Another state funeral today – this time a very controversial one : a government funded , costly and grave affair to commemorate assassinated prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead one Friday in July at close range; this, unlike the Queen’s of two weeks ago, closed off from the public under extremely tight security and anxiety as , according to news reports, at least half the country opposes it being held in the first place and, quite big ( quite unusual in Japan ); loud and angry protests going on as we speak across the country, even, to my slight surprise, where I work in relatively low key Tokyo satellite city Fujisawa, where groups of people with loudspeakers were gathered just now as I went out to lunch to voice their anger and resentment.
It is interesting to me that the emperor – pictured above – travelled to London for the funeral of Elizabeth, but that protocol states that he and the empress not attend the commemoration of Abe’s remains at the Budokan today ; also that the killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, now that it has come to light that at least half the government here have links to the Moonies/Korean Unification Church ( why ?! So bizarre ), the reason Yamagami apparently took ‘revenge’ against Abe in the first place for impoverishing his family (the mother gave all of her savings to the cult) ; he has now become something of a romantic folk antihero to some factions of this society despite the deeply shocking violence of his crime, indicating the deep unpopularity of many of the former prime minister’s conservative policies, and showing quite clearly, once again, that in Japan, as with anyone anywhere , you never really quite know what is going on under the surface.
6 responses to “Another state funeral”
I had no idea members of the Japanese government had links to the Moonies. Bizarre. I do know that there’s a lot of antipathy between the Koreans and the Japanese since WWII which makes it seem even more odd.
Precisely. Almost unfathomable. But that is all at the crux of the matter!
Ps : to anyone reading this who thinks I am sounding foolish and naive, I have read extensively into the whys and wherefores of how this bizarre link to a Christian church has occurred (basically maniacally anti-communist bedfellows find a common cause), but it still is quite unbelievable to watch it all playing out.
The prime minister is shot. It turns out the killer bore a grudge, one that the public ends up empathizing with (cults don’t go down well here even though I personally know a fair few people whose families have fallen prey to them) and then the public enemy number one actually becomes a sympathetic to many, a hero to others; the entire funeral a topic of massive national furious debate – a schism, rather than the (possibly) unifying aspect of the queen’s funeral two weeks ago. There were even a lot of rants about how ER’s was a ‘real state funeral’ and how this one was just a sham being undemocratically forced upon the people – for supporters of Abe, the funeral at London couldn’t really have come at a worst time really.
Good lord, looking at the top photo! I don‘t want to denigrate anyone but the whole scenario looks so completely, utterly, abysmally boring: „Ah, a book on Japanese gardens, how very thoughtful“, and „Oh, I am so deeply grateful that you like it. Perhaps you can place it next to the Encyclopedia Britannica in your bookshelf behind you.“
I know : I would be the absolute WORST muzzled head of state or diplomat as I basically HATE small talk and too many niceties and especially, fake laughter : all very necessary for ‘smooth relations’ but my head would also blow off from the utter tedium.
How absolutely bizarre that so many high ranking officials have ties to the Unification Moonies.