Analysing Number Girl

August 18, 2007 at 6:48 pm | Posted in Eastern Youth, Government, Indie Rock, Number Girl, Ultra-Nationalism, WWII | 1 Comment

I thought I would analyse Number Girl’s lyrics. I’m going to use the example of “Zazen Beat Kemonostyle”. I got into an argument with some Dir en Grey fans about who’s more anti-fascist. Dir en Grey puts things straight forward, but they’re blind to see what has been going on in japan for the past century which is just sad. Number Girl puts out their message in a smart way, not really putting out their sympathy for communism.

Neru ore Nishinari ka Sausuburonkusu de
Sleep, I, in Nishinari* or South Bronx
Hoeru ore Tekisasu ka Tosakouchi de
Howl, I, in Texas or Tosa/Kouchi*

Nishinari is a ward in Osaka prefecture that has a large community of day-laborers and homeless people. Tosa is the old name for Kouchi prefecture, and is where Japanese revolutionary Sakamoto Ryouma was born. He was a leading member of the Bakumatsu, influenced by the American brand of humanism from Revolutionary War times. He was assassinated at the age of 33 just before the Meiji Restoration took place. You can see that Mukai Shutoku is sympathetic towards the lower class and more liberal intellectuals (they don’t get much of a say in stuff).

Insyu, hakkyou no tsumi ni towareta ore wa
Being accused by drinking and insanity
Tokkoukeisatsu*ni syoppikare
I am arrested by the special higher police
Meitei no hate no kyosei wo kurikaesu
I am drunken and I talk tough over and over

The Tokkoukeisatsu were the special police force in pre-WWII militaristic Japan, around the 1930’s. This could be taken in different directions. Does Mukai not like the Japanese police? Or is he anti-militarist? Or could the Tokkoukeisatsu be a meaning for the uyoku who like to wear old nationalist uniforms and be the neighborhood watch?

 In “Sakura No Dance”, Inazawa (drummer) counts in the beginning, “Zou, Han, Yu, Ri!!” I heard somewhere that this was a slogan used by Mao Tse-Tung. Now can Number Girl possibly be Maoist?

 In “Mappiruma Girl”, Mukai writes this:

 Souwa yurusanu jukyou no oshie dakedomo daredemo yatteru(x3) fuu
But Confucian ethic doesn’t allow it, though everybody seems to be doing, doing, doing it.

Possibly a stab at the old Confucian ways making way for newer things? Is it taking a stand against hypocrisy?

Also, in “Num-Ami-Dabutz”, Mukai discusses the infamous Nihon Sekigun (Japanese Red Army) and a series of essays written by Buddhist monks in the 17th century that spoke out against bushido. Bushido ended up being one of the major themes of militaristic Japan back in WWII.

So Number Girl is more anti-facist than Dir en Grey.

Also, I sayw Peelander-z and Go!Go!7188 last week, but I didn’t have a camera so no photos which means no report. But it was fun. I will cacth Peelander-Z again on August 31st and will take photos and write up a live report!


Kamikaze Sucked

July 24, 2007 at 10:47 pm | Posted in Government, Ultra-Nationalism, WWII | Leave a comment

That according to the pilots who survived and came home.

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) — Ordered to sacrifice themselves for the nation by crashing their planes into U.S. warships as Japan vainly battled to stave off invasion in the final months of World War Two, some young pilots instead returned alive.

As a documentary released in Japan on Saturday shows, not all the young men trained for the suicide missions that struck terror into U.S. servicemen faced their almost certain death gladly.

“I wanted to live,” Kazuo Nakajima, one of the now elderly ‘failed cherry blossoms’ tells the filmmakers with an embarrassed laugh. “I didn’t want to die.”

Japanese-American director Risa Morimoto sought out former kamikaze after discovering her much-loved uncle had been among those prepared to carry out what were called “special attacks.”

Instead of finding the fanatics she had expected, she met a group of gentle, elderly men who confessed their mixed emotions about the past, she says on the film’s Web site.

One veteran even criticized the emperor, treated as a living god until Japan’s defeat, for failing to surrender sooner.

The film, “Wings of Defeat,” has already been shown to some surviving crewmen of the U.S.S. Drexler, a destroyer sunk by kamikaze near the end of the war.

“They said, ‘We were told we were killing madmen. We were lied to,'” producer Linda Hoaglund told a recent news conference.

She and Morimoto have arranged for two 81-year-old U.S. survivors to meet some of the former kamikaze in Japan next week.

The film struck a chord with one elderly Japanese man who said he trained in the same suicide unit as one of the pilots in the documentary.

“It was exactly like that. We thought we were fighting and giving our lives for our families and our comrades,” said Masaaki Kobayashi, 79, after watching the film with a group of his former comrades. “As soldiers, that was the only thing we could do.”

The film’s release coincides with controversy over efforts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other conservatives to shed what they consider a masochistic attitude to Japan’s wartime past.

Last month, lawmakers from the southern island of Okinawa — site of a bloody 1945 battle that killed some 200,000 civilians and soldiers — blasted the government for deciding to tone down school textbook references to soldiers ordering civilians to commit suicide rather than surrender to U.S. personnel in the war.

Abe also drew criticism when he denied that the military or government had hauled Asian women away to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers before and during the war, although he has said he stands by a government apology to the women who suffered.

The documentary is being shown two months after a feature film on the kamikaze penned by Tokyo’s nationalist governor Shintaro Ishihara, celebrating the young kamikaze as heroes.

Many Japanese say wartime reality should be taught to a younger generation too young to remember.

“We shouldn’t beautify it, but we shouldn’t forget it either,” said a 34-year-old system engineer who watched the film.

Vice-Admiral Takejiro Onishi conceived of the the desperate kamikaze strategy when Japan was on the verge of losing the Philippines to U.S. forces.

The first attack took place off the coast of the island of Leyte in the Philippines in 1944 and its success inspired Onishi to recruit more young men for suicide missions.

Roughly 4,000 kamikaze pilots died and 34 U.S. ships were sunk in the last few months of the war, according to the filmmakers.

“They thought they were doing it for their country, but if you think about it now, they never should have adopted that strategy,” said one 82-year-old woman, who served as a nurse during the war and cried as she watched the film.

“Everyone knew Japan was losing. They should have surrendered sooner.” 


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