Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who Is Preston Houser?

Is he CIA, like my treacherous old loser neighbor, Dan Douglass? Yes, there's no question about it: Preston Houser is an officer in the Central Intelligence Agency.

John Dougill, in a conversation at a curry cafe one day in which the topic of the shakuhachi was mentioned, once told me that a friend of his, Preston Houser, who was a teacher of English and literature at a local college and had three daughters, if I recall that conversation correctly, also played shakuhachi, etc., and that he had attended a recital he gave. See more at the end of this post on Preston's disinformation propaganda related to the Zen Buddhist sub-sect of Fuke-shu. 

Perhaps the most damning evidence exposing Houser as CIA is the following passage of disinformation on the history of the Fuke-shu subsect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. Fuke-shu was not a formal organization until the Edo period, and even then, there were no Fuke-shu temples per se. Playing the shakuhachi was a form of religious training and a meditation practice, on the one hand, but it was also a mode of transmitting Zen Buddhism to the public through performance. After the first repertoire was formally brought into being by Kurosawa Kinko (thus, the Kinko-ryu), two Rinzai temples in Tokyo served as the centers where what is now considered a subsect of Rinzai developed, founded on the basis of the meditative practice of playing the shakuhachi, and transmitting Zen through public performance.

The Tokugawa had decommissioned a large number of samurai after winning the peace and bringing to a close the warring states period. Toyotomi Hideyoshi had left to large a standing army with nothing to do but clamor for more action, leading to the invasion of Korea, with China having been the ultimate goal. Not to repeat that mistake, the Tokugawa built on Toyotomi’s programs, and promoted culture, forcing samurai families to expend a substantial amount of their income maintaining a residence in Edo, transforming it into a cosmopolitan city.

Some of the decommissioned samurai had been practices sui-Zen shakuhachi, a form of Zen meditation and breathing exercise adopting the shakuhachi as a religious implement. The shakuhachi was made the exclusive purview of a number of decommissioned samurai who were licensed as “komuso” (“monks of emptiness”) and issued a type of domestic passport that permitted them to travel freely throughout the domains of the country. They were the only people with such permission, and they served as reconnoiters for the Tokugawa as well, who were very focused on maintaining the peace by preventing local strife.

The playing of the shakuhachi was a means to transmit Zen culture to the public as well, as the pieces themselves are compositions embodying teachings and meditative practice. Eventually, the Tokugawa liberalized their policy and lifted the restriction on the shakuhachi, enabling people other than the licensed komuso to play the shakuhachi, and permitting the komuso to settle in towns and establish schools, etc. A further liberalization occurred when the Tokugawa permitted the shakuhachi to be used to play music other than the original repertoire of meditation pieces (36 in the Kinko-ryu), enabling a genre called “sankyoku” (three-instrument pieces”) to flourish in the form of ensemble music played by the koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi (which replaced a bowed instrument).

That is enough background information to enable a deconstruction of the false statements in a disinformation piece published by Houser in the Kansai TimOut in 1998, versions of which are still available online. The first passage to be examined is:

In 1871, the Tokugawa clan officially banned the Fuke sect because it was thought that too many ruffians and spies had infiltrated the community, and had merely affected the appearance of shakuhachi-playing Zen monks for questionable motives. From that time on shakuhachi music was to be performed for secular purposes only and the Fuke sect in Japan was no longer—it if ever was—a “pure” organization of monks and musicians.

It also appears that Mr. Houser was doing some other teaching as well, on a totally unrelated topic, which is very complicated, and probably not very approachable by the vast majority of student at the undergraduate level. 

Moreover, how did Mr. Houser acquire such a deep interest in a rather obscure subject matter? Considering that he must be a busy man as a college professor with three daughters, and part time musician, too, it makes one wonder. 

Here are links to pages of two Japanese colleges he apparently teaches at:

From the website of the defunct "Friends World College/Global College Japan Center, here's a link to an archived page.

A little promotion, video...
It's a low-resolution copy of the video, but in all likelihood, every one of the people you see are intelligence officers. 


Barbara Stein, Administrative Coordinator
B.A., Hunter College, City University of New York
M.A., School for International Training
J.D., Brooklyn Law School
Barbara has worked at the Global College Japan Center for the past 16 years and has lived in Kyoto for over 30 years. She is well versed in Japanese culture. Barbara originally arrived in Japan after graduating from law school and worked for an Osaka law firm. She later transitioned into the field of education and earned a Master's degree in teaching. Barbara enjoys traveling in Southeast Asia, playing her African drum and working in the field of intercultural communication.

Aaron Campbell, Academic Coordinator
B.G.S., University of Michigan
M.Ed., University of Sheffield, UK
Aaron is our resident computer expert and educational technology specialist. He is currently active in curriculum design and implementation incorporating weblogs, wikis, social networking and aggregation tools both at Global College and within his EFL classes at a local Japanese university. In his free time Aaron enjoys spending time with his two daughters, listening to hip hop and pontificating about education and eastern philosophy.

Dan Douglass - Faculty Advisor
B.A., Friends World Program, L.I.U.
M.A., School for International Training
Dan is a graduate of Friends World who studied at the East Asian, South Asian and Latin American Centers in addition to spending a semester doing independent research on syncretic religions in Brazil.   He later went on to complete a master's degree in education with a specialty in Teaching English as a Second Language from the School for International Training in Vermont and has been teaching English in Japan for the past 8 years.  In his down time he is a Mac enthusiast and an amateur percussionist and throat singer.

Preston Houser
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
M.A., San Francisco State University
B.A., California State University, Sonoma
Preston teaches the course on Japanese minorities, “Behind the Mask” as well as our introductory course on classic Japanese cinema. While he holds a doctorate in English literature and criticism, he is by no means limited to this field of study and is truly a scholar of many disciplines.  Dr. Houser is also a talented musician, holding a shi-han(master’s license) in the shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese bamboo flute.

As the blurb says, plays shakuhachi music.

What has culminated in this post was the discovery of his teaching the following course on the burakumin and the Koreans, who are widely held to make up the majority of the yakuza crime groups, with whom CIA officers like Glenn Paquette (who probably has a new identity by now) and Dan Douglas, not to mention the current mayor of Kyoto have demonstrated a propensity to collaborate with in antisocial activities. I've already posted some thoughts on the cultivation of the victim mentality and then unleashing that against society...

Moreover, those activities have directly impacted my life, sometimes being directed at my by CIA officers such as Glenn Paquette (I will post more on this individual soon).

In addition to the connection to Dan Douglass, there is also the connection to Brian Schultz (aka Brian Uneme), whom also studies the shakuhachi under the same teacher, and has also tried to subvert my life here in Kyoto.

It would seem that the connections are sufficient to make Mr. Houser a prime suspect as an intelligence agent, and officer in the CIA.

In fact, along with Mr. Dougill and Mr. Johnston trying to deceptively and undeservedly boost the profile of Koreans here, Mr. Houser is probably engaged in doing the same for the burakumin, whom I have discussed with Mr. Douglass, after being a little shocked at hearing him voice support for a sort of entitlement mentality for them. Maybe his wife is of burakumin descent, I don't know. 

Since the school that was called Global College Japan Center was nothing more than a small 2-story house, belying the overproduction of the promotion video and affiliation with Long Island University, it was probably a school used as a cover to train young intelligence officers in Japanese language and culture and infiltrate them into society here in Kansai, with an emphasis on establishing ties with the burakumin and Koreans.

Finally, both Preston Houser, Dan Douglass and Barbara Stein are people whose name appears on the DeepKyoto grey media blog operated by the MI6. Apparently the UK has even weaker laws than the United States about such things, and it would appear that the older the intelligence officer, the less concerned they are about their cover being intact.

That begs the question, however, as to what do such individuals do to deserve to being paid their high salaries and benefits (special allowances, etc.) out of the public coffers when they are exposed to be individuals misrepresenting themselves in their host country.

Since the original link is now dead, here is a snapshot from the trusty Internet archiving site The WAYBACK machine:
Junior Seminar: Behind the Mask - Alternative Japan(3 credits, spring only)
This required junior seminar examines past and present aspects of Japanese demographics and explores the unique history and psychology of the Japanese people. On an island where more than 99% of residents are native Japanese, Japan’s homogeneity gives birth to much tension surrounding minority groups. Students study the situations of these groups, including the indigenous Ainu, Burakumin, Okinawan/Ryukyuan, South Americans of Japanese heritage (nikkeijin), as well as the resident Chinese and Korean population (zainichi). By studying the discrimination taking place in Japan, students are able to better grasp the dynamics of “in-groups” and “outgroups”, while experiencing firsthand the effects that this discrimination can have on the fabric of a society. Students choose specific aspects of modern Japanese culture to explore more deeply in an independent research project. They participate in an array of lectures, seminars, workshops, and demonstrations, and have the opportunity to make field excursions during which they can meet with leading scholars and activists in their respective fields.

Here is some backgrond on the institutional origins in the USA, so to speak.

The Friends World College is described as being founded in 1965 “by a group of committed Quakers”. Another religion connection?

The page goes on to indicate that in 2007 the name was changed from Friends World to Global College.

Apparently the Japan branch was closed a year or so ago. There are online job listings from the school for Japanese teachers as  late as 2009.

With respect to the difference in approach between the MI6 and the CIA in Japan, at least, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Dougill—the UK espionage officer—appears to aim at cultivating a link to monarchical loyalism; meanwhile, Houser—the CIA espionage officer—seems to aim to cast the Edo bakufu in a negative light as having abolished the Zen Buddhist sect, when in fact it was the quasi-theocratic Shintoist regime of the Meiji Oligarchy that abolished the sect, along with the desecration of many Buddhist temples, etc. Regarding the Meiji government and Fuke-shu, even Wikipedia has the basics right.

Considering that Preston Houser has a master’s teaching license for the shakuhachi in the Kinko school, it is inconceivable that he was not aware of the historical circumstances when he wrote that. Here is an interview with him online about Zen Buddhism, the shakuhachi, etc.

Regarding the separation of Buddhism and Shinto from the syncretic religious system of Japan that had been established approximately 1,000 years earlier, see this and this.
With respect to the establishment of the syncretic system, see this. 

This analysis is continued in the next post, drawing a little of the connection of symbolism being manipulated by Hashimoto et al. before introducing the most relevant quote from an article of Houser's that was published in the January 1998 edition of the magazine Kansai Time Out (#251).


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