Mid-American Guide

Trans-Pacific Viewpoints

Last issue, MA:NG printed an editorial by Dr. Hajime Fujiwara entitled "Look
 Ma, No (Japan Hands)," criticizing the current state of American Japanology.
 Dr. Fujiwara based his opinions upon observations made at a conference
 sponsored by San Diego University and the University of Mexico last Fall on
 U.S.-Japan relations. The following are responses to his editorial. Special
 Note: Dr. Fujiwara's article was published in its originally submitted form,

February 5, 1996

Dear Mr. Fujiwara,

...I am sure you knew, I was at the seminar you wrote about…First, I must
 congratulate you on the remarkable style you used in your writing. It is so
 good I can't help but think you had help from an American with considerable
 writing skills, maybe one on the editorial staff? However, this in no way
 detracts from what you had to say. When I heard you ask questions at the
 seminar in English, I did not detect the same amount of linguistic skills as
 was shown in this article. You certainly did not make yourself very clear at
 the seminar. Nothing you said at the seminar seems to support the opinions
 portrayed in this article. How did this metamorphosis take place?

As for me, I received considerable information at the meetings. You surely
 remember that several points of view were presented.

I take umbrage with you on several issues raised. To say, "While individuals'
 names are omitted here to avoid any impression of ad hominem criticism," is
 not becoming to your attempt to criticize the presentations of the speakers.
 To me ad hominem means appealing to a person's feeling or prejudice rather
 than his intellect. However, at no time do you take issue with any of the
 material presented other than vague criticism of "Get a dictionary!; where's
 the source?; superficial; childish nonsense; is this a joke?; Can't you do
 any better than this?; and so on." You had a wonderful opportunity to
 demolish what the speakers presented, yet you wrote nothing regarding their
 points, nor did you deal with the areas where you disagreed.

After setting the stage of incompetence regarding the speakers, you warm to
 the subject by saying, "Part of the price of admission seemed to be
 acceptance of a pseudo-macho crusader creed including these key tenets:
 Japan is a 'free rider' on defense." I ask you what evidence did you present
 to counter that statement? …Are you aware of the extent of research in
 development of nuclear weapons that is being conducted in Japan? I do have
 some interesting insights, based on conversations with Japanese working in
 the field. I am a retired nuclear physicist.

You make the quote attributed to some unnamed speaker, "Japan's market are
 closed to foreign goods." This is a big statement, we all know some foreign
 goods are freely sold in Japan, we also know it is difficult to sell some
 types of merchandise in an unrestricted manner, while other goods are
 prohibited. I happened to be in one of the more restricted markets which id
 the building trade. I can build residential houses, more comfortable,
 stronger and that will last longer at half the rice that similar but
 inferior houses are now produced in Japan. This is caused by government
 restrictions on the importation of dimensional lumber, plumbing and gas
 appliances from the United States…What research have you done in this area?
 By the way, I carry on all my conversations in Japanese when dealing with

You said, "Participants seemed buoyed by the idea they had unmasked Japan's
 nefarious intentions and policies. This chest-thumping self-righteous tone
 was chillingly McCarthy-esque." I wonder if you listened to the McCarthy
 hearings or read about them? I did, for months in the 1950's. Nothing in the
 seminar even remotely resembled the unsubstantiated accusations and
 character assassinations committed by McCarthy. This comment alone would
 completely disqualify you as a credible observer…

I was very unimpressed with your "Recommendations."

In this article, you did what you accused the speakers of doing. In closing,
 I will directly quote from your article. Is this a joke? Can't you do any
 better that [sic] this?

Yours Truly,

Baldwin T. Exkel


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