Racism and Leftism in Japan

I have been, for the most part, specifically avoiding this topic on this blog, and being very careful about how I engage with it elsewhere.  The environment right now is very toxic, and quite frankly, it’s not really on topic for this blog (or, if we’re to be honest, many of the other places it’s being discussed right now).  There’s a lot of virtue signalling going on right now – like, an almost intolerable amount of it, and I do not have any desire to get on that bandwagon.  Plus emotions are running very high, and it’s impossible to have a productive discussion on any topic when one or both sides are primarily driven by emotion.  Emotion is, by its very nature, irrational.

Unfortunately, a few days ago, it became topical for this blog.

Japan does not have the same kind of racial struggles that the United States does.  In actuality, our racial struggles are somewhat unique, as we have a history that many other countries do not have.  It is an unfortunate fact that, until somewhere around the mid 1850s, we were a country of people that kept slaves.

Even though the slaves were freed and no one currently living has any memory of either keeping saves or being kept as slaves, the consequences of that unfortunate fact continue to be felt.  Recently, because of some events in the news, this has come front and center in the consciousness of my country.  Some discussions that have been happening have been productive.  Some, unfortunately, have not.  And some have been violent, which should be in no way condoned, and it is one of the greatest failures of the leadership in my country – from local to national – that it has been tolerated as much as it has.

It is, however, an unfortunate fact that the discussion has been hijacked by those with an agenda that has nothing to do with furthering the discussion, and, instead, has everything to do with promoting other, very destructive, leftist “ideals”.  And that is being exported to other countries.  Like Japan.

Japan does not care about our racial struggles, nor should they.  As they have some struggles of their own that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with hakujin or kokujin.  In fact, from what I can gather, they really can’t or won’t tell the difference in a very real way.  So us trying to import our particular brand of activism to their shores is not being taken very well.

I can’t say I blame them for that, to be honest.

But this exposes a different issue.

Japan does have racism, but it does not look like the racism that exists in my country.  As I said, it has nothing to do with “white” or “black”, but instead nihonjin and “everyone else”. This is very ingrained in their culture and has been for centuries.

Japan belongs to the Japanese – of course.  And far be it from me to be overly critical of their country when mine seems to be (almost literally, in some places), in flames.  It is, and should be, very offensive to the Japanese that some elements of my culture our trying to export our brand of activism to their shores.  On the other hand, racism in their country is very real as well, and I would hope that they would reflect on that fact.

I really, really would not like to see some kind of extreme activist movement popping up in their country and wreaking the kind of havoc that has been wreaked in mine.  Because the very justifiable offense of racism seems to have the unfortunate effect of opening a toehold into much more unsavory things that have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with an incursion of leftist ideology.  America is very robust against those kinds of incursions, as even with the full complicitness of the government and the media, it is being greatly resisted.  Because of the particular way that Japanese society is structured, I am not sure how resilient they would be to such a thing.

I hope, for their sake, that they can withstand the disruption that is almost inevitably coming.  It seems that no country, right now, is immune from disruption.  I don’t know if it’s too late for the US yet, but I’m rooting for them.

Shades of Grey

Not of the “fifty” variety, sorry.  Maybe that will be an appropriate topic in the far distant future, but not today.

Over the past few days, my country has been in the throes of a great deal of civil unrest.  It was precipitated by a very unfortunate event in Minneapolis.  I don’t really want to talk about that, as there’s nothing productive that can come from it.  Instead, I want to tell some of my personal story.

I was raised in a very small, but very controlling religious cult.  They controlled every aspect of our lives, and the “community” that they created was pretty much my entire life for my entire childhood.  Because of that, I have a very unique background that is, and was, maybe shared by about 250,000 people around the entire world.

I know about one hundred songs, almost by heart, that no one else knows, and they have a very specific emotional context to me that no one else knows about.  I was taught very damaging things that few others were, and they have colored my worldview so deeply that I haven’t been able to live a truly “normal” life, ever.  No one understands my point of view, no one understands my perspective, no one understands my personal traumas (of which there are many), and no one understands my “lived experiences”.

And there is a large group of people out there who don’t care, because my skin is a certain color.  It doesn’t matter how much I have suffered, and am suffering, in life.  It doesn’t matter my background.  Since I am a certain skin color, and not another skin color, I’m immediately lumped in with every one else who is my skin color.  That is, by the way, the very definition of racism.  Or, at least, the only definition I’ll accept.

Over the years, I have grown to accept the fact that few people will see the world as I do, and even take a certain sense of value out of the fact that since my perspectives are so different, I have something very unique to offer the world.  I haven’t yet figured out how to actually offer it yet, but my experiences make me. me.  I could choose to be a “victim” and decide that since my church and family has, in a very real way, ruined my life, that I’ll just spend the rest of my life making sure that everyone else knows it, and trying my hardest to make those who destroyed me feel guilty, or pay in another way.  Or I could just accept the fact that no one else will ever understand my point of view, that my experiences are unique, and perhaps that makes me a unique person who can make an impact on the world in my own way.

Life is hard for me, very hard, in a way that even the people I interact with on a daily basis do not and cannot understand.  Just because I don’t share a particular set of problems (and yes, those of other races or cultures have their own unique set of problems) doesn’t mean I don’t share another, equally troublesome, set of problems.  My skin color does not define me.  My culture, and my experiences, are what define me.  As well as my decisions.

And this is why I am staying mostly silent on much of the stuff going on around me right now.  I don’t feel guilty, I don’t feel ashamed, I don’t feel as if I owe anyone anything.  I don’t feel a responsibility to atone for others, nor do I feel a responsibility to do anything but be my own unique self, and contribute to the world what I am able.  The rest of it, will have to work out in its own way.

And that is, God willing, all I will ever say here on that topic.