Jewish "software" versus Japanese "hardware" Peter Myers, September 8, 2001; update January 6, 2008. My comments are shown {thus}.

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Two recent books which compare the Jewish and Japanese psyches are Ben-Ami Shillony, The Jews and the Japanese, and Isaiah Ben-Dasan, The Japanese and the Jews. These books seem to be competing to present Judaism to the Japanese, in a battle for the Japanese mind.

Ben-Ami Shillony, The Jews and the Japanese: the Successful Outsiders, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont, 1991. Peter Myers, October 6, 2001; my comments within the text are shown {thus}. Professor Shillony bills himself as "a Jew, an Israeli" (p. 10).

{1. Jews as creators of "Software" i.e. Concepts and Philosophies}

{Shillony reminds the Japanese of Schiff's war-loans to help Japan win the Russo-Japanese War (pp. 143-50, 162, 178), and offers a Jewish-Japanese partnership:}

{p. 224} The Japanese and the Jews complement each other in many ways. While the Jews have developed much of the "software" of Western civilization: great philosophical constructs, new theories, and revolutionary ideologies, they often failed to act prudently on these ideas, becoming themselves the victims of their own contributions, as in the case of Marxism {an allusion to Stalin}. The Japanese

{p. 225} are now providing the "hardware" of modern civilization: the machines and the material assets, but they have not yet produced any grand theories that could deploy material abundance in a new way. These two kinds of mastery, if combined, could provide new and unforseeable achievements. ... In an economically and culturally integrated world, in which people enjoy unrestricted mobility and access to each other's cultural assets, the labels "Jews" and "Japanese", as well as those of other ethnic and religious groups, may lose their validity. When every human being becomes heir to the whole cultural heritage of mankind, there will be no more outsiders.

{Is this what Zionism has striven for ... its own disappearance?}

{p. 63} The Meiji period (1868-1912) leaders who built the new Japan ... had no intention of creating the "new man" or of offering new formulas for the solution of the world's problems.

{p. 64} Whereas ... the Jews sought to revise, redraw, and replace the basic tenets of the West.

{2. A Zionist-Trotskyist Axis?}

{Shillony, "a Jew, an Israeli" (p. 10), combines Zionism with Marxism; since Stalin opposed the Jewish communists, this "Marxism" is Trotskyism}

{p. 64} It is difficult to imagine the world today without the contributions of Karl Marx {note that he is placed first, although the list is not chronologically ordered}, Leon Trotsky {tribute to Trotsky is the mark of a Trotskyist: Stalinists never do it}, Sigmund Freud {the Freud-Bolshevik alliance is another mark of Trotskyism}, Alfred Adler, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Emile Durkheim, Henri Bergson, Claude Levi-Strauss, and many other Jewish scholars, writers, philosophers, and scientists. Many of these eminent persons were iconoclastic geniuses. They had detached themselves from Orthodox Judaism and some even converted to Christianity, but they all shared the Jewish trait of challenging accepted truths and searching out new ways of understanding the world. Carrying on the tradition of nonconformism and argumentation, they came to shatter accepted doctrines and to offer new theories and concepts.

{but if Jewish iconoclasm is mainly directed at non-Jewish culture, may it not be a type of propaganda - especially if scrutiny and criticism of Jewish politics is stymied as "anti-semitic"?}

{p. 65} Unlike Marx, Freud never abandoned Judaism, even though he was not a practising Jew. Albert Einstein, however, was a proud Jew and an active Zionist.

{But Alfred M. Lilienthal, in his book The Zionist Connection II, describes how Jewish-owned media falsely represented Einstein as a Zionist: "Einstein then told me that he had never been a Zionist and had never favored the creation of the State of Israel" (pp. 340-1)}

{p. 68} The strong moral element in Judaism, and the fact that they had long been the victims of persecution and discrimination, made the Jews sensitive to all forms of injustice. {what about the Red Terror, established by Lenin & Trotsky?} The conspicuous role Jews played in socialist and communist movements in many countries was a clear expression of this moral sensitivity. {but the Palestinians and the Arabs have not noticed it} In Germany one finds Moses Hess, Karl Marx, Ferdinand Lassalle, Eduard Bernstein, and Rosa Luxembourg. In the Russian revolution one finds Leon Trotsky {here's a Zionist supporting Trotsky}, Maxim Litvinov, Grigori Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Karl Radek, and Lazar Kaganovich.

{Kaganovich, whose sister Rosa was Stalin's third wife, murdered millions. His nephew Stuart Kahan, after interviewing his uncle in Russia in 1981, wrote his biography The Wolf of the Kremlin, in which he writes, "Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich ... orchestrated the deaths of 20 million people" (pp. 14-15). Kahan's biography was published in 1987, yet Shillony gives him an honourable mention in this book published in 1991}

{3. On Being a Jew}

{p. 70} To be Jewish in the ethnic sense and to be Jewish in the religious sense were considered one and the same. In modern Hebrew the single word yahadut stands for both Jewry and Judaism. {i.e. Jews are a religion}

{p. 17} Like most other peoples in the world, the Jews and the Japanese have regarded themselves as unique nations.

{Shillony claims that the Jews are a nation, but I argue that Jews, like Moslems, are a religion. The quote from p. 70 (above) supports this case; below (p. 19), Shillony says that Abraham was not born a Jew, but became one through adopting the Jewish religion. On p. 30, below, Shillony says that to become a Jew involves religious conversion}

... in Judaism, the concept of a Chosen People ... referred to a particular ethnic group, the Children of Israel, who were bound by blood ties, and at the same time was conditional on their behaviour towards God and one another.

{but not conditional on their behaviour to those not of their faith; has this not also been a mark of Christianity and Islam, Judaism's daughters?}

{p. 18} The Japanese concept of a chosen people ... was based on belief in the divinity of the emperors and on the assumption that the Japanese people constituted one family with the emperor as its permanent sacred head.

{p. 19} Abraham was not born a Jew.

{p. 20} These two nations, despite their ethnic and cultural resemblances to other peoples in their geographic proximity, developed quite early in their histories a strong tendency to distance themselves from their neighbours. Both the Jews and the Japanese regarded themselves - and still do - as categorically different from any other peoples. ...

From what did this sense of separateness derive? In the case of the Jews, the cause was originally religious: Jews believed that God had chosen them above all other peoples, established a covenant with them, and entrusted to them his holy commands. ... Other nations that were not chosen for this special covenantal relationship were called "gentiles" or "the other nations of the world". The Bible puts the following description of Israel in the mouth of the gentile prophet Balaam: "There is a people that dwells apart ..."

{p. 22} The religion that was subsequently called Judaism started as a spiritual revolution. ... The reduction of the number of deities from many to one ... was an affirmation of the basic unity of the universe and of the moral purposiveness that underlies it {thus put, Judaism would develop non-theistic variants too, as in the case of Marx and Freud: philos.html}

... Judaism and Shinto have treated other religions and creeds in opposite ways. The strict monotheism of Judaism excludes the belief in any other divinity.

{p. 23} This religious exclusivity was transmitted to Christianity and Islam. {as a result, clashes between them are titanic and uncompromising} ...

Shinto ... has been tolerant towards other religions and deities. ...

Judaism sets strict moral rules ... there are hundreds of injunctions regarding how one should bahave toward God and toward one's fellow human beings, what one should eat, and what one should wear. ...

{p. 24} Shinto does not have such a strict moral code. ... it presents no specific injunctions ... there is no Satan, or ultimate evil, in Shinto.

{p. 25} The Jews, however, were the first to sanctify the week ... based on the biblical story of creation {borrowed and adapted from Bablylonian and Zoroastrian myths: zoroaster-judaism.html; but Judaism cannot to admit to borrowing, lest its unique revelation be relativised} ...

{p. 26} Different as these two religions are in their fundamental spirituality, they are both interested in this world rather than in the next.

{p. 27} Shinto and Judaism are religions that affirm life and shun suffering and death. There are no Jewish monks or nuns, as there are no Shinto monasteries. Neither of these religions considers sex to be a sin or a weakness of the flesh as Christianity and Buddhism do. Both Shinto and Judaism reject celibacy. Abraham had both a wife and a concubine ... The Japanese emperors ... used to have many wives and concubines, as did the Jewish kings. It was only in the twentieth century

{p. 29} In Shinto not only mortals have weaknesses, but so do the gods. {like the old Indo-European tribal gods}

... Judaism and Shinto ... have both remained national religions. Belonging to the Jewish people and to the Jewish religion are synonymous; a

{p. 30} Jew who converts to another religion ceases to be a member of the Jewish community, and a convert to Judaism automatically joins the Jewish people. Most of the Jewish festivals relate to the history of the nation ...

{i.e. the Jews are a religion, not a nation in the normal sense; ; Jews constitute "a nation" only in the way Moslems do. That's why non-Jews i.e. goyim are called "the nations"; it follows that, within Judaism, there is no separation between "church" and "state". This contributed to Marx's concept of Praxis, the unity of thought and action, which led to the stifling of dissent under communism.}

{4. Jews as Leaders of a United, Peaceful World}

{p. 31} At the end of the seventh century, the Arabs constructed the great mosque, El Aqsa, and the Dome of the Rock on the site where the Jewish temple had stood.

... Judaism was the first religion to make world peace a central element in its eschatology. {borrowed from Zoroastrianism: zoroaster-judaism.html}

{p. 32} Yet quite often peace implies domination, and in many languages the word "pacify" also means "conquer". King Solomon could afford to be a king of peace because he ruled "over all the kings from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt."

{this quote, from 1 Kings 4:21, may not be historically accurate, yet it is the basis of promises that Jews will rule those lands again - at Genesis 15: 18; Exodus 23: 30-31; Deut 11: 24; Josh 1:4 - and is a major motivator of modern Zionism}

... The peaceful world that the Jewish prophets envisioned was to be ruled over by a scion of the House of David, later called the Messiah.

The Jews ... were always inspired by the belief that in the future world of peace and justice they would serve as spiritual leaders {i.e. rulers}. This vision of a world mission gave them the strength to suffer severe persecution and propelled them to the forefront of various messianic and "idealistic" movements in modern times like those of human rights, socialism, and communism.

{i.e. Jewish Internationalism is partly motivated by the desire to rule}

{p. 38} Versed in languages, familiar with different cultures, and with relatives or associates scattered throughout many towns and countries, the Jews were well suited to engage in international trade. Indeed, their trading expertise made them asssets to rulers of countries wishing to advance their own economies, such as the kings of Poland in the sixteenth century, who, to this end, invited Jews to come and settle there. {from where the later went to Russia}

{5. Rebuilding the Third Temple}

{Explaining the Jewish religion to Japanese readers, perhaps more frankly than he would to Westerners, Shillony notes:}

{p. 40} Despite the fact that for almost two thousand years there has been no Temple, the hereditary Jewish priests still enjoy a special religious status and a Jewish male usually knows if he is a priest or not. This is often apparent in his

{p. 41} last name, for if it is Cohen, Kuhn, Kaplan, or any of the derivatives of these, it is highly probable that he is a kohen. As the distinction between priests and ordinary Israelites is transmitted from one generation to the next, those who are kohanin are usually aware of their status even if their names do not suggest it. ... The Jews have preserved the identity not only of their hereditary priests, but also of the whole tribe of Levi, of which the priests were a part. Descendants of that tribe, the Levites, still tend to carry such last names as Levy, Levinson, Segal (an abbreviation of segan Levi, or deputy Levite), or derivatives of these. ... various traditions and regulations that have no immediate relevance ... are retained in reverence for the past, as a substitute for the rites of the Temple, and in anticipation of the eventual return to the Holy Land and the rebuilding of the Third Temple there.

{and in the endnotes to this chapter (Chapter 4), on p. 229, he adds: '"Kaplan" is "chaplain", i.e. "priest". As "Kahn" in German means "ship", some German Jews who were called Kahn changed their name to the other German word for "ship", which is "Schiff."'}

{p. 45} Judaism is a religion of books.

{p. 49} By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Jews and the Japanese were probably the two most literate peoples in the world.

{p. 71} Many ... famous Jews ... were apostates, but some of these converts, like Heine and the British statesman Benjamin Disraeli, remained proud of their Jewish origins and continued to consider themselves ethnically and spiritually Jewish people despite their conversions.

{6. A Jewish-Japanese Axis against Western Society?}

{p. 74} Christianity embodied the spiritual essence of the West; it was the religion of the white man. ... both the Jews and the Japanese rejected Christianity out of conviction that it was unnecessary for achieving modernization and out of fear that it might destroy their self-perceived uniqueness.

{Shillony implies that Jews do not think of themselves as "whites", even if widely regarded as such; presumably "whites" means "Aryans" to him}

{p. 77} Anti-Semitism is as old as the Jewish people {why? why don't other religions have the same problem?} ... The great anti-Semites in modern times were often those who also feared and hated the "yellow race." {is Shillony aiming for a Jewish-Japanese axis against Whites?}

{p. 78} By the beginning of the twentieth century the racists claimed that Western civilization was under double attack from the inscrutable Japanese without and the cunning Jews within.

{p. 79} World War I ... advanced the international status of both the Japanese and the Jews due to Britain's dire need for support in the war. In 1914 Japan acceded to Britain's request to join the war against Germany and was promised, as the spoils of victory, part of the German empire in Asia and the Pacific. ... Britain also needed the support of the Jews, especially those in the United States and in post-revolutionary Russia, for fighting the war against Germany. In November 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, one of the architects of the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902, announced the decision of his war cabinet to "view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." The announcement was communicated in a letter to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, then the most prominent Jewish figure in Britain. After the war, the Balfour Declaration was endorsed by the League of Nations and incorporated in the Mandate for Palestine conferred upon Britain.

{p. 80} But in 1922 Britain abrogated its treaty with Japan, and in its White Paper of 1930 it reneged on much of its committment to a Jewish national home in Palestine, slaps in the face that both groups would not forget.

The suspicion with which large segments of Western society viewed Jews and Japanese after World War I was reinforced by the

{p. 81} appearance of two forged documents ... One of these was the Protocols of the Elders of Zion ... The other forged document was the Tanaka Memorial.

{To the contrary, I argue that both are genuine; the Tanaka Memorial (July 25, 1927) was a blueprint for Japan's conquest of China and then Asia. Ironically, the strongest reason for having a the UN, or even "One World" government, is our fear of each other - fear of domination by any nation, race, religion, or class}

{p. 85} Cordell Hull, whose 1941 note, demanding a complete Japanese withdrawal from China as a condition for lifting the embargo on Japan, finally pushed Japan toward war.

{p. 86} After World War II the Jews and the Japanese became the two most upwardly mobile ethnic minorities. with the highest levels of education and the lowest rates of crime.

The Japanese who emigrated to the United States assumed new identities. ... they transfered their committments and allegiances from their former nation to their new one.

{p. 87} It is significant that Americans of Japanese ancestry call themselves Japanese-Americans, whereas the Jews living in America refer to themselves as American Jews. ...

Unlike the Japanese-Americans who gave up allegiance to Japan, American Jews later became vigorous supporters of Israel. ... American Jews lobby for Israel.

{p. 95} Auschwitz and Hiroshima thus represent new kinds of modern atrocities ... The fact that these horrors were perpetrated against the Jews and the Japanese puts these two peoples in the unique position of having experienced the worst that modern science enables human beings to do to human beings. {yet Shillony lists Trotsky and Kaganovich as heroes, on p. 68 above, without any hint of compassion for their victims}

{p. 103} The difference between Israel's earnings and its greater expenditures is covered by U. S. grants, which are larger than those to any other country. ... Israel has become a major exporter of armaments.

{p. 106} Germany's trade surplus in 1988 was larger than that of Japan ... but the resentment against Japan was much stronger ...

{p. 107} Like the Jews in the Protocols, they are depicted as strongly knit aliens ("Japan Inc.") plotting world domination.

{p. 108} Ever since the wars between the Greeks and the Persians in the fifth century BCE, the West has been haunted by the specter of domination by Orientals. During the Middle Ages and for most of the modern period the Jews constituted the Oriental element ... In the twentieth century the Japanese assumed the position of Oriental menace to Western civilization.

{this is a repudiation of the Liberal view emphasising the virtues of Athens; but George Soros warned against Japan, in his book The Alchemy of Finance, and many other Jewish leaders did likewise, such as Daniel Burstein, author of the book Yen: The Threat of Japan's Financial Empire. Another Jew, Ezra Vogel, presently heads the American Government's intelligence agencies' Japan specialists}

{Shillony, somewhat odiously, keeps playing the "whites" (i.e. Aryans to him) against the Japanese. But another Jew, Samuel Roth, wrote "America ... will expel us, just as Spain expelled us ... Before America will have realized her loss in the loss of the Jews the yellow peoples will be on her back and at her throat. ... But we still have a century or so in America - perhaps more, perhaps less." (Now and Forever: A conversation between Israel Zangwill anbd Samuel Roth, Robert M. McBride & Company, New York, 1925, p. 138}

{p. 112} In the sixteenth century

{p. 129} the word "Portugese," when referring to people in Europe outside of Portugal, was often taken as synonymous with "Jew." One of the first Portugese to arrive in Japan was Fernao Mendes Pinto, a merchant, adventurer, and for a short time a Jesuit, whose written accounts of his travels stirred the imagination of many Europeans. According to the editor of the English translation of his Travels, Pinto may have been related to the wealthy Mendes family of former Jews. Luis de Almeida, a merchant and physician who arrived in Japan in 1556 and later joined the Society of Jesus, may also have been a former Jew, as former Jews were prominent among Portugese physicians at that time. There were several former Jews among the founders of the Society of Jesus, and some of them engaged in propagating the faith in the Middle East, but as the order grew, former Jews were gradually forced out of its ranks, and by the seventeenth century they were forbidden to join.

{p. 147} The Japanese victories ... were hailed by American Jews ... Shortly after the war broke out, on February 26, 1904, the London newspaper Jewish Chronicle reported that the Jews of Atlanta, Georgia, were collecting three million dollars in order to purchase a battleship for Japan, to be named the Kishineff.

The Jewish resentment against czarist Russia produced financial support for Japan. The phenomenon of Jewish financiers raising loans for Japan out of a special attraction to that country started in 1894, when Albert Kahn, director of the French bank Goudchaux and later head of his own bank, helped to float a Japanese loan in Paris to finance the Sino-Japanese War, which broke out that year ...

When the Russo-Japanese War broke out Jewish financiers in Europe and the United States, including the Rothschilds, refrained from extending assistance to Russia but were willing to give aid to Japan. This assistance, crucial in preventing a Japanese defeat, was initiated and engineered by Jacob H. Schiff (1847-1920), a leading

{p. 148} Jewish-American figure and president of the banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb, and Co., one of the major investment banks in the United States. ... Schiff convinced his own firm as well as the First National Bank and the National City Bank to sponsor the Japanese war loans in the United States. His efforts helped Japan raise nearly two hundred million dollars on American markets, about half of the total war loans floated abroard to buy the warships, cannons, and ammunition needed to win the war.

In March, Jacob Schiff and his wife visited Japan. Emperor Meiji hosted them at a luncheon at the imperial palace, and conferred upon Schiff the Order of the Rising Sun, having earlier awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure. He was the first foreigner to be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.

{p. 149} Although the Japanese feared socialism and anarchism at home, during the war they looked favorably on the Russian revolutionaries, among whom were many Jews.

{p. 150} While Jews regarded the victory of Japan as divine retribution for Russian anti-Semitic policies, the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy viewed it as precisely the opposite: as a punishment of Russia for its being too influenced by Jews. In a 1905 letter to a friend he explained his country's defeat:

{Tolstoy quote} This debacle is not only of the Russian army, the Russian fleet and the Russian state, but of the pseudo-Christian civilization as well ... The disintegration began long ago, with the struggle for money and success in the so-called scientific and artistic pursuits, where the Jews got the edge on the Christians in every country and thereby earned the envy and hatred of all. Today the Japanese have done the same thing in the military field, proving conclusively, by brute force, that there is a goal which Christians must not pursue, for in seeking it they will always fail, vanquished by non-Christians. {end Tolstoy quote}

Although Tolstoy disapproved of anti-Semitism, his analysis of the Russian defeat reflected the anxiety of those Christians at the time, who viewed the victory of Japan and the ascendancy of the Jews as two aspects of the same phenopmenon. According to their interpretation, the infidel Jews were undermining Western society from within while the heathen Japanese were eroding it from without. From that erroneous perspective, the Jewish moral and financial support for Japan during the Russo-Japanese War was seen as further proof of the complicity of these two peoples in a plot directed against the Western world.

{p. 153} In 1927 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration Baron Tanaka Giichi, prime minister and foreign minister of Japan (whose name had been appropriated in the same year in the forged Tanaka Memorial), instructed the Japanese

{p. 154} consul general in Shanghai to convey to the Shanghai Zionist Association "hearty congratulations on the steadily progressing organizations of the Zionists, and on the remarkable advancement of the Jewish nationalist institutions, which they have achieved in Palestine."

{the Tanaka Memorial was a blueprint for the invasion of Asia}

{p. 209} Ishihara Shintaro, ... known for his support of nationalist causes, was elected in 1988 as president of the Japan-Israel Friendship Association.

{p. 218} In the 1980s the Protocols of the Elders of Zion came to enjoy a new popularity. In 1986 Yajima Kinji, professor of political science at the Christian Aoyama Gakuin University, published a book about how to read the "hidden meaning of the Jewish protocols." He called the Protocols the most mysterious document of the twentieth century, because all its prophecies had been fulfilled, in spite of its being regarded as a forgery. Yajima advised the Japanese to take the Protocols seriously in order to be prepared for the future. His book was a great success with fifty-five printings.

{p. 224} On September 26, 1988, Ibuka Masaru, honorary president of Sony, wrote an article ... in which he cited education as the reason that Jews, contributing only three-tenths of one percent of the world's population, had received 10 percent of all Nobel prizes.

{That's 30 times as many as the world per-capita average! The Jewish participation rate in the anti-Vietnam War protest movement in the U.S. was also about 30 times the rate for non-Jews (Philip Mendes, a Jewish author, in his book The New Left, The Jews, and the Vietnam War 1965-1972, pp. 21-22), and their entry into New Age sects (Buddhist, Hindu) was up to 16 times the non-Jewish rate at that time (The Jew in the Lotus, p. 7 & p. 9.}

Isaiah Ben-Dasan, The Japanese and the Jews, tr. Richard L. Gage, Weatherhill NY 1981. Selections by Peter Myers, September 8, 2001; my comments within the text are shown {thus}.

Ben-Dasan describes himself as "a Jew born and raised in Japan" (p. 3), but is dismissed as non-Jewish by Shillony, who claims that "many years later it was revealed that the publisher Yamamoto Shichihei, a Protestant Christian, himself wrote the book" (The Jews and the Japanese, p. 214). However, Shillony presents no evidence.

David D. Goodman and Masanori Miyazawa in their book Jews in the Japanese Mind, which has a hectoring, fundamentalist style, follow Shillony in claiming that Ben-Dasan is a Japanese Christian whose real name is Yamamoto Shichihei (p. 179). They write, "a Japanese author literally usurped Jewish identity" (p. 181). Yet is not Jewish marranism an usurpation of Christian identity? Is not entryism an usurpation of another group's identity?

Goodman and Miyazawa remind the Japanese that their victory over Russia in 1905 establishes a debt (to Jews) on account of Jacob Schiff's loans (p. 9), and claim that Hiroshima is used "to trump the Holocaust" (p. 178), i.e. in the Victimhood stakes. They condemn Kometani Foumiko for saying that "The West is a uniquely intolerant civilization ... Judaism is the source of that intolerance" (p. 241) and Uno Masami for saying that, since the United States is secretly controlled by an all-powerful Jewish shadow-government, Japanese-U.S. relations are "actually Japanese-Jewish relations" (pp. 225-6).

The back cover of Ben-Dasan's book, however, contains an endorsement by Marvin Tokayer, a former Rabbi of the Jews in Japan and co-author of the book The Fugu Plan.

I find Ben-Dasan's presentation similar to my own. I especially like his explantion of the difference between the Jewish and the Japanese concepts of Law; the Japanese one is like my own concept of Dao (Tao).

Although I find much of appeal in the Japanese culture presented here, the internal closeness comes at the price of external distance; any kind of closed society can seem threatening to its neighbours.

The Japanese and the Jews by ISAIAH BEN-DASAN.

{p. 3} As a Jew born and raised in Japan, I know both the Japanese and the Jews well ...

{p. 6} It was Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, who first pointed out that there are two kinds of ghettos, the inner and the outer.

{p. 7} ... a Jew who left the ghetto and became assimilated into society at large by attempting to give up his Jewishness gained physical liberty but forfeited spiritual freedom. ...

During the Middle Ages, large numbers ofJews elected to live in the inner, spiritual ghetto by ostensibly renouncing Judaism and becoming Catholics. The practice was especially widespread in Spain and Portugal, where converted Jews were known as Marranos - a term that later came to be applied to converted Jews throughout Europe. I myself am a descendent of Marranos, and I have studied their history in some detail. Most of them skillfully deceived the watchful eye of the Church. In fact, there is a tradition that a famous Catholic saint was actually a Marrano. Nor would it be especially surprising to find that the story is founded on truth, for the Marranos went to great lengths to prove their allegiance to Rome.

{p. 8} ... at the slightest sign of danger the Marranos would abandon everything they owned and flee. Some went to Palestine, feeling that if they must die anyway the historic home of Jewry was the best place for death. Others escaped to Venice, the New York of the Middle Ages, or to England and many other countries, always searching for the safety that stayed forever beyond their grasp.

In seventeenth-century England, during the turbulent days of Puritan control under Cromwell's Protectorate, Jews were persecuted less severely than were the hated Catholics ... At that time a certain Spanish Marrano named Antonio Rodrigues Robles was living in London. He fell into the Puritan net and was put on trial. Under questioning, however, he claimed that he had only pretended to be a Catholic and that he was actually a Jew, a Marrano, whose true allegiance was to the ancient faith of his fathers and not to Rome. At a loss for what to do, the presiding magistrates applied directly to Cromwell, who is said to have ordered the man freed.

{p. 20} A young Japanese woman told me that she had heard most unpleasant things about the Jews. When I asked what she meant, she told me the following story.

While visiting in the United States she had overheard an elderly Jew telling a friend that he made it a rule never to reveal to any single member of his fanlily the full extent of his savings, checking accounts, insurance policies, and other provisions for the future. This shocked the Japanese lady; she was appalled at the idea of conceaiing such information fiom family members. ...

In the Middle Ages, Jews who endured repeated pillagings of their ghettos learned well that the first step to true insurance is ignorance of the affairs of others and concealment of one's own affairs. To prevent their being discovered and appropriated, family funds were hidden in different places, and their whereabouts were never disclosed in full. When the pillage was over, however, each family would produce its gold and do what it could to help less fortunate neighbors.

{p. 21} The average Japanese cannot rest until he has said whatever is on his mind, whereas the Jew has been conditioned by long centuries of persecution and betrayal to be more guarded.

{p. 22} Even today Tokyo is known as the safest large city in the world. True, the countries of the Communist bloc also have low crime rates, but there is always the danger of severe punishment for unorthodox thinking. In the so-called free nations of the West one may think as one chooses, but few major Western urban centers can adequately protect their citizens from rape, murder, and theft. By and large, it is only the Japanese who know neither ideological restraint nor a high crime rate. They are blessed indeed, but the blessing is not an unmixed one.

As the Japanese themselves say, too much of a good thing is as bad as too little. Excessive safety and security have turned the Japanese into a cloistered people who panic when faced with crises of even minor severity.

{p. 56} But I shall go into this topic more thoroughly when I speak of Nihonism, the religion that I believe is the national faith of Japan.

{p. 99} The Jews, as I have noted, regard obedience to divine law as the inevitable outcome of the God-man relation; the Japanese, on the other hand, believe in a law that transcends all codified law, and one that demands flexibility of attitude and adaptability to the human circumstances of the moment rather than unquestioning obedience to some abstract principle.

Though the Japanese argue that majority decisions are what make their nation run, they treat the laws and regulations resulting from such decisions in a revealing way. The rule of thumb seems to be that a man chooses to obey or disobey a law on the basis of the extent to which it accords with the facts of human existence. A much publicized event illustrating this attitude occurred during the year after World War II, when a prohibited black market in rice flourished. Food was so scarce that few Japanese - neither the Diet members who passed the legislation outlawing the black market nor the judges responsible for sentencing violators of the law - hesitated to purchase illegal rice. One judge, however, was reported in the popular press to have literally starved to death because he refused to break the law. Public reactions to his adamant stand were instructive: some people praised the judge for his principles; others criticized him for impracticality. After all, a man must eat,

{p. 100} and rules are made to be broken if they run counter to human needs.

To Jews, the Japanese willingness to obey or disobey laws as circumstances and convenience dictate is basically unintelligible. On the other hand, the Japanese regard the complicated regulations governing the lives of orthodox Jews as excessively strict and almost ludicrous in their irrelevance to what the Japanese consider the basic human experience. ...

Quite obviously, if everyone in a society is free to interpret the law as he sees fit, chaos results. But Japanese society works efficiently because everyone in the nation understands the pragmatic principles that give final strength and shape to law. These principles derive from what might best be expressed as "human experience." The Japanese word ningen, or humanity, is widely used and is apt to turn up anywhere, like the joker in a deck of playing cards. A judge's verdict may be described as "full of humanity," or a good person may be "richly human," of"mature humanity," and "truly human." A bad person is "inhuman," or "does not seem human at all." Examples of this usage are unlimited because all laws in Japan are evaluatcd on the basis of how well they fit or do not fit the facts of men's lives. Not abstract or theoretical law, but only that which ap-

{p. 101} pears proper in the light of human experience, is considered legal and binding on all.

This unwritten law of humanity extends to every phase ofJapanese life. When making judgments, courts must turn their attention to such questions as: Was the accused under unusual stress at the time of the crime? Had he suffered an especially embittering childhood? Is he now repentant and willing to lead a good life hereafter? If a court evaluates such factors, it is thought to have acted wisely, or humanely. If it does not, no matter that its verdict follows the written law to the last letter, the Japanese consider it unfair.

The decisions and acts of lawmaking bodies too are weighed according to similar criteria. The decree forbidding the purchase of black-market rice prevented people from obtaining the most important staple food for their families. Consequently, the ruling could be broken. This permissive attitude did not extend to the operators of the black market, however, because they were making private profit out of human misery and therefore deserved punishment.

{p. 102} Jews think in terms of an antithetical relation between fallible humanity and infallible God. The synthesis generated from these opposites is a divinely ordained, infallible, therefore immutable law, which man must obey without question. In their view of the world, the Japanese too recognize a thesis - man - and an antithesis. But the latter is not a divine god but the facts, the exigencies of hurnan experience and life. These two generate a synthesis in the form of what is really a law beyond the law. It is not divine; therefore, it makes no claims to infallibility or immutability. On the contrary, its chief characteristic is its flexibility and conformability to prevailing circumstances. I think I have illustrated how this doctrine works in the preceding chapter on the Japanese pragmatic view of political activities. But this law beyond the law permeates all Japanese life to assume the status of a faith that is, in my estimation, as much a religion as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.

Many foreigners think that the Japanese are irreligious, for the practice of religion is taken lightly in Japan. But the true national religion, the one that governs everything the Japanese do or think, is in fact extremely demanding. I have already mentioned this religion, which I call Nihonism, in connection with the reforms of Onda Moku, but there is no aspect of life in Japan that it does not affect or control. Everything the Japanese do must be judged by its precepts, which are ultimately sanctioned by the unwritten law that transcends all legal codes. ...

{p. 103} It follows, then, that since nothing can be absolutely certain because the human condition is constantly changing, the Japanese avoid taking fixed stands on issues. It is true that desperate fanatics and radical student activists are tolerated; they too are part of the human drama. By believing that what is true today may be false tomorrow, the Japanese adopt an apparent impartiality and refuse to reach definite conclusions. This attitude makes Westerners feel most insecure. ...

In the West, impartiality is often thought of as a divine attribute. Because of their fallibility, men must make judgments, and societies require established codes of ethics. By this reckoning, the typical Japanese newspaper is shirk-

{p. 104} ing its duties. The Japanese, on the other hand, feel that humanity is well served by avoiding judgments. In this they are faithful adherents of Nihonism and true exponents of a set of beliefs that bases all law and conduct of men s affairs upon the mutability of the human condition. Human law takes precedence over divine law.

{p. 105} A person is Japanese or Jewish by birth, and in the strictest sense no one can "become" one or the other. My own case is an illustration of my meaning. I am a Jew by birth; I would have been a Jew no matter where I was born. As it turned out I was born in Kobe, Japan, but this event did not make me Japanese either in the eyes of the people of Japan or in the legal sense. Had I been born a Jew in the United States, no matter what the national background of my family, I would have been an American citizen. Such is not the case in Japan, but this has little bearing on the true nature of Japaneseness, since even citizenship is unimportant in determining who is truly Japanese.

{p. 106} Like the Jews, the Japanese believe in their uniqueness. ... Scattered over many parts of the globe, yet united by the

{p. 107} idea of the synagogue and by rabbinical tradition {i.e. by religion}, Jews could not avoid comparing themselves with the peoples among whom they iived. In doing so, they discovered thelr own traits, from which evolved an awareness of a unique thing called Jewishness. The Japanese, never having undergone such dispersal, are less aware of the forces that unite them, especially of that great binding faith which I have called Nihonism. It has so permeated the minds of its followers that it is taken for granted, a remarkable fact wilen one considers that it is as valid a religion as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.

Like other religions, Nillonism may be divided into certain branches or factions. At present it seems to me that the following exist: Christian, Soka Gakkai (Nichiren Buddhist), Marxist, and Humanist Capitalist (represented by a "Peace and Happiness through Prosperity" movement). These large groupings can be subdivided into smaller factions, some of which are extremist and radical in nature. Luckily most people pay little attention to issues that incense cxtremists. Instead they try to live their lives within the boundaries of traditional, often religious, beliefs. In Japan these beliefs are those of Nihonism, which extends to all phases of human activity.

Surely it is futile to attempt to transform a faith as deeply rooted as Nihonism into another religion, yet Christian missionaries have long pursued this tragicomic course. Their major mistake is one that is hard to credit in light of the means by which Christianity has triumphed in other parts of the world. Generally speaking, the great leaders of the early Christian Church recognized and made effective use of aspects of other faiths that they overcame. The selection of the date of a pagan Roman

{p. 108} festival as the time of the Christmas celebration is only one of the many illustrations of this process. In Japan, on the other hand, the missionaries have compeletely overlooked a wealth of religiously founded custom and belief that they might have turned to good use. They have erred on this point probably because they, like many others including some of the Japanese themselves, have swallowed the fallacy that the Japanese are basically an irreligious people. But no purely irreligious human exists. Most men hold to some faith, even if it does not take the form of organized religion. And the Japanese, as I have argued, are devoted - if often unaware - followers of Nihonism.

{p. 110} Since humanity, not a deity, sits at the center of Nihonism, its Book of Genesis might read-something like this: "Neither the spirit nor God created the world of man. Rather it was made by the neighbors on both sides and the people living in the three houses on the other side of the street. [This is the Japanese way of describing a neighborhood.] The world of man may be hard to live in, but there is no other land to flee to. And even if such a land did exist, it would be inhuman, therefore more difficult to live in the the world of man. If this inescapable world of man becomes difficult, make the best of it. Live out the brief span of life as comfortably as possible. To help us all do this we have the heaven-appointed poets and artists, whose duty is to make the world of man tranquil and to enrich the human heart."

{p. 110} Of course, everyone has the right to gct ahead as best he can, but it's better to do so without talking about other people's farts. It's only civil to make one's own way without causing trouble.

{p. 111} The Japanese way was well expressed by the late novelist Yasunari Kawabata, who said, in an address delivered at the University of Hawaii, that the Japanese communicate by means of a quiet understanding, a kind of telepathy, since for them truth lies in the implied rather than the stated.

{p. 112} Kawabata's words lead one to an important point about Nihonism, one that can be elucidated by rewording the opening of the Gospel of John to read: "In the beginning was the implication (words beyond words), and the implication was with the word, and the word became the implication." Failure to grasp the importance of implications has caused many foreigners to complain that the Japanese never state their thoughts and conclusions clearly. I am afraid that this only reflects an inability to understand communications in the Japanese style. The world of the Japanese may be compared to non-Euclidean geometry. To attempt to apply Euclidean rules to it is to invite ridicule.

{p. 113} I do not understand Nihonism well enough. A full understanding demands a complete command of the Japanese language, including a mastery of not only words but also implications. This is beyond my capabilities, and I cannot, therefore, condemn as wrong the Japanese teaching that the truth of the Bible is to be found between the lines and not in the text itse. Japanese accept only the implications of the Bible; but the implications are not the Bible.

One of the most difficult aspects of the entire situation is the fact that the concept of humanity lying at the heart of Nihonism cannot be expressed in words; it too relies upon implication for definition. Since a mastery of implications is impossible for foreigners, only Japanese can become Nihonists. When Rome destroyed Jerusalem, imperial soldiers broke into the Holy of Holies, but nothing, not even a nuclear bomb, can break into the inner sanctum of Nihonism. No foreigner can so much as approach it; all he can hope to do is to apprehend the world of words surrounding and protecting it. Something of its shape and texture can be grasped by looking closely at the Japanese, who are one people and one nation bound together by a single religion; by studying the lives and actions of historical figures who embody the meaning and practice of Nihonism; and by discerning the characteristic ways in which the followers of Nihonism interpret other religions.

Though it sounds strange to Western ears, it is not at

{p. 114} all unusual in Japan to hear young engaged couples discussing whether their wedding ceremony will be Shinto, Buddhist, or Christian. The nature of the rite makes no difference, since those concerned are members of the Japan faith I cail Nihonism. In Israel, where there are followers of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, as well as some Druses, the situation is quite different. Each religious group has its own authorities who handle marriages, divorces adoptions, inheritances, and other domestic matters. In some cases, there are first and second religious courts, and a person dissatisfied with settlements handed down in them may file an ordinary legal suit. In many ways, the religious courts resemble Japanese domestic ones. In fact, in order to prevent Japanese from interpreting the religious court as something resembling an Inquisition tribunal, I often cite the domestic court as its closest counterpart. A single unified system of courts in Israel is out of the question, given the separate religious codes - Rabbinical, Christian, Drusian, and Islamic - found there. Though it is natural that the regulations governing the lives of believers differ from religion to religion and must coexist in countries like Israel and America, Japan is almost unique in that its people, sharing a faith that transcends all other religions, have no need of special bodies to pass on matters relating specifically to Shinto, Buddhism, or Christianity. A Japanese woman, a Christian and a graduate of a mission school, may very well be married according to Shinto rites, and her funeral service may be Buddhist. This does not seem odd to the Japanese, nor does it indicate any lack of religious fastidiousness. Their apparently eclectic approach to religious ceremony shows an indifference arising from the fact that at heart the only religion

{p. 115} they truly believe in is Nihonism. "Say what you like, when all is said and done, we are all Japanese," is a common remark. For "Japanese" in this statement, I would not hesitate to substitute "Nihonist." ...

Many Japanese today are vociferously outspoken against any revision of the nation's constitution, but their protests are scarcely warranted, since never in Japan's history has a constitution been revised. For example, when it was found by later authorities that the Taiho Code, first promulgated in 702, no longer met altered conditions, it was not revised. Instead the authorities simply established extra-legal governmental organs to handle situations beyond its range. A famous, and infamous, Police Commission (Kebiishicho) was one such organ. Interestingly enough, the modern Self-Defense Forces are an instance of the same kind of thing. One may search as diligently as possible without finding a single article in the present constitution authorizing the formation of a self-defense force.

{p. 116} The Japanese never touch their constitutions. The Meiji Constitution, drawn up in the second half of the nineteenth century, was a code of laws designed to be valid for all times. The present constitution is the great document of peace. Both contain clauses dealing with revisions, but the provisions themselves are empty words dealing with a most unlikely contingency, because the constitutions of Japan are not legal codes but religious classics of Nihonism.

{p. 131} The Christians believed in eternal life but thought that the universe is finite. ... Saigo ... believed that the universe is eternal and that life is finite and must return to the universe, which gave it birth. ... The Christian idea of a finite universe doomed to destruction is incomprehensible to Japanese, who believe the exact opposite.

{p. 133} There are good reasons behind the fame of the Jews as skillful, cautious handlers of money. Since they have never had a national currency of their own, they have no emotional feelings about any given set of bills and coins. Almost everyone feels a certain pride and security in using the currency of his own nation. On the other hand, while realizing intellectually that any stable currency is as good as it purports to be, people often accept it less readily than their own familiar money. All of this is connected with emotions that the Jews have not experienced because they have never had their own national money. Consequently, they regard marks, francs, pounds, and dollars as purely economic tools and will convert any currency without compunction when it seems to be about to decline in value. This objectivity toward currency often

{p. 134} provokes a condemnation of the Jews as unfeeling and heartless when in fact it is the most natural of reactions from a people who regard money pragmatically and who can in fact do without it entirely, as the kibbutzim of Israel show. The injunction against borrowing - though Jews are permitted to lend - in Deuteronomy and the idea that a person will one day be called to account for what he owns inspire the Jews to keep a firm grip on what they have and to refrain from careless spending. This, in the eyes of less closely regulated peoples, looks like stinginess, as does the Jewish tendency to live less well than one's income would permit. But this last derives from the historical tradition of setting apart certain sums for certain things and of not touching them for ordinary purposes. The ancient tithe is probably the source of this approach to financial management. Though the Jews no longer tithe - philanthropy has taken the place of tithing - the giving of one-tenth of an individual's produce was originally a contractual arrangement, and in this sense is symbolic of the entire relation between the Jews and their God.

In an earlier part of this book, in a discussion of the dialectic of Micah, I mentioned God's threat to destroy Israel. Why should the deity of a people become so enraged as to be willing to effect such punishment? The answer to this question is found in the Jewish interpretation of their duty to God under their covenant with Him. The relation between the Jews and God is not that of parent and child - about which I shall speak more in the following pages - but that between adopted child and adoptive parent. Perhaps this sounds strange, but the meaning becomes clear when one recalls that an adoption is a parent-child relation established by contract.

{p. 135} Many scholars believe that the name of the God of the Israelites, Yahweh (Jehovah), derives from that of Jaha, the god of the Midianites, whose manifestations were the winds and the thunder. By marrying into Jethro's house, and in a sense becoming an adopted son of the family, Moses naturally became an adopted son of the god Jaha too. After he returned to Egypt and led the Israelites into the land of the Midianites, Moses climbed Mount

{p. 136} Sinai and there made a contract with the god of the people of Jethro. The second of the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," might very well be interpreted to mean thou shalt have no other father but me. Should this commandment be broken, the contract between the people and God becomes null and void, and Jehovah and His adopted children are no longer related. To honor the covenant with God has meant that for three thousand years the Jews have had to abide by God's laws down to the last jot and tittle - and this sense of duty has extended to all contracts into which Jews have entered.

{p. 137} Like the Jews, the Japanese were a tribal people in the distant past. Unlike the Jews, they felt a blood and not a contractual relationship with their deities. Blood ties, of the kind existing between mother and child, are eternal.

{p. 138} Contact with Christianity was a catalytic force in the crystallization of Nihonism. It made possible the use of Christian systems, methods, ways of thinking, and doctrinal expressions. But, in the final analysis, Nihonism is not Christianity.

{p. 139} The Japanese think Paul's doctrine means that faith alone is all that is absolutely necessary to salvation. The same feeling is reflected in the instructions Shinto priests give those vii tors to the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo who are inexperienced in the proper ritual. The priest always tells them to be calm because all they must do is to pray innocently and without thinking. Japanese interpret Paul in exactly the same way, though the concept might have surprised him. They believe that in order to worship God one must do no more than be human, innocent, and unself-conscious in worship. In short, one must prostrate oneself voluntarily before God. But such prostration must be clean and disinterested. To introduce into the worship of God a contract - like the idea of obligatory payment of the tithe - sullies religion in their eyes and casts over it an

{p. 140} unpleasant tint of profit seeking. Whereas Jews regard their relationship with God as one of covenant and mutual agreement, Japanese think of it only in terms of the eternal bond existing between parent and child.

{p. 141} Though in itself a fascinating subject, upon investigation virgin birth turns out to be less unusual than might be imagined. For example, someone who is fond of such research has estimated that on the Eurasian continent recorded instances of virgin births amount to some 856 cases. ... Two of the world's peoples, however, have never experienced this particular miracle: they are the Japanese and the Jews.

{p. 142} To clarify this point I need to examine briefly the true historical background and nature of the Gospels of the New Testament. Aside from some few parts appended at a later date, the New Testament is not a Christian writing but a group of texts written by Jews living in what I shall call the New Testament Age. There is a gap of at least three centuries between the writing of this set of books and the formation of Christianity as an organized religion. The Jews from the time of Moses lived under the laws of and in covenant with one almighty God and never embraced the idea of a divine trinity. Certainly the crucifixion of a divine figure never entered their minds. In short, the relationship between Christianity and the Bible has always been one-sided; that is to say, Christianity has depended on the Bible, but the Bible has never truly needed Christianity. In fact, until the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) disputes and intellectual battles that would be difficult for the modern mind to comprehend raged around attempts to incorporate the idea of Christ's divinity into the New Testament.

This slight digression has been made to establish quite firmly the fact that the NewTestament is largely a Jewish work written for the Jews during the New Testament Age.

{p. 144} The Gospel of Luke is an entirely different matter. This man, called the first Catholic, originated the legend of the virgin birth and all the other elements so often dramatized in Christmas pageants, including the Annunciation and the rejoicing of the angelic hosts. As a matter of fact, from a Jewish standpoint, Luke and his writings are totally foreign. This is not surprising, for Luke was a Greek born in Antioch and a member of a reformed branch of Judaism. His work is Greek in feeling and redolent of the tone of the Greek mystery religions.

{p. 145} As if to underscore the non-Jewish nature of his writings, Luke vehemently denies any connection between Jesus and the Old Testament (that is, with the Jews). There is no denying the superior quality of Luke's writing and the beauty of his Greek. Markion, an early Church father and so-called heretic, went so far as to say that the writings of Luke and Paul are the only parts of the Bible worth keeping. Certainly Luke established the Christian image of Jesus and in doing so severed the ties between Christianity and Judaism.

{p. 147}... on the Japanese side ... In a nation claiming an unbroken line of descent from the mythological gods and goddesses, not only for the ruling house but also for all the people, lineage occupies a place of paramount importance. One of the aspects of Japanese life that fascinates other peoples is the persistence even today of the tradition of natural or chosen successors, which extends into all fields Including politics, economics, art, performing arts, and religion. The idea of the iemoto, the person who stands as the head of a school of, say, Ikebana or the tea ceremony, permeates everything in Japan. No matter if the person who succeeds the iemoto is a true offspring, an adopted child, or a disciple, the important thing is that the line of descent be maintained. ... The imperial house of Japan claims unbroken de-

{p. 148} scent from the mythological age. Since this heritage is of the greatest importance, a virgin birth somewhere along the line would upset the whole system. Such a thing is therefore unthinkable. ...

To the nomadic {Dasan means Jewish & Arabic} way of thinking, sex is neither clean nor unclean: it is an essential part of life and business. It must not, however, become an object of emotional attachment, and the children resulting from the sex act are neither pledges of love nor treasures capable of being increased. In short, as profit is sensible and good but miserliness and the cherishing of money for its own sake are bad, so sex and procreation are good, but entangling them in emotional associations is bad. In a sense this is not unlike the attitude behind the words of warning delivered to the women {p. 149} of the old Japanese pleasure quarters: falling in love is not part of the business. Sex to nomads is an everyday thing, as plowing a field is to farmers; consequently, it is not and it must not become mystical

The Japanese have always regarded sex as anything but run-of-the-mill. In their eyes, it is mystical, romantic, and enmeshed in the most elaborate emotional relations. ... For instance, the novelist Junnosuke Yoshiyuki remarked that sexual intercourse without emotional exchange is empty ...

{p. 153} I always tell fellow Jews that they must not make remarks like: "Since we are a persecuted people, we have a right to make pronouncements to the rest of humanity." The Japanese too feel entitled to make a similar a statement: "Since we are the only people ever to have suffered an atomic-bomb attack, we have a right to make pronouncements to the rest of mankind."

{p. 155} A ruling foreign group (the Dutch in Indonesia) allows another foreign group (the Chinese who had immiggrated to Indonesia) to gain significant power in the economic life of a country to the detriment of the native population. When the foreign rulers leave, their native successors at first let matters stand as they were, but eventually nationalism becomes so strong that groups favored in the old days - especially economic middlemen - come under attack. When the Dutch ruled Indonesia, the Chinese enjoyed a favored status, and they rather than the European rulers were the ones who dealt most directly with the native populations. After the collapse of Dutch rule, President Sukarno and his associates - no matter what slogans they devised - did no more than grasp for themselves the power the Dutch had held. They simply moved into the chair the Dutch had occupied, and the Chinese and native Indonesians in no way altered their social positions. It was not until the reign of Sukarno came to a sudden end that large-scale persecutions of the Chinese began. ...

The history of the Jews provides countless examples of the classic pattern of persecution: one of the oldest is that of the Jewish settlement in Alexandria. Alexander the Great had high regard for the Jews, and when he established Alexandria he afforded them the same rights that he conferred on the Macedonians and Greeks. As matters developed, the Greeks controlled the political life of the city while the Jews became important as economic middlemen. ...

{p. 156} When the Greek rulers fell, the Jews suffered as did the Chinese in Indonesia centuries later ... this took place before the Christian era: persecution of the Jews did not wait for the appearance of Christians on the stage of history.

The same story was repeated over and over. For instance, when the Moors invaded Spain, the Jews stood between them and the native Spaniards, So great did the economic strength of these Jews grow that their wealth was compared with that of the caliph himself. But fate overtook them as it had the Jews of Alexandria. ...

{p. 157} For two thousand years, the Jews have known all too well what this means; for that reason they are aware of the high cost of security and of the need to take constant steps to ensure it. Unfortunately, however, this very awareness sets up a vicious cycle in which lack of self-confidence becomes suspicion of others (well founded, to be sure, from the standpoint of people submitted to frequent persecution), and this in its turn breeds discrimination and ill feeling in the suspected and thus creates grounds for insane persecution when something untoward occurs.

{p. 164} The Japanese, known to the great masses of the non-white peoples of the

{p. 165} world for the excellence of their products and services, are in a position similar to that of the Alexandrian Jews. They are honorary white men as the Jews were once, in a sense, honorary Greeks in Alexander's city. Like the reign of the Macedonians and the Greeks, the white Christian-Communist cartel may well weaken and fail. ...

The Koreans themselves claim that while they were fighting at the thirty-eighth parallel, the Japanese were raking in profits with both hands. In short, they maintain that current Japanese prosperity is built on Korean sacrifices. Whether this is true or false, the Japanese themselves were innocent of underhanded or dishonest dealing in the matter. After World War I, German Jews faced similar criticism. Non-Jewish Germans complained that while they had braved the guns and death of the trenches, the Jews had sat at home in comfort and had made vast fortunes from the war. Undeniably, many Jews were in a position to profit from war-

{p. 166} time inflation, but the Kaiser and his military leaders started the war, not the Jews. Nevertheless, it was discontent over Jewish profits during the war that led to Auschwitz.

Many Japanese sincerely believe that one of their nation's main roles is to protect non-white peoples. If we think of the latter as a labor force and white men as management, the Japanese become brilliant intermediaries between the two, a kind of struggle committee. In the years since the end of World War II, the Japanese have come to occupy an important executive rank in world affairs: they are now honorary white men. But if the white managers regard these honorary white men with caution - because of their alien smell - the labor-force peoples too have mixed feelings about them. One reads of restrictions in developing countries aimed at the business activities of Japanese, and the Western press has made much of the concept of the Japanese as economic animals. The Japanese may one day find themselves facing a general hostility that will differ little from that which has inspired persecution of the Jews in many lands. The Japanese middlemen will then be in serious trouble.

{p. 167} The Jews feel extremely close to the Japanese, and it is a matter of great joy to them that many Japanese travel to Israel to study. As a matter of fact, aside from the Holy Land itself, the Jews probably have warmer feelings about Japan than about any other country.

{p. 169} ... King Herod expanded this Temple, but in the Jewish Wars of A.D. 70, the Romans once again razed it; the so-called Wailing Wall is all that remains today. When we Jews gather there, we recall the indomitable spirit of our forefathers who, among grave trials, succeeded in rebuilding the Temple. The wall is a symbol of our vow to reconstruct our homeland, just as long ago the people, working with one spirit and one desire, recreated the splendid buildings of the Temple. This is definitely not a wall from the glorious Temple of Solomon; it is something more important. It is a symbol of the determination of the Jews, the blood and sweat with which they surmounted overwhelming trials to reconstruct the most important edifice in the land.

{p. 185} ... the Japanese language is totally unrelated to such inflected languages as those of the Indo-European group. Instead of consciously selecting from a wide range of possibilities to express a fixed grammatical number, case, or tense, the Japanese add words in what is called an agglutinative process. Of course, there are rules to follow in Japanese, but in comparison with the elaborate, almost mathematical formula-style grammars of languages like classical Latin or modern Russian, these rules play a less important part.

What does count for a great deal, however, is the way things are said;. that is, the attitude of the speaker, his intonation, and his regard for matters of courtesy.

{p. 193} Unfortunately, many Japanese writing about foreign nations do so in the conviction that close contact breeds mutual understanding in spite of cultural differences. According to this point of view, the world is growing smaller in the age of the jumbo jet and supersonic transport; soon everyone will have come to know each other and will work side by side in harmony. In short, to know is to remove barriers to incomprehension. But I believe this is fallacious, and in closing this book I feel impelled to warn the Japanese that their optimism in this respect is dangerous. For thousands of years the Jews have lived in contact with the gentile populations of the world, and we all know how much mutual understanding that proximity has brought about. {end of selections}


Australian Jewish News, July 13, 2007

CANBERRA - The Jewish and Japanese cultures resemble each other, visiting Israeli Professor Ben-Ami Shillony told a gathering in Canberra last week.

The professor in East Asian studies at the Hebrew University said that the Japanese were not generally an antisemitic people and even though works such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were in circulation, most Japanese antisemitism was "benign".

Professor Shillony has written numerous books and articles on Japanese history and politics, including The Jews and the Japanese published in 1992.

He was visiting Canberra as keynote speaker at the Australian Japanese Studies Association's biennial conference.

Sylvia Deutsch {end of AJN item}

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