Tokyo Damage Report

Oe’s Death of a Political Youth, PART TWO

CHAPTER 2

The Imperial Way Party hosts regular “Discipline and Self-Improvement” parties for the younger members. At this party, there was a rare argument. I was lost in thought, in the farthest corner of the auditorium, when I heard the accusations fly all around my head, like so many lines in the most dramatic play.  

The younger Imperial Way fellows – those up to 30 years old –  had become very excited by all the fighting that our Youth Action Squad had done, and were moved to speak out very directly. As well, they voiced doubts about some of the older members, who seemed to have a very lukewarm attitude about our President, Sakagibara Kunihiko. Among these young voices, two theorists uttered the following dramatic lines:

Brother A (25 years old, son of a Shinto priest, college graduate, and a member of the unpopular Skeptic Faction of Imperial Way):
I have doubts if we should all get happy and yell, “We won! We won!” next time.  I have doubts that this street-fighting with leftist kids is a real victory at all.

Brother B (30 years old, member of the Realist Faction, always clad in Haori and Hakoma (like a male kimono)  <<Actually, B. inspired me to wear my own haori to high-school every day, prompting my math teacher to grumble “That rightist ass!” out of the side of his mouth. This criticism made me feel noble!>>  At any rate, B’s Realist Faction was working with the Youth Crew Wing of the mainstream Conservative Party, and always consented to their demands. This, plus his tireless work, earned him the nickname “Mr. Politician.” Though B.’s formal education ended after junior high, he is an avid reader, since he was born into a merchant family from Numazushi):
Well, you can’t say we lost, can you?!? Their leader admitted defeat in the magazine! They said he cried wan, wan, wan, right there in front of the Diet building.   They really thought they could penetrate the main compound and start some sort of revolution!  Let’s think about this for a second, everyone: this Ampo treaty that they want to oppose. . . this treaty allows us to ask the Americans for help.

If they had gotten inside the Diet, we could have mobilized the American troops to kill all of them! We did them a favor by stopping ‘em ourselves.

It’s thanks to our common sense, the common sense of the Ampo system, that they’re still alive! And Japan’s harmony was preserved.

By the way, did you see ‘em crying about that dead girl? Didn’t they realize how close all 100,000 of them were to getting killed? But no, they just want to cry, wan, wan, wan.  I’d of liked to take that cry-baby poet, pick him up by the scruff of his neck, and knock him in the dirt! But I didn’t, because I didn’t need to rub our victory in his face. I’ll let him rush back to his little office and look through all his dusty books, trying to find a good comeback, “Oh, oh, what would Lenin have said?!?” Ha, ho, ho!!! Man, scholars like that need a good walloping.

Brother A. :
Wanting to win these silly games, then being so proud of yourself, talking big about punching and walloping scholars, do you really believe that means victory for our cause?

Brother B.:
What’s wrong with believing we won? Sure, the newspapers have their assholes filled with Leftist poison, and they print lies saying we’re gangsters and thugs, but the regular workin’ folks are on our side. And at the next election, do you think the voters will let those lefties win? As always, the Conservative Party will take it – that’s how we let the people have their say!

Brother A:
As even you must know, the only people winning the election are the pus-covered venereal sores known as Conservatives. Not us! And certainly not our own President Sakagibara – they already decided they won’t even let him run on the Conservative ticket!!!

And yet you’re always running round with those pigs from the Conservative Youth Crew Wing. Helping them get their ‘Young Pig’ careers in Big Money Politics off the ground! Rolling around in the shit with them, does that feel good? When they smear it all over you, do you roll your eyes and moan, un, un, un?  I guess I agree with the leftists that the Conservatives are the enemy.

Brother B: This so-called ‘enemy’ of ours – after our May actions – gave us 200,000 yen. And that’s just a public contribution! They also funneled 500,000 yen to our “Committee to Re-Elect the Prime Minister.” That’s the reason we can continue our activities. You want to bite the hand that feeds you? (lit. –‘Even though they’re our enemies, they give us aid generously, are you so dishonorable that you would refuse it?’)

Brother A.(turning blue and quivering with anger):
Taking that 200,000 – 5000,000 yen is exactly what makes us no better than common thugs! You know damn well that the Conservatives are the ones keeping the Imperial Way Party from running our own candidates in the elections! We’ve been reduced to being the muscle for the pigs of the Conservative Youth Crew! We’ve been reduced to just another cog in their corrupt machine – the lowest level!

Brother B. (also yelling apoplectically):
Well what the fuck should we do then?!?!?

Brother C: (jumping in seconds before the argument turns into a fist-fight, and capturing everyone’s attention by reading from a manifesto in an impossibly loud voice: in surprise, everyone instantly became quiet and listened)

Dark clouds loom over us! The red tide presses upon us from the west and north, threatening to swallow us up.  Our national defense is so weak, we can’t even respond to Rhee Syngman (president of South Korea)’s empty threats. The Communist Party, the Progressive Party, Big Labor, the Teachers’ Union, the All-Japan Students League, and even the self-styled “intelligentsia” all form a “fifth column”, undermining us with their conspiracies, squirming away in the darkness they’ve created!

Political rot rolls in from overseas, damaging our shores, here, and there. The stench can be smelled through our whole country. The Japan of today is living in a false reality. Who can really speak out as a true, sincere patriot? Japan! You are in danger! I can’t help but worry about you! The time is now! You too, don’t you think that we have reached the same conditions as the night before the May 15th Incident? The same conditions as the day before the February 26th Incident?

Look around you! Weakness, fickleness, laziness, and licentiousness envelop our country. Right before your eyes, people lazily misappropriate political power for their own ends. Greed devours them like a wild beast drunk on the most powerful sake.  They care for nothing but their own profit and self-interest, blind to the damage they cause. They forget that this will lead to the eternal downfall of our entire country – from peace and stability, they will plunge us off of the cliffs in their reckless pursuit of gluttony! No wonder many voices are calling for us to restore Japan! The pure of heart among us – the comrades, the youths – must take decisive action now!

Brother A:
That is so! I should ask them to reconsider their position and admit wrong-doing. I don’t like their dirty money, and when we beat left-wingers for them, we become as bad as the police. I strongly hope that President Sakagibara will take a more hard line against the Conservatives.

Brother C.:
What do you mean, a more hard-line stance? Like send a letter of protest to the Conservatives because they sent a Minister to the Communist countries on a diplomatic mission once?

Brother A:
Harder.

Brother C:
Ah! A coup d’etat, then?

Brother A:
If possible, but. . . .

Brother C:
I’m not saying it’s possible, but there are those among us – right now –  who are writing theories about it! Essays about the inevitability of a coup d’etat. Compared to pre-war days, the military  now has around four or five times as much war materiel.  And in spite of that, they are subject to “civilian control,” instead of having The Emperor as Supreme Commander.

Today’s politicians are encouraging the common people to be unfaithful to The Emperor, and the people obey orders blindly, even as they are leading us to the execution ground! Are the “civilian controllers” really looking out for Japan? Or just their own power? We all have our doubts. That’s why it’s possible for us to spread dissent in the armed forces –  some people in the Army are bound to resent having to be subordinate to such leaders.

If they don’t have confidence in the civilian leadership, rather than obey orders, the Army might well decide to take matters in their own hands: to re-form Japanese government. But which way of reform will they choose? No doubt there are some right now who want to bring the traditional “Emperor plus Imperial Army” structure of government back to life.  By the way, if there IS a coup, rather than a Communist one, it’s better to have a coup founded in ideas of Japanese nationalism. That’s my main point.

President Sakagibara says the time is not yet ripe, but if we don’t start planning and maneuvering now, it’ll never be more than an idea. To say that it’s premature to even plan ahead, that is a sign of weakness! If we take the dirty money from the ‘ghosts’ of the Conservative Party, we’ll become their tool. Sure, maybe we’ll say ‘OK, tomorrow we’ll start laying the foundations for the coup,’ but then night will fall and the sun will rise and still we’ll be saying, ‘OK, tomorrow, tomorrow for sure. Any day now,’ and before we know it, we’ll be old men, like those spineless left-wing scholars who never live to see the revolution they’ve spent their whole lives writing about. I don’t want to die like those wimps!

The next time the National Student Alliance tries to surround the Diet building – if it’s possible for them to do a coup d’etat, they will. Am I mistaken? Am I confused? No – it’s plain for all to see!

The right wing needs someone of our own, who can also say, “Aim for a coup for the regular folks!” . . Such a guy, if he were to emerge, couldn’t really oppose the National Student Alliance entirely. I don’t know who the scholar was that was crying when his group lost the fight, but when I stood there in front of the Diet, in the silence that followed the battle, I realized we’d crushed the seeds of a real rebellion by the little guys against the big guys, and I wanted to cry myself!  

These “Mr. Politicians,” who can only live inside the stinking filth of corruption that they generate. . . .if we could purify them, we could once again smell the sweet perfume of flowers in our face!  And that’s why I felt like crying.  A regular-folks’ coup, followed by a restoration of His Highness The Emperor to supreme commander of the military, would be a return to Japan’s true structure, and everyone would be in their true role. But such an “Ideal Program” could only be carried out by patriots and uyoku. If the left tries to impose their “Vision Of The Future” on Japan, it will be devoid of legitimacy. It won’t have the righteousness, the blessing of all the brave patriots who gave their lives in the war – fighting for the traditional system.  As for President Sakagibara, if he ever denounces my way of thinking, I will defect from the Imperial Way Party, and go underground to lay the foundations of a real coup d’etat. Everyone – are you with me?

Brother A.: I think I’d probably go with you!

Brother B: I also would (Ever since Brother C. mentioned Supreme Military Command by The Emperor, I had been gripped by a sudden concern – this coup sounded like a much faster way for me to become close to The Emperor. But moving towards the coup would inevitably mean moving away from President Sakagibara! To my astonishment, this uneasy conviction was already growing and hardening in my breast.) defect with you, at such a time, and enroll in Military School, so we could influence the top brass from the inside! That’s how to lay a coup foundation!

Brother C.:
Well, then, you guys are brothers after all, aren’t you?
 

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1 Comment so far

  1. Alex October 21st, 2010 2:50 pm

    getting serious up in here…

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