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20 February 2017

German film "Er ist wieder da" (Look who's back)

The German title means "He is back again." In Japan it was titled "Hitler Returns."

The story is based on a novel of the same title. Adolf Hitler time slipped to 21st century Berlin and became a popular comedian. His comments were provocative but come with humor. People considered him imposter of Hitler, but he was a real figure.

At first it seems revival of his appearance looked comical, but in the end, it was found very serious matter. A lot of innocent people were killed by his action. Not a laughing matter.

But this reflected current trend of the world.

The very example is US President, Donald Trump who took office last month.

He is anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican, racist, sexist and America First, especially white men First. Kind of horrific figure after first Afro-American President retired.

But that was a reality of America. America has been that way from the past. He said he wanted to build the wall on Mexican border. No more Hispaics. But until 1965, America had accepted mostly white immigrants from Europe.

Liberal and cosmopolitan America is very recent phenomenon which now started to fade by this man.

In 1960's America was very rich, and countering Russian communism so liberal policy prevailed.

Today America is no longer a rich nation. Cannot afford generousity and diversity.

Like Hitler's slogan, "One Nation in One State." Americans, especially whites want to go back to White Anglo Sacson Protestant America.

Just like America, other nations follow suit. Europeans have become anti-Muslim. They are basically predominantly Christian people. Why should they accept non-Christian immigrants or refugees for humanitarian purpose? Immigrants bring different culture and language and do not easily adopt to traditional community.

In every nation, priority is traditional majority. Race, culture, and language surely matter.

Society cannot be easily changed.  When things change too quickly, it is natural that backlash comes.

Change should have been done at appropriate speed.

Whether it is good or evil, it is the law of human nature. Japan accepts very small number of immigrants or refugees compared to US or European nations. We are really natural and honest nation. But cannot be proud of that.

As for the film, I like the ending scene that Hitler waved his hand to the crowd with the song of the same title. It was 1960's German ballard song. That was really nice. I was lucky to know this song. I am studying German by this song. 

 

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

22 June 2016

Obama's visit to Hiroshima and Mass shooting in Orlando, Florida

Last month, US president Obama paid visit to Hiroshima and hugged survivor of the atomic bomb which the U.S. force dropped onto the city.

For most Japanese he was very much welcomed because he was the first sitting president who paid visit although he never apologised for the atomic bomb attack.

Many people in the world wondered why Japanese are not so much angry with the U.S. for the atomic bomb attacks.

There are two major reasons. One is we are the one who started the war attacking Pearl Harbour, and the other is we are the aggressor in that period. Before the war between Japan and the U.S., Japan provoked war against China and invaded that nation. In fact, Japan is the first nation that targeted civilians in an enemy state. US modeled after that. Civilian victims in China actually outnumbered that of Japan. So Japan is not a pure victim of the war.

We should have mixed feeling about Hiroshima. Like Germans cannot easily accuse the allied force of atrocities in Dresden that claimed around 20000 lives.

Speaking of mass murder, the mass shooting occurred in Orlando, Florida this month was very shocking. Most of the victims are LGBT Latino people. However, the gunman's motive is still unclear.

Besides that, why is the U.S. still allowing such offenders purchase guns so easily? Even after the shooting US Senate voted down gun control laws. Gun lobbying is very powerful in the U.S.

Seems the U.S. is not the nation that can value human lives. Not just people outside but in their own land.

SO SAD!!

 

23 January 2016

Being Rosa Parks at US Marine Camp Schwab in Okinawa

From last December to beginning of this month, I was in Okinawa to join protest activities of locals who are opposed to construction of new military base runways in US Marine Camp Schwab in Nago city, Okinawa.

Why we are opposed has been described in this blog for years. Please read the posts clicking the tag Okinawa.

Especially, this article gives you outline of what is going on there. My letter to US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK.

While I joined the protest, I used picket board that says "We are Rosa Parks."

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Rosa Parks as you may know, is the symbol of refusal to unjust matters. A Black woman who refused to give front seat to white passengers in a bus and was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955. But her action sparked bus boycott protest led by Dr. Martin Luther King. 9 years later, civil rights Act was passed. A year after that, Dr. King led peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery to call for enactment of voting rights bill. Black people in the Southern states were blocked at voting registration office.

What surprised me was marines reaction to the picket board. Young marines looked positive. I asked one security guard, who was a young white man inside the camp premise, if he knew what it meant. He said smilingly "I know what it means." One Black man driving a car looked at me, smiled and gestured his support. "Rosa Parks" is known to every American.    

I saw the movie, "SELMA" after I got back home in Tokyo. It was a great movie. I found how hard it was for him to do this. A lot of people were hurt and even killed. But he and his followers never gave in.

Interesting thing to know was Dr. King was a very smart man so that he once retreated the march to avoid bloodshed by local police. He filed lawsuit against the Alabama state that bans peaceful march. Then the court made an order to allow the march. He prevailed.

Just like Rosa Parks and Dr. King. we did peaceful protest at the gate of Camp Schwab. Sit-in-protest at the gate that construction vehicles passed through.

Police came and took us from the gate. We never foughtback but just kept sitting down on the ground. I was carried by the police from shoulders to toes.

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Protestants do every day. It has been going on for years. There were several injuries and arrests. But we still keep doing this. We cannot stop the construction but at least we are delaying that. We will never give in.

While I joined in the sit-in protest, I really felt like Rosa Parks, Dr. King and their followers in their times. We may be backed up by their souls. 

Thank you, Dr. King and Ms. Rosa Parks. I am proud of being part of this protest activity.

The US government should hear the voice of protestants and halt such stupid construction project. It is as stupid as segregation laws. It is actually what is happening in your own yard.