Video: Japanese Traditional Dance: Awa Odori – 阿波踊り

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Japan is a festival land.

There are many festivals throughout the year, some national, some regional, with most having ties to communal and/or ethnic memory and traditions that have long become non-ethnic and homogenized in Japan’s march toward joining the world community of nations.

Today, many young Japanese are only beginning to learn that Okinawa ‘may have not been’ a version of a Japanese identity, or that the Buraku and the Ainu people exist, or that Zainichi Koreans have had a precarious relationship to the Japanese nation in relation to what the mainstream has been taught.

Like most first-world nations today, National Festivals and associated dances have their origins in communities resisting the onslaught of the nation-builders, dominant clans that would massacre them and keep them controlled. Now they are part of a ‘mosaic’ of ‘traditional Japanese’ dances and festivals, where before, they may have been resisting that ‘Japanese’ identity, which comes from an amalgamation, like other national identities, of particular groups of allied ethnicities and clans.

Many festivals have their origins in religious or post-war and post-battle strategies of appeasement toward certain communities after battle.  Other festivals have roots in religious ceremonies in relation to the natural cycles of life or to honor gods and goddesses, while others have links with farmers and fishermen and bounty.  Still others are ceremonies of survival and empowerment. In more than a few instances, they are a combination of these named situations, and more.

Many of these meanings have lost their focus in modern Japan.  Most of the festivals and dances, of course, have needed to keep up with urbanization and modernization.  This also includes Japan’s notion of itself as a homogenized, unified nation of a single people.  The ‘other,’ then, are named legally other in laws and are distinctly excluded from nation, through micro-regulations, etc, much like most other nations of our present world.

Consequently,  these beautiful dances, are sometimes left to signify and represent ‘artistic beauty’ or exoticism and entertainment, merely a personal ‘fun’, perhaps. Many of these dances have their origins in Okinawa, Kagoshima, and from the Ainu, and/or other areas and communities that were nationalized through colonization in earlier times (and ongoing today as ‘minority’ communities). Many elders and well-thought younger persons, who have significant memory and links to what has been lost and what it has cost to maintain these dances and songs, feel these motions and tones, music and forms in a way much deeper than how most mainstream Japanese today may feel them.  Put another way: Japanese may be proud of these festival dances, and may even revere these traditions, but understand them as only a singular “Japanese” tradition from sometime long ago, through homogenized singular national ethnic myths or national versions of wars fought and natural disasters, stripping them of the uniquely diverse and possibly terrifying and most often empowering histories that point to people and communities that are not even recognized or trivialized.

In nations as old as Japan, what pre-figured (existed before) a “Japan,” is inside of these traditions. They are now considered ‘preserved Japanese traditions.’  In this way, it is a way for the people in the present, to feel their continuities and ancient histories, even though they are merely named ‘Japanese’ in the modern era.  Thus, a “Japanese-ness” could be crafted by way of naming these festivals and songs and dances, as ‘traditions of nation.’  They are, and they are not.  They may also signify resistance to nation, by communities and clans and ethnicities that were eventually assimilated into the Japanese nation.  For this reason, it is important that these traditions are preserved and empowered.

This video is of an excellent performance group performing in August of 2012.

This style of dancing is called ‘Awa Odori’ 阿波踊り.   The Awa Festival is a 3-day festival celebrated on Shikoku in Japan, in August, as one of the hundreds of events celebrating O-Bon  お盆 (National Buddhist Festival honoring the Dead). Awa, is the old term from the middle ages, naming what is today–Tokushima prefecture. This style of dancing is believed to have begun in the late 1500s.

A fairly good overview of the Awa dance and festival is at wikipedia.

Today, most watch the thousands of trained dancers in parades through the streets.  Originally, Everyone in the community would dance together.  Today, most people feel too embarrassed to dance or say they ‘can’t’ (internalized oppression in the nation-state).  People listen to and watch these dancers in parades and in one or more the hundreds of performances on the streets and in entertainment halls.  There are, however, many smaller celebrations where some choose to participate themselves, accompanied by the traditional instruments (flute, shamisen, bells, taiko drums).

When history is lost and manipulated by various forces in nation-making, ideas become contested along the lines of haves and have-nots, and what is ‘best for the nation.’  When reading histories of the Awa-Odori, its religious and communal roots and relations to nations are fairly clear, yet bring up many questions and silences.

In any case, this performance of Awa-Odori by this group is wonderful.  The clip contains short snippets of a few of the performances, where one can see the beauty of this form of Japanese dance.  Each hand gesture, finger movement, leg and foot movement, degree of bending and leaning, signifies something.  One can see the elements of nature (mountains, wind, oceans, etc.) in these movements and gestures.

I always remember these dances from childhood and remember them as more than just something ‘pretty.’  There is history in these dances, no matter how urbanized and nationalized and homogenized they are.  They retain that spark of beauty, grace, and some of its original forms.

CORRECTED: New Blog about the historical Black Pacific

My new Blog site focused completely on my work in the world:

NEW BLOG SITE  (click here)

Some folks have noticed that I am not posting as intensely as I was a year ago.  This is because I am focusing increasingly on my presentations and work on my multimedia project and book: Dream of the Water Children.

I will continue to work here, on my ainoko blog but I will be posting on my Water Children blog, which means I will be on this ainoko site a tiny bit less frequently.  Please continue to follow me.  If you’re interested in following progress on my book and to hear the underpinnings of the project, the historical and cultural legacies and thoughts that will continue to form this multi-layered project, please visit both my website on the book, and the blog.

My Dream of the Water Children WEBSITE  is on the tab at the top of this site with the title Dream of the Water Children along with an overview.  You can ALSO CLICK HERE.

NEW BLOG SITE:  CLICK HERE

Please stop by, support, spread the word, come to my presentations, make comments, “like my posts” and whatever else you can!  Thanks!

March 10: US Military, Race & Sex in Japan

CRG Thursday Forum Series presents…

DEPLOYMENT, BASES, AND

THE U.S. MILITARY IN MOVEMENT:

Imaginging Japan and the Self through Race & Sex

Thursday, March 10, 2011

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

691 Barrows Hall

UC Berkeley

******

We Call It ‘The Rock’:

Circulating the Imaginary of Okinawa in the Military Diaspora

Mitzi Uehara Carter, Anthropology

My paper will explore how U.S. military personnel and their families, currently or formerly based in Okinawa (re)create and circulate narratives of Okinawa within military communities both in and outside Okinawa.  I will focus on how those narratives are shaped against their own identities as US soldiers, veterans, racialized/gendered citizens, spouses, and tourists within Okinawa.  Michael Taussig described the cultural productions of fear and the processes of sustaining Otherness in his work on colonial Colombia as a mix of  “Indian understandings of white understandings of Indians to white understandings of Indian understandings of whites.”  Likewise, I argue that Okinawan militarized and transnational space is a mix of military understandings of Okinawan understandings of US/mainland Japanese understandings to Okinawan understandings of military understandings of Okinawans.

This presentation will point to some of my general findings thus far, focusing on the framing of Okinawan difference.  For instance, I argue that local Okinawan difference from mainland Japan is emphasized and celebrated within military literature and welcome videos/blogs about Okinawa for military newcomers to Okinawa, a long used political and cultural tactic that was so effectively encouraged and orchestrated by US military administrators directly following WWII to try to quiet Okinawan dissent and slow the popular momentum to revert to mainland Japan.  However, when military and Okinawan relations are enflamed, the framing of difference is erased and the discourse shifts to a more global scale and fits in more with the US-Japan power bloc configuration of power.

~~~

Being a Black MP in Postwar Japan:

Memory and Identity through Resistance and Accommodation

as a Subaltern Occupier

Fredrick Cloyd, California Institute of Integral Studies, Anthropology

The positioning of the US as a victorious occupier over the subordinate and pliant people of Japan as the defeated was a carefully choreographed affair after WWII with its precursors in imperialism, colonialism, and neo-liberal capitalist expansionisms. In Japan and Okinawa, during and following the official occupation, steady anti-US violence by the Japanese was barred from being reported in the strictly controlled military and civilian media while the different racial groups in the Allied and US military were also living in violent relations with one another on and off bases in Japan, Okinawa and Korea. In this atmosphere of the occupation, my father re-imagined himself from poor African-American man to occupying military police. My mother wanted desperately to escape the ruins of Japan, both imaginatively and literally. In researching for a book on my family’s life and legacies, in thinking/writing nation, culture and race–colliding together through war and re(de)-construction, how has my father viewed himself through the lens of race and nation/husband and father? What becomes prioritized? What becomes linked with frames and thoughts previously unrelated? What becomes new forms of dominance and resistance that continue or resist certain forms of justice and survival?

Delicious refreshments served!

More info: http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/deployment-bases

CRG March10_flyer

Black-Okinawa in flux: Race/Space -February 11, Friday. Event in California

 


Event:  Blackness in Flux in Okinawa + Black Japanese Guest Artist

Time:        Friday, February 11 at 4:00pm - 6:30pm
      
Location:    UC Berkeley, Barrows Hall, Rm. 691

Organizers: PHD students, Co-recipients of UC Center for New Racial
Studies Grant,2010-11

Eriko Ikehara (UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies)
Mitzi Uehara-Carter (UC Berkeley Anthropology)

"Making Race in Between Racial "States of Being"

Two black-Okinawan graduate students at UC Berkeley will
present some of their research findings and their works in
progress on race, space, and US militarization in Okinawa.

This forum will also bring together several black- Japanese
who will share their poetry, art, and other creative works
which speak to blackness in flux in their own lives.


Guest performers:

Fredrick Cloyd
Sabrena Taylor
Michael James
Ahmed Yamato
Ariko Ikehara
Mitzi Uehara Carter

Program A: 4-4:45 pm

Mid-Year Grant Report

Ariko Ikehara: “Situating black-Amerasian Okinawans in
mixed space/race history”

Mitzi Uehara Carter: “Nappy Routes and Tangled Tales of
Blackness in Okinawa”

Program B: 5pm-6pm

Guest Performances

black-japanese-forum-flyer-final

Afro-Japanese Historical Project: a call to participate

I am beginning an outreach for persons of African-American, Japanese, or Afro-Japanese mixed descent, for three different purposes.  I am especially interested in those of the above heritages who have experience, or are a child of those who experienced living during  the US/Allied Occupation of Japan in the post-World War II period or were raised by people who were.

I am also interested in meeting people who have had friendships and relationships with those who are from that heritage/background and history.

I am interested in putting out this call for two purposes:  1) To connect with others, like myself, who are of the heritages mentioned and who have experienced life in Japan during the post-WWII Allied Occupation, or who are children of those who have, to share stories and concerns and memories; 2) To find those willing to participate either as interview subjects, or would like to participate in a research project on Afro-Asians and their relations from that time-period.  This research project will become aspects of a book(s) and also possible multimedia projects on the history of Afro-Asians, Blackness, and Asian-ness in the Asia-Pacific experience and impacts on social justice and history.  This project is only in its infancy and will be crafted as I go along in the coming months with other Afro-Asians in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This project is just beginning, in the idea stage.  It will unfold more in the coming months and into years.

At present, there have been no volunteers (as of March 27, 2012).  I have made this part of a larger project I am concentrating on, entitled:  The Black Pacific Project.

Please see my blog and videos at: http://waterchildren.wordpress.com/

Youtube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlackPacificMemory?feature=watch

For information/connection, you can EMAIL:  blackpacificmemory@gmail.com

TONKATSU 豚カツ, とんかつ, and KATSUDON カツ丼

Another favorite Japanese food of mine!!  I won’t explain too much.  I’ll let the video speak for me!

Good Katsu カツ  is breaded with crisp and light, crystal-like panko breading and the meat inside is soft and moist.  If the meat is chewy and gummy, and/or if the breading is greasy and slimy and drippy………..well, suffice it to say that the chef/cook is not  a chef or a cook!

Tonkatsu, is PORK cutlet.   Chicken katus, Salmon katsu, and other forms of katsu are also Tasty as hell.   I love all the Katsu!

Katsu is the Japanese abreviation for CUT, which is the english word cut from CUTLET.

So KATSU is CUTLET.  The original word for Cutlet is the Japanese transliteration: Katsu-Retsu.  It is shortened to Katsu.

As with other foods I have mentioned, this food is Japanese.  However, the Portuguese were the ones who brought it to Japan in earlier centuries, as tempura (tempreira in Portuguese) was during that period.  Before the massive use of soy sauce by the Japanese, the more common sauces such as Ponzu were used in many dishes, including with the Katsu dishes.  Recently in Japan, there has been a revival of ponzu sauce use and is gaining popularity there.  The more well-known sauce used with katsu dishes is the katsu sauce, which is a rich Asian version similar to worcester sauce.

There are many variations on how the cutlet can be served.  All delicious!!  There is the traditional way described above, with a little bit of the katsu or ponzu sauce, with rice and a palette-cleansing salad, and perhaps shaved daikon.

There is also one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES:  Katsudon!! Katsudon is when the cutlet is put together with a nice delicate sweet sauce and onions, with eggs, cooked together briefly, then set on top of the rice.  Traditionally, it was served in a bowl with a lid on it.

There is also Katsu Curry.  The Katsu can be served with Curry sauce.  Japanese curry is made differently from Indian or Southeast Asian curry, and has just a few vegetables in it such as potato, onion and carrot, nothing more.  So the Japanese curry goes great with the katsu, not distracting from the taste of the katsu.

I’ve included two videos.  They are both for katsudon (the egg/onion/cutlet dish).

The first is a good British video version introducing the dish.  However, I wanted to also give a cooking instruction for those interested.  There are quite a few videos on YouTube explaining how to make Tonkatsu and chicken katsu, but most of them are not very good in translating from Japanese to English, or they are shortened versions that don’t give some of the finer points in good tonkatsu.  I’ve included a second video here that does present the best version I’ve found on YouTube to date.   ENJOY!!  My mouth is getting watery!

August 1945 – Hiroshima & Nagasaki 広島と長崎 : Politics/Memory/Reality

PHOTO:  Japanese girl praying at the Hiroshima Memorial Museum in Japan.  Courtesy of China Daily.

August 6 and August 9, 1945.   The Great Death occurred in Japan.

Everyone in the universe is an ancestor of the Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima 広島 and Nagasaki 長崎, Japan in August of 1945.

What parts memory and apathy, ignorance and decadence play in our identities as world citizens would inform the level to which we may understand my opening statement.  It indicts and also informs new possibilities–to say: we are all ancestors of that horrific period.  The problem is that people think of war as an event.  War happens at such and such a time and the opponents are good or bad, one or the other.  Usually, all sides of the war play themselves out as ‘good.’  Also, many citizens of a region, community, ethnic group, religion, or nation-state, and other such divisions that foment conflict escalations into warfare, may think of themselves as ‘innocent’ in a war.  I do not blame any of these sides for their self-labels.  This is because the fog into which we are thrust when it comes to memory, and how memory is largely controlled by larger forces, is ignored or made too complex for understanding in the mainstream ways in which we have learned to think.  Indeed, I would challenge the fact that most people know how to ‘think’ because we have been taught to do our thinking within a framework that benefits the national dominant, in which we are citizens.

An aunt, whom I never knew, died in Hiroshima in the atomic bomb blast on August 6, 1945.  My mother’s older sister had gone from Osaka to Hiroshima that day, to pick up important documents concerning my mother and her father.  By 8:20 that morning, she was incinerated and blown through the atmosphere, gone forever.

When my mother and I were moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico by my father–who is an African-American man who met my soon-to-be mother when he served in the US Occupation of Japan on the Occupation police force, my mother was terrified to learn that the Los Alamos laboratory, just two hours away, was where the atomic bomb had been conceived and tested, then shipped to the Enola Gay.  I, being too young, did not know why she was upset, at the time.

As an adult, I learned about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb.  It wasn’t until I was 19 years old, when I asked very innocently about my mother’s siblings, that I found out about her older sister that was killed.  Then my mother proceeded to tell me that she experienced one year of US bombings in Tokyo, then two months of bombings in Osaka.   Over the years, I began reflecting on why my mother was the way she was….always awake at night, falling asleep at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, then sleeping until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  She would sometimes be sweating when she woke up, and would have to take a bath.  We lived on US Air Force Bases in Japan and in the US.  Whenever the noontime sirens would go off, my mother would become tense and she would become fidgety, sometimes cry out with some kind of sound.  I, found out, that the sirens bothered her.  The US bombings of Osaka were at NIGHT.   It all made sense to me then, at that moment I began to actually think about my mother, instead of myself.  She had come from a wealthy upper-class Japanese family, but she had spent much of the postwar time in poverty and their family had to have rationed rice and for a short time, she and her friend had survived on the streets eating rat’s legs sometimes.

Over the years, as I began doing public talks of my experiences in Japan in the early 1960s, and speaking about my mothers’ experiences to people; as well as doing research on the World War II Japanese experience, Hiroshima and Nagasaki loomed large and in most cases, most Americans only thought of this as World War II.  The other pictures Americans had in their minds were of the Japanese brutalities toward its Asian neighbors in China, the Philippines, Korea, and Southeast Asia.  No other images of Japanese/US relations or history, no other images of what was happening in Japan, or in the halls of the US Occupation forces along with their scientific laboratories, military bases, educational institutions, and economic institutions toward ‘re-building’ Japan, were known to anyone.  It really was true.  People’s prejudices and knowledges are formed by what they have encountered over and over and over.  There is no investigation or questioning.  Even with the nicest of people and friends, the most thoughtful, there was nothing I could do to surmount the defensiveness and ignorance.  In addition, there is aggression in regards to memory, by both the Japanese people by-in-large, and the Americans.

I became further traumatized and disheartened when I began speaking and writing about it in the US, and I would be met with “you should’ve all died in the bomb’ and ‘there weren’t enough atomic bombs dropped on you’ and ‘it’s even payback for Pearl Harbor and Nanking and Seoul.’  I would be the first to condemn the Japanese military and government’s brutalities.  I do not make them worse or better than the US.  If people would research how the US had treated Japan leading into the war, the knowledge of the US government about Pearl Harbor, the politics of building and using the bomb in relation to the Soviets, and the use of Japanese bodies to secure US imperial ambitions, etc. etc. etc……perhaps the story would be different.  Perhaps we can say that everyone needs to change directions and we can create something different.

I have also been aware of the tireless and depressing work that the atomic bomb survivors–the hibakusha 被爆者 have been doing, to enlighten people on the work and what their work means.  People have tended to see their work as a plea for pity and compassion.  Yes compassion, perhaps, but the knowledge of the leaders on how the US and Japanese governments colluded to keep information hidden, and how the US were callously uninterested in healing Japan or the survivors, but interested in experiments and scientific data, and how the cruelty and force of the US Occupation has been hidden from the public, and other such information has been a key factor in the hibakusha’s work in educating people.  The work of ‘never again’ had been abandoned by the hibakusha when they themselves began doing research and through their experiences, realized that this was naive.  Would people who conceived the bomb, then dropping it on a people, be uninterested in that country’s welfare unless it benefited them, and be designing bigger and more horrific bombs at the same time, be told ‘why don’t we stop doing it, it’s bad’?  The road to peace, is more complex than asking for it.  It is too late to have this kind of peace.  It is deeper, more insidious, more complex, more frustrating.  It would take tremendous social movements to develop to shift our world from national elite mentalities.  All of us are within this system.  What we know needs to be a question, and what we do not know needs to be known.  How to THINK about these things is also another issue and concern. Knowledge alone will suddenly wake people up.  Some people know many things.  How do they think of these things?  Do they secretly want the ‘other’ to go away from the world, but are nice about it, or keeping it to themselves?  Do they even care about how to use knowledge except as personal opinion?

The prominence of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki atomic bombs in the Pacific War imagination, has made people like my mother, become invisible.  If one were to look at the pictures of Osaka, where my mother’s family lived, in 1945, you would see a city that is desolate and gone, and similar to the picture of Hiroshima.  The US did daily bombings in 66 different cities during this time.  Most of the killings were of civilians.  The chemical weapons were used.  In the case of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama, for instance, the fire-bombs were used.  This was purposefully used in Japan, where many of the houses were made of wood and paper, and the fires would spread quickly as chemicals sprang out from the bombs in all directions, then igniting a spark to create the fire.  These were not just explosions.  My mother’s history of being bombed over a prolonged period of time, is a trauma that has not been addressed or spoken of.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki stories need to be told. But also, the fire-bombing experience is another form of prolonged tension, torture and death.  Daily bombings. Daily.  Now, as you see in the video below, young Japanese children from Tokyo, are taken on field trips to the Hiroshima Memorial and are fed lies about how the benevolent US helped save and build Japan.  Hiroshima, in other words, is USED by the powers and has gained prominence in the imagination because of it, not just because of the horrific actuality of it.  The daily bombings of 66 cities and the 60 percent utter destruction and killings are not mentioned at all except by historians more-or-less excited by it while they look at pictures of nice-looking warplanes built by the US (i.e. entertainment).

The hibakusha story was not over at the dropping of the bomb.  And it started way before the bomb.  As you may know from reading, even the military has conceded, through the display of their own documents, that the dropping of the bomb was strategic and was eager to be used in order to show up the Soviets.  The Japanese were already starving and defeated at the time the bomb was dropped.  But I cannot tell some people this.  They continue to feel that it was just and America did ‘the right thing.’  These people will also allow other bombs and killings by their nation-states, because they believe ‘it is justice.’  So we will NOT have peace in the near future.

As I write this, it is August 5, 2010.  I write this with my ancestors in mind.  My father, working in a military that treated Black men inferior.  He worked as a policeman in the US Occupation, while sometimes, he had to go to the Korean War fields during the US war there–a war which most people do not remember.  My father trying to be a good American, while the Japanese public largely knew nothing of what atrocities the Japanese had committed in the neighboring nations.  My uncle, my mother’s older brother, was a colonel in Burma (today it is called Myanmar), but had left just before one of the most brutal battlefields of World War II, in Burma, had started.  When I had the chance to speak with him about his experience for a short period when I was younger, his stories were horrific.  He had conflicts with some of this brutal higher command and had to endure their abuse against him and the more subordinate soldiers.  The legacies of oppression continued.  Meanwhile, lynchings of Blacks in US Occupation prisons in Japan were happening, and enduring the racism in the military to be a national citizen continued for my father.

Many people still believe the names that are given to institutions as exactly what they say they do.  The organization mentioned in the video below:  ABCC – The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, has been told to the Americans as one of the more benevolent things the US had been doing to ‘help’ the devastated and uncivilized Japanese to become a nation again.  It was a front for the experiments the US needed to do on the victims.  In addition, they had to cover up the fact that nuclear reactors and nuclear energy, spread through air and water without detection and caused cancers and related diseases.  This had to be hidden from the world population, now that there were nuclear plants around the world.  Compassion and kind democracy was and still is,  a cover for other things.  These things had been planned way before the atomic bomb was conceived of.  The World War was an imperial project that began with France, Britain, Australia and the US snubbing Germans, the Soviets and the Japanese, as well as the Southern Europeans.  Not just in attitude.  Some of these nations were not doing well economically and within their poverty, they resisted the market-capitalist system which made them go deeper into debt and to be controlled by those countries.  I do not say that fascism is correct.  I am pointing to the reality of pressure, of attitude, of racism, of self-concern, and a callous disregard and disrespect in the intensity that creates enemies.  Enemies co-create.  If one has more resources at one’s disposal, then perhaps there is a power imbalance already.  The fear of losing that power plays a large role in making the attitude that resources must be competed for.  So the game of the elites is oftentimes a smokescreen.   The masses must be kept ignorant and be told that they are free while resources are amassed and the struggle for supremacy continues or escalates.

The bombings of the Japanese cities by the US Americans, the atrocities and bombings of the Asian countries by the Japanese, the Communist and nationalist struggles going on at the time of the 30s and 40s, the Soviet and US complexities, the need for land in order to move military hardware, the propaganda, etc.  — all play into the game of controlling land (which are now nation-states) and water and air.  As I look at my life and my parents’ lives, I feel sad, and at the same time I respect their strength and survival.  Everything seems to me, contradictory.   The World Wars still live in all citizens and through all citizens in the system of institutions and identity.  Our systems of governance, the materials and institutions all have come from the re-configuring of worlds into what it is ongoing in every present day moment.  Along with the hibakusha and my mother’s memory, I work so that perhaps the world would arrange itself differently so that we can mourn, create justice, and to live more peacefully than we do.  At present, everything is a preparation for more wars.

The glee and happiness of some who built the bomb, dropped the bomb, etc. was the victor’s posture.  Don’t people feel it strange that a people from a compassionate democratic country would feel happy about killing the amount of people they were told would be killed in the bomb — 30,000 or so?  Even if for a ‘good’ cause?’  But how could the killing of civilians be a ‘good’?  Because they believed in the racism that was taught to them.  The number killed, of course, would be higher that the pilots and bombadier were told.  The fear and coming remorse of the pilot crew of the Enola Gay, were assuaged a little, by hearing of the dropping of leaflets on the cities before dropping the A-bomb which were warning the population that a bomb would be dropped.  This was supposed to make it easier for the Americans.  It was, however, not meant to ‘warn’ the Japanese.  In fact, there were two planes that flew over Hiroshima that day.  The first was a plane meant to surveil how many people would be outdoors instead of indoors at what exact time, for the maximum benefit of this bomb.  They needed as many bodies to experiment on so that further research could be done.   The Enola Gay went after this first plane, when it was determined that at exactly 8:15, the bomb must fall.  None of this is secret.  And the US President’s words to the US public after the bomb?  The public was told that Hiroshima was a military target.  Most Japanese that I personally have spoken to, who were knowledgeable of Hiroshima, told me that although there were some Japanese soldiers there, most of the military there had the largest concentration of foreign military and their families, as well as Japanese civilians.  Hmmm….

The Japanese government did NOT tell their public what was happening.  Even as Japan was starving and desolate before the bomb, the public was told that the Japanese were victorious everywhere and nothing was wrong.  Although much of the public were unconcerned except about getting food and living lives, this was meant to hide the realities.  Even after the bomb, some of the more hardline militaristic Japanese commanders, did not want to surrender.  According to most of the reliable documents I know of , the Emperor was not told the complete story.  When he visited Hiroshima himself, he realized that he was not being told the truth.  They had to surrender.  However, three months before the atomic bomb, many of the other Japanese commanders were already planning to surrender and their ruling committee was conflicted.  The hardliners wanted a death-wish to come true.  They hated themselves and wanted all of Japan to go down.

So, as we are pawns and pieces in elite war games, it should alert us to support more justice and healing-from-trauma movements, and social movements that bring about different ways of thinking and forcing accountability to be prioritized and for us to build different worlds, away from the joys of militaristic victory which requires death and assimilation.  We can live as diverse beings that are more self-sufficient, not depending on the war-makers, yet having to contend with their control over us.  The elite will not change their ways because we think it is better.  They have already proven that ultimately, they do not care, unless it is of benefit to them…….or not.

This has been my own unique way, this year, to give my commemoration of the 65th anniversary of that day of the Great Death, along with my previous posting on Hiroshima:

https://ainoko.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/hiroshima-and-the-allied-occupation-of-japan-starting-in-1945/

For further readings on Japan/US and social dynamics during and post World War II, please read John Dower’s works, which I think are collectively excellent:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=john+dower&x=0&y=0&ih=9_1_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_1.112_97&fsc=-1