Japan has become a strange country.
--Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara referring to what he sees as the inexplicable reluctance of all major political parties, including his own LDP, to impose economic sanctions on North Korea. (This might become the new official motto of the Crazy Japan Times.)
History has shown that following the will of the people will lead us down the wrong path.
--Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reacting, last Spring, to a poll that the vast majority of Japanese were opposed to sending Japanese troops to Iraq to assist the US invasion. The Japanese government just approved sending troops despite 89% opposition by the public.
Foreigners are all sneaky thieves.
--Kanagawa Prefectual Governor Shigefumi Masuzawa. This gets a bronze because there is some disagreement in press accounts about whether he said “all” or “those” foreigners. Either way, he later corrected it by saying he’d meant “some.” The truth is, he probably meant “All Chinese are sneaky thieves.” At the time he was commenting on Kanagawa’s increasing crime rate which he said is caused by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s crackdown on Chinese crime syndicates in the Kabukicho red light district. (In order, your humble editor presumes, to make room for Japanese crime syndicates.) The Chinese syndicates are thus fleeing to Kanagawa and setting up shop there.
Breaking that kind of promise is no big deal.
--Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, responding to the allegation that he had broken three of his campaign promises, including promises not to issue more than 30 billion dollars worth of government bonds and to visit the controversial Yasakuni Shrine on August 15th the end of WW II. He broke the first promise with his first budget and has gone to Yasakuni on August 13th and early in January rather than the more symbolic date. When questioned about this, PM Koizumi said the promises were made during the heat of a party election and that, therefore, “breaking that kind of promise is no big deal.” This did not sit particularly well with either the public or the party.
Gang rape shows the people who did it are still virile, and that is okay. I think that might make them pretty much normal.
--Seiichi Ota, a Japanese politician, responding to a baited question about the so-called Waseda Rape Circle.
The pension is supposed to take care of and reward those women who have lots of children. It’s truly strange to say we have to use tax money to take care of women who don't even give birth once, who grow old living their lives selfishly and singing the praises of freedom.
--Former Prime Minister Mori, during the same press conference as the previous quote, unintentionally speaking volumes about why Japan’s birthrate may actually be in decline. One also wonders if the fact that birth expenses are not covered by national health insurance, making families spend around 5,000 dollars out of pocket might not have something to do with this as well.
This goes to Remy Bonjasky, an investment banker/K1 fighter from the Netherlands for his response to Bob “The Beast” Sapp’s trash talk prior to their bout. Bonjasky is famous for his flying kicks which have earned him, among other names, the nickname “The Fly”:
Sapp: They call Remy “the Fly” and I’m looking forward to seeing him “fly” out of the ring after I punch him. (Glares ominously.)
Bonjasky: (calmly adjusting his John Lennon spectacles.) Well, you know flies like sh_t, so I’m going to be all over you.
NB: Bonjasky won the bout after Sapp was disqualified for a late hit while Bonjasky was lying on the canvas after being tripped. Bonjasky was winning anyway and suspects Sapp may have been out for a little payback.
Japan will collapse if it encourages homosexuals by listing the names of boys and girls together.
I don’t mean to attack homosexuals, but we should not encourage them.
--Motohiro Takeuchi, an LDP member of the Tokushima Prefectural Assembly, commenting on the plan to list boys and girls names together on joint school rosters. Currently, boys and girls, even those in the same class, are listed on separate lists. How this bureaucratic procedural change will effect the boys is never clarified.
NB--This quote was taken from an October 2, 2003 article by the Kyodo News Service. Since this is the only place I’ve seen it, I thought I should give them credit. --DL
Japan’s official catch-phrases for the year were published recently and, for the first time in many years, your humble editor agreed with all the choices.
The first was the Democratic Party’s “manifesto”, which was explained in detail in the last issue and is significant for having had an actual impact on Japanese politics.
The second catch-phrase was dokumanju or “poison pastry.” This was uttered by LDP Old Guard Member Hiromu Nonaka to describe the apparent deals Prime Minister Koizumi made to keep his position as head of the LDP and thus his job as PM. As mentioned in the last issue, Koizumi’s courting of LDP OG Aoki made lots of people go “I like not that” and many suspected Koizumi had promised ministerships in return for votes. Nonaka, who co-engineered the Mori Coup and who has often been the beneficiary of such deals, suddenly became appalled at LDP business-as-usual and said Koizumi’s deals were like a “poison pastry” that would kill the LDP.
The third was nandedarou? or, roughly, “Why is it so?” This was the title and catch-phrase of a popular song from the comedy/singing duo “Tetsu and Tomo”. Tetsu and Tomo are unique in that they are trained musicians and, therefore, can actually sing quite well. Because there isn’t a huge demand for classically trained musicians, however, they wrote the song in order to make a little extra cash. The song is a series of inexplicable situations: “Grandpa’s sleeping in front of the TV. You change the channel. Grandpa wakes up and says ‘Hey, I was watching that’. Why is it so?” or “Teenage girls wear mini-skirts in snow. They complain that they’re cold. Why is it so?” This is accompanied by Tetsu making a strange hand gesture and prancing around while Tomo plays the guitar.
Also popular were “SARS” and “Self-Defense Force.” Oddly, despite such a politically charged year, the Kanji of the Year, selected by popular vote and drawn by a monk at Kyoto’s Kyomizudera, is “Tiger” in honor of the Hanshin Tigers making it to, but not winning, the Japan Series.