Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Australian Foreign Minister ALEXANDER Downer said, regarding Junichiro Koizumi's pilgrimage to Yasukuni shrine which, in addition to soldiers who died in the second world war, enshrines the remains of several Class A war criminals:

"He (Koizumi) told me, he understood that point of view but that in Japan it wasn't possible to separate souls in a way we might understand in our own culture."

I will be the first to admit the truth of the fact that we in the West do not experience any difficulty in separating one soul from another; we do it all the time, it's like sorting onions. (If any occidental reading this has encountered inseparable souls in their soul-separating activities, please let me know.)

In fact, if you ask me, we in the West are getting a bit cavalier in the ease with which we separate souls. Koizumi has me thinking maybe we should take a more serious look at our approach to this whole psyche-partitioning business, maybe we've been doing it wrong all these millennia (which would explain a lot), and should show a little more respect for what we might call soul cohesion, even soul blending.

On the other hand, further study may reveal cultural differences in the quality and nature of Japanese and Western soul stuff. We'll need some specifics, ideally obtained at the Ministerial level, regarding Japan's soul-separation difficulties: do Japan's prana problems involve some kind of ubergooeyness, like a bag of hard candies left open for a month? Or is it more like a cosmic blender kind of thing? As an obstacle to real-world diplomatic resolution, it would definitely be worthwhile looking into this. Maybe just a little soul sugarcoating, a metempsychotic crowbar, maybe we could even jointly develop some kind of spirit separator...

Koizumi's explanation that Japanese souls can't be separated like souls in the West also seems to indicate his awareness of some fundamental differences between Japanese and Western souls that we of other cultures have never known about, and that we should look into. For example, is this anything like the sticky white rice of Japan vs. our non-sticky long-grain rice that the Japanese will simply not import? And can diet affect soul adhesion?

On the other hand, the souls of the class A war criminals that were sneaked into Yasukuni must have been separate at the time of sneaking (the inseparable is not sneakable); do they have an ubercuisinart there or something? (Once you blend something, it is tough to unblend it.) These are clearly questions of international import. Maybe the UN could take up the subject; they seem to handle the ethereal pretty well.


Tabor said...

Are 'joined' souls different then 'blended' souls. I think our Western popular culture talks about joined souls.

Robert Brady said...

Koizumi seems to be of the opinion that you can't just go in there and separate some of those souls out from the rest. He's not really clear about why, whether it's lack of tools or it's impolite or there's just no way you can get these souls out of there, they've permeated the place. I doubt if it's anything like Romeo and Juliet.

Tabor said...

I am glad that I have less deep things to ponder over, like separating eggs for the omelet or separating colors for the washer!

Todd said...

After a chat with some students regarding Japanese war crimes, classification of war crimes, and the Yasukuni snafu, it does seem slightly more complex than the press makes it out to be. I'd always thought war crimes ran from worst (class A) to slightly less sinitster (classes B and C). Turns out tis not quite so simple (see Wikipedia or other sources). While I don't necessarily agree that it's not such a big deal (as some students postulated), I do think it's not as cut and dried as Japan's Asian neighbours and various foreign correspondents make it out to be.

Leonard said...

It all boils down to Japan's Asian neighbors either:
Hoping for some form of restitution ("Yellow guilt?")
Fearing that the rearming of Japan presages another invasion ("Yellow peril?"