Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hand-chopping whacky

The Korean Liberator has a link to a Mainichi story about a Japanese man who "almost completely severed his left hand with a machete in front of the National Diet Building on Tuesday, apparently to protest policies toward North Korea."

A police official said the man "appeared to be in a lot of pain and his hand was hanging by a piece of skin."

Holy Crap!

Okay, does this mean we have to start referring to
Japan as a nation of hand-choppers?

No, I don't really mean that. I really don't. Just as I don't think it's fair or productive to keep depicting Korea as a nation of crazies on the basis of two people in the same nutso family (UPDATE: or the several dozen people who have cut off an appendage or committed self-immolation since the early 1990s), I don't think it would be fair or productive to do that with Japan and its crazies. At most what they represent is the excesses of emotional nationalism, not the side of the arguments they are supposedly following. They are the fringe, no more.

But the point of my earlier post still stands: it's counter-productive to characterize these debates on the basis of the extreme-most members of a given society. At least one person in the United States killed himself in protest of Bush's "re"election. But how representative is that of Americans in general or of the anti-Bush faction specifically? It's an easy, facile way of dealing with an issue, this whole idea of finding the nuts and implying they are the norm.

The finger-chopping ajumma and her son, as well as this guy at the Diet in Tokyo, are people in serious need of psychological help.

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