Musashi Mix Inq

The Zero Hour

Posted on October 13, 2010

The Zero Hour, ©MMX

The United States Department of Defense defines psychological warfare as:

"The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives."

"The Zero Hour" was the first of many radio broadcasts produced by the Japanese Military meant to deter the Allied forces through coercion, propaganda and American pop-music. There were a number Japanese Americans stranded in Japan when the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. All of them were detained and forced to work for the Emperor's war machine. A few were made to host "The Zero Hour" (most famously, Iva Toguri).

The show was popular among the Allies, mostly for the music and the sound of a comforting female voice. There was also a segment consisting of messages from American POWs which only served to motivate the soldiers to fight harder. The Allied officers discouraged their men from listening to the show, but in reality, Japan's psychological war with America was at best merely entertaining.

Victory speaks louder than words.



kanji translation: "victory"

Palliativity 102: M357 — Moderate Abuse Potential

Posted on October 7, 2010


Medication Details*

  • Imprint(s): M357
  • Strength(s): 500 mg / 5 mg
  • Color: White
  • Shape: Elliptical / Oval
  • Size (mm): 17 X 7 X 5
  • Drug Class: Narcotic analgesic combinations
  • CSA Schedule: 3 - Moderate abuse potential

My happiness runs on manual only. The endorphin compounds constantly coursing through my body to fight the chronic pain merely serve as a bandage on an open wound. My biology has given up on fixing the problem on its own; its only recourse is to lead me to distraction.

Endorphins are the filter through which our bodies can experience the world, acting as a safety net for when the world hits back. When the spinal cord transmits data for excitement, exertion, pain or love, the pituitary gland releases a burst of pure happy before it hits the brain. For me this is like a travel-pillow strapped to the front of a pick-up truck.

My chronic condition monopolizes most of my endorphins, leaving me feeling like Dorothy stuck in black and white. Depression is the inevitable state of being; I am the rock in the field. After 13 years of living like this, I am finally able to appreciate a long-lens view of how I've managed to stay afloat.

Four years ago, M357 came into my life. My first hit was a rocket blast Dark-Side-of-the-Moon ride over the rainbow, radiant in glorious over-saturated Technicolor. This is what happiness feels like. This is what it feels like to have control over my existence; to feel elation for being alive.

While medicated, I began allowing myself to feel all of the things that had been buried under years of distracting myself from pain; you are now free to roam about the cabin. Sadly the flight is only four hours long and the drug isn't a cure. M357 helps me look into the abyss and salvage my dark reflection.

Am I an addict? Yes. I am addicted to feeling alive.

The Buddha said, "life is suffering". Miles Vorkosigan said, "biology is destiny". I say, get over it —



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The Commodore: Pandora’s Box in Reverse

Posted on October 1, 2010

The Commodore, ©MMX

On July 8, 1853, Matthew C. Perry arrived off the coast of Edo. The myth of Japan's complete isolation referred to the fact that Japan continued to deal with the West on its own terms. Perry was not satisfied with being confined to the port of Nagasaki and sought to communicate with the Shogunate in grander terms than mere trade. It was not until the Commodore was refused these demands that the black ships showed their true diplomatic power: unprovoked shelling of coastal towns.

Commodore Perry wood-block print, 1854

America's attempt to crack the oyster of the Orient drastically changed the trajectory of Japanese history. Among the exotic items that America gifted to the Emperor, such as a miniature steam engine and cannons, was the creed of expansionism. Despite the relative peace that reigned for centuries under Tokugawa, the Shogunate quickly learned that the only real power a modern nation wielded was not honor nor traditions but rather technology and conquest. Reverse-engineering modernity set Japan on a colonial path that would end where it began: with the atomic destruction of Nagasaki.

Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry

Tiānmìng: The Mandate of Heaven


Palliativity 101: in medias res

Posted on September 28, 2010

Chronic pain is not merely a physical condition— it's a state of mind.

October, 1998

I wake up to the sound of helicopters. I find myself in bed, lying on my back as my mind aches from what I would later come to know as the morphine/opioid afterburn; where dreams and memories fight the demons of consciousness somewhere behind my throbbing eyes. I turn to find the source of the roaring rotors as the strings and horns join in. "Saigon... it's Miss Saigon," on top of my radiator, a My-First-Sony tapedeck/soundmachine plays on as only analog plastic 90's tech could provide.

I look down to survey the salvage operation performed on my re-located shoulder three-thousand eons ago. The battlefield is quiet and and bandaged. White gauze can be very reassuring sometimes. I drop my head back down as my drawn-and-quartered tendons seem only to remember what pain feels like. I'm in no place to argue with them.

I'm 13 years old and these are the first few minutes of my new life.


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Posted on September 24, 2010

Kinkakujikan, ©MMX

In the words of Rinzairoku, "When you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha."

In the face of total annihilation, we fall in love with the beauty of our floating world.

There is a pervasive Japanese aesthetic know as mono no aware; the sadness of things. Beauty is found in its inevitable destruction. The sakura must fall. And yet after all of the bombings, Kyoto remained intact. The city with Japan's most precious treasures was denied its rightful end.

On July 2, 1950, at 2:30 am, the Kinkajuji (temple of the golden pavillion) was burned down by a monk named Hayashi Yoken. The original looked very different than the one visitors see today:

original Kinkakuji, 1885

Kinkakuji after the fire, 1950

But like the phoenix on its roof, the pavillion was reborn and gilded entirely in gold:

Kinkakuji, 2005

And so the temple shall remain, its bright and shining edifice a hollow and ritualized worship of a Japan that never was. There is no dignity in forever. Beauty is found in the passing.



Posted on September 21, 2010

Moses prayed on Sinai for 3 months until god forgave his people. Idolatry is hard to avoid as an artist. We craft. We create. We critique. If we are lucky, others see something of themselves projected in front of their eyes. In that moment, we share unspoken intimacy. The object becomes the subject and thus idols are born.

The chorus of sirens outside of my house awaken the reptilian parts of my brain that tell me to run and hide. But by tomorrow I'll forget—

• • •

Someone tried to blow-up my neighborhood this weekend. A well executed FBI sting led to the arrest of a man planting what he thought was a bomb on Clark Street.

The news of this incident still hasn't really shaken me. I've been waiting 9 years for something to happen. We've all been waiting.

"He wanted to transform the city… he wanted to make a statement and he wanted to replace the mayor of Chicago," said FBI special agent Robert Grant. "He was unhappy with the way the city was running [and] with things that were happening in other parts of world." [source]

• • •

Atone. Embrace your idols.