Yukio Mishima seen following the Dalai Lama in Osaka

Another big black van full of Japanese rightists was heard booming its way through Umeda at lunchtime today. The recorded voice was female (kinder, gentler fascism, as noted earlier this month), and the volume was such that I had no idea what she was saying (not that I can really follow their archaic jargon anyway). The only word I could decipher was “Chuugoku” (China, 中国). The Japanese right’s hatred of China is well-known, and today’s arrival of the Olympic torch is probably what’s got them rattling their cages. Business as usual.

But wait – what is that large photograph in the front windshield? I squint and stop in my tracks – it’s the Dalai Lama. Now, since the Japanese militarist right regards most other Asians as subhuman, fit only for subjugation (a theory last tested 70 years ago and still needing, in their opinion, more field work), I can’t understand their belated support for the Tibetans. I do know that the Lama is deeply respected by practicing Buddhists and the socially aware, and the right has also, somehow, cottoned on to this. They’re hiding behind the Tibetan struggle, the better to put the boot into the Chinese. Of course, they want a boycott; of course, they don’t give a damn about the Tibetans.

The truck rolled past. I smiled and waved politely, having learned that they hate foreigners doing that even more than being given the finger. They expect to be feared and respected (they certainly get the former, if not the latter, from the locals who don’t even look up). The truck was probably empty except for the dumpy, humourless, middle-aged driver (they all look the same, those guys), but with the windows all blacked out, it was difficult to tell.

On the back of the truck, to my continuing surprise, was an airbrushed portrait of the writer Yukio Mishima, shirtless, looking severe, and holding a katana. Like the portrait, Mishima has been airbrushed to suit the needs of the looney right. According to Donald Richie, who was acquainted with Mishima for nearly 20 years, the writer would have despised the unfit and ignorant thugs who now hold him up as a symbol of their cause. Besides, if you want to read some of his works abroad, you’ll often be directed to the gay literature section of the bookstore. Like most subjects pertaining to reality, it’s something the rightists (who are of course as homophobic as they are racist) are in denial about. In the unlikely event that I’m ever in conversation with one, the first topic I’ll bring up will be Confessions of a Mask. I’m sure he’ll never have heard of it.

Naturally, I didn’t have my camera, so no photos. Recently, though, late-April in Japan has become the watered-down, truck-driven equivalent of Marching Season, so I might have plenty more chances.

This entry was posted in Blogroll, culture, japan, Osaka, 大阪, 日本. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Yukio Mishima seen following the Dalai Lama in Osaka

  1. Melody says:

    those guys are boobs. One of them lived a couple of houses away from one of my good friends. Apparently he was the driver because the van was always parked nearby. She and her family considered him a clown – I got the impression he was a loser who had no other means of feeling special.

  2. nagaijin says:

    Yes, they are basically ridiculous, but they know they intimidate people, so, like school bullies, they keep blaring their nonsense. And I do wonder who’s bankrolling them – the goobers you see driving the trucks are not exactly rich. The pictures of the Dalai Lama and Mishima also require a bit more thought (convoluted though it is) than those drivers are capable of.

  3. Melody says:

    I wondered who’s supporting them also. Probably the same companies and individuals who bought this thing: 特殊部落地名総鑑 Tokushu Buraku Chimei Soukan

  4. billywest says:

    I read somewhere that Mishima was once engaged to the present Emperor’s wife before revealing that he was gay. It doesn’t seem that either of those two situations would make the uyoku happy.

  5. Madam X says:

    Eloquent as usual qt, i can see that truck and smell Osaka days (and nights) in your txt
    I remember, I remember, I remember…
    an old house and summer rain
    cherry tomatoes on sponge cake at high tea
    fred ordering ramen at yoshinoya
    and kicking his bicycle to pieces
    and you in lycra cycling to egano sho
    all that near on 12 years ago
    keep on writing for me xxx

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