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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Saving the Soul of Japan: Leaders

Yasuhiro Nakasone who was elected the 71st prime minister of Japan in November of 82’ and who was also a known nationalist and, first prime minister to visit Yasukuni Shrine, was affectionately known as “Ron-Yasu” because of his close relationship with the late Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. (the American president who repealed almost every Civil Right initiative set forth in the 20th Century).

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Mr. Nakasone and Mr. Obuchi shared many of the same initiatives; improving relations with the then USSR and improving the economy. There was also Mishima and Abe but they were both out of touch with the people, yet they were focused on reviving the Soul of Japan – both failed miserably. And then we had Obuchi and Nakasone who were both in touch with the people, and who were both nationalist who too both failed to revive the soul of Japan; two who were quite unrealistic and two who were quite realistic, but all of them failed to revive the Soul of a Nation. And then we had Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who visited Yasukuni Shrine( enshrined judicial martyrs) six times while in office and even he failed to revive the soul of Japan which leads me to a dead end.

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What is the Soul of Japan? Or was there ever one to begin with? How does one define the Soul of a nation? Calling the emperor by his true name; teaching patriotism in schools; singing the national anthem; visiting the shrine…all of these things wherefore are the Japanese people? Is it not enough that an overwhelming majority of Japanese oppose everything I just listed above, and yet at the same time they can call themselves proud Japanese!? Is there something intrinsic about being a Japanese? Is it the martial spirit?

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