Tomoyuki Hoshino on governments, nationalism, and happiness
This post is intended to provide some "teasers," excerpts from Hoshino's online journal and quotes that will hopefully inspire you to want to read more. I translated the first three passages, and the third appeared in a newspaper in the UK.
"Why do we have governments that only make us unhappy? I wonder how many people feel like they have been happy over the past 5 or 6 years? If you feel like you can't find even a little happiness even though you are fully living, isn't it only right to think that our social systems are also partly to blame?" (June 20, 2007)
(Image source: here)
The child's sign says, "As long as there are bases, the incidents won't stop." This is in reference to rapes and assaults of local children and adults by U.S. military personnel in Okinawa.
The plans in Okinawa to relocate the Futenma US military base to Henoko Bay in Nago City have led to a situation where the bizarre can happen. To put it simply, why did the government deploy the Self Defense Force's minesweeping ship to prevent locals from going out in boats to protest the move being pushed ahead by agencies like the Defense Facilities Administration? [Click here to read more about this.] ... What exactly is being "defended" here? (May 17, 2007)
Click here to read about the Henoko Sea Base.
In response to increased reports in Japan of children kiling their parents and the concurrent popularity of calls to "love your country" and "protect your country," Hoshino writes:
The model of "loving your country" holds attraction for those who can't respect or rely on their parents and who also don't have any friends they can really trust. If there's no one nearby you can trust, maybe it feels like you can eventually discover where you are when possessed by notions of loving or protecting some abstract "country." Bound up in that is hate directed at folks who feel like their friends, family, and loved ones come first, ahead of "country." They'll get condemned as unpatriotic and individualistic egoists by contemporary "patriots" who want to rationalize their love of country and whose desires strike me as arrogant and exclusivist. So, it seems the people who are unable to love anyone are those who so fanatically go on about "patriotism." (August 31, 2006)
Finally, the following comes from this article about Nobel laureate Kenzaburô Ôe that appeared in the Guardian (UK) in 2005,
... for Tomoyuki Hoshino, [Ôe] exemplifies commitment. "It's high time we look back to the era after the war," he says. "My generation has to take up the themes Ôe has been wrestling with." Hoshino sees Ôe as rewriting the political works of his youth in the light of the "rise of extreme nationalism and yearnings for militarism. He believes literature can act against that future by shedding light on the psychology of those who want to be engulfed in it."