Don't call it a spade
Making Japan Great Again
The blog has been slow lately. Part of that is me being on Twitter, wrecking my long term IQ with short term dopamine hits. But man, those dopamine hits are good. If you’re not following me yet, there’s a link at the sidebar.
So anyway, one of the places I rely most recently for commentary is the online mag The Diplomat. It’s some Cathedral foreign policy rag, apparently with some close relation to the Indian government. Lots of Indians shitting on China there, which is funny. But by and large it’s a pretty standard Cathedral foreign policy rag, so if you want to know what USG, i.e. the compromise between the Redgov empire (the Pentagon and its foreign satellites) and Bluegov empire (the State Department and its foreign satellites) are up to, it’s not a bad resource to follow.
Yesterday I took a look at their feed and they had this tweet, which I found hilarious.
Seeing a picture of a woman academic I didn’t bother to read the whole piece; I assumed it was a piece about the Abe’s government long-discussed plans to nationalize college education. I thought some USG-supported feminist QUANGO had joined the plan and was salivating at the possibilities of extending Bioleninism in Japanese colleges. As it happens there’s a #MeToo assault on Japanese politicians right now, and weaponized-vaginas agitating for leftist politics have been increasing a lot in the last year.
But I was mistaken. I got it backwards actually, the article is not about celebrating leftist agitation in Japan; it’s panicking about that evil fascist Abe’s early education policy. On hindsight it should have been obvious. “Make (country) great again” is Trump’s phrase; as such it is tainted. Cursed even. Clueless provincials like Emmanuel Macron might have tried to appropriate it but that’s not how the imperials in America do things. Puritans are about purity. You are not to talk about making things great again ever, as long as the English language exists.
So by all means read the article, which is interesting, as it does reflect a reality in Japanese schools. They have some low-profile Bioleninist academic in Japan, who says it quite bluntly: “Totalitarianism is a common feature of Japanese school education”.
Of course throwing words like “totalitarianism” around means little, and it’s not like this broad knows what totalitarianism is about, being a “sociologist” her job is not to read books. She’s a political commissar, and as such her work does have value. Japanese education indeed has been moving right in the recent years. A couple decades, perhaps. And that is worrying if you work for the Left. It’s her job to worry about losing power. Well, it’s everyone’s job. I can’t think of any human trait more universal than worrying about losing power.
And yes, the left in Japan is losing power in Japanese early education. It used to be commies everywhere. And I mean real commies, actual card-carrying members of the Japanese Communist Party. They’re still around, and still prominent in many school districts, but they don’t own the school system as they should do. As I was saying, in the recent decades there’s been a slow but steady pushback from the government, backed by some rightist organizations which have been lobbying for changes in the ideological orientation of early education.
On the face of it it’s quite odd. Cthulhu always swims left, right? The history of the world, certainly the history of the modern world, is the history of the left waging war against the status quo and by their relentless vigor and sheer determination winning once and again. The Left always wins. The Left has been so victorious that you could make an argument that Left *is* what wins, it is change itself, the “Right” being just the hapless forces of reaction standing althwart at history and yelling “stop!”. Not realizing that even if it stopped right there, the Cthulhu-truck had been driving left for centuries already. The position where it stopped would just happen to be wherever the Left was 5 minutes before. But that is the mainstream Right for you; those Leftists from yesterday who don’t want to go further left.
It is of paramount importance to dispel the fiction that the Left and Right are both equal forces, armies fighting for their respective causes which are different in content but generally equivalent in size and culture. No, that’s not how it works. There are no causes. There is only power. The Left is where the people who want (more) power flock to, and their ideas are contingent to that ultimate purpose. The Right are the people who do not want more power, either because they have some already or because they’re just not into it. Risk-averse, perhaps. Whatever ideas people in the Right believe in are contingent to that ultimate purpose. To put it in military terms. Doctrines change. Strategies change. Weapons change. But the basic nature of war is universal.
That’s the general theory, of course. I’m not a Platonist, but the above refers to some abstract, Platonic essence of Left and Right. Particular political groupings in the real world which get called “Left” or “Right” may differ somewhat from the definition; but that’s just how language works. People put names to things, and somewhat the names stick through inertia for so long that the name doesn’t refer to the same thing. But over time definitions tend to correct themselves. People learn words just once, then usage gets fixed and it changes much more slowly than its referent. As such people tend inevitably to associate the labels “Left” and “Right” which particular sets of ideas. And sure, there is some correlation. Some ideas do tend to universally to facilitate turnover of people in power. Say, universal rights to all humans. Other ideas tend to facilitate the Right’s mission: stability of power. Say, the patriarchy. But that’s all relative to the local language customs of a place. That’s how words work; they are tools, who get made for a purpose, but then over time they are given other uses (“definitions”) if the need arise. Problems happen when different people use them differently or when small groups develop their own idiosyncratic uses. That we call “jargon”.
So to rephrase it again: In my theory, which you could call “neoreactionary theory” to give Moldbug his due credit, the Left is the forces of chaos, led by sociopathic status maximizers (SSM), while the Right is the forces of order. Outside the theory, the Left is whatever gets called the Left, and the Right is whatever gets called the Right in a particular place and time. There is of course correlation between the theoretical Left and Right and particular Lefts and Rights, but that correlation must be disentangled in every individual case.
So back to topic: does the Left always win? The theoretical always wins, at least since modernity, but in real world history, the left often loses. They lose the battle and go on to win the war. But battles they do lose. Particular real world Leftist movements do lose out every now and then. The death of economic communism in the West in the 1980s is a good example. Neoliberalism gets a lot of hate but there was a real danger of having state-planned economies and rationing in much of the West not that long ago. The Left did lose that battle. Or gun rights in the US: God knows the Left wants that gone. And yet it hasn’t been able to.
The culture war in Japan is another example of Leftist failure. As I’ve mentioned before, many years ago when I first went to Japan I used to comment in the expat blogosphere there. There was this cool blog by American hipster types called Neomarxisme, written by a guy called David Marx. I wonder what became of him. I guess he’s still in Japan; hipsters love Japan. Nobody else does. Anyway, as a hipster which loved the hipster side of Japan, Mr. Marx was quite worried about what he saw as a resurgence of Fascism in the Japanese internet. As it often happens Japan is the precursor of social trends that happen later in the rest of the world. A full 10 years before Trump, Japan had a full-fledged internet Alt-Right movement. And nobody understood why. David Marx and his friends surely didn’t get it.
I did, though it did take me some years to understand it. Now of course I can fit my understanding in a wider framework, and relate it to general trends happening also elsewhere. The basic trend here was that the Japanese internet was full of people who were very nationalistic. In Japan a big divide between Left and Right is the question of patriotism, similar to Germany and for basically the same reasons. The Left thinks Japanese nationalism is this evil force which unleashed World War 2 which was this epitome of evil thing; thus modern Japanese must renounce their love for the fatherland and become all atomized universalist hedonists. Well not really hedonists, the Left would rather they all became lovers of communism and the Great North Korean Leader; but if hedonism keeps them busy enough consuming stuff to forget natural tribalism, then hedonism will do. The right in its most extreme form is for old-school chauvinism. Japan is the greatest nation on Earth, it’s a Great Moral Power (yes they actually say so), and Japan dindu nuffin wrong in WW2.
While Japan didn’t exterminate the Right like Germany did, the cultural consensus until the 2000s was quite firmly in the Leftist side of this divide. Your average Japanese in the 1970s, the prototypical Japanese boomer, didn’t give a crap about the fatherland and didn’t even know what this WW2 had been about. They were busy making money and listening to American music. Murakami Haruki is a fairly typical example of that milieu. If you have been unfortunate enough to read some of his novels you’ll know his kind of braindead hedonist pervert. That’s actually quite representative of his generation. If you have been fortunate enough to read some Mishima Yukio, you’ll have noticed that he was desperate with how his beloved country of Samurais had become cucked to that extent. Mishima took a good look at the next generation (Murakami and his friends) and choose to stab himself with a samurai sword in front of TV cameras in a military base. That started to change in the 2000s. The mainstream media, TV and publishing industries and academia were 90% staffed by leftist boomers, so you didn’t see any change over there. You only saw some of it in increased outspokenness of rightist politicians. And by far most importantly, in the internet.
The Japanese Internet is a really strange world, or it was in the 2000s. Japan never developed a blogosphere. The idea of writing for free just doesn’t cross their mind; most people have neither the leisure nor the inclination of writing as a hobby. Why would anyone do anything for free? Those who can write and do not belong to a major media organization tend to issue mailing lists and charge $5-10 a month for them; which gets them some income if they’re any good.
So where does one go to consume free content? 2chan. “Nichan” in Japanese. Absolutely everything interesting and funny to come out of Japan in the last 20 years has come from 2chan. So what is it? A website? Nope. 2chan is an obscure network which can only be accessed through a purpose-made Windows program. Think of it as a sort of reddit but much uglier and convoluted. There are many forums on a lot of topics; but you can’t your start your own. It is completely anonymous, but the network generates temporary IDs; it also requires payment in order to post in some but not all the forums. It’s really weird and I was never able to make sense of it myself. The Japanese relish in this sort of closed systems with weird rules to keep out outsiders. People think of Asians as bee-like collectivists, but they’re not. Asian societies as a whole are by and large worse run than White societies. Asians don’t work well in big groups. What they love is small groups; and to make sure the group stays small they come up with all sorts of bizarre and arbitrary rules, made up just on purpose to keep outsiders away and keep insiders loyal and invested. The Japanese are in my experience the worst in this. Even Japanese card games are abstruse. But hey, it works.
In a way it parallels the way that Thomas Kuhn said science works: first you establish a closed community of insiders. You make a lot of weird jargon that only insiders get. And once you have a coherent community of invested people, does progress happen. I don’t know about that, but back to 2chan: it’s the funniest place in Japan. It’s jargon has been trickling down to wider society for years, a cottage of industry of blogs lives off exclusively of copying discussions from 2chan and putting them on the web; their traffic is huge. 2chan is, as everything in Japan, a closed network with bizarre rules, but it is free and anonymous. It is the only place where a Japanese can speak his mind. And what they say in 2chan is…
Fascism. Pure and simple fascism. 2chan is overwhelmingly a rightist place. Nationalistic, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist. In foreign policy the Left loves China and Korea and their domestic lobbies, while the Right hates them and wants to break relations, officially if need be.. They love anime and porn and prime minister Abe. They think that WW2 was awesome and that Japan should get a new Army right now. They get real mad whenever the Imperial army is slighted. Anyway, I could go on, but you get the point. It’s not like they’re all reactionaries who think democracy is a Western conspiracy agains the Son of Heaven. But there’s enough red pills around in 2chan that saying women should marry at 15 year old and stay home like they’ve done since antiquity is not an uncommon opinion.
The funny thing is that only 2chan is like that. Japanese media is completely pozzed. Not to Western levels, of course, but they support leftist parties, argue against WW2 revisionism and for paying tribute to Chinese and Korean lobbies, have lots of homos around, and basically follow the slow attrition model of Cthulhu left-swimming that they always have. Japanese TV is like that: newspapers are mostly like that, with one exception (the rightist Sankei) and two typical cucks (Yomiuri and Nikkei). Academia is overwhelmingly leftist, often outright communist. And while there are many weird sects and associations in Japan forming a distributed conspiracy lobbying for rightist cultural points (the famous Nippon Kaigi et al.), they have close to non mainstream influence. They do have political influence and have managed to put some of their people in government, which is what the article linked at the beginning here was complaining about. Between 2chan and this weak conspiracy of housewives and retirees, the Japanese right has been slowly winning the culture war.
Now, don’t think that these rightist masses populating the Japanese internet are nothing like the Western alt-right. They are not. I remember quite clearly when Satoshi Kanazawa, the evolutionary biologist in London became famous for writing in 2011 that by any objective measure black women are not attractive. I used to read 2chan back then and I expected the Japanese internet to come out in the defense of their countrymen who was so unfairly demonized for saying what should be an obvious truth.
But they did not. “You just don’t say that. Why is this racist shaming the Japanese people abroad? Somebody get him shot or something, we don’t need that”. That was the almost universal tone of the responses, Some 10% or so did come out and say he was right. Japan does have its shitlords. But they are quite few of those who would expose any non-progressive ideas about race, individualism, or their Amaterasu-given right to not marry, not have a social life and spend all their money in anime-figures and Tenga masturbation-aids.
These are thus no trad masses defending the Japanese spirit. No. They are just as hedonistic and individualist as anyone else in Japan. But there are two things which they disagree on with the Left, and they will give no quarter about them. Women, and Immigration.
These are the only things in which Japan is at all different from any Western country. Japan has capitalism, brutalist architecture, alienated masses of hedonistic consumers with no religious affiliation whatsoever. What it doesn’t have is feminist education, women doing slut-walks, fat women demanding to be complimented on their looks 24/7. And Japan doesn’t have millions of dumb and hostile immigrants taking menial jobs from teenagers and filling up their prisons. And precisely because Japan doesn’t have that, the Left has made its mission to introduce them in Japan. And that’s where those internet masses, the 30-50 year old bored men in their bizarrely-structured internet forums have stood up, and said: No. Stop, right there.
Not that they will achieve anything. The National Review conservatives also stood up athwart history and yelled: “Stop!” It didn’t. It just slowed down. Changed tactics. Turned down the fire burning the frog. Learned salami-slicing tactics. Japan doesn’t have slut walks. But in just 10 years it has come from a country where a majority of married women were housewives to one where women work at Western levels, are increasingly present in high-level politics, and, who could’ve guessed it? are starting to agitate against sexual harassment. Big #metoo demonstration in Tokyo these days, I’m told.
As for immigration, Japan has more than 2 million foreigners working there, and it’s steadily growing. They won’t bring the yearly 200,000 brown men that the Japanese Business Association has repeatedly asked for; but they’ll get there. To their credit, working conditions given to foreigners are so nasty that most of them end up leaving by their own accord way before their contract expires. US State Department reports, and those of their affiliated NGOs have been loudly haranguing Japan about this, so it could change with time, but I don’t see Japan starting an immigrant welfare bureaucracy like Western countries have. They don’t have the money.
Interestingly the most strongly held idea of the Japanese Internet is not opposition to feminism or immigration. Those are held-strongly but you can always feel a sort of defeatist mood, where they kinda understand they’re fighting a losing battle. But the one thing they just love discussing is how Korea and China are evil and Japan should break relations with them. They are right about this. South Korea and China have been extremely hostile to Japan in recent decades: and their lobbies in Japan, especially the Korea one, has been very influential. 10 years ago you couldn’t watch Japanese TV without being lectured on how nice Korea is and how everybody should love them.
That has changed: the mood these days is extremely negative. Again, for good reason. But the thing is China’s GDP is now more than double that of Japan. And Korean per-capita GDP is closing up with Japan’s. Korean semiconductors have obliterated the Japanese electronics industry. Diplomatically Japan is without friends in its neighborhood, and its fading economic power means it is fast becoming a negligible actor internationally. Japan might hate China and Korea. They do hate them. But they won’t, they can’t stop 15 million combined tourists which come spend money in Japan. Oh, they complain a lot on the Internet about how nasty and smelly and rude they are. But they need their money. And that stings.
So you have a combination of revolt of the masculine masses against further encroaching by the International Left on the little pleasure left in their lives, and a generalized feeling of decline and powerlessness that leads many people to chauvinism if just to compensate. To this grassroots rightist mood, a small conspiracy of neotraditional cults has very effectively lobbied top politicians, bringing Abe and his ilk. Who have tried to deliver and bring up a Rightist movement. But their hands are tied. Japan is still a military occupied vassal of the United States. When the USA wanted Japan to sign TPP, they did, against the universal opposition of the Japanese economy. When USG asks for more feminism, Japan turns more feminist. Abe wants to restart his nuclear plants, but USG wants him to buy LNG from Qatar, so Japan spends all their trade surplus on that.
So what can Abe do? Change the school curriculum. That he can do. Tell babies left on kindergarten by their mothers who can’t take care of them because they know have #metoo jobs that the Emperor is awesome and the nation is eternal. But can he do what he really wants to do? Reform the Constitution and establish a legally proper army? No. He’s been trying for 5 long years, to no avail. He will likely step down this year, a defeated man.
The imperial thing is a good analogy for the whole endeavor, as I wrote before. The Japanese right wants to reform the Constitution and give some more meat to the Emperor’s position. But the man didn’t want it! He is stepping down next year, and his successor is world-famous as the cuck of all cucks, a crybaby liberal with a spendthrift and lazy wife who wouldn’t even give him a son. And the Japanese government is cucked enough that they won’t jump over him and give the crown to his brother, much more appreciated by the right. Oh, muh line of succession.
Abe has been trying to get his Rightist street-cred by being tough to China and Korea, but so what? Japan had 970k babies last year. China has 17 times that. North Korea has nukes; Japan doesn’t. The only way Japan could recover even a little hope of being a rich and independent nation would be if Japanese women had more babies, but the trends are the exact opposite. Japanese feminism is growing partly as a result of USG pressure, and partly out of the increased bargaining power that women naturally get in times of decreasing fertility. I’ll expand on that in some other post. But at any rate sex relations in Japan are getting worse, not better. Fascist education won’t solve that. Because fascism is, at the end of the day, just the leftism of two weeks ago. Well, 90 years.