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01 June 2015

Film "Pride" The oppressed united

I just happened to know this film while participating in Tokyo Pride Parade event.

It was British movie. The Japanese title was "Parade e Yokoso (Welcome to the Parade)"

The story is based on facts. In 1980's coal miners did strike against Thatcher adminisitration's policy to close down unprofitable mines.

Gay activists in London launched fund-raising campaign named "Lesbians and Gays support miners."

At first they were not accepted by miners' community but later on both sides understood significance of corporation getting over the difference. Like one of important characters said "You support us so we support you."

In the end, miners joined gay parade to show solidarity with the activists.

The both oppressed communities got united to help each other.

I recently came up with the idea of new novel using the concept of unification among oppressed communities. Gays are not the only oppressed but women, disables, and recently those who are fearing new foreign military base construction in their local prefecture, Okinawa, Southernmost prefecture of Japan. For details, please read the articles tagged Okinawa in this blog.

The mining town in the film was in Wales. It was several hour drive from London but very different culture and people exist, even language is different. One different tribe in one nation. That thing is very much like Okinawa.  

I kind of do the similar action to the film, helping that prefecture people. On 24 May 2015 I joined protest activity such as human-chaining demonstration around Japan's Diet building in order to show solidarity with them.  

okinawa, gay, military, historyokinawa, gay, military, history

  

Last year I saw the rainbow on the construction area. It appeared from the sea. The construction project is reclaiming the beautiful coral sea. It was on the same day after I attended Okinawa's gay pride event.

okinawa, gay, military, history

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it seems another oppressed ones got united helping each other for the better future.

Just my fantasy?

 

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.

17 August 2013

Making a novel based on my alma mater's history

Last month I attended my alma mater's alumni event in Tokyo.

A lot of alumni living in Japan gathered at a restaurant exchanging memories and update information of the university. One faculty member from SFSU joined and told me about current situation. I graduated in late 1990's. He said a lot more buildings were constructed on campus.

But most surprising attendees were alumnis who graduated in 1960's. They were oldest in the group. He told us about his experience in that period. There was a student strike movement in those days following civil rights act. Ethnic minority students demanded the university to require all the students take ethnic minority study related subjects. They had been frustrated with racism in the university. Classes were boycotted and school buildings were occupied. The president of the university was changed during that time. It was Dr. Hayakawa, Japanese American. He accepted that demand.

Since then SFSU requires all the students to complete ethnic minority related courses. I did, of course. I remember what I took were Japanese American studies, Black studies, LGBT studies, and history of Japanese and Chinese women. Those were greatest studies in my life.

That ethnic study requirement was what my alma mater first acquired and spread all over the US. It was a good thing that I am proud of as alumni.

So my novel idea is based on what I heard and I research.

One Japanese student who grew up in a conservative family, Hiroshima, 1960's joined the university. He longed for America and American culture. He met a lot of kind of students there and instructors. One of them was an English teacher who was Japanese American, strict and conservative. Because of his instruction his English ability improved faster.

The strike started. The president was changed. It was that Japanese American teacher. The Japanese boy expected him to understand the movement because of his ethnicity but he was actually opposing that movement and trying to supress the students.

The Japanese boy along with his friends who were white, Afro-American, Asian Americans negotiated with him. He used what he learnt and loathed from his childhood to convince the president. Japanese heritage, tea ceremony, Kendo and so on.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

The theme song should be "Blowing in the wind." The answer is blowing in the wind.

 

25 December 2012

Translated Novel: "Let's Fundoshi" Last Chapter

A Candadin man experiences FUNDOSHI, Japanese traditional male underwear, swimming suit and custume for festival.

Read Chapter 1 first.

All the men walked to the beach and they got on the sand.

After while, they got near water’s edge. Transporting hundreds of kilograms of mikoshi, they were moving into the sea. They had to walk for 300 meters to the end of shallow.

Jacques walked on the same course for the preview a few days ago. Deepest point was as high as his chest. For others, it would be as high as their shoulder. In water, their feet could easily lose balance but they had to proceed little by little. When they reached the rock, they had to turn around to get back to the ground.

Around them was sounds of flutes and drums. All together shouted “Wassshoi, wasshoi!” The water level got so high as water got into their tabi socks shoes. Then got near the crutch. They got in depth of fundoshi. That was 100 meters away from the beach. The spectators were seen far away in small size. That made them feel like left alone in the sea.

“Here! We got into deeper” said Taizo.

As they proceeded, it got deeper and deeper and water level was getting higher. They could see the rock tens of meters away. The important thing was not let the mikoshi sink in the water. They all got united.

“Wasshoi, wasshoi!” shouted simultaneously, so loud that spectators on the ground could hear them. The water level got to Jacques’s chest. Deepest point! A few meters away was the rock.

“Now let’s go back!” shouted Taizo. Taizo got his neck in water. Looked like he could not reach his feet on the bottom swimming. He led the group to the return course.

Go back, Go back to the shrine.

“Let’s go” Jacques shouted.

The group was returning to the ground. He saw Yuriko and Annes waving their hands far away. Annes smiled at them together with Yuriko. Jacques was delighted to see that.

As they reached the beach, they found themselves wet from their feet to the shoulder. They got on the road and continue transporting the mikoshi shouting “Wasshoi, Wasshoi!” Wet bodies, wet fundoshi. They were all wet men.

Before they reach the shrine, they had to do something, which is called “Shonuki (Removing salt)” All the men were showered with pure water by a hose. They were already wet but with salt and muds they were not allowed to enter the shrine.

 

When the water touched the ground, a rainbow appeared. It was like a God’s rainbow. Impressive view. It made them feel great to get showered with water in sunlight.

Yuriko was staring at Jacques being showered with shining eyes. Her eyes seemed like seducing him. Jacques got away from the mikoshi and came close to her. Then she came close to him.

 

Jacques instantly took her hand to himself and then lifted her in his arms. Then the two kissed each other on his arms passionately. He, just couldn’t help doing it.

Oh, this was not to be done here. Here isn’t Canada.

But the crowds around them were impressed and gave cheers. The mikoshi carriers said “You, two look nice.”

After that the mikoshi got back to the shrine. They placed it on the table and the guys went away from the mikoshi. They had to go to the bath house to put off fundoshi and wash their bodies. There were some other events they had to join later.

 

Jacques went to see Yuriko and Annes before going to the bath house.

“Did you enjoy that?” Jacques said to Annes.

“Yes, I felt a little better. It is meaningless to regret what happened” said Annes.

“Jacques-san, let’s go to the bath house” said Taro behind him.

“Ok” said Jacques. Taro looked at Yuriko but he looked so fresh and showed no ill feeling. Yuriko felt relieved.  

Looking at Jacques and Taro heading to the bath house, Annes said.

“Who is that boy? He has very sexy ass. I want to get acquinted.”

Annes’s eyes focused on Taro’s ass.

 

A year later, Jacques was on a fishing boat with Taizo. Jacques got training from Taizo as fishermen. Taizo recovered his health and got back to his job. Jacques got interest in fishing since that festival. He decided to be the one like Taizo. Now he’s got training from Taizo. He decided to live in Japan from now on.

After fishing waits a pregnant wife, Yuriko. Yuriko will soon give birth to a baby.

By the way, Taro was in Canada now. With Annes. Annes was so attracted to his ass that she stalked and got him. Then the two decided to wed and have a new life there. Fundoshi changed her like a magic.

 

When they got near home, neighbor woman seemed hectic.

“Taizo-san, Jacques-san, a big trouble. Yuriko got into labor and now transported to the hospital.”

Expected labor period was a month ahead. Jacques and Taizo hurried to the hospital.

 

And a child was born. It was a healthy boy. Accidently it was a day of summer festival. Thanks to that, Taizo and Jacques could not participate in the mikoshi carrying.

The boy was born on that day, he should really love festival like Taizo and Jacques. They all thought, when he grows up, let him join the mikoshi carrying wearing fundoshi.

 

The END

 

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