Japan Must Not Be Rewarded the 2016 Olympics under Ishihara

06 Feb

Japan Must Not Be Rewarded the 2016 Olympics under Ishihara

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  –  THE SEOUL TIMES

Shintaro Ishihara (1932-Present), governor of Tokyo

The governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, desires to bring the 2016 Olympics to Japan. However, if we focus on the Olympic ideal of “international unity” and all ethnic groups coming together in a show of global unity, then it is essential that Tokyo must not be rewarded the Olympics under Ishihara. Therefore, it is vital that anti-nationalist forces come together in order to prevent this disaster from happening.

After all, Ishihara desires to leave a legacy but the real legacy of Ishihara is being anti-Korean, anti-Chinese, and anti-foreign in general. I am not talking about mild nationalism but an extreme version of anti-Korean and anti-Chinese nationalism which is based on dangerous grounds. This applies to historical revisionism and when this applies to an important political figure like Ishihara, it is clearly dangerous. Therefore external forces must notify others about the consequences of rewarding Tokyo the Olympics under such a blatant revisionist of history.

Of course I am not anti-Japanese, on the contrary I reside in Japan and some of the nicest people I have met in my life are Japanese. Yet it baffles me how the people of Tokyo could elect such a firebrand like Ishihara. Therefore, let us focus on some of his comments.

With regards to the colonial period in Korea it is clear that Ishihara does not only want to “gloss over” this tragic and brutal event in history, but he also wants to add “fuel to the fire.” He stated that “The annexation of Korea was made with the agreement of nations worldwide. The Korean people had to choose between Russia, Japan or Shina [a derogatory pre-war term for China].” He continued, “They decided to seek help from the Japanese, who had the same facial colour as their own.”

Note that he neglects to mention the systematic barbarity that took place in Korea. This applies to mass rapes, slavery, forced military conscription, destruction of Korean culture, medical experiments, and the murder of countless numbers of innocents. Yet if you listen to Ishihara, then it is clear that he not only supports revisionism, but he knowingly understands that he is catering towards far-right nationalists. More alarming, for the apolitical masses in Tokyo and Japanese people in general, they deem him to be charismatic.

Therefore his rants become mainstream politics and just like the current Okinawan issue, where Japan wants to gloss over its wartime past, with regards to mass suicides and other serious crimes; it is clear that people are being indoctrinated via complete revisionism. So to reward Ishihara with the Olympics is going against the complete spirit of what the games stand for.

Ishihara also claims that the Rape of Nanjing is a myth. After all, he stated that “They say we made a holocaust there, but that is not true. It is a lie made up by the Chinese.” Yet the Rape of Nanjing did take place and both official documents and other forms of evidence are clearly available.

This also applies to countless numbers of graphic images which are very shocking. Therefore, would the Olympic committee award the games to a German leader who claimed that the Jewish holocaust was a myth? Of course not, therefore why is the Olympic committee considering Tokyo? Also, how can world leaders ignore this nationalist firebrand when it comes to a major global event being awarded to a denier of history?

Some people may argue that the people of Tokyo are innocent with regards to this issue. However, many people in Tokyo keep on electing him. Of course the majority of people in Tokyo are not electing him on the grounds of nationalism. Yet despite this, why is a denier of history being allowed a free reign? Yes, he is being elected via the democratic system in Japan, but the Olympics is a global event and surely the international community must “open their eyes” to the denier of the Rape of Nanjing and the persecution of the Korean people during the colonial period?

If Tokyo is elected the winner, then it will mean a victory for Japanese nationalism and the spirit and the ideals of the Olympics will be tarnished. Therefore, it is up to people who are aghast by Ishihara to work collectively or individually, in order to “open the eyes of the Olympic committee” who do not understand what he stands for. I am not saying that Tokyo in the long-run should not be rewarded the Olympics, but it must not happen under the leadership of Ishihara.



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