2008-12-24

Screen paintings of whale and elephant by Itō Jakuchū

A pair of folding screens by a Japanese painter, Itō Jakuchū (伊藤若冲; 1716-1800), was found in a private home in Kanazawa city. Itō Jakuchū's paintings usually depict animals, birds and plants in bold composition. Like his other works, the newly-found screens uniquely contrast a black whale spouting water on the left-side screen and a white elephant sitting on the beach on the right-side screen.

The design of the newly-found screens is similar to a Jakuchu's missing work.

Folding screens in the above photograph were listed in an auction catalogue of Osaka Art Club (大阪美術倶楽部) issued in 1928. Notice that, whereas the tail of the elephant and the plants over the back of the elephant are drawn on the newly-found screen, they are missing on the one in the old auction catalogue. According to the catalogue, the screens had been owned by Baron Kawasaki in Kobe, Hyogo prefecture. They were knocked down to an anonymous person for 3,100 yen, which roughly corresponds to present five million yen, or 50,000 US dollars. After the auction, no one but the unknown owner has seen the screens.

According to Yomiuri Online, the pair of the newly-found screens has signatures saying: "Painted by Beito-ou, 82 years old (米斗翁八十二歳画)"; Beito-ou (Uncle Beito) was a Jakuchū's pseudonym that he used in his last years. Perhaps, in the last years of his life, he painted again the composition of the black whale and white elephant that he had once painted.

The followings are some of other Jakuchu's works for your eyes' pleasure.



2008-12-16

I will never visit Papua New Guinea

So I decided reading this report.

Brave Italian photographer Iago Corazza travelled the country, the island at the end of the world, and took photos of its fascinating inhabitants, who still live a Stone Age existence.

“You find people here who can describe the taste of human flesh,” the photographer said of his travels.

Anthropologist Olga Ammann describes it more succinctly in the book. She quotes people who have eaten other humans: “The meat of white people smells too strongly and is too salty.

The Japanese are meant to taste the best, according to her study - the only thing that beats it is the meat of their own women.
Update: According to comments on 2-channel concerning this topic, it seems that cannibalism of native tribes had been a problem for the Japanese soldiers that stationed in Papua New Guinea during WWII. In the translation below, notes in parentheses are mine.
541 : Anonymous @ 9th Anniversary: 2008/12/15 (Mon) 23:28:32 ID:UExy4qZp0 (2-channel is cerebrating its 9th anniversary.)

An old man who was in the same line of business as mine once told me a story. He had been a ground man stationed in the Rabaul base. (The Imperial Japanese Navy had a base of naval air-force in Rabaul on the New Britain Island in Papua New Guinea.)

Newly assigned fleshy rookies were the most common targets. They were advised not to act alone in the night even if they were in the base.

Even though they were so advised, still some guys were abducted. When someone is abducted, there comes a sound of drums from far away. Since they couldn't neglect it, they used to organize rescue parties but in most cases they were too late; The abductee being bound on a log had already been barbequed like a pig roasted whole.

When they realized that they were too late, they just looked on the event. Perhaps their feeling was atrophied, since death was too common among them in those days. Well, anyway they couldn't kill civilians for retaliation.

------------
546 : Anonymous @ 9th Anniversary: 2008/12/15(Mon) 23:36:00 ID:uHZTJRP00

The day has finally come!
The day that Japan, which has been a food-importing country, can become a food-exporting country!

--------------
558 : Anonymous @ 9th Anniversary: 2008/12/15(Mon) 23:40:54 ID:RJG5I8ce0

Oh, what my granddad told me was true... orz.
He told me that this was scarier than the war when he served in the war. I am sorry, my granddad, for taking your story as a half-truth.
The followings are original texts of the above quote. They were found on this thread on 2-channel.
541 :名無しさん@九周年:2008/12/15(月) 23:28:32 ID:UExy4qZp0
昔ラバウル基地で整備兵してたという同業のじいさんに聞かされたことがある。

配属されたばかりの肉付きの良い新兵が特に狙われやすかったみたいで、夜間はラバウル基地内でも決して一人で行動するなと注意されてたらしい。

それでもやはりいくら注意してても攫われる奴はいるもので、誰か捕まると遠くの方からドンドコドンドコ音が聞こえて来るそうな。
ほっとくわけにも行かずに救助隊を編成して一応救助に向かうわけだが、大抵すでに手遅れ、一本の棒に手足括り付けられ豚の丸焼きのように焼かれていたんだと。

まあ当時は死人が珍しくなく感覚が麻痺してたのか、手遅れだとなると後は興味本位で見物してたとか・・・
民間人を報復で殺すわけにもいかんしね。
---------
546 :名無しさん@九周年:2008/12/15(月) 23:36:00 ID:uHZTJRP00
来たな。ついに。
日本が食糧輸入国から輸出国へと変わる、チャンスのときが。
---------
558 :名無しさん@九周年:2008/12/15(月) 23:40:54 ID:RJG5I8ce0
これか!爺さんの言ってた事は本当だったか・・・orz
従軍した時の、戦争よりも怖かった話として語ってたんだが「話半分・・・」と思って聞いてしまって悪かったなぁ。ゴメン爺ちゃん。

2008-12-11

Wife and sister of Emperor Akihito

Last month, I came across two elderly ladies related to the Japanese Imperial Family.

The first one was Empress Michiko. When I was walking along a road in Kyoto on November 2, I noticed policemen standing at every corner. I asked one of them if any incident had taken place there. He told me in an undertone: "Emperor is coming here soon". So I decided to wait for the Emperor and his party there. According to the policeman, the Emperor was staying in Kyoto for attending an event for celebrating the thousand-year anniversary of the Tales of Genji, and at the time the Emperor Akihito was to visit the tomb of Emperor Go-Nijō (reign: 1301-1308).


After a while, the party on vehicles passed in front of me. I could see Empress Michiko in one of the vehicles but I could not spot the Emperor who should have been in the seat next to the Empress. It seemed that the Emperor canceled the visit to the tomb as he wasn't in good health. Empress Michiko was smiling in the vehicle as always.

The second one was Atsuko Ikeda who is a younger sister of the Emperor. On November 22 - 24, I visited Ise Jingu shrine in the Ise city in Mie prefecture. Ise Jingu is a complex of shrines that is composed of many shrines centered on two main shrines, Naikū (内宮, or inner shrine) and Gekū (外宮, or outer shrine).

After staying in a hotel near Gekū, I visited Gekū in the early morning of November 23. There were again many policemen in the shrine area. They were all in the special uniform as the guards for the Imperial Palace and properties related to the Imperial Family. At first, I thought it was normal circumstances in the Ise Jingu since it is the place that the Emperor administers. However, when I entered the space in front of the main building, I realized that I happened to visit there in the midst of a special ceremony. Asking a guard in ancient uniform who was standing by torii, I learned that the ceremony was Niiname-sai (新嘗祭), or harvesting ceremony, that is held only once a year. The following quote is from the Web page of Ise Jingu shrine.

The Niiname-sai ceremony in Jingu is composed of both Omikesai and Hoheisai. These ceremonies are conducted in the name of the Emperor. The Niiname-sai is held parallel to the ceremony at which the Emperor officiates and offers the newly harvested rice to Amaterasu Omikami in the Imperial Palace. By partaking of the food offered he ritually receives the deity's blessings.
In front of the main building were sitting a priestess in ancient white clothes, a dozen or so of priests in the same white clothes and two people in authentic clothes for court nobles in the Heian period (8th-12th century). The latter two were emboys sent by the Emperor to report this year's harvest to the deities of the shrine. The priestess was the Emperor's younger sister, Atsuko Ikeda, who is saishu (祭主), or the most sacred person of the Ise Jingu shrine. Secularly, she is a wife of a zoo owner, Takamasa Ikeda, who is a direct descendant of the feudal lord of Okayama and the eldest son of former Marquis Nobumasa Ikeda. Mr. Ikeda liked to raise animals so much that he opened his own zoo named "Ikeda Zoo" in Okayama. Mme. Ikeda has been working as the wife of the zoo owner, and at the same time she has been working as the chief priestess of Ise Jingu shrine; Chief priestesses of the shrine has traditionally been chosen from women related to the imperial family.


Mme. Ikeda looked to have difficulty in sitting and standing during the ceremony as she is 77 years old. Those who were born to the imperial family seem to have some obligations even after they were detached from the royalty through marriage to commoners. Mme. Ikeda succeeded her ailing elder sister as the chief priestess in 1988. If it would have become impossible for Mme. Ikeda to work as the priestess, a daughter of the Emperor Akihito, Sayako Kuroda, may be succeeding.

Sayako Kuroda was reported to be fond of anime. In her marriage party, she wore a dress that was designed after the dress of the heroin of Hayao Miyazaki's anime, The Castle of Cariostro. She would be able to enjoy the role as a priestess to some extent if she succeeded.

2008-11-17

Kamo River in fall


Last Sunday, I strolled along the Kamo River in Kyoto. The trees with red leaves are cherry trees that I saw in this spring.

Prefabricated Japanese-style rooms for Western-style houses


MSN Sankei's IZA [Japanese] has an article regarding prefabricated Japanese-style rooms.

Traditional Japanese-style rooms have tatami mats on the floor and sliding doors called shoji and fusuma that surround the rooms, but newly constructed houses in Japan don't necessarily have Japanese-style rooms, as life-styles of young people are getting Westernized. When they want to have Japanese-style rooms after they purchased houses, they have to spend much money to re-form rooms. The prefabricated Japanese-style rooms are for such people. By purchasing the prefabricated ones, they can construct Japaense-style rooms in Western-style rooms. According to the article, the companies that developed the prefabricated rooms also have plans to sell them to foreign costumers.

You can see some more photos of the rooms in the following pages. Unfortunately, they are only Japanese-language Websites; I could not find any English-language Websites for the prefabricated Japanese-style rooms. JETRO has an English language description on the prefabricated room.

Wa-Koubou, GUU (和工房 寓):
--- room 1
--- room 2
--- room 3

Sakamoto Otozou Shouten (坂本乙造商店):
--- Room 1 (You can scroll down the page by putting the mouse pointer on the arrows at the right side)
--- How to build room 1
---- Room 2 (narrow one, 1840 mm x 1845 mm)
---- How to build room 2

2008-11-09

Nocturne by Ayaka Hirahara



Lyrics

Love, true love is to ask nothing in return
You are my destined soul mate
Your love, adoring eyes
We can see the light because we know the darkness
Everything has meaning, even campanula in the wind

Each one of us has pain and sorrow
Sheds a secret tear
But drops of your tears will fall to the earth and
Welcome new life into the world again and again with love

Love, true love is to ask nothing in return
Fated love that is meant to last
My love, your gentle gaze
A drop of your soul within me that I adore
Everything has an end, but we'll be united

My love, your gentle gaze
A drop of your soul within me that I adore
Everything has an end, but we'll be united

-------
The melody of the song is based around the melody to Nocturne by Chopin.

This song is now being used as the ending music of a TV drama, "風のガーデン (Garden of the Wind)", which happened to become a posthumous work of a Japanese actor Ken Ogata who passed away on October 5th.

2008-10-28

Narrative of an old historical figure in Japan - Aoto Fujitsuna


Perhaps any nation has a lot of narratives concerning old historical figures that have been used for ethical education. What is shown in the above Japanese-style painting is one such narrative in Japan. A samurai is looking for something in a river with his servant. The servant is carrying a torch, indicating that it is in the evening. When elderly Japanese see this painting, they can soon make a good guess that the samurai on the bridge is Aoto Fujitsuna (青砥藤綱).

------
Fujitsuna was a lord of small manors in Kanto area in the Kamakura period. Although he was wealthy thanks to his fertile manors, he lived a frugal life having simple clothes and diet. Instead of using his wealth for himself, he used it for giving foods, clothes and money to poor people.

Japan in the Kamakura period was governed by successive regents from Hojo clan. One day, concerning one of the manors of a regent, a conflict took place between the regent and a local officer. At the time, judicial decisions were made by a council that consisted of members chosen from lords. Fujitsuna was one of the members. In the council, almost all members supported the regent fearing his strong power, although the account by the local officer was reasonable. However, Fujitsuna stated the facts reasonably without fearing the power of the regent. As the result, the regent lost the case.

The local officer who was pleased with the unexpected winning gave Fujitsuna 300 kan of money putting them in tawara (a big bag made of straws). Seeing the money, Fujitsuna became upset. He returned the money to the local officer, saying: "The reason I stated my honest opinion in the council was just for the benefit of the regent. I never showed favor to you. Since I prevented the regent from falling in a bad reputation, the regent should give me a token of his gratitude. There is no reason for you to give me anything."

One evening, when Fujitsuna was walking on a bridge, he accidentally dropped coins of 10 mon. The coins rolled down into a river. Ten mon probably corresponded to about present 100 yen, or about one dollar. Samurai of his rank did not care about such a small amount of money. However, he ordered his servants to look for the money in the river. He handed 50 mon to a servant and made him to buy flaming torches. Lighting the torches, they finally found the 10 mon in the river.

People who heard of the event laughed at Fujitsuna, saying: "He bought the torches paying 50 mon in order to regain 10 mon. It was too small benefit from the large loss, wasn't it?" Hearing it, Fujitsuna, contracting his brows, said: "It only shows that you are interested in neither public interests nor charity. If I had not looked for the 10 mon in the river, it would have been lost forever. The 50 mon that I payed for the torches profited the merchant. There was no loss at all. It was a benefit to the public, wasn't it?" People got speechless with admiration.

One day, the regent had a dream in which a deity of Hachimangu shrine recommended him to patronize Fujitsuna as he is a man to be depended on. Accordingly, the regent decided to give Fujitsuna eight large manors. However, Fujitsuna rejected the offer, saying: "You decided to give me the manors according to the dream that you had. It follows that someday you might kill me according to a dream that you would have. I have not render any outstanding service. It would make me like a public enemy to accept such an offer when I have not achieved anything that matches the reward."

Other lords and officers who heard of his reply were ashamed of themselves. Since they never accepted bribes thereafter, the Shogunate could stably govern the country for a long period.
--------

The above narrative first appeared in Taiheiki (太平記), a historical epic written in the late 14th century. Since then, it was used for the ethical education of people in the pre-modern Japan. Since the narrative was also adopted in the textbook of ethics after the Meiji Restoration and the textbook had been used in public schools until 1945, elderly Japanese are familiar with the story.

Note: If you read old Japanese language, you can find the original Japanese text of the Fujitsuna's story here in Volume 35 of Taiheiki. To find the Fujitsuna's story, search 青砥 (Aoto) in the webpage. Aoto Fujitsuna appears as Aoto Saemon (青砥左衛門) in Taiheiki. Saemon is after the Fujitsuna's title Saemon-no-jo (左衛門尉) as an officer of Saemon-fu (左衛門府).

2008-10-09

Plagiarism in science

Nature has an astonishing news article reporting that there are many scientific papers that are duplicates of other papers.

When Eric Le Bourg, a French biogerontologist, came across a paper in a Korean journal recently, he almost fell off his chair; the entire article — text and graphs included — had been taken from one of his earlier articles. "It was plagiarism from beginning to end," he says. "I was astonished; it was pure cut and paste."

Such blatant copying of an entire article is not unknown, says Harold Garner, a researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Garner's team has used its eTBLAST text-matching software to build Deja Vu, a continually updated database that already holds some 75,000 abstracts listed in Medline that seem highly similar. His team has so far found dozens of near-100% clone papers.

Garner estimates that among the 181 papers they have identified so far as duplicates, 85% of the text is similar on average, but one-quarter share close to 100%. For a full list of the most similar pairs of articles, click here.
Le Bourg's paper was published in Experimental Gerontology. The duplicate by Hak-Ryul Kim at the biology department of Korea University was published a year later in the Korean Journal of Biological Sciences. According to the Nature article, Le Bourg and the editors of Experimental Gerontology contacted authorities at Korea University but got no response.

The last paragraph of the article is worth noting.
When confronted with their plagiarism, some researchers can be brazen. One offender, whose paper shared 99% of its text with an earlier report, wrote to Garner: "I seize the opportunity to congratulate [the authors of the original paper] for their previous and fundamental paper — in fact that article inspired our work."
Scientists tend to be reluctant to openly point out wrong doings of other scientists. But an offender's comment like this would be enough to break their mental barrier.

2008-10-07

Sumiko Yamagata - a Japanese folk singer in '70s

The followings are video clips of Sumiko Yamagata from a TV drama "おさななじみ" (Childhood Friend) aired in 1973. She debuted as a singer in the year when she was 17 years old.

Kaze ni fukarete ikou (風に吹かれて行こう, Let's go in the wind)



Kono hiroi nohara ippai (この広い野原いっぱい, Full in this large field)
Natsu ni nattara (夏になったら, When summer has come)

She is still releasing new CDs but she rarely appear on TV after she got married in 1978.

2008-09-27

WaiWai column had been violating the copyrights of 32 publishing and newspaper companies

Mainichi issued a statement admitting that WaiWai articles had been violating the copyrights of 32 publishing and newspaper companies .

In the column, articles were used without the consent of their publishers -- including publishing and newspaper companies. Our follow-up investigation has found that we used and translated articles published by 32 publishing and newspaper companies without their permission.

We allowed another publisher to run some of these WaiWai articles in publications it printed, and received fees for the reprint. We are now in the process of repaying these reprint fees.

We are continuing to apologize to the publishers for violating their copyrights.
Mainichi also admitted that the printed edition published before 2001 also used articles of other publications without permission from copyright holders.
The defunct printed edition of the Mainichi Daily News, which was published before the Mainichi Daily News became an online newspaper, also used and translated articles from other publications without permission from their copyright holders between October 1989 and March 2001. We are continuing to offer explanations and apologies to the publishers of these articles.
This is essentially a retraction of a portion of their previous statement issued on July 20th. According to the explanation in the previous statement, publication of problematic articles had started after the task of writing WaiWai articles fell into the hands of just one editor after the print edition of the MDN was suspended at the end of March 2001. The following is the relevant portion in the statement issued on July 20th.
At the time the print edition was suspended, the MDN had a staff of 15 foreign and three Japanese staff writers. Following the shift online, the staff was downsized to five foreign and three Japanese staff writers, with the Japanese staff subsequently being reduced to two. The task of writing articles for the WaiWai column essentially fell into the hands of just one editor.
(....)
The column editor assumed that different standards for accuracy applied to news stories and those carried in the WaiWai column. For this reason, both the print and web versions carried the following disclaimer: "WaiWai stories are transcriptions of articles that originally appeared in Japanese language publications. The Mainichi Daily News cannot be held responsible for the content of the original articles, nor does it guarantee their accuracy. Views expressed in the WaiWai column are not necessarily those held by the Mainichi Daily News or the Mainichi Newspapers Co." He did concede this might have been inadequate, though, considering that web readers did not necessarily differentiate between news articles translated from the Mainichi Shimbun and the stories in the WaiWai column.

Moreover, his knowledge and understanding of copyright laws were insufficient. When he first began writing WaiWai stories, he was told by a senior native English-speaking colleague that quoting from Japanese magazine articles was acceptable inasmuch as it was not straight translation but augmented with commentary and explanations. He took this advice at face value without further inquiry and continued to produce large volumes of magazine article translations. There were cases where personal interpretations that were not in the original article crept into the WaiWai story as a means of attracting reader attention.

2008-09-24

Real Aso?

According to the profile of Aso Taro posted on Mainichi [japanese], he is called 'a man of 1.5 meter radius (半径 1.5メートルの男)'. The meaning is..., if you get closer than 1.5 meter to him, you'll be fascinated by his magnetism. I don't know whether it's true or not, but the following video of Aso was really fun to watch.


[HT to manchingsakura]

2008-09-18

Your Neighbor Guerilla

On September 12th, U.S. naval base in Yokosuka was attacked by rocket bombs. According to Breitbart.com (via JapanProbe),

Two explosions were heard in a residential area in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture late Friday in what is believed to be a guerrilla attack against the U.S. naval base in the port city, police said.

No one was hurt in the incident, which took place in a hilly area of the city at around 10:30 p.m., the police said.

The police said there were the traces of two rocket bombs being launched. Metal pipes, batteries and lead wires were found on the scene, they added.

The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington is scheduled to arrive at its new home port of Yokosuka on Sept. 25, replacing the carrier Kitty Hawk.

Activists opposed to the George Washington's deployment have been campaigning against its impending arrival.
On Sept. 17th, Jiji press [Japanese] reported that a group that called themselves "revolutionary army (革命軍)" sent a letter saying that they attacked the U.S. base. Japanese Police considers the group to be the anti-mainstream faction of Kakurokyo (革労協, 革命的労働者協会 or "Revolutionary Laborer's Association"), since rocket launchers found near the Yokosuka base were similar to those used by the group in the attack against Camp Zama last year as Mainichi reported [Japanese]. The anti-mainstream faction of Kakurokyo that is also called Sekisaisha-ha (赤砦社派, or "Red Fortress Co. Faction") has attacked the U.S. bases several times before. The following is a list of the guerrilla attacks that Sekisaisha-ha involved (from Japanese Wikipedia).
July 3rd, 2000: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Yokota base by rocket bomb.

April 12th, 2002: With a time ignite device, Sekisaisha-ha set fire to a train of Keisei Electric Railway.

Nov. 2002: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Army Camp Zama by rocket bombs.

Launcher of rocket bombs used by Sekisaisha-ha in the attack against Camp Zama

Feb. 24th, 2003: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the building of the Defense Agency of Japan by rocket bombs.

May 12th, 2003: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Yokota base by rocket bombs.

April 3rd, 2003: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Atsugi base by rocket bombs.

Feb. 17th, 2004: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the building of the Defense Agency of Japan by rocket bombs.

Nov. 7th, 2004: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the JSDF Asaka base by rocket bombs.

Launchers of rocket bombs used by Sekisaisha-ha in the attack against the JSDF Asaka base

Feb. 12th, 2007: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the U.S. Army Camp Zama by rocket bombs.
So far no one has been injured by the rocket bombs, and in many cases the bombs did not reach targets. However, it needs serious attention since they are launching bombs anyway. It is worth noting that they committed murders many times in the past. I am writing the background of this group below since there is little English-language information on the group on the Web.

According to Japanese Wikipedia, Kakurokyo is an anarcho-syndicalistic group that blasted a dormitory of the Metropolitan Police with two bombs in 1990. The explosion killed one policeman and injured eight policemen. The group split into two factions in 1999; One is the mainstream faction Gendaisha-ha (現代社派) and the other is the anti-mainstream faction Sekisaisha-ha. The two factions waged bloody conflict with each other from 1999 to 2004. The following is a chronicle of the conflict picked up from Japanese Wikipedia.
June 4th, 1999: Members of Gendaisha-ha attacked the leader of Sekisaisha-ha, Shigeki Yamada. Yamada was fatally injured but fortunately saved from death.

June 8th, 1999: Seventeen members of Sekisaisha-ha were arrested on a charge of assembling with offensive weapons. They were keeping weapons in the campus of Meiji University.

June 13th, 1999: Sekisaisha-ha declared 'war' against Gendaisha-ha.

July 2nd, 1999: On the road in Matsudo, Chiba prefecture, Sekisaisha-ha killed a director of Meiji University Coop, Yoshihiko Nagata, by repeatedly hitting his temples with hammers. He was one of the leaders of Gendaisha-ha.

July 21th, 1999: Gendaisha-ha attacked a staff member of Meiji University Coop, Ichiro Aikawa, who was a member of Sekisaisha-ha. He died on the next day.

July 22nd, 1999: Thirty-seven members of Gendaisha-ha were arrested on a charge of assembling with offensive weapons when they gathered in the campus of Meiji University.

Feb. 8th, 2000: Attackers of Gendaisha-ha assaulted the office of Sekisaisha-ha in Fukuoka prefecture. A sekisaisha-ha member Toshikazu Kataoka was killed. On the next day, Sekisaisha-ha assaulted the attackers of Gendaisha-ha in a train car in Kanagawa prefecture. The two attackers were repeatedly stabbed by broad-bladed kitchen knives in public. One was killed on the spot, and the other was fatally injured but saved from death.

Aug. 30th, 2000: Gendaisha-ha killed the chief secretary of the Meiji University Coop Labor Union, Emiko Katayama, by repeatedly stabbing her with knives in the JR Uguisudani Station in the rush hour. She was one of the leaders of Sekisaisha-ha.

Dec. 10th, 2000: Sekisaisha-ha killed a Gendaisha-ha member in Kiyose, Tokyo. He was a committeeman of the general affairs section of Kakurokyo

Feb. 16th, 2001: Four members of Gendaisha-ha were arrested on a charge of assembling with offensive weapons just in front of the house of a Sekisaisha-ha member, when they arrived there for assaulting the Sekisaisha-ha member.

May, 16th, 2001: Sekisaisha-ha members killed a Gendaisha-ha member in Yachimata, Chiba prefecture. He was a committeeman of the general affairs section of Kakurokyo.

June, 2nd, 2004: Three members of Sekisaisha-ha were attacked on the road in Taitoh Ward, Tokyo, by the Gendaisha-ha members armed with broad-bladed kitchen knives and hammers. A student of Chiba University who was the chairman of All-Japan Federation of Students' Self-Governing Associations (AJFSSGA) and a student of Komazawa University who was the former secretary of AJFSSGA were killed there.

After the last incident in 2004, it is believed that the conflict between Gendaisha-ha and Sekisaisha-ha reached a settlement. So, they may start to attack facillities of the U.S. military and JSDF more often than before.

2008-09-09

Kamikaze bacteria that sacrifice themselves to help their brethren

Yesterday I saw a bottle of liquor named "Kamikaze" in a supermarket in my neighbor. It seemed to be a vodka made in Switzerland. After returning home, I tried googling information on the liquor, wondering why a Swiss company named one of their products Kamikaze.

Although I couldn't find information on the liquor after all, I came across other Kamikaze that are being investigated in Switzerland. According to a news article in Nature, scientists in Switzerland (and in Canada) are investigating Kamikaze bacteria - suicidal bacteria that sacrifice themselves to help their brethren to get a foothold in the gut. The article was pretty interesting.

Kamikaze bacteria illustrate evolution of co-operation

Bacteria can commit suicide to help their brethren establish more damaging infections — and scientists think that they can explain how this behaviour evolved.

The phenomenon, called self-destructive cooperation, can help bacteria such as Salmonella typhimurium and Clostridium difficile to establish a stronghold in the gut.

By studying mice infected with S. typhimurium, researchers from Switzerland and Canada have now demonstrated how this 'kamikaze' behaviour arose.

The team, led by Martin Ackermann of ETH Zurich in Switzerland, studied how S. typhimurium expresses the Type III secretion systems virulence factors (TTSS-1) that inflame the gut. This eradicates intestinal microflora that would otherwise compete for resources — but also kills most of the S. typhimurium cells in the vicinity. After this assault, the way is clear for remaining S. typhimurium to take advantage and further colonise the gut.

But in the middle of the gut cavity, or lumen, only about 15% of the S. typhimurium population actually expresses TTSS-1. In contrast, in the tissue of the gut wall, almost all bacteria express TTSS-1. As more bacteria invade the tissue, gut inflammation increases and kills off the invaders (especially those within the tissue) - along with the other competing gut flora.

"We thought it was a very strange phenomenon," says team member Wolf-Dietrich Hardt, also at ETH Zurich. "The bacteria in the gut lumen are genetically identical, but some of them are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. You could compare this act to Kamikaze fighter pilots of the Japanese army."

Kamikaze genes

This self-destructive cooperation relies on the genes controlling this suicidal behaviour not always being expressed. This 'phenotypic noise' means that only a fraction express TTSS-1, allowing the kamikaze genes to persist in the population. If every cell expressed the genes, they would all commit suicide, benefiting none of the population.

The team concluded that acts of self-destructive cooperation can arise, providing that the level of "public good" — in this case, the inflammation of the gut — is high enough. Crucially, cooperative individuals must also benefit from other cooperative acts more often than individuals who are not cooperating, a situation the scientists call 'assortment'.

In the case of gut bacteria, assortment can arise if the minimum number of pathogens required to infect a host is relatively small — as few as 100 cells, in cases such as Escherichia coli.

Change of strategy

The findings, published in Nature, chime well with long-established theories on the evolution of altruism and co-operation.

If a gene for sibling altruism is always expressed, it will tend to disappear, because those members of a clutch or litter who possess it may sacrifice themselves for those who do not. However, if the gene is present but not always expressed, it can persist, because some of its carriers may survive to pass it on to subsequent generations.

The research could also aid the design of more potent strategies against pathogenic bacteria. The Salmonella bacterium causes one of the most common bacterial infections in western countries, and is highly dangerous among the elderly and frail. "There is no doubt that a vaccine for Salmonella in humans is needed," says Hardt. "And many strains infecting livestock are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

"But based on our results, I would suggest that the usual strategy of targeting the vaccine against a virulence factor might not be the best strategy, if only a small fraction of the bacteria express it."
[The Nature article is via RichardDawkins.net. Photo is from this page]

Update: That liquor seems to be a bottled one of a cocktail called Kamikaze.

2008-09-01

Spoof of Queen

A spoof of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody by Gutch Yuzo.



The lyrics are taken from a Japanese kid's song "Puppy Policeman (犬のおまわりさん)" and have nothing to do with the original lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody.

The clip is from a Japanese kid's show, Hotch Potch Station, that was aired by the NHK Educational TV in the late 1990s. The show achieved the highest audience rating for kid's show in Japan. Perhaps parents were more enthusiastic to watch the show than their children.

The followings are some other clips from the same show.

Kiss: Detroit Rock City
Michael Jackson: Beat It
Rolling Stones: Honkey Tonk Women

2008-08-25

Harvesting myoga

Last Sunday, I harvested myoga (みょうが, 茗荷) grown on my balcony. Myoga (Zingiber mioga) that is used in Japanese cuisines is a close relative of ginger (Zingiber officinale). Unlike ginger whose edible part is rhizomes, myoga plants do not have fat roots. The part of the moyga plant that the Japanese eat is flower bud. Can you see the flower of myoga in the photo below?


Close-up view.


I could harvest eleven myoga from three containers last Sunday.


Raw myoga is used as trimmings for tofu, noodles and sashimi, but this time I made sweet pickle (amazu-zuke, 甘酢漬け) of myoga.


Recipe

1. Mix the followings in a container to make pickling solution. A half-cup (100 ml) of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Dissolve the ingredients well.

2. Slice each myoga longitudinally into two halves.

3. Boil the sliced myoga for 40 seconds in boiling water.

4. Drain the hot water off the myoga.

5. Put the boiled myoga into the pickling solution while myoga are still hot.

6. Store the myoga in pickling solution overnight in refrigerator. You can eat the pickle next day. The myoga in pickling solution can be stored for a month in refrigerator. Pickled myoga is usually served as thin shreds since it has rather pungent taste.

Myoga plants can be grown pretty easily in garden and in containers. Roots of myoga are sold in February to April in many homecenters and gardening shops in Japan. Just by putting the roots in soil, you can harvest myoga in summer every year, since myoga is a perennial plant. One essential thing that you should know to grow myoga plant is that it hates direct sunlight, so you should keep the plant in the shade. I am growing the myoga plant in the northern balcony of my apartment.

2008-08-24

B.B. Queens - Odoru Ponpokorin

Smash hit of B.B. Queens in 1990 when Japanese economic bubble was at its peak. This song is symbolic of those lighthearted days.

The male vocalist in B.B. Queens, Fusanosuke Kondo, is a blues singer who usually sings songs like this one (cover of "Sweet Little Angel").

[HT to gorogoro117]

2008-08-12

Diary of Nobuo Tatsuguchi

This story describes the last days of a Japanese soldier on Attu Island. It's a rather old article dated 2005, but even after reading it many times it's still moving.

The diary of Nobuo Tatsuguchi, an American-educated Japanese doctor who was killed during World War II, quietly recorded the tragedies of the war, his own suffering and the last moments of Japanese troops on Attu Island at the western tip of Aleutians in the Bering Sea.

Taeko Tatsuguchi, his 92-year-old widow in Los Angeles shared her memories of her late husband and the war with Kyodo News.

''He was a faithful Christian doctor and a gentleman who devoted himself to God and communities,'' said Taeko.

Nobuo Tatsuguchi was born in Hiroshima on Aug. 31, 1911, as the second son of a Christian dentist who had been educated in the United States. Tatsuguchi also studied medicine at the College of Medical Evangelists, now Loma Linda University, in southern California.
As background information, I'd put below an outline of the Battle of Attu from Wikipedia.
On 11 May 1943, the operation to recapture Attu began. A shortage of landing craft, unsuitable beaches, and equipment that failed to operate in the appalling weather caused great difficulties in projecting any force against the Japanese. Many soldiers suffered from frostbite - because essential supplies could not be landed, or having been landed, could not be moved to where they were needed. Army vehicles would not work on the tundra. The Japanese defenders under Colonel Yamasaki did not contest the landings, but rather they dug in on high ground away from the shore. This resulted in bloody fighting: there were 3,929 U.S. casualties: 580 were killed, 1148 were injured, 1200 had severe cold injuries, 614 succumbed to disease, and 318 died of miscellaneous causes - largely from Japanese booby traps and from friendly fire. The Japanese were defeated in Massacre Valley (with some soldiers led by Sergeant Morgan Sinclair). The death count for the Japanese was 2035. The Americans then built Navy Town near Massacre Bay.

On May 29, the last of the Japanese forces suddenly attacked near Massacre Bay in one of the largest banzai charges of the Pacific campaign. The charge, led by Colonel Yamasaki, penetrated U.S. lines far enough to encounter shocked rear-echelon units of the American force. After furious, brutal, close-quarter, and often hand-to-hand combat, the Japanese force was killed almost to the last man: only 28 prisoners were taken, none of them officers. U.S. burial teams counted 2,351 Japanese dead, but it was presumed that hundreds more had been buried by naval, air, and artillery bombardments over the course of the battle.
The photo at the top of this post is from this page. According to the page, "The Japanese soldier to whom the film belonged was more than likely killed in the Battle for Attu some time during May of 1943, as there were only 28 surviving Japanese soldiers". Although the owner of the film tried to get the photos to the surviving families of the soldiers seen in the photos, it has not been successful to find the families.

Also, You can read a translated text of the diary of Nobuo Tatsuguchi here.

2008-08-10

American crawfish and weed in Japan

According to Shinano Mainichi Shimbun, shipping of amerika-zarigani is now at its peak around the Lake Suwa. "Amerika-zarigani "or simply "zarigani" is a Japanese name for red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii) that is native to North America.

When I was a kid, it was one of the pastimes to fish amerika-zarigani in the pond in my neighborhood. According to Japanese Wikipedia, this crawfish was first introduced into Japan from America in 1927 as a food for cultured bullfrog. The crawfish escaped from the cultivation pond and propagated in the nature. Now we can see amerika-zarigani everywhere in Japan. Although I didn't think of eating that crawfish when I was a kid, according to the Shinano Mainichi Shimubun article it is used for French cuisines in some restaurants nowadays.

Another common organism in Japan that has "amerika" in its name is the weed "devill's beggarticks" (Bidens frondosa) that is called amerika-sendangusa in Japan. After the Japan's surrender in WWII, American occupation force came to Japan. At the time, seeds of amerika sendangusa also came to Japan being attached to the soldiers and cargoes. The seeds of the plant have hooked barbs that attach onto clothing. When I was a kid, it was also a pastime to play with the seeds of america-sendangusa throwing them onto the clothes of friends each other.

2008-08-07

WaiWai Correspondents' Club, Part 2

About a month ago, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published reports concerning the WaiWai issue. Both articles that were similar to each other were written by a reporter Justin Norrie. I had something to say about those reports, but, since I am not good at commanding English as you readers may easily notice, I had not been able to write about them. I just noticed that Jun Okumura at GlobalTalk 21 has written about the article published in the Age. In the post, he wrote many of the things that I wanted to write. Please take a look at his post here.

I'd append here some additional comments concernig the Justin Norrie's article.

In the article, Mr. Norrie wrote:

In the past month the 39-year-old, originally from Melbourne, has become one of the most reviled figures in Japan, (...)
There seems to be a factual error. The editor of the WaiWai column, Ryann Connell, is not 39 years old, but 53 years old. According to his profile page written by himself, he was born March 25, 1955 (this page has a link to the cache of his profile page. Click the link at the top of the linked page to see the cache).

Then the article says:
When contacted this week, Connell said he was unable to comment. But The Age believes he has received death threats and is under strict police instructions to stay at home until things die down.
Connell was unable to comment, then how The Age was able to "believe" Connell had received death threats?

Mr. Norrie's another article in the Sydney Morning Herald has a similar paragraph.
When contacted this week, Connell said he was unable to comment on "any aspect of the case". But the Herald understands he has received several death threats and is under strict police instructions to stay inside his suburban Tokyo home until the matter dies down.
Connell was unable to comment on "any aspect of the case", then how the Herald was able to "understand" Connell had received several death threats? No one but the Herald and The Age can understand.

His reports on the WaiWai issue were so interesting that I tried to find other articles written by him. Of the articles found, this one titled "Boyos abroad raising the flag, shaming the nation" was especially interesting. He wrote in the article:
In the run up to Australia Day this year, organisers of the Big Day Out music festival triggered a nationwide round of chest-beating by declaring the national flag unwelcome at the Sydney event. Their aim, they said, was to prevent aggressive displays of nationalism and ethnic violence.

While the festival passed peacefully, the anticipated outbursts of drunken thuggery and cultural friction were unravelling 8500 kilometres away, on the freezing streets of Hokkaido, in northern Japan.

At Niseko, a small ski resort town dubbed "Little Australia" in honour of the Antipodean property developers and skiers who have driven its revival, the Japanese owners of Cafe Pow Pow had thoughtfully thrown a barbecue to mark the special day for their patrons.

They had supplied Australian wine, beer, meat pies and fish and chips - even fireworks. Before long their guests quaffed the lot and - amid the occasional refrain of "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!" - began throwing punches and glasses around the bar, then out in the street, in one of at least three brawls across the town that night, witnesses recalled.

"This fighting is common for Australians," a female bar worker at Pow Pow told the Herald. "They get drunk, take off their clothes, sometimes smash glasses and have fights - like it's fun."

The Australia Day skirmishes received no media attention.
Australian residents in Niseko had something to say about the report. The Australian Alpine Club Niseko wrote in their blog post titled "lost in translation?",
Justin Norrie, the Tokyo correspondent for the 'Sydney Morning Herald' recently wrote about alleged bad behaviour by Australians in Niseko, apparently evidenced by a brawl at Cafe Pow Pow on Australia Day this year. Bar staff from Cafe Pow Pow were quoted and the reporter observed that "[T]he Australia Day skirmishes received no media attention." The story has since been widely circulated on the internet.

A slight problem with the story is that according to Cafe Pow Pow and some who frequented the establishment on Australia Day, no such event occurred. This might explain why it received no media attention.
Haha.


Update:
The following article was also interesting.
Australia also should "Rail at Australian's Tabloid Trash" about Japan.

2008-08-05

Google maps street view has become available for Japan

Google has started the service of google maps street view for Japan. The street view is now available for Tokyo, Sendai, Sapporo, Hakodate and Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe area.

This is a link to a road in Akihabara area.

2008-08-04

WaiWai Correspondents' Club

The latest issue of Number 1 Shimbun, a Monthly journal issued by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, has an article entitled "Wai oh Why?". The editorial of the issue says,

No. 1’s primary focus should be on stories that directly concern and are of interest to journalists – we’re a press club, after all.

For example, in this month’s issue, we’re running a fascinating story by Gavin Blair about the Byzantine machinations surrounding the Mainichi Shimbun’s closure of the WaiWai Web site.
The article shows how much ill-informed foreign correspondents in Japan are. The article describes the fuss on the WaiWai column as follows.
By June, Mainichi had issued an apology, removed all the archived stories, asked search engines to do the same, and promised to punish those involved.

Still, the protesters were not satisfied, bombarding companies that advertised with the Mainichi with demands to withdraw their sponsorship and calling for further punishment of its editors and Connell.
I don't think this is a correct description on the fuss about the WaiWai column. The initial apology from Mainichi issued on June 25 did not mention that the WaiWai column contained wrong information, although it was what many Japanese demanded. The apology from Mainichi stated,
Some of the articles in the "WaiWai" column carried in the Mainichi Daily News, the English Web site of the Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd., were inappropriate and made many people uncomfortable. (...)
WaiWai was meant to introduce aspects of Japanese society and social behavior by quoting magazines and other print media published in Japan. In late May, we received criticism saying the content was vulgar. The Mainichi Daily News Editorial Department deemed that some of the articles had inappropriate content and deleted those articles.
What many Japanese demanded of Mainichi was to clarify to the foreign readers that the WaiWai column contained wrong information about Japan, as I wrote previously. However, Mainichi's initial apology only stated that the WaiWai column contained "inappropriate" articles. It did not explain how the articles were "inappropriate". In addition, the apology could be taken by foreign readers as a statement suggesting that the articles contained correct information on Japanese society and social behavior, since it stated: "WaiWai was meant to introduce aspects of Japanese society and social behavior by quoting magazines and other print media published in Japan". The apology as a whole suggested that the only reason that Mainichi deleted the articles was that they were "vulgar". This apology indicated that Mainichi did not understand what in the WaiWai column made many Japanese upset. In addition, although the Mainichi announced punitive measures for people who had been responsible for the publication of the WaiWai articles, the Digital Media Division President was promoted the head of the Mainichi Shimbun Corporation on June 25, despite the fact that he had been the most responsible person for the WaiWai issue. Thus, the fuss continued until Mainichi issued more comprehensive apology on July 20.

After delivering misinformation on the fuss, the article in the Number 1 Shimbun suddenly changes the topic to a minor group who made a demonstration in front of the Mainichi's headquarters.
The Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai - Citizens' Group against Special Rights for Zainichi (Japan-born Koreans) – organized a demonstration in front of the Mainichi's headquarters on July 2 after WaiWai had been purged and punishments announced.
Several days before the demonstration, the Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Zaitokukai) announced on various boards at 2-channel that they will demonstrate in front of the Mainichi's headquarters. However, majority of 2-channelers who had been criticizing Mainichi responded to the call by warning other readers that attending the demonstration by the Zaitokukai would be perceived by other people as if the anti-Mainichi movement was organized by the particular organization. Many 2-channelers advised other readers not to attend the demonstration. Thus the demonstration on July 2 was a very small one. The attempt to attribute the anti-WaiWai movement to that minor group is just a delusive attempt to create the "Byzantine machinations" from nothing.

The author of the article seems to be fond of the WaiWai column featuring a tale of fishermen. He wrote,
It would be a shame to say goodbye to WaiWai without recalling at least one of its infamous stories in a little more detail. One, which combined the elements of humor, debauchery and a total lack of credibility, was the tale of fishermen having their way with various creatures of the ocean. Originally told by comedian Taro Makeburu, a former fisherman, to a Jitsuwa Knuckles columnist, it contained some of the following pearls: (...)
A small tidbit. The comedian mentioned in this article was not Taro Makeburu (負古 太郎) but Furutaro Make (負 古太郎). Furutaro Make was a member of the comedian group, Takeshi Gundan, lead by Takeshi Kitano. His name is a parody of a Japanese actor Shintaro Katsu (勝 新太郎). The kanji for "winning (katsu, 勝)" and "new (shin, 新)" in the Shintaro Katsu's name is changed into kanji of opposite meanings, "losing (make, 負)" and "old (furu, 古)", respectively, in the Make Furutaro's name. Just by seeing his name in the beginning of that article, Japanese can know that a bunch of jokes will follow in the article, but the authors of the WaiWai column and the Foreign Correspondents' Club's article had neither knowledge on the Takeshi Gundan's comedian nor ablility to investigate that background.

This WaiWai article fortunately contained a joke about moray that even foregin people could doubt the credibility of the article. Apparently that is the reason the Foreign Correspondents' Club's article mentioned that particular WaiWai article. However, can readers with little knowledge on Japan and Japanese people judge that the story on the bestiality restaurant is a fiction when he/she read it? The Foreign Correspondents' Club's article that intentionally avoided to mention problematic articles looks to be a desperate attempt to cover up the harmful nature of the WaiWai column.

As a minor note, the Foreign Correspondents' Club's article provided in the end a link to transcripts of WaiWai articles that is violating Japanese copyright laws; The Foreign Correspondents' Club, as an organization, seems to be trying to encourage and promote the violation of the laws. It's sad that this kind of people are working as foreign correspondents in this country.

2008-08-03

Green algae in Quingdao city have found the way to go

In the Beijing Olympic, Quingdao (青島, Tsingtao) of China is hosting several events of the sailing competitions which will take place along the coastline by the city.

On July 1, Sankei MSN News reported that an algal bloom choked the coastline of the city and was threatning to impede the competition. In order to remove the green algae, 400 boats and 3000 people were mobilized for cleaning up the algal bloom. Perhaps, nutrients in the wastes flown out of the city caused the heavy algal bloom.




According to Asahi Shimbun on Aug. 1, the Quingdao City Communist Party stated that the algae were found to be green laver (Enteromorpha sp.) that is used for food in Korea and Japan and that they plan to export the algae to South Korea as a test for commercializing them.

I hope they never export the algae to Japan.

2008-07-25

Left-wing extremists plan to recruit new members through demonstration at Yasukuni

Japan Probe has a post titled "Pacifist group plans demonstration at Yasukuni". When I saw the Website of the "pacifist group", Anti-War Joint Action Committee, my blood froze. All of the member organizations of the committee were Chukaku-ha's organizations.

Chukaku-ha is a faction of left-wing extremists that is still holding the policy of armed revolution. It repeated bloody conflict with another left-wing faction Kakumaru-ha in the 1970s. Then, in the 1980s and 1990s, they repeated terror attacks to various places with explosives and firebombs. You can read a short summary on Chukaku-ha here on Wikipedia.

In the late 1970s, one of my acquaintances was seriously injured by this group. Late at night, when he was sleeping in his apartment room, a group of masked men broke into his room. They hit his right thigh with a hammer to break his thighbone and stabbed his left arm with an ice pick. Next morning, Chukaku-ha scattered bills stating that they annihilated a Kakumaru-ha member. The name of my acquaintance was written on the bill as the annihilated one. However, he had nothing to do with any left-wing groups. It seemed that they attacked him believing some misinformation. Suspects of that incident have not been arrested.

I found by google search that the following pages have a chronicle of incidents that Japanese left-wing radicals were involved in.
http://www.bordersphere.com/chrono/c.php4?s=1970
http://www.bordersphere.com/chrono/c.php4?s=1980
http://www.bordersphere.com/chrono/c.php4?s=1990

From the chronicle, incidents relating to Chukaku-ha are picked up below. Although only several incidents of the infighting between Chukaku-ha and Kakumaru-ha are shown in the list, to my knowledge far more number of bloody incidents took place in the infighting in the 1970s. The list is apparently incomplete.

Aug.4, 1970
Toshio Ebihara, a student of Tokyo Educational University [Tokyo Kyoiku Daigaku] and also a member of Kaku-maru-ha, was lynched to death by the members of Chukaku-ha in Hosei University. It was the first victim of the intra-sects violence [uchi-geba].

Nov.9, 1972
Kaku-maru-ha killed a student of Waseda University, Daizaburo Kawaguchi, by lynching, claiming him to be a member of Chukaku-ha, and left his body in front of Tokyo University Hospital. This opened a long bloody strife between the two sects.

Mar.14, 1975
Kaku-maru-ha killed the leader of Chukaku-ha, Nobuaki Honda, in his apartment in Kawaguchi City in Saitama Prefecture.

May.20, 1978
On the day of the inauguration of the Narita International Airport, Chukaku-ha cut the communication cables used for the Tokyo area flight control, in several locations in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture. This disorganized the flight schedule.

Feb.27, 1983
The Anti-Narita Air Port Alliance disintegrated into two factions, Kitahara-ha and Atsuta-ha; this dismembered the supporting sects: Chukaku-ha went with the former and The Fourth International went with the latter.

Sep.19, 1984
Chukaku-ha attacked the headquarter of the Liberal Democratic Party with a kind of flame thrower; seven floors, between the third to the ninth, were burnt.

Nov.27, 1984
Chukaku-ha set fire to the homes (and/or offices) of the governor Koichi Hamada and three Congressmen of Chiba Prefecture. (This was related to the Narita Airport affair.)

1985
Beginning from this year, New left Sects began to use the “projectile weapons” for the struggle against the Narita Airport expansion: arrow shaped bomb (Chukaku-ha), shell bomb (Kaiho, Hazama-ha) , M53 trench mortar (Bund, Senki-ha), etc.

Apr.12, 1985
Chukaku-ha attacked both Narita and Heneda Airports with eleven arrow shaped bombs, from a truck parked one kilometer away, with a time firing device.

Feb.8, 1986
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha set fire to several workings of Kajima Construction Company in Chiba City and Yamato City, that were used for the construction of Narita Airport.

May.4, 1986
Chukaku-ha shot five arrow shaped bombs to Geihin-kan [The National Guest House] where the Summit was taking place, from a building in Shinjuku Ward, located five kilometers away; one fell in front of the Canadian embassy.

Sep.1, 1986
Chukaku-ha attacked and killed the secretary general of the Japan National Railroad Workers Union in Osaka area, in his home in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture. (It was part of the war between Chukaku-ha and Kaku-maru-ha.)

Nov., 1986
In a hideout of Chukaku-ha in Iwate Prefecture, the police discovered a powerful bomb, made from pressure cooker, being developed.

Mar.3, 1988
Chukaku-ha attacked and killed the secretary general of the East Japan Passenger Railway Workers Union of Takasaki area in his home. (It was part of Chukaku-ha vs. Kaku-maru-ha war.)

Jul.4, 1988
Chukaku-ha set fire to seven companies that were engaged in the second term construction of Narita Airport, by time ignition device; twenty nine trailers and trucks were burnt.

Sep.29, 1988
Chukaku-ha set fire to two cars parked in the dormitory of the Supreme Court in Shibuya Ward in Tokyo, by time ignite device.

Oct.25, 1988
Employing time ignite devices, Chukaku-ha set fire to three vehicles in a construction site of the Japan Road Public Corporation [Nihon Doro Kodan], in Koyama-cho in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Nov.3, 1988
Chukaku-ha set fire to two big trucks of a transportation company in Taiyo-mura in Ibaragi Prefecture.

Jan.29, 1989
With a time-bomb, Chukaku-ha exploded the storage of a home of the chair man of the committee for deciding uses of public land (of the Ministry of Construction); it destroyed parts of the home and other seven homes near by.

Feb.28, 1989
Chukaku-ha attacked and killed the secretary general of the eastern section of JR Union (of Kakumaru-ha).

Mar.7, 1989
In Tsukuba City Ibaraki Prefecture, Chukaku-ha‘s time ignite device burnt two storage buildings of Nihon Hoso, the company that was in charge of building roads for Narita Airport.

Mar.12, 1989
With time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt three large trucks in a parking lot for a construction company in Tomizu City, Chiba Prefecture.

Mar.20, 1989
With time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt a large truck, an excavator, and a resting room for the workers in the site of constructing an overflow in Narita City in Chiba Prefecture.

Apr.29, 1989
Chukaku-ha set a time bomb in a private car in a parking lot of the Imperial Household Agency in Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo; it destroyed the car and a bike as well as the window glasses of the dormitory.

June 5, 1989
With time ignite devices, Chukaku-ha burnt seven large trucks in a parking lot of a transportation company in Numanan-cho in Chiba Prefecture.

Jul.24, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt parts of the home of the secretary general of the committee of land expropriation of Chiba Prefecture.

Aug.23, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt parts of the resting room for the workers in a golf club in Shibayama-cho in Chiba Prefecture.

Sep.8, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the office, storage, and five vehicles of a construction company in Narita City in Chiba Prefecture.

Nov.16, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the house of the secretary general of the Chiba Prefectural Parliament; parts of two neighboring houses, too, were burnt.

Dec.7, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt a half of the home of an official of Chiba Prefecture’s Planning Department, in Chiba City.

Jan.8, 1990
Aiming at the residence of Prince Tokiwa, Chukaku-ha shot shell bombs from a time set launcher installed in a car parked in a construction site in Shibuya Ward in Tokyo; they fell in the parking lot of Japan Coca Cola headquarter and the residence hall of the Imperial Household Agency across the street from the target. About the same time, similar shell bombs were shot from a shrine near Kyoto Imperial Palace; they fell near the palace.

Jan.16, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the office and three other buildings of Mitsui Construction that was involved in the construction of Narita Airport, in Atsugi City in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Jan.23, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the passenger seats of the six lines of JR and a line of Keisei line around Tokyo area.

Feb.19, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt part of the home and the car of the director of information administration of the Ministry of Transportation in Yachiyo City in Chiba Prefecture.

Feb.27, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt part of the home of the president of Shimizu Construction that was involved in the construction of Narita Airport, in Setagaya Ward in Tokyo.

Mar.7, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt part of the home of the managing director of the New Kansai Airport Corporation, in Habikino City in Osaka.

Mar.14, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt cars parked in an underground parking lot of a building in Akasaka Ward in Tokyo; the cars belonged to the Nuclear Energy Development Corporation. A fireman of the Tokyo Fire Defense Agency was killed during the rescue mission.

Mar.19, 1990
Allowed by the New Narita Legislation [Narita Shin-po], the government (the Ministry of Transport and the Airport Public Corporation) forcibly removed the base of Chukaku-ha located in the site of Narita Airport expansion.

Mar.19, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt three shrines (Hikawa Shrine in Numabukuro, Nakano Ward, Shinmei Shrine in Funabashi, Setagaya ward, and Shirahige Shrine in Higashi Muko-jima in Sumida Ward) in Tokyo area

Mar.22, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt a garage of the residence of Japan Airline’s President at large (kai-cho), and a garage of the residence of All Nippon Air’s president.

Apr.12, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the entire home of the managing director of the Nihon Hikoki in Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture; his wife was killed and the director was heavily injured.
The chronicle ends here in 1990. For the incidents that took place after 1990, several news articles are available online.

Tokyo Police Posts Bombed as Emperor Rite Nears. (Nov. 3, 1990; New York Times)
Chukaku-ha leftists admit torching buses in Chiba. (June 4, 1998; Japan Times)
Guerrillas blamed for morning attack: Transport Ministry official's car, house damaged but no injuries reported. (Aug. 27, 2000; Japan Times)
Chukakuha radicals claim responsibility for explosion. (Jan. 25, 2001; Kyodo)

2008-07-23

How beastiality restaurant was made real in the WaiWai column

The Website of Mainichi Daily News (MDN) has the results of the investigation of problems of the WaiWai column. The most criticized about the Mainichi's WaiWai column was that it contained wrong information about Japan as stated by one of the members of third party organization.

The WaiWai column lent credibility to articles that Japanese readers would ordinarily take with a grain of salt. Foreign readers cannot tell whether or not the Japanese magazines that originally published the articles are reputable and can be taken at face value. There was a danger, therefore, that the column could invite great misunderstanding. It is frightening to think that the responsibility for such a column was left completely in the hands of an individual staff writer. A company that gives precedence to the number of web hits over consideration of what information should be conveyed cannot be properly called a newspaper.

Claims have been made that the column shed light on certain aspects of Japanese society. This claim is unsupportable, for rather than shedding light, it provided something close to misinformation.
The results of the investigation did not include any detailed description of the examination of individual articles probably because quoting the articles should results in violation of copyright laws; The articles had already violated the laws by translating articles without permission of copyright holders. This was vaguely stated in the Mainichi's investigation document; "Issues relating to the translation and summarization of copyrighted material are being discussed with the publishers of the source magazines."

Some Japanese bloggers and 2-channelers are trying to collect source magazines that were used for WaiWai articles, in order to examine how original articles were changed and modified when they were translated for the WaiWai column. Recent finding of the source magazine for the WaiWai article titled "The Cook, the Beast, the Vice and its Lover" revealed how that WaiWai article was made.

The WaiWai article start with the following summary describing about beastiality restaurant.
A disgusting and twisted restaurant in the Tokyo entertainment district of Roppongi is enticing warped rich folk with the opportunity to figuratively have their cake and eat it, too — with animals, according to Jitsuwa Knuckles (9/25).
(You can read the transcript of full article at the following URL.
http://logipundit.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/beastiality-restaurant-opens-in-tokyo/)
When Japanese see the name of the source magazine, they can automatically notice that the story is fictional as I wrote before, but foreign readers may take the story at face value. However, it was not the only problem of the WaiWai article.

Finding of the source magazine revealed that the original article was written as one of the articles featuring urban legends; The articles had a header stating that the contents were urban legends.

The header says "エロバカ都市伝説: 各地に広まった身近な都市伝説を徹底収集" which means "Vulgar and foolish urban legends: thorough collection of familiar urban legends dispersed in various places". The author of the WaiWai article omitted this information when he wrote the article. Considering the nature of the source magazine, I don't think the contents of the articles were actual urban legends but think they were creation by the writer. Anyway, the writer of the original article was at least responsible enough to suggest that its content was not factual, stating that it was an urban legend. However, the author of the WaiWai article shamelessly omitted the header so that readers can take the story at face value.

Also, in the original article the person who invited a commenter to the restaurant was a congressman, but in the WaiWai article that person was changed to a lawyer. Why did the author of the WaiWai article make this change? Did he have ill-feeling toward lawyers? No one but the author knows.

2008-07-17

Members of Japanese Communist Party are increasing by 1000 every month since last year

According to Yomiuri Online, members of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) are increasing by about 1000 every month since last year. The number of the JCP members was 500,000 in 1990, but it decreased in the 1990s, reaching 380,000-400,000 in the early 2000s. However, it has started to increase again since last year. Most of the new members are young people in their 20s and 30s who are the so-called "working poor".

As a related note, Sankei Shimbun reported on May 14 that a classic proletarian novel "Kanikousen (蟹工船)", or Crab-canning Boat, is selling surprisingly well this year. Kanikousen depicts hardship of laborers working on a crab-canning boat. Although the laborers in the novel initially endure the hardship, they go on strike in the end. The author Takiji Kobayashi (小林多喜二) who published this novel in 1929 was killed by the Special High Police, a police section of the Imperial Japan that was specialized to political crimes, in 1933 as a member of the communist party that was illegal at the time.

The JCP was legalized after WWII, but, in the early 1950s, it tried to achieve armed revolution of Japan, resulting in the loss of support from Japanese mass. It abandoned the policy of armed revolution in the late 1950s, but that change in policy resulted in the withdrawal of many members. One of the members who withdrew from JCP at the time was Susumu Nishibe (西部邁) who is now known as a conservative critic. Present JCP is a party supporting parliamentary democracy. A number of politicians supported by JCP were elected as governors and mayors in the 1970s, but influence of JCP in Japanese politics had been declining.

2008-07-14

Anna Tsuchiya cannot appear in NHK?

Previously, I linked some of Anna Tsuchiya's music videos here and here. She is a fashion model, an actress and a singer. And she has recently made a debut as a voice actress in an anime "Sore Ike Anpanman: Yousei Rinrin no Himitsu", or "Let's go, Anpanman: the secret of fairy Rinrin", that is being screened in Japan since July 12. Her role in the anime is the heroine, Fairy Rinrin.

Also, this week's issue of Shukan Gendai reported that Anna caused trouble in the filming of an NHK documentary that was planned to be aired on NHK BS this summer. She was on location for the documantary when she started quarreling with the director of the documentary. She finally hit him in the face causing light injury on his eye. The filming was immediately cancelled. Perhaps, NHK would never offer jobs to Anna in the future. It seems she behaves like her roles in the films such as Kamikaze Girls and Sakuran even in her real life. The photo at the top of this entry and the youtube video to follow are from Sakuran.