The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 4. 2013    

January 21, 2013    
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In This Issue
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In Memoriam  

Kyoko Iriye Selden


October 2, 1936, Tokyo-January 20, 2012, Ithaca


Teacher, Translator, Poet, Calligrapher, Writer, Musician, Photographer, Mother . . . Companion 


Many thanks to all who contributed to our annual fund-raiser. APJ will continue to be available free to all in 2013. If you missed the opportunity to join our sustainers, you can still do so by going to the red sustainer button on our home page to contribute via Paypal or credit card. Or, if you prefer, we can accept checks on US banks: write to us at  Thank you for your support. 

Our subscribers via this Newsletter, as well as through Facebook and Twitter now number 6,000. We invite you to  help us expand these numbers by informing colleagues, associates, students and friends who might find our work useful. The best way to do so is to send along a recent article of interest and invite them to subscribe via our homepage either to receive the Newsletter or to receive notification via Facebook or Twitter. Another good way is to include APJ in your syllabus.

Our home page has two important features. One is a regularly updated guide to the more than 100 articles we have published on the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power meltdown which is transforming Japanese politics and society, and is reshaping issues of nuclear power and energy policy in that nation and globally. Articles are arranged topically. In addition, we have added a guide to some of the most important, and liveliest, online and print sources on 3.11 including blogs and websites.  Second, the list of articles now indicates all those available in Japanese translation or original, as well as other languages.

More than 6,000 people now subscribe to APJ, either through our Newsletter or the more than 2,700 who follow us  through Twitter or Facebook, whose numbers are growing steadily. Please consider joining them by clicking at the appropriate link on our home page.       


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Roger Pulvers with a note by Milton Esman, Beate Sirota Gordon: An American to whom Japan remains indebted


Beate Sirota Gordon passed away on Dec. 30, 2012


In 1946, when Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution was being written - and finding herself to be "the only woman in the room," as she put it with inveterate modesty in her memoir titled in those words - she played a key role in formulating that article which established full rights for women in all matters dealing with marriage and family.


I had the good fortune to correspond with her in 2008 and '09; and in our exchanges, she revealed some personal facts about her upbringing in Japan that shed light on her insight into this country's culture and mores.  


Recommended Citation: Roger Pulvers, "Beate Sirota Gordon: An American to whom Japan remains indebted," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 4, No. 1, January 21, 2013.


Roger Pulvers is an American-born Australian author, playwright, theatre director and translator living in Japan. An Asia-Pacific Journal associate, he has published 40 books in Japanese and English and, in 2008, was the recipient of the Miyazawa Kenji Prize. In 2009 he was awarded Best Script Prize at the Teheran International Film Festival for "Ashita e no Yuigon." He is the translator of Kenji Miyazawa, Strong in the Rain: Selected Poems. The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn is his most recent book.   


Milton Esman is professor emeritus of Government at Cornell University. As a very young officer, he participated in the drafting of the Japanese constitution. He was especially interested in weakening the entrenched power of the Japanese bureaucracy, a problem that continues to confront Japanese government.   

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Narusawa Muneo, Abe Shinzo, a Far-Right Denier of History

In December 2012, not a few people in Japan remembered the 75th anniversary of Nanjing Massacre. Those people hoped that the lessons from war crimes committed by the Japanese Army from 1931-1945 would be learned so that Japan would never wage war against another country again, and peace would be achieved in East Asia. Now, however, they face a major challenge.

In Japan's general election of Dec. 16th the Liberal Democratic Party, which had been in opposition since August 2009, won an overwhelming majority putting it back in power. With Abe Shinzo, a right-wing historical revisionist back as prime minister, the change of government is no longer just a Japanese issue.
The LDP is a nexus for history deniers who regard calls for historical reconciliation from neighboring countries as unjustified, deem their historical accounts as inaccurate, and claim that listening to such appeals for Japan to remember the past would be "masochistic." As LDP president, Abe most eloquently embodies this character of the party.

Narusawa Muneo is an editor of Shukan Kin'yobi, a weekly magazine established in 1993. He is author of Danger of Obama: The True Character of the New Administratio)" (Kin'yobi, 2009).

Read more . . .