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Friday, December 19, 2014

Thank You Rob

This one is long over due.

Last month I celebrated a birthday of some infamy, glad I made it to such a high number, but not to pleased that it has happened so fast either.

Just one more day closer to death. Ah... but that's what life is anyways... we are born to die.

For such a milestone of an event, you might figure there would be much celebrating and the whole three cheers and a tiger for me (to quote from a Bugs Bunny cartoon far older than myself), but it was rather a low-key affair.

In keeping with it, I received a Ghostbusters LEGO kit (ghosts - death, WTF?!) from the wife and kid... and from my bud, RE Jones... a whole gaggle of stuff.

Rob and I have been friends since we were 14, or rather since he was 15 and I was 14... as the two youngest kids in our grade, where every bastard was going on 16. Rob is probably the ONLY person on this planet who could actually purchase comic books for me and have a pretty good shot at making it not only something I need, but something I want.

He did that with a plethora of Godzilla comic books - newish ones from IDW... which also led me to an ad which made me write about Machi Koro (HERE). He also bought me a Rocket Racoon t-shirt, he of the Guardians of The Galaxy, as Rob probably correctly surmised that I had enjoyed reading that comic book for years before it became a damn popular movie this year.

There were actually three comic books in the bunch from 1972 that I probably shouldn't already have, but I did... and that's cool because they are in far better shape than the reader copies I had that bought brand new. You know... it's the thought that counts.

Now... I have received plenty of well wishes from my friends for birthday greetings - from all over the world, in fact, which is really quite cool considering some of them I only know through this blog - but I will tell you for free, that getting older scares me, as I am now just four years shy of the age my mother died.

I tend to take after her.

While I have been off on vacation this week, and the ensuing weeks, I did go foraging down into the vaults below the main floor looking for some stuff to write about for this blog... old letters and such that I had kept for 20 years, but am no longer sure if I actually kept for 25 years, which is where I am now...

While digging around in a box, I found a typed story my mother had written... describing her illness about nine months before she died. I had no idea it existed, and I have no idea what to do with it. It just makes me sad... so I suppose I'll re-type it out here one day soon enough.

Anyhow... I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes, and especially to Rob for his kind and thoughtful gift.

I've been meaning to call, but work kept getting in the way, and then this stupid cold. I haven't really been outside but once this week - and that was to bring in the garbage cans earlier this evening - two days late, as apparently I'm the only one who brings them in.

I'm still alternating between shivering with cold and sweating my nuts off, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are winning and so are the Toronto Raptors, so I guess I can put up with the minor discomfort.

How sick was I? Yesterday I didn't write a single word. First time that's happened in ages... yeah, yeah... sometimes I write these blogs in advance... in fact, I might be dead for a few days and still have articles being published by me from beyond the grave... or wherever they try and hide the body.


That's what's going on with me. No... I'm not dying. At least not physically.

And to Hudson - no, not my son, but another Canadian reader with that name... you queried on whether or not I had actually lost focus on what this blog might be about because I don't write about my life as much as I should.

It's possible... and that's why I have created two more stories about myself this week... but truthfully... I have long thought that this blog was about Japan... an Encyclopedia Japonica.... presenting interesting factoids about things people wouldn't normally seek out.

Granted there probably isn't any real reason for me to to present a story on something already out there in the mainstream news - you are right - but at the same point in time, I can't ignore it. It's why I write everyday... if there's something not to your (or mine) liking one day, maybe there will be the next.

The interesting thing for me when I write, is that I have ZERO idea what I am going to write about until it appears on screen.

Writing about just myself is okay, I suppose, but I would be bored. I already lived it once... now all I have are faded memories.

Japan is Japan. Love it or hate it. It's why I often show the good with the bad. When discussing Japan's wartime past in WWII and earlier in China - Japan was horrible. The fact that its apologies are not considered strong by those it is apologizing to means that perhaps Japan needs to find better ways to apologize.

Then... when you see what Japan had to endure after WWII... holy crap... I never knew... and I only really discovered this stuff when I came across something on NETFLIX... a mere mention... that got me searching for more... and creating a blog for you all HERE.

And that's what this blog is all about... it's a blog about discovery... you never know what you are going to find when open up another box.

Oh... and Rob... thanks again for making me a better creative writer.

Back when I was in Japan, to celebrate Rob's birthday back in Toronto, I decided that rather than write a letter every day, I would create a short story every weekday... so I did... sometimes two, sometimes three or four... which means that Rob was the beneficiary of being the first person to read my stuff... spelling mistakes and all.

That one month period... I have NEVER been so prolific before or after with the fiction.

More boxes coming,
Andrew Joseph

Noboko & Andrew: The Right Stuff

So... I had just purchased a pair of sapphire earrings and a sapphire ring with a couple of diamond chips in the 18-carat yellow gold setting... sort of as a pre-engagement ring for Noboko... to feel out if we should get married.

I only have three more months left on my third year on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme, but if she will have me, I would spend the rest of my life any place in the world with her.

As mentioned many a time previously, Noboko is afraid to tell her parents anything about the true nature of our relationship. We certainly aren't dating, and she and I are just friends - though the students at the school where she teaches English know differently, as do my bosses at the Ohtawara Board of Education office, who have spied the beautiful Noboko at my side a few times outside of school - and because they asked me directly about it, I told them the truth, but told them it was a secret.

For them, I think they liked the fact that I was no longer chasing after all of the female JET participants, and had now found a real woman - a Japanese woman - meaning that maybe I would want to make Japan my home.

Believe it or not, but my Board of Education liked me, and really would have liked me to have spent the rest of my life in Japan - proving to everyone just how cool Japan was, but also, just how cool the city and my bosses were.

But really, I think they were just happy that I was happy, as they also knew about women as my kryptonite.

So.. after hiding the ring et al in my bedroom, and greeting the gorgeous Noboko at my front door, we sat down to eat the lunch she had brought for me.

I would swear it was something from her parent's house - where she was now living since moving back to the area after five years out of the family home in Tokyo and Osaka...

She was always bringing food over for us to eat - perhaps to show that she could look after me, but also to prevent the Japanese world from seeing us as a couple. It bothered me, but I did understand. But it still bothered me.

We got in her little Suzuki toy car and drove down to Utsunomiya-shi - parking write across the street from the jewelery shop I had made my purchases from.

I even got a wave from one of the shop's clerks outside the building who spied me and broke out into a big grin as she saw Noboko. I mimed a finger across my lips, meaning I hadn't sprung it on her yet, and got a smile back and a brisk walk back into the shop where I am sure she told everyone what had just transpired.

As far as I was concerned, there were no secrets in Japan.

We went to a movie theater, caught a flick, grabbed some dinner at an out of the way Japanese noodle place and made our way back to my apartment in Ohtawara-shi by around 7PM. I excused myself to my bedroom, and came back a moment later.

"I had a really good time with you today," I said perhaps a little too eagerly.

"Me, too," she smiled as she squeezed my hand on my crappy green couch.

"I want... uh... I would like... uhh," the fantastic oral skills of An-do-ryu sensei have left the building.

"Here," I said and thrust out first the box with the earrings.

She eyed it suspiciously, but eagerly opened it up, cooing with genuine excitement as she spied them and placed them up to her ears, asking "How do they look?"

"Try them on."

She went to the bathroom and came back with them on - with two tiny blue balls of light flashing on the sides of her face. Wow... I don't know if the earrings looked good on her not, but she looked great.

"Thank-you!" she exclaimed.

"Here," I said, as I thrust the box containing the sapphire ring at her. "This will complete the set for now."

As she opened up the box, removing the ribbon, I told her, "I love you and want to spend my life with you as husband and wife.

"This is just a token of my love for you... a promise that if you want, we will get engaged and then married."

I had to explain this one a couple of times... because she also had never heard of a pre-engagement ring - something I had just made-up.

Eventually she got it, though, smiling as she finally slipped the ring on her finger and it went onto her wedding finger... the one on her left hand... and I finally realized that despite my best intentions, I really should have got her a ring for any other finger BUT her wedding finger.

How the fug can she wear that out in public? I wasn't trying to force her hand that way... I just wanted to show her that I was serious about our relationship.

Oh crap... and then I realized that I had screwed up - sort of. In Japan, the wedding ring goes on the right hand... the finger next to the pinkie...

She looked at me and smiled and said, "Diamonds next - except next time we'll go shopping together."

There's more that happened that night, but it was just two people expressing their love for each other... except that this evening, she spent the night - ignoring any pre-determined father-imposed curfew.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
Photo above is of Noboko taken by me sometime when the leaves were changing color up on Mt. Nasu. Ooooh, spolier.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rules For Occupied Japan - Post WWII

World War II... where to start? Let's start at the end and see what happened to Japan at its conclusion - at least officially.

When Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces on May 8, 1945, what had once been a threesome of not much fun, was now down to just Japan versus the world.

After the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs first on Hiroshima on August 6 and then Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Despite the horrible losses to civilian life, Japan still did not want to surrender. In fact, it wasn't until a combination of realization came together, that Japan finally came around.
  • The Japanese realized that the Allies might do more bombings; 
  • were also considering an invasion of the main island;
  • saw the USSR declare war on Japan;
  • saw forces invade their holding in Manchuria.
It was all of this that made Japan finally decided to surrender on August 15, 1945 - six days after the second atomic bomb was dropped... that's how damn steadfast the Japanese were in their divine power to rule Asia... to never surrender... to follow the long dead samurai code of Bushido - the way of the warrior.

Granted not everyone pre-1868 was a samurai warrior, but by 1945 everyone in Japan seemed to channel that warrior spirit... not just the soldiers and officers, but the regular folks back home... the elderly, the women, and its children. You'll notice there's a lot of that self-same channeling going on NOW by the Japanese, as every single damn sports team is known as the Samurai

On August 15, after hearing the weak, high-pitched voice of its Emperor for the first time on the radio telling its citizens that Japan had surrendered, Japan was in shock.

Officially, the war did not end until the documents were signed aboard the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on September 2,1945, ending the war.

The next day, with the Occupying Force now in place in Japan, it began issuing rules for Japan and its populace to follow.

Now... this Occupying Force was an Allied occupation of Japan, but make no mistake, this was an American undertaking, with all occupation forces composed of American personnel, except for a bit of participation by some British Commonwealth nations.

Everyone in Japan, however, was under the command of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), who was the United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who was also the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, Pacific, and under the direct instruction of the American Government.       

The objectives of the Americans (and the Allies) were detailed via the document known as "The U.S. Initial Post-Surrender Policy For Japan" that was written up BEFORE Japan actually surrendered, in anticipation of such an event.

The document was a wartime cooperation among many U.S. government agencies for post-war policy, and was sent to SCAP on August 29, 1945 by the U.S. Government.

Basically, everything set out in these directives was to ensure that:
  • Japan would not become (again) troublesome to the U.S., or to the peace and security of the world;
  • To bring about the eventual establishment of a peaceful and responsible Japanese government that would support the objectives of the U.S., as reflected in the ideals and principles of the newly formed Charter of the United Nations.
  • The U.S wants this government to conform to the principles of democratic self-government. 
Over the next few years, SCAP created measures that would transform Japan from its military state to a peaceful, democratic one that would see: demobilization of armed forces, trial and punishment of war criminals, revision of the old constitution, demilitarization of industry, dissolution of zaibatsu (big economic combines), land reform, liberalization of political activities, emancipation of the labor movement, reform of  the education system, and elimination of militarists and ultranationalists from influential social circles throughout Japan.

This took the form of SCAPIN (Supreme Command for Allied Powers Instruction Note), which between September 3, 1945 and 1952 when the forces left, there were about 2,200 SCAPIN and 7,000 administrative SCAPIN referred to as SCAPIN-A.

SCAPIN had a large field of applicability, while the SCAPIN-A relates mostly to specific persons or companies.

Now... here's the thing... you would think that with such important rules and regulations being set down by the Occupying Forces, that there would be a complete record of all of them, but there isn't one... at least none that most academics seem to be able to get their hands on, let alone me. 

These  SCAPIN and SCAPIN-A are not found in your typical Japanese university libraries, but one can find a fair number of them in the National Diet Library in Tokyo, with 15 volumes of SCAPIN, and 18 volumes for the SCAPIN-A.

It should be noted that not all the exchanges between occupation and Japanese authorities took the form of SCAPIN or SCAPIN-A, with many memos not cataloged as SCAPIN, as well as directives addressed to agencies of the Japanese government by Eighth Army headquarters.

At the local level of each prefecture instructions were addressed by Corps or Division commanders (and may be also by Military Government teams) to prefectural authorities. These archives do not seem to be kept at the Japanese prefectural archives (which have mostly been created in the 1970s), and I don't believe anyone knows where all of these important SCAPIN have been archived.

Below are some of the directives set about by the U.S. Occupying force... to get Japan under its control:

September 2, 1945: SCAPIN 1
(not a direct quote)

The Japanese Government was directed to prohibit the manufacture and distribution of all arms, ammunitions and implements of war.
The Japanese Government should hold intact and in good condition pending further instructions from SCAP all factories, plants, shops, research institutions, laboratories, and testing stations connected with the production or use of any implements of war.
[Basically, the U.S. wanted to see if there was any cool experimental weaponry or science it could take for its own. The SCAPIN also directed the collection of all arms in the possession if Japanese civilians and to deliver them to occupation authorities. This did NOT include any swords.] 

September 3, 1945: SCAPIN 2
[excerpt]
  • The Japanese Imperial Government will place at the disposal of the occupation forces all local resources required for their use.
  • The Japanese Imperial Government will provide labor in quantities and with the training and skills and the time and place designated by the Supreme Commander or the Commanders of the Occupation Forces within their respective areas.
  • The Japanese Imperial Government will be prepared to furnish to the Occupation Forces all buildings suitable for and required by these forces. Requirements will include the following general categories: office buildings, hospitals, living quarters, warehousing and storage shops, transportation and communication installations.
  • Buildings will, insofar as possible, be of fireproof construction and equipped with running water, sewage disposal facilities, electricity.
September 4, 1945: SCAPIN 7
Subject: Funds for Occupation Forces [excerpt]

It is desired that your office [i.e. the Japanese government] place to the credit of the GHQ such sums as may be necessary for expenditures of the occupation forces. It is understood that the cost of printing, handling and distribution of these funds will be borne by the Imperial Japanese Government. [Signed] For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair (Lt Colonel, AGD)

September 6, 1945: SCAPIN 8
Subject: Legal tender [excerpt].

It is desired that the Japanese Imperial Government place in effect immediately as a decree [that] ‘Supplemental Military Yen Currency marked “B” issued by Military Occupation Forces is legal tender in Japan. Penalties for the enforcement of this decree will be prescribed by the Japanese Government and submitted to this headquarters for approval. [Signed: For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair (Lt Colonel, AGD)

September 7, 1945: SCAPIN 12
Addressed to the Chairman of the Military Commission in Yokohama [excerpt].

With reference to the request from the Japanese Imperial GHQ concerning the retention of swords by Japanese military personnel you are advised that if these swords are the personal property of these officers they may be retained. Swords which were issued by the government are government property and will be turned in with other weapons of war. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, R.K. Sutherland, Lieutenant General, US Army Chief of Staff

September 10, 1945: SCAPIN 16 
[excerpt].

The Japanese Imperial Government will issue the necessary orders to prevent dissemination of news through newspapers, radio broadcasting and other means of publication which disturbs public tranquility. The Supreme Commander will suspend any publication or radio station which does not comply.

September 12, 1945: SCAPIN 21
Subject: Use of supplemental yen (type “B”) [excerpt].

The Japanese Imperial Government has not yet complied with the memorandum of September 6, 1945 (SCAPIN 8) that supplemental yen (type “B”) be decreed legal tender in Japan. In the event that any further delay occurs the SCAP will take such action as he deems appropriate. It is further directed that the Japanese Government prohibit the giving or taking of US currency or any other foreign currency in any transaction.[Signed: For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair (Lt Colonel, AGD)

September 12, 1945: SCAPIN 22
Subject: Japanese aircraft [excerpt].

It is desired to secure a number of Japanese aircraft for test and study by technicians of the US Armed forces.
[The rest of the SCAPIN provides practical details for the organization of test flights.]

September 13, 1945: SCAPIN 26
Subject: Protection of Allied property [excerpt].

The Imperial Japanese Government will preserve in good order all property owned or controlled in whole or in part by any national of any of the United Nations on December 7, 1941 and make a complete report to the Supreme Commander within one week.

September 19, 1945: SCAPIN 33
Subject: Press code for Japan

September 19, 1945: SCAPIN 34
Subject: Suspension of the newspaper Asahi Shimbun

September 19, 1945: SCAPIN 37
Subject: Suspension of the newspaper Nippon Times

September 22, 1945: SCAPIN 40
Subject: Apprehension of certain individuals [excerpt].

It is directed that you apprehend and deliver to the custody of the Commanding General, Eighth Army, General Nobuyuki and General Kenji Doihara.
[This is the first SCAPIN to direct the arrests of Japanese officers]

September 22, 1945: SCAPIN 47
[no subject] [excerpt].

The Japanese Imperial Government is hereby directed to comply with the requirements stated in this directive.
  • You are responsible for initiating and maintaining a firm control over wages and prices of essential commodities.
  • No production will be permitted of all types of aircraft including those designed for civilian use, and of all materials produced for incorporation into aircraft of any type. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, R.M. Levy, Colonel AGD
September 22, 1945: SCAPIN 43
Subject: Radio Code for Japan

September 25, 1945: SCAPIN 60
Subject: Provision of coal at Fusan, Korea [excerpt].

It is directed that necessary action be taken to institute at once measures that will insure monthly delivery at Fusan, Korea of 70,000 tons of coal for use in operating Korean railways. In order to secure earliest delivery at Fusan, you will consider diversion of ships with suitable cargo.

September 27, 1945: SCAPIN 67
Subject: Funds that may be brought into Japan by repatriated Japanese [excerpt].

Japanese Army and Navy personnel will be permitted to carry with them into Japan a maximum of 500 yen for commissioned officers, of 200 yen for non-commissioned officers or enlisted men and of 1,000 yen for civilians. All currency in excess of these limits will be taken up and delivered to this Headquarters. All jewelry will also be taken up. [Signed:] R.C. Kramer, Colonel , GSC, Chief Economic and Scientific Section

October 1, 1945: SCAPIN 80
Subject: Censorship of the mails [excerpt].

All postal communications are subject to censorship to the extent deemed advisable by the Supreme Allied Commander. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, Harold Fair, Lt Colonel AGD

October 1, 1945: SCAPIN 79
Subject: Confiscation of September 29 edition of Toyo Keizai Shimpo. [excerpt].

The Japanese Imperial Government will issue the necessary orders to effect the confiscation of all distributed copies of the September 29, 1945 issue of Toyo Keizai Shimpo. The confiscated copies will be submitted to the Civil Censorship Detachment, 6th floor, Radio Tokyo Building, for disposition.

October 2, 1945: SCAPIN 80
Subject: Supplies and services required by the Occupation Forces [excerpt].

[The instructions mentions 23 supplies and 19 services; the following list gives a few examples]. Construction materials, fuel (coal wood), textiles, furniture and office equipment, soap and candles, ice, special entertainment (music, dramatics, wrestling, etc.), repair of occupation installations, laundry and dry cleaning, shoe repairs, tailoring.

October 3, 1945: SCAPIN 91
Subject: Misconduct among occupation troops [excerpt].

Receipt is acknowledged of CLO no 54,55,77 dated September 27. [CLO stands for Central Liaison Office] and CLO no 107 dated September 29 concerning various instances of alleged misconduct of the part of American troops. In the instant cases there appears to be insufficient evidence to properly identify the alleged violators. To assist the occupation forces in controlling cases of alleged misconduct, it is desired (i) That such violations are reported immediately by the offended person or the Japanese Civil Police to the nearest Military Police. (ii) That a written report in duplicate, numbering each incident serially be furnished this Headquarters as soon as practicable after the incident giving time and date of incident, place, name and address of person allegedly offended, description of alleged misconduct, time and person to which initial report required in (i) was submitted.

[This SCAPIN was rescinded only on January 23, 1950. If this directive has been effectively implemented (which requires that Military Police did indeed registered the complaints in spite of the language barriers), it means that the records with the descriptions of such incidents should be available in Japanese and American archives.]

October 4, 1945: SCAPIN 93
Subject: Removal of restrictions on Political, Civil and Religious Liberties

[See image at top of article]

October 5, 1945: SCAPIN 95
Subject: Request for funds [excerpt].

In accordance with SCAPIN 7 dated September 4, 1945, it is requested that the Bank of Japan segregate and earmark for the use of occupation forces, the sum of 3 billion yens (about $200-million in 1945 value).

October 9, 1945: SCAPIN 110
Subject: Import of essential commodities.

Several requests have been received from the Central Liaison Committee for authorization to import commodities deemed to be essential for the maintenance of the civil population. Requests to import commodities will not be submitted unless credits have been established for payment by means of exports, approved by this Headquarters.

October 11, 1945: SCAPIN 119
Subject: Japanese government proposal to increase domestic police force [excerpt].

There shall be no increase in the strength, organization and armament of the civil police force at this time.

October 13, 1945: (No SCAPIN #)
Memorandum for the Imperial Japanese Government (GA). Subject: Raising of the national flag [excerpt].

Receipt is acknowledged for your letter of the 13th instant.
In the near future you will be given a directive covering every circumstance under which the Japanese national flag may be displayed. Pending issuance of this directive no action will be taken in the matter.
[Subsequently, authorization had to be obtained in each circumstance in which the Japanese government wished to display the national flag. Nineteen SCAPIN were issued, including no number SCAPIN on December 21, 1945; and then SCAPIN 1260; 1296; 1343; 1397; 1413; 1567; 1577; 1610; 1636; 1773; 1793; 1805; 1816; 1831; 1833; 1853; 1867; 1934, to grant such authorizations.

The first one of these authorizations reads as follows. December 21, 1945 (no SCAPIN number): The Headquarters has no objection to the use of the Japanese national flag on December 25, 1945 for the anniversary of the late Emperor Taisho. Eventually, on January 6, 1949, SCAPIN 1956 granted authorization to display the national flag without restriction.]

October 19, 1945: SCAPIN 158
(LS) Subject: Command exercised by General Yamashita Tomoyuki (surname first) during the period from December 7, 1941 to September 2, 1945 [excerpt].

It is directed that you [i.e. the Japanese government] furnish this Headquarters within 5 days copies of duly authenticated official documents setting forth (i) the geographical extent of the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita (ii) all orders issued to him (iii) all orders issued by him to subordinate commanders (iv) the biographical record of General Yamashita.
[General Yamashita Tomoyuki was most famous for conquering the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore. In 1944 he assumed the command of the Fourteenth Army to defend the Philippines. From October 29 to December 7, 1945, he was tried by an American military commission for war crimes relating to the war in the Philippines and sentenced to death. The legitimacy of the hasty trial has been called into question by many. He was hanged on February 23, 1946, at Los Banos Prison Camp, 30 miles south of Manila.

October 20, 1945: SCAPIN 162
ESS) Subject: Dissolution of major financial or industrial enterprises. [excerpt].

No approval will be given to plans submitted to the Japanese Government [by the companies] for the dissolution of any holding company “Zaibatsu” without prior submission to this Headquarters.

October 21, 1945: (No SCAPIN #)
Memorandum to the Imperial Japanese Government.
Subject: Destruction of Japanese prisoner of war records.

The memorandum demands the list of the documents that have been destroyed and the names of the individual who directed such destruction.

October 22, 1945: SCAPIN 172
Subject: Colonel Iijima Nebuyaki (surname first). The Imperial Japanese Government will apprehend and deliver to the authorities of the Omori Prison camp Colonel Iijima, former director of military training.

October 22, 1945: SCAPIN 173
(CIS) Subject: Military government of Batangas Province, Philippines Island [excerpt].

It is directed that you furnish this headquarters with the name of the Military Governor of Batangas Province during the period of October1944 to July 1945, the units under his command and the complete names of all subordinate officers.

October 22, 1945: SCAPIN 179
(GS) Subject: Proceedings of the Diet [excerpt].

In order that the Supreme Commander may be informed of the activities of the Diet, it is desired that the Japanese Government establish a procedure by which this Headquarters will be furnished copies, in English, of proposed laws and reports on the progress of proposed legislation from the time the bills come before the Bureau of Legislation throughout the entire legislative process until enacted into law. It is desired that the proposed procedure be submitted to this Headquarters not later than 10 days after receipt of this memorandum.

October 24, 1945: SCAPIN 183
Civil Intelligence Section (CIS).

The Imperial Japanese Government is directed immediately to:
  • Dismiss from their present positions the following officials of Rikkyo Gakuin [i.e. St Paul’s University, a Protestant institution of higher learning] [11 names follow; note that these persons were not accused of being ultranationalists; their offense was to have allowed the disruption of Christian services and teaching after 1943]
  • Direct that none of the individuals designated above be reemployed or placed in any position in any public or private educational or religious institution of in any government position.
October 31, 1945: SCAPIN 215
Subject: Sales of securities of certain firms [excerpt].

It is directed that no sale or other transfer of the stocks, bonds or other forms of securities of the firms listed below (nor of their subsidiary firms) shall be made without the prior approval of this Headquarters. Further such securities shall not be used as collateral for loans without prior approval of this Headquarters.
[The appended list comprises 15 firms; later on (see SCAPIN 403 of December 8, 1945), this list became known as the “Schedule of Restricted Concerns”; it was expanded. Over the years 1946-1950 there were many SCAPINs listing additions to or removals from the “Schedule of Restricted Concerns”.]

November 1, 1945: (No SCAPIN #)
GHQ, SCAP, Economic and Scientific Section Memorandum for: The Imperial Japanese Government [Transmitted] through: Central Liaison Office Subject: Shipment of 150,000 sheets of silkworm eggs to Korea. [excerpt].
  1. It is directed that the necessary action be taken at once to effect the shipment to Korea of 150,000 sheets of silkworm eggs.
  2. The shipment will be consigned to the commanding General of US forces in Korea.
  3. The assembly, crating and shipping arrangements are to be completed at the port of shipment as soon as practicable. This Headquarters is to be advised when all arrangements have been completed. For the Supreme Commander, H.W. Allen, Colonel A.G.D. [Adjudant General Division]
November 3, 1945:
The following lines provide some excerpts of a directive issued by the Truman administration to General Douglas MacArthur; it is entitled “Basic initial post-surrender directive to the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers for the occupation and control of Japan”
  • Nomination of the government: “You [i.e. the Supreme Commander] will assure that at all times the posts of Lord Privy Seal, Privy Council, Prime Minister and Cabinet members are held only by persons who may be relied upon to further the purpose of your mission.”
  • Control over Japanese courts: “Ordinary criminal and civil courts in Japan will be permitted to continue to function subject to such regulations, supervision and control as you may determine. As rapidly as possible judges who are unacceptable will be removed. Such officials will be replaced with acceptable and qualified successors. Full power of review will be retained by you over all courts which are allowed to function. You will veto all decisions which are inconsistent with the purpose of your mission.”
  • Standard of living of the Japanese people: “You will not assume any responsibility for the economic rehabilitation of Japan. You will make clear to the Japanese that you assume no obligation to maintain any particular standard of living in Japan and that the standard of living will depend upon the thoroughness with which Japan rids itself of all militaristic ambitions and cooperates with the occupying forces.”
  • Control of foreign trade:“The Japanese authorities are to enter into no economic agreement of any kind with foreign governments except after prior consultation with you and by your express approval.”
  • Payment of occupation expenses: “You will require the Japanese authorities to make available to you legal tender yen notes or yen credits free of cost and in amounts sufficient to meet all expenses or your forces including the cost of your military occupation.”
  • Seizure of Japanese assets: You will impound or block all gold, silver, platinum, currencies, securities, accounts in financial institutions within the categories listed below: property owned by national, prefectural and local governments, the Japanese Imperial Household and all organizations dissolved by you, all public and private assets located within or outside Japan, all works of art regardless of ownership.
November 4, 1945:
Memorandum for the Imperial Japanese Government. [excerpts].

The Imperial Japanese Government shall (a) Submit to this Headquarters within 10 days the name, rank, title and present location of the chief of the Kempei-Tai [Japanese military police] and his assistants including all headquarters officers. (b) Submit to this Headquarters by November 30, 1945 a comprehensive report in English describing the organization, structure, channels of command and methods of operations of the Kempei-Tai. This report shall include the list of all officers in each subdivision with indication of name, rank, and official position. Signed: H.W. Allen

November 6, 1943: SCAPIN 243
(LS) Subject: Apprehension of suspected war criminals

[excerpt]. The following named Japanese are alleged to have committed atrocities and offenses against persons of United Nations while confined in prisons, war camps, internment camps or hospitals in Japan. These persons will be delivered to the Omori prison, Yokohama at the earliest practical date.

[Appended to the text of the SCAPIN there is a list of about 400 names of military of all ranks (down to private) as well as civilians.]

November 10, 1945: NO SCAPIN #
A memorandum similar in form to the one cited above for Nov 1, requires 18,000 tons of coal to be delivered monthly to British troops at Kyushu ports.

November 16, 1945: SCAPIN 287
(CIE) Subject: Elimination of undemocratic motion pictures [excerpt].

The Japanese government is directed to take immediate action (i) To insure against the present and future exhibition or sale of any of the motion pictures on the attached inclosure. (ii) To secure from the owners of these pictures all prints, whether positive or negative, and store them in a safe place in Tokyo subject to the disposition of this Headquarters.

[The inclosure contains a list of about 115 Japanese picture movies].

November 24, 1945: Excerpts of SCAPIN 338
The Imperial Japanese Government is directed to take the necessary steps as rapidly as possible and in no event later than February 1, 1946 to terminate all payments of any public or private pensions to any person: (a) By reason of military service, except compensation for physical disability limiting the recipients ability to work. (c) Who has been removed from any office or position as a result of any order of the Supreme Commander.

[The consequence is that persons removed from their position for non-compliance with SCAP directives will get no compensation of any kind whatever their age; as dismissed civil servants most often could not apply to other public positions they experienced (as well as their families) great hardship.]

December 8, 1945: SCAPIN 403
Subject: Establishment of a Schedule of Restrictive Concerns [excerpt].

The action directed in SCAPIN 215 (October 31, 1945) will be applied to a list of companies hereafter to be referred to as the “Schedule of Restricted Concerns”.

[The attached list comprises about 50 companies and it will be expanded in steps over the next two or three years to the extent of containing over 1,000 companies and subsidiaries.]

December 9, 1945: SCAPIN 411
Subject: Rural land reform [excerpt].

In order to destroy the economic bondage which has enslaved the Japanese farmers for centuries of feudal oppression, the Japanese Imperial Government is directed to take measures to insure that those who till the soil of Japan shall have a more equal opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor. More than three fourth of the farmers are tenants paying rentals amounting to half or more of their annual crops. The Japanese Imperial Government is therefore ordered to submit to this Headquarters on or before March 15, 1946 a program of rural land reform. This program shall contain plans for transfer of land ownership from absentee land owners to land operators, and provisions for reasonable protection of former tenants against reversion to tenancy status. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, H.W. Allen, Colonel AGD

December 11, 1945: SCAPIN 420
Subject: Utilization of the Central Aeronautical Research Institute. [excerpt].

The Central Aeronautical Research Institute is to be disbanded by December 31, 1945. The request to convert it to civilian use is not approved. [Signed:] For the Supreme Commander, H.W. Allen, Colonel A.G.D.

December 21, 1945: No SCAPIN #

Memorandum for the Imperial Japanese Government.

The Imperial Japanese Government will issue the necessary orders to suspend publication of the daily newspaper Ise Shimbun. This suspension is to be effective as of 1 hours, December 27, 1945 and ending 2400 hours, December 28, 1945 [a two-day suspension]. Signed: H.W. Allen.


And there you have it... JUST the SCAPIN documents from 1945! And yet, these documents are something the average Japanese person knows very little about nowadays, but ones that effectively changed the way Japan not only did business, but how it ran its daily life.

Every single one of these directives - these SCAPIN are an engrossing read, perhaps some more important than others, but an important and effective means to control and whip the Japanese people into complacity... to become good little subjects of the world...

I especially enjoy reading the directives to censor the newspapers... or the one to give up some of the secret police... or the one to set aside some money, Japan, because you guys are paying your conquerors to look after you and to take away whatever rights you think you deserve.

I'm divided on this whole thing, because I am separated by time. But if I was to look at it as though it were 1945 and I just had my ass kicked by Japan for a number of years before I was finally able to beat the stuffing out of them, I'd be pretty pissed off at Japan and would seek to break them down.

Of course, the U.S. was smart. As it initially began to break Japan down into insignificant components, it eventually began to build it up... giving the dog a bone every once in a while... eventually turning it itself into a superpower... regardless of its current economic strife.

For the Japanese, one of the hardest SCAPIN to swallow was the September 7, 1945: SCAPIN 12 denoting the giving up of one's swords.

We'll delve into that one in a future article.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Noboko & Andrew: All Shiny & Blue

Okay, okay... so people are asking for more about my life in Japan.... especially the relationship angle, which is where most of these stories seem to take place.

I've always said I would write this blog even if ONE person was to read it.

I'm Andrew Joseph... and for the first two years of my time in Japan (July 1990 - July 1992), I was a scared little boy just discovering himself.

I was 25 going on 26 when I arrived in Japan. I had one real girlfriend up until that time. I had lived at home while I completed five years of university (political science) and two years of college (journalism).

I didn't know how to cook, clean, shop, do laundry, sew, or look after myself. Oh yeah, I was virgin.

That changed within weeks of arriving in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken. I was a junior high school assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme, teaching at one of the seven schools I had to visit for four days a week, with my Friday's reserved for an office day at the Board of Education office where I essentially wrote up a weekly report on my teaching activities (three classes a day on average of 'repeat after me') that took me less than 15 minutes to write.

The rest of the time was spent writing short stories to amuse myself and my friends, as well as letters to everyone back home.

Amongst these stories was the genesis for Japan--It's A Wonderful Rife, as I wrote three monthly columns for various prefectural JET magazines and for whomever else wanted one - I even got paid for it by one newspaper.

The stories were based on fact, but always showed me being stymied by Japan and its culture as I learned how to fit in as well as how to bend it ever so slightly to make it a better fit for myself.

It's why, by my third and final year on the Programme, I was more than adept at surviving whatever Japan could throw at me.

My one weakness... my krypotonite, if you will, was women.

Always afraid that my last exposure to a woman's caress would be my last--it has to be at sometime, eh--I was constantly drifting in and out of one-night stands, seeking out women more and more incorrect for a long-term relationship figuring that if I couldn't find a wife, I would at least get sex. Which even now seems like fantastic logic.

The female populace of Ohtawara didn't seem to mind that strategy, but all that changed the moment I laid eyes on Noboko, a Japanese teacher of English at Nozaki Chu Gakko (Nozaki Junior High School)... the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

Regular readers are aware that from the get go she wanted nothing to do with the ever-so-slick An-do-ryu sensei, feeling that I was nothing more than a huckster in nice silk clothing with a diamond earring, well-coiffed beard and a pony-tail that made me look like a rich Colombian drug lord - at least according to the old episodes of Miami Vice. I probably was, but it was all a sham, except few people knew it but myself.

Luckily, the students of that school saw through my facade and somehow convinced her that I was a nice guy who deserved a shot with her. Noboko eventually relented to the wiles of myself and our students' pestering. They really did pester her with questions about boyfriends, and how An-do-ryu was a nice guy... She probably wondered just what it was that these kids saw in me that she didn't... and after a couple of weeks, curiosity got the better of her and we began dating.

When last we checked in, I had just spent an evening with her parents that went surprisingly well. The only problem, for me, was that Mom and Dad seemed to think I was just another lost angel in the city of neon lights and that their darling daughter felt sorry for me and was looking after me until it was time for me to go back home to Toronto by July of 1993.

I've only got three months left in Japan... and Noboko is afraid to tell her folks that we are in love. I've told her I love her and she has done the same to me. There is a smoldering passion and a lot of dry tinder. But why not admit the truth to her parents?

What's a boy to do?

Jewelery.

I went out early one Saturday morning knowing that Noboko and the rest of the Japanese students had school until around 1PM... so I rode my bicycle out to the Nishinasuno train station, locked it up--only the gaijin seem to lock up their bicycles in Japan--got on a local train and rode south 20 minutes to the capital city of Utsunomiya.

Arriving at the station, I walked the same route I always walk when I get to Utsunomiya - mostly because I have no sense of direction and always get lost. This time, however, I knew where I was going.

A few weeks earlier, thanks to Noboko's prodding, we walked the city where I had never been before... and I spied shops and restaurants I had not yet seen... including a jewellery shop.

I walked in, saw the look of surprise on the staff--no big deal... I think that happens whenever a gaijin walks into any shop because it means they now have to dig up their high school English and try and serve me.

You have to hand it to the Japanese... they don't HAVE to try and speak English, but once they know you do, they do their best.

In this case... it was easy.

They welcomed me to the shop with their loud yelling group welcome in Japanese... I bowed slightly and smiled and walked over to the glass counter cabinets filled with glittering gems encased in gold, silver and platinum sheathes.

There! That's the one... a large dark blue sapphire ring and accompanying earrings - both in 18-carat yellow gold. The sapphire ring even had a couple of small diamond chips around the setting. 

Sh!t... her ears were pierced, right? Yes... okay... this will work.

Miming touching my ear, and the slipping on of a ring, I asked the clerk to show me my choices.

"Garo-friendo?" I was asked (Girlfriend).

"Hai, so desu." (Yes.)

Smiles from the female staff who all charged around the young lady helping me - all wanting to see what it was I had chosen.

More smiles and side chants of 'sugai' (wonderful) abounded from their pretty red lips, as the white gloved young lady who first served me placed the jewelery onto a white velvet swatch for me to handle.

"Wha-to saizu rin-gu?" I think you understood that. I did.

I'm no idiot, despite being in Japan for two years and only developing a kindergarten level of Japanese language skills--unless I was trying to pick up a woman... then I knew all the set pick-up lines... but I always seemed to have the bare minimum Japanese language skills to survive, if not thrive.

A week earlier I had wrapped a string around Noboko's wedding finger while she slept naked in my bed, all tuckered out from all the shagging. Me? I'm full of caffeine thanks to a Coca-Cola habit that only caught up to me last year in the form of diabetes. Enjoy! But use moderation!

I held out my string of measurement, and there was much chattering as someone brought out a manikin hand and we placed the noose around the middle finger.

"Iie (no, pronounced Eee-ya), chigao (wrong)," I said and pointed to the ring finger and hummed 'dum-dum-da-dummm'.

There were a few scowls, which I understood.

"Atodai, di-a-mondo (later, diamond)," I added quickly, which got all the women back on my side.

I told them her birthday was in September, and that as a Virgo her birthstone was sapphire... that it was just a present.

"Doshite? (Why?)"

I shrugged my shoulders and said "Kinyobi" (Saturday) and smiled my goofy smile. It was just a present for her because I felt like getting her one this Saturday... actually, I knew it was more than that.

Turns out the ring on display was the perfect fit for Noboko's delicate digit.

Now, six figures of yen later - yup over $1,000 - I had my sapphire ring and a pair of matching sapphire earrings. It's always important to ensure that the gemstone's color is an exact match, and that the settings and stone cut are the same.

This would be my pre-engagement ring to Noboko. To express to her that she was my girl and that should she be able to tell her folks about my deep love for her, I would promise to later get her that engagement and wedding ring to break my bank account.

I knew there was no such thing as a pre-engagement ring officially, but... 

I wasn't planning on just staying here three more months on the JET Programme... if she would allow it, I would spend the rest of my life with her here in Japan.

I would do whatever job it took to be with her here in Japan... there was a second catch, however.

Along with her having to tell her parents about us... I wanted her to come with me to Canada... not to live, I told her, though I secretly hoped that would be the case... but rather just for a vacation... a visit...

I also hoped she would see how easily she would fit in in Toronto... but I really wanted her to meet my brother, my father, but especially my mother whom I know did not care for Ashley all that much when she visited me in Japan the year previous. Ashley had gone back home the previous summer, and aside from me Googling her once five years ago, I never laid eyes on her again.

I didn't need my mother's approval or anything like that, I wasn't that type of a man-boy... no... I just wanted to show Noboko off... okay, maybe to get a bit of approval...

That still sounds wrong... but hopefully you all know that I was extremely proud of myself for having snagged such a classy woman in Noboko... and I just wanted to shout to the world that she was mine and I was hers.   

So...

I tucked the invoice away in my wallet just in case she laughed in my face and I needed to return it or sell it somewhere else should I be ashamed to show my face back in that jewelery shop again.

It was only 10AM on the Saturday... I could still get some breakfast to eat, play a few video games at the nearby arcade and make it home by 1PM in time for Noboko's expected arrival at my apartment at 1:30PM.

But, since you are expecting me to lose the jewelery, and I was expecting me to lose it, I tucked everything into my coat pocket and placed it onto my accompanying backpack and made immediately for the train station and home. My mom didn't raise a complete idiot.

Back home, I had 30 minutes to spare, so I had a quick shower to wash the dusty roads off myself and placed the wrapped up jewelry box behind one of the sliding cabinet doors on my queen-sized bed's headboard.

Oh yeah... my board of education office really loved me and took care of me as though I was their son, best friend and visitor to their city - all rolled into one. But, just recall that for every JET, every situation is different. I was treated like a GOD (Gaijin On Display), and I loved it.

Noboko arrived at my place looking resplendent in a white sun dress, that had me wondering if she wore that see-through thing to school, but I knew she always managed to stop off somewhere and change before arriving at my place. I think. Otherwise... holy crap.

Rife with anticipation, we kissed hello, and I hugged and held on to her forever.

More in a day or two - no, really.
Andrew Joseph
PS: Image above is of a resplendent Noboko posing in front of one of the boat rides at Tokyo Disneyland.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'm Sick

WTF?! I have a cold... I'm all stuffed up... and I'm beginning to hack up a lung.

Sure I took the flu shot, but I think that's why I must have a cold.

Of course... I'm on vacation right now...

Figures...

The old Joseph luck is holding out just fine.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

Storopack Turning More Japanese

Metzingen, Germany—On October 15, 2014, Storopack, the specialist for protective packaging, acquired the Japanese company EJ Co., Ltd. (located in Ebina-shi, Kanagawa-ken). The company currently employs a staff of 33.

For several years, EJ Co., Ltd. was a Storopack trading partner in Japan for the sales of PAPERplus paper cushioning and AIRplus air cushions.

EJ Co., Ltd. is the market leader for loose fill (packaging chips) in Japan and supplies customers nationwide with loose fill protective packaging under the ECOsoft, ECOtouch and HItouch brand names.

Over the coming months, during the integration of EJ Co. in the Storopack Group, the company will operate under the Storopack Japan Co. Ltd. name (see image above of the Japanese facilities).

Along with a production plant at its Ebina headquarters, it has another in Komaki in Nagoya-ken.
Isawa Youichi (surname first), who has been EJ Co. managing director for the past six years, will continue to head up operations.

Storopack president Asia-Pacific Frank Imkamp is responsible for market development of the Packaging Division in this region and will be working alongside Isawa during the integration process.

“This acquisition represents an important strategic step for us,” explains Imkamp. “Direct presence enables closeness to the customer and therefore the required understanding of the Japanese market.

The objective is to gradually expand the product range as needed. Furthermore, the acquisition strengthens Storopack’s position as world market leader in the key area of loose fill protective packaging.”

Founded in 1874, the family-owned Storopack is a global group of companies with headquarters in Metzingen, Germany. The Packaging Division has locations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, with products available in over 40 countries through a network of distributors.

More information is available at www.storopack.us.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

Cosplay Alive And Well In Toronto

This past weekend, I spent Sunday with my younger brother Ben - the Emmy award-winning brother... apparently it's in his contract that if I am to hang out with him, I must always refer to him as such - down at the winter-edition of the Toronto Comic Con... a small show to be sure, but one filled with lots of great artists - many of them local - and artisans who did everything from metal worked helmets, to flashy light portal collars to needlepoint with nerdy messages and/or superheroic images on them, and even some folks who will photograph you and over the course of a week present a 3D printed plastic bust of you!

There were also some vendors selling some comic books - but not as many as you would assume at a show increasingly inaccurately called a comic con. But that's fine. Comics are still the all-encompassing main feature.

Along with getting to catch up with a former work colleague from Holman Design where I used to work over 15 years ago - hi Dean! - I saw plenty of Cosplay artists, who seemingly marched around in their costumes - mostly skimpy and short - for no other reason than to be seen.

Being my age - whatever the hell it is - I am apparently at that time in my life when I can no longer tell if what I am looking it is something I should be looking at... by that I mean I have no idea how old anyone is.

All I know is that not only did the girls in MY high school never have bodies like that, but they sure as hell would never have shown it off like that wearing some awesome costumes taken from Japanese manga (comic books) or anime (animated films).

As such... being sensitive about being the right kind of pervert, I did not take any photos of the girls/women or the guys.

But... I did at the very least want to tell them that I was impressed by the over all effort put into the Cosplay costumes even though I don't have an effing clue who you were dressed up to be.

I often wonder about that. Does everyone who loves Japanese anime and manga have that secret closet filled with clothing? I mean... there was even an exhibit at the con selling clothing of various sizes and styles - maybe mostly steam punk, which I get, but aside from some of the cool depictions of machinery, I don't quite understand the allure of. I mean, I get that it's cool, I just haven't seen a storyline that really grabs a hold of me.

Having said that... I am willing to take advice on how I should better familiarize myself with such anime or manga.

Hey... I'm one of those kids who used to get picked on for being a nerd... the same type of nerd YOU are, except you are either still considered weird but are not beat up for, or are considered cool for having known who Groot was before he appeared in the Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Hell... I knew... and have the comic book evidence to back it up, but it didn't stop them from giving me an ass whooping because it wasn't cool yet.

Anyhow, as Moe Berg once used to sing in his The Pursuit Of Happiness song I'm An Adult Now:
I can't even look at young girls anymore
People will think I'm some kind of pervert


Bravo Toronto and the rest of you Cosplayers for having the guts to be yourself or some other character.

Kanpia,
Andrew Joseph
And... for the record... a few years back when I was hawking my own Evil Scientist Quarterly magazine down in Chicago at the Wizard World Convention, I dressed up as an evil scientist - which ain't quite the same as Japanese Cosplay, but it was as something from my own book. Which is either Cosplay, a nice marketing ploy, or a good way to pick up girls or none of the above.