20140128

Confession of a Japanophile (satire)

Genetics does not explain why I am obsessed with martial arts, ninjitsu, yakuza and samurai. For I am a Japanophile not just because I am Japanese, but because I — a Westernized Canadian-born Japanese person — am interested in my ancestors' culture.

Genetics likewise does not fully explain why I am usually heterosexual, and like mostly women and very few men. Being born male is only a part of the reason.

Perhaps society — being mostly heteronormative — subtly favors males who are heterosexual, though the LGBT lobby has a positive cultural, political and social influence on consumerism today. Before modernization, and even today, Japanese culture occasionally discouraged open practice of homosexuality yet condoned the practice, provided two people who are in love keep it discreet.

Indeed, none of the major Japanese religions were openly hostile to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.

Even so, the modern-day Japanese government, being conservative, does not guarantee civil rights to LGBT persons. As a result, in cases of spousal abuse, the victim does not have a refuge into which to flee.

In Japan, gay marriage isn't going to be in the Japanese law books for now.

The occasional admiring of a buff male body isn't genetic as much as physiological and an honest desire on the part of the observer to compare physical attributes, which is similar to a pissing contest.

Like the majority of Japanese males, my libido is repressed, due to cultural, physiological, psychological and religious influences. Being essentially in a culture where shame is used as a tool of social control, the behavior of a Japanese person may range from almost schizoid lack of sexual expression to discreet displays of sexuality tinged with shame and the fear of exposure of sexual deeds and the embarrassment resulting from such exposure.

With respect to animé and manga, which I read from time to time, yaoi and yuri are the same-sex flavor of relationships, along with mecha (robots), magical girl and harem genre. While yaoi and yuri present displays of sexuality for mass consumption by fans, robots may represent the hidden aspect of the libido with less overt sexuality; the magic girl, the fantasy element with humorous depictions of awkward moments involving sexuality; and the harem, the fantasy of a man with a lot of potential girlfriends.

Perhaps animé and manga could end up saving the world from utter boredom and anguish for teens and young adults. So I urge my fellow Japanophiles to help spread the word. 0_o

Returning to my confession of being a Japanophile, it was in my youth that I first discovered Shin Buddhism to be meatier than the teachings offered after Sunday service at the Central Fraser Valley Buddhist temple.

This discovery of the roots of Buddhism inspired me to learn Japanese so that I could recognize the characters. In addition, I developed an admiration for martial arts, particularly ninjitsu, as well as respect for samurai and the Yakuza.

Samurai are of interest to me since there were rumors that my father's ancestors may have been related to samurai. Indeed, this is most likely since my grandmother's maiden name was Tanaka, and my father's eldest sister married into the Nakamura family. For both Tanaka and Nakamura are well-known clans of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

As for Yakuza, it is rather interesting that a bad hand in Gaji — a popular Japanese flower card game — became the slang for Japanese criminal societies. However, mass media representations of Yakuza are often exaggerated for the blood and guts on film and in books — especially in manga, and on TV.

As well, the reports that when the city of Kobe was shaken by an earthquake some years ago, it was the Yakuza who first responded to the crisis before the municipal government did. However, I am not so naïve as to consider them to be the "good guys" as long as overt violence continues to be associated with the Yakuza.

Today, as a Canadian-born Japanese who is also a Japanophile, I do not favor the Japanese culture over the Westernized moderation of that culture which I internalize. While it would be admirable to be a perfect blend of Eastern and Western mores, I prefer the simpleness of the "less is more" philosophy with regard to both aesthetics. Thus, the less I try to be Japanese and Westernized, the more I emphasize the subtle qualities of both cultures.

Indeed, the blend of East and West is imperfect within my psyché yet useful to my life due to its simplicity.

Originally posted on January 25, 2004 at 0137H
Updated on February 12, 2013 at 0415H

Japanophile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanophile
LGBT rights in Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Japan
The Tanaka & Nakamura families of Yamaguchi Japan: http://www.tanakamura.com/
Samurai: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai
Yakuza: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakuza
Animé: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime
Manga: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga

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