Off The Beaten Path: Kyoto’s Turn

Red Autumn Maple

Autumn is upon us, and the milder climate is slowly transforming the lush green summer landscape into a patchwork of yellow, gold, orange and red. If you missed the changes in remote places such as Kankunodate, or Yamadera in the northern regions of Japan, don’t worry because the best is yet to come.

Kyoto is the place to be when autumn kicks in. The mountains have already begun to transform, and the changes are trickling downward like a slow moving shadow. This ancient city is the place to be if you want to encounter some of the most striking architectural edifices, and gardens Japan has to offer.

My personal favorite places in Kyoto are Fushimi Inari in the summer, and Otagi Nebutsuji, which is located in the high mountains of Arashiyama. But for fall, there is nothing quite like experiencing the dramatic changes that take place in Tofukuji.

Tofukuji In Red

Tofukuji was originally built in 1236 during the Kamakura era. The structures were subsequently burned down, but were again rebuilt in the 15th century. The temple’s gate is the oldest to survive in Japan, and has become a national treasure.

Kinkakuji is another tremendous Kyoto landmark. Known as the Golden Pavilion, and Rokuon-ji, the Muromachi gardens are considered some of the most picturesque in Japan. The site dates as far back as 1397. Unfortunately, during the Onin war all of the structures were set ablaze. Personally, I like this temple covered in a deep snow, in mid-winter, but it’s just as magnificent in autumn.

Kinkakuji Garden

Another favorite of mine is Koutouin. This place gets very crowded on the weekends, and is also very difficult to take photos of. But, if you’re patient, the wait can be well worth it. Fortunately, I was able to get a shot from the interior looking outward when one of the staff members noticed me. He stopped the sea of patrons in both directions, which allowed me enough time to get the photo that appears in this article. The garden is very beautiful, and extremely peaceful. Oh, how lovely it would be to call this place home.

Koutouin Gardens

The weekend crowds in Kyoto can be daunting. I once visited Tofukuji, Kinkakuji, and Koutouin in autumn, and on a Sunday. I didn’t get a good feel for how tranquil these places could be with the masses moving about. I returned the following Tuesday, and it turned out to be a different experience all together. All of the sites mentioned in this article were nearly deserted. So, for what it’s worth, try to plan your visit on a weekday, if you do, you’ll be rewarded with open spaces, and surreal environments!

Gion District

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Abe: The Antiquated Christ Of Japan’s Apocalypse

Not long ago I read an article in The Japan Times, where the writer called Abe a “historical revisionist.” How absurd! Historical revisionists are those that do a great amount of research in preparation of their work, and remove any biases that might infect the particular subject matter they are working on. A revisionists strives for honesty as they work to correct distortions, and other forms of intentional inaccuracies that passed down through generations, benefitting those with a specific political, religious, or racist agenda, as well as the publishers that corroborated, and supported that particular parasitic brand of mass deception.

Abe is no revisionist. He’s a manufactured puppet that does the bidding of the U.S., as were all of Japan’s post World War II prime ministers. Abe is not a revisionist. Abe has no vision. He’s a charlatan. He’s an arrogant, and ignorant racist, who is hell bent on creating as much instability, and turmoil in the Pacific region as possible, in order to fulfill his goal of “reinterpreting” Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, and returning the nation to what he conceives as its past glory. Anybody that has even a cursory knowledge of Japan in a historical perspective knows there isn’t anything glorious about the nation’s past. Period! This week, Abe called for a return of Japan’s honor. If Abe considers the bayonetting of infants, and feeding starving children with anthrax ladened chocolate a form of honor, he, and the LDP party pigs that surround him would be the only ones. To put it mildly, there is nothing honorable about Japan’s past, and there will be nothing honorable about the liar nation’s future.

It was recently reported that Japan’s economy (as of the time of this writing) is worse than when Japan’s east coast was wiped out by giant tsunami waves, and a third of the nation was blanketed in radiation contamination circa 3.11.11. To put that in perspective, all ships were barred from entering ports, causing the shipping industry to grind to a halt. Import, and export ceased to exist. Store shelves sat bare for several days as the Abe’s own LDP party proved itself entirely inept at disaster preparations it had conned the world into believing it was the leader in. All transportation ground to a halt as trains, planes, and buses sat idle, unable to locate fuel to operate, or a rail, runway, or highway to operate on. In that, when a leader of a country can’t figure out ways to repair the nation’s failing economy, they turn to nationalism, and hate, and fear campaigns. Japan’s LDP hasn’t even mastered that, as the party is entirely transparent.

This week Aeon reported more than 97% loss in sales, and profits, as Abe prepares, once again, to raise taxes from 8% to 10%. Citigroup is also pulling out of Japan’s failing finance industry as well. The fact is, the world doesn’t need Japan to manufacture its cheap plastic crap any longer. Thanks to the U.S., Japan had nearly seventy years to learn from its pathetic past, and has failed in every aspect. There is nothing that remains that Abe, or his racist LDP cohorts can do to change the crash course in futility the nations now faces.

Instead of Abe addressing Japan’s deteriorating economy, and runaway inflation, he often speaks of fond memories as a child, sitting on his grandfather’s lap, and being enlightened about the wonders of Japan’s failed imperialistic empire. These ridiculous tales are as absurd as the origin of Japan’s emperors hailing from a sun goddess, who’s relations were sent to Japan to rule over the barbarians hordes of the world. If this was North Korea, we’d be laughing at such ridiculous lunacy. The grandfather that Abe is referring to is Nobusuke Kishi, who served as prime minister in the 1950s after the U.S. showed Japan what a real imperialist power will do to an imposter that stands in its way. It must be noted that Kishi was a Class A war criminal that managed to buy his way out of a war crimes trial, and a hangman’s noose, and the party most responsible for the U.S. permanently occupying the island nation. Kishi was one of Japan’s first puppet prime ministers that cowed to every whim of the U.S. occupiers, and victors of World War II.

In Japan, Kishi’s name is synonymous with corruption. Despite this, he remained a strong behind-the-scenes influence in Japan’s long-ruling LDP. Kishi was an ardent racist, and nationalist who opposed the war-renouncing aspect of Japan’s Constitution. He was the brother of Prime Minister, Eisaku Sato, and the father-in-law of Shintaro Abe, Shinzo Abe’s father, another sociopath who failed in his desire to become one of Japan’s puppet prime ministers. Kishi was ousted from office during huge street demonstrations from citizens who opposed a new security treaty between the U.S. and Japan.

Abe’s first stint as prime minister resulted in his resignation due to corruption within his party, after it was discovered that more than 50 million Japanese pension funds literally vanished off of the nation’s ledger. Those funds have never been found, and nobody in the LDP searching for them either. Now, Abe wants the pension funds that remain to take “riskier bets.”

Abe embraces the “glories” of the antiquated Imperial Regime, which led Japan into World War II, and the nation’s utter demise. That regime, which was quashed by allied forces, and which had committed unspeakable, and egregious war crimes, and had caused the most racist, as well as the worst war in the history of the world was somehow left to remain in power. Those war criminals are responsible for the deaths of more than 30,000,000 civilians, and somehow the nation manages to consider itself the victim of the second great war. This is the mindset of Abe, and other belligerent offspring of Japan’s war crimes past.

By the time the war criminal cowards, (those same cowards that today are buried at Yasakuni Shrine, and honored by Abe as “heroes”), surrendered to the allied forces to save their own necks, the entire nation was left a wasteland, fire bombed to the point that barely a tree remained standing. Ironically, Hirohito, and his criminal empirical family would avoid war crimes trials, after making a deal with General MacArthur, and the U.S., by turning over the approximately two billion in loot they pilfered from the nations they ransacked. Not only did Hirohito and his clan avoid being hung as the criminals they were, they would stand to prosper, and watch as Japan rose from the ninth world economy to the second, not long after the war. Japan has the U.S. to thank for this “economic miracle” the nation exploited to the hilt.

Shiro Iishi is one of those that evaded a war crimes. Iishi had operated the notorious Unit 731 biological warfare unit that committed unspeakable medical experiments on living human subjects. (More on that later.)

Abe needs to grasp that the great humiliation that he, and his cronies suffer from are the results of Japan’s antiquated failures, and backwards mentality, and the great shame, and delusion that he suffers from will never be wiped from the history books of the world no matter how much they remain censored in Japan. Hiroshima, and Nagasaki stand to bear witness to the lunacy of Japan’s past military aggression against its neighbors. Those facts speak for themselves.

Today, Abe called for Japan’s media to help restore the nation’s honor. What he means is the media should become even more of a political tool than they already are, and play a more significant role in the LDP’s propaganda, and public relations scheme, by helping to cover up Japan’s war crimes history, deep seeded, and unjustified hatred, and fear of foreigners, segregation mentality, and play a more crucial role in returning Japan to the days of absolute totalitarianism, tyranny, and fervent flag waving nationalism.

Abe wants to war dance. He wants to tango with regional powers that are far superior in military capabilities, resources, and financial ability today than Japan ever had at its primordial past when the nation sent balloons across the Pacific filled with germ warfare, and had created the world’s first terrorist suicide bombers. This last dance Abe so greatly desires will surely result in an ill conceived apocalypso that will cover Japan in death, long before the next ice age will.

Abe’s racist antics are more than mere stunts that draw belligerent response from neighboring countries such as China, Russia, and Korea. Abe needs to “get it” that Japan remains an occupied nation, and its been that way for nearly seventy years because the nation’s collective conscience is unable to adjust to a modern, and civilized form of existence. Abe is not a revisionist. He’s a instigator who’s stirs the pot of turmoil, and rattles the sabers to cover up his inept economic policies for the nation he rules. Despite what the LDP’s laudable clowns have stated, the U.S. will not go to war on behalf of Japan. The U.S. can’t get out of the middle east mess it dug itself into.

Abe’s Childlike Antics

Without regard to the tensions that already exist in the region, Abe mindlessly posed for a photo in the cockpit of an air force T-4 training jet emblazoned with the number 731 on its side of the plane. The photo was taken at the Air Self-Defense Force base in Miyagi Prefecture. The number 731 evokes outrage and horror, bringing back nightmarish memories of the covert biological and chemical warfare research facility that carried out lethal human experiments during the 1937-45 Sino-Japanese War, and World War II, crimes that were sanctioned, and financed by Emperor Hirohito.

Newspapers throughout the world ran photos of Abe sitting in the cockpit of a fighter plane with the numbers 731 clearly visible in the photo. In fact, there’s an arrow that draws ones attention straight to the number. “Abe’s pose resurrects horrors of Unit 731,” read the headline on the English-language Korea Joongang Daily. The Chosun Ilbo’s caption referred to “Abe’s never-ending provocations.”

Shinzo Abe poses for a photo in a T-4 military jet with the numbers 731 on the plane. The number references Japan’s biological facility that tortured, and executed 30,000 Chinese, Korean and Russian civilians under the guise of scientific experiments.

The Japanese biological and chemical warfare research facility was responsible for torturing, and executing more than 30,000 Chinese, Korean, and Russian civilians. There were also U.S. soldiers experimented on, tortured, and executed at the secret facility, which was operated by Shiro Iishi, a war criminal who is enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, along with numerous other war criminals. There were no survivors. Unit 731 is located in Harbin, China, and still stands as a testament of Japan’s barbarism to its regional neighbors.

Harbin 2

Unit 731. Harbin, China.

Abe understood that the photo could only be interpreted as a provocation to China, Korea, and Russia. Leaders that are this insensitive, and conducting themselves in such an apprehensible manner clearly are not fit for office. The photos of the smiling faced prime minister can only be construed as an approval of Japan’s colonial-era war crime atrocities. The regional, and international press agree that the Abe photos were intended as an affront to countries like China and South Korea, which suffered under Japanese occupation and colonization.

The Japanese Defense Ministry suggested the number on the trainer was simply coincidental. “There was no particular meaning in the number of the training airplane the prime minister was in on Sunday. Other than that there is nothing we can say,” a ministry spokesman told AFP in Tokyo. Even if these comments were true, the base officials said there were numerous other planes that Abe could have had his photo taken in.

War criminal Shiro Ishii: Unit 731′s notorious mass murderer.

South Korean ambassador to Japan Shin Kak-Soo said Japan needed to pay attention to perceptions. “There is a gap between the perception of a victimizer, and that of a victim.”

The photo has fueled public anger in South Korea, and China, which had already been aroused by the recent visits of Japanese cabinet ministers, and lawmakers to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine. The Yasukuni shrine honors thousands of war criminals as national heroes. The shrine is rightfully regarded as an insult to countries in the region. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se shelved a proposed trip to Tokyo in protest at the visits, while former President Park Geun-Hye warned Japan against shifting to the right, and aggravating the “scars of the past.

A blind deity, Hirohito sanctioned the torture, and execution of thousands of innocent civilians.

Hirohito visiting the happiest place on earth.

Korean newspapers appear to have been alerted to the photos by online commentary from the U.S. and China, as well as a statement from South Korean ruling party politician Chung Mong-joon that said Abe’s photo-op was equivalent to German Chancellor Angela Merkel riding an aircraft with a Nazi swastika.

The Dong-A Ilbo, another large national paper in Korea, ran a photo that showed Abe wearing a baseball jersey with the number 96 on it. According to the Dong-A, 96 is another “numerical provocation” since Article 96 is the section of the Japanese constitution that Abe wants to revise as part of his goal to allow Japan to formally possess a military.

South Koreans are wary of constitutional changes in Japan because of a prevailing narrative that it would mark a return to Japan’s militaristic past. Recent provocative comments by Abe about Japan’s occupation of parts of Asia during World War II, visits to a war shrine by Japanese cabinet members, and Hashimoto’s mindless rhetoric are increasing concerns in South Korea, China and even Russia of Japan’s political trajectory. In 2013, the UN reported more than 360 hate crimes in Japan aimed at foreigners within Japan’s borders, and called for Japan’s legislatures to outlaw hate speech.

Coverage of Abe’s remarks on historical issues, and Japan’s military seems to be about the only subject that unites the Korean press. Despite huge editorial differences on issues such as domestic politics and North Korea, the South Korean media largely speak with one critical voice about Abe, and warn against any changes to Japan’s pacifist constitution.

Oddly, while Japan’s government has been involved recently in a massive amount of hate speech, rhetoric, and clear aggressive symbolism, Abe has expressed concerns over the increase in hate speech. In an Upper House Budget Committee session that took place on May 7th 2013, Abe criticized the hate mongering that has become rampant around the nation, adding that the hate these people show is dishonoring Japan. “It is truly regrettable that there are words and actions that target certain countries and races,” Abe was quoted as saying. Abe is incredibly hypocritical. Or is he merely sociopathic?

Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Kan Suzuki, pointed out that demonstrations in the Korea towns of Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district and Osaka’s Tsuruhashi district have been marred by vitriol, and race-specific hate. Protesters have been shouting, “Kill the Koreans”, or that “Koreans are cockroaches”, and “Koreans go home, you do not belong here!”

Abe’s own words have caused angry reactions from South Korea, and China in recent months. This is with regards to his views about Japan’s role in World War II, saying that the term “aggressor” can be defined in different ways from different points of view. South Korea has specifically made strong diplomatic reactions, asking Japan to apologize, and the international community to exert pressure for Abe to retract his comments. “It’s completely wrong to put others down, and feel as if we are superior,” Abe said. “Such acts dishonor ourselves.” After living in Japan for nearly eight years, I’ve yet to understand what it is about the Japanese that could possibly allow them believe they’re superior to anyone, except the fact that those who think such nonsense, are in fact making believe.

Jap Flags

The following are documentaries that expose Japan’s Unit 731 biological warfare crimes.

Men Behind The Sun
Japan’s Dirty Secret (In Japanese)
Nightmare In Manchuria
Unit 731: Japan’s Biological Force

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Boycott Japan’s 2020 Olympics

The idea that international games would take place in a country that hates foreigners is offensive to anyone that desires universal harmony. The following is a comprehensive look at why Japan tourism, products, and Olympics games should be boycotted.

In August of 2014, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination strongly condemned Japan, and urged the Japanese government to regulate hate speech by law, following a surge in racial hate crimes aimed at foreigners. The U.N. Human Rights Committee gave a similar recommendation to Japan in July. It demanded that Japan firmly address hate speech, outlaw demonstrations, investigate and prosecute individuals, and organizations responsible for such acts, and punish public officials, and politicians who disseminate, and condone such hateful, and racially charged conduct. According to the determination, which was the result of an extensive study that found more than 360 cases of hate speech in 2013, Japan should address the root causes of racist hate speech, and strengthen measures of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination, and promoting understanding, tolerance, and friendship among nations, and among racial or ethnic groups. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination recognizes discriminatory expressions as a crime. Signatory countries are obliged to reject all forms of propaganda aimed at justifying or promoting racial hatred, and discrimination, and take legal actions against them. Regardless, the Japanese government has taken no measures to curb hate speech, hate conduct, and violence towards foreigners, always justifying it as a form of freedom of speech guaranteed by Japan’s Constitution. The Japanese always cite the constitution as a body of laws that protect them with it applies to their conduct, yet the same rule of law is void when it comes to the rights of others, such as the right to equal protection. The U.N. committee urged Japan to change this position and take “appropriate steps to revise its legislation,” in particular its penal code, to regulate hate speech. The committee issued the recommendations after holding a session in August of 2014, where eighteen experts reviewed Japan’s non-compliance with the international convention against racial discrimination.

Housing and the Japanese workplace environment

Japan has a major housing crisis. Nearly 15% of residential housing sits vacant. Yet, the real estate industry adamantly refuses to rent to anyone that is not Japanese. This irrationality is based on race hatred, and stereotyping that exists within the nation’s overall collective mindset. The empty building scenario extends beyond residential units, as an estimated 70% of industrial, and commercial buildings now sit vacant, and dilapidating where industry had once flourished. Other serious housing issues are sure to arise where the nation’s “Japanese” population is set to decline between 30-40% within the next three decades. As a result of the massive population decline, Japan’s rural communities are preparing for a future of extinction. The Japanese would clearly rather lose revenue, and let their properties dilapidate than to rent to someone they have an unjustified fear about.

Where does all of this xenophobia aimed at foreigners come from anyway? The Japanese study a foreign language for a minimum of six years. They study English grammar, and spend countless hours in private cram schools, and English schools to learn the language, so what is it that makes the Japanese so fearful of foreigners? First, the Japanese inability to learn English, despite all of that studying results in great shame. That shame turns to humiliation, and insecurity, which then turns to fear whenever an encounter with a foreigner arises. That fear, usually of the unknown, then easily turns to a variety of forms of hatred.

Japan and slave labor

Japanese corporations don’t just steal billions of dollars from hardworking Americans as in the automobile price fixing scheme that sent several executives to prison. They steal the lifeblood from every Japanese who lives a life of perpetual slavery for a company that considers them nothing more than human cog in the wheel of opportunity. Opportunity for a handful of corporate executives, and no one else. Japan’s kaisha slave mentality offers no incentives for women who desire to get married, have children, and raise a family.

A sentencing even Japan’s corrupt judiciary couldn’t prevent: Executives sentenced in HIV scandal.
http://articles.latimes.com/2000/feb/25/news/mn-2444

Why is Japan facing such a disastrous decline in its overall population? Because Japanese women are forced to endure long hours at work, with employers who threaten them with termination if they get pregnant. Japanese women who have miscarried hide this from their employer by keeping the matter a secret, and by not using insurance money to pay for the necessary surgical procedures to remove the dead fetus from their wombs. Instead, the Japanese female workers pay cash so their employers won’t discover their pregnancy, so as to avoid the threat of termination or demotion in the workplace. The emotional, and psychological impact is apparent. If a Japanese woman does give birth to a child, she is told to return to work in one year, or lose her job. What mother wants to turn their child over to a stranger in a daycare facility before that child is emotionally able to adapt to such a drastic environmental change? Can there be any wonder why the Japanese are emotionally unattached, and incapable of empathy toward the hardships of others?

Japan and shame

There can be little doubt that the nation is facing major obstacles as a result of its arcane segregated mentality. With the extremist, far right politicians hijacking Japan’s policies, and Constitution, stoking the fire of animosity, and hatred towards other nations, the situation is as critical as the three meltdowns at the Daiichi nuclear facility the nation has proved entirely inept in handling.

Billions of dollars of reconstruction funds are being diverted from central Japan to build an Olympic village with nearly no attention being paid to the clean up of the nation’s nuclear disaster. Thousands still remain homeless, and evacuated from their communities, while Tepco continues to dump trillions of becquerels of dangerous radiation contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.

Robert Alvarez, senior U.S. Energy Department official on nuclear issues from 1993-99 stated, “On the outer edges of the site they’re trying to block the flow of groundwater coming into the site to prevent this constant flow of contamination. What this means is that this contamination is going on a continuous basis into the Pacific Ocean and it adds more and more to a plume that is predicted to reach the west coast of the United States in the near future. There are no credible disposition paths for this enormous and growing volume of stored contaminated water. This is an unprecedented situation. What are we going to do with all of this water? No technologies currently exist to remove the severely radioactive melted cores.”

Fukushima court rules against Tepco where woman committed suicide by setting herself on fire.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/08/26/national/fukushima-court-rules-tepco-blame-suicide-utility-ordered-pay-¥49-million

Tepco executives merit indictment over nuclear crisis.
http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Ex-Tepco-execs-merit-indictment-over-nuclear-crisis-prosecution-panel

Two trillion becquerels of radioactive material escapes Tokyo Electric Power Companies crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/09/07/national/two-trillion-becquerels-radioactive-material-may-escaped-1

Consequences of Tepco’s inability to prevent Pacific Ocean contamination.
http://enenews.com/nuclear-expert-fukushima-melted-fuel-is-migrating-out-of-containment-it-will-end-up-on-coastline-in-fine-particles-and-gets-blown-into-neighborhoods-health-harm-from-this-fuel-to-last-for-thous

Racist Japanese riot in Tokyo shouting on bullhorns for Koreans they call cockroaches, to be dragged into the street, and murdered, the smashing of shop windows, and the burning of their businesses. March 2013.

Japan and hate crimes

Moving beyond the treatment of the female employer, and the nuclear debacle, the following matters regarding hate crimes are of great concern to the U.S. Department of State, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Amnesty International, other notable human rights groups, which spends countless millions of dollars, and thousands of research hours on collecting, disseminating data, and writing reports regarding Japan’s hate speech, racism, intolerance, and overall general ignorance towards foreigners, world issues, religion, and cultural diversity.

Hate speech, and vicious attacks aimed at foreigners is spiraling out of control, with the nation’s politicians, and corrupt judiciary not only publicly condoning it, but also refusing to address it through legislation, as international pressure continues to mount.

Hatred towards all foreigners. A disturbing video revealing Japan’s hatred aimed at foreigners.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKodRN8F8uU#t=18

A black sun rising in a declining Japan.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/a-black-sun-rises-in-a-declining-japan/article1215080

U.S. Department of State: Japan 2012 Human Rights Report.
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204416.pdf

U.S. Department of State: Japan 2013 Human Rights Report.
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/220409.pdf

NGO Report: The Issue of Hate Speech.
http://imadr.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Hate-Speech-in-Japan_ERD-NET_Human-Rights-Committe_111th-session.pdf

U.N. panel urges Japan to enact laws to prohibit hate speech.
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201408300039

Report to the Human Rights Committee on the issue of hate speech against minorities in Japan.
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/JPN/INT_CCPR_NGO_JPN_14823_E.pdf

Japan Times article: Think you’ve got rights as a foreigner in Japan?
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2014/08/06/issues/think-youve-got-rights-foreigner-japan-well-complicated

Japan Only sign hung at a professional baseball game sparks outrage.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2014/03/12/issues/j-league-and-media-must-show-red-card-to-racism

Japanese only

Japan is by far one of the most racist, intolerant, and hateful nations that exists today. That hatred permeates through every aspect of the culture. There are Japanese only restaurants and bars. There are numerous U.S. and European owned franchised restaurants, and gas stations that are owned, and or managed by Japanese who refuse to serve foreigners. Many tourist attractions that are popular with foreign tourist, and which raises millions in revenue from tourism, adamantly refuse to post signs in international languages regarding bus, and train schedules.

In regards to disability access, Japan is a fourth world nation. Numerous stations have no access for mothers with baby strollers, or accommodations for those who are disabled. Even some newly built stations have no elevators, or wheelchair access for the disabled. The lack of access for pregnant women, mothers with babies, and those that require wheelchairs to be mobile are all part of the nation’s intentional act of keeping those with disabilities institutionalized, and women in the workplace.

You probably don’t want to take your child to this stadium in Saitama to see an Urawa Red Diamonds baseball game.

Japan’s refusal to accept its war crimes past

Japan is responsible for the worst war in the history of the world. A war that resulted in the murder of more than 30,000,000 innocent civilians from China, Mongolia, the Soviet Union, French Indochina, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the U.S., Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Timor, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, India, British New Guinea, the Philippines, Andaman Islands, Nocobar Islands, the Straits Settlements, Brunei, Nauru, Guam, Imphal, Wake Island, Gilbert, and Ellice Islands, Christmas Island, Manchuria, Taiwan, and Korea. Many of these countries were ransacked of their wealth, which was never returned. Japan never paid reparations for the destruction of these countries, as Germany continues to do to this very day. Prior to World War II, Japan was the ninth largest economy of the world. After the war, Japan became the second largest economy, and the royal family wealth increased immensely. So, did the Japan really lose the war? The countries general population did. They lost their homes to Allied forces firing bombings, and atomic bombs that leveled two cities. They lost their sons to war, and they lost their businesses to a handful of the “royal” gangsters that profited nicely from their criminality, war crimes, theft of national treasures, and utter greed. Somehow the Japanese learned nothing from all of this, and still hold the reprehensible sociopaths in high regard.

The great majority of those that were victimized by Japan during the invasion of regional nations were tortured, raped, and even used as guinea pigs in horrific experiments that were intended to bring about an even greater calamity, and suffering to the world. Yet, today the Japanese continue to refuse to acknowledge their war crimes past, and instead honor the nation’s war criminals as heroes at the nefarious Yasakuni Shrine.

At the end of the war, Japan, and the U.S. entered into a deal where the vast majority of war criminals, including the emperor’s family who were directly involved in torture, murder, and looting of other nation’s wealth, and resources, would not stand trial, so long as Japan turned over much of what they looted from the nations they had left in ruin. As part of that exchange Japan was able to rebuild its nation, and quickly grew to become the second largest economy, as many of the nations it had looted became destitute, third world in stature, poverty stricken and destabilized, which brought the world a divided Vietnam, Korea, and communist China.

Through the theft of those nations stolen treasures Japan was able to rebuild its country, which had been leveled, and its arrogant population left humiliated through disastrous allied firebombing campaigns, and two atomic bombs. Only until the warmongers, who were hiding away in Tokyo bunkers believed that a third atomic bomb was going to be dropped on them, did they finally surrender, a claim the deity emperor, and the military leaders claimed would never be an option. One of those bombs, code name Little Boy, has gone down in history as the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima, a city that was responsible for the manufacturing of bombs, and torpedoes, and for the training of kamikaze pilots by Mitsubishi, and other corporations that reaped huge profits for their warmongering efforts, and war crimes. The National Mobilization Law of April 1938 led to forced labor in military factories, including Koreans, Chinese and other ethnic minorities who had been continuously kidnapped, brought to Japan, and treated brutally as slaves since the Sino-Japan wars. Thousands of people throughout Hiroshima worked exclusively for the military industry that existed within that city. An annual memorial is held in Hiroshima each year using propaganda to twist the facts, and claim the city had been unjustly victimized by the U.S. atomic bombing campaign. Those memorials never make mention of the thousands of lives taken through the acts of kamikaze pilots that were injected with methamphetamine, and drunk on sake before slamming planes into military, and hospital ships out at sea. Today, Israel can thank Japan for bringing the concept of the suicide bomber into the world that we live in.

Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution.

The supposed “reinterpretation” of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution has been an issue of major concern regarding the stability of the region. The international communities condemn it, and it has become a major topic of debate within Japan itself.

Article 9 reads as follows: Renunciation of War. Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Article 98 of Japan’s Constitution makes any actions in contrast to the terms of Article 9 void, having no legitimacy whatsoever.

Supreme Clause. Article 98. This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the nation and no law, ordinance, imperial rescript or other act of government, or part thereof, contrary to the provisions hereof, shall have legal force or validity.

What part of renunciation of war, forever to settle international disputes needs to be reinterpreted?

Japan’s racist, and ignorant politicians

Japan’s racist, and poorly educated politicians continue to malign, and insult regional sovereign states, and cause instability in the region by claiming that well documented facts related to Japan’s war crimes had never actually occurred. This includes the rape of more than 200,000 women known to have been forced into sexual slavery. Japan’s refusal to accept historical facts would never be tolerated by Germany, which outlawed hate speech after the second world war. A recent display of provocation is when Japan’s current, and much maligned prime minister Shinzo Abe posed for a photo on an airplane that had the number 731 clearly visible on the side of the plane. While Abe smiled as he sat on the pilot’s seat of the plane, the rest of the world did not. Abe’s abject, ill advised, and racist attitude faced great international condemnation because of the implications attached to that unconscionable act. Unit 731 was one of Japan’s biological chemical warfare facilities that used human beings to create biological chemical weapons through various experiments, and testing. Those misfortunates that suffered such a terrible fate included Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, Soviet, U.S., and allied captured soldiers.

For forty years the biological warfare research that occurred inside Japan’s Unit 731 Harbin, China laboratory, and other facilities, remained the best-kept secrets of World War II. Shiro Ishii, the head of Unit 731 biological war crimes facility was sanctioned, and financed by emperor Hirohito, himself a biologist. Neither Hirohito, nor Ishii were ever tried for their war crimes activities. Instead, Hirohito went on to visit Disneyland in Los Angeles, and Ishii went on to become Japan’s Surgeon General. Ishii was arrested by U.S. occupation authorities at the end of World War II, along with other Unit 731 leaders who were to be thoroughly interrogated by Soviet authorities. Ishii and his team negotiated immunity from war crimes prosecution in exchange for their full disclosure of germ warfare data, based on human experimentation of the more than 30,000 human subjects that were exposed to unspeakable atrocities including live vivisection without any anesthesia, bomb fragment testing, and handing out chocolate that contained anthrax to children. Japan’s Unit 731 dropped bubonic plague, and other plagues, and diseases throughout China, and some communities still suffer from its affects to this day. Although the Soviet authorities adamantly insisted on the prosecution of Ishii, and his team, the U.S. objected after a report performed by the investigating U.S. microbiologists. Dr. Edwin Hill, Chief of Fort Detrick at the time, stated that the information Ishii was in possession of was “absolutely invaluable”, “could never have been obtained in the U.S. because of scruples attached to experiments on humans”, and “the information was obtained fairly cheap.” Ishii is one of the thousands of war criminals enshrined at the Yasakuni Shrine. He, and other war criminals from Unit 731 went on to form Japan’s Ministry of Health, and pharmaceutical corporations that produce vaccines for babies. Many of those vaccines are contaminated with numerous toxins, and are have been banned due to causing numerous deaths, and other life altering neurological, and brain disorders.

Anyone having any experience living in Japan’s know that the Japanese are world illiterate, and have no knowledge whatsoever regarding Japan’s horrible imperialistic atrocities, as the entire matter is banned from Japan’s Minister of Education, which was also formed after World War II by other Japanese war criminals. Of course, they don’t want their educational material to include their own past crimes, so Japan’s true history has been entirely censored. Japanese school children continue to be taught that Japan was a nation that was attacked, and victimized by the imperialist western powers.

Abe, and other politicians continue to visit the Yasakuni Shrine, and donates large sums of money. This is obvious support for Japan’s racist, and hateful past militarism, which Abe is adamant to restore. Even Japan’s newly appointed internal affairs minister stated that she would be visiting the hotly detested shrine, as if it was some sort of penny arcade attraction, or a fun in the sun day at the beach. Why is it these racist, and ignorant immoral reprobates have to go on record that they spit in the face of every nation in the region, including the U.S. It’s closest ally? “I’ve been visiting Yasukuni to offer my sincere appreciation to the spirits of war dead.” Why would anyone want to publicize they are going to visit, bow, and pray to fourteen war criminals leaders, and thousands of others that were convicted by the Allied tribunal? This is not a showing of appreciation for anything. It’s provocation, and a disgrace to Japanese that are offended by such atrocious conduct.

The new defense minister, Akinori Eto, also advocates visiting the shrine, but told a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the shrine he did not want to cause trouble for the government, indicating a more cautious stance. Prime Minister Abe, not so cautious paid a visit to the shrine in December of 2013, sharply chilling ties with China, and South Korea, where relations are already strained over territorial disputes.

Japan’s new minister says she will visit Yasakuni shrine.
http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN0H013K20140905

An introduction to a few of Japan’s racist leaders

Shinzo Abe first took office as prime minister in 2006. He suddenly quit after a year plagued by corruption, and embezzlement scandals within his cabinet, public outrage over the insider theft of Japan’s entire pension savings, and his Liberal Democratic Party’s massive defeat in an election for parliament’s upper house. Abe claims he quit over chronic intestinal ailment, which translated into English means the man is totally full of shit.

Nobusuke Kishi, was Abe’s grandfather, and helped to brainwash him regarding hate speech, hatred of foreigners, and falsehoods of Japan’s criminal war past, as Kishi himself was a world war two wartime cabinet minister, imprisoned after the war, and who negotiated a deal to avoid a war crimes trial. Kishi would serve as prime minister from 1957 to 1960, and had to resign due to a public outcry over a renegotiated U.S.-Japan security pact. Kishi tried without success to revise Japan’s 1947 Constitution, desiring Japan to become an equal partner with the U.S., which has become central to Abe’s agenda in 2006 and today. It is Abe that pushes for the “reinterpretation” of Article 9, trying to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Abe clowning around on an aircraft at a Sendai airshow. Anybody who saw this photo when it first ran wasn’t smiling along with him. They still aren’t.

Tokyo, the city hosting the 2020 Olympic games was until recently represented by mayor Shintaro Ishihara, (1999-2012). Jisedai no To, or the Party For New Generations, is Ishihara’s new political endeavor. This party was formed after Ishihara suffered a humiliating defeat to Abe, hoping his alignment with one of Japan’s most hated racists, Toru Hashimoto would result in victory for the right-wing lunatics.

Ishihara is a vile, and reprehensible poor excuse of a human being who had openly called for the execution of foreigners by police if Tokyo was ever hit by a national disaster. His rationale was that foreigners would loot the city, and rape Japanese women in the streets. The disaster Ishihara spoke of became a reality on 3.11.11. The only thing foreigners were guilty of was donating hundreds of millions of dollars in relief aid. Much of it never making it to the victims it was intended for. Instead, that aid was diverted to support programs that the donors vehemently opposed, like rebuilding Japan’s “scientific” whaling fleet. It’s ironic when foreigners have been so charitable to Japan, yet the nation itself doesn’t have a shred of charity in its entire collective soul.

Ishihara is on record for saying, “After World War II, the Chinese and Koreans persecuted, robbed, and beat up Japanese. We were afraid of them.” Ishihara also said, “Roppongi is now a foreign neighborhood. Africans, I don’t mean African-Americans, who don’t speak English are there doing who knows what. We should be letting in people who are intelligent.” In an interview for Playboy magazine, Ishihara also said that the rape of Nanking was a fiction. ”People say that the Japanese made a holocaust but that is not true. It is a story made up by the Chinese. It has tarnished the image of Japan, but it is a lie.” What part of 30,000,000 dead is not a holocaust? In an interview with Shukan Josei, Ishihara said that he believed “women who live after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin.” He was criticized in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly for these comments, but responded that “tyrant old women” drove the criticism. Ishihara also stated that French is unqualified as an international language. This statement led to a lawsuit from numerous language schools.

At a Tokyo IOC press briefing in 2009, Ishihara dismissed a letter sent by environmentalist Paul Coleman regarding the contradiction of his promoting the Tokyo Olympic 2016 bid as “the greenest ever” while destroying the forested mountain of Minamiyama. Shintaro angrily stated that Coleman was “Just a foreigner. His statements don’t matter.” On continued questioning by journalist Hajime Yokata, he stated, “Minamiyama is a devil’s mountain that eats children.” Ishihara then implied that Yokota, a Japanese national, was betraying his nation by saying, “What nationality are you anyway?”

On April 15th, 2012, Ishihara made a speech in Washington, publicly stating his desire for Tokyo to purchase the Senkaku Islands, called the Diaoyu Islands by mainland China, in an attempt to end the territorial dispute between China and Japan. This caused massive demonstrations in Chinese, and destroyed any continuity within the region that existed at that time. Increased tension between the governments of China and Japan exist as a result of these kind of idiotic leadership. Somehow the Japanese kept voting this maniac back into office. This is a testament in and of itself as to the level of depravity that exists in Japan today.

Toru Hashimoto, hailed from another group targeted with hate, and racism, the outcast Baraku. His father was a yakuza gangster. The on again, off again mayor of Osaka, is so vile a hate speech spewing racist that New York City, and San Francisco mayors cancelled meetings with him on grounds that his hate speech is entirely repugnant, and neither city could guarantee his safety as a result of the scores of death threats he received if he ever set foot in the U.S. Some people forfeit their right to life. Toru Hashimoto is one of them.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said the Osaka mayor did not deserve the honor of an official visit to the United States.
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/75741/fil-am-vet-hits-invite-to-osaka-mayor

Japan’s corrupt judiciary

After being appointed merely one day as the head of the Ministry of Justice, former judge Midori Matsuhima made a horrific statement regarding foreigners who don’t eat pork. She stated that foreigners have no rights in Japan, and special food accommodations would not be a consideration. For one thing, this racist, and corrupt government official clearly has never been educated properly on Japan’s World War II alliance with Germany, which was a nation that murdered millions of Jews. Both Jews, and Muslims alike do not eat pork, as this is part of a religious practice that dates back thousands of years. How is it that this criminally insane woman, and incredibly ugly skeletal figure, can make such a public statement? It is this kind of mentality that place foreigners in a perpetual state of peril if they are unfortunate to somehow be dragged into a criminal proceeding in Japan. Judges like Matsuhima convict a foreigner 100% of the time, who always ended up receiving harsher penalties than Japanese. Former judge Hiroshi Segi disclosed in his book, released in February of 2014, that the entire judiciary are hateful racist who openly call foreigners bastards. Segi said the entire judicial body of Japan should be ousted from office, as they are incapable of making rational determinations based on sound reasoning, and the rule of law.

 

Former judge Midori Matsushima, another reprehensible, and illiterate racist posing as a Japanese official. Her new role is as the head of Japan’s corrupt Ministry of Justice. UPDATE: Matsushima was force to resign after a mere few weeks as the head of Japan’s corrupt MOJ. Ousted for criminal conduct related to campaigning.

Japan and capital punishment

According to the Ministry of Justice, death row inmates are not classified as prisoners by the Japanese justice system, and the facilities in which they are incarcerated are not referred to as prisons. The Ministry of Justice claims that inmates lack many of the rights afforded to other Japanese prisoners. The routine they live under is significantly harsher than normal Japanese prisoners. Death row inmates are held in solitary confinement, and are forbidden from communicating with other prisoners, as part of Japan’s prison silence rules. Inmates are not allowed televisions, and may only possess up to three books. Prisoners are not allowed to exercise within their own cells. Prison visits, both by family members and legal representatives, are infrequent, and closely monitored. Regardless of what the Ministry of Justice claims, these exact same cruel forms of treatment exist for all prisoners that are held in Japan’s antiquated prison system.

Human Rights Watch Prison Conditions In Japan:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/j/japan/japan953.pdf

Prison conditions in Japan “safe” but harsh
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/07/08/world/prisons-in-japan-are-safe-but-harsh.html

Center for Prisoner’s Rights Japan Alternative Report of the Japanese Government Under Article 40 of the International covenant on civil and political rights.
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/Center_Prisoners_Rights_Japan94report.pdf

Executions are carried out by hanging, and are held in secretive death chambers. When a death order has been issued, the condemned prisoner is informed on the morning of their execution. The prisoner’s family, and legal representatives are not informed until after death. The method of hanging is a substantial drop, causing a quick death by neck fracture. It was not always carried out in this manner. When Kanno Sugako was hanged in 1911 she was ordered to sit on the floor. Two thin cords were placed around her neck, and then the floorboards were removed. It took twelve minutes for her to be pronounced dead. As of August 2014, the number of inmates on death row were 126. Of them, 89 are applying for their cases to be reopened and 25 are requesting amnesty.

Japan’s capital punishment system.
http://www.japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/a_secret_theater

Inside Tokyo’s house of death.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1306683/Pictured-time-Japan-opens-doors-death-chambers.html

Japan and human rights

In 2013, Japan’s human rights ambassador Hideaki Ueda told delegates several times during a U.N. torture committee held in Geneva to “shut up” after being criticized for Japan’s massive human rights violations, and for refusing to appoint legal counsel to those who are detained for criminal prosecution. Article 37 of Japan’s Constitution states that in all criminal cases the accused shall have a right to a speedy, and public trial by an impartial tribunal. At all times the accused shall have the assistance of competent counsel assigned by the state. Article 34 states that no person shall be detained without the immediate privilege of counsel. Regardless, if the above constitutional standards were part of a multiple-choice quiz regarding the rights of a defendant, the correct answer would be, “none of the above.”

Japan police, and prosecutors use a technique called “the hostage technique”, which is used to isolate detainees, place them in a state of perpetual fear, and is used to interrogate a suspect, and force them to sign false confessions, instead of actually going out and gathering evidence to obtain a lawful conviction. The U.S. Department of State 2012 report on Japan shows that of the 99.9% of detainees who were convicted, 91.2% of them were convicted on nothing more than their own coerced extracted confession. This violates Japan’s Constitution. Article 38 states that no person shall be compelled to testify against himself, and that any confession made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged arrest or detention shall not be admitted as evidence.

Japan’s Daiyo Kangoku “substitute” prisons shocks the world.
http://www.nichibenren.or.jp/library/en/document/data/daiyo_kangoku.pdf

Recent cases have shined the spotlight on Japan’s egregious violations of human rights. In the Iwao Hakamada case, the former boxer spent 45 years on death row. Keep in mind that in Japan, a death row inmate can face death at any moment. Imagine the level of fear, and the physical, and psychological torture that existed for the innocent man every time a guard walked down the corridor, an inmate brought his meal, or someone approached his cell to bring him a book, or medication? This clearly exceeds cruel, and unusual as a form of punishment. It’s inhumane, and should be immediately outlawed. Even terrorist organizations such as ISIS impose their shocking brand of execution in a swift, and decisive manner. As horrific as terrorist organizations like ISIS are, nothing can be as cruel as leaving a human being on death row, facing the possibility of death at any moment, and for several years.

At Hakamada’s trial he retracted his coerced confession, saying police had kicked, and clubbed him to obtain it. “I could do nothing but crouch down on the floor trying to keep from defecating.” “One of the interrogators put my thumb onto an ink pad, drew it to a written confession record, and ordered me to ‘Write your name here!’ as they shouted at me, kicking me and wrenching my arm.”

Norimichi Kumamoto, one of the three judges who had originally convicted Hakamada, came out in support of his innocence, after cowardly hiding behind his death penalty conviction. How does a judge order someone’s death, when they believed they were entirely innocent? Kumamoto feared repercussions from other judges, and failed to persuade his two senior colleagues, resulting in a judgment for conviction. Kumamoto statement would shock the Japanese public, and cast doubt on the illegally secretive justice system. Japan’s Constitution calls for public hearings, but nearly all aspects of detention, interrogation, the gathering of evidence, trial, and conviction are secret matters. Everything is done in secret to prevent the discovery of fraud, the filing of false charges, the planting of evidence, and gross abuses of power. Defendants don’t even have the right to obtain evidence that is used against them in further proceedings, such as retrials, even where Criminal Code 281 (4)(5) calls for such release.

Hakamada’s case has caused the Japanese to finally question the validity of the death penalty in Japan, and brought attention to what critics describe as inhumane elements of the Japanese justice system. In Japan, judges give more weight to confessions than actual evidence, including forensics, which puts pressure on police to coerce forced extracted confessions regardless of merit. The police interrogate suspects for up to 23 days, and the suspect is not permitted to have a lawyer present during those interrogations, which are never audio, or videotape recorded. Defense lawyers are also not given access to police, and prosecutorial records. Prosecutors can be in possession of knowledge the defendant is entirely innocent, and that information is always intentionally withheld from the defense counsel. Can there be any wonder by Japan has a 99.9% conviction rate? Additionally, the system can leave inmates on death row for extended periods, and execute them with no advance notice. The Japan Federation Bar Association said the case is but one example of “a nest of unlawful interrogations” and called for reform, including videotaping of all interrogations.

Returning to the U.N. torture committee held in Geneva, where the discussion had turned to Japan, and its immense failure in the area of human rights Ueda stated, “‘We (Japan) are one of the most advanced countries in the field of human rights. That is our proud.” How is Japan so “proud” of a corrupt judiciary that colludes, and conspires with illegal police, and prosecutors conduct, having full possession of this knowledge, and convict 99.9% of defendants anyway, and who are detained without legal representation until it is too late to raise a valid defense, and who are often tortured to force extract a false confession to crimes they often had not committed? After being railroaded through the indictment process, those same defendants face months of trials while being held in inhumane conditions of isolation, in dilapidating, and overcrowded prisons. They suffer emotional, psychological, and physical abuse as they remain in a cell that is about 6’x7’, 24 hours a day. Even for the most minor of charges, those single monthly hearings last for a mere 40 minutes, with the trial held over for another month. It can take months, or even years for a trial to reach its conclusion. By then, the defendant has been financially ruined, and even if they were found to be innocent the crawl back up is nearly impossible. It’s clearly evident to no one, except Hideaki Ueda’s imagination, that Japan is the one of the most advanced countries when it comes to the rights of those held in detention, and who are denied basic human rights, the right to legal counsel, the right to raise an adequate defense, and the right to a fair trial before an impartial tribunal. Although all of these matters are addressed in Japan’s Constitution, none of these rights are afforded to anyone that is accused of a crime, ever! Is this the kind of nation that the world wants to stand by, and watch as it forms a new military? One that will no doubt threaten its neighbors in the region, and global instability in the process?

Torture, and murder of foreigners in Japan’s gulags

Japan has tortured, and murdered numerous foreigners in their prisons, immigration centers, and through contact with police, and public prosecutors that use coercive, and illegal conduct to force extract false confessions to obtain invalid convictions. Often the conditions in detention are so stressful that those who are detained die from the massive level of stress they are subjected to. Those that don’t understand the system, or have had enough of the great indignity they suffer from are often subjected to an endless barrage of various forms of isolation, and torture.

Two men die on the same day at the Ushiku immigration detention center.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/03/31/national/two-men-die-at-immigration-center

Ghana man murdered by detention guards at Narita airport.
http://www.dw.de/court-rules-japan-officials-killed-deportee-at-narita/a-17527619

Govinda Mainali cleared of murder after 15 years in prison in Japan.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-20234596

Immigration authorities immediately deported Govinda Mainali after being released for a murder he had  not committed because they now claimed that he had overstayed his visa as a result of his time in prison. The truth is the Japanese government illegally detained him, and are now required to pay large sums of money for redress of damages. By forcing the man to leave Japan, the corrupt officials that bungled the matter, and tried to hide evidence that showed the man was innocent, thought they could silence the man. Human rights group Amnesty International said that his case was “a sharp reminder why Japan must reform its police detention system”.

As of this writing, Abe’s administration permitted the former Ministry of Justice, Sadakazu Tanigaki to execute by method of hanging, twelve inmates who were convicted of committing capital crimes. How many of them were innocent? Now many were forced to confess to crimes they had not committed? His reward for his role in capital murder was to become the number two man under Abe’s cabinet reshuffling. This reshuffling was necessary as dismal news related to Japan’s economy showed that by August of 2014, Japan’s productivity plummeted to the disastrous levels of post 3.11.11. During that time, the entire countries railway system was shutdown, all other forms of transportation were shutdown, including the public bus system, highways, and local roads, as fuel was no where to be found. Ships were barred from entering Japan’s eastern ports under the fear that aftershocks would cause more tsunami coastal damage. The city of Tokyo’s food supplies dried up, as there was none to be found, because the nation had no disaster plan in place. Most shops boarded up, and prepared for the worst. Even so, Abe is planning to raise sales tax another 2%, after the failed 3% increase that took place only a few short months ago. If there is anything to take away from this it is that the Japanese learn nothing from anything. They are entirely a race of people that are unteachable.

Pressed by police, even the innocent confess.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/world/asia/11japan.html?pagewanted=all

Committee Against Torture Examines Japan.
http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13344&LangID=E

Illegal and dead in a Japanese cell.
http://www.dw.de/illegal-and-dead-in-a-japanese-cell/a-17536330

California Innocence Project: Concerned About False Confessions.
http://californiainnocenceproject.org/blog/2013/01/07/japan-concerned-over-false-confessions

The Economist. Confess and be done with it.
http://www.economist.com/node/8680941

UN body attacks Japan’s justice system.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/692b3c92-0875-11dc-b11e-000b5df10621.html

Japan crime: Why do innocent people confess?
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20810572

Amnesty International Japan: Briefing to the UN Committee Against Torture.
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA22/006/2013/en/6fcb7b7a-102e-4c84-87d1-9a47bb4dae8f/asa220062013en.pdf

Foreigners are not considered human beings

Japan Probe. Prosecutors taught foreigners have no human rights.
http://www.japanprobe.com/2011/05/26/public-prosecutors-were-taught-that-yakuza-foreigners-have-no-rights

Ex-judge lifts lid on Japan’s corrupt judicial system.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/04/30/national/crime-legal/ex-judge-lifts-lid-japans-corrupt-judicial-system

Former public prosecutor Hiroshi Ichikawa spoke at a symposium in Tokyo on May 23rd, 2011. He gave a candid account of the reality of training for new employees within the prosecutorial system in Japan. Ishikawa disclosed that in his past experience, “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights.” and “Prosecutors are instructed to make up confessions, and then force the suspect to sign it.” Ichikawa then gave a chilling account of how under this warped training system, “I came to sort of agree that these kinds of things were only natural.” Ishikawa was involved as the chief prosecutor in the Saga City Agriculture Co-op case that arose in 2000. During police questioning of the former union leader, a forced confession was obtained as police screamed, “We’ll fucking beat you to death, you bastard.” The union leader had been indicted on suspicion of breach of trust, but was found not guilty based on the court’s refusal to accept the confession was made voluntary. As a result, Ishikawa received a harsh reprimand and resigned his post as public prosecutor. Ishikawa spoke on that day as a panelist at a symposium on the theme “Prosecution, Public Opinion, and False Charges” held at the Graduate School of Communications at Meiji University. At first, he gave shocking testimony that, “I admit that public prosecutors, having committed errors unsuited to their position, must take the position of offering profuse apologies.” while also noting that, “I want to tell the whole truth, so we can know how many threat-spewing public prosecutors were created.”

Ishikawa was first appointed to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office in 1993. In his first year there, he claims his superiors taught him that, ‘Yakuza and foreigners have no rights’ “That superior said on that point, ‘Foreigners don’t understand Japanese, so if you speak Japanese, you can heap as much verbal abuse as you want on them.’” Further, that superior said, “Once when we were interrogating a foreign suspect, we thrust an awl right in front of his eye and shouted abuses at him in Japanese. That’s how you get confessions!” as Ishikawa recounted his personal experiences.

In his third year, a superior instructed him on methods to take confessions. That being, the prosecutor rattling off a made-up confession and then thrusting the confession form at the suspect and making them sign it. If the suspect refused to sign, what should be done? “If the suspect resists, tell him, ‘This is not your confession form, it’s just [you acknowledging] what I’m saying.’” Ishikawa recalled of that period. “When being trained in such a manner, you come to sort of believe that these things are only natural. In my eighth year, even I verbally abused suspects, totally unsuitable for to my position. The case had a not guilty verdict, and it ended up with my resignation.” “To atone for my terrible mistakes, I thought, ‘Isn’t it my duty to tell what I have seen, and what I have heard?’”

If you have rich parents are Japanese, and wealthy, one can escape prosecution, and literally get away with murder, including the premeditated cold blooded execution of a woman by blowing off the back of her head as she helps you with your homework, then have sex with her corpse, and then dismember her body, and eat parts of it. This is the story of Issei Sagawa, who has written best-selling books on his crime, and who has produced, and starred in numerous pornographic films based on dismembering female victims, necrophilia, and consumption of their sexual organs. The Japanese male will say, What’s the big deal? She was only a foreigner anyway?

The rich don’t get prosecuted no matter how unconscionable their crimes are

Issei Sagawa: The murderous cannibal that walks free.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdXPJWODzjo

The Japanese myth. The streets are safe for foreign women

The Lindsay Hawker tragedy.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/21/lindsay-hawker-killer-jailed-life

Japan and child pornography

The exploitation of children through the production, distribution, and consumption of pornography is the highest in the world, with politicians, and those that manufacturer it calling it a form of free speech. Japanese adult pornography is arguably some of the sickest, and most disturbing produced in the world. Now add the element of an innocent child being forced into deviant sexual acts. Much of it is extremely violent, and utilizes minor children in ways that would bring the death penalty in some nations, and certainly a well-deserved life sentence in any civilized nation. Japanese child pornography often includes physical beatings, extreme force, and other forms of violent assaults against minor children who are subjected to unthinkable acts of brutality.

Japan lags behind in child pornography laws.
http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1537851/japan-still-behind-global-standards-child-pornography-laws

Japan outlaws possession but comic book depictions survive.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/world/asia/japan-bans-possession-of-child-pornography-after-years-of-pressure.html?_r=0

Japan finally bans child pornography.
http://time.com/2892728/japan-finally-bans-child-pornography

Japan a haven for child abduction

Japan is a haven for child abduction. It’s been that way for decades. Ironically, former prime minister Koizumi, who abducted two of his own children, and abandoned another, began pressuring North Korea regarding some 300 missing Japanese he alleges were abducted by North Korea to train spies to learn about the culture, and communicate in the Japanese language. Although North Korea has admitted abducting a handful of Japanese citizens; abductions that took place decades ago during the cold war era, the numbers of missing Japanese have never been substantiated through a showing of any real evidence. The Japanese media cover this story on a near daily basis. Yet, the Japanese media has never covered the issue regarding thousands of international child abductions the nation is directly responsible for. Regardless, the numbers claimed by Japan pales in comparison to the more than 10,000 known cases of child abduction that exists within Japan in recent years. The number rises sharply to around 30,000 since pre-war reconstruction. Many children who are abducted into Japan are done so through state sponsored action. The perpetrators of the crimes are never brought to justice. Even where courts in other nations made rulings, and order the return of the abducted children, and place the abductor on Interpol for international arrest warrants. Regardless, Japan ignores those rulings, and has never returned a single child.

If your child has been abducted, and they are a U.S. citizen, contact the U.S. Dept. of State at 888-407-4747. If the country the child has been abducted too is a member of The Hague Treaty, you can use the following Dept. of State form to apply for assistance.
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/80021.pdf

From The Shadows. A documentary film on child abduction in Japan.
http://www.fromtheshadowsmovie.com

Japan’s child abduction laws in limbo.
http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2014/05/06/japans-child-abduction-laws-limbo

International Association for Parent Child Reunion.
http://www.iapcr.org

Child abduction agreement too late for many parents.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/04/04/national/child-abduction-agreement-too-late-for-many-parents

Bring Abducted Children Home.
http://bachome.org/tag/japan-child-abduction

Children’s Rights Council of Japan.
http://www.crcjapan.com

Desperate father receives 6.1 million settlement.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1385401/Desperate-father-Christopher-Savoie-tried-snatch-abducted-children-runaway-Japanese-mother-awarded-6-1-million-settlement.html

Children are institutionalized, and treated as if their disability, or parental abandonment is a criminal offense

The United Nations Alternative Care Guidelines calls for children under three years of age in care to be placed in family-based settings. Instead, Japan places them in overcrowded facilities that are brutally managed, and operated with standards equivalent to felony child abuse. Japan rates as the highest among industrialized nations, the report warned, with as few as one in 10 children eventually moving to a family environment through fostering or adoption. The 119-page report called for a major reform of the Japanese care system, including the closure of all infant-care institutions, and the priority of adoption or fostering over institutionalization. This is a difficult task. It would mean training the Japanese to become responsible, and caring human beings, as the Japanese simply do not adopt children under the poor excuse that there is no blood tie. On the flip side of this matter, when parents divorce, one of them will almost always abandon their children forever. Former prime minister Koizumi is guilty of such an immoral act. When he divorced his pregnant wife, he abducted his two older children, and abandoned the unborn child who grew to love, and admire the man who had abandoned him, and desired nothing ore than to have a chance to one day meet him. Koizumi’s other two sons have faired well, one becoming an untalented pop singer, and the other groomed for a life as a politician.

Japan’s institutionalized children.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28636008

The UN Human Rights Watch Report, Without Dreams.
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/05/01/without-dreams

The Olympics and bribery

The topic of the Olympic games, and bribery is covered in the following article:
http://www.rense.com/general96/boycott.html

Investigation into Nagano Olympic games bid
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/1999/feb/04/olympic-bribes-nagano-bid-investigation

Leaders of Salt Lake Olympic bid indicted
http://www.nytimes.com/2000/07/21/sports/olympics-leaders-of-salt-lake-olympic-bid-are-indicted-in-bribery-scandal.html

After viewing the above information does Japan seem like the kind of place that you’d like to spend a vacation with your family? Is it worth attending the 2020 Olympic games knowing what you know now? How could someone honestly enjoy the spirit of international games in a country that views foreigners as something less than human, abducts, and sexually abuses children, treats those that seek political asylum as criminals, treating them often worse than the country that was persecuting them, and where hate speech, violent calls for the destruction of businesses, and the outright murder of foreigners is deemed legally acceptable, so long as it is the Japanese that are conveying the message of hate, and intolerance, and not a foreign national.

Next time you’re in the market to purchase a car, consider a Ford, a BMW, a Chevy, anything but a Japanese manufactured model.

Please, help educate the Japanese, improve their international literacy and standing. Educate them in the areas of human rights, and equality, especially where children, and parental rights are concerned.

By refusing to purchase Japan products, boycotting tourism to the nation, and refusing to attend, or participate in the 2020 Olympics, much needed change can finally be achieved. Remember the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott that took place in 1955-56. It took a group of determined, and strong-willed individuals to grind the cities transportation system to a halt. At first the bus company, and the downtown shops shrugged it off, but when the coffers ran dry, the town folk realized financial ruin was imminent, and finally caved in to the pressure. Segregation eventually eroded. Economic turmoil is probably the only method of reaching the racist Japanese. A racism that was brought about through generations of brainwashing, and mind manipulation of the few who hold power. When politicians, and other interested entities keep a people believing they are superior to others, it keeps them from asking the real questions, such as why the economy, and environment are in total disrepair? And why nothing is being done about it.

Contact your representatives, and make your voice is heard regarding Japan, its appalling historical distortions, and its xenophobia that is entirely unjustified.

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Japan’s Dirty Secret

Before.

Unfortunately, beauty is truly only skin deep when it comes to taking photos of various locations around the world. This orb we call planet earth is at the point that it’s become overrun with toxic debris, and is now an aesthetically unpleasant place to be. All of this is a direct result of the impact of human growth, greed, and disdain for all things wholesome, and pure. Human’s have become as shallow as a full moon ebb when it comes to the environment, taking responsibility, and making real efforts to repair the damage done, for the benefit of those that will follow in this generations footsteps.

When the sun rises, and darkness is washed in bright light, what’s remains is a revelation of a disturbing proportions, notably that Japan’s beaches are some of the most polluted in the world.

After. This is the same location as in the featured photo above.

(I’ve seen fishermen carry full bags of garbage, and toss them into the ocean at this location, as if it was their personal dumping ground.)

While much of the nation revels in unfounded racist assumptions that all Koreans, and Chinese are filthy four-legged beasts, I thought it proper to show the side of Japan that tourists rarely have the opportunity to see.

The sign reads, no dumping.

This sign reads, no dumping as well.

I’ve had numerous conversations along the shores of Japan, often asking why the rivers, and streams that run into the oceans, and the shorelines themselves are covered in massive piles of debris, refuse, and plastic. I always ask, who is responsible for this? The answers are stark, and reveal layers, upon layers of denial. Literally, everyone I have spoken to had the same pat conclusion. It’s the Koreans, and the Chinese that are fowling up Japan’s shoreline! Ironically, the myriad of containers made of plastic, metal, glass, styrofoam, and other man-made materials, and “convenient” packaging, are all noted as Japanese produced goods. Surely, Japan can’t blame Korea, and China for the sea of debris that flows out of the nation’s own rivers when it rains. Can they? Japan surely can’t blame the massive amount of garbage that’s piling up on the Pacific Ocean side of the nation on their much hated, and maligned neighbors, can they? Yet, they do. This is all part of Japan’s liar culture. Uso mo hōben meanslying is also a means to an end.

The following photos were taken while traveling along Japan’s coast in Chiba Prefecture. They represent a mere two hours of random stops along various beaches.

Up close and not so personal.

So, while Japan’s beaches are covered in toxic discarded containers of oil, and other caustic chemicals, and obsolete electronic goods, the surfers, and fishermen that spend their days on the ocean, walking over, and around the debris that’s piling higher, and higher. The idea of cleaning up this mess never seems to occur to any of them. Instead, they suck on their cigarettes, and toss spent butts into the heaps, never considering that their ignorance contributes to the annual count of trillions of cigarette butts that bleed nicotinic acids, and are instrumental in killing off coral reefs, and cause changes in the ocean’s PH levels, at an astounding rate. But, no worries, the Japanese can continue to blame their hated neighbors for the destruction of their shorelines.

Every “ocean man” in the land has a cigarette dangling from their jaw, and they always end up in the drainage ditch.

The following are examples of discarded debris along Japan’s, not so mystical sea shores.

Beach paths.

Below is a location where divers trespass, and use as their personal dumping ground.

Overflowing garbage leeching into the grounds below.

Wretched shore obstructions built during the fraudulent 80′s miracle era.

Harbors.

The above location was so toxic that the onshore air blowing in off of the ocean was putrid, and burned my throat so badly, that I had to cover my face with a towel, and run back to my car to get out of there.

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Japan Fruit Shams

A hundred and eight dollar mango. Mango!

What is it about Japan that the nation thinks someone will buy a puny mango for more than a hundred dollars? I used to say, in Japan you pay twice as much for half as little. But, this is taking it to the nth degree. One thing is certain, greed knows no boundaries in the little island nation.

At my mom’s home in Miami there are two large mango trees in her front yard. Those mangos are three times as big as this one, and they’re the best damn mangos I’ve ever eaten. Perhaps I should get her to send me several bags. I’d love to set a stand up next to this one, and display her mangos next to this emaciated little shrivel. Heck, I’d take a hundred bucks for fifty of ‘em. And… My mom’s mangos aren’t contaminated with high levels of radiation toxicity.

These stores try to justify their prices by claiming these are “special” fruits to give as gifts for people who are in the hospital. Well, if I gave that mango to a recuperating family member, and told them it cost a hundred bucks, I’d have to call in a pulmonary specialist to deal with the heart attack that was sure to ensue.

If that mango greed factor isn’t off the charts enough for you, perhaps the following will settle the score…

Here ya go!

A hundred and thirty dollar cantaloupe the size of an orange. Yeah, greed knows no bounds in Japan. These prices, while the nation is in a recession, uber deflation, and total denial. And… what of the honey dew!

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Warning To Unsuspecting Teachers

 

There’s a new sham in Yokohama’s Motomachi district known as Orchard Kinder.

This post is a caveat to perspective teachers that the owner of Orchard Kinder, Luther Wong is preying upon.

DO NOT WORK FOR ORCHARD KINDER. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Orchard Kinder is a new “international” school that has been opened for less than two months. The owner, Luther Wong is already in deep trouble with the Labor Bureau, and the courts as a result of his criminal, and illegal activities aimed at unsuspecting foreign instructors.

Wong brought an unsuspecting twenty-two year old female teacher to Japan, who was living in Greece at the time with her mother, and grandmother. She came to Japan under the guise of being employed at Orchard Kinder. Wong had not revealed to her that it was a brand new school, still in the construction stage,f had yet to be completed, and that he didn’t have an advertising budget, or the financial ability to keep the school afloat.

Somehow, Wong believed that by opening a new school, with no advertisement budget parents would flock to the school to sign up. They didn’t! As of the time of writing this, the school had only one paying student, and if those parents were informed of Wong’s criminal activities, the school would be as vacant, as his irrational thought processes.

READ ON

With the clear knowledge that finding students is quite difficult, by late March, Wong immediately fired one instructor before they even had a chance to work a single day. This resulted in great harm as this instructor who had already been residing in Japan, suddenly was without employment, resulting in visa issues. This young man, was from Australia.

In Wong’s communications to the female educator, while she safely resided overseas, he promised to provide her housing, and deduct the expenses out of her salary. When this female (who will remain anonymous, as she has greatly fears Wong) arrived in Japan, she was not provided housing, discovered the school hadn’t opened yet, and was left stranded on the streets without a place to live. She was told to get her own housing, which Wong already knew she did not have the financial ability to obtain. This scared, and exposed woman, now living on the streets in a foreign country, was forced to contact her father, and beg for money to pay for housing related expenses that totalled more than 2000.00 USD.

Anyone foreigner who resides in Japan knows that it is nearly impossible to find housing without an employer as a guarantor. Wong knew this as well. He clearly provided false, and misleading information, which was relied upon, causing great harm to this unsuspecting young women that enjoys teaching little children.

Wong was then to pay this teacher, a contractual obligation, her transportation related costs, which amounted to a mere 10,000 yen for the month of March, and April. Money she needed to purchase food, as she was financially broke, starving, and in desperate need of the money. Wong knew of her plight, and refused to pay those outstanding travel related expenses. This woman, in that vulnerable state, went to the Naka-ku Labor Bureau, and made an official complaint. The arbiter, Mr. Akiyama immediately contacted Wong, and ordered him to pay the teacher’s transportation costs immediately. The arbiter also said that Wong was unstable, trembling like a child on the phone, irrational, and fearful of the circumstance that he had put himself into. Note: As any sociopath, he was fearful of his own circumstance, not of the situation he was putting others into.

Wong’s unconscionable conduct did not subside, instead he began to harass, and intimidate this woman via email, and phone calls, with a myriad of threatening communications. (See below). Those communications include threats of refusal to pay outstanding salary, chastising her for going to the labor office over money she needed to merely eat, and for being unstable. Ironic, when that is the exact word the arbiter at the labor office used to describe Wong.

The woman refused to work for the man any longer, and demanded the outstanding pay owed to her, which was contractually due on April 1st, 2014. She demanded her outstanding salary paid via bank deposit. Wong then called the police, after she, and another (third) fired teacher  handed him documents provided by the labor officer that is investigating the matter.

Wong refused to comply with this teacher’s salary demand, instead, he demanded the young woman to meet him in person. She refused, and as a result, he refused to pay her outstanding salary. Fearing retaliation from this Wong character, as he had already called the police for no good cause, she again refused to meet with him. As of April 7th, 2014, Wong has not paid the woman’s outstanding salary, and travel related expenses, and continues to demand her to meet with him in person. A police report was filed to the Yokohama police department.

Wong has previously fired two other teachers after they each paid their own relocation related expenses to work at Orchard Kinder. One teacher was fired for merely asking Wong to supply the necessary documents for a visa renewal, as Wong had agreed to sponsor that teacher’s visa. Wong stated that he could not supply a company tax statement, or a company financial statement, which is required by immigration law to process a work related visa.

The real issue is that Wong has no financial ability to pay the debts he has incurred, and doesn’t have the ability to prove his financial statement, or tax statement required by Japan’s immigration ministry.

CAVEAT

Wong advertises online at Craigslist, GaijinPot, and other sites preying upon unsuspecting teachers, and now requires them to have a working visa instead of sponsoring them, as is required by immigration law. (See a screenshot of Orchard Kinder website teacher advertisement shown below).

Unknown to Wong, when a \ company provides a sponsorship for a visa, it is illegal for a second company to circumvent immigration law document requirements, and then hiring that employee, who was initially sponsored at the expense of the previous employer. These visa “requirements” are a continuing scam of companies that prey upon unsuspecting, and perspective employees. In a nutshell, Wong’s advertisements for hire violates Japan’s immigration policy.

It also turns out this second teacher was due travel related expenses, and Wong refused to pay them as well. This second teacher took the matter to the Naka-ku Labor Bureau, where Wong was ordered to pay that teacher as well. This second teacher was then fired with a mere eight days remaining on their visa. Wong told the teacher, “I won’t fire you. Keep coming to work, and you won’t be able to look for another job. When your visa expires, you can’t work. I won’t pay you, and you will have to leave the country.” Wong’s termination lies were entirely exposed to the labor office as a result of the arrogant email trail he left behind, which exposes his unlawful conduct.

Is Orchard Kinder the kind of company that should be allowed to operate in Japan? Of course not, and on many levels. First, Wong has no experience in education. Further, his obsessive unconscionable conduct, cheating teachers over small fees he is legally obligated to pay has resulted in great harm to three different instructors, and in a very short period of time. Why are these phony educational shams allowed to exist where there is no licensing requirement by the Ministry of Education? Why is there no oversight? Orchard Kinder is just another example of Japan allowing foreign labor to be exploited by criminal, and immorally reprehensible perpetrators that prey upon unsuspecting, and innocent educators. Luther Wong should go to prison!

Another disturbing trait of this Wong criminal is that he communicates in English fairly well, yet all three of the teachers were fired, in less than a month’s period, and given termination notices written in Japanese. The labor office asked, “Why has he given these termination notices in Japanese?”, and “Why is he writing these termination letters to us, and not to the employees? It’s clear, isn’t it? Writing fraudulent termination notices are intentionally vague, and ambiguous. Unknown to unsophisticated people like Wong, it is the maker of a contract that is held to the terms where there is a dispute in language terminology. The ambiguities, and vague language is always held against the maker of the contract.

The matter with Wong, and his empty school lies with the arbiters at the Naka-ku labor office. Once they finalize their determination, Wong is obligated to their decision, by civil code, as stated in the contract he prepared himself.
The teachers have vowed to file a civil action Luther Wong, and Orchard Kinder based on fraud, false representation, misleading statements resulting in financial harm, intentional infliction of emotional distress, power harassment, and the reimbursement of all costs related to relocating, a move not made, but for Wong’s false representations. The labor office officer handling the case said, “This guy has only opened for a short time, and yet he is already causing this much trouble? Well, have to keep a close watch on him, and not allow this to continue.”

Orchard Kinder website ploy sucking in unsuspecting teachers. Note the valid visa or work permit requirement.

Craigslist Advertisement

Communications regarding Wong with the teachers mentioned in this expose.

April 21, 2014 8:39:31 PM
I’m sure the other teachers are scared as well. This guy (Wong) really showed his bad side, and that he is unstable.

April 22, 2014 12:13:33
He (Wong) claimed (student name redacted) is afraid of me, and told his parents he doesn’t want to go to the school any longer. In the statement (Wong) said he suspected me of doing something wrong, and that I was not fit to work with children. This… coming from someone that has never worked with children.

On Apr 23, 2014 1:26 AM
I feel bad that that student. (Wong) told me that he leaves his kids alone in the crib when they cry. He said, that’s the best way to handle them. He’s dead wrong. Leaving a child to cry, means they have no trust, and don’t bond well. You can see his younger son has issues with trust. (Wong) knows nothing about running a school, let alone running a business.

April 23, 2014 12:12:05 PM
I will take a photo of how employees are forced to sit on the floor during break, while (Wong) sits at his throne. (This is in reference that Wong has purchased no furnishings for the staff to sit upon while eating lunch. The teachers sit on the floor.)

April 23, 2014 12:17:13 PM
I just sent him notice to remove any images of me from his Facebook page, and from the Orchard website as well.

April 23, 2014 1:41:12 PM
(Wong) also has invaded my privacy by looking at my phone and touching my hand and treating me like a kid on a few occasions too many. He also took my violin out of my case, took photos of it without even asking my permission.

April 24, 2014 12:12:32 PM
I went to the labor office today and handed in my documents. They said go to the school with my documents and demand (Wong) to pay me 10,000 yen for travel expenses for the month of March. I went to the school and he had the school door locked. I kept trying to open the door until he finally let me in. I guess the school is a prison now. He then took me out in the hallway where he got emotional on me. I demanded him to pay me for the month of March as the labor office demanded of him and he refused. Now I have to call the labor office Monday as they asked me to do if he refused to pay. He also tried to get me to quit again but I refused. (Wong) was shitting in his pants when I left.

(Wong would later commit assault, and battery on one of these teachers after submitting documents provided by the labor office for Wong. Wong would then call the police on this teacher, who gave the labor officer’s card to the police, who they called, and verified that Wong was violating labor law.)

Date: Apr 24, 2014 5:01 PM
From: “Wong Luther” <luther.wong@orchardkinder.com>

Subject: RE: dayoff at Friday 25th April 2014
To: (Redacted)
2014.4.24
Your application of dayoff at Friday 25th April 2014 is not approved, please come to work at  8am tomorrow
Regards,
Luther
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

April 24, 2014 11:19:34 PM
I will tell the labor office on Monday about the police incident.

Date: Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 7:27 PM
From: Wong Luther <luther.wong@orchardkinder.com>
Subject: Warning Letter
To: (Redacted)
2014.4.25
From Luther Wong
This is a warning letter regarding 2014.4.23 2pm to 5pm that you left the school without approval from your direct supervisors. (Teacher went to the labor board regarding being paid, and starving)
As a result your co-worker (Redacted), she had to take care of children (2 of 2 years old, 1 of 1 years old) by herself alone. (One student and two Wong kids)

Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 11:22 PM
Same pattern of threats, and intimidation. And putting it in Japanese is pathetic. The Labor Office already commented on that. Let the douche fire you. Get out of there.

April 25, 2014 11:27:14 PM
I agree, I think his letter is a form of harassment.
Due to (Wong’s) behavior at work I cannot return there.

Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM
Subject: Re: warning letter
To: (Redacted)
2014.4.28
(The document was written in Japanese)
This is another warning letter to you that you refused to come to work at 2014.4.25 without a proper reason, and you also disobeyed the order from your immediate supervisor. (There is no supervisor, as there is only Wong, and two very scared Japanese teachers)
We would like you to change your attitude and become responsible to your role.
Luther Wong
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

Apr 29, 2014 11:09 AM
Subject: Request for medical certificate etc
To: (Redacted)
2014.4.29
Reference is made to your email at 2014.4.27 and 2014.4.28, company requires you to provide
1) medical certificate that dated at 2014.4.27
2) medical certificate that dated at 2014.4.28
3) receipt of medical prescription of both day
all clinics in Japan issue and keep the record of medical certificate, you shall able to ask the the doctor(s) to re-issue.
In Japan, medical prescription is given out every time you went to see doctor, please provide the copy or a photo of those medical prescriptions.
Luther
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

Apr 30, 2014 11:51 AM
Subject: RE: End of your probation period
To: (Redacted)
2014.4.30
RE: End of your probation period
We are writing to you and letting you know that your employment contract will be ended as 2014.5.30.
Reference is made to Labour Law article 20.
Based on our observation, you have failed to demonstrate your attitude, your ability as a teacher in our preschool Orchard Kinder with following reasons:
1) 2014.4.23 2pm to 5pm that you left the school without approval from your direct supervisors. As a result your co-worker (Redacted), she had to take care of 3 children (2 of 2 years old, 1 of 1 years old) by herself alone. Your action could lead to serious damage to company reputation as well as harm to children.
2) You refused to come to work at  2014.4.25 without a proper reason even though company is agreed to pay your March and April travel expense, and you also disobeyed the order from your immediate supervisor.
3) Accused company  that your salary was deliberately paid late at 2014.4.7. All salary paid at 2014.4.4 to the employees. (Salary was due 4.1.14. by contract) Company has lost trust on you due to your irrational accusation.
4) Accused company agreed to provide housing to you. On 2014.4.23 you made complaint to Kanagawa Labour  Bureau that company did not provide housing compensation to you. However according to our interview as well as our email correspondence, company never ever agreed to provide any housing compensation and housing is on employee own expense. Your irrational accusation has cause us lost trust, faith to you and gone to a level that could not be repaired. (In email communication while this teacher was still overseas Wong promised to provide housing, and to deduct it from the teacher’s salary. When she arrived in Japan, he has no housing for her, the school was still in construction stage, and the only offer was for her to take a shower at his home, AFTER his friends who were visiting him vacated.)
Lastly, you did not come to work at 2014.4.30, without given prior notice and reason to your immediate supervisors.
You are still hiring by company and you are obligated to come to work.
Regards,
Luther Wong
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

May 1, 2014 10:29 AM
Subject: RE: Warning Letter
To: (Redacted)
2014.5.1
RE: Warning Letter
This is the 3rd warning letter, you did not come to work at 2014.4.30 without giving prior notice to your supervisor.
Please make sure you come to work at 2014.5.1 and 2014.5.2
Luther Wong
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

May 1, 2014 1:22:46 PM
Why is he paying in cash? This guy scares me, I dread getting his harrassment letters everyday.
I hope you are enjoying your time with family! I believe this will be a long month for me as I have no reason to go back to that place.

May 2, 2014 at 3:24 AM
Luther Wong,
I demand all outstanding salary, and unpaid travel related expenses paid electronically into my JP Bank account as stipulated in my employment contract.
You are on notice that I have no intention of seeing you in person regarding any of this matter, as I have great fear of being around you.
Send an electronic copy via email of the breakdown of those expenses, as required by labor, and tax law.
Remove all images, and videos of me from the Orchard Kinder Facebook page, and website.
I am also putting you on notice that I will be seeking reimbursement regarding moving costs, and other related costs in a civil action against you, and your company. This suit will also include breach of contract, fraud, false representation, and harassment.

Fri, May 2, 2014 at 4:27 PM
Subject: Re: Payment Notice
To: (Redacted)
2014.5.2
RE: Payment Notice
You cannot make you demand as you want, you are still hiring by the company and company will have follow the procedures to ensure operations are running efficiently.
Another point is 2014.5.5 and 2014.5.6 is public holiday, banks are close. (This means payment should be paid BEFORE holidays, not AFTER, as required by labor law.)
As I mentioned in the previous email, you are official still bound by the employment contract until 2014.5.30, therefore you are obligated to come to work. (This asshole clearly doesn’t understand the term involuntary servitude, which is a nice way of saying SLAVERY.)
Reference made to your point of deleting your videos and photos, for clarification your request was sent at 2014.5.2 3:02:20 JST
Regards,
Managing Director
Luther Wong
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

Fri, May 2, 2014 at 5:39 PM
When the LB reopens after the 13th, I will go with you. I will bring the package he sent me as well. He took down all my artwork and sent it to me, which clearly shows that he recognizes that I worked for him in Feb., and still refuses to pay, even where the labor office already determined he must pay.
I’m arbitrating this matter, and letting the labor office know about him. I already told him that your communications will be posted on my news site, and every English teacher sites as well.

May 2, 2014 5:43:43 PM

I bet the place looks like a shit hole without your artwork. I’m pretty sure he had (Redacted) email me because she asked me to come to work on the 7th. He owes me from working there and causing this pit of doom.
May 1, 2014 at 10:10 AM, Wong Luther <luther.wong@orchardkinder.com> wrote:
2014.5.1
To: (Redacted)
During the payment dispute raised at 2014.4.24, from going forward your salary and travel expense shall be paid in cash and deliver directly to yourself. You shall come to school to collect your salary as well as travel expense. Upon received your payment you shall sign a receipt in order to for us to keep a record of your payment.
Regards,
Luther Wong
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

May 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM
You do not have to see that guy. Regardless of what he thinks. He’s a nut. Let him know you fear that he will assault you, as he did me.

May 2, 2014 5:36:34 PM
I do fear that. I fear him kidnapping me.

May 2, 2014 at 3:51 PM
Subject: Re: Change of payment method
To: (Redacted)
2014.5.2
I have indicated the reasons in my emails to you, that I won’t pay  you. Due to you don’t hold any credibility to your action and words, to avoid further dispute it is advised to pay you directly. However I am ok if you are willing to present yourself to the school and sign up the receipt immediate after the transfer.
Regards,
Luther Wong
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

May 2, 2014 5:40:58 PM
5.2.2014
1) To make my point clear, you MUST pay me electronically as it is MY salary and MY travel expenses that you OWE me.
2) I never want to see you in person, again.
3) You MUST pay me electronically and send MY payment receipt electronically.
4) If you refuse to pay me electronically by 5.7.2014 I will get ahold of my aunt who is an attorney.

Date: Fri, May 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM
From: Wong Luther <luther.wong@orchardkinder.com>
Subject: Re: Warning Letter
To: (Redacted)
2014.5.2
I am following the necessary procedures in order to avoid further conflicts maybe raise by you.
And it is wrong that you said you have the freedom to go to work, you are bound by the employment contract that you provide services to the company, 8 hours a day, 5 days per week. (Another attempt at involuntary servitude.)
If you have mental instability, you shall apply for sick-leave provided that you submit the medical certificate and medical prescription.
However for the past 5 days you didn’t submit any supporting documents for the sick leave and even prior notice for the company.
I hope it is clear.
Regards,
Luther Wong
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

On 2014/05/01, at 13:37
I understand the warning letters and I understand that you will end my contract on May 30, 2014. However, I do not appreciate receiving these letters of warning everyday. I believe it to be unnecessary as I am aware that I have the freedom to go to work or not. How you have treated me results in my “mental instability” and inability to show up to work on the days requested.
I wish it were otherwise, but it is not the case.

Thu, May 1, 2014 at 10:29 AM, Wong Luther <luther.wong@orchardkinder.com> wrote:
2014.5.1
RE: Warning Letter
This is the 3rd warning letter, (Actually fifth) you did not come to work at 2014.4.30 without giving prior notice to your supervisor. Please make sure you come to work at 2014.5.1 and 2014.5.2
Luther Wong
Managing Director
SCENE / Orchard Kinder

5.2.2014
1) To make my point clear, you MUST pay me electronically as it is MY salary and MY travel expenses that
you OWE me.
2) I never want to see you in person, again.
3) You MUST pay me electronically and send MY payment receipt electronically.

May 2, 2014 5:50:18 PM
To: (Redacted)
My Dad was even fearful when I said he wants to see me in person to pay me.

On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 5:45 PM
All this is good fodder for the labor office. He’s insane, harassing you, and violating the law in a dangerous way. His actions are criminal. He’s telling you he will not pay you unless he sees you in person. He’ll regret all of this. I can assure you of that.

May 4, 2014 1:03:35 PM
To: (Redacted)
By labor law he was to pay on April 1st. If he claims he doesn’t have to pay until the 4th, for example, Saturday, and Sunday fell on a weekend.
He has not responded to my demand to give me an accounting (receipt) of the payment he made to my account. I suspect he didn’t pay any of his legal obligations in an attempt to save money, including pension, withholding tax, etc. As you recall, the reason he wants to pay cash is because the cheap bastard said it saves him a 1000 ¥ bank fee. It’s pretty clear this guy is hurting for cash, and as Mr. Akiyama said, with only one student, he won’t be in business much longer anyway.

—–

For those who don’t know, this is what it is really like working in the country of Japan. 

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3.11.11. Three Years On

Three Years On is dedicated to the victims of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that occurred on March 11th, 2011.

It’s been three years since Japan’s triple disaster, and there has been very little, if any change in the way the nation governs the nuclear aspect of the energy industry.

Hundreds of millions of dollars poured in through generous donations from around the world, but most of the victims hadn’t received one single yen of compensation, as the government has hijacked misappropriated much of the funds, and used it on projects that most of the donor’s would not have approved of. Meanwhile, scores of families still remain living as evacuees, without being supplied basic necessities such as water, electricity, and heating. Most refugees have not received government assistance, nor cash payouts by TEPCO for the loss of their lands, and livelihoods. The victims, be it the earthquake, the tsunami, or the radiation debacle, simply have been forgotten by the media, Japan, and the world.

As far as the man-made nuclear aspect of the disaster goes, most of the Japanese people remain in denial, even as officials have finally admitted that many areas in Fukushima Prefecture will never be inhabited again. The radiation contamination readings in Fukushima, and the surrounding areas have recently been recorded at their highest levels ever recorded. Meanwhile, a joint study by Kyoto University, and the University of Tsukuba, estimates that the water at the mouth of the Abukumagawa River that runs through the prefecture is contaminated with radiation levels of 50 billion becquerels per day. This will prove to be disastrous for the people of Fukushima, as that river is their main water source. Further, an estimated 10% of Fukushima children already have suffered cancer related illnesses, but the government, and TEPCO continue to deny any causal link between their suffering, and the reckless corporate management of the nuclear facility, that brought about the subsequent destruction of much of central Japan.

As the disaster in Dai-ichi continues to unfold, it is becoming evident that Japan’s nuclear nightmare is far worse than that of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Tepco still hasn’t been able to get close enough to Unit 3, to even make an assessment, as to how severe the situation is at that particular reactor. Are they even trying? The company continues to dump highly contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean as if it is their personal radiation disposal site. Meanwhile, a huge radiation plume has already made its way to North America’s west coast. The impact of that is yet to be known, as the plume continues on its course, heading to the Hawaiian Islands, and further into the massive Pacific Ocean vortex. How much radiation contamination is really out there from Japan’s triple reactor breaches? According to Professor Koide the three explosions that occurred at the Daiichi nuclear facility in the city of Namie, has released the plutonium equivalent of 200,000 Hiroshima bombs into the environment.

Nuclear energy companies promised clean, safe, and cheap energy when they started this “atoms for peace” program. It’s quite clear that none of this is true. Some radiation left behind by Tepco’s reckless, and unconscionable conduct will continue into its half-life decaying stage long after human’s are extinct. Until then, generations of offspring will have to deal with attempting to maintain the environmental catastrophe, again, and again, and again, at crippling economic costs. That’s the legacy, the environmental footprint that will be left behind by mankind.

This generation has caused more destruction to this planet than any prior. If we don’t start becoming responsible for our actions, we won’t have to worry about our legacy, as there will be no one left to right our wrongs. We are already in the world’s sixth great extinction period, and life on this planet is dying off at a faster rate than at any time in history. The red flags are raised, and the alarms are all sounding, but we are all asleep at the wheel.

Clearly, nuclear energy is not the answer to the world’s energy demands. Even more clear, is that the only foreseeable way out of the current economic crisis, that has already lasted for nearly a decade, is for companies, and governments to cooperate, and invest into renewable energy technologies, such as fusion, wind, and solar power. Simply, the world needs sustainable energy sources that are clean, and effective.

Hopefully, the politicians, and the corporations that prop them up, and profit from their wars, destruction, and genocide will somehow gain a collective conscience, and move beyond petty money grabbing schemes, and rise to the challenge. Somehow, I doubt this will occur. I’m not optimistic that the human race will ever rise to that challenge. Even when it means saving their own species from annihilation.

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3.11.11. In High Dynamic Range

The following photos are of Japan’s 3.11.11. disaster, shot with HDR technology. All photos Stack Jones. © 2014. All rights reserved.

 

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The Pink Bicycle

Pin

I had only been in the city of Fukui for a short time when I realized that something wasn’t right with the company I was engaged as an employee. JALI, or the Japanese American Language Institute was owned, and operated by a man named Edward Miller. I had been working for Miller for about a month, and when it was time to get paid, hadn’t received any money. I confronted him, and he said the Japanese government allowed him to withhold a workers salary for up to sixty days. I knew his statement was false, and he knew, that I knew  it was bullshit. Red flag! Despite this, I said, I don’t care what the Japanese government permitted, two months was an unreasonable time to wait until getting paid. I demanded to get paid for the work that I had performed. Further, I had thoroughly read, and was already familiar with the Japanese labor code prior to entering the country. The Japanese Labor Code is quite clear regarding the limitations placed on when an employee may receive their salary.

Japan Labor Standards Law; Article 24 § 2, states that wages must be paid at least once a month, and at a definite set date.

I quoted the exact text of the law to Miller, and demanded to be compensated for the work that I had performed. I returned home bitter, and decided to take a drive along the coastline of the Japan Sea. Tojinbo has many tales, one legend is about a corrupt Buddhist priest from Heisen-ji, a local temple, who so enraged the populace that they dragged him from the temple, and to the sea and, threw him off the cliffs of Tojinbo. His ghost is said to haunt the area to this day, so many Japanese people won’t venture onto Oshima Island for fear of “manifest ghosts.” An alternate legend says that the name Tojinbo comes from a dissolute Buddhist monk. According to the legend, a Buddhist monk named Tojinbo, who was disliked by everyone, fell in love with a beautiful princess named Aya. Tojinbo was tricked by another admirer of Princess Aya, and was pushed off the cliffs. The legend says that after that time Tojinbo vengeful ghost would go on a rampage around the same time every year, causing strong winds, and rain. Some decades later, an itinerant priest took pity on Tojinbo, and held a memorial service for him. After that, the storms ceased. Unfortunately, the true tales of Tojinbo is not awash in folklore. Tojinbo is in fact a well-known place to commit suicide. According to statistics, as many as twenty-five people (usually unemployed young men, or high school students that failed the college entrance exam) commit suicide by jumping off the 70′ high cliffs each year. The number has risen, and fallen with Japan’s national economic hardships, and unemployment rates. Recently, a retired police officer, Yukio Shige, frustrated at having fished so many bodies out of the sea, began patrolling the cliffs for potential jumpers. He claims to have convinced more than two hundred people to not jump. Shige keeps in touch with every one of those people to this day.

Suicide in Japan has become a significant problem nationally. Factors in suicide include unemployment due to economic recession, depression, and social pressures. Suicide is predominately the result of a combination of factors such as healthcare provision, social attitudes, cultural influences, and economic distress. In 2007, the National Police Agency revised the categorization of motives for suicide into a division of fifty reasons with up to three reasons listed for each suicide. Suicides traced to losing jobs surged 65.3 percent while those attributed to hardships in life increased 34.3 percent. Depression remained at the top of the list for the third year in a row, rising 7.1 percent from the previous year. The rapid increase in suicides since the 1990s has raised concerns. For example, 1998 saw a 34.7% increase over the previous year. Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, especially amongst industrialized nations, and the Japanese government reported the rate for 2006 as being the ninth highest in the world. In 2009, the number of suicides rose two percent to 32,845 exceeding 30,000 for the twelfth straight year, and equating to nearly 26 suicides per 100,000 people. This amounts to approximately one suicide every fifteen minutes. However, this figure is somewhat disputed since it is arguably capped by the conservative definition of “suicide” that has been adopted by the Japanese authorities, which differs from the WHO’s definition. Some experts suggest a rather larger figure of 100,000 suicide deaths annually. Currently, the conservative per year estimate is still significantly higher than for any other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) country. In comparison, the UK rate is about 9 of 100,000, and the U.S. rate about 11 of100,000. In 2007, Japan ranked first among G8 countries for female suicides and second, behind Russia, for male suicides.

Typically most suicides are men; over 71% of suicide victims in 2007 were male. In 2009, the number of suicides among men rose 641 to 23,472 (with those age 40–69 accounting for 40.8% of the total). Suicide was the leading cause of death among men age 20-44. Males are two times more likely to cause their own deaths after a divorce than females. Nevertheless, suicide is still the leading cause of death for women age 15-34 in Japan. The rate of suicides has also increased among those in their 20s, and in 2009 was at an all-time high in that age group for the second straight year reaching 24.1 per 100,000 people. The NPA likewise reported a record for the third consecutive year among those in their thirties. The rate among the over-60 population is also high, although people in their thirties are still more likely to commit suicide.

Common methods of suicide are jumping in front of trains, leaping off high places, hanging, or overdosing on medication. Rail companies have been known to charge the families of those who commit suicide a fee depending on the severity of damage, and disrupted schedules. A newer method, gaining in popularity partly due to publicity from Internet suicide websites, is to use household products to make the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide. In 2007, only 29 suicides used this gas, but in a span from January to September 2008, 867 suicides resulted from gas poisoning.

Historically, Japan has been a male-dominated society with strong family ties, and correlating social expectations. However, the bursting of the bubble, which brought about the end of the “jobs-for-life” culture, has left the heads of families unexpectedly struggling with job insecurity, or the stigma of unemployment.  Japan’s economy, the world’s third-largest, experienced its worst recession since World War II in early 2009, propelling the nation’s jobless rate to a record high of 5.7 percent in July 2009. The unemployed accounted for 57 percent of all suicides, the highest rate of any other occupation group. As a result of job losses, social inequality has also increased which has been shown in studies to have affected the suicide rates in Japan proportionately more than in other OECD countries. A contributing factor to the suicide statistics among those who were employed was the increasing pressure of retaining jobs by putting in more hours of overtime, and taking fewer holidays, and sick days. According to government figures, fatigue from work, and health problems, including work-related depression, were prime motives for suicides, adversely affecting the social wellbeing of salary men, and accounting for 47 per cent of the suicides in 2008. Out of 2,207 work-related suicides in 2007, the most common reason (672 suicides) was overwork. Furthermore, the void experienced after being forced to retire from the workplace is said to be partly responsible for the large number of elderly suicides every year. In response to these deaths, many companies, communities, and local governments have begun to offer activities and classes for recently retired senior citizens who are at risk of feeling isolated, lonely, and without purpose or identity.

Consumer loan companies have much to do with the suicide rate. The National Police Agency states that one fourth of all suicides are financially motivated. Many deaths every year are described as being inseki-jisatsu (responsibility-driven suicides). Japanese banks set extremely tough conditions for loans, forcing borrowers to use relatives, and friends as guarantors who become liable for the defaulted loans, producing extreme guilt, and despair in the borrower. Rather than placing the burden on their guarantors, many have been attempting to take responsibility for their unpaid loans, and outstanding debts through life insurance payouts. In fiscal year 2005, seventeen consumer loan firms received a combined 4.3 billion yen in suicide policy payouts on 4,908 borrowers, or some 15% of the 32,552 suicides in 2005. Lawyers, and other experts allege that, in some cases, collectors harass debtors to the point they take this route. Japanese nonbank lenders, starting about a decade before 2006, began taking out life insurance policies, which include suicide payouts on borrowers that included suicide coverage, and borrowers are not required to be notified.

Oddly, suicide has never been criminalized in Japan. Japanese society’s attitude toward suicide has been termed tolerant, and on many occasions a suicide is seen as a morally responsible action. Public discussion of the high rate of suicide also focuses on blaming the economic hardship faced by middle-aged men (sarakin). However, the rise of Internet suicide websites, and increasing rate of suicide pacts (shinju) has raised concern from the public, and media, which consider the pacts thoughtless.

In 1703, Chikamatsu Monzaemon wrote a puppet play entitled Sonezaki Shinjuu (The Love Suicides at Sonezaki), which was later reengineered for the kabuki theatre. The inspiration for the play was an actual double suicide, which had recently occurred between two forbidden lovers. Several more double suicide plays followed, which were eventually outlawed by the governing authorities for emboldening more couples to romantically end their lives. During Japan’s imperial years, suicide was common within the military. This included kamikaze, kaiten, and suicide when a battle was lost. The samurai way of glory was through death, and ritual suicide was seen as something honorable. Writer Yukio Mishima is famous for his ritual suicide while taking over a Japanese army base.

The cultural heritage of suicide as a noble tradition still has some resonance. While being investigated for an expenses scandal, Cabinet minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka took his life in 2007. The governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, described him as a true samurai for preserving his honor. Ishihara is also the author of the film, I Go To Die For You, which glorifies the memory, and bravery of the kamikaze pilots in WW II.

Despite an economic upturn in 2007, suicide rates have continued to be high, prompting concern by the Japanese government. Describing the situation as very serious, they have called on municipalities to implement measures based on the differing realities. In 2007, the government released a nine-step plan, a counter-suicide White Paper, which it hopes will curb suicide by 20% by 2017. The goals of the White Paper are to encourage investigation of the root causes of suicide in order to prevent it, change cultural attitude toward suicide, and improve treatment of unsuccessful suicides. In 2009, the Japanese government committed 15.8 billion yen towards suicide prevention strategies. Naoto Kan, the current prime minister, has spoken of his desire to minimize unhappiness in the country and has repeatedly spoken about the need to reduce Japan’s high suicide rate. Japan has allotted 12.4 billion yen (133 million) in suicide prevention assets for the 2010 fiscal year ending March 2011, with plans to fund public counseling for those with overwhelming debts, and those needing treatment for depression. Amid the overall increase in self-inflicted death for 2009, the government claims there have been encouraging signs since September. The Cabinet Office said the number of monthly suicides declined year-on-year between September 2009 and April 2010. According to preliminary figures compiled by the NPA, the number of suicides fell 9.0 percent from the year before. Unfortunately, suicide is part of the Japanese One Way system.

After visiting Tojinbo, I returned home, and took a run through the rice fields. Jogging through the fields, and watching the elderly farmers toil away, always made me feel magnificent (genki)! I put in four kilometers, and decided to wash my car before showering.

One of my greatest enjoyments is when the neighborhood children attempt to engage in some form of communication with a foreigner. Even if they can’t speak a word of English, and most cannot, they still want to have some type of connection with the outsider. In my neighborhood many young girls in the age range of six to ten would often come by my home, knock on my door, giggle, smile brightly, meander in pure shyness, and attempt to speak the strange foreign sounding words they were trying to absorb at school. (Japanese words end in vowels – a, e, i, o, u, where most English words end in consonants). Unknowingly, they would get real close, and stare into my blue eyes, as this was probably the first encounter with someone that looked like me. I think what made visits to my home extra-special was the fact that I always had a bag of chocolate, or candy ready to reward them for their efforts. Japanese are very conservative in things such as small gifts. I never am! I would let the children take as much as they wanted. And they often did.

Tojinbo located in Fukui Prefecture is one of Japan’s major suicide destinations

The idea of young children going to a stranger’s home in the states would strike fear in the hearts of parents. Not so in Japan, as there is a near zero crime rate. The idea of anyone harming a child, especially a teacher is unheard of. Not that this mindset isn’t beginning to change as the crime rate is beginning to rise slightly.

Nevertheless, being a foreigner, I took extra precautions to make sure there could never be any false interpretations of my intentions. First, I never allowed any child to enter my home. When the children knocked on the door, I would exit, close the door behind me, and step out into the sidewalk area. Second, all communications took place out in the open, never past the ginkan (entryway) of my front door. Setting that aside, I have had few joys in my life that compare to a wall of happy face, excited foreign children vying for position to engage in conversation with me. One of the usual questions Japanese children like to answer, because they are familiar with the question is, “What’s your favorite (skinano) color? Almost every little girl will proclaim, “I like pink!” I can’t help feeling that the large amount of candy I gave them may have also had something to do with these visits. Ya think? The large bags of candy that I was purchasing weren’t lasting very long as a result of these numerous visits.

Whenever these kid conversations took place, which by now were almost daily occurrences, two children that lived across the street from me, who lived in a tiny apartment with their single mother would never approach. However, they would always watch attentively while keeping their distance. One was a rough looking young girl about the age of six (imoto). Her older brother (oto oto) was probably about nine-years-old. I would always make an attempt to engage the little girl, but she always hid herself from me. Although they wouldn’t communicate with me, I would always see them riding up, and down the block without the other children, but together as brother, and sister. They didn’t seem to interact with other children at all. The boy had a decent bike, but the little girl’s was in poor condition. One of the sad things in Japanese culture is that when parents divorce, the mother usually takes custody, an agreement is made for payment by the father to care for the children, but the father generally has nothing ever to do with those children ever again. I found this to be a shocking part of this culture that is entirely family, and community oriented. Emphatically, every culture has a dark side, and why would Japan be any different?

On this particular day, I was brooding about not being paid, as there was a new Canon EF Telephoto Zoom Lens, 70-200mm, F/2.8 IS lens that I wanted to purchase. Now, it appeared I had to wait another month. After my run, I decided to wash my car. The two kids across the street were riding their bicycles up, and down the street as I gave my car a good scrubbing. Suddenly, the boy zoomed past, and his younger sister tried to catch up. As she quickly passed me, her bicycle chain came off its mechanism, and she lost her balance, she tried to gain control but panicked, and slammed on the only break she had, which was the front tire break. The break grabbed, and she was tossed over the handlebar, and then slammed to the ground. Her bicycle toppled on top of her. She began to cry immediately. I looked around, but there was nobody to help her. This was a tough situation, as she had always hid from me. Yes, she was curious, and had always watched me from afar, but whenever I waived hello, she’d duck behind a wall, or run away. I had to find out if she was OK. So, I walked up to her, as she sat on the ground in a crumpled ball. She continued wailing, and was bleeding from both knees, and other minor cuts. I didn’t want to pick her up, but knew that she needed consoling. I simply reached out my arms, with my hands opened to see if she would respond. She did. She took my arms, and pulled herself into them. I picked her up, as she continued to cry. She put her arms around me as if I was caring a sleepy child off to bed. I carried her over to a chair that was by my car, and sat her in it. I got some paper towels, and some water, and cleaned her bloody knees. I asked her if she was OK in Japanese. (Dai jobu?). She kept crying, and staring at me. I walked over to a vending machine, and got both her, and her brother an orange drink. While she sat in the chair, I went over and inspected her bicycle. I was surprised as to the terrible condition it was in. There was no way a six-year-old child should be riding a bicycle in such dangerous condition. There was no bolt to tighten down the seat. There was no bell. There was no rear brake, and the chain was extremely loose, and could easily fall off at any moment. I carried the bike over to the child’s side, and returned to washing my car as she began to calm down. She didn’t get up from that seat for more than an hour. She kept looking at me, and I kept asking her if she was OK. After a great amount of time, she got up and returned to her home. The bike remained where I had put it. I looked at it, and thought of her riding it, and getting injured again, and then decided to go to the local supermarket (supa), and see if I could locate a cheap bike to replace the piece of garbage (gomi) she had been riding.

I tried to find a bike that was under ichi mahn en (one hundred U.S. dollars). The choices were slim, but there was this one pink bicycle with a white tires, a white seat, and white grips with long ruffles flowing that looked pretty cool. I thought, well, if I were a little girl about six or seven that would be the bike I’d want to be riding. It was a little more money than I was willing to pay, but I decided to get it anyway. The idea of buying a cute little kid, a cute little bike was more enticing than having the few extra bucks remain in my wallet. I paid for the bike, tossed it in the back of my car, and headed home. I had planned to wait until nightfall, and put the bike by the child’s front door, knock on the door, and then run home quickly, and watch through the window to witness the reaction. I was thinking about this as I approached the final stop sign, with the kid’s apartment in plain view. Wham! A van suddenly appeared before me, and nailed the entire front of my car. The front bumper was immediately ripped off, and the entire front hood, and fenders were crumpled badly. Shit! No good deed goes unpunished.

The fan stopped, and a ratty looking toothless man exited. I got out of my car, and asked the guy if he was OK. (Dai jobu?) He was a construction worker who was still wearing his oddly designed construction outfit. The teeth (ha) that were missing from his mouth had not been knocked loose from the accident. They had been gone for quite some time. The teeth that remained in his head were badly stained from tobacco, and rotting away. By this time, people started to exit their homes, standing on their front lawns, and becoming front row spectators in the chaos, and confusion that would ensue. The man stuck his head in my face, and laughed loudly. His comments were interspersed with insults, and obvious accusations. I had insurance, so I wasn’t too concerned, but I surely felt uncomfortable as I couldn’t communicate with anyone, and nobody stepped forward to communicate with me. The man kept shouting and acting like he was on stage. He asked me in Japan, “Anata was Nihongo ga wakari masuka?” At the time I didn’t understand what he said, but what he had said was, “Do you speak Japanese”? When it was clear that I couldn’t he began to insult me, and shouted things like, stupid foreigner (baka gaijin). I wanted to punch the guy out, but instead I contacted the secretary of the company I had worked for. She said she would notify the insurer, and the police, and she, and the insurance company representative would be there as soon as they could. While I was in this conversation, another car pulled up, and two buddies of the guy who was driving the van got out, and began conversing with the man. The car drove away, and they shared many cigarettes, while we waited for assistance to arrive. I tried to move my car, but I couldn’t. It was a total wreck. The second to arrive on the scene was the secretary, and the insurer. Then the police (keisatsu), arrived, followed by an ambulance. Everybody was speaking Japanese, and I couldn’t understand anything that was being said. I was stunned to see the van driver, and his two buddies getting neck braces put on, and being treated gingerly by the paramedics. I became livid! I was trying to tell the police that the other guys were not in the van. Nobody was listening to me. The three men were placed on stretchers and one by one, placed into the ambulance. Before it drove off I approached it and threw open the door. The van driver looked up at me from the gurney, and gave me a crazy smile. One of the ambulance assistants closed the door, and it drove away sirens blaring, and red lights blazing.

I was told that there would be a hearing date, and that I would probably have to pay a fine in the amount of roku mahn en, (around 600.00 USD). A temporary replacement car had already arrived. I was given the keys, and was free to return home. I watched as the police painstakingly took measurement, engaged in conversation, and filled out reports. I frowned at each one of them if they glanced my way. Realizing this, they stopped looking at me. I watched as the tow truck driver collected, and swept up the debris. I pulled the pink bicycle out of the back of my destroyed car. I must have looked ridiculous walking home with a brand new pink bicycle with white tires, a white seat, and white handgrips, and the ruffles swaying in the breeze. I watched as the tow truck drove off with my totally destroyed car.

The next day the insurance company man arrived at the office with papers for me to sign. All documents were written in Japanese. They were settlement papers for the van owner, and the three men. I absolutely refused to sign anything. The following day the insurance man returned to the office with two other men. One looked like a thick, squat pit bull. They had prepared the final documents for me to sign regarding the settlement to be paid to the three “injured” men, and to cover the cost of repair for the van. Again, I refused to sign any documents. They calmly communicated that they just wanted to settle the matter. However, they had a glaring issue. They could not settle the case without my signature, and I continued to refuse to sign any of the documents they placed before me. The secretary entered the room with green tea, which is customary when people are having a meeting. I told the original representative that he was too weak, and that I didn’t want to talk to him any longer. I looked at the pit bull, and told the secretary to translate my words. She agreed. I made it clear that I would continue to refuse to settle the matter because two of those men had not been in the van. I’m sure they didn’t believe me, but I said until they look into that, they were wasting their time. Second, I stated that the van had one small scratch, and that the majority of the damage was to my car, and if they were so terribly injured, then why wasn’t I? That question seemed to have some affect on the three agents. I also stated that the damage to my car was the result of the vans rear bumper catching the front of my car, and ripping it open. Despite a tiny little scratch, that van’s bumper didn’t have any sign of damage. I reiterated that I would not be signing any documents until they investigate the matter further. I told the pit bull that he looked like a tough guy. I told them to wait this out, and don’t rush to settle. Threaten the men with court, and further proceedings for fraud. They felt like I was a foreigner interfering with their job, but I didn’t give a shit what they thought. If I was going to get fined, and drag through traffic court, then I was going to fight them all the way. After all, I was already aware of the worse case scenario that I was facing, which was a mere 600.00 fine. Realizing they were getting nowhere with me, the men left. Over the next several days the office secretary persisted in trying pressure me to sign the documents. Her words fell on my deaf ears. This went on for about two weeks.

The insurance company representatives returned for another meeting. All three had a smile on their face. I inquired into the change in their demeanor. I was told the insurance company did an investigation into their own records, and that the three men had another similar accident only one month earlier. In that case they had already thought the accident was staged. All three men, complained of neck pain, and drove off in an ambulance. This information was forwarded to the police, who started their own investigation, discovering that merely one week earlier the same three men had been in another similar accident. Coincidence? Could the same three men, be in three different accidents, with similar injuries in a one-month period? The insurance company refused to settle with those men in either of those incidents, as well did the other insurer who was notified. The police dropped their case against me, and sent me a letter of apology for not listening to me. I took this as a sign that Japan’s One-Way system had been damaged by a stubborn gaijin that failed to accept settlement in an unjust matter.

That evening I put aside my anger about the accident, and quietly crept toward the front door of the little girls apartment. The windows were closed, and the curtain drawn. I placed the bicycle along side the front door, making sure it couldn’t be spotted when the door was opened. I rang the bell, and hauled ass home. I peered through from my front window curtains, and watched as the boy opened the door. He looked out, but saw nothing, and closed the door. I waited to see what happened, but nothing did. Apparently, he didn’t see the bike. Damn! I waited a while, crept back over to the door, and rang the bell again. The door began to open, so I leaped behind some nearby bushes, and hoped they hadn’t seen me. They didn’t! This time the boy stepped out, and saw the bicycle. He called to his sister, and I learned of her name for the first time. Kariri! Mite! Mite! (Look, look). The little girl walked outside, and the cuts on her knees were already turning into purple bruises. Her face, and eyes widened in astonishment. Neither child knew what to do. They ran back inside, and locked the door. Soon they both peaked out the front window, and looked down to where the pink bike was located. The curtains shut as quickly as they had been opened. A moment later the front door opened, and the boy stuck his head out looking first to his left, and then to his right. They both stepped outside, and cautiously looked around again. Finding nothing unusual, except a brand spanking new pink bicycle with white tires, a white seat, and gleaming white grips they turned their attention toward the bike. They both studied it carefully, speaking quietly, as they surely did not want to be overheard by anyone. Kariri touched the bicycle, and the front wheel turned a little. Both children ran back inside. I could hear familiar scraping sounds inside the apartment. The children were dragging chairs across the living room toward the window. They opened the curtain, then the window, and stood on either of the two chairs staring down below at the pink bicycle. Those few extra bucks were well worth the investment. I have seen many children’s faces when they get excited, but this incident topped the list. I pined for my camera. I didn’t want anyone to see my hanging around, and creeping behind some bushes, so I slowly backed away. I headed back to where the accident had occurred, and looked down at the large pile of cigarette butts those three guys had smoked while they contemplated their scheme. I then went to the nearest Sunkust convenient store (konvini) and bought a beer. I headed home, sat on the front porch, twisted off the lid to the bottle, and took a swig. I uncontrollably spit out the beer in laughter as the thought occurred to me; I had washed my car inside and out, vacuuming it and drying it off with a towel before completely destroying it.

Miller decided to stop by, and discuss the car accident with me. As I sat with him, drinking my beer, the door of the kid’s apartment opened. It was the kid’s mother. She looked at the pink bicycle, and then began walking over toward where we were sitting. I couldn’t speak Japanese, so I told Miller to handle it. I told him that if she inquired into the matter, that I had no knowledge of the bike, or its origin. When she got within a few feet of us, it was apparent that she had apprehensions about communicating with two foreign men. She began thanking me for taking care of her daughter regarding the bike accident. She bowed deeply, again, and again. She then said that she couldn’t accept the bike as a gift for her child, but then began sobbing profusely, and apologized for being a terrible mother. She stated that she was single, and their father had nothing to do with his children, which is a great shame. She apologized that she had to leave her children home alone all day, (and often well into the evening), as she worked long hours to support her children. She apologized for her daughter’s terrible bicycle condition, and for causing me so much trouble. I told Miller to tell her that I had no idea what she was talking about, and that I hadn’t given any child any bicycle. Miller added that while we were sitting on the porch, some fellow drove up in a car, put a pink bicycle by their front door, rang the bell, ran to the car, and then drove off. By this time the woman was wiping away tears from her wet face with a white cloth. She knew our story was bogus. I added that perhaps it was the children’s father that had left the bicycle. In Japanese culture when one gives a gift to another, they are then indebted to the donor, and must repay that debt in some way. This was the main reason for denying knowing anything about the pink bicycle. This may be odd behavior in western culture, but in Japan this is the way it is done. She took a long deep bow, in such a manner that I have never experienced before. There were no more words that needed to be said. She thanked me again, and apologized for taking up my valuable time. The woman said she believed her daughter would really appreciate the bike, as her daughter already stated that it was the most beautiful bike she had ever seen. After all, her favorite color is pink.

The next morning I awoke to the jangle of children laughing, and the bright sound of a bell, ching-a-ling-linging, again and again. I pulled myself out of bed, and stood at my front window, and peered out the closed curtain. I watched as Kariri rode her new bike up, and down the street. Most of the children in the neighborhood had little to do with Kariri prior to that morning, but on this sunny day, many of the neighborhood girls were riding with her. Kariri was riding hard, and ringing her bell, as the handle grips plastic white sashes fluttered in the wind. Kariri’s smile was brighter than a thousand suns. Of all the children who were riding bicycles that morning, Kariri bike the prettiest of them all.

Strangely, the children stopped coming to my door to engage in conversation, and to get their fill of candy, and chocolate. I thought parents had ordered their children to stop coming to my home because of the car accident that I had been in. But, one of my elderly neighbors, a farmer, and retired businessman from Tokyo told me that one of the children had told their grandmother about the foreign neighbor that had been giving them candy whenever they stopped by. The parents were told, and they grew angry with their child. Other parents were told about this, and the children were ordered to stop pestering their foreign neighbor. The children never stopped by again, although I often saw them during my runs, or as they rode by my rented home. We always waived hello when we saw each other, but I would grow to miss those children, and those wonderful chocolate, and sugary encounters.

Miller was an expat who had lived in Japan for the past twenty-five years. He operated. At one point the business he owned was the premier education center for the entire prefecture of Fukui. What went wrong?

On that same date on the following month, I checked my bank account, as Japan companies generally make salary payments through direct deposit, my bank showed a payment of ¥ 80,000. I had been working for the past two months, and received the equivalent of 800.00 USD. I was furious. Miller was clearly avoiding me, but when I managed to confront him, he claimed that, that was the salary he owed me for my first month of work. A bitter argument ensued. From that point on I began to investigate Miller, and the Japanese American Language Institute. I was surprised to find several complaints posted on the Internet about Miller, and his organization. One site titled, http://j-ali.blogspot.com, had the following statement:

THE JAPANESE-AMERICAN LANGUAGE INSTITUTE LOCATED IN FUKUI JAPAN HAS BEEN HARMING TRUSTING TEACHERS FOR MORE THAN 10 YRS. THIS BLOG SERVES AS A COMMENTARY TO ADDRESS THIS AND OTHER FACTS REGARDING THIS EXTREMELY HARMFUL ORGANIZATION WHICH IS RUN BY EDWARD MILLER. ANYONE THINKING ABOUT WORKING FOR JALI BEWARE. CALL OTHER FUKUI SCHOOLS AND ASK TEACHERS… JALI IS INFAMOUS IN THAT CITY. BEWARE!

I left my job, and great life in Shizuoka to relocate to Fukui so I could explore the Japan Sea. Instead, I find a man with a terrible past. Miller originated from the Boston area of Massachusetts. He had been a heroin addict, and personally admitted to me that he was the first to stick a needle in his younger brothers arm. His younger brother became an addict as well, but eventually died of a heroin overdose. Miller then became a “born again” Mormon, married, had four kids, and relocated to Japan, where he began “preaching the gospel” of Joseph Smith, and the Mormon Church. Soon Miller started his own business, and at one point had twenty-five instructors working for him. This would have been a successful business netting at least 80,000.00 USD each month. I thought it strange that Miller didn’t drive a nice car, or live in a beautiful home. In fact, Miller’s personal appearance was terrible. His clothing looked to be several years old. His shoes were all in terrible condition, and he rented a dilapidated old house. When I arrived in Fukui, the only people working for Miller were his secretary, and myself. JALI went from a staff of thirty to a meager three. What was going on?

I had to admit I enjoyed living in Fukui, and did a lot of surfing, exploring, and I was shooting a lot of photography. I had a car by this time, and was able to travel to some of the major cities in the area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe. So, instead of quitting my job, I simply filed a complaint of non-payment to the Fukui Labor Board Standards Office thinking they would be able to resolve the matter. I also went to the local Fukui International Friendship Association, and inquired into other issues that might be known about this company. To my great surprise the staff said, “Are you here to file a complaint against Ed Miller?” I said, “How did you know that?” I was told that Miller had a long history of non-compliance with the labor board, and for not paying employee salaries. I was handed a folder of former instructors that had worked for Miller who had not been paid their full salary. They had all signed a document that was given to the labor board, and backed by a toothless, and useless organization known as the National Union of General Workers. Twenty-two former teachers signed the list. Each one had a number placed by their names, in the amount of money that was owed to them. One particular name stood out, a K. Taylor who was owed more than a year’s salary. One of the persons that signed the document was the current secretary. This current secretary claimed that Miller had not paid her salary in several months, and was owed several thousands of dollars. Her signature on the document really surprised me. Why would she participate in a public battle over unpaid wages with her current employer, yet still remain working with him?

I began to delve into a full investigate into the matter. I went to the Fukui Police Department, and filed a complaint. I learned that Miller’s wife had relocated to Utah with their four children. The wife kept making demands for Miller to send her more, and more money. It wasn’t long before the company’s business funds began to disappear. Miller had an accountant at the time, which was responsible for paying employee salaries. He claimed she had been embezzling JALI’s funds, and as a result he was unable to pay his instructors. An employee labor battle ensued. Sadly, most instructors had to leave the city as a result of not being able to continue working for free. Now Miller was trying to pull the same bullshit on me. Again, I confronted him about the non-payment of my salary. He kept talking about how his former account had destroyed his business. But, that was more than two-years earlier. My response to that was, “I have ninety-nine problems of my own, and [Miller] isn’t one of them. I demanded my pay. I also began to contact each person on that list of non-paid instructors to find out their story. Each person had worked for several months without being paid. The scam started by withholding teacher salaries for two months, and they when the employee fell on economic hardship, they would immediately seek other work, and leave. Never following up on the money they had lost. I decided to contact the former office manager, who had worked for JALI, and Miller for fifteen years. K. Taylor revealed a lot of information, and we decided to go to the media.

Taylor agreed that the accountant may have embezzled some funds, but not to the extent Miller had claimed. Records showed that Miller was sending large chunks of money to his wife. When he ran out of money, and was unable to send her any more, she filed for divorce. Eventually, Miller’s wife got all the money, and by the time I was employed at the company she had sent him a restraining order, and a notice of divorce. Miller’s wife’s attorney had demanded Miller to undergo a psychological evaluation before he could see his children again. Sadly, each child wrote Miller a letter telling him they wanted nothing to do with him any longer. Here, Miller had destroyed his own business funneling all the money he had in an effort to try and save his marriage. In the process he destroyed the business that he took twenty-five years to make. When there was nothing left to give, his wife simply left. The woman found a new man in the congregation of contradiction known as the Mormon faith. She used the money Miller had sent her to build a home in Salt Lake City.

Unfortunately for Miller, the matter surrounding non-payment of my salary was far from over. For several months I had pressured the labor board to get paid. On some level this worked. I began receiving monthly payments but I was still owed about 8200.00 USD. I also had the General Union represent me at the labor hearings, and that was a farce, as they had about as much knowledge of the Japanese labor codes as I did. They had fought Miller in the past, and had won, but little money was actually paid. So, who really won? I figured that I wasn’t going to get paid, but I was going to make Miller suffer. Eventually, we decided to go to the media. We held a press conference, and I was surprised to see every major radio, magazine, and TV station present at the conference. K. Taylor attended the conference, and told of the history of the company, and their non-compliance with Japanese labor laws, and the salary issues. My story found its way in many Japanese newspapers, and magazines as well as the local evening news. By this time Miller had anticipated that I was leaving, and hired another instructor. I contacted the instructor who stated that he had not been paid. This teacher was working at Alcoa, Howmet about an hours drive north of Fukui. I had worked there, and this was one of Miller’s best contracts. Somehow through all Miller’s deceit, he managed to hold onto this client. I notified the company’s manager, who was an English speaking Britain that Miller had not paid the other teacher. I gave the Howmet manager copies of the documents I received from the International Friendship Association, and copies of the General Labor Union findings, and the Fukui Labor Board rulings. As a result Howmet hired the instructor on to work full-time, and Miller lost a large portion of that contract.

In my case the labor board managed to collect some of my non-paid salary. In my investigation, what I learned was there are many foreign owned businesses in Japan that have ruined the educational industry. They prey on young men, and women that want to work in a foreign country, but are unfamiliar with the language, culture and laws. One of the most common scams is to withhold an instructor’s salary for sixty days, which is illegal. When the instructor eventually leaves due to lack of payment, and even if they had filed a grievance with the labor bureau, they almost never get paid. Once the duped employee returns home, it is very difficult to collect on unpaid salaries.

After nearly a year of battling Miller, I was offered a job in the northeastern region of Japan, which was an area I knew nothing about. I really didn’t want to head to the colder territories of Japan, where summers were shorter, and winters longer. Despite that, I was running low on funds, and had a long list of photography equipment I was interested in purchasing, so my priority now shifted to actually being paid for the work I was performing. The last I heard about Miller was that he was sleeping in Internet cafes, many months overdue on the office he was renting, and doing the best he could to hang on to the last couple of clients he had left. I left Fukui, and headed north to the coastal region of Miyagi Prefecture, and Sendai City. I had no idea what the future would hold. I had no idea that soon enough 3.11.11., would become a date locked into infamy, and the town I would move to would be 100% wiped off the maps by the largest ever recorded earthquake, and tsunami.

Written by Stack Jones. © 2014. All rights reserved.

Tagged , ,

The Crazy Woman And The Fiery Snow

Yamadera

Before the astonishing event occurred, nobody had any idea who the woman was, or where she had come from. Even after it was over, the woman remained as much a mysterious as on that day when she first arrived. All they knew, that is to say, the people of the small village, located in the mountains of Yamagata, was that the woman was not from Yamadera. The fact that she wasn’t from that village was easy to ascertain, as all the town’s folk knew each other, and if they didn’t know that woman, then she simply wasn’t from their community.

So, who was this woman? And why hadn’t she left since that day when she first arrived, carrying a glow-in-the-dark soccer ball, and a small plastic bag with who-knows-what in it? What brought her to Yamadera anyway?

It wasn’t long after her arrival that the woman became the talk of the town. The nosy folks considered her a nuisance. The worst of the lot believed she was a demon, and would do nothing better than bring the town bad luck. Tourism to the area had already been diminishing, and her presence just seemed to stoke the flames of contention. It’s like that in most bucolic communities. Folks seem to enjoy letting themselves get all worked up over nothing at all. Those who knew better knew to stay out of the natter, knowing it would only lead to more bickering between those who supposed themselves to be close neighbors. Even so, the majority of the town folk were ready to believe that this woman, that complete, and unknown stranger had brought with her something sinister. Even those that didn’t usually believe in such nonsense began to believe that this time it might be true.

Some of the residents were furious, not only at the woman, but also at the local authorities who took no action on their behalf. When they then turned to the police in order to have that woman, that crazy woman forcefully ejected from the mountaintop, which she adamantly refused to depart from, they too would take no action. The town leaders then called everyone together so they could decide what to do about the woman, and what method they were to use to “get rid of her.” Others being slightly more selective in the words they chose to use in communicating their thoughts were to call it, “solving the problem.” After a few polite requests given directly to the woman (that were in reality nothing less than slightly veiled demands), she remained unbendable. This crazy woman soon became as an imperfection, a tarnished spot on a sentimental object that wouldn’t go away no matter how vigorously it was attended to. Under most circumstances where such imperfections exist, one could simply cover it up. Hide it, say, with a lamp, or a doily. But, that wasn’t the case here. That woman took hold of a spot right out in the open, and anyone that strolled along the path to the top of the mountain easily came in contact with her.

The temple at Yamadera where the woman seemed to have taken up residence is known to have one thousand, and fifteen steep steps that extend upward from the base of the mountain to its peak. The region obtained its name from the sect of Risshaku, which was founded in 860, by a priest named Ennin, who is actually better known by his posthumous name, Jikaku Daishi. (How one gets a name change after their death remains as much a mystery as the sudden arrival of the woman). In 847 upon returning to Japan from China, Ennin became the chief priest of the Tendai sect at Enryaku-ji. The Risshaku-ji was founded as a branch of the Enryaku-ji on Mt. Hiei near the city of Kyoto. Even today the ritual fires brought from Enryaku-ji continue to burn in the main temple on the mountains of Yamadera. It’s said the main ji (temple), Konpon-chudo was built by Shiba Kaneyori, who was the Lord of Yamagata Castle at the time. Even so, most of Risshaku-ji was destroyed during the regional wars of the early 16th century. During the Heian period the seated wooden image of Yakushi Nyorai (Buddha Bhaisajyaguru) became the principal image of the main temple. Konpon-chudo would later be rebuilt in 1543 under the instructions of a monk known as Enkai. By the Edo period (1600–1868) Risshaku-ji had become a powerful institution possessing a fief of 1,420 koku (a quantity of rice measured in liters). The present day Konpon-chudo (main hall) is a Muromachi period (1333–1568) construction of beech wood, which is rarely used as a building material. The temples that cling to the steep rocky hillsides are picturesque, and quite unusual. The “thousand step” climb through the dense cedar trees is the route one would take to the temples at the top, and for the spectacular views that awaits those who do.

Yamadera also possesses many important cultural assets in its treasure house, the Hihokan, including standing wooden images of Shaka Nyorai, Yakushi Nyorai, and Amida Nyorai, a seated wooden image of Dengyo Daishi, a hanging wooden mandala of the Buddha, and a stone monument of the Nyoho-kyo Sutra from 1144.

Yamadera is also where the famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho wrote his famous poem, “Ah this silence, sinking into the rocks, voice of cicada.” A museum of Basho’s writings, paintings, and other related art are stored at the Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum, which is a short walk up the hill on the opposite side of the modern day road that cuts through the steep valley of the small village.

The Ministry of the Environment also selected the cicadas of Yamadera as one of the great soundscapes of Japan. Who would have known that of all the great treasures, the accolades bestowed upon them, and the deep mysteries that are part of the lore of Yamadera, there would soon to be another added to it. But for that phenomenon that followed the crazy woman’s sudden appearance this would not be so. Even the most pessimistic, and disagreeable of the town’s people stand firmly in their belief that neither would have occurred without the other.

The woman didn’t arrive in Yamadera seeking accolades. She wasn’t interested in being held in high regard. She wasn’t concerned with any of the historical significance that the town held either. Despite all of these matters, none of it was the reason she arrived in town, on foot, in near rags, and clutching that glow-in-the-dark soccer ball.

During the brief stint when the woman became the focal point of the town’s gossip, the monk who lived at the top of the mountain was the only one who ever sided with her. He’d always end the heated arguments over the woman’s presence by stating, “There is a purpose for all things, as well as an impermanence of all things. When the time comes for the woman to depart, she will go. Let us give it no more thought.” The idea that the woman’s departure was to be some future event remained unsettling to the local people. They wanted her gone, and they wanted her gone yesterday. Better yet, they collectively wished she never arrived in their quiet little community, and took up residence at the top of the mountain. The woman’s presence, at first a minor annoyance, now irked the entire town. She must go!

As word spread that there was a crazy woman who wouldn’t leave the mountain top shrine, outsiders became curious. They began arriving at the village just to get a glimpse of her. They would ascend those more than a thousand steps, and find the woman, as they had heard, dressed in near rags, and kneeling before the children’s shrine. It seemed as if she never moved from that position, as if she never shifted, or repositioned her body either. It turns out that none of what was transpiring was really particularly interesting, or inspiring, especially in the full heat of the summer. What was all the fuss over?

In the evening, the monk would bring the woman rice, and tea, but as he rose early each morning he would discover not only had the rice not been eaten, but also the tea he had left for her hadn’t been drunk either. This pattern went of for several days. If it continued much longer he thought, “They won’t have to drag her out. She’ll die of starvation, and thirst.”

Before the woman, that crazy woman, sat rows, and rows of hundreds, and hundreds of little childlike figurines. Each one was colored in white, and had a tiny bright red scarf draped around its neck. Each represented a child who had passed away, and were placed there by family members. And just like the woman who now knelt before the iconic figures, each, and every one of those families had their entire existence torn away from them through the senseless, untimely, and unbearable passing of a young boy, or girl. These children would never obtain the age of adulthood. They would never grow feeble, and they would never learn to do the things that adults do, such as having children of their own. From all over Japan they came. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, as well as siblings; they would ascend those numerous steps, and place at the children’s shrine one of those red scarf cladded figurines. They did this so their child wouldn’t be alone in whatever was to follow that thing we call death. They believed, or at least hoped their child was to be surrounded by other children, those who had suffered similar fates, and were in need of comfort, and companionship. In reality, it would not be the children who agonized over their early departure. No, it would be those who would be left behind with sketches of memories, or items that the child claimed as their own, and the photos that froze moments in time. Many of those images were important events, while others less significant at the time of their taking. But beginning the day of that terrible wrenching away, those less significant images became moments memorable. Those photos would be of holidays, trips, school recitals, graduations, certificates of achievements, birthdays, awards, and rewards, and other matters that mattered most in the life of a child, and the parents who adored, and cherished them.

The woman came from Sakuranbo-Higashine. This small town had become famous for the overpriced cherries that sold well in small shops, kiosks at train stations, and supermarkets from all over Japan. Sakuranbo-Higashine was famous for their cherries, and pears too. In fact, the word sakuranbo itself actually means cherries. Ironically, most every town scattered throughout Japan was famous for something or another.

There was nothing particularly out of the ordinary about the woman’s life. She had married about a dozen years earlier, and the marriage produced a boy. Her father passed away before the boy was born. The woman’s mother had died shortly before the boy did. That was about the only thing the woman was really thankful for. She was, for lack of any other way of putting it, grateful that the elderly woman, who adored the boy, wasn’t around to agonize over his sudden, and sad departure.

It was a tragic, and senseless death. The boy was riding his bicycle, his chain fell off, and he was unable to avoid being struck by a car. He died instantly. The authorities that investigated the tragedy never faulted the driver. Regardless, that never lessoned the burden of the one who was behind the wheel. Sadly, the driver would end up committing suicide almost one year later after countlessly recalling how unbearable it was to relive that disastrous event, night after night, after night in recurrent nightmares.

The woman’s marriage to the boy’s father came to an end about the same time the driver of the car decided to take their life. This suicide story made it in the local newspaper, and kept all the pain of the boy’s passing in frequent thoughts of his parents. This while both had yet to move beyond the initial grieving stage. So, here they were again, facing the tragedy anew, and watching it expand inward, and upon itself. It wouldn’t be long before the woman, and her former husband stopped speaking to each other. Not that they didn’t truly care about one another. It was just that the boy’s tragic passing was too much for either one to bear. The pain was bad enough in their own private hells. Together it would manifest itself twofold in every conversation, act, or inactivity.

The boy was born on May 5th, which is Boy’s Day. Too much time has passed since anyone could recall for sure when the observation of the Tango-no-Sekku began, but historians trace it to an ancient Chinese custom known as Sechie, in which the royal guards wore ceremonial helmets, and carried about with them their bows and arrows. These items would later become popular at the court of the Japanese Regnant Empress known as Suiko.

The boy’s favorite things were playing soccer, and collecting Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards, that, and bike riding with his closest friend Takeshi. At one point the boy studied English. However, the lessons got in the way of nearly everything that was important to him. Finally, his parents gave him the choice of remaining in his Eikaiwa class, or playing soccer. It was a no brainer. Of course the boy would chose soccer. What boy wouldn’t? However, this decision was to be one aspect in the chain of events that played a role in his untimely passing.

It happened on a Saturday morning. The boy was on his way to play in his first scheduled game. His team, the Sakuranbo-Higashine Tigers were to play against another team from the nearby city of Tendo. Sadly, he would never make it to the game, as that’s when the tragic accident occurred. It was also about a week before Boy’s Day was to arrive.

It would be a year since the boy was gone. Prior to this mournful period the woman had already began to give away, and sell off all the things she owned. When everything was gone, and there was nothing left but the clothing on her back, the boys collection of trading cards, and his favorite soccer ball, the one that glowed in the dark, and what little money she collected from selling those paltry few items, she would then head on foot to the town of Yamadera. Why was she going to Yamadera, and the mountaintop shrine? Simply because she believed!

Yamadera is an ancient, and beautiful small village, which is located right in the heart of Yamagata’s steep mountainous terrain. The river that runs through the community is pristine, and the local people frown greatly upon anyone who’d dare to throw any rubbish into it. One would have to look very hard, and for quite some time to find even the smallest piece of debris in that river. At least in that area!

In the summer, Yamadera has numerous beautiful waterfalls that cascade down the mountains, and into crystal clear, shallow pools of water. There is no place in Japan that can rival the aesthetics, and sheer beauty of this particular region. One would take this all in while hiking along, or fishing for trout in the winding, and majestic river. During the winter, it’s a short train ride from Yamagata City to any of a number of fantastic skiing locations. In Yamadera one can simply step off of a train, and right onto a ski lift. It really is an amazing, and adventurous location. But, this too is not why the woman was heading on foot to that very same town. She was on her way to the top of the mountain to place a figurine as a representation of her child, and to pray, and to leave the trading cards, and the soccer ball amongst all the other toys, stuffed animals, baseball mitts, caps, dolls, action figures, and whatever else had once been held in the grasp of a smiling child’s hand.

This would not be the woman’s first trip to Yamadera. Years earlier before getting married, she, and her former husband had gone there by train. They spent the day walking along the river, splashing each other in the waterfalls, and walking across the numerous bridges that crisscrossed back and forth across the river. Finally, at the end of the day, the couple ascended those thousand or so steps to where a wooden structure had been built for visitors to look at the town that sat far below, and as well, take in the wonderful views of the mountains that surrounded them. Ironically, it would be that very evening the boy would be conceived. Soon, they were to marry, and spend their honeymoon in Oahu, Hawaii, getting sunburned on the beaches of Waikiki, just as many other Japanese honeymooners so often do. However, during her trek upward upon those steps, the woman wasn’t thinking about the views of the mountains, and the valley far below. She gave no thought of the waterfalls, and the numerous bridges that crossed over it. Too, she wasn’t interested in the winding river that split the beautiful little village into two, or the waterfalls that cascaded down into it.

There was nothing spectacular, or peculiar about the woman when she first appeared in the town. She merely passed the train station, the rows of tourist shops that sold ice cream, sweets, and the usual items found in souvenir shops. The woman crossed the red painted bridge, over the river, and began immediately ascending the steps that led to the children’s shrine at the top of the mountains. She never noticed the sounds of the cicadas made famous in the haiku poet Matsuo Basho’s famous poem.

As she walked up those steps, the same ones she had taken years ago, young couples, and families with children of their own were heading down as the sun was already beginning to set. Never once did the people look at the woman as they passed her. No one thought it odd that a lone woman was ascending the stairs with a small pouch, a glow-in-the-dark soccer ball, or of the demeanor of a person whose mind was already set upon performing a specific task.

As the woman reached the top of the stairs, the monk who lived alone at that location politely told the woman the temple would be closing soon. She hadn’t heard a word as she continued onward toward the place where the children’s shrine was located. When she arrived at her destination she placed the new child like figurine at the front of the sea of others. Next, she placed the soccer ball below it, and then placed the trading cards beside the ball. She then placed all the money she made from selling all she had owned, in an offering box the monk had prepared for the maintenance of the shrine. There would be no one to tell it to, but the woman now possessed nothing in the world. No home, no job, no clothing, no money, and as a result, no security. She had but one thing on her mind, and that was to pray for the return of her son. To her there was nothing left, but the hope she had in her faith that somehow, prayers really did get answered. Finally, she knelt down before the figurine, and remained there until the town folk, in their fury, and outrage would forcefully cart her away.

For three days nobody took notice of the woman, save for the monk who remained silent. Eventually, word got to the town people that a crazy woman was scaring off visitors. The self appointed officials then formed a small committee, and ascended the thousand or so steps to investigate the matter. In a state of exhaustion, they finally reached the top, and found the raggedly clad woman.

The committee returned to town, and told of their discovery. It was agreed that the committee would return to the shrine, and tell the woman she had to leave. On the next morning the committee ascended those stairs, and found the woman in the same kneeling position as they had the day before. They went to the monk’s residence, and inquired as to how long the woman had been there? The monk merely replied she hadn’t harmed anyone, not since she first arrived, and not to that very moment. He said, “She remained orderly.” This didn’t satisfy the committee. They approached the woman, and demanded she leave immediately. The woman remained vigilant. The committee realizing they were not receiving any response from the woman, returned to the town. By now most everyone agreed that the crazy woman must be forcefully ejected. The town folk chose a dozen of their strongest men to take care of the matter once and for all.

The following morning most of the town’s residence stood at the base of the steps. There were a few who were visibly shaken as they had once left behind a figurine that was a representation of the child that they lost. Others just wanted her gone, and were there to show their support in that. Since word had gotten out that there was a nutty, and disheveled woman who was haunting the mountain temple, the town’s people felt that their community had been stolen from them. This was their collective effort to get it back. It seemed clear that this woman was responsible for bringing a curse upon them. Enough was enough! Today was the day she was to finally go. And hooray for that! After a few words of encouragement, the dozen men chosen out of the community began to ascend the steep steps to the top of the mountain. This was to be the last time.

As the group of men approached the woman, they first tried to reason with her, stating that whatever it was that she had hoped to achieve hadn’t, and wouldn’t happen. But, she had given it her best effort, and that nobody could fault her for that. Their words fell on deaf ears. Next, they would drop their tactfulness, and tell her it was time for her to leave. But, again she would not regard their demands. Finally, the men felt they had no other choice but to forcefully remove her from the mountain. Having been there for several days without sustenance, the woman was in no physical condition to resist, although she desperately tried. But it would all be in vain.

As the men reached the final step, the woman struggled to be freed. She cried out, and begged to be allowed to return to the shrine. Most of the people who were standing nearest to her shook their heads, and clicked their tongues. Even in their anger, they took pity upon her, seeing the woman was half mad. Some openly mocked and ridiculed her. Others wondered what all the fuss was about as they fanned away, or wiped away the perspiration that was the result of the heat, and humidity, and which easily accumulated. It was at this moment that one of the town folks suddenly shouted, as she looked skyward.

Although it was a bright, and sunny day with few clouds overhead, it appeared to be snowing on the top of the mountain. It was snowing, but it was sunny, like one of those odd days when it rains, but the sun still shines downward as everything is being drenched in water. The snow also appeared as though it was on fire. The entire crowd collectively gasped, forgetting all about the crazy woman as they stared at the sky in disbelief. The woman then loosed herself from the men’s grip, and raced back toward the top of the mountain. Even in her weakened, and emaciated state, she never once stopped to pause.

As she raced past the monk’s simple cottage she hadn’t noticed that he was already on his knees, prayer beads in hand, and weeping profusely.

When the woman reached the children’s shrine, all of the white figurines, each having their own little red scarf, began to disappear. As she made her way to the pinnacle, the very peak of the mountain, she looked up to see that the snowflakes that were falling really did appear to be on fire. As each snowflake floated downward from the sky, it landed upon the cedar-stained soil, and sprung to life. Just as soon as each landed, a child, dressed in all white, and wore a red scarf around their neck. Immediately after landing, they took to the steps, and began to descend in an orderly manner. It wouldn’t be long before the town folk could see hundreds upon hundreds of children calmly, and quietly descending those one thousand, and fifteen steps. At the top of the mountain, the woman stood knowing her prayers had indeed been heard.

One by one as the children passed the woman, they stooped, and pick up one of the weather beaten toys. Each child had a destination secured in their hearts. They were heading home. Home to where mothers longed for them, and fathers mourned over their loss. Homes to where grandparents had once doted over them, and where their brothers, and sisters had once played with them.

The last of the fiery snowflakes to fall was to be the woman’s boy. He took his place in the line of the onward moving children. Each child held a stuffed animal, a baseball mitt, a cap, a doll, an action figures, and whatever else they had once laid claim to. As the boy reached his mother, he took her by the hand, and they silently walked to the shrine, where the boy picked up the trading cards, and the glow-in-the-dark soccer ball.

As the woman, and her son approached the location where the monk was still kneeling, and weeping in great astonishment, she bowed to the man. The monk bowed deeply, face, and hands melding into the cedar stained soil.

As the woman, and her son descended those numerous steps, behind all those other children, the monk turned, and gave this miraculous event one long and final look. He continued to absorb what was occurring until each, and every one of the children were no longer in his view. He then looked up to the sky. He then suddenly leaped up, and darted toward the lookout tower. From there he could see, far below, many children, dressed in white with little red scarves making their way from the steps, and into the valley. Some were already embracing their mothers, and fathers. He could see other adults racing towards children who had descended those steps. Other fiery snow children continued onward. They walked over the red bridge, where the river ran beneath it, past the myriad of souvenir shops, the train station, and headed down the road toward Yamagata, and Sendai. They would press onward until they reached their destination, home where there would be no more sorrow, and weeping for children who left this world long before it was their time to do so.

Word spread rapidly that the children had returned from the sky. The train cars to the village were packed. Cars jammed the single lane road that led into the small village community from both east, and west. From the top of the mountain, the monk could see parents embracing tiny children. The sight of these precious young rushing into their parent’s arms caused the monk’s eyes to cloud over in tears that just kept streaming down his face. Finally, the only thing he could see was the colors of white, and red that seemed to dance within the clear liquid layer that covered his unbelieving, no… his eyes that believed now more than ever before.

As the woman, and her son descended the final step, the entire town had already lined the road she first arrived in Yamadera upon. Everyone bowed, and then dropped to their knees, and began to weep, just as the monk had. The woman never noticed any of it.

Author’s Note: When I first saw the children’s shrine at Yamadera Temple in the northern mountains of Japan, I had no idea it was a place of mourning for children who had died. I wouldn’t learn of this until long after I took photos of the location, and its numerous child like figurines, each representing a  child who has passed away. I also didn’t know that five years later, I would revisit that very same location, and place one of those little figurines, with its tiny red scarf at that very same location, as a remembrance of my own child that would pass due to a miscarriage.

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