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Japanese art, culture and the Yamabushi: Benkei and the loyal warrior monk

Japanese art, culture and the Yamabushi: Benkei and the loyal warrior monk

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In Japanese culture, history and art, it is clear that Saito no Musashibo Benkei left a lasting impression and this continues today in modern culture. This legendary warrior monk belonged to the intriguing period of the 12th century. He was born in 1155 and died in 1189 after serving the famous Minamoto no Yoshitsune.  The images in this article come from the esteemed toshidama (Toshidama Gallery), whereby you can feel the power of Benkei and visually understand how he was portrayed in Japanese art.

Benkei is famous within the folklore of Japan because of his enormous strength which was matched by great loyalty. In the realm of Japanese art and the majestic ukiyo-e movement, then Benkei provides a wealth of images by many famous artists.

It is noted that he was extremely tall because by the age of seventeen Benkei had reached two meters in height. This is still very tall by the standard of today. On top of this was many other great attributes which belong to his fighting skills and the knowledge he obtained during his travels to many Buddhist monasteries.

Of course, within Japanese folklore and the mysteries of history and Shintoism, then many intriguing stories evolve around Benkei. He firmly belongs to the power and prestige of Buddhism and the warrior class that emerged during this period of Japanese history. However, just like Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all been influenced by the Pagan culture where they developed; this similarly happened to Benkei because the power of Shintoism was fused within many elements of Japanese Buddhism and folklore. Therefore, these intriguing stories about Benkei clearly have survived the test of time because he remains a potent figure today in modern Japan.

Much depends on the Benkei which appeals to the storyteller but within Japanese art and the tradition of ukiyo-e; it is clear that the term Oniwaka is merged within the nature of this famous warrior monk. Oniwaka means the “demon or ogre child.” Of course, many other fascinating stories evolve around Benkei including his deeds on the battlefield. For example, it is stated that he defeated at least 200 military men during major battles throughout his life. This of course may be exaggerated or it may not; yet the point is that his fame within the warrior class appealed greatly when judged with his great physical strength and the loyalty that bestowed him throughout his lifetime.

It is also reported that Benkei in time became a yamabushi (mountain warrior monk) and for this reason he is often depicted in a cap. This fits in well with the yamabushi who had many fine qualities. After all, the yamabushi were not only mighty warriors who were blessed with respective supernatural powers. Equally important, was the ascetic nature of the yamabushi and the exemplary knowledge they held related to the Shugendo doctrine.

The Shugendo doctrine evolved around the fusions and integration of many powerful thought patterns. This applies to the school of Shingon Buddhism and the esoteric nature of this faith, the rich heritage of Shinto, the Tendai Buddhist faith and the great philosophy of Taoism. Therefore, the yamabushi were not just mysterious holy men who had mighty powers in the area of military strength; but equally powerful was the knowledge that each individual had obtained in this world and how they utilized this with the mystery of nature.

His loyalty remains famous today and the Toshidama Gallery sums up Benkei extremely well when it comes to the loyalty of this esteemed individual. Toshidama states that “…he was raised by monks who were both religious and military. As a young man he positioned himself at one end of Gojo Bridge and disarmed travelers of their swords. On reaching his 999th sword he fought with a young nobleman, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who won the battle of the bridge and thereafter Benkei served as his principal retainer. They fought in the Gempei Wars between the Taira clan and their own Minamoto clan.”

If you are intrigued about Benkei then this article is providing just a snippet of the importance of Benkei within many aspects of Japanese culture, history and folklore.

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_473/Toshihide-Portraits-of-Sansho–Ichikawa-Danjuro-IX-as-Benkei-1893.htm

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_391/Kunisada-Benkei-and-Yoshitsune-fighting-on-Gojo-Bridge.htm

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_237/Kunisada-Portrait-of-Benkei.htm

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_246/Yoshitaki-Benkei-and-Yoshitsune-at-Gojo-Bridge.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Japan

 

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Syrian groups meet in Qatar which is supporting terrorism, sectarianism and sedition against Syria

Syrian groups meet in Qatar which is supporting terrorism, sectarianism and sedition against Syria

Walter Sebastian and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Individual Syrian opposition groups are meeting in a nation which is creating so much carnage against Syria and the Syrian people. It is inconceivable that such groups don’t know that nations like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are enabling terrorists, seditionists, mercenaries and covert operatives to destroy secular Syria. Therefore, individuals who are now meeting in Doha are not only “selling their soul” but clearly they care little that this nation is responsible for so much carnage, including the growing role of Islamist killers in Syria.

If individuals are against the Syrian government then this is up to them. Yet, to gather in a nation which is inciting hatred and sowing the seeds of sectarianism; then this is unforgivable. Nothing can justify the barbarity being unleashed against the Syrian people including beheading individuals, countless massacres, cleansing Christians and other minorities, killing journalists and destroying the economy. However, despite Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar causing so much suffering in Syria and creating sectarianism and terrorism; you now have Syrians entering Qatar which is supporting so much hatred towards Syria.

Also, look at the mass contradictions of this gathering. After all, are nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar democratic? Therefore, why would Syrian opposition groups enter “this den of sectarianism and hatred” which is fueling so much carnage in Syria? Similarly, how ridiculous is it to demand political rights within such a feudal nation state which is ruled by wealthy monarchs.

It is known that some Christians, Kurds and Alawites are being manipulated in order to claim that “a broad church” exists. However, in the last few days many Kurds have been killed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a female Kurdish leader was killed after being tortured. At the same time, more Christian churches have been attacked and clearly Christians are fleeing Islamist terrorists and not the Syrian armed forces which are protecting the Christian community. Similarly, Alawites are being beheaded and butchered in other ways alongside Shia Muslims by Sunni Islamist fanatics who hate religious diversity.

Also, for Kurds, Christians and Alawites, then why are they in league with another axis of evil called the Erdogan government of Turkey? Do Kurds really believe that Turkey is a land of equality and freedom in Turkey for the Kurdish population? Likewise, do Alawites believe that the Alevi have equal rights in Turkey? The same applies to various different Christian sects who have suffered so brutally in Turkish history –after all, did Christianity survive in Syria or in Turkey to a major degree? Therefore, why are religious and ethnic minorities putting their trust in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar?

Many media agencies are stating “rebel forces” but when did al-Qaeda become a rebel force? The same applies to other Islamist terrorist organizations doing car bombings, killing minorities, destroying churches and burning Bibles. Other groups like the loosely FSA outfit is a mixture of Islamists, mercenaries and terrorists. Also, seeing them being paid in crispy dollars sums up much about this anti-Syrian setup.

Therefore, in Doha you have many Syrian opposition groups happily visiting a nation which is funding so much carnage against Syria. Also, from a distance you have America, France and the United Kingdom meddling. Maybe, these Syrian opposition groups really believe that these forces helped the people of Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq? If so, then once more they must have their eyes closed because the reality is more terrorism, failed nation states, sectarianism and decreasing rights for women.

It is known that people like Riad Seif and others are being groomed by America and other nations, depending on the respective individual. Once more it is outside meddling which is intent on dictating to Syrians.

If the government of Bashar al-Assad falls, it will fall because so many nations have supported terrorism, sectarianism, sedition and other brutal methods. Clearly, the carnage in Syria belongs to outside nations and terrorist organizations which care nothing about this nation. The mass media can re-write events like usual but clearly the Assad government continues to survive because of internal factors. Despite this, the nations of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are still funding and enabling terrorists, mercenaries, covert operatives and the flow of arms to enter Syria.

Instead of Syrian opposition groups dealing with nations which are supporting the destruction of Syria; they should focus on internal mechanisms outside of wanton violence and sectarianism. Indeed, the people of Syria need protecting from the axis of evil in Ankara, Doha and Riyadh. Therefore, irrespective of the final outcome of the meetings taking place in Qatar, it is clear that these groups have no qualms in visiting a nation which is spreading carnage within Syria and which is blatantly feudal.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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US and Japan holding military exercises: People of Okinawa are being marginalized

US and Japan holding military exercises: People of Okinawa are being marginalized

Joachim de Villiers, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States and Japan are currently holding military exercises which will last until November 16. Yet the biennial military exercise called Keen Sword appears to show a lack of sensitivity towards the people of Okinawa. This applies to the existing tensions between Okinawa and mainland Japan which continues to brush aside the demands of local people.

Currently the United States military is being forced to keep its head down in Okinawa after recent rape allegations and because of a brutal attack against a teenager. Of course, the issue of American bases throughout Okinawa runs much deeper. This doesn’t only apply to the actions of the United States but also towards the government of Japan. Yet with such recent heightened tensions over the deployment of MV-22 Osprey and the behavior of American troops, then once more it appears that the people of Okinawa are not viewed highly to political leaders based in Tokyo.

In Okinawa, many local people believe that the central government in Japan treats this area like a second-class region. This is based on the reality that a sizeable amount of the armed forces of America are stationed in Okinawa compared to mainland Japan. Historical realities also mean that the indigenous people of Okinawa seem to be a pawn which is openly manipulated by Tokyo and Washington. Therefore, if Okinawa is truly part of Japan, then why are the wishes of local people ignored so much?

The people of Okinawa on the whole are not demanding the expulsion of all American bases but they do want mainland Japan to share the burden. America is not insensitive to the demands of Okinawa but clearly the central government of Japan seems distant. After all, over 70% of all American forces are based in Okinawa despite repeated demands for sharing the responsibility with mainland Japan.

In the New York Times editorial (November 2, 2012) it is stated that “Many Okinawans believe, with justification, that their views are irrelevant to the Japanese government and the United States, whose geopolitical priorities trump local concerns about jet crashes, noise, environmental destruction and crime. That has not stopped protesters from tirelessly raising objections, most strongly in 1995, when three servicemen gang-raped a schoolgirl, and in September, when tens of thousands demonstrated against the deployment of the Osprey.”

Further down in the same editorial it states about America that political leaders“…should move swiftly to lighten its presence on Okinawa, by shifting troops to Guam, Hawaii and elsewhere in Japan. Okinawans will feel safer and less aggrieved only when they believe that Japan and the United States are taking their objections seriously.

The sad truth is that political leaders in Tokyo appear to view the area to be second-class because historically Okinawa (Ryukyu Kingdom) never belonged to Japan. Therefore, the government of Japan is still viewing Okinawa in a subservient manner. This policy is not only backfiring against political leaders in Tokyo but it is also impacting on America and the military forces based throughout Japan. Given this reality, then Washington should make the first move because little seems to change the hearts of political leaders in Tokyo.

Currently, relations between China and Japan have hit rock bottom because of the territorial dispute. Yet for people in Okinawa it is the lack of transparency within successive governments based in Tokyo which is the real issue.

Therefore, the current joint military exercises by America and Japan in the waters of Okinawa is also a symbol of major powers ignoring the wishes of local people. China may hog the headlines because of the current tense situation with Japan over territory. Yet in Okinawa it appears that their voices count for nothing because countless demonstrations and protests have not altered the major imbalance of American forces being based in Okinawa.

In the Asahi Shimbun (article written by Satoshi Okumura, Norio Yatsu and Tsukasa Kimura) it was stated that“Huge protests erupted in Okinawa Prefecture and other parts of Japan over the deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa Prefecture. Residents and local leaders cited the spotty safety record of the aircraft, and they repeated that the island prefecture continues to shoulder the overwhelming burden of hosting U.S. military bases under the Japan-U.S. security alliance.”

The government of Japan just like China uses nationalist rhetoric over the ongoing territorial dispute between both nations. Ironically, however, many people in Okinawa are also disillusioned with political leaders in mainland Japan because of the second-class nature of the treatment of people from Okinawa. It is time for political elites in distant Tokyo to wake-up to the demands of local people in Okinawa. Also, Washington must do more to defuse the situation.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201210310074

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 

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Tokyo Times and Fashion, Anime and Otaku Culture (part one)

Tokyo Times and Fashion, Anime and Otaku Culture (part one)

Hiroshi Saito, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo lifestyle is an amazing experience for Tokyoites, tourists and expatriates. The wealth of choices and things to do is boundless. Another amazing feature is that unlike many famous international cities in the world, this ultra-modern capital is extremely safe compared with certain no-go areas in parts of London, Paris, Los Angeles, and so forth, which all have zones of danger. Therefore, the Tokyo “magnet” keeps on drawing people into this fantastic city.

This article is the first of many related to Tokyo lifestyle and places to visit. After all, the huge pulling power of Tokyo applies within Japan and internationally. Also, the unique features of Tokyo are often in the news therefore many people feel a connection with this city and want to know so much more.

If individuals adore fashion then of course they will visit countless districts in this high octane city. The first recommendation is Omotesando because this part of Tokyo shares the same “fashion hub” which belongs to Aoyama, Harajuku, and Shibuya. The sheer size of this enormous “fashion hub” is a wonder to behold.

In Aoyama and Omotesando you will find the crème de la crème of fashion companies and of course Harajuku and Shibuya are equally blessed with some of the finest boutiques to be found in the world. The main difference is that while Harajuku and Shibuya have a noticeable youthful angle which endears teenagers and young adults, the Omotesando and Aoyama angle is mainly based on sophistication.

In saying that, the backstreets of Omotesando are also blessed with independent boutiques which cater for young adults. This especially applies to the casual angle and the power of American fashion mixed with Tokyo fashion can be felt richly. However, the main emphasis in Omotesando and Aoyama applies to the age group between the middle of the twenties to the early forties. Of course, individuals who are younger and older are fully catered for despite the above age group being the target area.

Indeed, the sophistication of some of the boutiques and high price ranges in Aoyama and Omotesando – means that purchasing power of the most exquisite designer clothes is the main focus and not specifically the age group. Of course, this will exclude the target angle being teenagers within the main areas which are blessed with adorable boutiques of extreme quality. Therefore, more mature adults will have ample opportunities to buy adorable items and purchase other top quality fashion goods in Omotesando and Aoyama.

The electric vibe of Omotesando is most noticeable because it is a place to explore and enjoy. Omotesando Hills and Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara) have altered the landscape of old Omotesando. However, both fantastic malls cater for fashion lovers and other areas related to lifestyle in Tokyo.

One major feature of major cities like Tokyo and Osaka is the reality of anime and otaku culture. In Tokyo you have many fantastic places to visit in order to fulfill your anime and otaku love affair. One essential shop to visit is Mandrake which is the number one company in Japan for secondhand items related to anime, manga and otaku culture. This company can be found throughout Japan.

Mandrake (http://ekizo.mandarake.co.jp/shop/en/caters for magazines, hentai comics, art books, cosplay, photography, Bishojo figures, Yaoi doujinshi (brand new and second hand), and a host of other areas. The CEO of this company commented that Our mission is to take over the world using manga and otaku things” While Mandrake can be found throughout Tokyo and Japan, the store in Nakano in Tokyo is special because of its history related to this vibrant company.

Another fantastic company to visit is Animate which is located in Ikebukuro. Indeed, Ikebukuro fashion is also fantastic. This notably applies to fashion malls including Lumine, Esola, Marui, Parco, Tobu Department Store and Seibu Department Store. Also, you have other areas which focus on casual fashion therefore Ikebukuro is awash with fashion companies catering for many different styles.

Turning back to Animate then Patrick Macias in The Guardian (UK newspaper) states that Animate is“specifically catering to female otaku.”  He further comments that the “Eight floors are mostly populated by otaku teens and young adults, and filled with the requisite anime goods and merchandise, but the real selling point here is the large selection of homoerotic-themed manga and novels from the “boy’s love” genre, a popular and influential subculture within a subculture.” 

Animate (http://www.animate.co.jp/) also appeals because unlike the relentless hustle and bustle of this scene in Akihabara, this store is a treasure by itself within a vibrant fashion district in Tokyo. The angle of catering for female otaku is also an added bonus along with selling products which cater for otaku fans in general.

Overall, it is clear that Tokyo lifestyle is extremely diverse and this article only delves into a small area of life in Tokyo. However, Tokyo lifestyle is blessed by the reality of fashion and otaku culture irrespective if this angle appeals to individuals or not. Without such a vibrant fashion and otaku culture then Tokyo wouldn’t be the same place.

All fashion images taken by Modern Tokyo Times.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Japan

 

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Sesshu Toyo and historical art in Japan (1420-1506)

Sesshu Toyo and historical art in Japan (1420-1506)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Sesshu Toyo during his lifetime was highly revered in Japan and China because of his artistic talent related to the visual arts. He was educated with the intent of being a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest and the importance of interaction between China and Japan was the norm in this period for the elites within society.

Chinese Song Dynasty landscape art was very important to Sesshu Toyo unlike Ming Dynasty art which didn’t have the same creativity according to him.  However, other aspects of the Ming Dynasty appealed to Sesshu Toyo and this notably applies to temples built in this period.

His art work titled “Sansui Chokan” (Long Landscape Scroll) highlights the richness of Sesshu Toyo. However, with the psyche of culture being very different from Western norms whereby individual artists desire to highlight themselves, this logic did not enter the mindset of many Japanese artists because of cultural differences in this period.

Therefore, many art pieces may state Sesshu Toyo by bearing his signature or seal but many of these paintings were done by his pupils or were copies of his work. This complicates things for art lovers who are lay people but the discerning eye of experts have distinguished his artwork based on several factors.

Xia Gui and other Chinese artists influenced Sesshu Toyo but he had a distinctive style despite this. This applies to a more pronounced variance related to light and shadow and his lines were heavier. Other areas were notably different and this applies to the depiction of space and dimensional attributes.

My personal favorite piece is the “Huike Offering His Arm to Bodhidharma” because you have a clear spiritual dimension. This stunning artwork was done in 1496 and is based on the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma, and below him is Huike who became the second patriarch.

Despite Huike cutting off his arm after being rejected many times by Bodhidharma you don’t feel any warmth or reverence. Instead a battle of minds is at play and the aloofness provides a mystical aspect because while Bodhidharma is depicted with a different aura and power, this does not deter or infringe on the thinking of Huike. Therefore, does the real power belong to Bodhidharma or Huike?

Many interpretations can be given but in the painting it appears that Huike desires knowledge and he will do anything to obtain this. However, does he desire the knowledge in order to reach another dimension? 

If Huike revered Bodhidharma then why doesn’t he offer the arm with respect or at least seek eye contact and to express his piety by kneeling?  It seems that the arm which was offered and the knowledge that Huike desires from Bodhidharma, is a means to an end and that he seeks to reach deeper into the spiritual world but seeks to surpass his master.

Of course, you will have many different interpretations and different cultural and religious thinking alongside individualism and other areas. However, the painting does not show “love,” “piety” or “trust” but instead it shows realism and coldness.

Could it be that the depiction is a duplicate and in truth the meaning is far from what it is perceived to be?  In other words, Bodhidharma is Zen Buddhism and Huike is Sesshu Toyo and the arm depicts his love of art.

This may appear far-fetched to many individuals but this artwork was done near the end of his life. Also, it is reported that he was punished for loving art more than studying Zen Buddhism when he was much younger. Therefore, while Zen Buddhism was a powerful reality within his mindset the pull of art was also deeply embedded within his soul and psyche.

Irrespective of personal views about this remarkable piece of art it is clear that Sesshu Toyo enriched this world.

 

http://www.japanese-arts.net/painting/zen_sesshu.htm 

http://www.dharmanet.org/Zenart.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Japan

 

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Supreme Court in Japan: Karoshi verdict after tragic work related suicide

Supreme Court in Japan: Karoshi verdict after tragic work related suicide

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Yuji Uendan tragically committed suicide after bouts of depression related to overwork and poor environmental conditions. Despite only being 23 years old he couldn’t take anymore and saw no way out. Therefore, depression, extreme tiredness, and poor working conditions tilted him over the edge.

This tragic incident happened in 1999 and after many years of wrangling the Tokyo High Court in 2009 ruled against Nikon Corp. and a Nagoya based temporary employment agency.  However, the verdict was contested and sent to the Supreme Court.

Nikon Corp. and the temporary employment agency disputed the verdict in 2009 because of several factors.  Therefore, the case continued to drag on but finally the Supreme Court has dismissed their objections and told both companies to pay 70 million yen to the mother of Yuji Uendan.

Misako Hida in her article called The Land of Karoshi comments that “The late Mr. Uendan had worked for nearly 16 months as an inspector of semiconductor producing equipment in the subdued yellowish light of a clean-room at a Nikon factory in Kumagaya, dressed from head to toe in a white dust-free garment. The young man was employed by the manufacturing contractor Nextar (currently known as Atest) and was temping at his employer’s client, Nikon, a major Japanese camera and optical equipment maker.”

“Uendan worked 11-hour rotating day and night shifts with overtime and extra business trips that brought his work hours to as long as 250 hours a month at times. In his final stretch of work at the factory, he had worked 15 straight days without a day off. He was suffering from stomachaches, insomnia, numbness of extremities. His weight had dropped 13 kilograms.”

On the fatal day when Yuji Uendan took his life he had wrote“The time I spent has been wasted” on a board. He committed suicide in his apartment in Kumagaya City, Saitama, after continuously working for 15 days. All warning signs were ignored including the loss of 13 kilograms, insomnia and issues related to depression.

“Karoshi” (death from overwork) is a serious problem in Japan because working long hours and having few holidays is putting too much pressure on many workers. Laws that have been passed are vague and open to manipulation and bullying and poor working conditions are other areas of problems in Japan.

The sad reality is that for the past decade more than 30,000 people commit suicide every year in Japan and this figure is much higher than the tragic tsunami which killed around 20,000 people.  Therefore, over 300,000 Japanese nationals have killed themselves in the last decade and while the factors will be complex and vary, it is clear that overwork is claiming the lives of many Japanese people.

Of course many Japanese companies protect workers but it is abundantly clear that many don’t. Also, many foreign companies which have tight regulations in Europe and North America about working long hours don’t apply the same standards in Japan. Therefore, Japanese companies and international companies are both exploiting the goodwill of Japanese workers.

Some individuals like Hiroshi Kawahito, Secretary General of the National Defence Council for Victims of Karoshi, believes that around 5,000 people a year commit suicide because of overwork. However, the real figure from karoshi related suicides each year is difficult to verify but the figure will indeed be high like Hiroshi Kawahito states.

In the article by Misako Hida it is stated that “Too much overtime, which virtually precludes worker use of paid vacations, is a serious issue,” says a lawyer, Kosuke Hori, who is previous Director General of the Labour Lawyers Association of Japan. Japan has not ratified any ILO worktime-related conventions, including Convention 132 concerning Holidays with Pay and Convention 1 concerning Hours of Work.”

“The domestic Labor Standards Law does not cap the amount of overtime under certain conditions. “When it comes to working hours,” Mr. Morioka writes in his book. “In Japan, nothing in the way of international labor standards exists.”

Therefore, the decision by the Supreme Court is very important and issues related to karoshi needs to be challenged because how many more victims will this claim before something is finally done?

The verdict is a stepping stone in the right direction but much more needs to be done in order to protect workers in Japan.

http://www.cpi-media.co.jp/kawahito/index_e.htm

http://ilsforjournalists.itcilo.org/en/home/press-room/the-land-of-karoshi

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Apostate to Christianity beheaded in Somalia and Saudi hatred in the UK

Apostate to Christianity beheaded in Somalia and Saudi hatred in the UK

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In nations like Somalia and Saudi Arabia apostates from Islam face the death penalty and in Pakistan the death penalty even applies to blasphemy.  If you want to understand how Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism faired in Islamic history then no point to reach for your history books because systematic persecution is ongoing.

The dhimmitude system and Islamic Sharia law is institutional apartheid with the death penalty added in order to maintain constant fear at all times.  Therefore, every single Muslim in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia is denied free will and in Pakistan minority Muslim groups like the Ahmadiyya face enormous persecution.

At the same time Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and all other non-Muslim faiths and minority Muslim faiths, face an Islamic inquisition when nations are governed in full compliance with Islamic Sharia law. Therefore, Shia Islam is illegal in Sunni Muslim Malaysia and Ahmadiyya Muslims are persecuted in Pakistan and recently the same persecution is happening against this community in Indonesia.

Shia News reported that “Although other approved religions, including Christian denominations, Hinduism and Buddhism are allowed in Malaysia, the government considers Shi’ite Islam a deviant sect of Islam. Saravanamuttu says the Department of Islamic Development in Malaysia has cracked down on Shi’ite and other non-Sunni Islamic sects in the past and is empowered by law to do so.”

If this doesn’t alarm you then remember that Saudi Arabia is funding countless institutions which are spreading this dangerous ideology. Even in the United Kingdom you had Saudi Arabian curriculum school books spreading hatred towards Jews and homosexuals.

In the New York Times in an article called Lessons of Hate at Islamic Schools in Britain (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/world/europe/23britain.html ) by John F. Burns he comments that A British network of more than 40 part-time Islamic schools and clubs with 5,000 students has been teaching from a Saudi Arabian government curriculum that contains anti-Semitic and homophobic views, including a textbook that asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, according to a BBC documentary.”

“The 30-minute “Panorama” program quoted the Saudi government-supplied textbook as saying that Jews “looked like monkeys and pigs” and further down the article it states that “One of the textbooks, according to the BBC program, prescribed execution as the penalty for gay sex, and outlined differing viewpoints as to whether death should be by stoning, immolation by fire or throwing offenders off a cliff. Another set out the punishments prescribed by Shariah law for theft, including amputation of hands and feet. A BBC video accompanying an article on the program’s Web site showed a textbook illustration of a hand and a foot marked to show where amputations should be made.”

Therefore, if this branch of Islamic ideology is being allowed to spread in the mainly non-Muslim world it goes without saying that the situation is even more severe where the “heart of darkness” prevails over society. This “heart of darkness” applies to nations which support killing apostates, for example Saudi Arabia, and other Western allies like Afghanistan – yes, with allies like this it makes you wonder what politicians are doing in the West.

In Saudi Arabia and Somalia all apostates face the death penalty and Islamists in Somalia, many who once resided in America and the United Kingdom, have joined the Al-Shabaab in order to kill all Christian apostates and to turn this nation into year zero.

In early September, 2011, Juma Nuradin Kamil was beheaded by Islamists on the grounds that he abandoned Islam and converted to Christianity.  He was decapitated while Islamists will have been in religious ecstasy while killing this innocent Christian in such a brutal and barbaric way.

Juma Nuradin Kamil was murdered for merely leaving the Islamic faith. Therefore, if you wonder why you have no Buddhists left in Afghanistan, then this modern day reality in Somalia will enlighten you more than reading naïve books which often gloss over the truth. 

Sadly, religious freedom isn’t a universal human right and in Saudi Arabia not one Ahmadiyya, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Sikh,  and Zoroastrian place of worship is allowed. Indeed, Iran is more moderate than Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Maldives, and Yemen, because the indigenous Christian church is allowed despite certain constraints when it applies to proselytism.

If international pressure isn’t put on Saudi Arabia and other nations which support killing apostates, then nothing will change and state sanctioned ideology will continue to kill people on the grounds of being anti-free will.

Juma Nuradin Kamil was “a beacon of light” for all Somalians who support democracy, liberty, free will and religious freedom.  At the same time, democratic nations need to be vigilant at home because in countries like the United Kingdom this sponsored evil is entering the education system and indoctrinating children because of loopholes in the private educational sector.

However, while Juma Nuradin Kamil was “a beacon of light” the light will one day be fully crushed and darkened if nations, organizations, and other avenues, don’t fight back against religious intolerance and indoctrination.

Many moderate voices in the Muslim world have also been crushed and in Pakistan several prominent Muslims have been killed for defending Christians and other non-Muslims.

Free will is an indelible right for all people irrespective of religion or no religion. Therefore, turning a blind eye or going down the moral relativism path doesn’t wash because innocent individuals like Juma Nuradin Kamil are paying the ultimate price.

Killing people on the grounds of free will is still a reality in the modern world and this authoritarianism needs to be stopped and challenged.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dmeK-Z3Uls – Video about Saudi funded hatred by the BBC

http://somalisforjesus.blogspot.com/  Highlights the persecution of Christians in Somalia

http://www.christianpost.com/news/somali-convert-to-christianity-kidnapped-beheaded-55475/

http://babulilmlibrary.com/news/shia-islam-is-banned-in-malaysia-crackdown-on-shia-muslims 

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
 

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