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June 10, 1988 - Image 53

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-10

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

Stoostjedd

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is located in an enclave of
Westerners, a fact that adds
to the isolation.
But this isolation is also a
result of the traditional
Japanese distrust of foreign-
ers, and Westerners in par-
ticular. It is not a direct result
of anti-Semitism; in fact,
Schudrich said, non-Jewish
Westerners face the same
isolation from the main-
stream of Japanese society.
The fact of being thrust in-
to such an alien culture —
with a ready-made life raft in
the Jewish Community Cen-
ter, Schudrich's base of opera-
tions — does strange things
to the Jewish identification of
his congregation.
"It works both ways. You
have people who were very
uninvolved in Jewish reli-
gious matters in the United
States or in Israel, and they
come to Japan, and suddenly
they become very involved.
I've seen this especially in
young Israelis, who have
come back to Judaism while
in Japan."
And the growing specter of
anti-Semitism, he suggests,
tends to reinforce the
religious and ethnic iden-
tification of the Jews of
Japan, although the current
wave of anti- Semitic
literature has not produced
more overt signs of bigotry.
Japanese anti-Semitism, he
said, is closely related to the
almost total absence of native
Jews in Japan. "Because they
have never seen Jews, they
are particularly susceptible to
the images of Jews portrayed
by others. Starting over 100
years ago with the mis-
sionaries, the image of Jews
that's been presented to the
Japanese has been skewed —
images of Jews as manipula-
tive, conspiratorial and
clever."
The printed word always
has been a primary vehicle for
Japanese anti-Semitism, he
said. The "Protocols of the
Elders of Zion" was first
published in Japanese in
1924, and a new edition of the
infamous anti-Semitic forgery
is prominent in today's up-
surge in anti-Semitic litera-
ture. A 1938 book, "The
Jewish Offensive Against
Japan," mixed traditional
anti-Semitism with Japan's
growing militarism.
Today, according to
Schudrich, two types of anti-
Semitic books are enjoying
wide popularity in Japan. The
first includes books not in-
tended as anti-Semitic. Works
like "The Jewish Way of

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

53

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