The Waiwai section of the Mainichi newspaper’s English language website is usually nothing but a collection of sleazy but entertaining lasciviousness, but this week they actually have three very interesting and more serious stories translated from the Japanese weekly magazines.
First, Shukan Shincho reports on newly discovered documents that allege Hitler actually had plans in place to escape to and hide out in Japan after the Reich fell.
As the Soviets relentlessly pounded the German dictator and his cronies holed up in the subterranean fortress in the German capital, moves were apparently afoot to whisk away top Nazis on long-range Condor airplanes to Japan, journalist Eiichiro Tokumoto writes in the prestigious weekly.
Tokumoto cites a top secret letter dated April 24, 1945, that Toshikazu Kase, then Japan’s Ambassador to Switzerland, wrote to Shigemitsu Togo, Japan’s Foreign Minister at the time.
Kase, a career diplomat whose CV would later include stints as Japan’s first ambassador to the United Nations, was then involved with top secret peace negotiations with Allen Dulles, an operative with the U.S.’ Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of today’s Central Intelligence Agency.
Kase’s letter to Togo shows the diplomat was worried that an already struggling Japan was about to be lumbered with a bevy of nasty Nazis.
Second, Asahio Genio reports that Yoshinori Watanabe, the Kumicho (Don, Godfather) of the Yamaguchi Gumi, Japan’s largest Yakuza clan, has unexpectedly retired.
Hundreds of yakuza gang bosses from across Japan went to the Yamaguchi-gumi’s Kobe headquarters for the July 29 meeting as they were watched by scores of police and media representatives.
Watanabe, 64, announced his retirement in a statement read out by Saizo Kishimoto, general manager of the syndicate’s headquarters.
“I’ve been kumicho for 16 years, but been sick for the past four years and can no longer fulfill my responsibilities, so I’m retiring,” Asahi Geino quotes Kishimoto saying on Watanabe’s behalf.
Apparently, the huge meeting room where the gang bosses sat in silence while the announcement was made, with the hush broken only when some broke down in tears.
This resignation is particularly big news because, according to the article, “Watanabe was the first ever leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi to be alive when his successor assumed office.”
I get such a kick out of the fact that the Yakuza are such a public organization. Can you imagine Tony Soprano’s stereotypically sleazy Jewish lawyer going on Channel 11 Eyewitness News and reading a statement that he has taken over the organization following the arrest of his uncle Junior?
Lastly, we actually do have one about sex. Shukan Post reports that, for the first time ever, Japan’s Administration Commission of Motion Picture Code of Ethics will allow un-mosaiced human genitals to appear onscreen.
But, with the Japanese premiere in late August of “Kinsey,” local moviegoers will get their first unadulterated glimpse of both male and female reproductive organs.
“We discussed it quite a bit internally before deciding the scene where the organs appear is really important for the overall movie and that we wanted it to be screened uncut and without a mosaic,” a spokesman for Shochiku, the distributor of “Kinsey,” tells Shukan Post.
Eirin, which has a strict policy of prohibiting the display or genitalia or pubic hair, has bent when it comes to “Kinsey,” a biopic of U.S. sex academic Alfred Kinsey.
“It’s not on screen for long and, overall, we decided that the scene did not touch on Eirin’s regulations,” a spokesman for the movie ethics committee tells Shukan Post.
I thought Kinsey was a very good film, and it seems a rather appropriate film to break the barrier of onscreen genitalia in Japan. Will they embrace Kinsey’s example in the future? Can Japan’s film board lose their juvenile attitude towards the human body, or will they revert to their old ways and continue to contribute to Japan’s culture of sexual fetishism by blocking ordinary and healthy depictions of sex? Stay tuned.