More on the Imperial tombs
Posted by ampontan on Friday, September 21, 2007
FREQUENT POSTER ACEFACE, in regard to a recent post, made the comment, “Talk about synchronicity!” Well, here’s some more synchronicity.
Two days after I featured a post about archaeology and Japan’s Imperial tombs, today’s paper contains word that two tombs will be opened for inspection by archaologists early next year. (No digging allowed, just visual observation.)
I mention it here not because it’s especially newsworthy–there’s an archaeological report in a Japanese newspaper nearly every day–but because the account by The Guardian is a classic example of the yellow journalism that is the first resort of too many in the world’s media when the subject is Japan.
Try this for a first sentence:
Some of Japan’s mysterious imperial tombs are to be opened to archaeologists and historians for the first time early next year in a move expected to anger the country’s ultra-conservatives.
Now you know what it looks like to take a pinch of sand and present it as the entire beach. Ultraconservatives have as much to do with this story as a clinical account of Kim Jong-il’s venereal diseases. They don’t belong in the article at all, unless the objective is a malicious intent to slant the news.
I read the same story this morning in Japanese in my local paper–top of page 3–which includes more information with nary a mention of ultra-conservatives. Few in Japan, other than professional hand-wringers, give them more than a moment’s thought. But The Guardian knows that.
Some historians, however, put the agency’s reticence down to fears that close inspection of the burial mounds could reveal evidence that shatters commonly accepted theories about the origins of the Japanese imperial family.
Once upon a time, failed novelists went to work for advertising agencies. Now they satisfy their urge to write fiction by turning to journalism.
The “commonly accepted theories” to which The Guardian refers are commonly accepted only in the imaginations of people who fancy Japan as an imperialist caricature rather than accept the country as it really is.
If concrete proof were forthcoming of Korean blood in the Japanese Imperial line, it would be met with a collective yawn by 99 44/100 of the population. That The Guardian would even publish this piece as written is prima facie evidence of a disinterest in journalistic integrity. It’s as if they think that offering their readers the facts would deprive them of the fun of getting upset at primitive reactionaries.
And no, this has nothing to do with hunting for an anti-Japanese conspiracy. The Guardian (and the other usual suspects) merely need something to sustain the supply of red meat for their audience on the left. They’ll snap at the chance to satisfy their readers’ political blood lust while filling column inches in the International section and driving up their hit count. That’s how you kill three birds with one stone.
Presenting readers with an accurate view of the day’s events ceased to be the point long ago. Now it’s just about indulging consumer prejudices in their market niche to keep selling product.
By the way, one of the two tombs to be examined is that of the Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912. They’re not going to be finding any clues about a continental origin for the Imperial line from that site.
If I may make so bold, read my previous post if you want an overview of the issue in Japan today.
If you want to amuse yourself by getting indignant at a distance about a Japan that lives only in the minds of people who can’t handle or aren’t interested in the truth, read The Guardian’s article. If you must.
Let’s stop the pussyfooting: In the aggregate, this and other articles of the type are the equivalent of a contemporary comic book series resembling nothing so much as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
And you can quote me on that.