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About leejayuk

I am English and I was born in Manchester, however, I currently reside in Tokyo, Japan. I have studied at the University of London (London School of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, and University College London) and Nottingham Trent University. I work in the freelance sector and I like house/trance music, rugby, cricket, football, reading, and many other things. Please check the following websites: http://www.moderntokyotimes.com (commercial / I am the co-owner) http://global-security-news.com (commercial / I am the co-owner) http://tokyoandjapan.wordpress.com which is my Japan blog

Japanese art and Keisai Eisen: Reality and unreality and the View of Shogetsu Pond

Japanese art and Keisai Eisen: Reality and unreality and the View of Shogetsu Pond

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

If one views the stunning image of the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen, then only images of tranquility, order and a nation at peace comes to mind. It appears that nature, order and a majestic rural life fits smoothly together. Therefore, one can easily depict an image of idealism whereby nature and humanity blend together.

Likewise, if we take this image by itself and try to analyze the artist from such a scenic piece of art, then it would appear that the artist was at peace with himself. After all, buildings are in the background and the natural towering strength of the mountains in the distance seems to imply order and control. Also, the individuals in this piece of art seem in a natural order and the same applies to the pond, trees and every single aspect of the View of Shogetsu Pond.

However, looks can easily be deceiving because the artist Keisai Eisen faced many demons related to drink and owning a brothel. This reality seems a million miles away from the delightful scenery of the View of Shogetsu Pond.

Yet, Keisai Eisen was also known for wit and one never really knows how deep his drinking was. Likewise, was the brothel the “real deal” or something that the artist played up in order to generate rumors and whispers? In this sense, just like the image of the View of Shogetsu Pond, it is clear that many things are a mirage in life but often people change mirages and believe that they are true.

Or, it could just be that Keisai Eisen was disillusioned with the trappings of life. Therefore, this piece of art represents a distant desire within his soul. Yet, of course this is nothing more than pure speculation. In saying that, it is speculation which the artist would appreciate because he was blessed with so many talents related to art and writing.

Keisai Eisen once stated that he was “…a hard-drinking, rather dissolute artist.” This statement is clearly a mirage to reality. After all, Keisai Eisen was blessed with so many skills in the field of art and writing. He clearly knew that many individuals thought highly about his skills and this statement suits the wit of this amazing artist.

Turning back to the brothel comment then it is factual that this type of business did exist in Nezu, Tokyo. Yet, the reasons related to the usage and the role of Keisai Eisen remains debatable. Many individuals have stated various statements about the reality of this brothel. However, these comments are often conflicting. Therefore, speculation remains the order of the day with regards to the true nature of his role in this brothel.

It also could be that the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen lacked any real meaning to the artist. Yet, if you view this one majestic piece of art by itself, then it is nice to dream and think deeply. In this sense, the image and nature of Keisai Eisen represent the mirages of life whereby individuals try to understand the bigger picture. However, in the distance of time, then does the bigger picture mean anything?

http://www.viewingjapaneseprints.net/texts/ukiyoetexts/ukiyoe_pages/eisen3.html 

http://www.artelino.com/articles/keisai-eisen.asp 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Japan

 

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Suicide bomber kills many in Afghanistan to mark the start of Eid: Syria faces the duality of terrorism

Suicide bomber kills many in Afghanistan to mark the start of Eid: Syria faces the duality of terrorism

Omar Abdullah Ismail and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Islamists often go on a killing spree during Ramadan in several nations and likewise the mark of Eid al-Adha in Afghanistan met the same fate. It is reported that more than 40 people have been killed by a brutal Islamist terrorist attack against Muslim worshippers. Therefore, once more the Islamist clerics and various terrorist networks have shown the world that their hatred is beyond any logic.

Muslim worshippers prayed to the God of Abraham during the start of Eid al-Adha. Yet while these innocent individuals were concentrating on God, the forces of evil had other ideas because a planned attack took away many lives. This senseless violence highlights not only the bankruptcy of radical Sunni Islamism which is killing with abandon in Afghanistan, Mali, northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and other parts of the world; it highlights utter hypocrisy on the side of Islamists.

Recently, many demonstrations took place against a minor film of no importance which was manipulated by Islamist clerics. Yet how many Korans were destroyed  in this attack and countless other terrorist attacks against mosques in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and northern Nigeria?  Does the sanctity of Islam only count when non-Muslims can be blamed? After all, in Libya, northern Mali and Somalia many Sufi shrines have been destroyed but where was the outcry against this in the Muslim world?

Outside of the September 11 attacks which mainly killed non-Muslims in America. The vast majority of Sunni Islamist terrorist attacks have killed mainly Muslims. Often, Shia Muslims are the main victims of many Sunni Islamist terrorist attacks in countries like Iraq and Pakistan. When it comes to Syria, then Alawites and the Shia are targeted based on sectarianism and mainstream Sunni Muslims are also killed for being loyal to the government of Syria. However, irrespective of the Muslim branch, it is clear that Muslims are the main victims of terrorism. Therefore, what is the point to this endless cycle of violence?

In the past, too many nations like America, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Kuwait, France, Pakistan, and other nations; have tried to manipulate terrorists for personal geopolitical gains. Recently, the usual culprits are now involved in destabilizing Syria by enabling many funding channels to support Islamist terrorist organizations. Until an international system starts naming and shaming these nations, organizations and whereby implications for this barbarity will be enacted; then too many lose ends will continue to exist. Therefore, currently you have an enormous duality – this applies to state funded and covert funded terrorism which is ongoing against Syria – to private organizations, Islamist charities and so forth which are funding terrorism outside of nation states. In the case of Syria both terrorist networks are working hand in hand.

If the international community continues to condemn terrorism like what happened in Afghanistan today and the recent terrorist attack in Beirut; however, constantly ignoring and tacitly supporting terrorism against nations like Syria. Then this dualistic and hypocritical approach not only shames these nations, but in a sense it makes them even worse. After all, the evil suicide bomber who killed many Afghans while they were praying inside a mosque could only see his reality. After all, his evil and hatred was one dimensional but nations like America, France, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom are two dimensional. This means, that when it suits, for example by manipulating terrorist organizations against secular Syria; then these nations participate alongside vile media wars which are based on enormous distortions.

Turning back to the suicide bomber who killed many worshippers, then it is reported that some of the Muslims were connected to the security elite of this district in Afghanistan. This fact highlights the plan to kill during this holy period for Muslims. It also shows you that the Taliban and other Islamist organizations, like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, are gradually spreading their power base to other areas of Afghanistan.

The Russian Federation recently tried to get members of the United Nations to condemn the brutal terrorist attack which happened in a Christian area of Damascus in Syria. Yet, the duality of evil once more shamed their “terrorist stance” because major nations refused to abide by the positive policies of the Russian Federation.

It is clear that the brutal suicide terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and Syria aren’t coming from “zero.” Therefore, until the ratlines are cut and nations stop supporting terrorism either openly or covertly, then nothing will change. However, why should innocents continue to die because of the whims of outside nations in the case of Syria? Likewise, in Afghanistan it is time for mainstream Sunni Muslim clerics and other branches to work together in order to root out this evil which is mainly killing Muslims in the name of hatred.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Sectarian attacks in Iraq and Christian Church bombed in northern Nigeria

Sectarian attacks in Iraq and Christian Church bombed in northern Nigeria

Walter Sebastian and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Islamists once more have killed innocents during the religious period of Eid al-Adha, including a bomb attack which killed several children near a play area in the capital of Iraq. In Afghanistan worshippers were killed while praying inside a mosque and in Syria several terrorist attacks have taken place. Meanwhile, in northern Nigeria a Christian church was hit by a bomb attack. Therefore, religious zealots within the Sunni Islamic faith have been going on a killing spree like usual during this holy period for Muslims.

The Iraqi authorities clearly understand the mindset of Islamists because security was tightened. However, despite greater precautions, it is abundantly clear that little can be done to stop determined terrorists from spreading death, hatred and sectarianism. Even laying bombs near a school playground during Eid doesn’t concern Sunni Islamist fanatics who are being indoctrinated by Islamist clerics.

Sadr City in Baghdad is overwhelmingly Shia and the double-bomb attacks left at least 13 people dead. Whereas the attack in the Bawiya area of the same city, killed seven people including the lives of three children who just wanted to play. The death toll may increase further but clearly Muslims and non-Muslims can’t even rest in peace during holy periods. This is because of the hatred of Islamists who lack any notion of morality.

In northern Nigeria the same Islamists which seek power and control by fear, hatred, violence and spreading sectarianism, have once more attacked a Christian church. Sometimes, the same Islamists attack Muslims for desiring peace with their fellow Nigerians. Therefore, just like in Syria, nobody feels protected in certain parts of northern Nigeria from religious zealots which seek to spread chaos, sectarianism and fear. The same menace is now turning against Sufi strands of Islam in northern Mali and Libya, just like hatred is widespread towards the Shia, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others in Pakistan.

It must be remembered, that some Islamist clerics are demanding the slaughter of Alawites and the Shia in Syria. Christians are also attacked by the same religious fanatics who recite the Koran while beheading people and torturing in unbelievable cruelty. Mainstream Sunni Muslims face the same wrath in Syria if they support a united Syria based on the mosaic of this nation.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, referred to the need that “all churches in the Arabian Peninsula must be destroyed.” Similarly, the same nation is exporting hatred within the educational curriculum and for this reason monitoring is essential. Therefore, it is clear that something is wrong within certain branches of Islam which seek to rule by fear. After all, they have no qualms in killing Muslims and non-Muslims alike in order to fulfill their hatred and spread sectarianism.

Currently it is known that seven people have been killed by a suicide bomber against a Christian church in Kaduna, northern Nigeria. Christians in this church, just like Muslims in the mosque in Afghanistan, were praying to the God of Abraham. However, for Islamists, you have no sanctity to either life or holy places – therefore, both holy places were attacked during Eid.

Several months earlier in June over 50 people were killed in the same part of northern Nigeria after three Christian churches were attacked. This reality meant that security officials in northern Nigeria, just like in Iraq, knew that during Eid that Islamists would try to ferment more hatred. The desire of Islamists is to spread fear in the hearts of all people, irrespective if Muslim or non-Muslim, in order to rule by fear. Likewise, the other objective is to spread sectarianism therefore Shia Muslims are frequently killed and attacked in several nations.

Baseem Mohammed in Bawiya, Baghdad, told AP news that “Nobody expected this explosion because our neighborhood has been living in peace, away from the violence hitting the rest of the capital….We feel sad for the children who thought that they would spend a happy time during Eid, but instead ended up getting killed or hurt.”

The Shabaks in Iraq were also killed in Mosul in the northern part of this country. This minority fully understands religious hatred because many attacks have happened against the Shabaks after the US led invasion of Iraq.

Other attacks by Sunni Islamists in Iraq have also killed Shia Muslims from Iran who were on a religious pilgrimage during Eid. This reality means that mosques, churches, pilgrims, children and so on – are not free from Islamist hatred even during holy Muslim periods like Eid and Ramadan.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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

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

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Japan

 

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Kurds and Christians in Syria should fear the FSA, Islamists, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Kurds and Christians in Syria should fear the FSA, Islamists, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In recent days the intensity of mistrust between the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is clearly boiling over after the FSA entered Kurdish areas. The FSA Islamists are being openly supported by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. France is probably the most dangerous equation within the triangle of America, the United Kingdom and ruling elites in Paris. Therefore, the Kurds have every right to fear the brutal FSA and the various different Islamist terrorist organizations in Syria.

After all, the Kurds have been struggling for decades in Turkey and vast numbers have been killed. At no time did Saudi Arabia and Qatar concern themselves about this. More importantly, the Kurds are much more secular and given the Islamist nature of the FSA and many different Islamist organizations; then clearly the Kurds will become a future “lamb to be slaughtered” under the “watch” of Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Christians also have much to fear from the FSA terrorists who have sacked countless number of Christian churches and killed Christians. This isn’t surprising, after all in Saudi Arabia not one single Christian church is allowed and Muslim apostates to Christianity face being beheaded. Likewise, many videos have been circulated by the FSA and various Islamist terrorist organizations whereby they are beheading Alawites, Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims who are loyal to the government of Syria.

Given the nature of Saudi Arabia and that beheading is enshrined in the legal system of this nation, then this is another clear link to the barbarity of the FSA and Islamist terrorist networks. In the last 24 hours it is known that a Christian Armenian church was ransacked by the FSA Islamists. This isn’t anything new because in many Christian strongholds they have been forced to flee persecution and murder at the hands of the FSA and Islamist terrorist organizations.

Bishop Antoine Audo commented that “In the city of Homs, home to what was the country’s second-largest Christian community, all but a few of the faithful were forced to leave after a wave of persecution — all the churches desecrated.”

The Kurds will face the same Christian fate if the FSA and Islamists grow in strength because these movements care nothing about the mosaic of Syria. On the contrary, Islamists which are being funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia desire a Sharia Islamic state based on the draconian Salafi branch of Islam. Therefore, not only are Christians and Kurds threatened by this new dynamic within Syria – but mainstream Sunni Islam will also face the wrath of Salafists – if they grow in power. Likewise, for Alawites, the Shia and Druze, then they also must understand that Saudi Arabia isn’t funding the FSA and Islamist groups for democracy, religious liberty and female emancipation.

After all, it is the government of Syria which supports religious freedom and female emancipation. Indeed, the secular nature of Syria is an affront to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In the past, this also would apply to Turkey but not under the Erdogan government which desires to scratch away at secularism within the body politic of Turkey. Therefore, during the last week you have not only witnessed Kurdish demonstrations in Turkey but also a mass demonstration by secularists in this nation because they don’t trust the Erdogan government.

In Aleppo the FSA and Kurds have been fighting after the FSA became interested in showing their power mechanisms alongside appeasing the government of Erdogan which is playing a very dangerous game. Sadly, for Syria, this outside meddling by Turkey which is the main conduit for international terrorists, covert operatives and military arms; then the result is tragic. This applies to vast numbers of Syrians being killed because of the collective policies of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. France is also involved in many areas while America and the United Kingdom are useful allies from a distance even if differences exist about the methodology.

During the recent fighting between the Kurds and FSA it is known that over 20 people were killed and it is also reported that over one hundred people have been taken by opposing forces. The FSA admits that at least 16 individuals from this mercenary and terrorist organization were killed. However, it is clear that the FSA is only interested in a truce in the short-term until they are powerful enough to crush the Kurdish Democratic Union Party. Likewise, the various Islamist organizations are not interested in democracy and secularism. Therefore, for Christians, Kurds and the Syria people collectively, it is apparent that under the FSA and various Islamist organizations that this country will enter a new period of oppression, wanton destruction and whereby religious liberty and female emancipation will be crushed.

The recent clash emerged after Kurds from all political persuasions demanded that the FSA leave their area. This isn’t surprising given the cleansing of Christians in many places by the FSA. When the FSA witnessed this then it is reported that they fired on innocent Kurds. Luckily, the Kurds, unlike Christian areas under FSA control, can’t be pushed around by the FSA and terrorized. Yet, the Kurds should know that if the FSA isn’t crushed in Kurdish areas and the military arms keep on flowing to the FSA; then one day this balance will tip against the Kurdish community. Once this happens, then Kurds will share the fate of Christians in places like Homs.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are not interested in religious liberty, the future of Kurds within Syria and secularism. The dynamics within Turkey could change because many Turkish nationals don’t support the foreign policy objectives of Erdogan. However, for Saudi Arabia and Qatar then their goal will not change under the current monarchy based politics of both nations.

Christians and Kurds have much to fear given the ongoing persecution under the FSA and various Islamist terrorist factions in parts of Syria. Likewise, the Alawites, Shia and Druze know full well that Saudi Arabia isn’t interested in religious pluralism. Similarly, the Alevi suffer institutional discrimination in Turkey. Therefore, the dark forces being unleashed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar threatens the mosaic of Syria alongside destroying the independence of Syria which will please America, France and the United Kingdom.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Tokyo and Osaka fashion: H&M to introduce Monki and Weekday to Japan in the future

Tokyo and Osaka fashion: H&M to introduce Monki and Weekday to Japan in the future

Kanako Itamae and Michel Lebon

Modern Tokyo Times

The fashion company Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is going from strength to strength in Japan. This reality means that H&M will introduce two of their brands to Japan within the near future. Currently, it is perceived that the brands Monki and Weekday will be introduced to Japan in early 2014 but this date could feasibly be moved forward.

H&M in 2012 decided on opening up new stores in Japan and this most notably applies to Nagoya. After all, in Tokyo and other parts of Kanto the brand H&M is part of the fashion landscape for many fashion lovers. The other major city which was targeted by H&M was Osaka. However, it is hoped that in the future that this company will further consolidate in other parts of Kansai because of the vibrancy of the entire region.

The vibrancy of fashion in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka is simply amazing. This applies to the intriguing variations of fashion within Tokyo and Osaka respectively. It is more than likely that Monki and Weekday will follow the Tokyo and Osaka route.

Fashion in Japan is an extremely vibrant sector and clearly H&M is raking in the rewards. Sales throughout the first nine months of 2012 in Japan remain vibrant, despite the negative global economy. This reality means that H&M is extremely positive about the future of this company in Japan. Therefore, it is believed that not only will Monki and Weekday enhance the reputation of H&M in Japan; but equally important, this new initiative will preserve the reputation of H&M because both brands will bring a new freshness.

On the following link (http://www.adbrands.net) many fine attributes are stated about H&M. The above highlighted website comments that H&M is one of Europe’s two leading clothing brands, seemingly immune from the woes than have plagued many other retailers, not least US rival Gap. One key selling point has been an annual collaboration with different star designers.”

In many fashion surveys in Tokyo the name H&M featured highly with regards to ladies who adore the richness of amazing boutiques. Therefore, if the past is to be relied on, it would appear that Monki and Weekday will further enhance H&M in Japan.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in EUROPE, Japan

 

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Japan and China and the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute witnesses a quiet America

Japan and China and the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute witnesses a quiet America      

Pierre Leblanc and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States under President Obama is at pains to distance itself from the ongoing and never ending saga of Senkaku/Diaoyu. Japan and China continue to clash over this issue and Taiwan is also waiting in the wings because this nation also claims the same area. However, with respect to Taiwan, it is the clash between Japan and China which appears more problematic.

Japan and America already have differences over military bases in Okinawa. Also, for the indigenous people of Okinawa, then they perceive that their interests have been sidelined by both Japan and America. After all, a sizeable amount of American forces are based in Okinawa. Despite this, on the whole relations between Japan and America are positive because both governments have mutual shared interests throughout the region.

However, the issue over Senkaku/Diaoyu is clearly an unwanted problem in Washington. This reality means that the Obama administration is at pains to keep a neutral stance. Therefore, political elites in Washington are at pains to reduce the tension between Japan and China. This fact is based on history whereby many conflicts have emerged over minor issues which have been blown up by one side, or by both protagonists because of hidden motives related to issues at home.

Kenichiro Sasae, future ambassador to Washington later this month, told the Asahi Shimbun that “The U.S. government has made it clear that the islands are covered by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty…Its stance cannot be neutral if it is to respond firmly in the event of use of force or provocation.”

This statement by Kenichiro Sasae may be technically correct but not in its entire usage. If Japan was seen to be the party responsible, then clearly America will make their decision on this and other important issues. America can’t give carte blanche to any under-handed policies emanating from Tokyo. This isn’t implying that Japan is to blame for the current state of affairs between Japan and China over the disputed territory. Yet clearly America can ill afford to get involved with a limited war with China over an issue which can’t be sold back home.

Kenichiro Sasae also claims that the purchase of Senkaku/Diaoyu by the Japanese government was the best solution. He states this because Governor Shintaro Ishihara had stated that the metropolitan government of Tokyo would try to purchase the disputed area. Yet, while it is factual that Shintaro Ishihara shares nationalist tendencies, it also seems inconceivable that this couldn’t have been blocked by the legal system of Japan. In this sense, political leaders in Beijing “smell a rat” and irrespective if this is false, it does appear rather strange that such a tame excuse is being provided.

Kenichiro Sasae further comments that “It is important to recognize afresh each other’s role as allies in the changing global and Asian landscape and make a new Japan-U.S. relationship a starting point to cope with challenges together.” This comment is reasonable and applies to all partners internationally which have shared interests. However, the hands of America are tied when it comes to many international issues because no single power can dictate their respective geopolitical objectives.

America and other nations began to meddle in Afghanistan to a much larger extent from 1980 and this entailed many failed policies which initially favored Islamist terrorism and indoctrination. Over 30 years later and Afghanistan remains a failed state whereby opium continues to be sold and where terrorist attacks occur daily. Likewise, Iraq is still in crisis because of terrorism which followed the meddling of America and other nations and now Syria is being destabilized. On top of this, Libya is now a failed state and the chaos from this country is impacting on northern Mali. Maybe Kenichiro Sasae needs to focus on this reality and the growing influence of the Russian Federation, China, BRICS and other nations and organizations.

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that In Japan you have nationalism within the thinking of the two local leaders in Tokyo and Osaka respectively. However, Shintaro Ishihara and Toru Hashimoto are out of step with the majority of Japanese nationals. Their political winning tickets are based on having strong personalities, being focused on business and expressing their thinking openly. Therefore, the current images of nationalists in China attacking things which are connected with Japan seem a million miles away to what is happening in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe and other leading cities in Japan.”

“The dispute over Senkaku/Diaoyu is not in the interest of both nations but China’s overreaction is raising alarm bells. After all, many Japanese companies have invested in China and clearly it must be unsettling for Japanese nationals residing in this nation and doing business openly under the current conditions. Equally alarming, is that China appears to believe that it can bully Japan into submission by using “the nationalist switch” when deemed convenient.”

“Not all the blame can be put on China. After all, the status quo was not perfect but once Japan bought part of the area and nationalized Senkaku/Diaoyu by stealth; then clearly China was not going to ignore this. However, instead of going through the political channels and addressing things more appropriately, the nationalist angle created a very negative image.”

It is clear that Japan and China have made mistakes once more when it comes to this disputed area. After all, it matters not that Japan made the first error of judgment because the responses aren’t warranted by the tactics employed by political elites in Beijing. The dispute also highlights the decreasing power mechanisms of America and that the alliance between Japan and America isn’t so tight. At no point is Beijing overtly concerned about the role of America over this dispute because political leaders understand that America can ill afford another military conflict. This is based on the recent disasters of Afghanistan and Iraq following on from the distant legacies of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

In this sense, America may trigger an increasing right-wing movement in Japan based on contradictory forces. One, that American bases and policies are an affront to Japan’s independence and secondly that Washington can’t protect Japan when it comes to important territorial disputes with China, the Russian Federation, South Korea and Taiwan respectively. Ironically, it is these two contradictory forces which Tokyo should be worried about and the same applies to America. After all, at the moment it does appear that Japan is on its own when it comes to the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute. Therefore, the mutual agreements between Japan and America may be “a paper tiger” when it comes to the territorial interests of Japan?

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be charged for war crimes against Syria

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be charged for war crimes against Syria

Helmet Joachim Schmidt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Hafez al-Assad is facing an ongoing proxy conflict which is aimed at crushing the independence and unity of the nation. Many hostile forces are meddling from outside of Syria. This applies to major Western powers like America, France and the United Kingdom. Alongside this you have Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar which are showing their disdain towards international law and the United Nations (UN).

Obviously, the UN is being manipulated by elites based in Washington, London and Paris because they are enabling terrorists, mercenaries and operatives to work freely in order to destabilize Syria. This applies to giving Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar a free reign to create mayhem in Syria. Notably this applies to safe havens in Turkey, funding the Free Syrian Army (FSA), funding Islamist terrorist organizations, providing military hardware and inciting hatred towards religious minorities in Syria.

Another fresh massacre (http://rt.com/news/syria-rebel-video-crime-874/) against unarmed individuals happened by forces which are on the side of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. At the same time more Christian churches have been attacked; car bombs are a common reality in Syria; minorities are beheaded by Islamists; journalists and media outlets are targeted; and Islamists and the FSA are spreading daily carnage because of terrorism, massacres and systematic persecution.

If the UN continues to ignore the funding of international terrorism, allowing terrorists and proxy militias to use Turkey in order to spread carnage – and with this being done without any accountability; then what is the purpose of international law, the UN and the war on terrorism? Either the UN begins to raise serious issues or this organization, just like elites in Washington, London and Paris, will be dragged down to a level whereby it will never recover. Therefore, measures must be taken against Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and against other nations which are supporting the countless number of ratlines.

The recent massacre in Saraqeb by forces which are being helped by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar is further evidence that the FSA and Islamists are nothing more than brutal killers. Many videos have been seen whereby individuals have been beheaded and killed by other brutal methods by the FSA and various Islamist terrorist organizations. Yet the latest massacre shows vast numbers of unarmed people being abused, tortured and then killed in cold blood. Of course, vast numbers of massacres like this have been done by the FSA and various Islamist groups away from the camera.

Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the United States Department of State, commented that “There is no justification for that kind of behavior ever. Anyone committing atrocities should be held to account.”

This statement is an improvement by America when applied to the usual lame comments involving terrorist attacks and other massacres which are taking place in Syria. However, the statement isn’t strong enough because nations supporting, abetting, training, arming and inciting media hatred should also be held accountable. After all, these people died because of outside nations providing the funding and military hardware.

Dr. Ibrahim Alloush, a political analyst, told RT that Every day, these so-called rebels supported by NATO and the GCC countries are performing killings of this type. In this case, [the men] are being shot by guns but in other cases, they kill them with knives, slitting their throats and performing unspeakable acts on some of their prisoners. This form of brutality is part of the mentality of these rebels…they are anti-humanistic.”

Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, is clearly allowing terrorists, mercenaries and covert operatives to have a free reign in areas near the border with Syria. Indeed, for Turkey to deny this would be scandalous in itself. After all, the military hardware entering Syria from Turkey makes a mockery of border guards and stemming international terrorism. On the contrary, Turkey is “the dropping point” for spreading carnage against Syria.

It is time for Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and any nation involved in supporting the FSA and various Islamitst terrorist organizations, to be held accountable. If not, then killing religious minorities, murdering journalists, car bombings, other forms of terrorist attacks, wanton massacres and other brutal deeds – are now on the table because the UN is currently “toothless” to act. Therefore, something needs to be done to prevent outside nations from spreading such daily carnage and this should start with criminal courts for the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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

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

Walter Sebastian and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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China, Japan and South Korea fashion show was more than just style and culture

China, Japan and South Korea fashion show was more than just style and culture

Kanako Itamae, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

China just held the East Asia fashion show in Beijing and the venue was given extra importance because of the current status of Japan and China relations. Indeed, tensions have also increased between Japan and South Korea because of similar issues related to territory and ownership. Therefore, the East Asia fashion show was a timely reminder that outside of the political realm you have enormous sanity.

Junko Koshino, a Japanese fashion designer, commented that “Politics and culture are essentially different…We will go down together if we remain affected by political fallout.”

This statement may be a little over dramatic because while trade and cordial ties are obviously important between the three nations involved in the East Asia fashion show. It is also factual that each nation is blessed with a diverse trading angle and in times of crisis each respective nation will respond by implementing diversification. Of course, hiccups will occur on the way and this isn’t desired but clearly the sentiments behind the statement by Junko Koshino were deeply appreciated.

China is “the new kid on the block” when it comes to fashion because of past constraints by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Yet since the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) under his leadership, then China began to open up in the economic arena. Following on from this came the loosening of outside influence because greater openness became the norm and a new China emerged.

Therefore, not only did the domestic nature of fashion in China change but also with each passing year more and more international boutiques desire to enter the vast market of this nation. In South Korea K-pop (Korean pop music) is making waves both regionally and internationally. Not surprisingly, the fashion angle is also starting to blossom outside of South Korea because of the growing awareness of culture from this nation. This isn’t surprising because Korean culture is extremely rich.

Japan, of course, is internationally famous for fashion and this applies to various angles. For example, from elegant and refined fashion designers to kawaii (cute) culture and many subcultures within major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Likewise, the quality of Japanese fashion is extremely elegant and the fabrics used are of the highest when it comes to high-end fashion in this nation. One only needs to visit trendy fashion districts like Aoyama, Ginza, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shibuya, Yurakucho, and many other parts of Tokyo, to understand the power of fashion within this country.

The East Asia fashion show didn’t disappoint because Beijing pulled out all the stops in order to make it a great success. Exquisite designs and the richness of culture were clearly visible because China, Japan and South Korea are blessed with fabulous designers. Also, areas like Confucius values are shared easily between all these nations despite the impact of modernity and new influences which have entered each nation.

Zhang Zhifeng from China and Chang Kwang-hyo from South Korea also echoed the sentiments of Junko Koshino. Therefore, these three amazing fashion designers, and other important individuals who participated in this fashion show; highlighted the need to build new bridges in order to overcome political obstacles.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in ASIA, Japan

 

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