Just when the modern-day Expel the Barbarian news couldn’t get any worse, I see today that DPJ power broker Ichiro Ozawa feels that:
Christianity is “exclusive and self-righteous” and that Western society is “stuck in a dead end.”
Mr. Ozawa feels that Islam has also gone down that road with no exit, but it’s not as “exclusive”. No word on how Judaism, the parent religion of the two, fares in the analysis. Maybe for once the Jews get a free pass in generic criticism. (Although if I understand the rules as interpreted by the orthodox, Judaism might be the most exclusive of the three!)
Anyway, the message is becoming more and more clear from the DPJ power structure, at least to America. “Your bases are a nuisance to us while we rely on them, your very culture is a dead end, and for all the proselytizing you folks did in the last several hundred years to spread your religious message throughout the world, you’re too exclusive of others!”
See? My feeling was the reason there even existed a modern Japan was the good work of Christianity to see your enemy as your friend after the brutal Pacific War. The government wasn’t motivated by “Christian ideals” of course, but those western culture and Christian themes tend to play a role in American polity. Or at least have for many years.
I know the current Emperor’s tutor was a Quaker named Elizabeth Vining, who died maybe 10 or 12 years ago.
I don’t know if it was Alfred North Whitehead or another one of those stodgy religious commentators from England who had pointed out something like European culture owed its existence to the logic of the Greeks and the religion of the Jews. (If you don’t understand the connection between Christianity and Judaism, then you should learn about that and come back.)
The Greeks had a philosophy that was self-critical, and I’m told that you don’t find that kind of thought process in Eastern cultures. Also, that Western culture emphasizes guilt over shame (again, an internal, self-critical practice), and so appears weak to cultures that emphasize shame. Like the Arab world. And Japan.
I guess on the brighter side, it’s a delight not to have to guess where the new regime stands on these issues international relations and cross-cultural appreciation.