25 February 2015

Crown Prince Naruhito is a true kunshi

A ‘lord’s son’ 君子 both literally and in the full Confucian sense. As evidenced by this story, in which he indirectly castigates his own country’s historical revisionists who deny or downplay the claims of the women who were impressed into the Japanese army as sex slaves, or ‘comfort women’, during World War II.

The need for Japan to ‘look back humbly’ on its own history is a very real need, of course. It needs to correctly understand and pass down its own role in history, particularly in light of the fact that its own history, to paraphrase Faulkner, is neither over nor even past with regard to South Korea, China and Russia. As the prime (though flawed, as I have argued elsewhere) representative of Japan’s rapidly-fading traditional culture, Crown Prince Naruhito’s voice is authoritative, and he deftly and carefully uses it here within Japan’s constitutional framework and unwritten laws for Imperial conduct and discretion, and without wading out into an openly political discussion.

So, three cheers for Japan’s royal family! It’s important to note that in light of Japanese culture, Crown Prince Naruhito would assuredly not have made such a public statement without first having the approval of his father and of the rest of the family, who are here boldly taking a stand on the side of truth. And if that means going against the very modern right-wing revisionist nationalists who seek to appropriate them for geopolitical purposes, so much the better. Would that more heads of state in the region (and in the world!) had the courage and discretion to face their own histories with humility and courage, the way Prince Naruhito has done.


No comments:

Post a Comment