Shizuoka Dumping Scandal Claims Another Politician

Jan. 3, 2015 | 3:00 pm

Tokyo, Japan (IPA)

The recent toxic waste dumping scandal has claimed another victim: Japanese Prime Minister Akifumi Ohayashi. Recently implicated in the months-long scandal, the Prime Minister offered his resignation at midnight, Tokyo time, last night.

Politicking over his replacement has already begun in the Diet…

See Also:

Civil Unrest on Okinawa
Kyoto Psychic Predicts Alien Invasion
Martial Arts Otaku Increasing In Number, Influence

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[Retrieved 5-JUL-2015 from web.archive.net. source: http://www.latribunejournal.com ]

17 thoughts on “Shizuoka Dumping Scandal Claims Another Politician”

  1. Ha ha. Shizuoka is where my parents-in-law live. Been there heaps of times. It’s beautiful region. Sad to hear it’s gonna be spoiled by the dumping…

  2. My condolences on your parents-in-law. Hopefully they escaped the area before the spill spread too far.

    A quick aside: I’ve been told “otaku”, as used in Japan, means a person who is “unusually devoted” to something. There was even a specific term for otaku who were devoted to a particular hobby.

    The idea behind the last headline, about otaku, is that Martial Arts have become a major fad in Japan. Many people have begun taking them up, especially fans of manga and computer consoles. (Console sales were down dramatically over the preceding two years.)

    So, my question: is there a term that would better describe “Martial Arts Otaku”?

  3. Otaku is closer to a ‘nerd about some topic’. We’ve all seen all the Star Wars movies and will probably watch the new batch, maybe even still have some figurines in the cupboard from when we were kids, know the names of the major characters. But an otaku would obsess about that stuff. They’d have read all the follow up novels, argue about the lightsaber styles of the characters, dress up in the costumes… in short their waking moments are filled with thinking about a topic and dong stuff around that topic – writing on forums, attending events, etc.

    A martial arts otaku sounds much more like someone who has posters of Bruce Lee all over their basement, and even has a Game of Death yellow jumpsuit that was bought off eBay, than someone who actually does martial arts. Otaku aren’t really into physical fitness, and the years of dedication any martial art – western or eastern – would take would be a little too ‘real world’ for them. They’re the people who take hundreds of pictures of trains, but never think of actually becoming a train driver as a job.

  4. So otaku are like one of those RPG’ers with encyclopedic knowledge of guns, but who doesn’t own, and never shoots real weapons.

    It occurs to me that I should have split the social movement into two parts: the pop culture aspects and the practical aspects.

    From 2013-2015, there is a huge surge in martial arts themes in movies, manga, and so forth (wushu martial arts, to be specific, the crazy high-flying stuff). Deep desire for such things to be real will drive people to become Supporters.

    Martial Arts Otaku, obsessive fans of this media, could definitely qualify as Supporters. Would “budo otaku” be a good term for such people?

    The other aspect is the fad of learning various martial arts. A great many people take up judo, aikido, and karate during the same time period.

    Obviously these are not otaku, but what would be a colloquial modern Japanese term for “trendy martial artist”? Someone who takes it up because it’s popular, not because they have a drive to excel.

  5. “So otaku are like one of those RPG’ers with encyclopedic knowledge of guns, but who doesn’t own, and never shoots real weapons.”

    Yeah, although in most of Asia a gun otaku would be a very rare bird indeed. There are just none about.

    “From 2013-2015, there is a huge surge in martial arts themes in movies, manga, and so forth (wushu martial arts, to be specific, the crazy high-flying stuff). Deep desire for such things to be real will drive people to become Supporters.”

    First I’ll talk about why I don’t see this happening. Then I’ll talk about an alternative.

    Martial arts is everywhere here, yet it doesn’t dominate the cultural landscape. Many manga already have fighting in some form, even if it is just highly stylized and not a focus of the story. It’s pretty much a given in any TV drama that the cop hero will do MA. The girls high school I teach at has 3 clubs for martial arts, and I’m sure that that is not unusual at all. Almost every school has a martial arts club club of some kind.

    It’s precisely for this reason that I don’t see a huge surge happening. I’m sure that every 4 years after the Olympics judo clubs get a few more members. Maybe if a movie is particularly popular. But really, because it is ubiquitous it’s much harder to generate excitement about. If people want to take up MA can they do so at any time. Any boom (that’s the word used in Japan for a craze) generally happens with something new. An MA boom would have to overcome… what’s a good term… cultural inertia.

    There’s also the problem that I talked about in my first reply – it takes time and dedication. As I just said, there’s 3 MA clubs at my school. But they are not the largest clubs, nor the clubs the students most want to join – cheer-leading and the musical club dwarf them for membership and desirability. That’s not just because this is a school for girls. In the last 20 years soccer has gone from a minor sport to eclipsing baseball over here. There’s no doubt the No.1 sport in the world is now also No. 1 in Japan, too. With hundreds of years head start MA is far down the popularity chart.

    MA attracts a certain kind of person. If you want to enjoy playing a game with a loved one or friends, you’d take up social tennis. If you enjoy social team work then social versions of sports like soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball, etc. all offer chances where you can enjoy camaraderie without (too much) worry about being injured by over zealous players. MA offers none of that. While you may train in a group, you’ll fight one on one. And you’ll get hit, or thrown, or choked. And it will hurt. And the training will hurt. And you’ll sweat. And if you’re doing kendo in summer you’ll have paid a lot of money for that armor and those shinai, and you’ll sweat like crazy, and it’s gonna hurt when you’re hit. And on top of all that it’s gonna take a few years before you get real satisfaction from ‘being good’ at the MA. In short, people who are looking for a sport to dally in rarely choose a MA, and quickly quite once they realise that it’s not like in the movies.

    I’ll continue…

  6. You probably don’t realize it but one of the assumptions of your supporters paradigm is that it is youth-led. The young are the one’s who are culturally hip to what’s popular, while (generally) the older generations stand back and scratch their heads at how the world is a-changing and they can’t keep up. Yet in Japan, and to varying extents around the world, one of the bigger problems governments have to face is the greying population. This is a particular problem here where Japanese people are the longest lived in the world, yet birth rate is one of the lowest. What to do with the increasing number of older citizens, and what to do about the falling birthrate?

    As I said in my previous post, I don’t see an MA surge in Asia being very realistic. Instead I’d propose an RPG-ified version of Falun Gong that incorporates tai-chi (extending into MA), moral practices, and a focus on health and well-being – particularly in the elderly. Heck, the leader of Falun Gong has even been living in exile from China for several years. Now there’s HL material right there. Exiled spiritual leader who is also a technological genius has his own high-tech company in Japan (kind of Ozymandius spliced with Tony Stark). His system of spiritual growth through martial-like tai-chi exercises, healthy eating and meditation would go over a treat in a country where the increasing number of elderly want to do one thing – not die.

    I’m serious about the not die thing. If you’ve ever watched a shopping channel targeting the elderly then you’ll know what I mean. These channels sell all manner of pills and programs aimed at extending ones twilight years and making them active ones to boot. Give this exiled leader a shopping channel (the is Ozymandius…) and instead of targeting the youth market you’ve got a HL that targets the larger base of more affluent, more free-time possessing and more desperate elderly.

    But don’t make it a religion. Japanese are pretty ambivalent about religion. I think keeping it a a philosophical school would work better. Also, if the HL were an example of what he or she says, it would work better. So an elderly man or woman would be my suggestion. They’d have to be immaculately dressed and very healthy looking for their age. Appearance is important here – you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    Anyway, that’s some ideas.

  7. Thanks for all the information, this is pure gold. It is clear I am appallingly ignorant of Japanese culture. Embarrassingly so. I will try to rectify that. On to the comments…

    Actually, one of the next few stories is about “Japan’s Steve Jobs”, Ryuichi Kanawa. (And yes, this one’s from Core Earth. The others… no.) He’s a tech genius and social crusader, so making him the leader of a meditation and martial-arts centric philosophical movement would make perfect sense. It’s utterly apt for the High Lord of the technothriller wuxia reality. (And, as the Reality has a near-zero Spirit axiom, it isn’t a religion, so no worries there.)

    Also, that’s an excellent point about youth-centered media and fashion being the forefront of Supporters. One exception is rising church attendance in Europe, which occurs mostly among the elderly. That is a big exception, however, and nearly every other movement is youth-oriented and youth-driven. Fashion, music, popular culture — all youth oriented, and all potent sources of Supporters (at least on Earth).

    One question: wuxia combines super-martial arts and a mythic otherworld (Jianghu), and is (as far as I know) distinctly Chinese. I know I didn’t say this clearly, but I was assuming that the cinematic, TV, and literary movement in Japan saw the introduction of wuxia-like themes to Japanese popular culture. In other words, not just martial arts, but martial arts battles between rival schools or clans in a fictive, idealized otherworld (“Gokuraku” in Japanese.)

    That seems different enough to qualify as a noticeable cultural movement, like the sudden proliferation of superhero movies the past few years. So, not in terms of people taking up training, but themes and elements in popular culture.

    Now, if that doesn’t make sense, that’s okay. I can look at doing things differently.

    Again, thanks for all the information. It is immensely valuable. Feel free to drop comments whenever you see fit.

  8. My pleasure. Your ideas are always good, but it is difficult to know what’s happening in another culture.

    In present day Japan there’s very little popular cultural influence coming from China. The predominate foreign influence over the last 10 years has been from Korea. I’m not saying that it’s huge, but it is pretty big. This is in 2 forms – K-Pop (Korean Pop music which is the Korean equivalent of J-Pop) which targets teens, and the Korean TV dramas which target the late 30s onwards. There are some younger skewed Korean TV dramas, but I don’t think they have the impact that the older ones have had.

    Both Japanese and Korean languages have similar grammatical structure, so it is an advantage when learning either language. Learning Korean hasn’t really taken off here, but all the Korean artists who come over seem to have a serviceable command of Japanese. Although both Chinese and Japanese use kanji, the readings are very different. Chinese learning Japanese have an advantage as Chinese is completely comprised of kanji and uses many many more than standard Japanese, whereas Japanese uses hiragana and katakana, which are easy to learn in a week. So Chinese find learning to read and write Japanese a breeze, but it doesn’t go so easily the other way.

    Now none of this matters too much as your Near Now doesn’t have to match the real world, and it’s based on action movies to boot. So it could be possible for a Chinese cultural influence influx to happen, just finding a credible way for it to happen is the key for verisimilitude.

  9. Thanks. :)

    My notion isn’t that Chinese culture has a strong influence, but that in 2012, a prominent author writes a popular novel called “Budou Fantajī” (“martial arts fantasy”, assuming I got the terms right), a story of a conflict brewing in both the modern world and another world called Gokuraku (named after the Buddhist paradise). (Gokuraku is, culturally, a romanticized version of Kamakura-era Japan, known to us Westerners as the Shogunate.) The novel features wandering ronin who fight for the dispossessed peasants in both worlds and the like.

    In other words, the author took some inspiration from Chinese wuxia literature to produce a piece of Japanese culture. (This being distinct from a direct Chinese import.)

    The novel becomes quite popular (remade as a manga, which itself made into a movie). Several other authors write stories inspired by the work, and sharing common themes, and Budou Fantaji becomes its own sub-genre.

    Now, in my ignorant eyes, that looks plausible. Does it make sense?

    (Also, if you corrected my Japanese, I wouldn’t take it amiss.)

    EDIT: I could also go with “Bushido Fantaji”, if that makes more sense.

  10. Manga is read by all kinds of people in Japan, but that doesn’t mean all kinds of manga are read by all kinds of people. Manga is divided into many genre, and then further into sub-genre, and readers often stick to their genre or sub-genre. Also manga can be explicitly targeted at children or teens and also adults with sexually explicit material. Once children become adults they often never return to the comics of their childhood, but everyone remembers the Pokemon and Doraemon stories they read as children.

    My point is that it’s hard to have a breakout hit that caters to a wide audience. Especially something like ‘wandering warriors battling creatures from another dimension’ as it’s been done before many times. One of the more popular examples would be Bleach. But while many people may know of Bleach, that doesn’t mean it’s read by everyone. Mostly it’s audience is teens, predominately boys. Your own post the other day about how there’s nothing new under the sun in authorship is especially true in manga. There are so many genres and sub-genres that someone has probably done it before.

    Part of the basic problem I see with your idea of Supporters is that in our modern world, and especially since the Internet, pop culture from across the globe is available locally. Because we are awash with a huge variety of pop culture, the idea that people can support a particular reality seems to have little merit. We can consume a huge variety of pop culture without even leaving our houses, so why would we support a particular kind of reality. Even SF nuts have heard of the Horror genre, or SF or even superheroes. We know that this stuff is all equally not-real.

    The idea of Supporters would seem better suited to the other realities which seem much more mono-themed. Ask a citizen from Aysle if people dress up in costumes to fight crime, he or she may even be puzzled by what this ‘crime’ thing is that needs to be fought, let alone why someone dresses up to fight it. Therefore, every Aysle citizen one can get to understand the Nile Empire is really someone who supports that reality, instead of like a Core Earther who’d just say, yeah I know about that, and it’s just in the stories.

  11. Winston: I have some ideas in response, but I want to think about your comments, rather than dashing off a quick message. I’ll be back ASAP.

  12. When I reread my comment just now it seems negative towards Supporters and the wuxia idea.
    I’m not. Limited time to write half thought out ideas can cause them to seem a little frosty. I never intended them that way. I’m genuinely trying to think through the ramifications of your idea, especially as it applies to Nippon Tech.

    It does make me wonder though, what is the equivalent of pop culture in Aylse? They obviously don’t tell as wide a variety of genre stories that CE does, but how does that carry over into the ease with which they can become Supporters? Are certain realms more predisposed to become Supporters of another? If so, why? Is CE more resistant because we do have a wide variety of influences, or less resistant because we do? Or does it balance itself out?

    The questions are complicated, but for the game easily applicable answers are required.

  13. Winston: “I never intended them that way. I’m genuinely trying to think through the ramifications of your idea, especially as it applies to Nippon Tech.”

    No problem. I thought your points deserved a thinking-through, and they didn’t put me off. So, here’s my thoughts.

    Part of the answer to your question was actually included in the post: “We can consume a huge variety of pop culture”, but media “is divided into many genres…and readers often stick to their genre or sub-genre”. So variety matters less than one might think. Most people stick to what they know. But there’s more.

    Human beings have the capacity to believe in things which we have not experienced directly, and which may in fact not exist. We can envision them in our imagination and believe in them.

    Religious people can believe in Heaven or Nirvana. Political people can envision the effects their preferred laws will have, after the Drug War is over or after socialism is adopted. Philosophers believe in abstract tenets of reason, fairness, or the true forms of existence. And everyday people imagine and believe in life after they get a raise, or get married, or have children. Even if we don’t imagine the consequence of these things, we can believe that such things will occur.

    We all, all of us, believe in things which do not now exist. And becoming a Supporter taps into that belief.

    Being a Supporter requires sincere belief in some element of a Reality. This belief may be unconscious, but it is real.

    This belief has consequences. There is an emotional response to that which you believe in. Dread or revulsion, that it might exist. Or longing and wonder, for the same reason.

    Does someone experience sincere fear when people talk about, for example, a possible American fascist state? Do they believe it is a real threat, and more, is imminent? Do they think about it often and worry about it? Then they might qualify as a Supporter for a Reality where that is a significant element.

    Or, perhaps, they just evince a persistent fascination with something. Someone thinks about some subject — say, zombies — a lot, watches many zombie movies and books, and when they write, they write about zombies. Such an individual might be a Supporter of, for example, Tharkold.

    These are the emotional indicators that something is real to us, and it is that state which marks a potential Supporter.

    And people who qualify as Supporters tend to focus on that which they believe in. Indeed, the intensity of belief that marks a Supporter is unusual in day-to-day life. It isn’t obsessive, but it is persistent and prominent. They tend to focus on that subject to the exclusion of most others.

    Which is why diversity isn’t a big impediment. There may be many forms of media, but some people are devoted to superhero comics. Those people might qualify as Supporters of the Nile Empire. The same goes for epic fantasy, steampunk, and so forth.

    On a completely different subject: your description of manga (such as Bleach) indicates that if someone did come up with Budou Fantaji, it would fit right in with a number of works. Which is great. That’s better than I’d hoped.

    Again, thanks for the feedback.

  14. Budou Fantasy would probably get shortened to BudoFa. Everything that’s in has the words mashed together.

  15. Hey! Time to answer some of Winston’s very, very good questions.

    Winston: “It does make me wonder though, what is the equivalent of pop culture in Aylse?”

    Storytelling, music, drama, sculpting, painting, and other art forms that are enabled by magic.

    But pop culture isn’t everything. There’s also philosophy, religion, politics, and so on. All of these are venues for sparking or reinforcing belief.

    ” Are certain realms more predisposed to become Supporters of another?”

    Yes. You have to be able to conceive of something before you can believe in it. The more alien two Realities are, the harder it is for the invader to inspire belief.

    Though closeness isn’t always a benefit. If something from an alien Reality exists in your Reality, believing in it doesn’t make you a Supporter of that alien Reality. For example, Aysle invading another fantasy cosm: the natives of that cosm believe in spells because they’re real, so belief in magic doesn’t make them Supporters of Aysle.

    One of the aspects of pre-War scouting is to identify which cultures are vulnerable to subornation and what aspects of the High Lord’s Reality to stress. Sometimes its obvious, but sometimes it a bit complex. (I’m having big troubles with Victoria, for example.)

    High Lords target cosms based, in part, on how easily the High Lord can foster Supporters there. They are more likely to invade a cosm where they can easily foster Supporters.

    Now, High Lords can finesse the 25,000 Supporters number with PE. What that means is that they earn less PE from the invasion. Unless the situation is dire, they usually don’t do this. Even so, such an invasion can be profitable for the High Lord, just not as profitable.

    “They obviously don’t tell as wide a variety of genre stories that CE does, but how does that carry over into the ease with which they can become Supporters?”

    Genre, and genre walls, is a very modern thing. Even as recently as the 1930’s, there wasn’t a strong distinction between sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Science fiction was written as far back as ancient Greece. And fantasy and horror have existed since the dawn of civilization.

    What I’m saying is that Aysle has sci-fi stories. Not as codified as our Real World sci-fi, but stories of devices that allow people to do fabulous things.

    So, Aysle doesn’t have a large number of formalized genres, but that doesn’t mean it lacks a variety of different types of stories.

    “Is CE more resistant because we do have a wide variety of influences, or less resistant because we do? Or does it balance itself out?”

    One of my CE World Laws involves people attuning themselves to other Realities, so I’m going to go with “less resistant”. ;)

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