Mandarins and Warriors

On Japan’s 1000 yen bill is a picture of someone named Hideyo Noguchi. He is remembered in Japan for overcoming a humiliating deformity and discovering the bacterial agent of syphilis. He worked for many years in America, often doing his research alone and avoiding confrontation by his peers. His methodology was flawed and most of his other work has been proven faulty or useless. This seems like important but not exactly the work of a national treasure along the lines of Jefferson and Lincoln, until you learn that he was a guy who loved getting awards, and went all over the world receiving awards from presidents, kings, and queens.

The Japanese who Europeans and Americans want to see is the sniveling mandarin, constantly retreating and apologizing, grateful and overwhelmed by treats and prizes from his white masters. This is a Japan that buys its way into a space on the international stage, through paying for 20% of the upkeep of the United Nations and other expensive tickets, and receives no authority in return, so that its interests can constantly be ignored in the Security Council. It is a Japan that can deserve our pity, as it did in the 2011 tsunami, but never our respect, and like the constantly rotating prime ministers it is easily forgotten; the servant of the day.

The Japanese who Europeans and Americans do not want to see is Yukio Mishima, a man who articulated and understood his own principle, and then transcended it; the┬ákamikaze fighters, who, without ever hearing the words mors triumphalis, realized the heroic principle of the Roman warrior in the 20th century. The prospect of a foreigner who embodies fear and respect made “world opinion” very uncomfortable, and this type has been almost totally weeded out at present.

Noguchi, who was always respected, has become a 21st century hero and children are expected to imitate his dogged pursuit of “world opinion”. But when the Pax Americana ends, it will become suicidal to bow before “world opinion”, and in the East Asian territorial disputes we are seeing very early stages of preparation for that time. So, let the overseas newspapers clamor and cry. The future needs warriors, not mandarins.

I doubt many people in America know who Noguchi is or can tell you the names of recent prime ministers. A much larger group of people know who Mishima is, and everyone knows the meaning of “kamikaze”.

Posted: January 6th, 2013 | Japan