Mid-American Guide

Trans-Pacific Viewpoints

March 3, 1996

Dear Editor,

  Professor Chalmers Johnson's emotional letter responding to my prior
 commentary was a surprise. His poor comprehension of the points I raised was
 the last thing I expected. He considered my comments as an attack upon the
 speakers at his conference. My purpose was to evaluate these Japanologists'
 linguistic and research accomplishments and to help establish better
 understanding and smother communication between Japan and the U.S. in global
  Given Dr. Johnson's thirty year's experience as a faculty member, he must
 understand rating students' performance by letter grade like "A" or "C
 minus." To judge performance is not attacking the work being evaluated. In
 my evaluation none of the conference speakers can compare with Dr. E. H.
 Norman in terms of Japanese language skill or historic insight. If Dr.
 Johnson believes all the speakers are as qualified in the field as was Dr.
 E. H. Norman, I might change my assessment of these University of California
 graduate Japanologists. This reminds me of the Japanese proverb, Tsuki to
 suppon, meaning, "It is as different as chalk from cheese" (especially
  Consequently, I was not all "upset" about Dr. Johnson's conference, but
 only disappointed in the viewpoints expressed, when compared with recognized
 international standards.
  I have written many Japanese articles and books about political and
 economic behavior. I have always hoped if Dr. Johnson was able to read a few
 of my recent works, such as Diagnosis of Japanese Catalepsy, Tomei Books,
 1993, or Japan is Critically in Peril, Yale Press, 1994. Almost all
Japanologists, including Dr. Johnson, would find my own criticism of Japan
 far more fundamental and comprehensive than any revisionist group. My
 personal impression is that the American revisionist viewpoint does not seek
 ontological understanding but deals with the phenomenological level.
  I do wonder why Dr. Johnson decided to categorize me as a "racist." Does he
 have a logical reason for pinning such a label on me? If a globalist, as I
 believe myself to be, offers well-intentioned and constructive advice to a
 colleague, how is it possible that someone in the American community of
 Japanologists could construe that advice as some sort of disgraceful
 expression of cultural prejudice? I was disappointed not to receive an
 objective response from Dr. Johnson but only a reaction which suggests his 
acute sensitivity to criticism.
  Incidentally, I was also unimpressed by Mr. Eckel's letter addressed to me,
 because much of my main concern was directed toward how to improve the
 Japanologists' quality, especially their linguistic skill and performance.
  My article in the January Mid-America Guide is an English-language summary
 of my original Japanese report which is more specific and four times longer
 than the English version. The Japanese version appeared in the Sept. 25,
 1995 issue of Takeyama Report, a members-only publication. Their membership
 is limited to the top business leaders in the Pacific basin, along with
 CEO's, chairmen, and presidents of firms listed in TESEMFS (Tokyo Stock
 Exchange Market First Section) or their equivalent.
  If there might be interest in republishing my original Japanese article for
 all of your readers, I would be happy to submit it again. More important, I
 would like to invite Japanologists of all stripes, including Mr. Exkel, to
 comment on these important subjects in the Japanese section of Mid-America
 Guide. This could be contributing to a better and more informed future for
 Japanology on both sides of the Pacific.

  Yours Sincerely,
  Hajime "Jim" Fujiwara


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