Silly Grins

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another Chapter 4

Chapter 4 gives Embracing Defeat a 'deeper' meaning.

Butt first:

Away on Business…

Starting a family has a tendency to seriously alter a person’s outlook. Fatherhood? 

(Don't get him started...)

Well, it can definitely change the way you see a lot of things. 

(Oh, no. Here we go...)

Take this postcard for example:

I was away. Had gone back to the US for a few weeks in order to take care of obligations. It was my first time away from the kids for more than a day or two. So when I saw the postcard, it reminded me of the little ones left behind. Heck, I thought it was cute.

Well, it was and it wasn’t. Or it is and it isn't.

It was cute until I turned the card over. Took a look at the backside to see that they, those adorable and clueless little faces, are a kind of unwanted fallout, considered one of the biohazards for those who are engaged in that ancient and revered profession. Yes, those are Eurasian orphans, from The occupation, 1950.

Okay, now down to it... the business

"Neither beds, futons, nor room partitions were yet available, and fornication [yeah, fuckin'] took place without privacy everywhere, even in the corridors. Later Japanese accounts of the scene tend to be irate, speaking of shameless 'animalistic intercourse' that showed the 'true colors' of so-called American civilization. The local police chief is said to have wept."

"Shooting Stars"

Go on... let it play in the background.

Were they shooting or just falling... on their back?
This song, so JW says, was kind of famous way back when.

Yeah. Then. During that time.
konna onna ni (something) ga (something)


Who made me such a woman?

The Recreation and Amusement Association was apparently who. 

And finally, down to business for the locals:

Toshi Narikawa looked more like Santa Claus than any Japanese had a right to look. His cheeks were ruddy, his eyes twinkled in their creases, his beard was white and lustrous, and he wore the red coat and cap that are the traditional costume of venerable Japanese males. 

 Got here from him.

Toshi was boss of the Yoshiwara, Tokyo's biggest and most famous fleshpot. 

"Chairman of the Whole Japan Venereal Disease Prevention Autonomy"

One evening during dinner in one of his oldest and most respected houses, Toshi told me how he was converted to "demokrassie" [yes, let's]. 

The conversation did not come easily, for Toshi was dubious of the new order when General MacArthur decreed the abolition of legalized prostitution. But that was before he understood the true meaning of democracy. 

"There were no more prostitutes," said Toshi, with an expansive gesture. "They are all waitresses now." 

"Japanese waitresses pose with members of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey..."
(From the caption in Dower's book)

Alright, back to Keyes and the interview with Satan Santa:

(Okay already...)

"Under the old system, girls were sold into prostitution with no choice in the matter. Once in a house, they couldn't leave. This was most undemocratic." 

"Everyone is so happy that no one has any grievances. It is hardly believable. But then, the secret of my success is that I make everyone happy. Rich men come here to throw away their money. Evildoers come to spend their ill-gotten gains. We tap them for as mush as the traffic will bear. Then there is the honest citizen who comes in quest of recreation and entertainment. We charge him a modest sum and he goes away content." 

"The girls are happy because they are well fed and well clothed. In their leisure hours they learn the tea ceremony, flower arranging, and dancing in order that they may become good wives and make their husbands happy."

"In that way, everybody is happy." 

 You like what you see? Click here.

The 'international business' bit was brought to you courtesy of Dower
The local slant on 'getting things done' is by Keyes
The post card is in front of my throne, at home.
Red font is Wally.
(The guy we blame for all the bad stuff we do)


  1. It's only recently that I remembered the American TV show 'M*A*S*H' used to show shots of Colonel Blake in a 'bath house' on his much awaited trips to Tokyo. Very sickening the thought now.

    Needless to say the Japanese' authorities main concern was 'racial purity'. I wonder, how many of the 'Okichi' were Burakumin or Korean-Japanese? It would have better suited the purposes of the usual cabal. And the 'Okichi' story itself: I have the worst taste in my mouth left from a visit to Shimoda nearly twenty years ago, and how they exploit her memory still, after exploiting her body. My wife suggested an onsen trip, and got a 'hell-no' back. Such a sad story for the Japanese that they whored-out a girl to a foreigner, but 'ware-ware' don't look behind the curtain at all the women and girls, Japanese and other, exploited for Japanese men.

    Whatever happened to the issue? You don't see many mixed-race fifty to sixty-eight year-olds. You do see a few.

    1. M*A*S*H... those shows are classic. Yeah, that 'sake and sashimi and those clean sheets'... that's Tokyo.

      Only read a little about Okichi today, after the books, and ran across something about it only being a story. Who knows.

      There was a piece, maybe in the New York Times, about a man who went to Tokyo to live after having been raised in New York. He retired and seemed a bit bitter about the feeling of being an 'other' in The Big Apple. He was one of those adopted from circumstances like in the postcard.

  2. If you look at how much Japanese society creates individuals who are so different in so many ways than peoples of other developed nations, it's not hard to see why the idea of losing their homogeneity scares the shit out of them... Kind of sad.

    1. Not quite sure I understand what you are saying. Will have to read your comment a few more times to understand where you are coming from; sometimes I miss the obvious.

      Here goes.

      The idea of homogeneity appears to have been thrust upon the 'nation' just at the right time in a way that gives people a set script when it comes to explaining things to those from the 'over there'. I've never been one to 'get' inferiority complexes, though I've now been on the receiving end enough times to know that it ain't me.

      If there was some kind of way to say to those who are losing their homogeneous identities while not throwing away their ethnic ones, it might sound something like, "Thanks for setting your baggage by the door. Pull up a seat and welcome to the club. Now, what can I get you?".

      I don't know.

    2. Yeah, once I reread my comment, I'm not so sure I knew what I was saying...

      "If there was some kind of way to say to those who are losing their homogeneous identities while not throwing away their ethnic ones, it might sound something like, "Thanks for setting your baggage by the door. Pull up a seat and welcome to the club. Now, what can I get you?""

      You and I both know there is no way to say it that will make them them understand and accept that it's a good thing. They're in Disneyland now. Open the front gate and say 'Here come the Warner Bros characters' and they'll scream 'Yadaaaaaa!' until their heads explode...

    3. Just checked out 'No Buddy Atoll' and met Private Snafu.

      Thanks for the nudge.

      You've got me thinking about how to further redefine 'ethnic' in a way that proudly celebrates Japan's 'other' populations. This might take a while, but I do like the idea.

      In addition to Okinawan, Zainichi Korean, Zainichi Chinese, Filipinos, Brazilians and the newly acknowledged Ainu, there's got to be a number of ways to tease apart other identities that stir up some of that sweet pride.

  3. You remember a post I did about the Yakuza in my neighborhood? You gotta...

    Anyway I drew a line where the gates to the Yukaku were which was surrounded by a just a river with an odd giant U shape. One of Japan's most famous murderers was caught on my street hiding in the pleasure palace.

    It had a book and a movie done about it.

    "The Yakai Incident" in Japanese of course.

    A kinda groundbreaking legal case with innocent men and false accusations and bad cops....the dude arrested on my street was the one and only killer


    That's my street. They had big gates and guards and the women weren't aloud out.

    They started that in the 1600's.

    When I told the mayor at the BBQ party where I lived....well it was funny.

    Anyway..they did pretty good at buying selling and reducing women to meat bags. Long b4 we arrived.

    1. Totally remember a number of posts. One that comes to mind now deals with the wall(s) that used to be there.

      Okay, eight lines down in your comment, Googled and found a biographical link for Mrs. Michiko Kamiyama... got the condensed version of the story. The 'old guards' definitely don't like her.

      Mahiru no Ankoku (The Midday Darkness)

      Wow... over 300 years of that kind of history. Funny in an ironic way: BBQ, mayor, meat bags.

      Thanks for the light. Dayum!

  4. I recently watched Part 2 of Where The Red Fern Grows, Billy and his buddy come home from war and his buddy shows interest in Billy's sister. Because of his actions and behaviors Billy wasn't having it. He wasn't the good, clean, wholesome, man come back from serving his country. Billy knew what shenanigans he got into and couldn't see him being anything other than that towards his sister. Long story short, Billy's sister is in the dark over the buddy war stories. Billy leaves his best pal with a life threat if he does his little sister wrong.

    I have a friend stationed in Korea and Iraq. When he got back he told us stories... stuff I had wished he kept to himself. I don't know to this day if he was bragging about his shenanigans or trying to get things off his chest and move on. I just sat, listened and learned how to ask for beer and cigarettes in Korean. I am sure there are little ones out there that look an awful lot like him no doubt.

    1. Had no idea there was a sequel.

      Hyper-excitement of what may be near-to-last moments. That I get. Still, there are situations... the 'Don't be stupid. Don't hurt those who are vulnerable to trust' message comes through.

      The closest thing I can think of is 'A Farewell to Arms' - because of the prostitutes.

      I just can't imagine what it's like (at least not too vividly).

      Growing up, I met a guy who was understood to be an unintended consequence. Although he didn't necessarily have an easy time, I assume he's had more of a chance in The Home of the Brave than he would have had in The Land of the Morning Calm.

    2. I wrote a blog post about a sib of mine who came about that way. Cats lucky he was raised in a loving home.

      I made the mistake once to throw in his face that he wasn't my real brother. The one and only time my grandmother ever slapped me. Back of the hand is most displeasing. He has had it a bit rough during his latter teens but he's aright.

      In case you haven't seen it:
      Not one of my prouder moments.

    3. Thanks for directing me there.
      Checked it out and added a comment.

  5. When I was in Nagasaki, I was wondering about the "half" children. They'd have been a decent sized bunch of them running around the town in the day.

    How many generations before they are considered to have enough Japanese blood to be accepted back into the race?

    Btw if I was living in post-war Japan, I'd have probably let an American soldier stick it in me for some canned meat and a bag of rice but I'd have knifed anyone who made me learn tea ceremony.

    1. How many generations?

      I met a young man who said he was part Russian (maybe an 8th?). He was from Kyushu. His understanding of his 'heritage' gave him freedom to speak his mind. I don't know how accepted he felt and am not sure he cared so much. On paper, he was Japanese. He told me that people in his area were a lot more blended than they wanted to admit or be aware of.

      As long as myths prevail, it may take generations. Had this kind of information been openly available and these kinds of issues not been taboo, I don't think I would have taken that left turn at Albuquerque. Yet, I still be here.

    2. There's an English rapper (don't laugh) called Mike Skinner. Goes by 'The Streets' and actually writes really smart stuff. I'd recommend looking some up, if only for the line in one of his tracks (can't remember the name now) that proudly proclaims, "I'm 45th generation Roman." Which pretty much sums it all up.

      And I realise this flippancy is wholly misplaced, but "Chairman of the Whole Japan Venereal Disease Prevention Autonomy" has to be one of the best job titles ever.

    3. "I'll show you the secrets the sky and the birds"...a modern day Thomas Hardy. Didn't they find Romano-British remains out by his Wessex place once upon an excavation?

      About the best-ness of that job title... I can only imagine. Again and again.