Thursday, July 11, 2002

"Fuji Evening News" and "Shincho Weekly"

News regarding the litigation that I'm involved in was in the July 11th edition of the Fuji Evening News and the July 18th edition of the Shincho Weekly. Having been a newspaper reporter myself, I was saddened to see the very biased and one-sided points of view written quite matter-of-factly. I'd hoped for improvement in the quality of reporting by the media, but, as it turns out, I felt greatly disappointed. Of the two, however, I think that the Fuji Evening News, having included some of my points of view, was relatively "reasonable." On the other hand, the Shinchou Weekly filled their article with opinions of those who've been criticizing me, and only the last 10 lines of the 112 line article were about my opinion.

The "Fuji" article began with the title, "Publication of a Money-Making Book Cancelled--Conditions in the Seicho-No Household," and continues, "The reason for the cancellation of the book had to do with it getting in the way of Seicho-No-Ie propagational policy in the 'Chinese Market' where there are hopes for growth and development. In other words, since the book in question unfavorably attacked the Chinese as though they were a nation of low ethics, continuing publication by the Seicho-No-Ie publisher, Nippon Kyobunsha, on a book like this would adversely effect advancement into the Chinese market" is how it was analyzed. It was so much like a business section article that I was even a little impressed to think that "there ARE people who actually think this way."

Those familiar with the recent Movement Policy of Seicho-No-Ie may not need an explanation, but there are no plans at present for any large scale propagation into China. I believe, however, that the fact that the article points out my opinion that the book in question "slanderously attacks the Chinese people" is commendable. After the lead-in, the article continues on to say, "The reason behind the sudden cancellation of this book is this religious group's desire to propagate in China", but this is not true. The real reason is that the book fundamentally contradicts the Seicho-No-Ie teaching that "Man is a child of God." For example, it claims that some races are morally and ethically inferior to others, implying they are not children of God. We cannot publish a book that contains something like that. From a religious perspective, we must learn from history that recognizing such "evil" in some people and regarding them as "enemies" has led to many religious wars.

There is something important missing in the "Fuji" article. The reason publication of the book in question was cancelled is not only because of the negative comments about the Chinese, but it refers to the political objective of an "independent Taiwan", and, at the time, the author was involved in a serious political confrontation. There are probably many readers who remember a similar situation involving a book, Taiwanron(Talking about Taiwan), by Yoshinori Kobayashi. This comic book clearly supported Taiwan's independence, and in it, the author of the book in question appears and is introduced as being an "advocate of an independent Taiwan." Moreover, the book in question itself is depicted with its actual title, and, in the comic book, the author makes the political statement that "There were no mandatory arrests for wartime prostitutes." The danger, then, is that Nihon Kyobunsha, the publishers of the book in question, and the parent organization, Seicho-No-Ie, might be viewed as supporting the author and his political objectives. So, for Seicho-No-Ie, which in 1983 decided to stop any political activities and concentrate rather on religious activities, the book in question actually became quite problematic.

I'm wondering whether or not to say anything more regarding the article in the Shincho Weekly because, beginning with the title, everything written is so very ridiculous. It says, "'The Leftist Thoughts' by Its Next Religious Founder That Are Shaking Up 'Seicho-No-Ie'." There are no "Religious Founders" in Seicho-No-Ie. Dr. Masaharu Taniguchi writes about that himself in Volume One of the Truth of Life books. The reporter writing the article in the Shincho probably thought that was the only expression that the average reader would understand, but, what about "Leftist Thoughts"? Having used this in the headline, I would've thought that he'd read my books and other writings, and identified that there are "places here and here, so that's why he's leftist", but that's not the case at all. It simply quoted from a "former member" who quit Seicho-No-Ie because he was unhappy with Seicho-No-Ie's withdrawal from political activities.

I'd like you to read the following (the "he" used in the article refers to me):

"Since becoming Vice President in 1988 he has done what he pleases. He was under serious attack by followers who claimed that his statement in the monthly magazine, Riso Sekai (The Ideal World), during the Gulf War, that 'the wars in the Pacific were acts of aggression,' was different than the teachings by the First President.' He then cancelled sales of the nearly 30 'patriotic books', such as We as Japanese and Kojiki and Prophecies in Modern Times, written by the late President Masaharu, that touched on the history of Japan and wars. He has also prohibited publication of manuscripts which have yet to become books.",

This is almost, from beginning to end, simply nonsense, but I did write that "The wars in the Pacific began with Japan's aggressive conduct." I explained this quite extensively, however, in the series in Riso Sekai, in bulletins, and, in the monthly newspaper called Seishimei (Holy Mission) of our organization. Also, the then-Chairman of the Board explained it using quotes from Dr. Masaharu Taniguchi. If these editorials were, indeed, contradictory to the teachings of Seicho-No-Ie, there is no way that the President of Seicho-No-Ie, Rev. Seicho Taniguchi, who is still alive and well, would sit by and say nothing. Moreover, decisions regarding the reprinting of books by Dr. Masaharu Taniguchi are not currently, nor have they ever been in the past, made by the Vice President alone, but, rather, are made by collective decisions. The decisions are based on financial feasibility as well as content. Those who think and say that the sale of "30 books" by the person who started this religious movement with emphasis on propagation through the written word would be cancelled without checking are, in essence, saying that the current President and the entire managerial operations of the organization have been defunct for the past 10+ years (The "former member" more than likely thinks so).

Now, it may not be something that we need to ask readers to keep in mind, but this is generally what articles in Japanese weekly magazines are like. They run some exaggerated headline, and grab the attention of readers with a misleading article. One can only think that they do so just so people will buy them at the newsstands. This is particularly true for groups such as Seicho-No-Ie, where there are many followers who are used to the printed word. They probably think that writing articles that worry and concern the followers leads to an increase in magazine sales. As a former journalist myself, I am deeply disappointed at this sorry state of journalism in Japan, but the imperfection of the phenomenal is not something that's just recently begun. All we can do to rid the dark clouds of the phenomenal world is to continue on brightly and positively with activities that express "the will of God."

- MT

No comments: