Monday, September 14, 2009

And Every Time She Makes A Point You Have A Counterpoint...

So, to immediately contrast what I just wrote, the next film our professor showed was a piece of propaganda from the Ultranationalistic Japanese side, all by one dude, that came out in the late 60's. Supposedly this fuckwit wanted to restore the glory and honor of Japan that it had had during WWII. Now, this moron had been too young to fight in the actual war, so methinks a bit of disassociation resulted. Anyways, same deal, here are my notes on the piece. This one's less WHAAARGGGGABBLLLE and more "sweet onion chutney this is retarded", but I think it's an interesting bit as well.

Rite of Love and Death- Mishima Yukio.

Private home movie- famous, ultranationalist Japanese author in 64/65. Tried to rekindle Japanese militaristic spirit after the western conquest.
Written, acted in, and directed by this guy. No dialogue, silent movie. Group of young radicals in 34 decided to restore the Emperor to power. Shows the con
Reiko, the lieutenants wife has seen in her husbands face the resolution to diea as he leaves for the palace in the morning following the coup…and I missed the rest.
Kanji on the wall means “be sincere/dedicate yourself” as we see this woman doing calligraphy. Shot of porcelain animals. The woman takes one and holds it, thinking of a hand that I assume is her husband, seeing the back of his head as he…shapes her face in his hands? Weird. Dude hugs his wife as he’s in uniform, and she doesn’t even move, just kinda gets knocked over. Shots of hands moving. All of this is with dramatic music that seems really inappropriate. Shinto shrine floating in midair that she’s picturing.
Ch. 2 At midnight, the lieutenant appears at the door, the guard has been changed and he has to go kill his comrades in the morning. He’s got to kill them to remain loyal, but he can’t so he’s going to kill himself, and apparently his wife’s coming with him.
He’s coming home, hands her his sword and coat, they’re sitting, her Seiza, him Indian-style. Woman brings him the calligraphy she was writing earlier, he goes to hold her. They reenact killing themselves, because this is a cheap home movie and they don’t actually have special effects. He mimes stabbing himself in the gut classic style, she does herself in the throat. They make out.
Ch. 3
This is a pure and passonate as a ritual counducted before the gods. They are alble for the first time in their lives to reveal unabsshadly their most secret desires and passions…missed the rest, and now they’re naked next to each other. Did they not fuck beforehand? A sword, then alternating shots of their eyes…now they’re making out more and apparently actually doing it, and I’m wondering if this is a propaganda piece or just a couple’s sex tape….as the scene goes on, it’s looking more and more like a sex tape. Something…fuzzy, I guess it’s her hair. See dude now in uniform, he closes her eyes, holds her face, kisses her. Shot of various supposedly beautiful parts of her, but the melodrama is killing me here. More making out and the sex tape theory is looking stronger and stronger.
Ch. 4- the lieutenant does himself in.
He’s in a diaper, puts on a kimono, they write out calligraphy that I can’t read, shot of that Shinto shrine from before, he actually puts on his uniform, and then sits in the traditional position as his wife sits with him. She bows, he takes the wakizashi, wipes it off, and unbuttons his shirt…and takes off his pants. Not making this up, folks. Ouch, he’s going for the femoral artery…or the gut. The gut works, too. Mimes stabbing himself, because again, no FX Budget, and does the cut across his gut, with fake blood spilling out, and that actually looks pretty realistic…I guess, having never seen any fillet themselves bfore. Wife is getting blood on her kimono and crying, and dude hams up the death scene even without dialogue. He’s really bloody. This is why they had a dude with a sword behind you, to whack you so you don’t die horribly like this. Wife wants to stay with him , can’t move, and looks like a puppet as she goes over to him and he continues to ham out the death scene. Now, how does she kill herself?
Ch. V- Reiko’s Suicide.
Guess we’ll find out, eh? She walks around her husband’s body, goes into the next room, goes into her won little room if the little beauty thingamabob’s anything to go by, she goes up to it, takes out a mirror, and starts doing makeup. Gotta be pretty when you die, eh sister? Ooh, she’s got a knife in her kimono. She goes back to herdear old dead husband, having stabbed herself and bleeding out, and tracing blood all over the nice floor. Where’d she stab herself? I don’t really care. She puts the dude’s hat back on his head, then places his body laying faceup, and apparently the knife is through his neck? She kisses him and did she stab herself or not? Oh, no, not yet. She takes out her little tanto and apparently all the blood was his, and she stabs herself in the head with the knife and kills herself, and they’re all lying there pretty. They got transferred into one of those zen sand gardens somehow.

This is from the people who brought you Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, folks.

And here's a bit of story about what happened to this nutjob.

Mishima made film to try and encourage the spirit of nationalism and sacrifice that he thought had been lost- the militant nationalism- by the US occupation. Mishima and about a dozen friends trained with the JSDF, so he knew something about the army, and he had some images about what he imagined the dedication of the army to be. In 1970, he and a small group made an appointment with a general of the SDF forces, took control, and tried to harangue assembled troops into reestablishing the emperor as a political force, and then went inside and committed seppuku. His second performed kaishaku-nii (I probably butchered that), and screwed it up, couldn’t do it, so another dude did it for him and the second killed himself as well. The general got out alive. Japanese reaction- some ultranationalists thoguth this was a dramatic symbol of his commitment to regaining japan’s pride, others thought it was a ludicrous statement from a fringe nutjob. Laughed at by the troops he rallied- they threw things at him. Japanese society figured he was an anachronism. At 45, he was scared of aging, wanted to go out with a bang. Wanted to recreate the image of the fanatical dedication to purpose and virulent belief in the divinity of the emperor.

Losing A Little Bit Of Faith In America

You might have noticed on this blog that I am somewhat enamored of Japanese meida. Looking back over what I've posted, something like 90% or so of the stuff I write is either about anime, manga, or Japanese-developed video games. So I just got out of my Japanese History course (It's actually the first one I've had this semester, due to the fact that class only meets on Mondays. Two weeks ago, class started on Tuesday, and last week was Labor Day). The course is about Japan during and after WWII, which is a subject I have a bit of interest in. So we're going to be doing a metric fuckton of reading, as well as some movie viewing. Unfortunately for my mood, the first piece we got treated to was an old World War II propaganda piece. By the US War dept. So, good readers (...hello? hello?), I will treat you to my notes on the subject. Most of what I wrote is pretty much transcription from the film, but I apply my own commentaries simply because I couldn't help myself. So enjoy some really rather sickening US Propaganda!

US Propaganda: Know Your Enemy Japan (I’m probably going to have to indulge myself in some serious weeabooing to get over this one).
Wasn’t actually shown, as they thought that if US troops who were occupying Japan actually saw it, they’d be completely hostile to the citizens. Lovely, innit?
War department film.
Starts with laking about Japanese-Americans. Mentious a unit of Japanese Americans who served in Europe well…then goes right for the Japs.
Swords to start- Japanese in glasses hacking away at straw dummies. Various images of festival (Gion?) Very primitive-looking, which I suspect is entirely the point. Cut with footage of trains in Japan, mostly. Basically contrasting modern and primitive. Shinsengumi?
We don’t understand Japan, they don’t understand us. We’re trying to make you understand.
Average Japanese soldier. Basically calls them clones. Unsoldierly, apparently, but effective. Soldier is the highest achievement in Japanese culture, trained from birth, Japanese descended from gods. Brutality, rape, etc acceptable against nonjapanese. Death is infinitely preferable to surrender. Closes to hand-to-hand in a sort of blind fanaticism. Emperor is the ruler, a god, religion and politics all done by him. (Bullshit!) Hirohito supposedly the descendent of the sun (Amaterasu?) Bunch of stuff about how the emperor is so special. The emperor is responsible for everything, blah blah blah. IN his name they bring justice, truth, peace, coprosperity- combined with shots of suffering. (I love how we left this man in power). A japanese prayer- about their emperor #1- supposedly untranslateable. Japanese origin legend, is dealing with Amaterasu. 2600 years ago (from 1940), the emperor landed in Yamato and blah blah blah, and supposedly all Japanese are descended from divinity. Their blood is apparently superior to all others, thanks to the gods, and apparently they believe it. All their acts fall under Shinto.
Oh god, Shinto. WTF, is it gonna be Voodoo type shit? Gods, this is pathetic. How long until they mention the strong tradition of Buddhism?
Shinto dictates all actions for the living and the dead, so try to understand. All spirits are part of the nation and watch over them. Ghosts are apparently worshipped. Apparently, the average Japanese is identical to a ghost, except that he breathes. Constantly being watched to ensure obedience for the emperor. Bunch of talk about how local gods are worshipped. Christ, I know more about Shinto than these fuckers. Apparently Japan’s elaborate rituals and formality are all according to divine will. “A nice, quaint religion for a nice, quaint people”.
State Shinto- forced a mad doctrine that encourages war, causes the death of millions (I think there’s a grain of truth here). Supposedly that Japan wants to conquer the entire word by divine mandate. BUM BUM BAAAAMMMM! Buddhist bell being rung.
Japanese supposedly believe that Japanese war dead become war gods, placed in Yasukumi Shrine. “Greatest Honor” Supposedly mothers and wives take their soldiers’ ashes without grief or tears. Bunch of rituals for the dead supposedly perverted into fanaticism stuff. That’s apparently why Japanese don’t surrender.
If you are not Japanese, what of Japan? Supposedly comes from the Chinese, who said it’s the land where the sun comes from. Basic geographic facts. Tokyo is the 3rd largest city in the world. Japanese are supposedly a mix of Ainu, Mongol, Chinese, and Malaysian….I’m pretty sure most of that is bullshit. And supposedly the emperor ruled over the islands. Daimyo had the real power, Samurai were their knights. Perversion of Tokugawa and the right of the daisho and bushido into a history supposedly encompassing all Japanese history. Supposedly encouraged brutality and treachery. Holy moses this sis such bullshit. Japanese samurai had the right of hara-kiri, and more perversion ensues.
Supposedly endless civil war to become the Shogun. Oh my god, this is such BULLSHIT. Hideyoshi (who wasn’t even a shogun as I recall), invaded Korea, and apparently plundered a lot, supposedly taking back 30K ears and noses.
Supposedly after Mageallen, Chrisitanity was introduced by the Portugese. “Peace on earth and brotherhood towards all men”, and making it out to be the typical oh my god I can’t even type this. “They’re teaching equality to the peasants, and now there’s the evil foreign tyrants rounding up and killing good christians and Christ on a motorbike I want to shoot something. Christians were supposedly burned. Tokugawa era Japan became isolated, “Progress of mankind!” stuff. They never even CALL it the bloody Tokugawa era.
Perry’s black ships showed up. Japanese saw the weapons and guns, and so they needed to modernize weapons and their culture. Feuding barons stopped fighting and unified, and elevated the Emperor to power. OH MY GOD, did they just completely eliminate the Bakumatsu? THERE WAS A HUGE FUCKING WAR, PEOPLE!
Samurai were too few to be an army, so they allowed peasants to bear arms and become soldiers, and JESUS CHRIST, Japan doesn’t even have a noble class at this point. Supposedly the militaristic Shinto, blah blah blah.
Japan modernized quickly. The Japanese wanted to modernize and supposedly double-cross- “befriend the foreigner, use his weapons, then kill him.” British Naval advisors, German war advisors, apparent lack of democracy. Whatever Japan took from the west or the Chinese, no morality or anything. Everything is perverted by the ruling classes and handed down to the people as law. Bottom-up is preferable in the US.
Bows are for obedience to one’s superior. No right or wrong- whether you’re obedient to your superior. Lack of women’s rights. Japanese welfare does not matter, people still work hard, all for the divine mandate. They give up everything for the Emperor. White-collar salaryman supposedly puts on a kimono when he goes home. No chairs, tables, etc. Japanese standard of living is supposedly one of the worst in the world, and it was supposedly just for warfare.
Why don’t Japanese revolt? They believe in Japan’s divine mission to conquer, leaving them slaves to the social structure, led by the “Warlords” of the army and navy, and the corporation owners, as well as the political “stooges” who slavishly follow orders. At the bottom of the heap are the masses. Police, gendarms, Gestapo, and Japanese Ghosts wo watch over them. THOUGHT POLICE! YES! They arrest you if you think dangerous thoughts. The thought police decide who to arrest, and it’s supposedly 10,000 a year. There are Secret organizations to keep the nobles in line- the Black Dragons, who are supposedly in charge of everything. Bunch of deaths of prominent politicians supposedly attributed to them. Christ, I’m surprised they didn’t mention fucking ninjas.
Schooling is government-controlled, designed to mass produce students who all think alike, teaching only what’s required to make the kids servants of the emperor. They absorb only what they’re taught, and only those fanatically loyal are allowed to teach.
“Our race has an ideal to assimilate the earth and the universe. They’re born only to dedicate their lives to the emperor. I can’t make this shit up.
1894- Japan takes Formosa. 1904- Japan kicks Russia’s ass at Port Arthur, gained control in Pacific. Supposedly ambuished the Russians. 1910 they annexed Korea. Allied with the Allies, and took land from Germany. Japanese signed everything, but insited on keeping their own islands. “Tanaka Memorial” is Japan’s Mein Kampf. Japan needs to conquer Asia first, first Manchuria and then China, then Siberia, then Malaysia, then the US of A. Then the rest of the world falls like a ripe plum. Yayy, Japan wins! Many details to prepare before this. Make sure the home front, because despite all the brain control, they couldn’t keep everything out. Western music, dancing, movies. Axis powers. “Super-chess” called Go was favored over western card games.
Western books banned, “If we Fight,”, “Arguments against American Politics” required reading supposedly telling about Japanese conquest.
Baseball was popular, so apparently kendo, judo, and sumo were favored.. Judo- the act of giving in, then tripping. Isn’t Judo Korean? Kendo- no defense, only offense. Sumo- act of waiting, stalling for time, then a swift charge. Politicians think in terms of Judo, Army Kendo, the people Sumo.
Japan infiltrated the west with agents, who posed as fisherman and the like. Japanese posed as tourists to photograph sites supposedly for war. Barbers who didn’t talk. All this information was collected, studied, and filed away. Japanese spies brought propaganda- “Drive out the white man!”
Industrialists- Osaka, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Nagoya, etc. Cities were not the real machinery- small backroom factories in the slums produce 64%. The industrialists undersold all other nations, and dumped cheap goods, and added piracy- made US goods in Japan and sold them to Asia. Undersold Silk to Italy, Cotton to UK, Undersold US FLAGS! With the money they made, the Japanese didn’t do anything to improve Japanese life, but they imported various industrial goods and built up their power from war machines. Sweat for guns, sweat for planes, sweat for ships, sweat for war, sweat for KILL ME NOW!
The greatest weapon is the Japanese soldier- humanitarianism is beaten out of him, he’s beaten into the perfect Samurai, various images of Japanese soldier training and martial arts training, all to the sound of iron being beaten. Final product- the Japanese soldier ready to shoot Japanese superiority into all nonjapanese.
1931- Japan invades Manchuria. “Coprosperity, enlightenment, justice, etc, peace, al to dead people and news headlines of conquests. “BANZAI” Apparently no one in this film spoke Japanese, because Christ, they’re speaking basic Japanese and it says “Unintelligible, can’t be translated”.
Bataan Death March- “Insane arrogance and brutality of the Japanese soldier”. No food or water for 7 days. Blah blah blah atrocities. Unspeakable humiliation and torture in prison camps. Japanese burned most of Manillia, butchering civilians. (Ironically, that looked a lot like Hiroshima after the bomb). Shots of dead Philippinos.
That’s your enemy- a tough, seasoned, intact army, who can supply a million new conscripts a year, and they will outfight us, outlast us, outdie us. And they want to conquer the world or commit national suicide. Defeating them is as necessary as shooting a mad dog.
US propaganda about all our victories. This came out in 45! We had pretty much won by then! Mother of fuckstick. Marines took part in glorious history by killing 20,000 Japanese on Iwo Jima. Trapped and destroyed 100K of their best roops. Marines shooting Japanese, but apparently it’s now heroic. ¾ of their naval strength at the bottom…fuck it, this is all “THE US IS AWESOME WE ARE BLASTING THEIR FACTORIES” (and, might I add, hundreds of thousands of civilians. I’m fairly sure that the firebombing of Tokyo killed more than each individual atomic bomb. )
Jesus Christ, at this I want the Japanese to fucking win.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Been A Long Time Gone.

Is that the title of a song? I don't think so, but it sounds cool anyways. So I didn't really update this more than once or twice during the summer. Honestly, I really didn't feel like it, and I'm not going to waste your time or mine doing something I didn't really feel like. I'm blogging, not dictating the Declaration of Independence here. But, now I'm back up at school and I actually feel like typing stuff in here.

So, what did I do with my summer? Mainly played Persona 4. It is quite possibly the single best game I have ever played. I was going to put up a massive review, and I will, but I got a bit bored of that and wasn't really in the mood- for some reason I've been on a Fate/Stay Night kick recently, so I'm not really feeling Persona 4 tonight. Other than that, I beat Bioshock (great game), got addicted to NCIS (great show), and generally mucked around on the webbernetz. Not much worth telling. Maybe I'll put up a post on Bioshock later, but probably not.

So, let's go over what's happened in my 3 weekley manga over the Summer. God, last time I talked about Naruto, Pain had just died. So, since then, we've gotten a bit more ninja politics, a bit more Naruto being a Determinator, and more love triangles. Let's start.

Oh, right, Pain revived everyone he killed, even the folks he killed by shoving sharp, pointy objects through them. It totally killed the drama of the past 30 or so chapters, but I'm not as incesed as most, simply because I didn't want Kakashi to get that crappy death scene, not to mention I don't really take this stuff particularly seriously. So afterwards, there's a particularly nice scene where the entire village turns out to thank him for saving their collective asses and they all realize that he's a goddamn hero. And he gets a hug from Sakura, but absolutely nothing on the Naruto/Hinata front. Anyways, after that, Tsunade's in a coma from burning out all her energy trying to keep the villagers and ninja alive (which turned out, as we see, to be ultimately pointless), so Danzou gets Hokage over the objections of a bunch of jounin, who wanted Kakashi. As it turns out, it would seem he used mind control to do so, which was actually a decent plot point. No prizes for guessing just how he pulled off the mind control- he's got a Sharingan! I actually don't mind this plot point very much, as it was revealed that he took it off a dead Uchiha (Uchiha Shisui, that dude Itachi supposedly killed for his Mangekyou). His first action, at the behest of the Raikage, is to declare Sasuke a missing-nin and a criminal, which immediately makes me respect him a lot more and Naruto hate him, as he still thinks Sasuke can be redeemed. He wants to open Sasuke's eyes and end this whole "circle of violence" thing that's going on. It's cute, and I let him have his indulgences because, hey, shonen manga. Danzou heads out to the meeting of the 5 kages along with Gaara!, the Raikage, and the other two. They bring along two companions each, and of course Gaara brings along Kankuro and Temari (woohoo!), but the character designs for all the others are cool. Sasuke follows along, having been told by Madara that Danzou will be there. Sasuke, obviously, wants to kill Danzou. Naruto went with Kakashi and Yamato to try and convince the Raikage not to kill Sasuke, but Raikage's not having any of this "mercy" business. He's going to kill Sasuke because Sasuke's a goddamn criminal, just like a ninja should. There's politics talk at the council of the 5 kages, about creating a joint task force to deal with Akaksuki. Danzou uses some mind control to try and get this force under his command, and overplays his hand as a mist ninja with a stolen Byakugan figures out his game and calls him on it. At that point, Zetsu sells out Sasuke and Raikage goes on a killfest. His crew and Sasuke's crew are currently fighting, and it's a lot of fun. Madara's villain monologuing to Naruto, and there's a whole Cain and Abel thing going on. I don't take it seriously, and the politics bits are relatively well done. Here's hoping Sasuke loses.'re still fighting. The Vaizard showed up and Hacchi teamed up with Soi Fon (who incidentally has a bazooka for a bankai- pretty awesome) to bring down Barrangan, but Bleach has been Bleach for so long it's not really worth talking about. They're fighting. Whoo. There's better fights to be had, and I'm only really reading it because it takes all of 2 minutes.

Negima!, I'll talk about it later.