nation.

I can only feel mutuality with the oppressed Afro-Americans who lived in the past. 

 

14 November 2014

Deutscher film "Ludwig II" Mad, kind and gay king

Biographic story of Bayern king in 19th century Deutschland (Germany).

A young Ludwig succeeded Bayern crown after sudden death of his father.

Unlike his father, he never liked war and loved music and art. He believed art and music could maintain the peace but at the same time he had to struggle with the reality of the world.

Ludwig admired a opera music composer, Wagner. He became a patron for him. He liked Wagner's most famous opera "Lohengrin." He was a romantist.

But his kingdom faced wars and its sovereignty was weakened by defeats of the wars.

Then he tried to escape from such harsh reality and in his late years he ordered to build his own imaginative castle Neuschwanstein. Neuschwanstain was modeled after the castle on "Loengrin" stage. In Japan it is famous for model of Cinderella castle in Tokyo Disneyland.

I visited Neuschwanstein in April, 1995. Before visiting the castle, I went to Ludwig's home castle nearby. Luckily I was the only visitor so I could speak with the local guide about Ludwig's life. She told me the relationship between his dynasty and commoners was not bad so there was no bloodshed revolts like France. I asked if Ludwig was gay. The guide just laughed. Actually he was and that thing was portrayed in the film.

history

It was of course, a taboo in his society at that time. He struggled with that thing as well.

Lesson of this biography is no one can avoid reality. We all have to deal with it. If you try to escape from it, in the end you will be like Ludwig.

But art and music are really important in our real life and energize us.

Wagner's "Lohengrin" and Neuschwanstein in fact became German's most glorious heritages. Ludwig indeed contributes to his nation even after his death.  

 

00:37 Posted in Art, Deutschland, Film, Music, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, gay