The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 39. 2014       

September 29, 2014

New Articles


Last Monday, after assuming his post as the new minister of defense earlier this month, Eto Akinori visited Okinawa governor Nakaima Hirokazu for the first time, expressing his desire to strive towards a "visible" reduction of the burden of the US military on the prefecture. The reality was otherwise, as the Japan-US decision to relocate some of the functions of the Futenma base to a new facility in Henoko remains set in stone. Construction officially began in July in the face of determined Okinawan opposition, and a month later a US Congressional Report noted the "heavy handed actions" of the Japanese government to force the new base on Okinawans. Now, in an Appeal From Okinawa to the US Congress, anthropologist Hideki Yoshikawa examines the environmental issues that have been ignored by official studies, calling attention to the responsibility of the American military to consider the silent majority that is the natural environment of Okinawa and honor its own environmental assessment procedures.

An Asia-Pacific Journal report with resonances of the police profiling of American Muslims examines the disturbing practice of Police Surveillance of Muslims and Human Rights in Japan carried out in the guise of combating terrorism. The story came to light following the leak of police documents in 2010. With the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and successive UN Commissions faulting Japan's discriminatory policies toward foreigners, Japanese behavior toward visitors will be in the public eye.

Hiranmoy Lahiri explores the fantastical realism of the films of Miyazaki Hayao, who (again) announced his decision to retire from active film-making last year. On the occasion of Miyazaki's receipt of a Hollywood Lifetime Achievement Award, Lahiri distinguishes his works from common anime, which arguably invoke concepts such as "mono no aware" (the pathos of things) and serve to promote ecological concepts.

Finally, we are delighted to announce the co-winner of the Kyoko Selden Translation Prize for 2014: So Happy to see Cherry Blossoms: Haiku from the Year of the Great Earthquake and Tsunami, edited by Mayuzumi Madoka and translated by Hiroaki and Nancy Sato. The title of this collection comes from a haiku written in 2012 by a boy from Yamada-machi on the coast of Iwate. An excerpt from Co-winner David Pearsall Dutcher's translation of the eleventh century tale Sagoromo monogatari will appear in a future issue.

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