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August 30, 2005

Yaoi, pop culture


I have been busy writing a paper on men's sexuality and its relationship with contemporary pop culture. Yesterday I finally finished writing it. I read one of the classics of the Japanese girls' comic (shoujo manga), Poem of Wind and Tree (Kaze to Ki no Uta), and I was greatly moved by the drama the author created. This manga is also well-known as the origin of contemporary "yaoi manga" or "boys love," in which beautiful young boys make love with each other, including SM and/or rape between the same sex, but the readers of such mangas are mostly girls and women, and the authors are also women. The author of Poem of Wind and Tree, Keiko Takemiya, female, is widely respected as one of the founders of the Japanese manga, and she is now a professor at Kyoto Seika University. Is this interesting to you? I will talk about this topic in the next (next) entry.

By the way, I am going to upload my paper, "Cross-cultural Approaches to the Philosophy of Life in the Contemporary World," which was written three years ago and published last year. Please give me time to retype the whole text because the published one was edited and improved by an English editor.....

After that I will examine the translation of the rest of Chapter 2 of Insensitive Man. And after that the translation of Painless Civilization..... Alas!

Photo: Ryukoku University, Kyoto

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

August 15, 2005

Huge mall and civilization


The other day I went to Rinku-town, a vast suburban area near Osaka Bay, south to Sakai-city, to visit AEON Sennan shopping center. This is an American style huge mall, like Kahala Mall I visitied this June at Honolulu. I have never seen such a big shopping mall before in Japan. It is a brand-new building with a variety of equipments for disabled people and senior citizens.

It was a really hot day, but the inside was perfectly air-conditioned, so I was comfortable throughout the day. I thought this was another good example of "painless civilization" that is gradually spreading around Japan and other countries. The inside was very clean and neat; no dust on the floor, no graffiti on the wall. This is like a shopping mall in a huge hospital. I remember a passage from my book, Painless Civilization.

Aren’t the activities of contemporary civilization nothing but to create, on a social scale, this kind of human being sleeping peacefully in intensive care units? Isn’t contemporary civilization systematically trying to create humans, in the intensive care units named cities, the humans who look at first sight to be working cheerfully and playing merrily, but in fact just sleeping peacefully in the deep layer of their life? If that should be the case, then, who set the trap? Why has civilization progressed in this direction? (Painless Civilization, p.4.)

I got out of the mall and went to the beach. There I saw a beautiful sunset. A lot of jellyfish were on the sea, and I could see a big fish jumping from the water. People were jogging along the seashore. Everything was fine and peaceful. But if you take a close look at the seashore, it was clear that this area was artificially created by sand and stones brought in from the outside. I found traces of construction here and there.

What is nature? What is technology and civilization? And what is the relation between them? I think I have to translate Painless Civilization as soon as possible (I don't know how many times I repeated this at this blog.......). This book was published in Japan in 2003, and keeps on influencing Japanese philosophy and sociology. I would like you to read it, too.

Photo: Ryukoku University, Kyoto

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

August 12, 2005

Koizumi, Privatization of Japan Post


The Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi decided to dissolve the Diet because the House of Councilors rejected the postal privatization bill on August 8. He said he wouldn't authorize the LDP members who voted against the bill, and he also said that he was going to destroy his own LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) if they do not follow Koizumi's policy. BBC says that:

The telephone poll, taken by Kyodo news agency soon after Mr Koizumi dissolved parliament, put the prime minister's approval rating at 47.3%. The previous survey, in July, gave him 42.6% support. (web)

BBC goes on to explain that:

Japan Post is a huge organisation, which has about 25,000 post offices nationwide, which all sell the system's savings and insurance products, as well as regular postal services.

It is worth noticing that the positions of postmaster in rural areas are hereditary posts, and they serve as a vote collecting machine for a certain group of the LDP members. I want to support his battle against such a system. However, we know that Koizumi is also an ultra nationalist. He might visit Yasukuni Shrine this summer to pray for spirits of the war dead including Japan's World War 2 A Class war criminals. I strongly object to his visit to Yasukuni.

Koizumi's policy is twisted. Usually, those who have nationalist & conservative ideas defend traditional values and communitarian sentiments found in rural areas such as the hereditary succession of postmaster. However Koizumi defends the former and seems to reject the latter. We can find an interesting example of a unique combination of nationalism and modernization in the age of globalization. This may be a familiar phenomenon for social science specialists, so this would not be a unique case at all, but for me, this is really interesting, and annoying as well.

Many Japanologists have said that in Japan group conformity takes precedence over individuals, but this prime minister of Japan has broken this hidden rule so far. The exprime minister Mori described Koizumi's individualism "more than strange as a prime minister." But I want to suport his individualism.

However, I object to Koizumi's conservatism and nationalism. I wish him to resign if he won't change his attitudes toward Yasukuni Shrine and WW2.

Photo: Ryukoku University, Kyoto

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

August 04, 2005

Emptiness after ejaculation


"Men Who Turn Their Eyes Away from “Male Frigidity”", the translation of Chapter 2 of The Insensitive man, was uploaded. In this chapter I talked about an aspect of the reality of men's ejaculation, particularly, the feeling of emptiness after ejaculation, that is to say, the fact that the ejaculation is not ecstasy at all for many men, or at least for me.

There is a myth about the ejaculation. This is the myth that the ejaculation feels wonderful and is the experience of supreme bliss. There must be many people who think that the ejaculation is an experience of supreme bliss for men. In particular, women simply believe that to be true, don’t they? Nevertheless, here lies a big trap.

In retracing my thoughts during moments of sexual excitement, I realize that I was thinking that I could experience an amazing pleasure by ejaculating, but in fact, after ejaculating, there is only a mocking emptiness as if I were stranded in a dry desert. (The Insensitive Man, p.28, 31.)

I began my discussion with the question, "What do men do with pornography after ejaculation?". What about you? Take the time to think about yourself, and read this chapter. This chapter is one of the most controversial ones in the book. The translation of subsequent sections is under way. The meaning of the word "male frigidity" is slightly different from the ones found in textbooks on sex therapy. This topic is discussed in the next section.

By the way, the Korean translation of this book will be published later in the year. My former book, Painless Civilization, was translated and published in Korea early this year, hence, this will be my second Korean book. I met the translator last month. She had already translated the whole book. I am going to write about our meeting in this blog.

I am planning to find a publisher for the English version of this book, but what do you think?

Photo: Ryukoku University, Kyoto

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org