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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mirrors are abominable

Long time no post about revisionism in Japan, eh*?

I just passed by one of those distorting mirrors over the web, and saw something interesting.

Here, when I mention 'distorting mirrors over the web', I'm not referring to revisionist propaganda, but to the way information can be altered along it virtual journeys.

And when I say that I saw something interesting, I'm not referring to my female self (NB: that's not the first time a translator or a journalist mispells my name as "StephaNIE" or thinks "Stephane" is a girl's name**), but to a 10 year old video that remains scaringly relevant.

I must pause here: I can't help but think about my favorite piece of literature, "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", where Jorge-Luis Borges redefined fiction and prefigured our internet's pervasive maze of hoaxes, facts, fictions, and mirror sites. When The Great Blind Librarian wrote "mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of men", he simply couldn't imagine that they could also change their genders.

Now where was I?

Here. And there. Marking a pause, precisely. Because Shinzo Abe kindly decided to hold his own horses***, I seized the opportunity and updated my miserable French blogules, recycling in one single post**** the "Abeignomics" series I'd just shot in broken English on this excuse for a blog. The story was later adapted as a Tribune in the French news website Rue89: "Le Japon prisonnier de son extrême droite révisionniste" (May 20).

What I came across was a short post in The Moderate Voice, where William Kern wrote: "In the latest in a series of similar criticisms from around the world on the Abe government, Rue 89 Stephane Mot writes in small part – and I do mean small, since she goes on for a full 1200 words". A long quote ensues, from the similarly titled***** translation of my Rue89 Tribune in, the non-partisan journalism project Kern founded after working for the IHT in Paris.

I clicked the link to read the translation... and at the very last line, found out that an "I" had unfortunately fallen over my name, like a guillotine over my proud stephanehood.

But again, that's not the interesting part... Ill-chosen words, sorry. I meant that's not the point - gaah, forget it, just watch the video kindly picked to go with the translation.

It's called "Japan's Dirty Secret" (23 May 2003), by Mark Simkin. This ABC News journalist, who spent four years in Japan, manages to raise quite a lot of issues in less than 20 minutes.

The focus is on Unit 731: as a former torturer flies to Harbin to apologize to Chinese survivors, Simkin tells everything about the dark side of today's Japan, without sparing the US, who by clinching the infamous deal with Shiro Ishii, prevented justice from happening, and Japan from facing its past, paving the way for revisionists such as Shinzo Abe.

If you think Japan can do without formal apologies for the crimes committed under Imperial rule, think again. All Japanese citizens should watch this non distorting mirror if they want to save their peaceful democracy, and prevent further abominations from happening.

Stephane (without an I)
NB: that's my fault. I changed Abenomics into Abeignomics.
An "I" for an "N"?

Seoul Village 2013
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* already eight days ("Silver lining, darker clouds"), time really flies.
**  So far, the Asia Times remains the only one to have dubbed me "Stephan".
*** "ABE forced to back down a bit. For the moment. Next PR stunt: KIM Jong-un" (May 15)
**** "AbeIGNomics - Shinzo Abe a fait son coming out: il est bien le pire ennemi du Japon" (blogules V.F., May 18)
***** "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a Threat to Democratic Japan (Rue 89, France)" (, May 31), "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a Threat to Democratic Japan (Rue 89, France)" (The Moderate Voice, May 31)

UPDATE 20200406 - Rue89 link updated to new NouvelObs URL.

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