Adamu in Japan – blogging to be spotty, directionless

I’ve finally arrived in Japan to live after spending almost 4 years away, save for some brief visits. My blogging up to now has been a way for me to keep up on Japanese current events from the outside. But now that I’m here and have easy access to TV, ads, products, marketing campaigns, convenience stores, books, etc, I’m going to have to make it about something else. I’m still kind of thinking about that.

But first, some good things about coming to Japan:

  • Cleanliness: I swear, I would be more comfortable sleeping on the Tokyo sidewalks than on the floor of my college dorm room. That’s how clean this place is. Perhaps I’m just surprised at the relative difference with unabashedly filthy and smelly Thailand (a trait which, btw, takes nothing away from its charm).
  • Awesome food: Thai food is amazing, and I miss it to death (and all the real American food that’s available in Bangkok) dearly. Still, Japanese food is fresh, delicious, and healthy. I haven’t felt this clear-headed and energized in months.
  • Speaking the language: My spoken Japanese is very rusty (and was never all that great to begin with), but it is still good enough to do whatever I need to in life, unlike Thailand where I had to wildly gesticulate and scream a mix of English and the few Thai phrases I knew to get anything done at all. That’s another major source of stress lifted.
  • Fast Internet: In Thailand I was suffering with a crappy DSL connection that was slow, required quirky proprietary software. On top of that, the authorities banned YouTube out of the blue 2 weeks ago because of a video defaming the king. The connection I’m using now is a smoooooth hikari fiber line that lets me get the new Sopranos in less than 2 hours.
  • Japanese bookstores: I love Japan’s weekly magazines and manga, and Japan is, obviously, Japanese literature heaven. When I get some time I need to head over to my local library.
  • Lame things about being in Japan:

  • Bad TV: Even though I couldn’t understand it, I knew I hated Thai TV, in particular the comedy shows, that constantly feature slide-whistle punchlines, wah-wah-wah sappy jokes, and Munsters-style fast forward action. Ick. Japan’s TV shows have a bit fewer of the vaudeville trappings, but watching crap like Kazuko Hosoki still leaves me feeling like my IQ is being sucked into the TV. The TV news analysis shows are usually really lame too.
  • Expensive! I need to move closer to Tokyo fast because now just going there costs about 2000 yen. Going out to lunch is easily 3000. How does anyone manage to save money?
  • Cold! It’s been like winter since I came here, which has jarred me after coming from Thailand. It’s going from one extreme to the other: In Thailand I had only spotty A/C in the middle of intense, constant heat, and here there is no central heating when it’s cold.
  • Japanese culture: For some reason I feel forced into things a lot of the time. I realize I can’t come to this country and act exactly as I did in Thailand or Japan, but this isn’t North Korea and I’m not Private Jenkins.
  • All in all, I’m excited to be here and start my married life (filed the papers on Monday) and get back in the game with my career after almost a year of translating at home in a situation my wife calls “house arrest.” I’m not sure what I’ll be blogging about from now on, but expect more translations and my occasional thoughts and pictures.

    47 thoughts on “Adamu in Japan – blogging to be spotty, directionless”

    1. About the food – depends on where you’re going and what you’re eating I guess. I got by on less then 1000 yen a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner when I was there.

      210 yen – 105 yen onigiri + 105 yen can of coffee for breakfast from *insert whichever konbini I happened to feel like going into this morning*

      300 yen – Curry rice lunch. Adding the pickles (and sometimes onions depending on the store) helps make an already filling lunch just bursting.

      400 yen – A donburi bowl of whatever. Taro, salmon, maybe just some regular salmon eggs all laid out with some nice hot ocha.

      Alternatively, 450 yen – Piping hot bowl of udon.

      Total = 910 yen or so. It varies a little depending on if I choose to eat something a little different.

      Eating stuff like sushi, while incredible, is also incredibly expensive. 100 yen for 2 pieces of ebi sushi? All I can say is “Ouch” at my wallet.

    2. “Bad TV is a blessing. Think of all the time you now have to do other things.”

      Like downloading the Sopranos.

      I actually like Japanese news shows. Well, the ones on NHK anyway. I liked the matter of fact presenters in their grey suits with their scale models and their graphs. It was much more informative than the daily dose of shit served up to the public in English-speaking countries. As for the private channels, news station with Kume Hiroshi (now Jouhou station with somebody pretending to be Kume Hiroshi) was tepid ass-water, but Chikushi Tetsuya rocked.

    3. And NHK documentaries are world-class.
      And stop going out for lunch – where do you go, some kaisaki place?

      Yeah, Japan is a tad cleaner than Thailand….

      What are you forced into, and why is it so bad you are comparing it to North Korea?

    4. Whew. I am back also in Japan (for a few months after over a year away). Lots of research to do and lots of manga to catch up on….

      I was also struck by how clean everything is, how well dressed people are, etc. Coming back to Japan after a while overseas always leaves me with the impression that countries like Canada are doing some things very, very poorly.

      Hitting Japanese book shops after a year away just about brings tears to my eyes. I just wish that I had some more cash…. Have not read any shukanshi yet but some interesting shinsho about China and North Korea have come out lately.

      Much of the TV is shite but I caught a good documentary about homeless living in manga cafes the other night. Some good NHK docos coming up soon as well. I like the news as well, especially the BS2 (?) program that has reports from Spain, Germany, USA, etc. Every country should have something like this paid for by the government.

      Big surprises so far — some wacky stuff (like a tactical war game where you actually move cards around a board) has made its way into video arcades. Also, it is `China Month` on NHK BS. Great to see. I was curious to see if they would have the 103 inch LCD TV at the local electronics shop but they only had a 103 inch banner indicating that you can order one.

      I admit, as you mentioned, there are certain cultural norms in Japan that keep you from acting as you would in another country. I also think, however, that these norms contribute to the clean streets and feeling of absolute safety. Are they really a negative? They do keep people from getting into the personal space of others and that is a good thing in my book.

      Bryce – Get `The Wire`. I bought the first season DVD set when I was back in Canada and it is even better the second time around. Some parts of it make `The Sopranos` look like `Home Improvement` or something.

    5. I propose an MFT meetup of some sort. I’ve been reading the site for years now and I’d love to have a chance to meet the people (well, one person) behind the site. I know Roy was just in town for a short while, but Adam is here for a bit longer. I’m sure it’d be fun to share experiences all around. I’m finishing up my one year exchange here in Tokyo, and I’ll be looking for work a year after that, so it’d be nice to seek advice and hear the tales of old Japan/Asia hands.

    6. sorry for the double reply, but come to mention it, does the tokyo blogger meetup still exist? The blogging climate is substantially different from when it started out so many years ago. But when I think about it, everyone seems to read and reply to each others blogs, Gen, Marx, Adamu, Joi et al. It’d be a shame if everyone couldn’t get together for a night.

    7. I’ll give you the weather and the TV (although I’m not a huge fan of the idiot box in any country). But Tokyo is really not *that* expensive; you would be spending just as much money in New York, DC or even Philadelphia, if you think about it, and you would likely be getting an inferior product for that price. Granted, paying train fares from Chiba is kind of lame, although you can probably find more than enough to keep you entertained around Funabashi, Makuhari, etc.

    8. M-Bone:

      Go to Chuo line for cheap second hand books.
      Nakano’s Mandarake,as you know has good selection of second hand manga.
      Sasama Syoten in Ogikubo is my curent favourite.Go out of the station from the south gate and walk eastward by the railway for three minuites.Right next to the AmericanExpress Japan building.Cheap and good quality books.There are of course a BOOK OFF in Ogikubo,And there are quite a few good second hand bookshops in nearby Nishi Ogikubo.They are cheaper than Jinbocho.

    9. There is lots of subtle pressure to conform to all sorts of various things, most innocuous, but I hate the feeling of ‘turning Japanese’ in terms of being super quiet all the time and acting deferential to people etc. It’s not north korea, but the description of Jenkins’ mannerisms in the Oriental Economist has really stuck out in my mind. I can’t find the interview now but it’s very interesting.

      Bad TV makes me want to watch more South Park and thus results in no increased productivity overall.

      The NHK shows are OK. I was watching this profile of Barack Obama on NHK international that was pretty decent. But generally when I turn the TV on it’s crap crap crap. If Beat Takeshi or Terry Ito is involved you can pretty much turn the TV off.

      We’ll deal with Tokyo, it’ll just take some time to get used to the prices and for me to find a job so I can start getting some income going. I was actually in a similar situation in DC – lived near a train station that was really far and expensive. And my job didn’t provide any travel allowance so I was kind of screwed. It’ll be a pain in the ass, but I just have to find something decently priced that is closer.

      The new Sopranos episodes are great. And yes, watch the Wire by any means necessary. All 4 seasons.

    10. One of the things that sticks out in my mind from my last trip back to Canada is of some jackass in a mall scratching his nuts and bragging loudly about how one of his friends got nabbed for a robbery that he committed. Being constantly asked if I have any papers (in the street) by 14 year olds is not nice either. I`ll take quiet and deferential over the bunch of a$$holes that seem to be all over the place back home. Come to think of it, I also heard that somebody got shot with a submachinegun outside of an Ottawa bar that I like….

      Adamu – Did you mean 3000 yen for you AND your wife for lunch?

      One of the things that I like about Japanese TV is that people like Beat Takeshi don`t take themselves seriously. In the USA, for example, you have shitbirds like Larry King, Dr. Phil, etc. who offer the kind of analysis that you would expect from a 14 year old, but somehow have convinced themselves and others that they are edgy and world class critics or whatever.

      Ace – I am in Kyushu so used book hunting in Tokyo is going to have to wait. I`m also trying to get away from using used bookstores so much. If nobody buys new books, they will stop putting out the good stuff so I feel that I should do my part. In any case, for the research that I am doing now, I need some new books (last 8 months, really) on a few topics so hunting around used bookshops is really a time waster (fun, but I have to get down to work).

      There are some manga that I will buy used (now getting Baki, Koike Kazuo`s Kenshin) but I make a point of buying my favorites as soon as they come out (Cestus, Shamo, Hajime no Ippo, Hanma Baki, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, etc.) or new for older stuff like Tezuka manga.

    11. Baki…..I thought you were into academic stuff like “representation of militarism in Japanese pop culture”!Shamo was better in the first 9 volumes.I heard it is now big in Hong kong and become a movie.

      For Shinsho:I read the Asahi Shinsho朝日VS産経ソウル発debate between two Seoul correspondent of Asahi and Sankei on Korea reporting.It was interesting.Not shinsho,but sensho歴史と向き合うシリーズ、戦争責任と追悼 and「過去の克服」と愛国心
      Iwanami is also doing solid work on シリーズ日本の近現代史 .Kodansya Shinsho is reprinting Chinese film director Chien”Fairwell To My Concubine””The Promise” Kaige’s auto biography,私が紅衛兵だったころ.Classic.

      Anyway you can have my cellular number and my real identity from Mutantfrog and can always stay in my apartment in Musashino-Shi if you like.

    12. well, I am doing Aikido for over 10years in sum, and I had the luck to receive direct training from an Aikido master who was a model for the manga “Baki” (an incredible experience!).

      The best Boxing Manga would be (in my very skewed opinion) “Ganbare Genki”, a true classic.

      Don’t forget pieces by Urasawa Naoki, “Monster” or “Master Keaton”. My personal favorite is “Suronin” by yoshida Satoshi, but I don’t think that many knew about this masterpiece.

      Ace:I am currently rereading books by Koyasu Nobukuni(子安宣邦), and I find him truly amazing. 朝日VS産経ソウル発 was interesting because of the opinion of the young Asahi journalist, but I personaly think Kuroda is a bit outdated.

      Have you read 「紅衛兵の時代 」by 張 承志?
      Also very interesting.

    13. “Have you read 「紅衛兵の時代 」by 張 承志?”

      I’ve read all of his translations.Although I’ve known more than one sinologist that Zhang invented the name “The red guard” is questionable.He is some how considered as a new left figure in china.(“New left” has different meaning in China compared to Japan and the west as you may know.)
      Zhang is now a supporter of demanding individual compensation for the victim of the aggression by the Japanese Invasion in China.He said he was encouraged by the old Korean comfort women demanding the apology on TV or so he wrote in 鞍と筆・中国知識人の運命.Zhang is interesting for me because of his experience as Mongolologist and being sent down to Inner Mongolia during the cultural revolution.

      While I agree with you on Kuroda,he still is the veteran journalist and Ichikawa should be feel more responsible for the current fiasco over Asian women fund and the comfort women.I think.

      Somehow Koyasu was never my cup of tea.Is his new works interesting?

    14. ”Somehow Koyasu was never my cup of tea.Is his new works interesting?”

      His new book 「日本ナショナリズムの解読」 is a recollection of his old articles and lectures, and it is for general readers, so not that new. But still his arguments how the word “Minzoku” was translated in Japanese and how it became related to modern nationalism was very interesting.

      His other book which is a bit old, 「国家と祭祀」 is also interesting if you consider the recent arguments about State Shinto (and Yasukuni). Some Shinto scholars have reacted to his arguments and has published a book called 「国家神道再考」.

      IMHO, I think Zhang is interesting because he belongs (and he is also fully aware) that he belongs to the “lost generation” of china. He has a strong anti-sentiments against this era and also a strong nostalgy.

      This ambivalence is IMHO important to understand modern china. I realy hope that all east asian citizens stop to try to paint their (and the opponent history) history in black and white. East Asian history is far more complicated and more interesting than that.

      Sorry for the very 抽象的な arguments.

    15. “those of you who have no idea what’s going on at this stage in the comment thread: you’re better off.”

      I thought this IS a thread on “Spotty and directionless”blogging,n’est pas?
      Anyway apology for all the Japanese geek talk.

      Going back to the Jenkins’ mannerism thing,I was pretty pissed off with David McNeill’s interview on Jenkins.McNeill was representing Jenkins as if he is under house arrest in Sado by the Japanese and paraphrasing that Sado used to be a penal island in Edo era.(which is partly correct).From one gulag nation to another was the tone of the interview.

      Let me introduce how some minority Japanese think about Jenkins.
      Lots of my colleagues in the office were wondering why Koizumi has to have that deserter come to Japan and GoJ protecting him from U.S military and making unnecessarily debt to Washington,sort of ruining our diplomatic leverage achieved by sending troops in Iraq.GoJ may have responsibility to protect him for he is a family of Japanese national.But the marriage was not considered as civil marriage under Japanese law and he never got abducted,you know.

      Another annoying thing about Jenkins was Time magazine correspondent Jim Frederick asked huge advance to Japanese publisher for his co-working on Jenkin’s autobiography, and for that book, Jenkins was hiding some of the precious info on the abductee of which families of the Japanese abductees were desperately seeking.

      So while he is with us (and providing him a job as a quasi-public servants and all )we demand him to act like locals.Not demanding to watch clappy TV,but turning Japanese as much as possible.Which is to stay ultra quiet and deferential to others.and that is something locals are doing for Jenkins and his family for their peace of the mind and happy life.

      And if Mr.Jenkins still doesn’t like his life in Sado ,he can always swim back to his adopted home in North Korea or simply fly back to Tenesee and get yanked by local rednecks as a traitor until the end of his life.It’s his choice ,not ours

    16. 送ったあとで後悔するようなコメントだな。でもスペルミスも珍しくないことだしさ・・・・・

    17. I don`t just read the academic stuff. Baki is a lot of fun. In some ways it is one of the most stupid manga of all time (Che Guevera fighting Mike Tyson!?) but some of the fights / illustrations are amazing.

      Shamo 1-9 were excellent, the quality fell off after that, but the last 3 or 4 have been good.

      I`m getting the Iwanami volume on the Russo-Japanese War. I`ll check out some of that other stuff as well.

      I`ve read Ganbare Genki (great, but I like Ashita no Jo better) as well as Monster and Master Keaton. What publisher puts out Suronin?

    18. Suronin is published by Shogakukan(小学館). In general I don’t like manga’s by Yoshida Satoshi that much(「湘南暴走族」 but this one is good. Although it is a teenagers story.

      There are several manga’s that I want reread. One is “Kissho-Tennyo (吉祥天女)”. Have you tried this one? It was a kind of cult manga, but I heared that they made a movie from this recently.

      Ootomo Katshuhiro’s “Do-mu”(「童夢」) is the other one that I miss. I have heared rumors that this one will be filmed in Hollywood. But I don’t know whether this is true. The best masterpiece by Ootomo IMHO.

    19. I love Domu. I read it over a decade ago. It was one of the first masterworks of manga to be released in English. The Hollywood version rumors have been around for ages so I wouldn`t put much stock in them. Back in the day, there were rumors that there was going to be a live action version of Akira starring Keanu Reaves. I guess that it turned into `The Matrix`.

      I actually kinda liked Shonan Bosozoku so I`m sure that I will love Suronin. I`ll keep an eye out for it. I`ll be on the lookout for Kissho Tennyo as well.

      Thanks for the advice.

      BTW, I think that the old Aikdo master in Baki (Shibusawa?) is one of the best characters in the series.

    20. I agree – you should hold a MTF meetup at a time/place that’s convenient for the bulk of us 🙂

    21. Cannot comment on the manga discussion as I read very little (relatively) manga, though am enjoying “Zipangu” and its take on ‘alternative history’. But re the Jenkins interview: I see what you mean, Aceface – “It seems fitting that Charles Jenkins, a man who lived in such seclusion for four decades that most people forgot he existed, can now be found in one of the most inaccessible places in Japan: the remote former prison island of Sado.” I’m sure the tone would be very different if Sado’s other claim to fame – its gold mines – was emphasised. This surprises me: “He will apply for Japanese citizenship in July” I thought you had to be here five years, even if married (could be wrong – this is from memory). Or will this be a special case that is politically desirable?

      Being naturally fairly quiet and deferential anyway, I don’t see myself as betraying any principles by conforming to those expectations. Not that Japan is always quiet (I am so glad the local elections are over!) or deferential (especially when driving, it seems…) but it works well enough for me. I worry more about getting the politeness right (all those fancy words – when to use which? ご厚情? ご好意? when to use which?) than actually being polite per se.

      After his scooter accident, Beat Takeshi went on a bit of a serious-kick – I used to enjoy his 万物創世記 programme, though the reception on my TV was atrocious on that channel.

    22. On the issue of quiet, on my first night in Japan this time around, I woke up to the wonderful sound of bosozoku.

    23. It took me nearly one and half year to have my wife and kid coming from Mongolia because of her being illegal worker in Japan in ’01.
      Immigration asked they need to “wait and see whether my marriage is real”.
      I got so furious and punched table,screaming I’m a taxpayer and you’re public servant.Wouldn’t happen in more civilized country,would it?

      “Or will this be a special case that is politically desirable?”
      This is getting into Joe’s realm.However War orphans who were abandoned in Manchuria got Japanese nationality got special measure.I think GoJ is doing similar for Jenkins,but I’m not sure.

    24. I`m working on my wife`s applicaton for Canadian residence at present and there is a LOT of stuff that we have to provide to prove that the marriage is real (photos from the wedding and from before we were married, a detailed account of how we first met, etc.).

      Am I the only one that thinks that Jenkins is REALLY creepy?

    25. I actually found David Mcneil and his comrad at Japan Focus, Gavan MacCormack is a lot more creepier when it comes to business with North Korea.

      Ulaanbaatar demanded paper on my HIV examination for my marriage,due to the country’s fear for the past spread of syphilis in the 20’s,they are extremely concerned about this.下には下がいるよ。

      Read Medusa,Kawaguchi’s best manga ever.

    26. Ace – I might keep an eye out, but if I were to read every manga series that people recommend I would be doing nothing but.

      I am not surprised at the stance of Immigration re your wife, to be honest. The Spouse Visa is valuable, as it allows essentially anyone in to work at any job, and there is a problem with fake marriages, and with your wife having been a previous illegal, they are going to look very much askance at it. Tough, but that’s they way it is. And as M-Bone says, and from things I have read about the US, Japan is far from an outlier here. In fact I would put it as, frankly, one of the more liberal nations. Eg they don’t require blood tests for student visas, only charge 4,000 for a visa (I gather it can cost up of a thousand dollars in the US), allow you to remain in the country as long as your working visa is valid (ie don’t demand you leave as soon as you finish working) etc. The photos and detailed account that M-Bone describes are required in Japan as well, and the detailed account (the 質問書) really got Debito wound up. But to be honest, after years of thinking that Japan was restrictive and hard and that my own country was open to all sorts, after hearing more and more tales of how hard it was to get visas for my supposedly ‘open’ country and how Japan was far from extreme, I am far less tolerant of cries that Japan is a heinous outlier in accepting immigration.

      Ace – Did pounding the table and shouting actually have any effect? Any positive effect, that is? Debito claims the best way to get a bureaucrat to anything is to make them laugh. Personally I’ve always found that the simplest way is to jump through all the hoops without caring too much about their meaning – all they require is compliance with the outward form, so an understanding and deferential attitude, and a willingness to comply with anal instructions, will work wonders. Sure, they’re public ‘servants’ and we might be taxpayers, but I keep thinking back to the time Homer Simpson tried that with the police and got tossed in jail with the words “what else are your tax dollars for, then?” or similar….

      残留孤児 in China/Manchuria were I understand Japanese citizens from the start. The law prohibiting dual citizenship applies to more recent births – at least that is what was claimed in the case of Fujimori of Peru. However Jenkins’ only claim to Japan is his wife, so why would he merit a fast-track to citizenship? He’s not even a sporting hero.

    27. Japanese immigration is really a cinch compared to many countries, at least for people from wealthy countries from which illegal immigration isn’t considered to be a major worry. For example, I was issued a three year work visa despite only having a one year work contract. I also didn’t have to provide any sort of medical exam AT ALL, much less an HIV test.

      I did however need an HIV test to get my student visa for Taiwan, which is a MUCH stricter immigration regime than Japan. The initial visa for language students is only for two months, and you have to get it renewed every two months until you have been there for six months after which you only have to renew every term (still 3 months). They also require a certificate of attendance and if you have missed more than a few classes in one month they make you sweat a while before granting the renewal. However, I think that students in a full time university course can get a normal one year visa that doesn’t need to be renewed constantly.

      Jade, about Fujimori’s citizenship, check out this old post I did looking at the citizenship law from the time of his birth.

    28. I know Ministry of Justice let Arnold Shwarzenegger in by coming to Narita on his private jet without a passport.Minister of justice at the time、Nakamura Shozaburo let Arnie in.Saying he is a fan.I think MoJ also let Rev.Moon into Japan in the late 80’s from the request of late Kanemaru Shin,LDP big shot at the time and get financial support from the Korean lobby headed by the unification church.

      About spouse visas,I thought you get them automatically in North America and EU.
      At least that is what I heard from a friend of mine from UK.(Oh that will never happen in my country,shame)Anyway,No.Shouting and punching table did no help
      in my case.

    29. Ace – Spouse visa is FAR from automatic in Canada (which, in some circles, is considered the most `multi-cultural` country because of kinda open immigration and the French/English thing). Not only does it cost about $800 (I shudder thinking about how much manga could be bought with that), but hoops must be jumped through. I hear that the USA can be a nightmare as well. I`ve always found procedures and visa applications in Japan to be very easy compred to other countries that I have experience with.

      I think that Japan is doing a pretty good job (ie. top class) with two things – taking in small numbers of skilled foreigners and not giving them a hard time (ie. computer people, teachers of English, etc.) even though it may be contract work, and generally treating people who are only in the country for a short time very well. I hope that this can be extended to the mass of factory workers, etc. (however, in their case, the workers themselves have to take blame for some problems such as not putting their kids into school).

      Also in my experince, the best way to speed up procedures is to have a father-in-law who holds an upper level position at a shiyakusho or kencho.

    30. “Also in my experince, the best way to speed up procedures is to have a father-in-law who holds an upper level position at a shiyakusho or kencho.”

      Can we borrow yours?

      Actually I’m not too fussed. I just applied for a change of residence and it will be done in a week. That’s fast enough for me (and the Immig Bureau isn’t the shiyakusho anyway).

    31. Mutant – I gather with Fujimori one aspect of the case was that the citizenship law in force at his birth was not the current one, and when the current one was introduced it did not apply as he was too old. As WikiJapan says, 1985年の国籍法改正前に日本国籍が認められているため、日本政府はフジモリの二重国籍を事実上を容認している。I am not clear on the legal position here in terms of how the changes exactly applied and what power the GOJ had to make him choose, but remember reading somewhere that he was far from unique in this dual citizenship.

      PS: You wrote “Since Fujimori was born abroad in 1934, when Japan was at war throughout the Pacific” but that is more like 1944 rather the ’34, and in 1934 the GOJ shouldn’t have been too busy.

    32. Well, in 1934 Japan was at war with China, but you’re right- “throughout the Pacific” was pretty overboard.

      Of course Fujimori is far from the only dual citizen to slip through the cracks- I’ve met a number of Japanese born in the US or naturalized to US citizenship who never got in trouble over it-but Fujimori was the elected head of state of a foreign country! If anything qualifies you for loss of citizenship, that would be it. But of course, the tricky part in Japanese law is that the MOJ MAY force you to choose, but is not compelled to force you to make a declaration of citizenship.

      In my post I was looking at the original citizenship law- there are some ammendments, which were noted at the bottom, but I think they didn’t apply. This is just memory, I’m not looking at the law again now.

    33. Not sure if I’d say Japan was at war with China in 1934. Sure, there were issues with keeping insurgents down in Manchuria, but war as such with China didn’t start until 1937. And even then there was a chance that it wouldn’t escalate into a full-scale war (though the cease-fire after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident didn’t last as fresh troops had already been sent). (I don’t count the Manchuria Incident as “war with China” – with Chinese living there perhaps, but not China as such.)

      I think it’s fairly safe to say that it’s *because* Fujimori was a President that he was allowed to remain a Japanese citizen. Local Boy makes it big…. I’m sure Austria would be glad to allow Arnold to retain his citizenship if he were to make it to the White House (assuming US law is changed to allow it, which it should, if only because there is no fanatic like a converted fanatic: someone who actually goes after and gets citizenship should [theoretically] value it more highly than someone who got it by pure accident of birth.)

      Not sure if I understand the legal point entirely. What is the difference between forcing you to choose (if they choose to force you) and forcing you to make a declaration of citizenship?

    34. Related on this topic,here’s my comment at neomarxisme:

      “Sasakawa’s people protect Fujimori and basically get the immigration people to not really ask the difficult questions of Fujimori’s nationality and place of birth.”
      Nippon Foundation is pretty much in the same league of AEI or HERITAGE foundation in the states.Fujimori was hired as security and counter terrorism expert.

      Money for Fujimori was mostly from diet member(at the time) Tokuda Torao who is the owner of nationwide network of hospitals called Tokusyukai Group.Tokuda is a friend of Ishihara Shintaro and Tokuda wanted to get Ishihara to start new party of which Tokuda is the sponsor.Thus he paid for the most of the expense of Fujimori’s stay in Tokyo along with his apartment.(before that Fujimori stayed in Sono’s second house).

      Current Japanese immigration law do not accept high figure as political exiles.(Only refugees and they have draconian regulation for accepting one)That is why Tokyo didn’t offer protection to Kim Dae Jung in 1974.(and Kim didn’t ask for it either for he rejected the request of not to start political actions against President Park in Japan,and this is a loooong story).Anyway Fujimori’s Japanese citizenly is probably a hoax for that is the only way to justifies his protection.

    35. This may not be the directionless direction Adamu was hoping for, but I am wondering – why did Fujimori need money? Didn’t he abscond with rather a lot of the Peruvian treasury? Hell, I thought all fleeing dictators knew enough to take along massive chunks of change when they left, as a kind of golden handshake for fleecing the country so well.

    36. I’m pretty sure Adamu is enjoying the derailed argument by the usual suspects,Jade.

      It seems to be that Fujimori was a lot more cleaner than the opponents had accused.(although rumour hazard that some of the money from Japanese NGO were used to pay for his daughter’s college in the states.)
      Certainly more cleaner than the current President Garcia when he had to resign from his office when taken over by Fujimori and fled to Columbia and then to France.

      You see, I have pretty easy week and that is the reason for all the prolific commentary,what says of you guys?Is this because M-Bone and Adamu is now living in the same timeline?

    37. I don’t know much about it, but I get the impression that Fujimori’s opponents were more concerned about extra-judicial executions than corruption, but as far as I’ve heard he fled the country with basically nothing. The I think I remember an article I read about him before he went to Chile and got arrested was that he was living in a hotel owned by his Japanese girlfriend and studying Japanese every day.

      “What is the difference between forcing you to choose (if they choose to force you) and forcing you to make a declaration of citizenship?”
      Same thing- but the important part is that the law only says that the MOJ has the right to force you. Clearly Fujimori’s political allies influenced the decision.

      True about the war though- even if Japan was at war according to some interpretations of history, it likely wasn’t enough to matter here. On the other hand, cross-pacific communications to S America were pretty bad in those days, so it’s no surprise the documentation is spotty.

    38. Surprised Fujimori was so (relatively) poor – even an honest President is normally pretty rich, so I’m sure he wasn’t doing too badly though. Hell, I’d have raided the treasury if I’d been him – please ignore that if you’re ever tempted to vote for me….

      [Who, I wonder, is the world’s poorest (relative to his (or her) people) head of state? It sure ain’t King George the Bush….]

      I agree that the great distance between Japan and Sth America is a factor, and certainly more influential than Japan’s relations with China in this case. While far from an expert on the subject, I get the impression that, while they weren’t exactly glad to see them go, it was a much bigger thing before the war – that is, while Japanese now will live overseas, there aren’t quite the overseas diasporas that the Chinese or even the Koreans have of permanent residents/naturalised citizens. But prewar it was much more like that (and that had some negative effects on the US West Coast of course, leading to quotas and Gentlemen’s Agreements and Relocation Camps…) and I get the impression (just an impression) that there was far less central ‘control’ over emigrants from Japan. Less concern about what they were up to. So as long as the formal procedures were followed, no one bothered to chase things up.

    39. And let’s not forget the Peruvian hostage crisis, Fujimori’s resolution of which was very appreciated by the Japanese government, and which made him a lot of high level friends that probably helped his immigration case.

    40. and respect from average Japanese who are pretty frustrated with GoJ.
      GoJ have a notorious record of negotiatig terrorists and give into their demand especially to the Japanese Red Army in the 70’s.Terrorists usually get what they demand for and left with no difficulty.

      Ryutaro Hashimoto was PM at the time and I remember all he did for the crisis was him personally brought boxful of anpan(bread with sweet bean paste inside) to crisis room in MoFA.Hashimoto let TV camera shoot the sequence of him handing anpan one by one to the diplomats.Nation called him PM Anpan the next day.
      He also begged Fujimori never use force and stop break into the ambassador residence.

      There is no special op team GoJ can dispatch in the hostage rescue mission like this.
      Police agency has unit called SAT,but it’s activity is strictly limited in inside of the country and they have no capability to fight against terrorist armed with heavy fire arm like RPG7 anyway.So it was a shock and a delight for Japanese that Peruvian forces set attack and succeed in rescuing hostages with minimum loss.

      Fujimori was not exactly seen as homeboy making big in the other side of the world for Japanese Peruvians were not entirely supportive to him running for the presidency.Peru did send all the Japanese immigrant into internment in the states after the Pearl Harbor at the request from Washington and until this day there is no formal apology nor compensations.(they could not get compensation from U.S government for they are Peruvian national and not American citizen)Added with these history,The shining path start to attack both Japanese Peruvians and Japanese nationals in Peru.JICA lost three agricultural advisor in Andes shot in the
      back of their head.GoJ funded astronomical observatory was also blown off by SP.
      and dozen Japanese Peruvians gunned down or kidnapped and never returned.So Japanese had their reason not welcoming Fujimori instantly.

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