Before I present a brief synopsis of the historical development of Japan as a backdrop against which to examine the Christian missionary and related issues, it seems necessary to give further background to some of the factors that have motivated this project.
Having worked on the thematic topics of Modernity and Identity as an undergraduate, focusing on the concrete manifestations I could find in the relations between East Asia and the West, it was natural to again take up those themes after moving to Japan. First, of course, I had to get the language down, but eventually I did find myself drawn back into the fold of related research.
During the course of the ensuing years I read some of the works that have been produced by a succession of eminent Buddhists that have contributed in manifold ways to the development of Japanese society since the time of Kukai, a couple of Japanese classics, such as the Tale of the Heike and the Tale of Genji. I started to look at studies written in English for some context, background information and the like, such as histories, literary treatises, and so on. I found excellent works by Marius Jansen, George Sansom, Robert Borgen, Gary Ebersole, among others, all accomplished Western scholars of Japan.
On the one hand, there was a wide range of well researched and well-written works on a range of topics in which I was interested, in fact, it required some deliberation just to decide where to start. On the other hand, while I was making my way through some of the above-described substantial body of viable scholarship on Japan available in English, I came across some astonishing and absolutely ludicrous writings on serious topics in the local and national print media by foreigners trying to pass themselves off as one sort of “expert” or another on Japan, though it was readily apparent from the teleology of their writings that they had not been motivated as a result of individual scholarship, and that fact was reinforced by the glaring bias evident in the writings, belying an ulterior agenda.
I suppose it just goes to show that there is some value in reading the newspapers and the like, as occasionally you come across a real gem of a story, even if not of the sort you were expecting to find.
In any case, the writings of these individuals were so blatantly propagandistic that I was incredulous, flabbergasted at seeing them published in the local and even national print media; it was incomprehensible. That raised several disturbing questions; namely, who was interested in putting out such disinformation, and what ends did it serve. That in turn resulted in my looking into the secret societies angle, the Freemasons, etc. The first thing I noticed was that all of the “authors”, and I use the term loosely, were based here in the Kansai area.
The writer under scrutiny in this post is a staff writer for the Japan Times, a long-standing and generally reputable English language newspaper. In fact Eric Johnson’s bigoted assertion that “…Nara was, in essence, a Korean colony” smacks of the type of the pattern of deception found in the so-called “British Israelism” fabrication disseminated by the Freemasons, or the parallel Freemason fabrication that the Japanese are descended from a “Lost Tribe of Israel”.
Such pseudo-religious fabrications are would appear to be disseminated solely for the purpose of deceiving people, undermining their cultural identities, diverting their energies from productive activity, perhaps even inculcating a sort of entitlement mentality. Such an entitlement mentality can produced a type of hypostacized subjectivity that can be harnessed as reactionary angst by an apt demagogue, for example. That is a tangential discussion for another post, maybe on the so-called “Tea Party”.
At any rate, one glaring common theme in some of the writings of Dougill and the article by Johnston was an inordinate and exaggerated attribution of the degree to which Koreans have contribution to the development of Japanese culture, religion, and history.
I have come to suspect that most individuals producing writings laden with religious subterfuge are Freemasons (or members of some other secret society); therefore, a question arises with regard to the existence of a connection between the Koreans and the Freemasons.
It just so happens that the most successful efforts of the Christian missionaries in Asia have been in South Korea, all occurring in the brief period since the end of the Korean War, as far as I know. I don’t know much about the spread of Christianity in Korea, except for the fact that Yi Sung Man, the Korean with rubber stamped degrees from Harvard and Princeton Universities who was ensconced as the first President of South Korea by his grooms in the American administration of Bible Belt Freemason Harry Truman, was want to spout bigoted evangelical dogma in an attempt to display some sort of charisma.
In all fairness to the Freemasons, in the case, for example, that my grandfather was a Freemason, I’m sure that he would only have joined such a group because he thought he was becoming more pro-actively involved in bringing open society to places where there was little or none of the defining characteristics thereof. In his case, embarking to a remote destination like Russia to labor among the people, establish camaraderie, engage in cultural exchange, and extend the breadth and scope of international society in recognition of a type of species being among humans sharing the same universe.
On the other hand, even the Freemasons weren’t exclusionary enough of a secret society to serve as the vehicle for achieving the goals of some types of secret society cretins. I’m thinking of people like Cecil Rhodes, Yale’s Skull and Bones, etc. Mr. Rhodes started his own secret society, and one of the express aims of that secret society was to bring the United States back into the fold of the British Empire.
As England can be seen to be sort of a bipolar country with respect to its political system, being both a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy with a hereditary legislative chamber, perhaps one cannot find fault with that country for trying to cultivate relations and create conditions in other countries perceived to serve the interests of the British polity that would not be in accord with American values. One could point to the efforts exerted by the UK toward fostering the creation of the Islamic theocracies in the Middle East after WWI; that is to say, they didn’t promote the establishment of parliamentary, let alone popular democracies. Top down systems enable those at the top to conduct all national business, and facilitate the perpetuation of their status at the expense of a social dynamic based on meritocracy and social mobility in a free-market economy.
But for Americans to be actively pursuing such an agenda would seem prima facie unconscionable, if not simply illegal under American law.
This brings us back to Harry Truman, a farm boy from the Bible Belt that attained the highest rank of 33-degrees in Freemasonry. Mr. Truman’s friendship with one of the purported authors of Britain’s Balfour declaration, Chaim Wiezmann, and his subsequent unilateral recognition of the “Jewish state of Israel” over and against official US policy, betraying his Secretary of State, George Marshall, and pulling the rug out from under the UN process to establish an unbiased policy to guide the course of social development for the people in the former British administered Palestine, would seem to be contradictory to American values, in the above-described sense.
It would seem that any state named by including a religious denomination in its name would by definition be somewhat theocratic in nature, and therefore, somewhat un-democratic. Could that amount to direct US support for a connection between religion and the state in another country?
I am of the opinion that it could be argued that Truman’s act in and of itself violates the First Amendment, but that is an extremely complicated issue beyond the scope of this post. In any case, the parallel between the establishment of the Islamic theocracies by the UK and that of the act by Truman establishing a quasi-theocracy should be pointed out. It is indisputable that the burden placed on the citizens of the United States by Harry Truman’s impetuous act has taxed participatory democracy both home and abroad at an unsustainable rate that could prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back--to borrow a saying from the region--unless effect corrective measures can be devised and implemented in the very near future.
Moreover, it should also be pointed out that according to the information available on the Internet, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, perhaps America’s two foremost intellects at the time of its founding, and the respective authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, were not Freemasons, though the freely associated with Freemasons in the course of securing their mutual liberty and building an open society.
So what are these people—the Freemasons and the like—trying to do here in Kyoto, Japan?
It was simply inconceivable to me how people like Dougill and Johnston, who, obviously knowing next to nothing about Japan, not only had the gall to write such blatantly biased and bigoted diatribes, but were also able to have such utterly offensive nonsense published, let alone in what I generally consider to be a reputable newspaper—the Japan Times.
The following link is to Japan Times article by Eric Johnston from July 6, 2003, and entitled:
Buried treasure: the mysteries and majesty of Nara
Note that Eric Johnston also had “work” published in the Kansai Time Out, like Mr. Dougill.
Kansai, it should be notes, is where the largest criminal organization in Japan is based. It should also be noted that the criminal organization in question is purported to have a large percentage of Korean members, as well as a large number of burakumin (a former outcaste class) members. The current governor of Osaka, Hashimoto, is of burakumin decent. I will be addressing some of the recent political machinations of Hashimoto, such as the “Ishinkai” a title which has been inadequately translated or discussed in the English language newspapers that I’ve seen, and is laden with meaning related to the theocratic pseudo constitutional monarchy established through the Meiji Ishin (the restoration of the emperor as sovereign) and exploited to create an essentially fascist state based on so-called State Shinto. Yes, you might say that I’ve become hypersensitized to anyone trying to inject religion into politics.
Mr. Johnston uses the term Korean “imperial family”. The Packche prince who was apparently exiled to Japan, and from among whose descendants a female apparently several generations later married into the royal family and became the mother of Emperor Kammu were from an era when the Korean peninsula was divided into three separate kingdoms, which were frequently in conflict, as well as a small “confederacy”, etc. I can’t imagine that the term “imperial family” was used with reference to Korean royalty prior to the Unified Silla period (7-10th centuries), which basically unified the southern half of the peninsula. This is just one such conflation mechanism at work in the rhetoric employed by Mr. Johnson. In this case, it is a juxtaposition of historical periods and categories that attempts to place Korea on an equal footing with Japan. It is a minor point, perhaps, but it demonstrates that Mr. Johnston knew very little about the history of Korea when he penned this passage.
Although the overall thrust of the article is to promote the quaint character of Nara as a tourist destination, Mr. Johnston intersperses passages including astonishingly offensive statements in decidedly strong language about sensitive topics. It’s as if he is trying to dazzle the reader with revelatory pronouncements. It is charlatanism, plain and simple. Maybe some would prefer the term skullduggery.
The article evinces a startling lack of historical knowledge on the part of the writer, though he refers to “scholarly debate” and such more than once, as if he were well informed. There is an inexcusable lack of fact checking by the editorial staff at the Japan Times, and apparent disregard for the sensitivity of the matter and the potentially adverse effects that could be generated by the dissemination of such atrocious disinformation to the public through the country’s oldest, and perhaps most trusted English language newspaper. It must mark a low point in journalistic credibility for the Japan Times.
More specifically, in the article he writes (bolded emphasis mine):
More conclusive is the evidence that Nara was, in essence, a Korean colony. Excavation of burial mounds found throughout the prefecture has revealed earthenware artifacts virtually identical to those found in similar burial mounds on the Korean Peninsula. And nobody challenges the notion that Buddhism first entered Nara from there. The word "nara" itself means "motherland" in Korean.
Imperial mysteries abound here and are most visibly represented by the above-mentioned kofun, which can be found at various locations throughout the prefecture but are concentrated in the northern part. Some mounds date back to nearly 200 A.D., but just who the occupants of the earliest kofun were is still the subject of scholarly debate.
For example, the Hashihaka burial mound, which sits at the foot of Mount Miwa, is nearly 280 meters long. Who, exactly, was buried here? While many archaeologists say it was an ancient princess born in Japan, legend holds that it was Queen Himiko, who ruled the ancient kingdom of Yamatai Koku -- which may have been less of a kingdom and more of a colony established by settlers from the Korean Peninsula.
Much of the pottery, stonework and other artifacts found in the mounds excavated so far is virtually identical to that in similar burial mounds on the Korean Peninsula, leading to the obvious conclusion that Nara got its start as a Korean colony.
These mystifyingly obscurantist statements contain assertions that are so ludicrous and utterly lacking in scholarly support, that suffice it to say much of the spurious nature will become readily apparent to the readers of this blog simply upon reading the following section and perusing the few extracts from Wikipedia that I’ve appended at the end of this post. It is equally baffling that he makes some of these pronouncements projecting an air of authority, and that the editors let that go to press.