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?
Baldwin T. Exkel