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January 08, 1988 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Seen As Anti-American

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legitimate," according to
Goodman.
In If You Understand

T

Judea, You Can Understand
the World, Uno blames the

he "rising tide" of
anti-Semitic literature
in Japan, a nation
with an estimated 1,000 Jews,
is less an expression of
religious intolerance than of
anti-American sentiments
caused by the import-export
"trade war?
So contends Prof. Masao
Kunihiro, a prominent
scholar and media personali-
ty in Japan exceptionally
familiar with Judaism and
Jews. He spoke at a recent
symposium at the Japan
Society in New York on
"Japan's Perception of the
Jews." He was joined by David
Goodman, associate professor
of Japanese and comparative
literature at the University of
Illinois.
Kunihiro scored modern
Japanese society for its cur-
rent trend to lash back at the
United States. The Jews, he
said, may well be the
scapegoats for this current
anger at America. The reason
for singling out the Jews, ac-
cording to his analysis, is
firmly rooted in Europe and
Nazism, not in opinions of
Israel or the Middle East
conflict.
The anti-Semitism is
manifested primararily in a
"spate of anti-Semitic
literature," which Kunihiro
called a serious phenomenon
with a history at least as old
as the first Japanese transla-
tion of the Protocols of the
Elders of Zion in 1924. The
translation has been "a staple
since then in the Japanese
right wing," he added.
In March, the Anti-
Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith called a meeting with
the Japanese ambassador to
the United States, Nubuo
Matsunago, because of press
reports in the United States
regarding a prevalence in
Japan of anti-Semitic books
by a popular Japanese author,
Masami Uno.
Uno writes that Japan's re-
cent economic problems are
due to a conspiracy by "na-
tional Jewish capital" con-
trolling major American cor-
porations such as IBM,
General Motors, Exxon, Stan-
dard Oil, Ford, Chrysler and
AT and T
Uno, who is also a fun-
damentalist Christian and
head of an Osaka-based
organization called the Mid-
dle East Problems Research
Center, addresses rallies of
hundreds of Japanese. The
audiences are "very

Jews for causing the Great
Depression in the United
States and argues that Jews
are planning another depres-
sion for the 1990s. In If You

Understand Judea, You Can
Understand Japan, he

disclaims the number of Jews
killed in World War II.
By last March, the two
books had sold 650,000 copies.
Other such authors have pro-
posed similar theories.
Kunihiro, who has an
almost uncanny grasp of
idiomatic English, decried
the ignorance in Japan of the
Shoah — using at all times
the Hebrew word for the Nazi
Holocaust — and of Japanese
history in general, with a
tendency toward revisionism.
He noted that anti-
Semitism in Japan probably
has nothing to do with
religion. Japan, he maintain-
ed, has no history of religious
intolerance, but rather a
preference for syncretism, a
union of many religions.
Kunihiro said an American
Jew doing graduate work in
Japan made a study of
Japanese/foreign language
dictionaries. She found "32
decidedly anti-Semitic ex-
planations" in the definitions,
the scholar said. "Some of the
explanations were so bigoted
and biased she felt sure they
were related to Nazi
literature." He provided no
examples.
why the Jews? Kunihiro
conjectured that "we have
picked on the Jews because
we have always considered
them to be so intellectually
superior, and therefore have
the ability to wage a
worldwide conspiracy." Uno,
he said, usually believes he is
complimenting the Jews by
believing that they will suc-
ceed in such a "plot."
Japan is by no means
"Simon-pure" regarding
discrimination, said
Kunihiro. He specifically
listed Japanese atrocities
against the Chinese, and
discrimination against
Koreans born in and living in
Japan.
Goodman suggested that
America, and American Jews,
regard this "very disturbing
phenomenon" as a "window
of opportunity" rather than a
"closed door."
These anti-Semitic books,
said Goodman, are "just the
end of a long line of anti-
Semitism." However, he also

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