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The Japanese Search for Masculinity

The Japanese obsession with the trivial can be shocking to American visitors.

  • Judd Wilson,
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The Japanese obsession with the trivial can be shocking to American visitors. Westerners think of the Land of the Rising Sun as a place where women wear kimonos, men have samurai swords on their hips, and a reverence for patriarchal hierarchy, topped by the emperor, governs all facets of life. But Japan is a very different place from what it was before World War II. It has grown rich, but it has lost many of the features that made it a formidable nation. Most significantly, it has grown away from God, and only a virile form of Christian reconstruction offers a future for the Japanese nation.

Several fundamental parts of Japanese life were lost when Americans defeated Japan in 1945. First and foremost, their religious worldview was shattered. This is not to say that the development was wholly negative, or complete. Emperor worship, or worship of any man, creature, or object, is explicitly against the Word of God (Exod. 20:3; Rom. 1:23), and a modified form of Shinto is still very much alive in Japan today. But the power of Shinto as a unifying racial myth, exalting the Japanese as those destined to govern the world and proclaiming their emperor as a god-man, was lost when the U.S. Marines took Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Their god couldn’t save them from General Douglas MacArthur. The terms of surrender forced him to acknowledge that he was not divine and limited him to a ceremonial authority akin to that of the British monarchy today. In his stead, General MacArthur appointed bureaucrats to govern Japan.

Consequently, Japan changed from an imperial nation grounded in racial pride and samurai traditions to a neoconservative project. Asexual technocrats took charge of postwar Japan. Out went the old patriarchal religion, the old patriarchal system, and of course, the old patriarch. Keep in mind that the old Japanese patriarchy was a far cry from what Reformed Christians would refer to as Biblical patriarchy. Still, the fact that feminism became the dominant feature of Japanese life caused Japan to lose its identity in the postwar period. Gone were the old rites of the samurai; in came the gender-neutral worship of technological processes, procedures, and efficiency. Asian aptitude for improving on processes, coupled with reverence for authority, ensured that when MacArthur and the American administrators said “jump,” the freshly defeated Japanese would make it their goal to exceed the demands made of them. Replacement of the old patriarchy with neo-American democracy was the goal of the postwar administrators. It was female suffrage at the point of the bayonet. And the Japanese neutered themselves on that bayonet.

The Japanese were compelled to retreat to a position of political, military, and cultural emasculation. This was the psychological impact of the devastation inflicted by the United States Armed Forces on Japan. Whole cities were incinerated in firebombing campaigns, not to mention the gratuitous bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic weapons. Unlike in the United States, where many families did not suffer casualties during the war, in Japan whole families perished in the struggle. Except at Pearl Harbor and some isolated Alaskan islands, no American homeowners had to face falling bombs and exploding rockets; in Japan, all homeowners did. The resulting contrast between the two combatant nations could not be more pronounced. In the sixty years since the end of the war, Americans have only more boldly displayed their flag and flown it in an ever-increasing number of countries around the world; the Japanese balk at even singing their national anthem in their own country for fear of uncovering the old wounds from the war. Years of bombardment, air raids, and of fathers, sons, and brothers going off to war never to return had a dramatic effect on the nation.

The thing that sticks out most about Japan today is its level of technological and economic achievement. Japan has become one of the world’s strongest and most productive economies, far outpacing its Asian neighbors in gross domestic product, political clout, and name recognition of their products worldwide. Many of the consumer products we take for granted today were mass-produced and distributed by Japanese companies. Sony, Nintendo, Honda, and Toyota are just a few of Japan’s outstanding companies. American or Western minds invented many of the technological advancements that these companies sell, but the Japanese, like their Chinese and Korean counterparts, perfected the art of taking a good idea and making it faster and more inexpensively.

But this is all for naught. The Japanese may be rich compared to their neighbors, they may wear Western clothes, they may have democracy, but they also have become known for being workaholics, falling asleep on the train from working too long, and dying young from stress. While long-ago popular arts such as bonsai and karate were respectable outlets for stress, and minds were applied to constructive tasks like having and raising children, now Japan has tried to imitate the West in self-destruction as well as in success. These days Japan is the land of karaoke, the art of mimicking other people’s singing while getting intoxicated. It is the land of terrible and perverse forms of pornography, which exceed even American standards for gruesomeness and filth. Japan has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, and though at present it retains its ethnic homogeneity (98.4 percent of the population is ethnically Japanese), social engineers are calling for more diversity via immigration—something that’s sure to suppress homogenous Japanese civilization. If this is what the Americans had to bring as liberators of Japan, what self-respecting Japanese man would want it?

No self-respecting Japanese man could want this. This is precisely where Christian reconstruction comes into play. Without trying to speak for millions of members of a foreign race, reasonable people can see that the aforementioned reforms are not changes Japan can continue to believe in and hope to survive. China is rising to the west, and rapidly encircling not just Asia but the globe as it tries to push America out of its hegemonic position. The socialists that worked against Japan during the American administration of the country are now battering down the gates of Japan’s ethnic solidarity. Only a few tattered remnants of their warrior culture survive, and most of them are wrapped up in an alliance with the U.S. military, which has stationed 50,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and their family members in Japan to defend Japan from herself. The idea that Japan needs the United States to protect it is beyond laughable. Ask any other Asian—whether Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Indonesian, Indian, or otherwise—if the Japanese know how to fight. In sixty years, they haven’t forgotten.

However, for there to be a revival in the Japanese man’s ability to govern himself, lead his nation, and defend Japan, he must come under the yoke of Christ. Decades of anti-military propaganda and strong feelings of collective guilt have crippled the Japanese man’s ability to lead. They have accepted a state of subservience and immaturity out of fear of dealing with what their fathers did and did not do during the war, as well as a fear of reliving the horrors inflicted on their families during the war. The nation has a “self-defense force” rather than a military, which cannot fire on a foreign military vessel that has intruded into home waters, unless it is directly fired upon. Military-related magazines in Japan feature Japanese men wearing American military uniforms with toy replica rifles. Christ’s law requiring adult men to participate in the common defense (Num. 1:3) would free them from this suicidal pacifism, while the Spirit of regeneration would require military regulations enforcing self-control.

Japanese men have lost control of their homes and their culture. Female suffrage, birth control, and female employment outside of the home have divided families and placed them under the headship of their government rather than their fathers. Americans predominate Japan’s top modern art form, manga (comics); and American culture dominates Japan. Americans brought radical change to the Japanese way of life, and in the wake of defeat, Japanese men have become childish. Inviting 50,000 foreign troops to set up shop inside your nation’s borders to defend it—which is the job of each nation’s military—signals Japanese approval of irresponsibility. Maybe this is why Japanese culture centers so much on cartoons, comics, and little girls’ underpants. With the luxury of American arms and the profits of high technology protecting them, the Japanese have wallowed in self-loathing and immaturity. Under Christ, Japanese men can take pride in their race and traditions, while bounding their nationalistic pride within divine law.

Fear of reliving the war should be replaced with repentance for actual wrongs committed and finding strength in God where wrongs were committed against them. Let it be said that the Japanese, like the Germans and other peoples before them, have been victimized more in the textbook and courtroom in the last sixty years than on the battlefield during the years of the war. A man can die but once, and then the judgment, but it is a far worse fate for a nation to be persuaded to kill itself off for generation after generation through ungodliness, sterility, and foreign domination. This the Japanese have done, as the result of years of successful propaganda aimed at them and other formerly nationalistic races by internationalist social engineers.

Where actual wrongs have been committed, in Christ Japan will find a Savior from its sins. In the absence of Christ and His law, the best Japanese men can do is a noble paganism. With Christ, Japanese masculinity could be revived. Only men who are slaves to sin make women slaves for sex. A race under the law of Christ protects the weak and the alien, especially the virtue of ladies. A race under God’s law only uses force legitimately, for self-defense and prosecution of wrongdoers. Christ is the God-man whose voice the Japanese can trust authoritatively, and whose law will make them free from their sins and from their current suicidal intentions.

  • Judd Wilson

Judd Wilson is a former military officer stationed in Japan, a former newspaper supervisor, a husband, and a father of two.

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