Saturday, September 23, 2017

Putin for President of the USA

 

Could Putin Make America Great Again?

Vladimir Putin is a remarkable man -- who has done a remarkable thing.  He made Russia great again.  

 
































America also wants to be great again.  So much so desperation drove them first to try a Black man, who wasn't really black.  Then an Orange man, with an orange for brain.

What if Putin were President of the US of A?

Let us suppose that America had elected a Russian American named Vladimir Putin instead of the Kenyan American Barak Obama back in 2008. 

By comparison with Putin, Obama's record was not exactly stellar.

     
Now Russians have a bad rep'. Undeserved of course. But so do Black people, which is why we have  the police to shoot them and put them in prison (if they survive).  Black people are very visible which makes it easier to make them invisible.  Granted:  Barak was not an American black but a Kenyan Black with a white mother.

Still, we Americans like to show how diverse we are, how tolerant, how anyone can be President, as long as  they have money or wealthy backers.  And politics is not reality -- it's a reality show.  We want something different everytime.  Hillary lost because she was a re-run.   What could be more entertaining than a  Russian-American as President?

Russia-Gate was a blockbuster. The fact that there is no evidence, was immaterial.    Show biz'.

I digress.

What might disqualify Putin is simply competence -- and integrity.

Putin climbed to the top of the pile to become President of Russia as the country disintegrated.  He had worked for the KGB -- quit during the abortive coup of 1991 -- and later headed the FSB.   Later, Yeltsin offered him position of Prime Minister -- which he almost refused. 

Here's what he told Oliver Stone in those amazing interviews -- the most intimate, complete and honest interview of a world leader in this century or the last.


“When Yeltsin offered me the job for the first time, I refused. … He invited me into his office and told me he wanted to appoint me Prime Minister, and that he wanted me to run for President. I told him that was a great responsibility, and that meant I would have to change my life, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that. …
“It’s one thing when you are a bureaucrat, even a high-level one, you can almost live an ordinary life. You can see your friends, go to the cinema and the theater, and not assume personal responsibility for the fate of millions of people and for everything that is going on in the country. And to assume responsibility for Russia back then was a very difficult thing to do.”

 “Frankly speaking, I didn’t know what President Yeltsin’s final plans were with regard to me. And I didn’t know how long I would be there. Because at any moment the President could tell me, ‘You are fired.’ And there was only one thing I was thinking about, ‘Where to hide my children?’ …

“Just imagine, if I were dismissed, I didn’t have any bodyguards. Nothing. And what would I do? How would I live? How would I secure my family? And back then I decided if that was my fate, then I had to go to the end. And I didn’t know beforehand that I would become President. There were no guarantees of that.”

Can you imagine any Western leader talking so candidly, with such honesty?  Trump is pretty candid. But:
  1. he doesn't think, he emotes.
  2. he can't compose sentences longer than 14 words
  3. he quickly forgets what he just said


Obama at least used a teleprompter which allowed  him to speak  in complete sentences ....

Back to Putin....

He took the PM job and successfully put down the Chechen Rebellion (which had been fostered, it is rumoured,  by the CIA, as part of a program of reducing Russia to several easily exploitable statelets.) 

Putin's strategy in Chechyna was remarkable for its strategic pragmatism, offering the Chechen's a measure of autonomy, as long as they stayed part of Russia. 

This  Russian Putin is a pragmatist, a strategist -- above all-- a patriot.

We would hope for an American Putin like that.  He would also hope that he was into a working class family as his Russian counterpart was.   Maybe steel workers or something of that kind. His father would have been in the US military, possibly Korea.




Our American Putin would have gone to college and a law school -- and then joined our KGB -- the CIA but have quit working as a spook--  distressed at the direction the country was taking at the time of the failed coup of 1991. The Russian Putin has said that he understands Edward Snowden --but that Snowden should have just quit and made a difference in another way -- as, of course, Putin himself did. 

The American Putin would have entered politics.  As a Republican?  No.


The Russian Putin is usually seen as a Conservative .  He is conservative --but not right wing in the same sense that an American might be. There is a difference between conservative, which is a political sensibility and "right wing", which is a mental disorder.  Putin also leads a conservative country and accordingly  must represent the views of his people. 

 Putin is too clear-headed, too rational, too pragmatic --most of all too proletarian -- to be the kind of neoliberal or neoconservative politician you find in the West.  In fact, his policies are generally far more progressive than the mainstream DNC.

So, an American Putin  would have been a democrat --simply because the USA is a duopoly and there would not have been any other road to power.   As in Russia --he would have had to work his way up through the system -- pragmatically.  In this respect, the CIA would have been excellent training.

In the beginning, this Putin would have hewed to the Center  -- not just because he was a child of Middle America -- but because  he could have gotten nowhere without doing this.   

Entering politics, Putin would have campaigned ---offering  "Change", just as Barak did --while reassuring the power brokers in his party that business would continue as usual.  He would have learned to smile a lot more -- and keep his answers short and scripted -- at least, in the beginning.

Now,   this "what-if" assumes that Barak Obama did not run, and that Vlad would have had to face down the Hillary.

Hillary is a Faux Feminist, definitely ballsier than Rambo.      Vlad is  possibly more of a real feminist than Hillary.  Unlike Hillary, he seems to actually like women.  


Yeah, yeah, he is muscular and does judo.  He also likes kittens and puppies and animals and kids.  He likes pretty girls.  He keeps his family out of the media spotlight rather using them as props for his career.  As you can see from the  long quote above in his interview with Stone, he has a very human touch. 

Yet,  this  man of enormous integrity -- certainly compared with any American president -- or Secretary of State -- is demonized as a thug, dictator, monster, murderer.  

 When news broke of Gaddafi's demise, Hillary Clinton was caught on a hot mic prior to an interview with CBS News. Then-Secretary of State Clinton pumped her fists and exclaimed "We came. We saw. He died"
Putin's response was different.  Keep in mind that Putin has not been a Gaddafi supporter.

 Putin is remarkably human.  

Hillary?  Who makes a joke of someone anally raped and murdered with a knife?

Of course, he is extraordinarily sensitive  to the public mind, but that is part of his integrity -- he sees clearly that he is the most visible representative not just of a party-- or even a country --but of a culture and its values. 

Putin has a certain humility.   In the US, this is largely misunderstood.  

Russia is a new democracy.  And the society is evolving, with people creating social values.   Those values might seem retrogressive to Americans -- and they would be -- except that Russia is not going backwards -- to where America was 40 years ago, it is just moving cautiously forward.  

So Putin is not anti-gay.  Nor are Russians actually.  Just conservative.   Nor is Putin probably against the Simpsons or SouthPark -- but Russians worry about young children watching it.  In either case, these are not Putin's decisions to make.   Contrary to popular belief, he seeks to preserve and develop the democratic process -- albeit in an orderly fashion.

In any case, if Putin were American he would have supported the best aspects of American culture as they have evolved -- including   feminism, a woman's right to choose, black rights, transparency in government - -- all the things that Obama said he valued -- but didn't really care about.   

His problem would have been how to give the country pride in these things as distinctly American. 

2008 and the great crash would have been Putin's Big Opportunity.  Great leaders -- such as FDR --  use crisis to  to take control and really enact change that people would normally balk at it.

2008 would have allowed Putin to wave the flag as it had not been waved since WWII.

Of course, he would have to  face off the oligarchy, the military and the "Deep State"  -- and his own party-- which we lump together as the Establishment.   

My guess is that he would follow the same strategy that he used in Chechnya.  Measured.  Tactical.  Ruthless where necessary.  He would play divide and conquer.   He would take prisoners -- and hostages--  when they were useful. And he wave the flag with one hand and the Cross with the other.  He would demand reform and the rule of law at the highest levels, which might mean show trials for some.   But if you opposed such reform and the rule of law  -- then you would be unpatriotic -- and un-Christian.    

He would be accused of being a fascist, of course.   But he would have acted quickly to break up the big banks and other trusts and getting the economy back on line.  The money would have come from withdrawal from the Middle East, withdrawal of forces and bases worldwide and  rationalized defense spending --freeing up billions for infrastructure programs.  

Yes, Change you can believe in.  And "America Great Again"  - but not as an empire.  That can never be.

The American empire worked at the end of WWII, with most of the world in ruins.  But today in this  multipolar world, empires of this kind are obsolete. 

To restore American greatness, Putin would have to  simultaneously break both the Democratic and Republican parties.  Unlike Trump --who seems to have managed to discredit both more or less accidentally  -- and leaving chaos -- Putin would have to destroy the duopoly by design, aiming at  a multiparty democracy and greater dialog in the public domain.  

Such changes would require reforms in education and also reforms of the media.
 
Press freedom is routinely criticized in Russia.  Yet, there is more public discussion of issues -- from more points of view than in the US, where just a few companies own 90% of the media.
The regulars on these talk shows are a mix of Russians and foreigners, pro-Kremlin and anti-Kremlin voices. There inevitably is at least one American who can be counted on to purvey the Washington Narrative. A reliable regular in this category has been Michael Bohm, who was for a long-time op-ed manager at The Moscow Times and now is said to be teaching journalism in Moscow. On the 11th Michael’s place was kept warm by another upstanding Neocon, the bureau chief of The New York Post. Then there is an Israeli regular who delivers the Netanyahu perspective on events. And you can be sure to see a Pole or Ukrainian who will spice up any discussion of Maidan and the regime in Kiev.

    From among Russians, the talk show hosts bring in one or more representatives of opposition parties. On the 11th it happened to be a personality from the Yabloko Party (Liberals). But at other times there will be the leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, the founder of the right nationalist LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, or the leader of the social democratic party, Just Russia, Sergei Mironov. They all get their time on air in these shows.As  in Russia, the American Putin would go directly to the people with marathon digital town meetings, answering questions from anybody off the cuff.  

Direct Line With Vladmir Putin

Putin would talk directly to the people as FDR did in his "fireside chats".  In Russia he has four hour telecasts where anyhone can phone in to ask a question.

Of course, these sessions have been accused of being staged. Yet.....

 
...this year’s live telecast included a new feature — text messaged questions from the public, some quite critical, that popped up on screen during the program.

“Putin, do you really think that the people believe in this circus with fake questions?” 

“Three presidential terms is enough!”
“All Russia thinks that you sat too long on your throne,” read another.
What American politician would invite such criticism.? What American politician would dare to answer questions off the cuff for four hours? 

The Media might howl -- but the same anti-trust, anti-monopoly laws used to break up the banks could also be used to break up media conglomerates.  In some form or another, the Fairness Doctrine would be back..

In dealing with the economic crisis, Putin would seek to reform social economic policy.  In Russia:
His administration holds major strategic companies under government ownership. And if necessary, appoints government bureaucrats to privately owned big corporations' boards. Moreover, Russian industry/business follows the direction government outlines - government recently decided and advocated that Russia should turn its face towards east (New Silk Road) and everyone is following suit. Things like these are unimaginable in US. Its the corporations which make policy in US. Not government.

Putin administration does not scuttle social security, leave aside planning to eat it up on stock market like how GOP had been advocating. In latest Q/A, questions from public came regarding something like increasing social security payments to people with cancer (something like this exists), and he spoke in favor. Many GOP head honchos are declaring people who take welfare as leeches. Someone like Putin at the head of GOP would cause a heart attack epidemic among the head honchos.

Corporations in Russia pay their taxes. There are laws to encourage offshored wealth to come back and also laws to punish those who don't bring that wealth. US is yet 'discussing' whether corporations should pay their taxes. In this, Putin even stands to the left of Democrat Party.

Russian labor law is light years ahead of US. It strongly favors the employee/worker, whereas in US workers generally get the butt end of the stick. Russian labor law even incorporates recent Eu recommendation of Work Councils, which is not even adopted yet in Eu. Russian courts are obliged to decide in favor of employee in employee vs employer lawsuits. Even if the laws' enforcement may lack, mere existence of many items in Russian labor law trample what rights workers in US have.Russian Labor laws

While an employee’s guarantees and protections enshrined in the Code are limited, they are mandatory, strictly enforced, and favor the employee. The legislation prohibits discrimination on any basis, ensures unemployment benefits, provides the unemployed with assistance in finding work, specifies minimum work safety and, in contrast to the US, minimum vacation and leisure time requirements, ensures prompt and accurate payment of wages, and standardizes career advancement

Putin administration does not tolerate corporations and the rich engaging in politics. "Do your business properly, pay your taxes, and stay away from politics" was what Putin told the oligarchs who put him into power the day after his election, to their shock. In contrast to what is constantly drummed about oligarchs in Russia, major oligarchs seem to magically follow what Government says - instead of government following what they say. In US its the opposite. This can't fly with GOP's corporate backers.

Putin declared that he "liked Socialist and Communist ideals during USSR, and he liked them still", just ~2-3 days after he criticized Lenin in a speech in which he told Lenin's various policies put a bomb under USSR due to letting Republics secede from the union. The ensuing public reaction to this, due to being perceived as being against socialism/communism, immediately prompted Putin to declare his favorable attitude towards socialist and communist ideals. Merely this, would clog the veins in many GOP head honchos' and voters' brains, if not immediately paralyze them.

Putin's Russian approval rating has soared as high as 80%.  He has shown an ability to use crises to his advantage.  So, Western sanctions have provided him with the opportunity to take further control of the economy, diversifying industry and agriculture.  In fact, Russia is now -- internally -- one of the world's most diverse and self-sufficient economies, less and less dependent on fossil fuels as a source of revenue. 

That would have been the case in the US of A also.  

Putin is  a populist like Trump -- but ever so much smarter.  An actual patriot -- not a fake one.   A proud man with the humility conferred by intelligence and decency  



He would understand that America's future is not to rule the world. 

The country is big enough all by itself and its energies are best devoted to building itself.  

Above all, Putin understands that great leaders do not change the public mind so much as serve as focal points for its best values and greatest goals. 







 
 

Friday, September 22, 2017

NZ Election. Winnng By Losing?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11925051

As predicted, the NZ Election will be very close.

Winston will be KingMaker.

Also, as predicted, Jacinda can also win by losing -- as Corbyn did in the UK.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hurricanes. Proof The Russians Did It.

The Russians did it!
As you know, the mainstream media have not mentioned any link between global climate change and the recent hurricanes that struck the Caribbean and Florida.  There is a good reason for this.

The Russians did it.

As with their swinging the US election to trump, we don't know they did it.  The facts all suggest otherwise.  That merely proves how dangerous the Russians are.

Satan, aka Vladimir Putin, is the Great Deceiver.  The Dark One's ways are ever cloaked in mystery and magic.


But we do know a few things.

The Hurricanes started somewhere south of the US.  Now south of the US is never good. That's where all our drugs, rapists and murderers come from.  South.  Yeah, like your genitals.

In the case of hurricanes,  they came from farther south than Mexico.

And what is there?  Cuba. Venezuela.  Nicaragua.  All those Russian puppet states.  They are Evil. They have free healthcare.

Does Vlad have secret technologies?


He must have.  Because how else could he have swung the election to Trump.  

We know he did it. Just like Hillary's loss in the election and the STD epidemic.  

Warm up those nukes .

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jacinda wins even if she loses




As predicted, the polls have tightened up.  Yup, a cliffhanger.

But ...fate... intervenes.  The Fuel Crisis!

The Natz have  said that the airlines and energy companies would do something, reflexively leaving the solution to the Private Sector.  Probably.  Labour said you needed policy changes to prevent things like this proactive.  And guess what the airlines and energy companies are not solving the problem -- it's just getting worse.

Bill English says he's on it -- finally.

Things like this define the positions of the two parties:   Labour: proactive, the Natz: reactive.  
What did he know - -when did he know it?

A crisis like this is not good for English just before an election, when the polls are up, down and all around.

But....let's just say that Labour loses.  That will be a win in the long term. Because, as problems appear -- as they inevitably do with conservative governments, people will blame the Natz big time.  

In Canada, for example, the Conservatives could not be beat for quite a long time.  Then came the untried, untested Justin Trudeau -- an air head --but a pretty one.  The Conservatives were slaughtered.

Yes, Bill English and Stephen Harper are clones

In the UK, Labour lost -- fortunately.  Now the electorate is moving decidedly left.  Corbyn has a chance to  house clean his party while everybody blames Elizabeth May.

So, if Jacinda cannot form a government -- she still wins.  And Jacinda is not an airhead.  

NZ A close election but Jacinda wins




Oh, the NZ polls have reversed themselves -- again.  So Bill English is now ahead of Jacinda Hern.

This happened also last week--and then Labour was ahead. The Nats -- or as some call them, the Natz,  intensified their propaganda about Labour tax policy.  This is disingenuous -- because Labour has repeatedly said that tax policy is a matter for study, deliberation, and finally a vote.  

But then Bill English has never been known for "truthiness".


Last week, the public responded to Natz propaganda -- then changed their mind, when Labour responded with...well...the truth.  The Natz naturally doubled down, which is getting old, since the voters must notice they are not offering anything but same-old, same-old.


So the polls can go up.  They can go down.  Suddenly.   And there is still the leader's debate to come. Jacinda Adern has LOTS of ammunition for that. While Bill has only canned spaghetti for his pizza.

When the election comes, it can go either way. 

The"undecideds" are still clearly "undecided" -- but just clearly paying attention -- not a good thing for the Natz.


My guess is that the more the Natz push their propaganda -- the more people are likely to realize it is just that -- propaganda.

Then there is the Youth Vote-- which polls rarely assess accurately.  It will be overwhelmingly pro-Labour -- if it comes out.  And the Natz disinformation campaign promises to encourage their involvement.    Jacinda, after all, is one of them. 

Remember too that Labour can get fewer seats than the Natz -- but still form a government with a coalition .

  I   predict a Labour government. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Jacinda will win

  
Jacinda Adern and the people who will give her power
My predictions about elections have been mostly right.  That includes Obama, Trudeau, Corbyn, and Trump.  This time up....New Zealand where the  the new Prime Minister will be Jacinda Hern.


About a week ago, I was asked for an opinion about the forex market.  At that time, NZ Labour had dropped well behind the NZ conservative party -- the National Party -- in the polls.  Expect the NZ dollar to fall -- then bounce back - fast.

I predicted the polls would reverse themselves -- and they have. In addition, as in the UK, polling does not take into account the youth vote -- which is solidly behind Jacinda Adern.

Don't believe me.  Add to this-- these facts
  •     The National Party has been in power long enough now for people to want a change
  •     The National Party has nothing much of interest to offer in terms of policies that address people's concerns, principally about housing prices and inequality.  They are the party of the Status Quo.
  •     Jacinda Adern gets the woman's vote as well as the youth vote-- just by being a woman
  •     Jacinda Adern is attractive, outgoing and has ideas
  •     Bill English, the current PM is boring.   A nice man but boring enough to get ridiculed by John Oliver (unfairly) for the way he makes pizza.  Solid, slow ....boring.
  
Does Bill English's NZ style pizza qualify him to be PM?

Kiwis may agree or disagree with Labour's programs -- but they are clearly going to "do" something -- so unless you are in that minority of people who are "comfortable" now and see the future as being "comfortable"
or have an ideological conviction that Leftists are all communists too, you will vote Labour .  
For ideologs, social democracy is communism

"Undecideds" will vote Status Quo when there are problems like unaffordable housing, poor infrastructure, inequality etc, etc -- but only once or twice -- after that -- they vote for somebody who promises to do something different.  
 
With appropriate governmental policies, Christchurch would have already recovered. Now it will take half a century.

In addition, ideological prejudice in New Zealand is less than in many countries such as the US and Canada, since Kiwi had a Labour government which governed successfully for many years and is responsible for many of the country's successes.  

The previous Labour government fell because people got tired of the...um...Status  Quo.  The National Party promised something different.  And John Key had charisma.   He was prettier than Helen Clark.

Now it's Adern who is the Pretty One.  

History repeats itself.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Back to Langley. Cool Japan Redux

 In Langley Esquire’s interview with Cool Japan honcho Yamashita Ichita, I said that both men somehow confused Cool Japan with “nation branding” and “soft power”.   A second, or third look compels a different take.  Langley and Yamashita are talking mostly about what Cool Japan is not .  They  clearly wish it was more.  

Right in the beginning Langley talks about how much he likes Japan – and why: “Cool Japan” should be “Amazing Japan”.  Great idea: after all,  Japan is much more than just manga and J-Pop!    Yamashita appears to agree and begins talking about American stereotypes of Japan.

Timothy Langley :  not a manga character

So, Langley and Yamashita are not talking about just selling manga abroad – they are talking about the way the world sees Japan – or should see Japan – which is a completely different thing, more in line with notions of “nation branding” or “soft power” – not that they use either of these terms.   

 
“Cool Japan” is -- by definition --“J-marketing” for Japanese graphics products and J-Pop. 


However ....“Manga
is not really a  Japanese medium! --just the Japanese word for graphic media such as comic books or bande dessine with Japanese stories.     The Japanese only began creating comics during the American occupation -- influenced by American comics so  there is nothing intrinsically Japanese about “manga” – except the themes  and tropes! 

Yes, you can make a vague connection to ukiyo-e in the Edo Period, but manga, as we know it today, did not exist until the Japanese got hold of GI's comic books. Doraemon meet Mickey and Donald.

The same applies to Japanese animation. Thank you again Walt Disney. 


The themes and tropes of Japanese graphic media match the market- which is huge and diverse, resulting in everything from ultra-saccharine gay love stories for young girls to ultra violent sci fi for young men.   Psychologically speaking this is a complex culture with complicated needs.   

Yaoi Manga (for girls)

I’m a media psychologist and semiologist -- -so it’s easy for me to identity the issues here.  That’s what I get paid for.

If you are not a media psychologist or semiotician, if you are instead a politician or political scientist, the issue of themes is a non-issue, compared to establishing "Japan's presence" abroad.


 Yamashita Ichita is a politician, of course.   But when he begins talking about American stereotypes of the Japanese he is heading in the right direction.  At least, we know that this issue is somewhere in his head  -- as it must be for anyone who reads a lot of manga --where characterization is 95% stereotypes.  

   
JoJo:    Young Punk Stereotype With Ultra Punk Modding

Nothing wrong with stereotypes.  Hamlet, sorry to say, was a stereotype.  So too John Milton's Satan.   Shakespeare and Milton's greatness came from individualizing these stereotypes.

"Art of any kind is all about stereotypes – which academics will call "memes" or clusters of memes, ( “memeplexes”) for these are part of the language of a culture and its dominant myths.

 So a person opens up a manga and sees a character which he identifies immediately according to stereotypical or memetic cues.  These cues tie to themes, which tie into ....?

Here's where things get difficult.

The great French semiologist Roland Barthes writes:


I am at the barber’s, and copy of Paris-Match is offered to me. On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolour. All this is the meaning of the picture. But whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any colour discrimination, faithfully serve under the flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors ...

A single image can communicate the essence of a Barthean myth, which some would also call a "cultural narrative".   Be that as it may, such myths are how we organize the emotive context in which we exist.

 
Ukiyoe worked with single images, but each print told a story – without words – using such cues. Below, two lower level geisha on their way to work -- walking through the snow over a bridge tot he main town.   Followed by a tradesman -- perhaps -- or a guide, passed by by a man delivering food?  Where are the geisha going in the snow?   Who is the man behind?  There is a story here. But it helps to know the culture and history.


Manga, whether Japanese or foreign works always ties into a mythic universe that is culturally bound but tends to focus on ordinary people -- the same people who buy it.


 Peter Parker, is just a high school student,  who accidentally gets super powers and can now fight Evil in a mythic univerise where American values must struggle with Intrinsic Evil, a concept borrowed from the Puritans, and now called Donald Trump.  

In this universe, powerless people like you and me can make a difference -- if chosen.

Peter Parker  AKA Spiderman

Japanese manga is often much more violent and sexual than its foreign counterparts, appealing as it does to a nation of conformists and wage slaves, locked forever in pubescent angst.   It’s heroes are outliers and outsiders.  They often don’t even look Japanese –  somehow foreign -- taller, with longer legs and often blonde hair or blue eyes.  Most important of all,  they have what no ordinary Japanese has – a capacity for independent action.   They are not gaikokujin  -- but quintessentially gaijin.



In other words, Japanese manga gets you off through escapism.  Stuck in school all day listening to a boring teacher?  Just imagine stabbing him with a sword! 

Popular art is always escapist -- and to a degree --subversive.  You really don't want people going around stabbing people with swords when they get frustrated.


So why is Cool Japan subsidizing manga? They will probably say that they are not publicizing that kind of manga --meaning the violent or sexy stuff -- just the socially acceptable "kawaii" kind. Sorry, not quite true.  Even if they focus on Doraemon, they end up promoting the whole genre.  Hence the movie versions of Ghost in the Shell and Jo-Jo. This is not a "push" market".  It is a "pull" market and the market wants violence and sex.


This is not good for so-called Japanese "soft power' because the use  J-marketing in Cool Japan suggests that the values implied in Japanese entertainment products are those of Japanese society.

Popular art works -- as pornography does --by arousing emotions  just with a wider range.  The primary response is always uncritical.    

Willing suspension of disbelief!   When you experience popular art you don't want to separate myth and fact.  You want it to feel real.  Hence, the huge emphasis on special effects in movies.


The problem here is that popular culture, which is the "ground" for popular art" is full of   negative stereotypes  -- racist, sexist, whatever, --as we see with classic Disney movies and animation. 


Japanese manga and animation -- like Japanese film -- covers an  enormous range with a a few hundred sub genres. So the kind of of J-art that appeals abroad may not be the best for the image of the country.

Some of this stuff would suggest that the Japanese are innately violent or cruel or pedophilic?   Sadly, these characteristics that are already among the stereotypes in many foreign cultures.  


Such stereotypes or tropes were implanted years ago, when Asians were considered subhumans, famous for their cruel tortures. WWII atrocities made all that worse, kept alive by Japanese denial of responsibility for what they did.

What is racism but a set of stereotypes - -memes passed down from one generation to another?

In Japan, i
ronically,  probably the safest country in the world, the violence and sexuality of Japanese pop art may work in Japan as a kind of safety valve, compensating for the repression that the average person must undergo to "fit" in.     

But exported abroad to other cultures, it is going to be understood from a different cultural perspective – which means - -misunderstood.  What are the most most popular tropes in the foreign media?   Yes, yakuza, ninja assassins and geisha.   And the images of violence and sex in Japanese pop art merge with other disturbing images .



On the one hand, Japanese are polite, organized, and seem peaceful….. On the other,  they kill Flipper.
 And want to rape your little sister. 




So, how do you reconcile such contradictions?  


Basically, the foreign market decides what will sell in foreign countries.  So Beat Takeshi's ultra violent yakuza movies are a hit, especially in Europe along with remakes of the 13 Assassins and Harakiri directed by Takeshi Miilke.  In Miilke's case, the originals were classics, with clearly defined moral themes about honor and justice. The remakes are violence porn.   

Miilke will also direct the manga-based Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter I a joint venture between Toho and Warners.  I shudder to contemplate. 

So Japanese are nasty, violent and sadistic.  They are also peaceful conformists.    Can they be both?  Sure - if you fall back onto another useful stereotype --  – the duplicitous Asian.  “Never trust a Jap. They are not like you and me!"

As you can see, Langley and Yamashita are very, very right to be concerned about steretoypes.   The images of WWII anti-Japanese propaganda are resurrected continually every time Japan avoids its responsibilities in WWII.



Cool Japan?   Problems, problems.    Next time:  the Chinese solution.