Civilization engineering researcher Yoichi Kusama, who worked in publishing for many years, was awarded the Grand Prize (Fuji Seiji Prize) in the 11th Annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” Essay Contest. Toshio Motoya spoke with Kusama about the mistaken views of history and peace that are rampant in Japan, the dangers facing Japan, and enthusiasm for constitutional reform.
(M) Thank you for joining me on Big Talk today. Last year, the Judging Committee unanimously decided to award you the Grand Prize (Fuji Seiji Prize) in the 11th Annual “True Interpretations of Modern History” Essay Contest for your essay, entitled “The Dynamism of Early Modern Japan: Rethinking Japanese Civilization.” Once again, I would like to say congratulations!
(K) It is a great honor. Thank you very much.
(M) I believe the quality of a prize depends on its judges. The “True Interpretations of Modern History” Essay Contest and APA Japan Restoration Grand Prize judges are all prominent figures, including Chairman Hideaki Kase, University of Tokyo Professor Emeritus Keiichiro Kobori, Takashi Ito, Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada, and The Hochi Shimbun President Kazuo Komatsuzaki. As the organizer, I do not often share my views at the Judging Committee meetings. I just listen to the judges. You have also submitted several essays to this contest in the past.
(K) Yes, I won the Prize for Excellence in the 7th and 10th contests. I was thrilled to be given the top prize this time.
(M) There are few Japanese media outlets that speak the truth. They are all peculiar, and this has become the norm. That’s why, conversely, it is a taboo to say what is true. This will turn Japan into a bad country. For that reason, I launched “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest 10 years ago with the aim of reviving pride in our homeland of Japan.
(K) I think you started a wonderful movement. The Japanese media and educational system are fully in accordance with the anti-Japanese left wing that still abides by the policy of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ). People learn in school that Japan’s feudal system was the root of all sorts of evils. In my prize-winning essay, I state that Japan successfully resisted the Mongol invasions thanks to this feudal military system. There were some issues with the Tokugawa feudal system of the shogunate and domains, but fundamentally Japan’s success at maintaining the nation as a major power was why it was never colonized by the West. We must quickly put an end to this postwar historical education that suppresses historical facts and imposes a masochistic view of history.
(M) I think the GHQ started brainwashing Japan because it was traumatized by how strong the Japanese Army was during World War II. The United States feared that, if Japan was restored spiritually and militarily, it would definitely take revenge for the inhumane atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, there was a logical basis for these attacks. The U.S. couldn’t end the war without using the atomic bombs it developed with secret Congressional funds, and it was terrified that the Soviet Union (which had become a military monster) would communize the globe. With these atomic bombings, the U.S. transformed World War III – which could have occurred from fierce confrontation between the U.S. and Soviet Union – from a “hot” into a “cold” war. More than 10 million people would have died if the U.S. didn’t have the atomic bomb, which inspired genuine fear in the Soviet Union.
(K) If Hiroshima and Nagasaki hadn’t been attacked, fighting would have occurred on the Japanese mainland. I think Japan would have suffered catastrophic damage, but that the American causalities would also have been quite significant.
(M) We certainly cannot deny the possibility that a favorable reconciliation could have been achieved if Japan had waged guerilla warfare until the U.S. Forces could no longer withstand the fighting, even in a decisive battle on the mainland, under the slogan “100 million dying honorable deaths.” This is like how North Vietnam defeated the U.S. in guerilla warfare during the Vietnam War.
(K) Some well-informed persons still say we should have fought on the Japanese mainland.
(M) Of course, I cannot agree with that.
(K) I am of the same opinion. A mainland fight would have caused unimaginable tragedies across the Japanese archipelago.
(M) During the Vietnam War, the U.S. experienced a great deal of trouble dealing with Vietnam, a small country. It cozied up to China and somehow managed an honorable withdrawal. When a dictatorship and democratic nation fight, the dictatorship has the advantage because its human costs are much lower. The U.S. Forces were at a disadvantage even in asymmetrical fights like guerilla warfare. I think another major cause of defeat was that the American public was vehemently opposed to the war.
(K) I think we can say the U.S. lacked a successful information strategy aimed at its citizens. Information warfare is extremely important, yet Japan has long discounted it. I definitely agree with your idea of establishing a new “Ministry of Information” with a budget of 300 billion yen and a staff of 3,000.
(M) Of course information warfare includes security and counterintelligence, as well as intelligence gathering and strategies. Today we must also fight cyber wars. In fact, I think future warfare will be mainly fought in cyberspace, rather than traditional military conflict. Information warfare has been constant since the dawn of humankind. Japan worked hard in this realm until around the First Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars.
(K) Japan’s information warfare was probably at the highest level in the world of that time.
(M) I guess it became careless after that. In the current climate, many people say Japan has enjoyed peace thanks to the Constitution of Japan and Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. This has been partially true up until now, but going forward it is not accurate. The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was in tune with American interests, and I doubt the U.S. will protect Japan without any profit. Basically, the U.S. would not join in a lost battle, although it might fight if the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) had already gained an advantage. The U.S. and all other countries put their own interests first. Japan should have the same stance, but I fear Japan will end up as a Chinese autonomous region if we merely keep safeguarding the pacifist constitution.
(K) You are right. Japan is at the mercy of both the U.S. and China today.
(M) Japan and the U.S. are strongly attracted to the market created by China’s huge population. Everyone used to believe in the fantasy that economic prosperity would lead China to democracy. But even as the economy grows, only some wealthy people are able to indulge in luxury. It is not the case that prosperity has come to the more than 900 million citizens of agricultural communities and the majority of those living in cities.
(K) The people with rural household registers are effectively slaves.
(M) The U.S. imported black slaves, Europe established many colonies, and Russia exploited its serfs. It’s the same with Chinese rural communities – only a few people enjoy affluent lives thanks to the labor of many.
(K) Considering that, we certainly can’t regard China as a socialist country today.
(M) Yes, and it is threatening Japan right now. I believe nothing is more important than taking another look back at history and restoring pride in our homeland of Japan. That’s why I started “True Interpretations of Modern History” essay contest and the Shoheijuku school, made the APA Japan Restoration Foundation into a public interest incorporated foundation, and launched the new APA Japan Restoration Grand Prize last year.
(K) I believe your activities are essential for Japan today.
(M) Japan would become a more wonderful country if correct historical views were widespread. The hurdle is the educational system controlled by the Japan Teachers’ Union (which was formed by the GHQ) and the textbooks chosen for students. Ninety-nine percent of schools use textbooks with incorrect historical information.
(K) Boards of education select the textbooks for each region, and it is said these processes can be rather underhanded.
(M) It’s a major issue that accurate textbooks are not chosen.
(K) Furthermore, there are dark clouds hanging over the future of constitutional change. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) includes constitutional reform in its party platform, but what is it doing? Can we entrust this task to them?
(M) Some people say a National Diet motion should be submitted to invalidate and abolish the Constitution of Japan all at once, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees that as a coup d’état. First, we should take solemn actions according to the revision procedures in the constitution. If we do everything we can and change is still stymied, then invalidation might be a possible path forward. However, cultivating a public consensus will be necessary.
(K) If the fate of the nation were at stake, I think a Diet motion to invalidate the current constitution is one potential method, regardless of whether it is seen as a coup d’état. We must leave this card on the table. This stands to reason, because international law prohibits an occupying country from modifying the constitution of an occupied country that lacks sovereignty.
(M) For form’s sake, Japan had the American-produced constitution pushed on it according to procedures for revising the Meiji Constitution. It was formulated in a short period of time, so there are many issues besides Article 9. To gradually fix these problems as well, we must submit an amendment measure before this year’s House of Councillors election, while Diet members in favor of constitutional change still occupy two thirds of the seats. Just like when Junichiro Koizumi decided to privatize the postal system, Diet members in the party should be forced to state if they are in favor of constitutional reform or not. Those opposed should be denied official recognition and cut down. There is also the option to hold a double election of both houses while announcing that the House of Representatives will not be dissolved if everyone agrees to amendment. The right to dissolve is the prime minister’s greatest weapon, and he should utilize it to the maximum degree. I think the issue is whether Abe is resolved to this.
(K) I agree.
(M) Even if a motion is submitted, the national referendum poses another obstacle. I’ve heard that, when the current constitution was promulgated, tens of millions of pamphlets were printed as part of an awareness campaign. In the case of a reform motion, in addition to once again printing huge numbers of pamphlets, I think the government and LDP must work to persuade the people as well. For a motion, two thirds is required in both houses of the Diet – this is a type of indirect democracy. Majority assent is necessary, and it is odd that the national referendum should have different results. A sufficient movement could certainly win over the majority of citizens. It may also be beneficial that people age 18 and older can vote, since many young people today have conservative ways of thinking.
(K) I also have great expectations of the youth. They don’t read many newspapers or watch much television, so they are unsullied by biased views and are capable of thinking honestly. I feel a national movement will be of extreme importance. People in favor of constitutional reform must join together to distribute pamphlets to all sorts of organizations – from companies to schools – to convey the crises facing Japan and the fact that Japan will be destroyed under the constant constitution.
(M) The LDP has lost the power to carry out a national movement due to its election-related collaboration with the Komeito. It must become a self-reliant party. With a parliamentary system of government, if a single party cannot gain a majority in the diet, they must join hands with other parties via a policy agreement to form a coalition. It is not a true alliance if the parties work together starting before elections to share votes.
(K) I agree entirely, and I think the LDP has lost its power. Like Toshio Tamogami said, the LDP should hoist its flag on the right side and bring together conservatives in the truest sense of the phrase.
(M) The LDP’s ideology is too wide-ranging, from right to left. It also lacks a philosophy or policy for how to lead Japan – its main goal is to win elections.
(K) That is deplorable.
(M) I started the Shoheijuku to promote conservative ideologies to many people, and the cumulative number of participants has already passed 18,000. At every meeting, five to six people speak for ten minutes each. Thanks to these activities, conservative sentiment has grown in Japan compared to 10 years ago, when Tamogami started a scandal by winning the first essay contest. However, it is still too weak to push forward constitutional change. Many Japanese people still believe that wishing for peace is enough. However, peace is actually the result of a balance of power – it is won against a backdrop of strength. Japan remained a unified nation in the Edo Period because of its military strength, which is why it was never colonized by a Western power.
(K) Slaves think that wishing for peace will bring peace. Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and anti-Japanese, left-wing political parties oppose constitutional reform because they say it will turn Japan into a country that can fight wars. But, if they say we cannot fight to defend ourselves, that means we are slaves. Japan will be destroyed by these people who can’t think critically and are overly used to peace.
(M) I’ve visited 82 countries around the world and held dialogues with important figures in each. These conversations inspired me to see the Japanese media as bizarre, leading to my efforts to re-examine history. Japanese people need to broaden their perspectives beyond their own shores, with a viewpoint that is accepted on the global stage. This is hindered by how we teach history divided into “Japanese” and “world” history. The history of Japan should be taught with world history so students can learn what was happening in other countries at the same time. Your essay made it easy to understand the circumstances in Japan and the world alike, which should be emulated in history textbooks.
(K) Thank you. I highly appraise what the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform is doing.
(M) I do too, but their textbook from Jiyusha has not come into widespread use.
(K) You do business and express yourself in dynamic ways, based on the thinking that “a man who chases two rabbits will catch both.” That is not something an average person is capable of.
(M) No matter how well you express your views, that alone is not enough to get people to listen to you. And I doubt I could have received support from so many people through my business alone. People open their ears to me exactly because I have achieved business success.
(K) That’s wonderful. I always learn a lot from your “Words to Live By” in Apple Town. Time has passed quickly, and I am now 80 years old. Having won this prize, I plan to step up the pace of my writing. I believe my mission is to tell as many people as possible about the dangers facing Japan.
(M) Please do! I hope you will enter your book in the APA Japan Restoration Grand Prize contest.
(K) Michio Ezaki, who won the first APA Japan Restoration Grand Prize, has written works that empirically reveal how Comintern plotted to start World War II and the Greater East Asian War. Honest American historians have finally taken notice of this, and we should promptly re-construct a correct modern history together with them for the sake of Japan’s revival.
(M) Some Americans want Japan to be weak, but some conversely desire a strong Japan. The former is the Republican Party and the latter is the Democratic Party. When a Democrat is president, the Japan-U.S. relationship is unfavorable to Japan, an example of which is World War II. On the other hand, Republican governments have good relations with Japan. President George W. Bush even suggested visiting Yasukuni Shrine with Koizumi, but the Japanese side declined, which was ridiculous.
(K) Koizumi worked as an agent of the Wall Street international financiers that effectively control the U.S. Regarding postal privatization, there were actually repeated demands for reform since the time of the Bill Clinton administration. I have studied various things as part of my civilization engineering research. In the Western view of civilization, civilization begins with an agricultural revolution. There is a surplus of food, cities are built, and a power hierarchy is born when people not directly involved in agriculture become craftsmen, warriors, priests, etc. Moreover, ironware and writing systems are invented. That is the definition of civilization. However, Japan has long had abundant food, so there was no need for an agrarian revolution. People gave up the nomadic lifestyle of the Stone Age, became permanently settled, and built villages. The first earthenware in human history was made 16,000 years ago in Japan. Japan was home to a civilization, although it lacked ironware, writing systems, and hierarchal societies. Yoshinori Yasuda, the founder of environmental archaeology in Japan, disagrees with the prevailing view of civilization, and clearly refers to the Jomon culture as the “Jomon civilization.” In the Western view of civilization, which takes from nature and destroys the environment, humans suffer in various ways and up end being perished. Yasuda states that now is the time to re-asses Japan’s Jomon civilization, and I definitely agree with this new concept of civilization. The important thing is that, in the Shinto-inspired view of the world as sacred that has survived in Japan since the Jomon period, people become gods through amazing acts of altruism. The thousands of kamikaze pilots who died glorious deaths while praying for the prosperity of Japan, their native country, are all gods. This lofty spirit is understood and venerated by the greatest intellects in the Western world, such as André Malraux and Bernard Millot. Monotheistic religions like Judaism and Christianity – and the Marxism and globalism they gave rise to – bring mankind to ruin. Going forward, Japanese civilization must lead the world, but it is possible that Japan itself might be destroyed.
(M) Japan must become a respectable nation. The source of strength for countries across the world is nuclear weapons. Now that our neighbors are all nuclear powers, Japan must earnestly consider how to maintain a nuclear balance. I think the only option is to conclude a nuclear sharing arrangement with the U.S. for “renting” nuclear weapons. To that end, we must abolish the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, amend the constitution, revise the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and become a nation capable of independent self-defense. This assumes citizens have the strong mettle to protect their own country.
(K) I agree. If nuclear sharing is not accepted, Japan should clearly tell the U.S. that we must develop our own weapons.
(M) At the end of the interview, I always ask for a “word for the youth.”
(K) First, I hope they will not be deceived by superficial propaganda like the “anti-war peace” concept and pacifist constitution of the anti-Japanese left wing that tries to stop Japan from being revived and restored. They should consider why 3.1 million people, including military personnel and civilians, died in the Greater East Asian War. Young people who will be in charge of the next generation should learn true history and think seriously about what it means to be Japanese.
(M) Let us both speak out about the crises facing Japan. Thank you for joining me today.
Date of dialogue: February 1, 2019
Born in Niigata Prefecture in 1938. Graduated from Waseda University’s Department of Philosophy, No 1. School of Literature. While being employed in jobs including publication planner, writer, and editor, he also worked to build the comprehensive academic discipline of “civilization engineering.” Today, he believes the critical state of affairs in modern civilization stems from monotheists’ insatiable ambition to rule the world with military power and money, and that only a Shinto-inspired view of the world as sacred can save the Earth and humankind. His published works include The Morning of Enlightenment has Come (Kaisando Publishing), a collection of poems.