The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 31. 2013    

August 5, 2013    
New Articles Posted
Quick Links
In This Issue
Quick Links
Quick Links


Twice a year we invite our readers to help us to continue to publish The Asia-Pacific Journal. The first responses have been gratifying and we look forward to hearing from more of you.


The Journal is and will continue to be provided free to readers. But if you value the work of our authors and would like to assure continued publication, we hope that you will subscribe at the rate of $25 or $50 ($10 for students and residents of low income countries). You can contribute via Paypal or credit card at our home page on the upper left side.  


Check out the most widely read articles at APJ . . . in the last month, last year, last five years and all time: at Top Ten Articles on our home page.


Asia Pacific Journal NEW Free Downloadable Course Readers!!!


The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus announces the release of our second set of volume-length e-book compilations of essays on selected topics with explanatory introductions by scholars. The volume editors have chosen articles from the archive that lend themselves particularly well to classroom use and work well as a set.All volumes have been peer-reviewed, in addition to the initial review process before each article was originally posted, and we have permission from all verified copyright holders.

Students like the fact that the articles are available 24-7, are storable on-line, searchable, and cost nothing to them. The readers can also be highlighted, annotated, printed, and include convenient bookmarks to navigate to the beginning of each article.


New Course Readers:

** The Japanese Empire: Colonial Lives and Postcolonial Struggle edited by Kirsten Ziomek

** Japan's "Abandoned People" in the Wake of Fukushima edited by Brian Earl

** Public Opinion on Nuclear Power in Japan after the Fukushima Disaster edited by Brian Earl

** The Politics of Memory in Japan and East Asia edited by Sven Saaler & Justin Aukema


They join the 2012 publications:

  1. War and Visual Culture edited by Hong Kal and Jooyeon Rhee.
  2. Environmental History edited by Eiko Maruko Siniawer.
  3. War in Japanese Popular Culture edited by Matthew Penney.
  4. Women and Japan's Political Economy edited by Valerie Barske.  

The topics of other volumes currently in preparation include:  

** Japan and the American-led Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

** Ethnic Minorities and Japan.

** Globalization and Japanese Popular Culture: Mixing It Up.

** Japanese Intellectual Currents of the Twentieth Century.

** Putting Okinawa at the Center.


To Download a Volume: The volumes are downloadable from the Asia-Pacific Journal website as searchable PDFs. From the home page, please click on the button marked Course Readers at the top and center of the page, or go directly to the course reader page. Interested viewers may download a copy of any reader by clicking on the appropriate link at the course readers home page and entering their email address. In addition, viewers may directly download the table of contents of each course reader for a preview of the volume.


The Editorial Board for this project consists of Mark Caprio; Rikkyo University; Lonny Carlile, University of Hawai'i, Parks Coble, University of Nebraska; Sabine Früstück, UC-Santa Barbara; A. Tom Grunfeld, Empire State College; Laura Hein, Northwestern University; James Huffman, Wittenberg University; Jeffrey Kingston, Temple University-Japan; Susan Long, John Carroll University; Laura Miller, University of Missouri, St. Louis; Mark Ravinia, Emory University; Mark Selden, APJ-Japan Focus; Stephen Vlastos, University of Iowa.


If you are interested in creating a volume yourself, wish to participate as a reviewer and editor, have suggestions for new topics, or want to discuss another aspect of this project, please contact Laura Hein at


Although the course readers are free, we welcome donations to support the Journal and this initiative; please note the red button Sustaining APJ on the left side of the APJ home page.




All recent articles  are now available on Kindle, as are several recent articles. If you experience any difficulty in accessing them, please let us know at



Our home page has a category Featured Articles. This will take you to the most widely read articles of recent times and over our decade of publication. Check it out to discover some of the most important work that has appeared in the journal..

What have been the most widely read articles at APJ? To find out, click on "Top Ten Articles" at the top of the home page, for the top articles of the last month, last year, last five years and last decade.

Our home page has a number of important features. There is a powerful search engine that permits search by author, title, and keyword, found in top left of the home page. For most purposes, author's surname or a keyword entered in Title is most useful. Another 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.

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. 

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.       


We invite authors, publishers and directors to bring their books, films and events on East Asia and the Pacific to the attention of our readers. See the home page for information about presenting relevant books and films at our site and for examples of authors, publishers and filmmakers who are presenting their work at the Journal.

Contact Japan Focus by email at

To access our full archive with more than 2,000 articles, and to view the most widely read articles through their titles or via our index, go here. 
Subscription information
The Asia-Pacific Journal is freely available to all. We invite those who wish to support our work by allowing us to make technical upgrades, defray technical, mailing and maintenance fees, and to enable us to expand our output since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. Recommended support level: $25 ($10 for students and residents of developing countries); $40 for institutions including libraries, research centers, government offices. If you experience difficulty in subscribing, write to us with the error message at 
Jon Mitchell, Operation Red Hat: Chemical weapons and the Pentagon smokescreen on Okinawa


In July 1969, a leak of chemical weapons on Okinawa sickened more than 20 U.S. soldiers and laid bare one of the Pentagon's biggest Cold War secrets: the storage of toxic munitions outside of the continental United States.


Public outrage following the Okinawa accident forced the White House to launch Operation Red Hat - codename for a mission to remove the chemicals from the island.


For more than four decades, details of that project have been kept firmly under wraps. But now, newly disclosed scientific studies - and accounts from U.S. veterans who participated in Operation Red Hat - are casting light on the mission and exposing what truly occurred. These revelations include the alleged dumping of chemical weapons off the coast of Okinawa, the presence of the potent blister agent, lewisite, and the inclusion of Agent Orange - the Vietnam War defoliant which the Pentagon denies was ever present on the island.


Jon Mitchell is a Welsh-born writer based in Japan. He has written widely on Okinawan social issues for the Japanese and American press. A selection of his writings can be found here. Currently, he teaches at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Meiji Gakuin University. 
Recommended citation: Jon Mitchell, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 31, No. 1. August 5, 2013. 


Matthew Penney, Miyazaki Hayao's Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises)


Miyazaki Hayao's new film Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) premiered on July 20 and is on pace to become one of the most successful, if not the most successful, Japanese films of 2013. Miyazaki tells the story of Horikoshi Jiro, the designer of the "Zero Fighter", which was a terrifyingly effective weapon deployed against China, the United States, and its allies in the early war years, but was soon doomed to become the antique target of "turkey shoots" and the funeral pyre of kamikaze pilots as Japan's empire crumbled and its cities burned.


Kaze Tachinu is a film about war but it is not a war film. There are many scenes of flight but we never see the Zero in action. In a turn that is indicative of the film's complexity and difficulty to pigeonhole, the only real "action sequence" is a momentary flash of the desperate stand by Chinese defenders against Japanese bombers raining death on Shanghai. What Miyazaki offers is a layered look at how Horikoshi's passion for flight was captured by capital and militarism, and the implications of this for thinking about the history of technology and the "long 20th century".

Matthew Penney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Concordia University, Montreal. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator.  
Recommended citation: Matthew Penney, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 31, No. 2, August 5, 2013. 
Andrew DeWit, In the Dark With Tepco: Fukushima's Legacy for Nuclear Power


The sad saga of Fukushima, with its recurrent revelations of incompetence and obfuscation, carries on. Among the latest, as related in detail in this July 31 Reuters article, are radioactive releases into the sea, unexplained ventings of steam, and the lack of a credible plan to deal with a daily 400-tonne influx of groundwater. Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, is clearly unable or unwilling to devote the resources necessary to resolve this crisis, which will continue for decades. As United Nations University research fellow Christopher Hobson argues, the only solution is for the government to take over.


Tepco is desperate to survive. Japan's most loathed firm - and a millstone for the global nuclear business - it recently hired British-American Lady Barbara Judge, chair of the UK Atomic Energy Authority from 2004 to 2010, and still its honorary chairwoman, to oversee its safety campaign. This employment of a foreign woman, to put a new face on Tepco was announced in early July. But that aggressive public relations move did not stop Tepco from being chary with the truth on the release of radioactive water into the ocean. Tepco had denied these releases for months, in the face of accumulating evidence and a chorus of criticism that included the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). It apparently confirmed the releases on July 18.


But true to form, Tepco appears to have held back official release of this information pending the outcome of the July 21 Upper House elections.

Andrew DeWit is Professor in the School of Policy Studies at Rikkyo University and an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator. With Iida Tetsunari and Kaneko Masaru, he is coauthor of "Fukushima and the Political Economy of Power Policy in Japan," in Jeff Kingston (ed.) Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan. 
Recommended citation: Andrew DeWit, "In the Dark With Tepco: Fukushima's Legacy for Nuclear Power," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 31, No. 3, August 5, 2013. 
Brian Daizen Victoria, Zen as a Cult of Death in the Wartime Writings of D.T. Suzuki

The publication of Zen at War in 1997 and, to a lesser extent, Zen War Stories in 2003 sent shock waves through Zen Buddhist circles not only in Japan, but also in the U.S. and Europe. 

These books revealed that many leading Zen masters and scholars, some of whom became well known in the West in the postwar era, had been vehement if not fanatical supporters of Japanese militarism. In the aftermath of these revelations, a number of branches of the Zen school, including the Myoshinji branch of the Rinzai Zen sect, acknowledged their war responsibility. A proclamation issued on 27 September 2001 by the Myoshinji General Assembly included the following passage:


As we reflect on the recent events [of 11 September 2001] in the U.S. we recognize that in the past our country engaged in hostilities, calling it a "holy war," and inflicting great pain and damage in various countries. Even though it was national policy at the time, it is truly regrettable that our sect, in the midst of wartime passions, was unable to maintain a resolute anti-war stance and ended up cooperating with the war effort. In light of this we wish to confess our past transgressions and critically reflect on our conduct.

This article examines the thought of D.T. Suzuki, the leading exponent of Zen in the West, with respect to Zen and war in general, the Japanese military's cult of death in particular.

Brian Daizen Victoria holds an M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Sōtō Zen sect-affiliated Komazawa University in Tokyo, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Religious Studies at Temple University. In addition to a 2nd, enlarged edition of Zen At War (Rowman & Littlefield), major writings include Zen War Stories (RoutledgeCurzon); an autobiographical work in Japanese entitled Gaijin de ari, Zen bozu de ari (As a Foreigner, As a Zen Priest); Zen Master Dōgen, coauthored with Prof. Yokoi Yuho of Aichi-gakuin University (Weatherhill); and a translation of The Zen Life by Sato Koji (Weatherhill). He is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (aka Nichibunken) in Kyoto.  
Recommended citation: Brian Daizen Victoria, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 31, No. 4. August 5, 2013.