The following text is the transcript by V. S. of Jonathan Bowden’s New Right lecture in London on December 10, 2011. I want to thank Michèle Renouf for making the recording available.
Mishima’s life was dedicated to a return of the spirit of the samurai and a belief in Yamamoto Jōchō’s book Hagakure, which is partly the 17th-century bible of samurai morality whereby life is transfigured by death, and the notion of a warrior who is also an intellectual and a literary figure as well as a spiritual crusader, a priest who kills, is paramount.
Japanese culture is distinct from almost all others on Earth and is still difficult to understand and conceptualize for many Westerners. One of the more glaring things about Japan is that material which is banned in the West is widely available, particularly in terms of pornography, over which there are very little restrictions at all. Even in manga, or Japanese comics, which are often amazingly hardline and hardcore in Western terms.
Japan is a strange society, because the dialectics which move within it are oppositional and highly differentiated to those of the West. It’s probably true that people who are self-identifying in the Western tradition have often admired elements about Japan, particularly imperial Japan. There’s a degree to which there’s not so much a symmetry as a meaningful asymmetry by which the Japanese are perceived as a people who wanted to be themselves in their own way.
One reason I’m drawn to study the work of Japanese revisionists is that they are actually afforded enough discursive space for there to be a somewhat rational debate on whether or not the different aspects of the history of WWII in Asia they address have been interpreted accurately.
This press conference held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan reveals the gulf that exists between Japan and the West when it comes to freedom of speech on the subject of WWII.
Many European historical revisionists have been imprisoned and fined since 1945 simply for attempting to have the kind of civilized discussion displayed in the above video.
On October 26, 2015, pioneer of Alternative Right politics and post-war historical revisionism Willis Carto passed away at age 89. In reading some of the eulogies published about him on websites such as Counter-Currents, I was amazed to discover that Carto had been shot by a Japanese sniper on Cebu Island in May 1945, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. This factoid reaffirmed my belief that Carto was a man who strove for objectivity in his political and historical research.
I knew of Carto’s support for those whom the FDR administration persecuted in the early 1940s for their refutations of that regime’s pro-war arguments. Ralph Townsend was one such victim of the Stalinist show trials which are described vividly in The Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944 by Lawrence Dennis and Maximilian St. George. Carto would allow pro-Japanese interpretations of WWII in Asia to be published in the publications under his auspices, in spite of the fact that he had succumbed to a Japanese bullet during that war. That was the kind of man he was.
This is a portion of Ralph Townsend’s article “Our Slump in Foreign Pets” which was originally published in The North American Review in August 1933. We sense in this piece Townsend’s frustration with the self-flagellating universalism of liberals and Christians, which he believed made Americans prone to exploitation by cynical out-groups. His frustration with the way who was or was not the “underdog” du jour impinged upon American foreign policy, is exhibited in his later writings.
When we stop showering unappreciated favors on the Chinese, our market should be saturated.
There are signs that we are soon to be without a foreign pet—without any journalistically chosen foreign country or distant people upon whom our sensation-stirring writers and plaintive orators may loose eulogies to wring extravagant sympathy out of average Americans. China, our last and longest foreign pet, seems about to pass from the roster as more and more intelligent opinion filters back to correct misinformation here. There is no successor in sight.
I’ve voiced a great deal of criticism of so-called “hate speech” legislation in Canada in recent years. Unlike the people of Japan, I happen to live in a country where people are regularly criminalized for expressing opinions which the Canadian State labels “hateful”. One of my missions in life, therefore, has been to attempt to contribute to the debate that is taking place currently in Japan about whether or not such inane laws should be incorporated into Japanese jurisprudence.
It appears a great deal of money is being poured into think tanks and political organizations which are favourable toward such legislation in Japan. The mayor of Japan’s second largest city of Osaka, Tōru Hashimoto, is one political-actor who has been zealously promoting the idea that certain forms of inter-ethnic political criticism should be stamped out via the enactment of “hate speech” laws. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and many of his colleagues, however, have not been as supportive. This differs from the West where approximately 98% of legislators are happy to see bloggers, historians and political analysts thrown in jail for their ethnographic analyses.
“Hate speech” laws imply that ethnic minorities ought to be exempted from criticism. The main flaw of such legislation is that it fails to allow for a consideration of the power and influence held by the often politically-active ethnic groups being critiqued. Certain criticisms of the activities of the leadership of certain politicized ethnic groups may be in the public interest but “hate speech” legislation essentially abolishes criticism of such potential power brokers. The assumption is that if you’re a member of an ethnic minority then you’re, ipso facto, a vulnerable underdog in need of protection from the State.
Here is a summary of the absurd trial of Arthur Topham by Michael Hoffman:
Quesnel, British Columbia, October 27 — Canadian Arthur Topham, 68, is a British Columbia (B.C.) placer miner who in his spare time operates the “Radical Press,” a website. On May 16, 2012 he was on his way to work at his mining operation when he was arrested by several police officers, handcuffed and charged with a “hate crime.”
Topham was charged with a single count of “willfully promoting hatred against people of the Jewish religion or ethnic group,” as well as “improper storage of firearms” found in his house near Quesnel, B.C.
“The branch has approved charges against him,” said Neil MacKenzie of the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch. MacKenzie said British Columbia’s assistant deputy attorney general had signed off on the hate crimes charge.
I have recently been evaluating the conflicting viewpoints on the subject of World War II comfort women and intend to summarize them in future posts on this nascent blog. For now, I thought QJH readers might find this CNN interview with Komori Yoshihisa of Japan’s Sankei Shumbun thought-provoking. He provides some but not all of the main protestations Japanese comfort-women-skeptics make against those who opt to emphasize the relationship between prostitutes and the Japanese military during WWII in their discourse.
I recently acquired a copy of the book The Trial on Trial (1946) by Lawrence Dennis and Maximilian St. George which recounts the Orwellian Great Sedition Trial of 1944. During that trial many American intellectuals were prosecuted for their pro-neutrality arguments. Dennis was one of the accused and St. George was a defence attorney involved in the proceedings.
Chomsky in the above video condones the “totalitarian society” which enabled the persecution of intellectuals who spoke for the 86% of Americans who opposed military intervention in Europe and Asia. Chomsky can be seen opining:
“during the Second World War, the forms of authority
—we had a totalitarian society basically—
and I thought that there was
some justification for that”
WWII propaganda claimed that the world was witnessing an epic tussle between the forces of Democracy and those of Totalitarianism. In reality the Allied regimes were just as totalitarian as the Axis ones. The criminalization of those who reject the FDR administration’s version of the events of WWII continues to this day, with revisionist historians in Western nations often finding themselves being incarcerated for their historical conclusions.
Chomsky has encouraged Westerners to embrace weak, anarchistic political dispensations in their nations throughout his academic career. Such prescriptions would only allow illiberal political actors such as the Zionists to further colonize our nations. However, when push came to shove in the 1930s and 40s it seems that pro-Communist, Zio-friendly totalitarianism had “some justification” for the putative “anarchist”.