Originally posted by TrueAmerican
They are making their way closer and closer to that southern subduction zone. I just can't understand how they are not sounding the alarm on this, in
context to the massive activity north.
Sorry, I missed responding to this in my other post but frankly the point you've raised is so crucial that it needs a separate reply anyway.
I guess we have to take into account the fact that Japanese people are very used to earthquakes. It's simply part of their history and for centuries,
it even affected their culture in terms of architecture and medicine. Houses were built with thin, shoji walls because in a quake, there was less
chance of people being injured when their homes collapsed. It also made it possible to rebuild houses within a matter of days. Likewise, they
developed remarkably effective medical treatments for burns -- as burns were common in quakes -- and also had great skill with setting broken bones,
all of this long before Europeans arrived there in the latter part of the 16th century.
So much of their culture is still based around the philosophy that although they live in the Land where the Gods came down to earth, sometimes the
earth will shake and the harbor waves (tsunami) will come. Whoever will be taken, will be taken. Shikata ga nai...
(Nothing can be done about
it...) It's something like que sera sera
. Fatalistic to a degree, but not negative. They have millennia of culture that is based upon accepting
what happens, dealing with its consequences, then moving on. It's part of their concept of maintaining dignity in the face of adversity.
This is one reason why it's very difficult for TV journalists in Japan to interview people who have suffered tragedy. If a person is suffering
terrible grief, the Japanese cultural standard is that you do not go and comfort that person. This will only make them feel worse, because their
suffering is private and in most cases, they vastly prefer to be alone or only with very close family or friends. To show their suffering on TV is
pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to the Japanese people...
The same goes for openly stating what may even be patently obvious. Even if it is something very negative -- like discussing the possible strong links
between current quake activity and what this may portend -- the tendency is to edge around it, to make statements that hint at it but where the
listeners need to read between the lines. So, when the spokseperson for JMA says there is no connection between what happened last Friday and recent
events on land near Shizuoka, the very fact that he said this is something to take note of. Sure, he was responding to a direct question, but that
question should not even have been asked in such a direct way. So, he gives a direct answer, and that is so totally out of the norm that Japanese ears
prick up and they say, "A-haaa!" and they know immediately that the Honorable Scientist has just told them to beware.
When I made my comments the other day on this subject, I was hoping that what I said would be understood for what it was: the western reaction. The
fact of the matter is, though, that the JMA spokesperson made it absolutely clear to the Japanese people
, and this
is what he meant when
you read between the lines: "I am saying categorically that there is no connection. You all know that we never
make such blunt and direct
statements about such grave matters. So you know
I am saying much more."
So, after my long answer (and my apologies for it, TA!), my short answer is this: the Japanese people know full well that they have been given a very
clear warning by their Honorable Scientist from the most highly respected Japan Meteorological Agency. They were given similar warnings by those who
have been battling the problems at the nuclear power stations. When one at first said that "the cooling is not proceeding as planned", that was a HUGE
In Japan, the official answer is almost never as plain and simple as it appears on the surface. We always need to look below the surface and consider
all the circumstances, as well as the position the person has in society.
When the revered Emperor of Japan appeared on TV live and made a speech, this was the first time such a thing had ever happened in Japan. The Emperor
give live speeches on TV.
The fact that He did is very, very
telling indeed. He told the Japanese people that He is praying for them. But it is known that He
prays for them and for His nation. The fact that He said this is incredibly important: the Emperor was giving a warning
. He is
obviously kept well informed -- by people who do not dare
to make false statements to Him. The fact that the most revered Emperor
appeared live on TV is more significant than anything else that has been announced by anyone
Let me please repeat this as it's very important:
The Emperor of the Land of the Rising Sun has never
made a live speech to the Japanese people on TV before. His statements are always
recorded and then released later. When I learned that He had done this, I thought: "Ohhh myyy God..." because just the fact that He did this was so
The fact that He went on TV live was to indicate to the people of His nation that the subject of His speech was so urgent that not even He
could delay His statement. The Emperor never hurries anything. It is not dignified
The Emperor (relative to what is traditional for Himself) hurried
-- and if you know anything of the Japanese and their reverence for Him, that
is just absolutely mind-blowing.
And I can guarantee to you all that the people of His nation, well versed as they are in reading between the lines, immediately understood why their
Emperor had taken this unprecedented step. They do not
ignore statements from their revered Emperor. Some would have His speech
memorized word-for-word. All of them appreciate the import of His extraordinary action in breaking from tradition, because tradition is everything.
They have been warned!
Some have asked, "If there is such danger in Tokyo and its regions, why has the Emperor not left for a distant place?"
The answer is simple: the Emperor will do whatever He decides to do. In any case, the Emperor has Family. He has an Heir, and if his Heir and the
Heir's family choose (on the Emperor's polite suggestion) to go on a visit to a distant city to observe perhaps some early blossoms, or to pay a visit
to a particular holy shrine, then they will go. No-one will openly question their motives, but everyone will get the message loud and clear.
This is Japan, and this is the way things are done.
edit on 17/3/11 by JustMike because: extra notes