Japan just launched a cartoon drive to convince Muslims they invaded Iraq with the USA only to be friendly. It is interesting to me to see they gave the cartoon mascot an American name and big 'Western' eyes, nothing Japanese here at all, even slightly. Japan continues to lose its identity and culture.
By HIROKO TABUCHI
The Associated Press
Perky cartoon character Prince Pickles -- with saucer eyes, big dimples and tiny, booted feet -- poses in front of tanks, rappels from helicopters and shakes hands with smiling Iraqis.
The cutesy icon hardly calls to mind the Japanese military that conquered and pillaged its way across Asia in the first half of the 20th century, and that is just the way the country's leaders want it.
As Japan sheds its postwar pacifism and gears up to take a higher military profile in the world, it is enlisting cadres of cute characters and adorable mascots to put a gentle, harmless sheen to its Self-Defense Forces deployments.
During WWII, our soldiers put mascots and cartoon characters on planes. This didn't make their dropping of bombs on civilians any friendlier or cuter. But it was an expression of folk culture in the era of Hollywood and movie theaters showing cartoons before the main movies. After WWII, the Japanese culture took to cartooning with a vengeance and this art form now dominates the culture. No longer do people purchase novels or watch Japanese-made movies, they read manga and watch an amazing variety of animated TV shows.
I have watched a lot of Japanese TV over the years. In California and NYC, there are Japanese language TV shows which include game shows of astonishingly horrible levels of personal physical violence and humiliations as well as comedy routines which often baffled me. Of course, I have watched anime since the late 1950's in this way.
When I was younger, I greatly admired Japanese historical dramas. The filmmakers in Japan had this astonishing visual/dramatic matrix that turned out an astonishing number of beautiful, intriguing artistic films that still stand as monuments of this art form to this very day. The aesthetics characteristic of the Japanese culture have fueled artistic changes in the imperial West since 1860.
Just like the conquest of China and the looting of the palaces by the Europeans sparked many aesthetic changes in European art, the invention of the camera destroyed the need to make accurate images of nature or portraits and artists, seeking new meaning to their endangered professions, latched onto the exotic and interesting point of view developed by Japanese artists after the military dictators closed Japan to all outside influences in the mid-1600s.
This new aesthetic was based on reductions of quality and detail. It was a form of denial and frankly, growing poverty. Cut off from all trade, the Islands grew poorer and poorer. They dealt with this type of North Korean-style denial by celebrating the simple and the less. Instead of painting twenty cranes in an elaborate landscape of lakes, trees and mountains, the artist would paint one or two cranes and a tree branch or two in the foreground, a peak rising out of the mist in the distance and fog and clouds obscuring virtually everything else with just some soft shadows of a farm house and the outline of a forest in the midrange of the painting.
This evolved into capturing moments in nature such as a tsunami wave in the foreground showing all the foam as if captured by a fast shutter camera or perhaps water running around a single rock while an insect hovers innocently above an expectant frog whose tongue is already beginning to snag it. This interesting culture captivated Europe and America right at the same time in history, cameras came into use. This unique culture heavily influenced photography and the new art of film making.
The Japanese, in turn, from the very beginning, tried to ape the European conquerers. There was a rage for dressing and acting like the foreigners from the very beginning. All municipal buildings were built in the European style. The Emperor instantly dropped his cumbersome robes and put on a European uniform. This continued until the nationalist revival of the 1920's. The government encouraged the wearing of kimonos and native garb. They promoted the use of native materials and designs, the piano was to be dropped and replaced by native instruments.
This was part of the global reaction that was joined at the hip to fascism. The military coup took over and imposed these retrogressions forcibly through the schools and community organizations. They banished the concept of Western Beauty and aggressively enforced the old ideals.
With women, it was to make their lips very tiny with an exaggeratedly small outline of lipstick and to pile the hair on the head so the erotic devotion to the nape of the neck could be revived. Kissing lips was not encouraged.
The new cultural dictatorship based on regressive aesthetics collapsed with the defeat of the Japanese Empire. But artists raised during this time period came out of it refreshed so we saw that amazing outburst of movies during the 1950's and onwards. Now that this generation is dying, it is obvious this force is long spent and after it has fed American filmmakers who admired these movies (as I did back then) to make very popular science fiction and fantasy movies here such as the famous Star Wars series, the aesthetics are now a spent force.
The animators in Japan at first copied Walt Disney who had a dark, Germanic hyper-realism coupled with astonishing cruelty. This proved to be too expensive so the Japanese, living in difficult circumstances, used the same aesthetic solution they chose the previous hard times: editing out most of the visual information in order to concentrate on the important matters for the eye and mind, trusting people to construct their own reality off of a series of hints.
The cartoon community in Japan took off like a rocket. Within one generation, it began to conquer the world. Unlike American cartoons, the Japanese animators and writers decided early on to build story lines that didn't merely introduce a new character once and a while like the Flintstones (under Japanese influence) did when they had Wilma give birth, usually, in American cartoons in the newspapers as well as TV, aimed for a static community that never changes (Gasoline Alley being one of the very few exceptions to this iron rule). One new character a decade was the battle plan.
The Japanese not only had over-all story lines, they killed off major characters. Early on, they killed off all the characters with 'Captain Harlock' which I saw as it came out, on Japanese TV here in NYC. I watched it with my child and she loved it tremendously until the characters began to die off. I told her, this happens occasionally but when they all died in a final, fatal battle, she was in tears. But still loved the show!
Since then, the signs of a culture in collapse have begun to show increasingly. At first, the bad guys had Germanic features, heh, and some were aliens with green or blue hair. Then the good guys began to look more and more like they grew up in Berlin.
Today, virtually no anime males or females who are 'sexually attractive' look Asian! I see a lot of anime and it is rarer and rarer to see the classic Asian eyes, it isn't merely enlarging them anymore, fewer and fewer are even brown in color.
SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- A survey shows that more than 77 percent of South Korean women think they need plastic surgery, the Korea Times reported on Thursday.
According to a thesis by Um Hyun-shin at South Korea's Kyung Hee University's clothing and textiles department, 77.5 percent of a total of 810 female respondents over the age of 18 said during a survey conducted last September that they wanted cosmetic surgery. While 62 percent of women in their late 20s have already undergone cosmetic surgery, the survey shows.
About 70 percent of the respondents said they have suffered stress due to their appearance, the survey said.
The collapse of both culture and identity in Asia is now running at an amazing level. Using surgery and chemicals, Asians have been ridding themselves of their natural appearance at an amazing pace. Before WWII, many women in Asia like many women in the West, curled their hair. For some reason, Western ideals of beauty involved curling the hair going back to ancient Rome.
In the Jewish community, the visual ideal is a Nazi German. Namely, fixing the nose so it is nordic, dying the hair blonde or other alterations, this has so erased the visual identity of many Jewish people, particularly the females, outside of the severest of ghetto-culture fanatical fringes of that ethnic group, it is nearly impossible to tell an adult of Jewish ancestry from any other northern European 'master race' representatives.
In the black community, Michael Jackson carried this eradication of one's own self to the furthest extreme as he has obviously gone insane. The global need to look like Hitler's ideal German is growing, not shrinking. Even Hitler himself was a million miles away from his own ideals, dark haired, small in stature, he showed virtually none of these traits.
Communist China locked out outsiders so much that when my mostly-Nordic looking, 6'1" tall mother came to Beijing, people literally banged into street lamps or fell into the gutter because they were staring so hard at her, they didn't see where they were going. When she went to the theater, the entire audience would rise to stare in wonder at her.
She had dark curly hair so she wasn't the 'ideal' but a sister of mine was: over 6' tall and straight blonde hair, blue eyes, etc. I wasn't quite so tall so I wasn't the perfect ideal but was close enough to get attention. In Saudi Arabia, my mother, even in her veils, towered over the men and women.
This height ideal is sweeping Asia today as women desperately try to get the long legs, etc. This is very hard to change yet in China, women undergo painful surgery to make their legs long. Fashion shows nearly uniformly feature 6'+ tall 'Nordic' style women mostly from ancient Viking communities in Russia, the Slav/Norse look being the global ideal.
The black community in America during the 1960's and early 1970's celebrated African beauty and culture. I was very enthusiastic about this push for identity and enjoyed its fruits from my own perspective. When I was dating a Black Panther, he dropped me because, 'I shouldn't be seduced by your obvious German looks.'
I agreed. For the last 200 years, America's culture has been tremendously enriched by our captive Africans. They have created many of the things the world considers 'American'. In all the arts, they have been the fresh stream of creativity. But despite this, they too are seeing their cultural identity collapsing.
This brings me to the one community actively resisting this interior collapse: Islam. This roaring battle we are having stems from a deep unease over the Norsification of all cultures. The Nazi ideal has been sweeping the planet thanks to modern technology.
But unlike their peers in Asia--where blepharoplasty is the No. 1 cosmetic procedure--young Asian-American women who consider the surgery are more likely to grapple with the idea that the procedure will also alter their ethnic identities, according to Dr. Charles Lee, a plastic surgeon in Los Angles who specializes in blepharoplasty.
"There is more resistance to the procedure here than in Asia," he told Women's eNews.
The mascot the Japanese militarists chose is telling: they made the pupils small, unlike most anime characters who have huge pupils, and the 'eyes' look more like American WWII 'Nip' characters who wear huge eye glasses. The choice of an utterly inappropriate name belittles the character. The 'P' sound is 'funny'.
Their attempt at making themselves look friendly while aping Americans who are at total war with these many Islamic tribes and cultures is a double whammy. In the article, the Japanese war ministry officials claim, putting an anime figure on their vehicles prevented them from being blown up, is condescending and racist.
The idea that the Japanese were protected from attack because the Islamic fighters were attracted by a soccer character is pure racism. The Japanese, like the other 'coalition' criminals, were stationed in 'safe' areas while we deliberately undertook the dirty job of crushing the will of the Islamic fighters.
The fact that Asia is losing its culture and identity and is even wiping out their very appearance as people, working with the USA who is the chief engine of this cultural devolution, to crush the Islamic resistance, is yet another historic irony.
In California, groups of all ethnicities have vied to transform themselves into a Caucasian standard of beauty. Jewish women undergo rhinoplasty, or "nose jobs," and African Americans have undergone the same, along with lip reductions and skin lightening.
Despite an era that seems, at least superficially, to celebrate multiculturalism, these procedures suggest that many women still nonetheless experience physical characteristics that indicate ethnicity as negative features. For Asians, ethnically defined by their unique eyes, eyelid surgery is a particularly dramatic example.
The 'celebration of multiculturalism' is the Western culture trying desperately to revive itself even as it loses all sense of tribal/cultural identity. We nervously move about the planet, seeking 'primitive' cultures to suck into our own maws. I used to do this, we all do this. This is what 'National Geographic' is all about.
In America, celebrating 'redneck culture' is just like celebrating Japanese culture or tribes in wildest Africa and so on: we can't handle things anymore. Opera, ballet, the fine arts, etc, are falling apart. Quite literally. We can't create much of anything new anymore.
The wellspring has dried up and now we are seeking salvation, hoping to find some vibrant expression that will ease our ennui. Like the Roman Empire, we have used up the treasures of Classical culture and now are raiding tribal culture.
Japanese animators make fun of Europeans and Americans who are attracted to Asian looks and adopt Asian cultural standards such as wearing old-fashioned garb and eating and sleeping in the old ways. But we are attracted to all that! This is why Buddhists who are too 'American' are not interesting but Japanese or Tibetan Buddhists are beloved and devoted upon by their American followers.
The local Japanese Buddhist nun near my own home loves American Indians a lot. She dotes on their culture and champions their causes. But the people seeking her out are in love with her own alien looks and customs. She barely recognizes this because she feels her own self is normal. But she is definitely a curiosity.
We have Asian members in our own family. We really love them the way they look, the very same Asian features so many Asian men and women are trying to erase are the exact same features we adore! It is really terrible, watching this process at work.
A planet of uniform people all looking like Nazis would be the nightmare world we should fear.