Musashi Mix Inq


Posted on October 18, 2010

Pieta, ©MMX

And in the holy words, we say:

"[↑] [↑] [↓] [↓] [←] [→] [←] [→] [B] [A] [start]"





Happy 25th birthday Nintendo Entertainment System!

wiki: pieta

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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"

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



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 14, 2010

[Nagasaki mon Amore]

Hibakusha, ©MMX

Hibakusha are, by definition, a dying breed. For 65 years the world has waited, and with each passing year it becomes harder to hold that bated breath. In a way, we are all hibakusha. The Nuclear Age is one of hyperbole and forgetfulness; paranoia and separation… It's good to see that some things haven't changed.

In August of 1945, my great-grandparents were still locked away in the Arizona desert while my grandparents continued to scrape out new lives here in Chicago; surviving.

At the same time, my great-uncle in the MIS continued to interrogate Japanese POWs in PNG, hoping that each secret he extracted from the prisoners would help prevent the American invasion of Japanese soil that each US soldier feared since the first "Banzai!" was cried… Homeland: faces of the children he'd yet to bear charging at him with bamboo spears by the thousand.

8.6.1945: two of my grandparents' nieces died on their way to school; midwives to the apocalypse. Their aunt died soon after of leukemia. Those left behind would be known as hibakusha; atomic survivors. No one escapes the fallout…

Across the demon-proof bridge stands the Guardian of the Fallout. I can't look at Japan without seeing him. Karma doesn't have a half-life.


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Musashi at Brunei

Posted on September 7, 2010

Musashi at Brunei, ©MMX

The Musashi was a Yamato-class heavy battleship and served as flagship for the Combined Japanese Imperial Navy from 1943-44. With her indomitable spirit, the Musashi terrified all who saw her on the horizon.

A major flaw in Japan's overall naval strategy was that big guns and big ships were not the key to victory. The sinking of the Musashi in October of 1944 was a tremendous blow, in steel and spirit, to the Japanese Empire.

Rising up from the sea, Kusunoki Masashige stands as the symbol of samurai loyalty in the face of annihilation, patron-saint of the Kamikaze.

"I 'm not dying yet; I have quite a few men to kill first." -Yojimbo


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