Saturday, September 6, 2008

Interview with pyschologist Kishida Shū

A fine piece in today's Sankei shinbun. It's an interview with pyschologist Kishida Shū 岸田秀, author of Nihonjin to 'Nihonbyō' ni tsuite, A Place For Apology: War, Guilt, and US-Japan Relations (trnsl.), among other works. Kishida first received attention in 1978 when he diagnosed the Japanese as schizophrenic in his book, Monogusa seishin bunseki (English translation: Slacker Psychoanalysis). He raised eyebrows again in 1996 with the publication of Nijūseiki o seishin bunseki suru, in which he likens Matthew Perry's rather ungentlemanly method of gunboat diplomacy to rape.

In today's Sankei interview Kishida discusses what he considers to be the root cause for the failings of the post-war Japanese political system, namely, subordination to America. He sees Japan as having two options at this point: either launch another all-out war against the Americans, or take the more pragmatic route of patiently waiting for America to collapse. Judging from the 笑 emoji inserted into the text, I think we can assume that Kishida favors the latter.



So... what are these "failings of the post-war Japanese political system" that he refers to? Corruption? That's endemic in any system to varying degrees, and in Japan's case it certainly can't be attributed to American influence. LDP dominance? Whether or not this is a problem is debatable, but here too, painting Japan's security dependence on America as a serious causal factor throughout 50 years of electoral outcomes is pretty problematic. I wonder what he means...

Ryan said...

Sorry for the late response.

I could be wrong, but I think his point is that Japan's post-war "failings" all stem from the fact that Japan's independence, or sovereignty (to use a not-so-fashionable word), is severely limited, and that Japan's client-state relation with the U.S. has set the parameters for almost everything that has taken place in the last 60-plus years-- ideologically, culturally, politically, and (to a somewhatlesser extent) socially.