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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed: prophets of peace to slavery, jihad and Sharia

Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed: prophets of peace to slavery, jihad and Sharia

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Banu Qurayza were followers of Judaism and were beheaded
during the reign of Mohammed
—————————————————–

The revamping of Mohammed throughout the world continues because of Islamic kitman but what is mystifying is that non-Muslim religious leaders, secularists and liberals appear to be giving the Islamic faith a helping hand.  Therefore, it is essential to get to the heart of Islam and see the reality of what happened under Mohammed.

If Buddha and Jesus were alive today then clearly they would not break any laws in democratic nations because they taught peace and supported the poor by their actions and deeds. Therefore, while people in modern societies may reject their different messages, it is abundantly clear that both individuals never killed, never supported war and nor did they support power and authority.

However, the prophet of Islam is very different and it is over simplistic to claim that he was a man of his time, after all, he is meant to be a holy religious leader and both Buddha and Jesus go further back in history.  Yet Mohammed married more than nine women at the same time, supported killing apostates, married a child, had sex with female slave concubines, and ordered the killing of many people by his concept of jihad and dhimmitude.

Not only this, but unlike the holy scriptures of the Christians and the New Testament or Buddhists and their holy scriptures based on what Buddha preached; then Mohammed is clearly obsessed by war, jihad, enslaving his enemies, jizya and other violent deeds.

Also, Mohammed, unlike Buddha and Jesus, is extremely contradictory and it appears that his thinking was based on power concentration.  In the early period when he was weak he was more open-minded but once he obtained power then he was ruthless and he implanted ideas which were brutal towards non-Muslims.

Therefore, while Buddha and Jesus did not seek power concentration, enforcing laws on their enemies, developing military armies and implementing a draconian legal system in order to preserve power; the same can’t be said about Mohammed because he was driven by power concentration policies and taxing the dhimmis (non-Muslims) or enslaving them if they did not accept the superiority of Islam.

The Buddha rejected the caste system and Jesus went to the lepers and outcasts in society.  It is clear that they were against discrimination and the victimization of others and their respective message was based on humanity and turning away from power concentration and enforcing laws on people who were already downtrodden.

Mohammed, however, was very different because if people accepted Islam then he also cared for the poor within his followers and he told people to give one sixth of their income to the poor.  However, it was non-Muslims who would be taxed heavily in order to redistribute their wealth and give it to the new masters. Therefore, some Muslim political leaders were also concerned by mass conversions once a political system based on Islam had been set up because this reduced their fiscal power.

After all, they faced the contradictions of an Islamic state which wanted Islamization but understood that the dhimmis tax was much needed.  Not surprisingly, the revenue of an Islamic state suffered by mass conversions and for this reason Islamic slavery was ongoing from the 7th century and up until recent times.

It must be remembered that it was only outside pressure which forced Saudi Arabia to abolish slavery in the 1960s.  Unlike the anti-slavery movement which emerged within the Christian world of its day you never had a Muslim anti-slavery movement and this was because of the static nature of nations which had become Islamized.

In time they lost their taxation power because Islamic law and Islamic zealots desired Islamization and once the coffers of the dhimmis had dwindled because of religious discrimination, pogroms and apartheid laws – then the last option was enslaving non-Muslims outside of their control. This factor meant that Islamic armies entered into Africa, other parts of Asia and Europe became a House of War was declared. Therefore, Islamic rulers would expand their power based on jihad, enslaving the people of their newly expanding state and so forth.

Also, Mohammed during his lifetime enslaved people who were free during numerous wars and clearly he had no qualms in taking wives or concubines from men he had killed.  Not only this, he also supported Muslim armies to enslave non-Muslims and he gave Muslims the right to take non-Muslim females and use them for sex during jihad.

Ironically, all the negatives about Mohammed are stated clearly in the Koran and the Hadiths.  Therefore, when people talk about anti-Islamic writers it is strange because the sources of what happened and the evil deeds of Islam are documented openly in the Hadiths and Koran.

Buddha and Jesus were revolutionary because they challenged the conventions of the day and they did this by spreading messages of peace and inner-purification.  However, Mohammed who had been faithful to his first partner then appears to have gone the wrong way because after her death he lusted after more women, concubines and even married a child.

However, why didn’t Muslims hide all the negatives of Mohammed and this even applies to visiting a Muslim place of worship in Jerusalem on an animal which does not exist and all at the speed of light.  Yet, it is factual that the mystical night journey never happened because at the time you had no mosque in Jerusalem and even his loyal followers found it difficult to accept.

Despite this, they remained loyal to Mohammed and ignored the fact that Allah allowed him more than 4 wives and having sexual concubines.  However, for other Muslims they were bound to take no more than 4 wives according to Islamic Sharia law but history tells us that many Muslim rulers had countless numbers of women in harems and so forth.

Of course you can find dark passages in all religious books if you desire or people can manipulate language or different meanings.  However, religions throughout history have reformed themselves and modernized and by doing this they have rejected the harshness of aspects of some of their teachings and accepted religious freedom.

This does not apply to Islam and the more a nation is ruled by Islamic Sharia law then the more brutal the nation happens to be.  In the modern world only Islamic states still support killing apostates, killing homosexuals, cross amputation, apartheid marriage laws which both discriminate against women and non-Muslims, and other draconian factors like stoning to death for adultery and allowing old men to marry children.

In my article called Prophet Mohammed, the Banu Qurayza, Kashmir, and Mansuur Mohammed I highlight many disturbing realities.  Therefore, I comment that “…the Banu Qurayza tribe who followed Judaism and the Muslim convert to Christianity in Somalia in modern times, Mansuur Mohammed; represent the reality and barbarity of Islam and the same applies to the destruction of Hinduism in Kashmir.  In these three events, we can see what happened to ancient Christianity in Nubia, what awaited the Zoroastrians of Persia, what awaited the fate of Buddhists and Hindus in Afghanistan, and what awaited so many other faiths by the sword of Islam.”

I continued in this article by referring to the Banu Qurayza tribe and stated that Matthias Kuntzel, the author of Jihad and Jew-hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the roots of 9/11 comments on page 65 that “In 627 the Qurayza tribe was exterminated following a siege of Medina by the Meccans.  Mohammed went to the marketplace in Medina and had graves dug there.  Then the Jews were brought to him and beheaded at the gravesides – between 600 and 900 men in all.  The executions lasted the whole day…..Most of the women and children were sold into slavery in Medina, the remainder in Syria and Najad.”  (Johan Bouman, op. cit., p.86)

This reality can’t be ignored and I commented in the same article that “…..the prophet of Islam supported the entire massacre of all Jewish males who followed the religion of Judaism and who were over puberty. Mohammed just sat back and watched this gruesome act and did nothing, apart from divide the spoils afterwards.  This barbaric act took place under the rule of Mohammed in the 7th century and in this sense the beheading of Muslim apostates to Christianity in Somalia can be linked to the deeds of Mohammed.”

“Given this, Mansuur Mohammed who was beheaded in Somalia for being an apostate in the 21st century, joins the Islam of Mohammed and the 7th century because he met the same barbaric fate.   Koranic prayers would have been recited while beheading the Banu Qurayza and the same applies to the al-Shabaab (al-Shabab) in Somalia who were reciting the Koran and shouting in joy while cutting the head off a Christian convert.”

“Mohammed clearly approved of the entire slaughter of all Jewish males over puberty who belonged to the Banu Qurayza and he just sat back and watched the beheadings, one after one, into the hundreds, and eventually every Jewish male over puberty was killed for remaining loyal to Judaism.” 

“The mind of Mohammed was clearly violent because at no time did he try to stop his followers from doing this brutal crime.  In direct contrast to Jesus who stopped the prostitute from being killed by stoning to death we have the prophet of Islam who endorses such barbaric methods.  Mohammed not only watched this brutal genocide of all male followers of Judaism over puberty who belonged to the Banu Qurayza; for this was not enough because he also enslaved the Jewish women and children of this tribe and plundered all their wealth which was to be shared by the victorious Muslims.”

“Mohammed now “set in stone the brutality of Islam” and this applies to jihad, dhimmitude, jizya, killing apostates, stoning people to death for adultery (despite doing adultery himself), plundering the wealth of the vanquished and enabling the forces of evil to kill in the name of God.”

Again, I repeat once more that all this violence was endorsed by Mohammed and is documented by Islamic scholars. Therefore, the Hadiths and Koran provides this information openly despite some English versions of the Koran being manipulated in order to soften the hatred which is espoused in parts of the Koran.  Ironically, the same Koran never says anything negative about Jesus and on the contrary the Koran shows Jesus in a much more favorable light than Mohammed.

It is also clear that the mindset of Islamists and Mohammed are the same because jihad is implied many times in the Koran and in the Hadiths.  Therefore, how can you associate peace with Mohammed after the reality of what happened to the Banu Qurayza and the fact that he enslaved, supported and did jihad, took slave concubines, and implemented a system based on utter fear for non-Muslims because they would face persecution if they spoke out openly.

Religion can be abused by individuals, ethnic groups, political leaders and so forth and throughout history many brutal deeds have been done under the name of every religion or radical ideology.  However, Karl Marx did not support killing individuals and he can’t be blamed for the deeds of Stalin and others. 

The same applies to dark periods within the Buddhist and Christian world where evil was justified by using and abusing the words of both individuals who supported peace.

However, “the heart of Mohammed was dark” and the reality of what happened to the Banu Qurayza can’t be ignored.  The same applies to his teachings because you have no Islamic reformation.

On the contrary, since the rise of Mohammed and continuing in modern day Saudi Arabia, you have no change and all apostates face the death penalty.  Therefore, the pluralistic reality of Arabia was destroyed by Mohammed and once he obtained power all religions would be annihilated in Arabia in a short period of time because his early followers would continue the Islamic inquisition.

Therefore, in the land of Mecca and Medina not one Buddhist temple or Christian church is allowed and all Muslim apostates face the death penalty.  Also, brutal laws which support cross amputation and allowing old men to marry young children are still ongoing in Saudi Arabia and this is all based on the life of Mohammed.

Leaders in democratic societies can ignore history, Islamic sources which support hatred of non-Muslims and the ongoing living history of Islam whereby non-Muslims face Islamization in Kashmir, Pakistan, southern Thailand and in other parts of the world in the 21st century.

Mohammed once he obtained power carried the sword and the same sword and Islamic legal system is crushing non-Muslims in the modern world. The sword of Islam is still killing and persecuting where the faith is either fighting another faith or desires to maintain an Islamic inquisition whereby every apostate faces death.

At the same time Islamic kitman and stealth jihad remains potent and history and the modern world tells us many things. However, the political correct brigade and moral relativism, alongside non-Muslim religious leaders and political leaders who are bending over backwards, is extremely worrying because Islamists and Islamic kitman leaders only dream about usurping power from within.

Buddha and Jesus spread new thinking and ideas and people can freely rebuke or not care about either.  After all, it is your democratic right to reject all religion.  However, apostates in “the Islamic heart of the Islamic world” face death and prison and these two competing thought patterns are not compatible in any period of history.

Either the democratic world stands up for what is right and this applies to the civil liberties of others or it can embolden an encroaching Islam by allowing Islamic kitman and stealth jihad.  This is a deadly game and democracy and Marxism could not co-operate in a pluralistic society based on freedom and obviously democracy and Nazism were ideological enemies; therefore, the last barrier is Islamism and Sharia in its entirety but do democratic leaders and other institutions have the moral decency to speak out against the draconian reality of political Islam?

 

Matthias Kuntzel: Jihad and Jew-Hatred; Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Muhammad/myths-mu-qurayza.htm

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Muhammad/myths-mu-qaynuqa.htm part one

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Muhammad/myths-mu-nadir.htm part two

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Muhammad/myths-mu-qurayza.htm part three

http://global-security-news.com/2011/04/14/prophet-mohammed-the-banu-qurayza-kashmir-and-mansuur-mohammed/

 

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Botan Doro (The Peony Lantern): Otsuyu bewitches Ogiwara in famous ghost story

Botan Doro (The Peony Lantern): Otsuyu bewitches Ogiwara in famous ghost story

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The time is hundreds of years ago in old Japan when the forces of Buddhism and Shintoism were strong.  Therefore, the supernatural and the real world were often connected and in the dead of night, where shadows went unseen but the feeling of coldness could be felt, people would tell ghost stories and while some were pure myths, others held grains of truth or deep mystery.

The setting for my story, which is based on Japanese ghost stories, begins in Koyasan where the local Buddhist priest was telling the story of Botan Doro (The Peony Lantern).   People had been waiting ages because they knew that he could tell ghost stories with passion and the setting was very mysterious.

Fog was descending on Mount Koya and the sound of a rumbling storm led to enormous anticipation and inner-fear because the darkness of night meant that the walk home would be nervous.

Twelve people had gathered and the Buddhist priest welcomed them one by one before he began.  The backdrop was also dramatic because the local graveyard was visible to the gathering place despite the closing fog. 

Koyasan – Modern Tokyo Times image

Then he began to tell the story of Botan Doro by beckoning them even closer and this added to the suspense and feel of the occasion. He then spoke in a softly voice and told them about Ogiwara Shinnojo.

Ogiwara Shinnojo was a samurai warrior but his heart was full of woe because he was a widow.  At night he felt so alone and memories of the past came back to haunt him and it appeared that he would never feel the fluttering heart of love again.

His place of abode was surrounded by the countryside and in each room you could feel emptiness and no longer could the sound of happiness be heard by locals who would visit from time to time.

Each night Ogiwara would sit on his porch and he would enter the dream world of his past on a good night. However, he mainly felt little because of daily silence all around him apart from the noises of nature, which was the only sign of real life in his world. Therefore, in time even this became like a hollow reality because the more he looked and waited for something to happen the more it seemed that nothing would happen.

Then one night, when his heart felt so low, he saw a stunning young lady with lovely long black hair and features which melted his heart.  She was not alone because her loyal maid was carrying a lantern which was significant by the feature of a pony crest.

Ogiwara, despite being a samurai, was caught off guard because he did not think to ask where she came from or what she was doing in the dead of night.  Instead her deep brown eyes and long hair silenced all caution and soon he was smitten by Otsuyu and she in turn could feel the passion of Ogiwara.

The Buddhist priest stated “Ogiwara was vulnerable and all logic left his soul and instead he was tempted by the flesh and firm breasts of Otsuyu.” He continued “that with each night Ogiwara was being drawn into the world of the unknown but he could only see the mirror that he desired and yearned.”

After a short time Ogiwara and Otsuyu became lovers after he invited her in and seduced Otsuyu.  The maid was always patient and carrying the peony lantern during the nighttime. Therefore, she would just wait while Ogiwara and Otsuyu embraced in passion which went on throughout the night.

The day time now became a time of rest and sleeping for Ogiwara but he felt at peace with the world and lusted for the body and lips of Otsuyu.

Each time Ogiwara entered her when they made love he would feel more alive and his passion and love blinded him to all reality.  Therefore, the heated passion and looking at her naked body drew Ogiwara into a new world which he could not see or understand.

The priest then told the listening crowd that one day “A passing neighbor was concerned about Ogiwara and when he did not respond he looked through the small whole in the wall.  Immediately the old man felt sick because all he could see was Ogiwara fondling rotting flesh and this sent a shudder down his spine.”

The neighbor was elderly and the sight was revolting but Ogiwara had been bewitched by the beauty of Otsuyu and because of his own broken heart he was easily fooled.  The tender body and firm breasts were real to Ogiwara but little did he know that this had empowered Otsuyu and enabled her to appear like she once had been.

After this, the elderly neighbor got help from the local Buddhist priest and they both went together and chastised Ogiwara.  The priest warned that his soul was in mortal danger because he was being taken to the other world and the living world must not enter this environment because untold misery would happen and he would be damned and become like her.

At first Ogiwara was in shock because all logic had left him because he was besotted by Otsuyu.  However, he respected the Buddhist priest and knew that something didn’t make sense but his lonely heart was weak and crying out for the feel of passion, and the warmth of a beautiful lady.

After some time all agreed and Buddhist sutras called ofuda were placed around his home because no ghost could breakthrough these sutras. The ofuda sutras were special because they had magical powers.

For a short time Ogiwara could resist but the sobbing tears of Otsuyu and the maid was breaking his heart.  Ogiwara understood now that both belonged to the world of the dead but he felt that his life was like the living dead.

Despite all the warnings, and the sutras which would protect him, he could not resist their pleas because they were driving him mad with anguish and confusion.  After all, since being a widow he felt nothing in his heart until Otsuyu

The Buddhist priest who was telling the story stated that “Otsuyu and the maid would cry……please meet us, please Ogiwara, we miss you and you know Otsuyu loves you…..do not listen to others for it us who care for you.”

This created great pain inside the heart of Ogiwara and one night he could no longer resist their temptation and of course he yearned to touch Otsuyu all over because his mind was confused and trapped between two worlds. Therefore, he followed them and rejoined with Otsuyu and the maid.

The following day neighbors who had been distant decided to make a rare visit to see if Ogiwara was in good condition. However, it soon became apparent that he was not at home.  This set off alarm bells and the Buddhist priest feared the worse and after searching endlessly, but without any luck, it dawned on the old man to search the place where the dead were buried.

After searching the graveyard they found a crypt with the name Otsuyu on it and the same crypt held a maid inside because they had both been laid to rest together.  On opening the crypt they could see the peony crest and the worse was feared.

The Buddhist priest telling the story then said that “Their eyes gazed on Ogiwara because his corpse was entangled with Otsuyu for the last time but it appeared that the final minutes were full of fear judging by the face of Ogiwara.”  The priest continued by commenting that “After Ogiwara entered the crypt it shut by itself once he embraced Otsuyu to make love but this time she would never let him go and the last few minutes of his life were ended in a perverse and panic stricken nature.”

The fog had got stronger and an owl could be heard in the graveyard close to where the Buddhist was telling the story.  Then the priest told everyone to blow out the candles and that it was time to go home alone. However, he told everyone to be vigilant and to seek guidance when unsure.

With this, everybody set off home and while the Buddhist priest did not fear the dead of night and the closing fog.  The others walked home nervously and were looking around often when a slight noise could be heard.

They all slept that night but it was a restless night sleep.  However, in the morning they all met and thanked the Buddhist priest for telling the story.

Before they parted the priest commented that “Some ghost stories are based on myths but others have elements of truth. Therefore, never be off guard like Ogiwara because some in the spirit world can’t rest because they are trapped and others are lonely and desire the weak in order to finally rest.”

 

THIS STORY IS BASED ON A FAMOUS JAPANESE GHOST STORY BUT I HAVE CHANGED ASPECTS LIKE MANY OTHERS HAVE DONE.

http://thelastdoctor.com/2010/02/14/a-gathering-of-100-ghostly-tales-the-peony-lantern/

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4900.html   (Information about Koyasan)

http://www.koyasan.org/             (Information about Koyasan)

http://moderntokyotimes.com  PLEASE VISIT

 

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Oda Nobunaga: a visionary who was open to Christianity in the 16th century

 

Oda Nobunaga: a visionary who was open to Christianity in the 16th century

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

In all societies remarkable leaders emerge despite the constraints of culture, customs, religion and other factors.  In Japan this certainly applies to Oda Nobunaga who was born in 1534 and died in 1582. 

Oda Nobunaga had a real spark of energy and while people tend to focus on the violent aspect of this great leader of Japan, it is clear that this is a huge mistake.  After all, Oda Nobunaga utilized modernity in many ways and he introduced new thinking which gave greater freedom to the peasantry in the economic sphere.

The legacy of Oda Nobunaga is very strong and under him the Christian faith began to spread in Japan.  He clearly did not follow the “fortress Buddhism” of the Edo period which would ultimately kill every single Christian in this brutal period for Christians in Japan.

On the contrary, he understood how Buddhist elites abused power and preserved the status quo.  Sadly, Oda Nobunaga’s thinking would not be shared by the majority of the leaders who would follow him and all individuals would have to register at Buddhist temples in the Edo period.

Therefore, Oda Nobunaga does create problems for Japanese individuals who revere the Edo period or who may have nationalistic tendencies.  After all, Oda Nobunaga would learn from the outside world and he would listen to what Christian missionaries had to say.

In many ways, the spirit of Oda Nobunaga is often underestimated or undervalued because he challenged many conventions and he neither supported rigid stratification and nor did he bow down to the feudal mentality of Buddhism at this time.

Therefore, Oda Nobunaga might be stuck in Japanese history but he truly belongs to world history because of his ambition, thinking, and modern concepts of adopting change in order to transform society.

Also, the violent aspect of Oda Nobunaga is over-played because it was clear that the power structures were based on self-interests and maintaining the firm stratification of society in order to further increase their respective power bases. This meant that peasants had little room in the field of trade and they were tied to poverty because of the rigid system.

At the same time the Buddhist hierarchy was powerful in Japan in this period or what could be deemed Japan in this period.  After all, the competing power structures meant that this country was disjointed and lacked any real centralization which could enforce and maintain a strong unitary state.   

Therefore, Oda Nobunaga would be the key in the centralization of Japan but the visionary aspect of Oda Nobunaga would not be shared and this applies to opening up Japan.  However, the legacy of Oda Nobunaga enabled the Edo period to begin because of his policies and unifying tendencies which were followed by the next two leaders of Japan.

In this period of history it is difficult to find the concept of Italy, Japan, Germany, and virtually all future nation states because structures were lose and the center was weak.  Also, the sense of national identity did not exist throughout the unitary nation state and these concepts only became a reality in the future.

The unitary nation state of Japan in the period of Oda Nobunaga and throughout the Edo Period was very different and modern Japan would not fully materialize until the Meiji Restoration of 1868 which would centralize and expand the power of the center.

Therefore, Oda Nobunaga’s centralization was based on the main power bases in Japan that existed in the 16th century. However, the Ainu, the people of Ryukyu (Okinawa), the nature of the fudai system, ronin, and the power of certain daimyo groups, meant that all these factors prevented a truly unified Japan.

Modern day Hokkaido did not belong to Japan until the Meiji Restoration of 1868 changed everything because Meiji leaders would centralize fully and expand the entity of Japan. 

Despite this, Oda Nobunaga was a vital link in the chain which led to this event because it was he who enabled the Edo period to take place by his thinking and the Meiji Restoration was the ultimate objective of Oda Nobunaga.  It is also ironic that the first modernizer who favored religious freedom but was usurped by the thinking of Edo leaders and the Buddhist hierarchy; was ultimately successful when the Meiji Restoration took place because religious freedom would be restored and Meiji leaders would utilize modernity in order to protect Japan from outside powers.

During the period of Oda Nobunaga in Japan it was clear that Buddhist monks who were warlike had desired to control power, or to be at the center of power, had to be crushed in Mt. Hiei because of historical factors. From the Heike war and until the rise of Oda Nobunaga the Buddhist monastery of Mt. Hiei was instrumental in Japanese history.

This Buddhist monastery was instrumental in all major power processes and this especially applied to the military and political objectives of all major leaders. Therefore, Oda Nobunaga had to destroy this power concentration in order to fulfill his ambition and he truly did this because the conflict was bloody and brutal.

The warlike Tendai Buddhists of Mt. Hiei were neither meek nor mild and they had to be challenged by Oda Nobunaga in order for him to set the stage for centralization. The conflict was bloody on both sides and mercy and compassion would not be shown by both forces who fully understood the situation and what was at stake.

This conflict culminated with every single Hiei monk being slaughtered and the Buddhist monastery was destroyed.  Again, Oda Nobunaga was revolutionary because just like Islamic power structures in modern day Afghanistan which are preventing modernization and desire to preserve their power base; Oda Nobunaga would crush an established power base which was hindering Japan and which had no intent on making life easier for the peasantry in this period.

Oda Nobunaga would show no compassion but simply move on to his next objective because he knew that this victory would free him to concentrate on greater goals.  This applies to centralization, modernity, economic policies, strengthening the military base, and utilizing firearms in order to create a future dynamic state based on commerce and self-preservation in a hostile world.

Once more the commercial and economic aspect of Oda Nobunaga’s thinking would be hindered by Edo leaders but this factor can’t be pinned on Oda Nobunaga.  Therefore, the Meiji Restoration would also resemble the modernization of his thinking but of course because of the huge gap in time then on a grander scale.

It is factual that Oda Nobunaga was a leader who would use violence in order to challenge the old order but he clearly had no option.  Either his policies of centralization would challenge the status quo and enable a new power base to emerge or the countless divisions would hinder the country.

Sadly, despite Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu being a link with Oda Nobunaga this only applied to their shared interest of a centralized power base.  Therefore, the following leaders after him did not share either his visionary ideas or his openness to the Christian faith and the same applies to economic policies.

The Tokugawa period (Edo period) in time would resemble modern day Somalia where every Christian convert is searched for and then killed.  The only difference is that this was a Buddhist inquisition of Christianity and in time the followers of Shinto would resent the Buddhist ruling clique because of economic factors.

Simon August Thalmann comments that “Buddhism wasn’t devalued as much for a perceived foreignness, however, as much as for its association to the former feudal government of the Tokugawa period. Furthermore, the leaders of the Buddhist temples of the Tokugawa period had used their position to amass wealth for themselves at a time when many people were suffering (thereby) not helping their appeal to reformers in the Meiji era.”

“During the Tokugawa period, Shinto had suffered under Buddhist domination and influence, to the point where high-ranking Buddhist priest many times came to control Shinto shrines. During the Meiji period, reformers sought to “purify” Shinto from Buddhist influence by replacing Buddhism altogether. Opposition made this impossible, however, and finally the necessary arrangements were made for the coexistence of the two traditions.”

Therefore, while people mention the natural trinity which began with Oda Nobunaga and was followed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and then Tokugawa Ieyasu.  It is part true because both Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu continued the thinking of Oda Nobunaga when it came to centralization but this is where it ends.

In other vital areas the visionary Oda Nobunaga was very different and ironically it would be the Meiji leaders which ended the Edo period who would be the real link with aspects of his thinking.

In another article that I wrote called Oda Nobunaga: free thinker and modernizer in 16th century Japan I comment that the modernizer Oda Nobunaga “…was very open minded and he supported modernity and this applies to allowing Christian missions, adopting modern firearms, greater fortifications of major castles, freeing people from the constraints on trade, opening up trade for peasants, rewarding people on merit and not just family lines, and other policies which were political and based on developing the economy.”

“Oda Nobunaga would do all this in such a short period of time and during all this radical change he would wage war against his enemies, attack a major center of Buddhism, form complex alliances, and set in motions the unitary state of Japan.”

“This unitary state of Japan, like mentioned before, was based on the power bases in Japan at this time and it must be remembered that modern day Hokkaido did not belong to Japan even during the start of the Meiji Restoration in 1868.”

“While many feudal leaders in the Western world, Hindu world, and Islamic world during this period supported stratification; Oda Nobunaga did not and instead he introduced major economic policies and rewarded people on merit within his system of thinking.”

“Oda Nobunaga, like the Hindu world, and unlike the Christian world or Islamic world in this period; supported religious freedom and he was open to new ideas in the realms of theology and thinking.” 

“He was revolutionary but sadly the Edo period would mainly isolate Japan, not fully because important daimyo’s like the Satsuma daimyo, would trade with Ryukyu (Okinawa), China, Korea, and other countries which would carry trade.” 

“However, stratification would once more be adopted during the Edo period, modernization would be curtailed, and the Christian faith would be eradicated because of major anti-Christian pogroms and massacres.”

“However, the spark that Oda Nobunaga unleashed was truly remarkable given this period of history and this applies to his views on modern warfare, economics, religious pluralism, tackling stratification, rewarding individuals on merit, freeing the peasants from untold misery, and other important areas.”

Oda Nobunaga was a free thinker but a man of his time when it came to military fighting.  Also, he was a very complex character and while he is sometimes viewed through the prism of violence this is misleading. After all, his enemies were equally violent but unlike his enemies, Oda Nobunaga had a long-term objective and he implemented policies in order to modernize.

Therefore, some Japanese and international historians may underestimate Oda Nobunaga because of his power concentration but he had hoped to revolutionize Japan. His legacy which was maintained by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu was a distortion because it only applied to centralization but Oda Nobunaga challenged the status quo and implemented social and economic reforms alongside religious openness.

Oda Nobunaga clearly desired a more pluralistic society based on new economic theories, political modernization, and military concepts which would safeguard the centralized state and people of Japan who came under this political system.

If anything, Oda Nobunaga was before his time and the Meiji Restoration would resemble aspects of his thinking much more than the static nature of the Edo period.

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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Japan

 

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Akihabara: escapism, modernity, maid cafe ladies and raw energy

Akihabara: escapism, modernity, maid cafe ladies and raw energy

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is a very dynamic city and each district is special for various factors and the natural ambience changes quickly.  In Akihabara the distinctive nature of this place is because of the latest high tech gadgets on sale and if you want to buy the latest electronic models then you have come to the right place.  However, Akihabara is not just about electronic goods it is also famous for maid café bars, anime and a place where otaku can buy countless goods which are in demand.

Akihabara is a place which either suits you greatly or it isn’t your cup of tea and this is because of the nature of this part of Tokyo.  In Harajuku you have the vibrancy of youth and changing fashion styles. If you walk along the main street which connects you with Omotesando, then it is clear that you are in fashion paradise.  Not only this, you have the stunning Meiji shrine in the same environment near Harajuku train station and the ambient buzz of Omotesando Hills. Therefore, this area is a fantastic fusion of fashion, culture, and history.

However, in Akihabara this place really connects with people who suit what this place provides.  Therefore, Akihabara may not have the sophistication of Harajuku but if you want to visit an area which is buzzing because of commerce and escapism then Akihabara caters for you.

Maid café bars have spread from Akihabara to countless other nations and this is an increasing pulling power alongside anime and otaku goods.  This in itself means that surrealism and realism blends together like the fusion of life and this all adds to the uniqueness of Akihabara.   

It matters not if Akihabara is not your classical part of Tokyo because this place is internationally famous in its own right and with the booming nature of maid café bars then you feel like you have entered into another world. 

All major cities in the world have places of high fashion and independent fashion but in most major European cities you don’t have anything like Akihabara.  Therefore, this place is a magnet for tourists based on the latest electronic gadgets, anime, otaku culture, maid café bars and in the back streets you can also find old gadgets and computer games. This means that if you love searching around for hidden old computer games then Akihabara is a gem of a place to visit because it caters for old school individuals.

In another article I wrote about Akihabara I stated that “…the electronic beauty of Akihabara is that it is not only famous for newly developed electronic goods which have just entered the market but it is also a place where the old world of electronic goods can be found.  If you are nostalgic and see the world in pixels or you dream about the first videogame which got you fascinated by this new world. Then Akihabara also provides ample opportunities to search around and find your hidden childhood.”

“The Tokyo Anime Center is another added attraction which is located in Akihabara.  Although the building is not huge it is certainly welcoming and you can obtain information in Chinese, English, and Korean, and of course in the native language.”

“In the past Akihabara was staunchly known for being famous for electrical goods but the growth of anime and maid café is changing all this and now all are part and parcel of Akihabara and this fusion makes the visit even more intriguing and distinctive.”

“Therefore, the world of Dragon Ball, Evangelion, Mazinger Z, Ultra Man, and for me, Ghost in the Shell, opens up and the rich culture of Nara seems like a different planet. In truth, this is the beauty of Japan because it offers many worlds and environments within the same nation and clearly Tokyo is a city where you can find ample diversity and the same can be said about Osaka.”

This means that Akihabara is a gaming and anime heaven and for people who are fascinated by both then locals and tourists alike will certainly love the environment of Akihabara.

Maid café bars also attract many people and this image for tourists is now very potent and it should not be underestimated irrespective of your thinking.  After all, many nations have borrowed from Akihabara and this helps to keep the place fresh and open to new changes.

It is true that in Osaka you will find maid café bars and you have a few in Shinjuku but it appears much more natural in Akihabara because of the environment.  However, you also have a distinctive feel in Osaka because the culture in this city is very different from Tokyo and this applies to the energy level and places like Namba and Umeda are very dynamic.

Ladies involved in working in the maid café bar sector do dress sexily in a cute way and they look very appealing and with a special charm.  However, just like the world of anime it is an illusion and you don’t have sexual overtones in proper maid café bars.

It could be said that maid café ladies are the modern version of the old geisha in Japan but based on different concepts and with much more innocence. Therefore, while traditional geisha was based on a more subtle, placid and gentle role this can’t be said completely for maid café ladies. After all, while the piety part will apply via language it is clear that maid café ladies are more commercial and the bond between client and staff will also be different and clearly environmental factors and time are a million miles away.

Overall, it is easy to understand the appeal of Akihabara and this part of Tokyo ticks to a different beat but the beat continues to pulsate and attract vast numbers of people.

http://akihabara-tour.com/

http://www.e-akihabara.jp/en/index.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Japan

 

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Anders Behring Breivik: media spin and hypocrisy in the name of Islamic Sharia law

Anders Behring Breivik: media spin and hypocrisy in the name of Islamic Sharia law

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Homosexuals hanged under Islamic Sharia law in Iran

Many individuals and writers who are rather timid in responding to homosexuals being hanged in Iran, amputations in Saudi Arabia for minor crimes, raped women being stoned to death in Somalia and then linking this with Islamic Sharia law, appears to be not on their agenda. However, the same writers who ignore this then link one individual called Anders Behring Breivik in order to lambast Robert Spencer, Pamella Geller and a host of other writers or organizations who support democracy. However, the same individuals fail to link either Islamic institutional discrimination which kills apostates in the name of Islam or when individuals did September 11 and stated openly that it was their Islamic duty.

Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer at the Washington Post, is just one of the multitudes of hypocrites.  Did the same Eugene Robinson put emphasis on Muslim religious leaders who said that “Islam is a religion of peace” after September 11?

Also, Osama bin Laden was clearly inspired by the Koran and Hadiths and if Eugene Robinson and the same so-called progressives are going to imply the same logic; then do they support pressure being put on people who read the Koran and support Islamic Sharia law?

Yes, many individual Muslim religious leaders may support peace but institutional discrimination in accordance with the teaching of Islamic Sharia law is a fact in many Islamic nations which are ruled by Islam.

Minority Muslim groups like the Alevi in Turkey and Ahmadiyya in Pakistan face Sunni Islamic persecution and if Sunni Islam took power in Syria then the Alawites have much to fear.  Muslims are not a monolith and many individuals will think differently just like Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and non-religious people.  However, Islamic Sharia law is a monolith and it threatens non-Muslims and moderate Muslims like the Ahmadiyya.

Eugene Robinson and a multitude of so-called progressive writers who are now lambasting democrats who understand the threat of global Islamic jihad desire to apply one rule. This applies to hypocrisy and ignoring the greater terrorist threat which kills frequently in nations like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Thailand and other nations. 

If Eugene Robinson and others are trying to silence Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and a host of others; then what about the multitude of Islamic terrorist attacks whereby non-Muslims and minority Muslim groups are being killed and sometimes beheaded by the followers of radical Sunni Islam……will Eugene Robinson and other so-called progressives denounce Islamic religious leaders who are inciting violence based on the Koran and Hadiths?

Eugene Robinson and the so-called progressives are so politically correct that it makes you wonder what planet they reside on.  After all, in modern day Saudi Arabia all Sunni Muslim apostates face the threat of death and not one single Buddhist temple, Christian church or Hindu temple is allowed.

Shia Muslims are also treated like second-class citizens in Saudi Arabia and clearly the Shia face massive discrimination in Bahrain, Yemen, and other Sunni Muslim dominated nations.  Even in moderate Malaysia the Shia faith is illegal and Sunni Muslim converts to Shia Islam face persecution.

Other Islamic nations implement the death penalty for apostasy but can Eugene Robinson mention one non-Muslim nation in the modern world which supports killing apostates? 

Of course religious discrimination exists in other nations but we are talking about killing apostates or the death penalty for non-Muslim men for marrying a Muslim female.  Which non-Muslim nation allows this under its legal code?  

In Iran two young homosexuals were hanged and remember apostates and homosexuals are not being killed by deranged individuals who kill innocents, which was the case in Norway whereby Anders Behring Breivik massacred innocent individuals and who will pay for his evil crime against humanity.

On the contrary, Islamic Sharia law is killing these homosexuals and apostates because of state sanctioned discrimination which is based on the Koran and Hadiths.  Also, just imagine, what do you think would happen to a Buddhist/Christian/Hindu male who married a Muslim female in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, for an act of love the Buddhist/Christian/Hindu male would face the death penalty.  Again, note that they would be killed for committing no crime apart from being deemed subhuman under the legal code of Islamic Sharia law. 

This hatred is institutional therefore innocents in some Islamic nations which are based on Islamic law are punished or killed for acts of love or thinking freely.  Also, while Islamic religious leaders in these nations continue to support hatred, bigotry, and rampant discrimination by quoting from the Koran and Hadiths; it is abundantly clear that some Islamists believe that one day they will subvert democratic nations and install this hatred.

Eugene Robinson should also note that while every single Muslim apostate to Christianity faces being killed in Somalia it is not a distant problem. Therefore, maybe Eugene Robinson and other so-called progressives believe that killing African Christians in Somalia or homosexuals in Iran is fine or not a problem because the country is distant?

After all, when two million African Animists/Christians/Muslims were being killed by the Arab regime in Khartoum I don’t recall the trendy brigade in the United Kingdom saying much.  Instead it was all about Israel and even the enslavement of Africans in Sudan did not raise much of a shout and today African Muslims in Darfur still face the threat of Arabization.

However, radical Islamists from Somali backgrounds in America and the United Kingdom have actually gone back to Somalia in order to spread Islamic jihad and install Islamic Sharia law.  Therefore, Christians are being beheaded and a raped girl was stoned to death but these barbaric ways are being supported by elements within the Somali community in America and the United Kingdom – this blows away the assimilation theory of Eugene Robinson and surely he understands what Islamic kitman means?

Irrespective of what people may think about Robert Spencer or Pamela Geller they both support democracy, liberty, and the rule of law whereby all individuals are equal.

Is Eugene Robinson going to claim that Islamic Sharia law supports equality and that the testimony of a non-Muslim is equal in court cases involving a non-Muslim and a Muslim?  Is Eugene Robinson going to link the Koran and Muslim religious leaders who have incited violence against non-Muslims and minority Muslim groups?  Is Eugene Robinson going to stand up and denounce institutional hatred against homosexuals who face the death penalty and state that this hatred is inspired by Islamic law?  Is Eugene Robinson going to stand up against Islamic Sharia based nations which support killing non-Muslim men for merely marrying a Muslim female?

It is abundantly clear that Islamic Sharia law, the Hadiths and the Koran support massive discrimination against non-Muslims.  Therefore, the so-called progressives like Eugene Robinson appear to be sleep-walking or they are being extremely selective.

The simple reality is that Anders Behring Breivik will be locked away for the evil he did.  However, when women are being stoned to death, homosexuals are being killed and apostates face the death penalty; all this is being done in accordance with Islamic Sharia law. 

This is state sanctioned hatred in the name of a religion which does not tolerate equality when in power.  Therefore, why are Eugene Robinson and the rest of the so-called progressives so noisy about one deranged individual with no political power but then say little about the daily reality of nations like Saudi Arabia?

Also, note the “Islamic victim card” once more but clearly nearly everyone killed by Anders Behring Breivik were either Christian or secular. 

Not that it matters who Anders Behring Breivik killed because his actions were pure evil and he should never see the outside world again.  In Norway non-Muslims and Muslims are equal in law unlike the institutional discrimination of nations like Saudi Arabia.

Clearly, the sad fact is that Anders Behring Breivik is being brushed aside by so-called progressives and instead it is an opportunity to attack individuals who are democratic and support liberty.

More important why the clear double-standards and not only this, what about progressives boycotting goods from Saudi Arabia because of state institutional hatred whereby apostates face the death penalty and homosexuals also face the same brutal system. This is all being done under Sharia Islamic law.

Clearly, this will never happen because of energy factors but progressives should not concern themselves with the motives of capitalists.  Also, is Eugene Robinson going to claim that the Koran and Hadiths did not inspire the individuals who did September 11 and that state institutional hatred towards all non-Muslims and homosexuals in Saudi Arabia is not based on the Hadiths, Koran and Sharia Islamic law?

THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON THE LINK BELOW

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/anders-behring-breivik-and-the-influence-industry-of-rage/2011/07/25/gIQASd2WZI_story.html

These links either show discrimination or the nature of Islamic Sharia law

http://somalisforjesus.blogspot.com/2009/01/mansur-mohamed-sfj-martyr-of-year-2009.html – Islamists beheading a convert from Islam to Christianity. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7708169.stm – Raped woman stoned to death in Somalia

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10190389 – Massacre of Ahmadiyya Muslims

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1992027.stm – Amputations and flogging in Saudi Arabia

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5417393,00.html – Persecution of the Alevi

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5417393,00.html – Islamic groups who hate the United Kingdom

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2859606.ece – Iran Minister supports killing homosexuals and based on Islamic Sharia law

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Anders Behring Breivik: Psychological motives behind the killings and Islam?

Anders Behring Breivik: Psychological motives behind the killings and Islam?

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The image of Norway is one of tranquility and a society embedded with liberal and democratic principles.  However, before the recent killing spree by Anders Behring Breivik it was apparent that the changing nature of places like Oslo, Drammen, and others, because of increasing immigration was leading to tensions within parts of society.

In Oslo the immigrant population is now 27% and in the past Anders Behring Breivik had spoken negatively about Marxism, Islam, and multiculturalism. However, it is also clear that many Europeans in many nations are worried about immigration. Therefore, liberal societies like Holland are seeing a powerful shift to movements which are fed up with elites who appear to be intent on destroying the social fabric.

The speed of immigration is clear for all to see in many major cities and it matters not if you are pro-immigration or anti-immigration; the point is that it is causing many individuals pain, anguish, suffering and leading to confusion. 

Obviously, for others they welcome multicultural societies and believe in the vibrancy that it creates.  However, political leaders in nations like Germany have stated that it is a failure and this “failure” is being hidden because clearly some cultures assimilate and others do not. 

At the same time radical Islam is gaining ground in many major cities and on the one hand you have a British government establishment which is introducing equal laws for homosexuals which were needed; but on the other hand is bending over backwards to elements within the Islamic community.

The contradictions are clear because under Islamic Sharia law it supports killing homosexuals.  Also, many Muslims support killing all apostates from Islam in the United Kingdom and in recent times the English Defence League is demonstrating against stealth jihad.

The liberals and trendy left are hypocrites.  Would the overwhelming majority of Muslim families welcome their Muslim daughter marrying a white/black Christian male or a Hindu male?  Of course not, therefore, where is the real discrimination coming from?

It appears that the dominant culture must tear itself apart in order to bow down to a more militant threat and in this confusion was created Anders Behring Breivik.

This does not excuse Anders Behring Breivik nor vindicate his thinking. Obviously killing innocents like he did is a crime against humanity and the law will clearly deal with him and never allow him to see the outside world again.

Yet the white elites who have allowed massive immigration without any democratic vote on this being passed in many European nations are creating problems. If Oslo is 27% immigrant today, then what will the size be in a few decades time and in one hundred years?

When will enough be enough? Or is it fine for Oslo to one day be 40% immigrant and then 60% immigrant and so forth?  If endless immigration is allowed then clearly nations with small populations like Norway will see a ticking time bomb.

Of course, people will point out and say look at America, Australia and Canada. 

However, you have two problems with this because firstly immigrants shared an overwhelming “Christian European home” in this period and the real crisis in Holland is aimed at the growing power of Islam. After all, if immigration to America had been 30% Christian, 30% Muslim and 40% from Buddhist and Hindu backgrounds; then do you really think that it would have worked to the same extent?   

Secondly, in order for America, Australia and Canada to grow then massive immigration altered the ethnic make up for ever.  This meant that indigenous people were victimized, had their land stolen and in time their culture was destroyed.  Therefore, will the Dutch become like the Native Americans in 100 years time or 200 years time?

Geert Wilders, a leading politician in Holland, stated in a speech before the Dutch Parliament the following:

“Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe. If we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia and Netherabia will just be a matter of time. One century ago, there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands. Today, there are about 1 million Muslims in this country. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European and Dutch civilization as we know it. Where is our Prime Minister in all this?”

“In reply to my questions in the House he said, without batting an eyelid, that there is no question of our country being Islamified. Now, this reply constituted a historical error as soon as it was uttered. Very many Dutch citizens, Madam Speaker, experience the presence of Islam around them. And I can report that they have had enough of burkas, headscarves, the ritual slaughter of animals, so‑called honour revenge, blaring minarets, female circumcision, hymen restoration operations, abuse of homosexuals, Turkish and Arabic on the buses and trains as well as on town hall leaflets, halal meat at grocery shops and department stores, Sharia exams, the Finance Minister’s Sharia mortgages, and the enormous overrepresentation of Muslims in the area of crime, including Moroccan street terrorists.[62]

Apparently Anders Behring Breivik admired Max Manus and this would appear to refute his links with far-right organizations to any major degree.  After all, Max Manus was a legendary anti-Nazi war hero.  Therefore, the patriotism of Max Manus may have appealed to Anders Behring Breivik and also the bravery that this individual showed in fighting against Nazism.

It could just be that Anders Behring Breivik believes that the new Nazism is called Islamism which supports killing apostates, enforcing dhimmitude on non-Muslims, killing homosexuals and other draconian laws.   

Interestingly to note, Max Manus was from a mixed background and this applies to his mother being Danish and his father being Norwegian.  Therefore, again the far-right angle is clearly being over-used by major agencies who desire quick answers or overtly simplistic statements in order to meet their aloof thinking.

Anders Behring Breivik may have linked the thinking of Max Manus with the reality of modern Oslo where immigration is changing the nature of society.  This does not imply that immigration is right or wrong; however, the speed of change is overwhelming many people who fear the loss of their identity.

Also, immigration is complex because it would appear that Anders Behring Breivik feared radical Islam.  After all, his hero Max Manus was mixed blood and clearly some immigrant communities assimilate much easier than others and the same applies to people from different religious backgrounds.

Therefore, in the world of Anders Behring Breivik he may have seen himself to be patriotic and protecting Norway from the failed policies, in his eyes, of Islamic immigration and the changing nature of major cities like Oslo.

It is known that Anders Behring Breivik admired Geert Wilders and it must be stressed that Geert Wilders is democratic and desires to preserve a culture which supports freedom, equality and the traditional ethics which created a modern society.  However, Geert Wilders fears, like many others, that Islamization is waiting in the wings and this applies to the demographic change and stealth jihad.

The world of Anders Behring Breivik will be like the world of Osama bin Laden.  After all, Osama bin Laden wanted to keep western culture out of Saudi Arabia and to preserve the Islamic identity of this nation.  Anders Behring Breivik appears to have shared the same logic but with the need to keep draconian Islamic Sharia law out of Norway.

It would appear that his killing spree was aimed at what he perceived to be the enemy in his eyes.  Therefore, he killed innocents at random and without emotion or passion.

He certainly deserves to never see the light of day again because all extremism is a danger to society.  However, to claim that he is “mad,” a neo-Nazi or whatever is false.

Also, aspects of his thinking about Islamic immigration and the threat of Islamization are held by many individuals throughout Europe.  The elites can close their eyes and the mass media can rebuke people for not sharing their liberal agenda but for Islamists their agenda is not liberal and it is scary and barbaric.

It is easy to scoff about people who fear but what is the difference between 40% Han Chinese in Tibet and how the Tibetans fear losing their culture and identity and the thinking of Anders Behring Breivik? After all, Oslo is changing quickly?

The Tibetans in the last few years have killed innocent Han Chinese in brutal ways during tensions because they fear being overwhelmed by an outside culture.  Anders Behring Breivik killed innocents because he felt that he couldn’t take much more. Also, he believed that the elites in Norway should wake up to the internal crisis which will grow in time because of the demographic time bomb.

His methodology was barbaric and to kill like he did is a crime against humanity.  However, if Norway closes the door on the reasons behind his thinking and just claims that he is a madman then nothing will be learnt.

Clearly, one hundred per cent of all people will condemn the barbaric and brutal actions of Anders Behring Breivik in Norway.  Yet aspects of his thinking are not so alien to others when it applies to rampant immigration and Islamization. 

At the moment the mass media is clutching at straws because information about Anders Behring Breivik remains patchy.  However, the psychology behind his thinking is much deeper than people are commenting on and to claim that he was a far-right nationalist is too simplistic and clearly not based on real facts.

After all, Anders Behring Breivik admired an anti-Nazi war hero, he also admires Geert Wilders who is a democrat and elected Member of Parliament in Holland and he quoted John Stuart Mills shortly before he massacred so many innocents.

The quote he gave from John Stuart Mills, the famous British philosopher, was that

“One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

He clearly appears to be articulate and like Osama bin Laden he is cold bloodied. 

However, unlike the Norwegians who are reviled by his actions and disgusted it must be stated that many Muslims celebrated when thousands of people were killed during September 11 in many nations.  Therefore, how much of his hatred was based on fear?

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Nuclear policy in Japan: PM Kan, Masayoshi Son and Yoshito Hori. Who do you trust?

Nuclear & Energy policy in Japan: PM Kan, Masayoshi Son and Yoshito Hori. Who do you trust?

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The March 11 earthquake which unleashed the potent tsunami continues to cause problems for parts of Japan.  However, these problems are multiple and this applies to housing, restructuring, helping orphans, and a host of other important areas.  Therefore, the knee-jerk reaction to either dismantle nuclear power or to fundamentally change Japan’s energy policy needs to be considered much more deeply.

Softbank President Masayoshi Son clearly supports the “alternative energy” theory but given the reality that earthquakes are nothing new to Japan; then what were the policy statements of Masayoshi Son in the last twenty years about this issue? 

This is a very important question because the Kobe earthquake killed thousands of people and clearly it was the tsunami which killed the overwhelming majority of people on March 11, 2011, and the following days.  The death count from radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant is zero but the death total from the tsunami and earthquake totals around 25,000 people.

Dr. Vojin Joksimovich who is a PhD holder in nuclear engineering and is a retired nuclear safety specialist is rightly skeptical. Dr. Vojin Joksimovich in his article titled EU, US, & Japan: Dysfunctional Leaderships are Gambling with leading Capitalist Economies, comments in the area based on Japan that “In mid-July Kan stated: “Our nation should aim to become a society that can manage fine without nuclear power.” A leading contender to replace Kan, Seiji Maehara one of the most popular figures in the ruling Democratic Party, said that Japan should phase out nuclear power over the next two decades and that construction should “basically be stopped.” This policy would have far reaching implications for the energy sector providing one third of the nation’s electricity. Nuclear technology companies: Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries would be severely hurt while the existing prospects for international orders would all but disappear. Like Chancellor Merkel in Germany, PM Kan sees adoption of anti-nuclear policy as a way to rebuild his image as well as that of his party. It is understandable that triple reactor meltdowns after the reactor cooling systems were wiped out by tsunami had shaken the Japanese faith in nuclear safety. The Japanese nuclear establishment has overlooked the need to provide a need for adequate tsunami protection. San Onofre nuclear power plant in my neighborhood is protected by a 30 foot high tsunami wall. The Tohoku earthquake originated in a subduction zone and the tsunamis generated in a subduction zone are much larger than those resulting from earthquakes in a strike slip geologic fault systems such as faults near San Onofre.”

Dr. Vojin Joksimovich raises many important points and how is it that San Onofre is better protected than the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant?  After all, the greater danger applies to the Fukushima coastal region but despite this the tsunami wall and other important areas were much more modern and prepared for the ravages of nature?

Therefore, the nuclear crisis was based on the failure of past Japanese governments, TEPCO and nuclear related agencies which allowed such folly in the first place.

The anti-nuclear lobby or business individuals who may see a fresh killing to be made by government subsidies are clearly lining up.  However, while the anti-nuclear lobby will have been consistent, irrespective if rhetoric or not.  Can the same be said about politicians and business individuals who see opportunism?

The founder and president of Globis Management School, Yoshito Hori, appears to be skeptical by the motives of elements within the government of Japan and he certainly does not follow the logic of Masayoshi Son. 

Masayoshi Son is a very powerful business leader and all of a sudden it appears that he is a great follower of “alternative energy.”  Others may point out that this issue is nothing new and why is he plugging for this now in such a bold way?  

Also, given the reality of huge government subsidies behind the thinking of Masayoshi Son with regards to his projections and the power he holds within Japan; then is this based on sincerity, opportunism, half-baked thinking, manipulating de-regulation, easy source of government subsidies or does he truly believe in alternative energy?

It is also factual that government subsidies aided the nuclear sector in Japan.  However, with the failure of one monolith then is it justified to create another subsidized monolith and all under the name of “a new way?”

Yoshito Hori comments that Masayoshi Son“is using his political connections to lead us in a direction that’s good for him but bad for Japan.” Yoshito Hori refers to a too-hasty policy in the energy sector and implies that change for the sake of change will further hinder the economy of Japan.

It must be stated that Yoshito Hori is not against alternative energy but he is concerned about the possible direction that it may take under the short-term Prime Minister Kan and the business savvy Masayoshi Son. 

In the Sankei Shimbum it is clear that Yoshito Hori is alarmed by ongoing events and the possible “annihilating blow” towards the nuclear sector.  On July 16 in the Sankei Shimbum and which was republished on Japan Today under the title Softbank’s Son, Globis’ Hori trade blows via Twitter; it states that “Hori stresses that he favors increasing reliance on alternative energy – “on two conditions,” he tells Sankei Shimbun. One: No subsidies. Two: If power companies are to be obliged to purchase surplus power generated by homes and businesses via renewable energy, as would be the case under a proposed law backed by Kan and Son, the price should be in accord with market standards and not imposed as what, in effect, would be a subsidy in disguise.”

Turning back to Dr. Vojin Joksimovich then he states that “Japan’s short-lived PMs, five in five years, compare with pre-Berlusconi Italy. Existing PM Naoto Kan has survived a Diet no-confidence vote at the price of a vague promise to resign. It is irresponsible that even after the largest disaster after the WWII, the Japanese political elite is more interested in squabbling over how long Kan should stay in the office as opposed to addressing the burning issues of reconstruction. The Diet has failed to approve new bond issues needed to fund government spending beyond a few months. Ryu Matsumoto, Kan’s long-awaited choice for the cabinet post leading to tsunami reconstruction resigned nine days into the job. With millions of tones of debris yet to be cleared and tens of thousands of residents still confined to the evacuation centers, the north-east coast residents deserve better treatment by their government. There is vast disconnect between the magnitude of the problems facing the third largest world economy and the political response.”

In the same article published on July 16 it states that “(Masayoshi) Son in May announced an 80 billion yen project to build 10 large-scale solar power plants, and in July enlisted the participation of 36 prefectural governors in a new council to promote alternative energy. Almost simultaneously, Prime Minister Naoto Kan made his dramatic declaration that “We should aim to be a society that does not depend on nuclear power.”

However, like Dr. Vojin Joksimovich comments it is clear that political infighting and petty point scoring remains part and parcel of Japanese politics.  This reality, to an astute businessman, and the fact of so much disinformation by the mass media with regards to the nuclear issue, means that it is an opportunistic time for anyone with grand plans and who happens to have political and business muscle.

Yet, is the dismantling of the nuclear sector in the interest of Japan?  Also, was the nuclear crisis because of nuclear power or because of past mistakes by political leaders in Japan, TEPCO, the designers who built the nuclear reactor and nuclear bodies in Japan?

If the current crisis in Fukushima can be completely blamed on nuclear power then Masayoshi Son will become vindicated. However, if the answer is negative, and with the past role of nuclear power helping the modernization of Japan; then Yoshito Hori will be vindicated because the dismantling of the nuclear sector in Japan will be based on falsehood and short-sighted policies which will eradicate a potent source of energy.

Dr. Vojin Joksimovich comments that “Nuclear power plays an important role in the world’s energy mix. It is clean, as the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions. It is steadier than renewables, such as solar and wind, which require a more expensive and sophisticated power grid. In addition, the solar and wind energy storage facilities still need to be developed. The nuclear power, like coal, provides inexpensive source of base power, while solar and wind are useful as supplementary energy sources. The third largest world economy cannot afford to abandon nuclear power. Japan in future could focus on building inherently safe high-temperature gas cooled reactors.”

Dr. Vojin Joksimovich also comments about the crisis in Fukushima and where the real blame belongs. In his article called Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Tsunami Induced but Man-Made Disaster many powerful comments are made.  Dr. Vojin Joksimovich states that “Initially, severity of the accidents was not grasped and no adequate staff was provided to handle probably the most complex accident in the commercial history of nuclear power. TEPCO and NISA seem to have believed that such an accident scenario was not credible and thus no adequate precautions were in place. There was obviously a lack of emergency drills as several missteps took place. The response boiled down to hesitation, delays, and indecision. The coordination between TEPCO and NISA were inadequate. The Japanese law must be amended to address clearly a division of responsibility between the utility and the government agencies. The PM was mad at both of them and hired his own advisers. Some of these inadequacies were of course recognized as the public apologies were offered. The media in Japan has zoomed in on cozy regulator to utility culture, the culture of complicity or an amakudari system. An example was given that 68 former government bureaucrats assumed executive posts in utilities. In addition, the author wishes to point out a lack of safety culture as well as stifling Japanese top-down culture, which doesn’t empower lower levels to make decisions in these types of situations when timing of decision making is crucial. Management training courses including in particular responses to severe accidents, beyond the design basis should also be on the agenda. Once the damaged plants have been stabilized and brought to the safe shutdown level, an independent team of international and national experts should be assembled to provide a thorough accident assessment and propose applicable lessons learned. This should then be shared with operators of the remaining 442 power reactors operating in over 30 countries worldwide as well as 109 forthcoming. A due attention should be paid to multi-unit site in excess of, say, four units.”

In The Daily Mainichi News in the article called Softbank, 35 prefectures launch council to promote renewable energy it states that “With the backing from the 35 prefectures, Son wants to help Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) push for the enactment of a bill obliging utilities to buy power from green sources at fixed prices. In the longer term, Son also envisages building a smart grid next-generation electricity transmission and distribution system.”

I had never thought of going into electricity business before the quake-triggered disasters,” Son said. But he said when he visited Fukushima in late March; he had the impression that local residents were not complaining because they were caught in the grips of government subsidies and jobs. Therefore, he said he came to think more strongly about the need to reduce dependence on nuclear energy.”

The same article also states that “…some people are concerned about the way Son has positioned the business. Son has sought changes to systems hampering the expansion of his business, involving politicians and public opinion in debates on such issues as the opening NTT Corp.’s fiber optic networks to third parties. “If a major company seeks special treatment on farmland regulations or start a new business with the help of local governments, it may disable fair competition with other companies,” said Toshinori Ito, a senior analyst at UBS Securities.

Therefore, it is apparent that Masayoshi Son “…had never thought of going into electricity business before the quake-triggered disasters” and this business applies to “the enactment of a bill obliging utilities to buy power from green sources at fixed prices.”

In a nutshell Masayoshi Son never really concerned himself about this business sector before and this implies that he was not overtly against nuclear energy.  Also, getting involved in this new business is based on “obliging utilities to buy power from green sources at fixed prices” and issues related to “fair competition” and “seeking special treatment on farmland regulations” leads to a sour taste.

Therefore, Yoshito Hori is right to be skeptical and Dr. Vojin Joksimovich also raises serious doubt about the sincerity of PM Kan.  Added to this is the fair comment made by Toshinori Ito.

It would appear that one monolith and a comfortable relationship with central and local government, to be replaced by a new comfortable relationship with central government and local government, happens to be dynamic to Masayoshi Son and others who follow the same logic.

However, is the dismantling of the nuclear sector in the interest of Japan and if so, then is the Masayoshi Son idea the right way or should more time be taken seriously in order to consider important questions related to the future of Japan?

Alternative energy can enhance the energy demands of Japan alongside a well maintained nuclear sector but the phasing out of nuclear energy appears to be over dramatic and ill-considered in such a short space of time.  

 

Dr. Vojin Joksimovich :  PhD in nuclear engineering and is a retired nuclear safety specialist.  Also, an author of several highly acclaimed books and a specialist in many fields.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110714p2a00m0na007000c.html

http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/softbanks-son-globis-hori-trade-blows-via-twitter

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/05/30/fukushima-nuclear-accident-hysteria-irrational-and-rational-reactions/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/05/22/fukushima-nuclear-accident-stunning-new-revelations-regarding-unit-1/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/05/16/fukushima-nuclear-accident-tsunami-induced-but-man-made-disaster/

http://moderntokyotimes.com  please visit

 

 

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Lindsay Ann Hawker: verdict is life in prison but eligible for parole after 10 years

Lindsay Ann Hawker: verdict is  life in prison but eligible for parole after 10 years

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The verdict in the Lindsay Ann Hawker case was announced today (July, 21) and the judgment was life imprisonment for Tatsuya Ichihashi but in Japan this means that he may be able to get parole after 10 years depending on various factors.  It had been stated that the father of Lindsay Ann Hawker had wanted the death penalty but this was never likely to happen.  Therefore, the judgment of life imprisonment was always the most likely outcome and when the sentence was announced Tatsuya Ichihashi remained unattached and showed no emotion.

Currently it remains unclear if the Hawker family understands the reality of a life sentence in Japan because it is possible that Tatsuya Ichihashi may be released after ten years because he would be entitled for parole providing he met certain conditions.  However, it is likely that he will serve at least twenty years.

Irrespective if the verdict meets the wishes of the Hawker family they simply have to draw a line under the legal issue and continue to re-build.  Obviously, Lindsay Ann Hawker will always be in their hearts until the day they die and the pain and suffering must be unbearable. 

Sadly, evil things like this happen to unfortunate families all over the world and questions of “why” or “if only” can never change anything.  The radiant love of Lindsay Ann Hawker “stays within the heart” and clearly she would not want her family to suffer more pain, depression, anguish, and heartbreak.

The feelings of the Hawker family can only be understood by other families who have suffered at the hands of an individual who not only took away “a precious life” but did so in such a brutal way. 

Lindsay Ann Hawker came to Japan with good intentions and Tatsuya Ichihashi abused both her naivety and innocence. Little did she know that Tatsuya Ichihashi had such brutality within his heart and mind therefore her final hours on this earth were pure hell.

The Hawker family will leave Japan and see little of the real beauty of this nation and the gentle nature of the overwhelming majority of individuals in this country. 

In truth, the murder is not about ethnicity, nation, legal system and other factors; it is about the sad reality that people are killed all over the world by evil individuals who care little about the life of others.  These individuals often fear the death penalty or being locked away but they don’t mind destroying entire families and killing in such a brutal way.

Obviously the Hawker family has suffered greatly and part of them will be “ghosts of their former selves.” They will continue to suffer but the only hope is that in time all mention of the name Tatsuya Ichihashi will be forgotten and instead only “the smiling loving Lindsay Ann Hawker will remain.”

The Joji Obara (Kim Sung Jong) case did not bring justice to the family of Lucie Blackman.  On the contrary, it rubbed the most painful salt into the wound.

In my article called Lindsay Ann Hawker: does the Joji Obara/ Kim Sung Jong case provide pointers? I state the following:

“It must be stated that all nations have cases of miscarriages of justice and no legal system is perfect.  However, the Joji Obara case does worry many individuals because how did this individual escape the countless number of rapes that he did and the killing of Carita Ridgway in 1992?”

“Joji Obara (Kim Sung Jong) had been raping women for over a decade and he had hundreds of personal videos of raping women.  Indeed, the police stated that he may have raped up to 400 women but the figure could even be higher. “

“However, are we to believe that every female who was raped by Joji Obara did not seek justice for what this serial rapist did?  Not only this, the death of Carita Ridgway took place in 1992.”

“Yet, despite everything Joji Obara was acquitted of the crime of Lucie Blackman’s rape and death. Judge Tsutomu Tochigi commented that “There is nothing to prove that [Obara] was involved in the rape and her death. The court cannot prove he was single-handedly involved in her death.

“Indeed, the fact that this brutal serial rapist had video tapes to confirm the twisted nature of Joji Obara; and the fact the body of Lucie Blackman was so close to the home of Joji Obara; all this counted for nothing.”

“Therefore, for many people it appears that a huge miscarriage of justice took place in the Lucie Blackman and Carita Ridgway case (not forgetting all the women who were raped).”

The verdict today in the Lindsay Ann Hawker case may or may not have been what the Hawker family had expected. However, I hope that this is the final chapter in the court case because if it isn’t then the pain and suffering will continue to hurt even more because of no solace and escape.

Lindsay Ann Hawker was taken from this world in such a violent manor and no words can express the sympathies of so many people.

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/07/14/lindsay-ann-hawker-does-the-joji-obara-case-provide-pointers/  (Written shortly before the final verdict – July 14)

http://www.lindsayannhawker.com/ 

http://moderntokyotimes.com please visit

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Japan

 

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Hokusai and Hakone: Ukiyo-e and stunning scenery

Hokusai and Hakone: Ukiyo-e and stunning scenery

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Katsushika Hokusai was a sublime Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker and his art had many faces and styles.  However, when you think about the stunning nature of Hakone then the refined art of Hokusai springs to mind.

Alternatively, if you close your eyes and think about Hokusai’s shunga then you can enter seedy areas of Tokyo and images of Kabukicho come to mind.  Obviously both images may be an illusion but Hokusai’s art does have many sides and similar ukiyo-e artists went down the same path.

Hokusai clearly loved the view of Mount Fuji and visiting stunning places of natural beauty and both factors certainly apply to Hakone.  After all, Hakone rests within the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and in certain parts of Hakone you can witness sublime views of Mount Fuji.  Therefore, the entire region would inspire any exquisite artist to create picturesque scenes and clearly Hokusai fits the bill perfectly because he loved to express his passion for stunning views of nature.

The Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and The Great Wave off Kanagawa are pure masterpieces in different ways.  Therefore, it is clear that Kanagawa is a potent region for spectacular scenery and a magnet for any artist who loves majestic views. Also, the size of the area means that views change quickly but remain to be a wonder to behold because of the natural beauty of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park.   

International tourists and Japanese tourists head to Hakone because of the richness of the area which provides unbelievable backdrops amidst the mountain range and abundance of nature.  Not only this, Hakone is blessed with a plethora of places to visit and you can appreciate the richness of Japanese culture by visiting one of the many museums which are dotted around the main tourist areas.

It is easy to imagine Hokusai, Ando Hiroshige and a host of other famous ukiyo-e artists wandering around the Hakone region during their brief time on this earth.  However, despite the briefness of life Hokusai, Hiroshige, and other artists, have clearly left a strong and powerful legacy. 

In this sense, these famous artists have fused aspects of their life within the beautiful mountain ranges and landscapes of Kanagawa.  Therefore, the immortality of Mount Fuji is enjoined by the “immortality of art” by artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige who have inspired so many people and provided glimpses into the real Japan.

On a windless night you can imagine artists in the sweltering heat of summer and in the stillness of winter you can feel the changing temperature and how their feelings will have infringed on their art. 

The spirit world exists to some people but for others you have nothing but the ending of all life and only memories of others and the legacy of a rare few last more than one single lifetime.  Either way, you can feel that Hokusai and Hiroshige, and other sublime ukiyo-e artists, are still alive because of the powerful images they left behind and while the first love often fades into dust the beauty of art remains.

Hakone is not just a tourist destination it is about “your Hakone” and this applies to escaping the mundaneness of life or stresses of life which often eats away at people.  Obviously, for some tourists they may prefer to follow the usual routes taken by many and this applies to the main tourist attractions and plethora of places to visit.

However, for others a walk or hiking is their preference and for others they will want to find solitude.  Alternatively, the hot springs attract many individuals and some people desire to refresh themselves by enjoying the soothing reality of hot springs and if lucky enough you can find a special hot spring surrounded by stunning nature.

Hokusai had desired more time on this earth in order to express the stunning reality of nature and his art was like the most delicious wine because he continued to mature throughout his entire life. 

The Great Wave off Kanagawa shows the potent power of nature and just like the frailty of life the chaotic reality of life infringed on Hokusai.  This applies to the devastating fire which destroyed Hokusai’s studio and much of his lifelong work was destroyed in a single moment of chaos.

Luckily for humanity not all was destroyed and obviously many art pieces will have been bought before this tragic fire but much was lost.  Therefore, the frailty and chaotic nature of life which had taken away people who were dear to Hokusai now ravaged is “very being” and this must have impacted on his thinking.

At the ripe old age of 87 Hokusai had completed the Ducks in a Stream and he yearned for more time on this earth. Yet only God is mortal or the imagination which believes in God or gods creates this mortality irrespective if it is a reality or an illusion. 

However, the symbolism of Mount Fuji and its impact on Japan means that a special spirit or energy exists within this mountain.  In a sense, Mount Fuji is immortal and Hokusai, Hiroshige, and others, entered the immortality of the mind of others by their stunning art work.

Therefore, while each generation will turn to dust certain factors will remain because all cultures hand something down and preserve the best of humanity.  This certainly applies to Hokusai who not only left a rich legacy for the Japanese people but he left a rich legacy for the best of international humanity.

Hokusai showed glimpses of the beauty of this world through aspects of his work while shunga focused on the lustiness of humanity or the reality of sexuality, depending on your thinking.

On his deathbed Hokusai uttered “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years…Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter.”

In reality it would matter not, another five years or ten years because Hokusai had already left a rich legacy and the chaotic nature of life could not guarantee a fruitful extra five or ten years.  Therefore, the last moments of Hokusai’s life was tinged with the hope of more time but sooner or later God is going to knock on your door and what was, is no longer.

In 1849 Hokusai died but Nichiren Buddhism, Mount Fuji and the stunning and mystical mountains of Japan had served him well.  All these factors, and others, made him what he became and after death his candle did not burn out because the brightness he left still flickers strongly and will continue to do so.

This life is not mortal but images like The Great Wave off Kanagawa and other work by Hokusai means that his art is immortal. 

Language restricts humanity because of the plethora of languages but art at its best can defeat this because images can be viewed irrespective of the constraints of language. 

Therefore, a visit to Hakone is a real treat for people who reside in Tokyo or for tourists visiting Tokyo.  After all, Hakone only takes 90 minutes from Shinjuku by the Odakyu Limited Express “Romancecar.” 

In a different article about Hakone I state that “The “Romancecar” is a great way to travel because you can relax in comfort and you have a drinks and food service which caters for your needs.  Also, the Hakone Free-pass is a must because it provides great value and you can use it for 7 types of different transport.” 

“This applies to the Hakone Ropeway, Hakone Tozan Line, and other forms of transport.  Therefore, you can hop on and off different forms of transport and the scenic views from the Hakone Ropeway and Hakone Tozan Line is stunning; the different forms-of-transport also adds to your holiday because the quaint train journey is pleasurable by itself.”

“Hakone is home to famous spas and is located in a large historical zone and when you include this to the stunning nature of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and cultural attractions on offer; then it is clear to see why Hakone is so popular.”

The art legacy of people like Hokusai is another major attraction and while Hokusai’s time on this earth was between 1760 and 1849; you can feel close to him in places like Hakone because of the connection of his artwork with the stunning reality of Hakone.

If you want to fuse a sublime holiday based on art, history, and stunning scenery then Hakone is the place to visit. The main museums apply to the Narukawa Art Museum for modern Japanese paintings; the Hakone Open Air Museum; the Pola Museum of Art; Venetian Glass Museum; Suzuhiro Corp. Kamaboko Museum; Local History Museum; Museum of Saint Exupery and the Little Pince in Hakone; Hakone Old Takaido Road Museum; Hakone Mononofu-no-Sato Art Museum; Hakone Art Museum; Honma Yosegi Museum; and Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History.

Other places to visit include the volcanically active Owakudani geysers, Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands, Hakone-jinja shrine and Treasure Museum, Odawara Castle Donjon, and many stunning parks and gardens can be found throughout Hakone.

The Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and surrounding area is a tourist paradise and given the comfort provided by the Odakyu train company which offers a fantastic service via the special Hakone pass; then you can enjoy quality time and make the most of what Hakone provides and at the same time you can travel easily because of services provided by the Odakyu train company.

Overall, Hakone is a magical place and Hokusai, Hiroshige, and other famous ukiyo-e artists, may have turned to dust a long time ago but their energy and passion is alive by the legacy of their respective artwork. 

In Hakone and the surrounding region you can get close to their world because of the connection with the images that they left behind. 

http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/hokusai/launch.htm   (Hokusai)

http://www.hokusai-kan.com/treasure01.htm

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/qtours/hakone_course2.html

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/freepass/hakone_01.html  

http://www.hakone.or.jp/english/index.html

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/rc/index.html  

http://moderntokyotimes.com  please visit

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo fashion: pulling power of fashion in this dynamic city of creativity

Tokyo fashion: pulling power of fashion in this dynamic city of creativity

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

6%DOKIDOKI

Tokyo is one of the most powerful cities in the world and the fashion scene continues to flourish and grow.  Also, the international appeal of Tokyo is making major waves because more and more international musicians desire to be linked to this ultra-modern city.

At the same time animation, kawaii culture, cosplay, and a host of other vibrant areas, are rebranding the image of Tokyo because many young people from all over the world are connecting with the “soft power” of Japan.  Therefore, Tokyo and other major cities like Osaka are helping to create “a hip Japan” which appeals to the younger generation.

However, despite the ultra-modern reality of Tokyo and other powerful cities the “old Japan” still survives. Therefore, places like Hakone, Koyasan, Kyoto, Nikko, and a host of other famous places, means that Japan provides something special because of multiple factors and the appeal applies to all generations.

When it comes to fashion then Tokyo is second to none when it applies to choice, exquisite quality, individualism, mainstream fashion and creativity.  Therefore, all major international fashion houses want a slice of the Tokyo “apple pie” and this applies to other powerful cities like Osaka.

Clearly Milan, Paris, New York and London are internationally famous but the same also applies to Tokyo.  However, the beauty of fashion in Tokyo is that indigenous fashion companies and international companies are based throughout the city. 

Therefore, you are spoilt for choice and this applies to major fashion districts like Aoyama, Harajuku, Omotesando, Ginza, Shibuya Shinjuku, Roppongi Hills and other fashion districts like Ikebukuro and Ebisu. Alternatively, you have an abundance of fashion in smaller districts of Tokyo and Daikanyama, Kichijoji, Jiyugaoka, Nakano, Shimo Kitazawa, Naka Meguro and other places provide a more distinctive vibe and each area appeals for different factors.  This, therefore, makes Tokyo unique because you have countless areas to visit and other parts of Tokyo like Ueno have their own distinctive feel and energy.

This reality is attracting major musicians to Tokyo and further afield in Japan. Michael Graham, in his article called Japan and the international music industry highlights this reality. 

Michael Graham states that “From Lady Gaga to Kanye West, there are not many modern pop artists that haven’t done “the Japan thing”. This says a lot about how Japan is perceived to the rest of the world. It’s modern, it’s cool, and it’s fun. If you are trying to show your fans that you are the newest biggest thing then you cannot go wrong with including Japanese style in your video’s and why not?”

“Japan not only brings us some of the latest fashion, technology and art but its music industry is one of the most sophisticated and cutting edge in the world.”

Michael Graham continues by stating that “This trend in music and Japan continues to be ever more present in modern music and does not show any signs of going away. You can look back at earlier artists such as Gwen Stefani because her music videos were covered in Japanese art and style. Gwen Stefani even brought out a clothing range inspired by Japanese clothing and her backing dancers were the Harajuku Girls. Therefore she could not have been anymore Japanese if she had tried.”

“The list seems to be endless of videos or artists that use Japan for style and image and it looks set to continue. I for one cannot get enough of it!”

Therefore, the fashion scene in Tokyo is very potent and the same applies to modern Japanese culture which is making headway internationally and other famous musicians like Courtney Love simply adore Tokyo fashion. 

Aoyama and Omotesando provide sophisticated fashion and both places are full of chic and style because you have endless exquisite boutiques to visit.  At the same time, it is clear that architecture is important and this provides the icing on top of the cake because you can feel the passion, creativity and the buildings match the crème de la crème fashion which is provided by both international and Japanese fashion companies in these two districts of Tokyo.

In Aoyama alone you will find many panache and exquisite fashion companies and this applies to Comme des Garcons, 10 Corso Como, L’eclaireur, Prada, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Artisan, Loveless, Stella McCartney, Mark Jacobs, Bathing Ape, Tsumori Chisato, Diane Von Furstenberg, Undercover, Design Works, Frapbois, and many others like Deuxieme Classe.

The energy of exquisite fashion and individualistic fashion designers can be felt through the entire area which links Aoyama, Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya.  In many ways Omotesando represents all the beauty of this area because it links high quality fashion companies with independent and stylish boutiques and in the backstreets you can find “street fashion.” 

Harajuku and Shibuya are global names for the younger international generation and like Michael Graham commented Gwen Stefani was inspired by Japan and her backing dancers were called the Harajuku Girls. Harajuku, therefore, is a major pulling power and the name sells itself.

The independent nature and creative spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI means that the culture of Tokyo is influencing the younger generation in cities like London, Paris, New York and a host of other major cities. Therefore, kawaii culture, cosplay, Dolly-kei, fantasy fashion, Visual kei, Lolita and other trends are changing the image of Japan and independent companies like 6%DOKIDOKI, Grimoire, Macaronic, Candy and others are spreading a unique and distinctive fashion scene.

Internationally famous designers like Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto provided a strong image for Japanese fashion and their energy was noticeable in the 1980s and onwards.  Yet younger designers and famous individuals are changing the evolving fashion scene and Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Sebastian Masuda, Rei Kawakubo, Nobu Kitamura, Junya Watanabe, Takashi Aoki, Tsumori Chisato, Yoshie Itabashi, Kuniko Kato, Chiharu Kikuchi, and others, are all maintaining the freshness of fashion in Japan alongside companies like Grimoire and Candy.

Fashion is not about famous individuals it is about new vibes, new trends, keeping a fresh outlook and not remaining static.  Therefore, Issey Miyake, Sebastian Masuda, Yohji Yamamoto, Takashi Aoki, and other fantastic designers add their own individual spark and energy. This spark in turn reaches far and wide and continues to draw in new designers who constantly maintain the freshness of fashion in Japan. Also, every so often unique designers emerge like Sebastian Masuda and they come along and bring a new angle and edge and each individual designer compliments the entire fashion industry.

Sebastian Masuda

6%DOKIDOKI, Candy, Grimoire, Macaronic, Metamorphose temps de fille, Alice and the Pirates, and other unique fashion companies are maintaining a bright spark. This energy can be felt internationally because the energetic vibe that they are creating is enabling Tokyo fashion to reach out to the international community.

Nobu Kitamura and Gwen Stefani sum up the nature of fashion because while Nobu Kitamura and Hysteric Glamour was influenced heavily by American culture.  The singer Gwen Stefani is fascinated by Japanese culture and in her song she sang “My boyfriend bought me a Hysteric Glamour shirt. They’re hard to find in the States, got me feeling couture.”

The influence of cross cultural fashion and unique fashion companies can be found throughout Tokyo.  Therefore, irrespective if you are an avid fan of Tracy Reese, Hysteric Glamour, Prada, SmackyGlam, Grimoire, Metamorphose temps de fille, 6%Dokidoki, Comme des Garcons, Macaronic, Alice and the Pirates, 10 Corso Como, L’eclaireur, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Candy, Artisan, Loveless, Stella McCartney, Mark Jacobs, Bathing Ape and many other amazing fashion companies, the simple fact is that you have choice in abundance in Tokyo.

In another article I wrote about fashion I stated that “Kawaii culture in Tokyo goes back several decades but this unique style which belongs to Japan continues to develop and modify.  6%DOKIDOKI is part and parcel of kawaii culture and the ongoing vibrancy of this unique style. However, Sebastian Masuda does not pertain to any single style because he is a creator and styles come from 6%DOKIDOKI.  Therefore, Sebastian Masuda is not a follower of fashion but he is a rare creator of fashion and styles.”

Therefore, it matters not what the fashion label is because fashion for some companies can never be fully pinned down because they are always evolving.

Tokyo is set to continue and prosper in the fashion sector and the international image will also grow because of the vibrant nature of modern Japan. Therefore, the magnet of Tokyo will continue to attract younger generations from all over the world who love fashion and this dynamic and creative city will continue to lead and inspire.

http://www.dokidoki6.com/  (6%DOKIDOKI website)

http://www.metrocity.nl/tokyo/streetfashion/harajuku-fashion/  

http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/  (Sebastian Masuda – also, please read about the Mighty Harajuku Project)

http://candy-nippon.com/

http://www.maruione.jp/en/  

http://yaplog.jp/grimoire-blog/

http://www.smackyglam.com/  

http://tokyofashion.com/

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/shops-restaurants/index.html

http://6girls.jugem.jp/  

http://www.laforet.ne.jp/floor_guide/floor_1f_e.html

http://www.lov-lab.com/

http://tokyofashion.com/6dokidoki-world-tour-harajuku-kawaii-experience/  (Many images of 6%DOKIDOKI)

http://www.tracyreese.com/c-45-dresses.aspx  

http://sanyo-i.jp  – Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

http://www.macaronic.jp/   

http://tokyofashion.com/candy-sister-fashion-shibuya/  

leejay@modernttokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Japan

 

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