The latest on the Tamogami incident: according to this Sankei article, of the more than 230 entries for the “True Outlook for Modern and Contemporary History (真の近現代史観)” essay contest run by the APA real estate group, over fifty came from members of the Self-Defense Force. Most of the SDF entrants belonged to the Air SDF, and entered the contest at the behest of the Air Staff Office, which Mr. Tamogami had headed.
This is troubling. The selection committee of the contest was headed by Shoichi Watanabe, an English literature professor and cultural critic who is now better known as a conservative-nationalist writer and commentator, is highly critical of the direction that post-WW II Japan has taken. “True” is a code word of sorts that is often used by conservative-nationalist movements*. Regardless of the merits that the claims of this school of thought may have, the institutional expression of ideological sympathy implicit in the encouragement that the ASDF brass leadership gave to JASDF members to enter this contest—an orientation at odds with the official policies as expressed by successive administrations—echoes the pre-WW II history of the Japanese military that brought so much suffering and misery to Japan and its neighbors.
The Aso administration is on the spot.
* One wonders if the word “real” as in “real America” and “real Virginia” will have similar lasting power.