The murder of Shinzo Abe energized the Japanese people to vote in favor for his party. Now that the Liberal Democratic Party (the LDP, Abe’s party, alongside its coalition partner the Buddhist New Komeito party) has the supermajority, its members are now in the position to execute the plan that Abe exerted all of his efforts to fulfill: constitutional reform in favor of altering Japan’s postwar pacifist policy (enforced upon the country by the Americans) in order to allow Japan to conduct major military buildup, including even preemptive strike capabilities. Abe’s vision set the stage for a revival of Japanese militarism. And for this reason I say, that Shinzo Abe was no hero — no martyr — but evil.
As Reuters reported:
“After a strong showing in an election overshadowed by the killing of former premier Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may have fresh momentum to hike defence spending on a scale beyond the grasp of his slain mentor.”
Before the election took place, the Economist published an article predicting that Abe’s death was going to be used by the Japanese Right to boost enthusiasm for increased defense spending:
“Conservatives are sure to use his death to highlight the need for the kind of security policies he championed. Mr Kishida may countenance or even embrace such cries, rallying for more spending on a beefier army and perhaps even for revising Japan’s pacifist constitution, Mr Abe’s lifelong goal.”
In pursuing this policy of military buildup, Kishida — as Reuters reports — “would expand on Abe’s hawkish legacy and ensure support from Liberal Democratic Party hardliners loyal to Abe.” When Shinzo Abe was prime minister, he was not able to boost military spending to 2% of Japan’s GDP. But now with his murder looming over the political atmosphere of the country, alongside a major victory for his party, Kishida’s oath to “substantially” increase defence spending has now taken upon new meaning. Japan’s next defense budget could be a huge 6 trillion yen ($45 billion), or an 11% increase from last year, according to one LDP lawmaker who was close to Abe and who has information on internal defense conversations. He told Reuters: “If he can achieve that, the conservatives within the party will flock to Kishida and he will have a long-term administration, no doubt about it … Kishida can secure his throne by realising Abe’s goals.” The boosting in military spending by about 10% annually would double it to 2% GDP by the end of the 2020s, making Japan the third biggest military spender in the world, only behind United States and China. An article from the Hill reads that “Japan’s GDP for 2022 is likely to exceed the $5 trillion threshold, the world’s third largest after the U.S. and China”.
The policy of enlarging Japan’s military might is immensely popular in Japan. In the words of Christopher Johnstone, a senior adviser and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “Kishida is riding a virtually unprecedented wave of support in Japan for increasing the defence budget … There is little controversy about what Kishida has proposed.” In one pole, almost two-thirds of Japanese citizens said Japan should get missiles with sufficient range to strike foreign enemy bases. This goes contrary to everything in the number one target of Abe and his acolytes: Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which was foisted upon Japan in 1947 during its occupation under the General Douglas MacArthur. It reads that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes” and that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be sustained.” And also: “The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”
Abe worked to revise article 9, and while this mission failed to materialize within his lifetime, his aspiration lives on after his murder, and with more energy due to his almost martyrdom status. The ultimate goal of Abe was to make a Japan fully independent of American power, and that is “able to defend itself”, or really, to be a fully functioning military superpower. According to al-Jazeera, Abe “sought to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution in an effort to allow the Asian powerhouse to project military force overseas.” Regardless of his death, his vision of a militarily independent Japan lives beyond his death and has a strong presence in the soul of the people. The murder of Abe only accentuated these sentiments with a deep emotional reaction to Japan’s longest serving premier. As al-Jazeera reported:
“Abe’s assassination last week already proved to be as consequential as his life. It rallied public support for Abe’s incumbent Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and allowed it to garner enough votes in Sunday’s legislative elections to push for realising his overreaching vision for the country – namely his dream of making Japan a “normal” country by revising its post-war constitution.”
Abe’s agenda of a militarily mighty Japan was so blatant that it provoked China’s state-backed media to accuse Tokyo of “pursuing to be a great power like the US”. The victory for Abe’s party, according to the Las Angeles Times, “means Prime Minister Fumio Kishida could rule uninterrupted until a scheduled election in 2025 and allows him to work on long-term policies — but the constitutional amendment would still face an uphill battle.” However, the altering of the Japanese constitution will require a two-thirds majority from both houses of parliament. But Japan’s most recent election gave 179 of the upper house’s 248 seats to the LDP-led coalition and two opposition parties that are open to changing the constitution. “Those parties together would also have the required number of seats in the more powerful lower house”, reads the LA Times. Supposedly there is some resistance to the LDP’s goals of changing the constitution by its Buddhist coalition partner, New Komeito.
This idea that the Komeito party is the more moderate, or even pacifist, balance to the LDP has become a common thing to say in American media. But it ignores the reality. In early July of 2014, the Abe administration made a Cabinet decision to change the government’s longstanding interpretation of the Constitution so that Japan can exercise the right to collective self-defense. This decision was backed by the Buddhist New Komeito Party. The Buddhist New Komeito party accepted the new measure to rid Japan of its purely pacifist restrictions. New Komeito has been portraying itself as the party of peace, and the media was frequently portraying the party as the restrainer of Shinzo Abe’s fanaticism. This particular turn of events exposed the true colors of New Komeito. Analysts were shocked to see the Buddhist party accept a policy that made another step towards enabling Japan to partake in war. As one Japanese analyst, Yasunori Sakamoto, put it: “Political observers are trying to determine why New Komeito abandoned its pacifist ideals by accepting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.”
Now that we see Japan getting closer and closer to altering its constitution so as to boost militarism, let me take this opportunity to elaborate on Buddhism’s influence in Japanese politics, both in our town times and during the Second World War.
The New Komeito consists of mainly Nicherin Buddhists who are members of a Buddhist cult called Soka Gakkai. And every president of the Komeito Party, past and current, are members of Soka Gakkai. On the cult’s official website it states, that “Soka Gakkai in Japan is the main endorsing body for the New Komeito Party”. The Soka Gakkai cult is based on the teachings of Nichiren, a Buddhist authority whose instructions became eminent and very influential in Imperial Japan. He maintained, being in accordance to Buddhist policy, that Buddhism must be the religion of the state, and that those who taught contrary doctrine should be punished, even by death. His social contract is very parallel to Islam’s sharia code or blasphemy law.
Nichiren inculcated this teaching in his book, Rissho Ankoku Ron, or On Establishing the Correct teaching for the Peace of the Land.
The Sokka Gakkai does not shy away from this book, and in fact endorses it as a main influence to their organization. In their official website they write:
SGI [Sokka Gakkai International] members strive to put into practice the teachings of Nichiren and to advance the ideal of rissho ankoku [On Establishing the Correct teaching for the Peace of the Land] in order to help build the foundations of a peaceful world.
Let us see what it says in this book, and how the statements within are a justification for tyranny and violence. In Imperial Japan, the emperor was worshipped as deity. According to Nichiren, worshipping all of the Buddhas fortifies and maintains the power of the emperor:
Now when I use the five types of vision to clearly perceive the three existences, I see that in their past existences all the rulers served five hundred Buddhas, and that is the reason that they were able to become emperors and sovereigns.
Nichiren recounts how past Buddhist princes punished opponents of Buddhism, and praises this suppression as the maintainer of collective Buddhist worship throughout the society:
Prince Jogu, having put down the rebellion of Moriya [an opponent of Buddhism], proceeded to construct temples and pagodas. Since that time, from the ruler on down to the common people, all have worshiped the Buddha images and devoted their attention to the scriptures.
Punishment upon opponents of, or preachers of doctrines contradictory to Buddhism by the state, are justified by Nichiren not by his own reasoning, but by Buddhist scripture itself. He quotes a statement from Buddha on how, in a former life, he put to death Hindu Brahmans for teaching doctrine contradictory to his, a measure equal to what Muhammad did:
When I heard the Brahmans slandering these correct and equal sutras, I put them to death on the spot. Good men, as a result of that action, I never thereafter fell into hell.
In this same book, Buddha is quoted as saying:
“Good men, if someone were to kill an icchantika [a slanderer against Buddhism], that killing would not fall into any of the three categories just mentioned.”
This is what is quoted and affirmed in Nichiren’s book, and it is this same book that the Soka Gakkai upholds as their doctrine, and it is the same book that the New Komeito Party, which jointly rules with Shinzo Abe’s party, maintains as true doctrine. Just as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Sufis want to rule the world with the Koran, Shinzo Abe and those ruling with him, want to rule the world through the Buddhist scriptures, especially the book of Nichiren.
Nichiren continues to quote the words of Buddha when he commands that the state must protect, through his power and authority, his teachings and doctrines:
In the Benevolent Kings Sutra, we read: “The Buddha announced to King Prasenajit, “Thus I entrust the protection of my teachings to the ruler of the nation rather than to the monks and nuns. Why do I do so? Because they do not possess the kind of power and authority that the king has.
Since both the Soka Gakkai cult and the New Komeito Party affirm this book, and wish to advance its cause, it is thus only natural that they aspire to use the state as a means to advance political Buddhism, just as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Recep Erdogan in Turkey want to use the state to advance Islam.
By what means, according to Buddha, must the state enforce Buddhism? Nichiren quotes Buddha’s command that the defender of Buddhism must use blades, lances, and other arms:
Good man, defenders of the correct teaching need not observe the five precepts or practice the rules of proper behavior. Rather they should carry knives and swords, bows and arrows, halberds and lances.
The Russians aren’t going anywhere, and anyone who thinks that Russia is just going to acquiesce to the Japanese does not know the nature of the East. Russia will combat two major superpowers in the future: Turkey, the most powerful of Muslim countries, and Japan, the most powerful of Buddhist countries. It will be a holy war, between Christians and gnostics.
The Russo-Japanese War of 1904 and 1905 was a holy war, in which the Russian Christians fought Buddhists who desired to bring the whole world into the state of Buddhist enlightenment. As the Russians and Japanese were fighting each other, the Russian writer Tolstoi, asked the Japanese Buddhist authority Soen, to join him in an effort to bring peace between the two countries. Soen replied with these words:
Even though Buddha forbade the taking of life, he also taught that until all sentient beings are united together through the exercise of infinite compassion, there will never be peace. Therefore, as a means of bringing into harmony those things which are incompatible, killing and war are necessary. (Quoted in the August 7th 1904 issue of Heimin Shimbun (No. 39), in Victoria, Zen At War, ch. 2, p. 29)
In other words, because the whole world is not in “Nirvana” or “enlightenment” then wars will be fought until all of humanity is under universal “infinite compassion.”
Inoue Enryo, a distinguished Japanese priest of the Meiji period of Japan declared that Russia was an enemy of the Buddha, and that the war with Russia was a struggle between Christianity and Buddhism:
Buddhism is a teaching of compassion, a teaching for living human beings. Therefore, fighting on behalf of living human beings is in accord with the spirit of compassion. In the event hostilities break out between Japan and Russia, it is only natural that Buddhists should fight willingly, for what is this if not repaying the debt of gratitude we owe the Buddha? It goes without saying that this a war to protect the state and sustain our fellow countrymen. Beyond that, however, it is the conduct of a bodhisattva [enlightenment being] seeking to save untold millions of living souls throughout China and Korea from the jaws of death. Therefore Russia is not only the enemy of our country, it is also the enemy of the Buddha. In Russia state and religion are one, and there is no religious freedom. Thus, religion is used as a chain in order to unify the [Russian] people. Therefore, when they [the Russian people] see Orientals, they are told that the latter are the bitter enemies of their religion [Christianity]. It is for this reason that on the one hand this is a war of politics and on the other hand it is a war of religion. …If theirs is the army of God, then ours is the army of the Buddha. It is in this way that Russia is not only the enemy of our country but of the Buddha as well. (Inoue Enryo, Enryo Kowa-shu, pp. 299-302, in Brian Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 2, p. 30)
In Japan’s war against Russia, Japanese soldiers would repeat the name “Amitabha Buddha” over and over again, even when they lied dying in the battlefield after fighting with Russian soldiers. General Hayashi Senjuro, who fought against Russia, wrote of how “Japanese soldiers recited the name of Amida Buddha in chorus, even as they died. I was deeply moved by the power of the Buddhist faith as revealed in these soldiers’ actions.” (“Bukkyo Nippon no Shihyo o Kataru Zadankai” (A Discussion on the Aims of Japanese Buddhism) in Daihorin (March 1937), pp. 91-93, in Victoria, Zen At War, ch. 2, p. 31)
The Japanese soldiers did this with the belief that by repeating the name of Amitabha Buddha, they would be ready for death and enter paradise. In a Japanese book published in 1905, called A General Survey of Evangelization during Wartime, it reads
Reciting the name of Amida Buddha makes it possible to march onto the battlefield firm in the belief that death will bring rebirth in paradise. (Quoted in Daito Satoshi, Otera no Kane wa Naranakatta, pp. 131-132, in Victoria, Zen At War, ch. 2, p. 34)
This ritual was learned by the Japanese from reading the Indian Sukhavati sutras, and became very popular on account of the teachings of the Tendai school of Mahayana Buddhism. Tendai monks would gather together in a ninety-day pilgrimage in Mount Hiei outside Kyoto, and circumambulate around an image of Amitabha Buddha and repeatedly chant the name of “namu amida butsu.” (See Donald S. Lopez Jr.’s intro to Genshin’s Avoiding Hell, Gaining Heaven)
The repetition of the name of Amitabha Buddha, was greatly popularized in Japan by a Buddhist monk named Genshin, who was influenced by both Chinese and Indian texts. He wrote that the one who repeats the name of Amitabha Buddha before death, will enter into a trance and be seated in the “lotus throne” of the Buddhist paradise. This is why the Japanese soldiers did this chant before perishing on the battlefield. As Genshin wrote:
When people who have accumulated merit from recalling the buddha (nembutsu) and who have directed their minds toward the pure land for many years are about to die, a sense of spiritual satisfaction naturally arises. This sense of peace occurs because Amitabha Buddha, in fulfillment of his original vows, along with a host of bodhisattvas and a hundred thousand bhiksus shine a radiance that appears before their eyes. …Know that at the moment the dying person in his grass hut closes his eyes, he is seating himself on the lotus throne. (Genshin, Anthology of Essential Teaching for Deliverance to the Pure Land, Seek Deliverance to the Pure Land, ed. Lopez, Jr., ellipses mine)
In Mahayana Buddhism (the Buddhism Japan upholds) there is the belief that if a king upholds true Buddhist teachings (Dharma), then the Buddhist “Four Heavenly Kings” (considered to be gods) will exalt that king to be the king of all kings. In the Suvarnaprabhasottama Sutra, or the Golden Light Sutra, one of the most popular Buddhist scriptures in Japan, it reads that it is the king’s position to govern through Dharma, and if he does this efficiently, he will be ascended above all kings and the most powerful of sovereigns:
We cause all gods, dragons, …demons and spirits, as well as all human kings to govern the world by means of this true dharma and to expel and keep in check all the evils. …World-Honored One [the Buddha], if there is a person who receives, upholds, reads and recites this sutra, and a king should make offering to, venerate, honour and practice it, we will cause that king to be revered and honoured as the foremost among all kings, and to be praised together by the kings of all these other lands. (Golden Light Sutra, Chapter on the Four Divine Kings, ed. Lopez, Jr.)
Buddhism still has an influence in the modern Japanese government. Shoshu Hirai was the Zen Buddhist priest who ministered to Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan. Abe attended Hirai’s temple, called the Zenshoan, to meditate, as we read from one report:
Shinzo Abe resigned as prime minister in 2007, a once-promising politician shackled by low support ratings, embarrassed by gaffes and scandals of his Cabinet members and hobbled by an intractable illness.
Seven months later, the largely forgotten Abe tried his hand at “zazen” sitting meditation at Zenshoan, a zen Buddhist temple in Tokyo’s Yanaka district. … Zenshoan initially became widely known as regular meditation place for former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.
Abe was first invited to join a zazen session in spring 2008 by Yuji Yamamoto, then minister in charge of financial affairs.Yamamoto told Abe, “(Zenshoan) is the temple where Nakasone used to practice zazen.”
In the beginning, Abe, who had just left a hospital, had a hard time even sitting straight, Yamamoto recalled. But he made rapid progress.
“Now, he has a presence just like a large garden rock,” Yamamoto said.
Hirai has stated how much Zen meditation has helped build and fortify Abe’s confidence, saying:
“Rather than a confidence which stems from self-centeredness, his confidence is grounded in executing calmly what he needs to do, that is the impression that I get. It’s not a confidence that comes from being excited (about something), but from being able to restrain oneself”
Notice how it says that the Zenshoan temple was also a place where former prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone meditated. Abe and his party appointed his son Hirofumi Nakasone, to chair a commission established to “consider concrete measures to restore Japan’s honor with regard to the comfort women issue.”
Hirofumi is the son of Yasuhiro Nakasone, who served as Japan’s prime minister from 1982 to 1987, and who also served as lieutenant paymaster for Japan’s Imperial Navy. He conducted a horrific tyrannical system: he organized “comfort” stations (iansho) throughout Asia in which Japanese soldiers would rape women, similar to what ISIS does today. He did this in order to curb the “sexual misconduct,” fighting and gambling amongst the ruffian soldiers. In his memoir Yasuhiro wrote:
It was a large unit of over three thousand men. Before long, there were soldiers and naval civilian employees who attacked local women or who gave themselves over to gambling. For these men, I went to great lengths and even built comfort stations. In fact, they packed into them like sardines. (Yoshiaki Yoshimi, Comfort Women, ch. 6, p. 87)
This former Japanese prime minister, Yasuhiro Nakasone, wrote a book called Japan — A State Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, in which he described how politicians in Japan consulted Zen Buddhist priests, and how he himself practiced Zen meditation:’
In the past, some politicians made a point of meeting regularly for dinner with philosophers and Zen priests in order to listen to their views. They would pay heed, for example, to what was said by Zen master Seki Bokuo or by Hashimoto Gyoin the chief priest of Nara temple, or by Yasuoka Seitoku. Politicians from Confucian backgrounds had a desire to find the truth and I tried to emulate this through Zen meditation. (p. 63)
The man who helped organize centers of mass rape for the Japanese military, was also a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, and after WW2 he served as Japan’s prime minister, and his son has been in the government covering up for the mass rapes his father and others did. The connection between Buddhism and tyranny are all found in this observation, and now that this evil man’s son is working within the government to cover up for Japan’s sinister past, this should compel us to, firstly, be concerned about Japan, and secondly, to study on the dangers of Buddhism.
After a failed political career in 2007, Abe was told by an associate that he should make a religious pilgrimage to the Shinto Buddhist site of Kumano Sanzan, which consists of three temples that together enshrine three revered mountains. The three shrines are associated by worshippers with the three buddhas, “Amida-nyorai”, “Yakushi-nyorai” and “Senju-kannon”. It was here where Abe is said to have experienced a religious ‘awakening.’
There was a religious activity done by Shinzo Abe in April of 2014, in which he sent a message to the Koyasan Okuno-in Buddhist temple. In this temple there is a shrine which is believed to be a house of the souls of 1000 “Showa martyrs.”
Showa is the name given to the Emperor Hirohito, who led Japan against America in WW2, and for whom the Japanese soldiers fought, killed, and died. Hirohito, or Showa, was worshipped as a literal god, and the souls of those who died for them — the Showa martyrs — are revered as ‘kami’ or gods who live in the shrine. A number of these “martyrs” were actually convicted of war crimes.
In other words, Shinzo Abe sent a message to commend the souls of those who fought and killed Americans, and who he adulates as literal gods or divine beings.
Imagine if the Chancellor of Germany worshipped the souls of dead Nazis who killed Jews and called them gods. The whole Western world would be in up in arms. But because the moderns refuse to attack the pagan religions of the East, the Japanese get a free pass to worship and venerate the souls of mass murderers who butchered Americans and other people.
Former Prime Minister, Yasuhiro Nakasone, who was in office just in the 1980s, and also established rape centers throughout Asia, in his book, refers to his most favorite Buddhist scripture, or sutra:
My one and only sutra was the Shobo Genzo of the high priest Dogen. (Yasuhiro, The Making Of The New Japan, p. 230)
What many don’t know is that this book, the Shobo Genzo, and the writings of the author, Dogen, were very influential in the ideology of Imperial Japan. The book that Yasuhiro refers to stresses a lot on one disregarding or casting aside the body, and the self, to become without self and thus detached from the moral conscious. For example, Dogen, in the “one and only sutra” of Yasuhiro, says
To learn what the True Self is, is to forget about the self. To forget about the self is to become one with the whole universe. To become one with the whole universe is to be shed of ‘my body and mind’ and ‘their bodies and minds’. The traces from this experience of awakening to one’s enlightenment will quiet down and cease to show themselves, but it takes quite some time for all outer signs of being awake to disappear. (Dogen, Shobo Genzo, On The Spiritual Question as It Manifests Before Your Very Eyes)
Such an idea proved to be helpful to soldiers who wanted to be ‘detached’ from any guilty conscious when partaking in the slaughter of people throughout Asia. In fact, this belief in severing oneself from the body and the mind was the foundation the Japanese “holy war” and the imperial nation’s suicidal ideology. Ichikawa Hakugen, a very prominent Buddhist priest in Japan who had quite influential position during WW2, explained in article, written in 1942 and entitled “War, Science, and Zen,” about how Dogen’s emphasis on detachment of the body and mind was a foundational tenet for Japan’s ideology:
The words [of Zen master Dogen] discuss the “falling away” of body and mind of both oneself and others. A truly solemn battle must be one in which one conquers not only the evil within the enemy, but within one’s own side as well. A conflict which thoroughly incorporates within itself defense, penitence, and liberation, is one that is worthy of the name “holy war.” By protecting oneself one can truly save others, and through saving others one can undoubtedly be saved oneself. It is in such a war that the “sword which kills” can, at the same time, be the “sword which gives life.” It is the creativity which emerges from tragedy that gives the title “holy war” its appropriateness. (September 1942 issue of Daihorin, p. 139, in Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 10, p. 171)
Hakugen explained that this “holy war” was in fact what Japan was doing in WW2:
“The current war is a fight for ‘eternal peace in the Orient.'” (September 1942 issue of Daihorin, p. 135, in Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 10, p. 171)
Hakugen never truly repented from his ideological involvement in Imperial Japan. After the war, in the year 1951, he expressed his admiration for the fanatical Japanese movements that were for the restoration of a militaristic Japan and the worship of the emperor. Amongst these, Hakugen showed his high esteem for fanatic idealists Yamaguchi Otoya and Mishima Yukio, both absolute pagan radicals who wanted Japan to return to its pre-WW2 state, and strived for the restoration of the worship of the emperor:
Those organization which are labeled right-wing at present are the true Japanese nationalists. Their goal is the preservation of the true character of Japan. There are, on the other hand, some malcontents who ignore the imperial household, despise tradition, forget the national polity, forget the true character of Japan, and get caught up in the schemes and enticements of Red China and the Soviets. It is resentment against such malcontents that on occasion leads to the actions of young [assassin] Yamaguchi Ojiya or the speech and behavior of [right-wing novelist] Mishima Yukio. (Ichikawa, Fashizumuka no Shukya, p. 16, in Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 10, p. 171)
Both Yamaguchi and Mishima were active in the 1960s, both were very adroitly working for the revival of imperial Japan, and both committed ritual suicide. Yamaguchi, in the year 1960, stabbed to death Asanuma Inejiro, leader of the Socialist Party of Japan, and there is footage of the heathen shoving a long blade into the victim’s gut.
While he was in his prison cell, he wrote on the wall, “seven lives for my country”, the last words of the samurai Kusunoki Masashige, who would be the patron of the kamikazes in WW2, and then hung himself with his bed sheet.
Yukio Mishima, the other fanatic who was favored by the Buddhist monk Hakugen, formed his own private army, called Tate no Kai, or the Shield Society, which trained alongside Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. In November of 1970, Mishima attempted to start an uprising amongst the Japanese soldiers of the Self-Defense Forces, and when this failed, he committed seppuku, or ritual suicide in which he thrusted a sword into his belly, and had one of his followers subsequently decapitate him. (See Victoria, Zen At War, Notes for ch. 10, n. 42, p. 209)
Yukio was a fanatic worshiper on the emperor, writing in one of his novels an expression of worship and the high esteem for suicide for the cause of the emperor:
Japan from the ancient days has been a land whose character was to reverence His Sacred Majesty, a harmonious land where the Emperor was held to be the head of the vast family that was the Japanese people. Here, I need hardly say, is the true image of the Emperor’s Land, a nation character as everlasting as heaven and earth. …once the flame of loyalty blazed up within one, it was necessary to die. (Mishima, Runaway Horses, p. 393)
What we learn from stories like this is that even now, the Japanese still have many fanatics who want to revive Imperial Japan. If you say this to Americans, they do not believe you. If you were to say that Egypt in the 1920s was going to end up under the Muslim Brotherhood, people would not have believed you either, because Egypt was so Western. But, in those times you had fanatics; they tried to push their agenda, and they did assassinations here and there, and with enough effort, they eventually brought Egypt to what it is today. The same can be said about Japan: while they are many moderated in Japan, there are still a substantial amount of fanatics, and they have been there even after WW2, and they have been continuing on in their campaign, and now they are seeing their agenda coming to fruition on account of Abe and his administration, and as well through the liberty America is giving Japan.
This emphasis on destroying oneself, and in the process, destroying others, can be traced back to Buddhism itself. In one of the most authoritative texts of the Mahayana school of Buddhism (the school Japan adopted), called the Mahayana Shraddhotpada Shastra, or the “Awakening of Faith,” there is a litany of reversals: destruction is not destruction, lost is not lost, everything is placed in a most confusing paradox. For example in one text it says:
No matter what the phenomena or the conditions may be in the Saha world they are reflected in the mirror of the Mind’s pure Essence with perfect trueness and impartiality. There is nothing that enters and nothing that departs, there is nothing that is lost nor destroyed for in the true Essential Mind all conception are of one sameness that in its suchness abides unchanged and permanent. (Awakening of Faith, part 3, section 1, ed. Goddard)
Since there is no destruction, when destruction is indeed inflicted, the inflictor does not need to feel guilty, because to destroy and to destroy is all the same. There is avery authoritative book of the Buddhist canon, called the Maha-prajna-paramita-hridaya, or the Heart Sutra (Hannya Shingyo in Japanese), and it was a very popular text for Japan, in both WW2 and today. For example, the colonel Tsuji Masanobu, who played an instrumental role in attacking the British in Singapore in 1942, memorized the entire Heart Sutra in just three days. (Victoria, Zen War Stories, ch. 10, p. 173) Before going into China in 1931, where the Japanese would slaughter millions of Chinese people and conduct massacres the horrors of which are beyond horror, Sugimoto consulted with his his Zen master, Yamazaki Ekiju as to what type of understanding he should have in participating in the invasion. Ekiju responded that he must read the Heart Sutra. Ekiju himself recounted the conversation:
Sugimoto asked, “Master, what kind of understanding should I have in going over there?” I answered, “You are strong, and your unit is strong. Thus I think you will not fear a strong enemy. However, in the event you face a [numerically] small enemy, you must not despise them. You should read one part of the Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra [the Heart Sutra] every day. This will insure good fortune on the battlefield for the imperial military. (Sugimoto, Taige, 182, in Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 8, p. 125)
Let us read the Heart Sutra and see how it influenced the savagery of the Japanese. The text is filled with sophistical reversals: fault is faultless, perfection is not perfection, all emotion is an illusion, and the body is nonexistent. In one place it states:
They are neither faultless nor not faultiness; they are neither perfect nor imperfect. In emptiness there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no discrimination, no consciousness. There is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no sensitiveness to contact, no mind. (Heart Sutra, ed. Goddard)
If there are no eyes, no ears, no fault, then what is point of feeling guilty after one has slaughterers lives? This is why Buddhism, or any religion that encourages the ‘annihilation of self’ leads to destruction, death, mayhem, because there there is no foundation for guilt, and reason to feel ashamed of evil actions. This is why the Japanese could slaughter without remorse, for the victims were nothing, there was “neither faultless nor not faultiness” as their own scriptures say. Everything most pertinent to morality and law, which is absolute truth, is dissipated into ‘nothingness.’ This utter and malicious indifference toward moral wrong and right within Buddhism was explained by the D.T. Suzuki, by far the most influential Buddhist scholar for Imperial Japan during WW2:
Zen did not necessarily argue with them [warriors] about the immortality of the soul or righteousness or the divine way or ethical conduct, but it simply urged going ahead with whatever conclusion rational or irrational a man has arrived at. Philosophy may safely be left with intellectual minds; Zen wants to act, and the most effective act, once the mind is made up, is to go on without looking backward. In this respect, Zen is indeed the religion of the samurai warrior. (Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture, p. 84, in Victoria, Zen War Stories, ch. 3, p. 37)
To Zen Buddhism, wrong and right, good and evil, matters nothing; what matters then is acting without thinking if the action is in accordance to the “work of the law written in their hearts” (Romans 2:15) In other words, one can kill, rape, pillage, all he wants, without feeling an ounce of guilt, because he must act on his wicked inclinations “without looking backward.” Killing was not killing, to the Japanese Buddhists, but in fact, an act of Buddhist “compassion.” This just shows how disordered and spiritually warped the Japanese were, and still are, in their confused religion that wants to obliterate all absolute truth and righteousness, and to such evil teachers of this false doctrine, we say with the prophet, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
This striving to destroy the body and this perception that the world is an illusion, leads man to erase what natural affection he has within himself, and enables one to be cruel and ruthless. Massacres, suicides, kamikazes, all such evil actions sprung from peoples who held matter as evil and and an illusion; and it is expected that such actions would result in these beliefs (Sufism and Buddhism), since to see humanity as a mirage, justifies one’s desires to destroy it.
Shaku Soen, a Zen Master and the first to bring Buddhism into America, praised suicide for the sake of war and Buddhism as such:
Let us, therefore, not absolutely cling to the bodily existence, but when necessary, sacrifice it for a better thing. For this is the way in which the spirituality of our being asserts itself.
Yukio Mishima praised and ardently supported suicide for the sake of the emperor is articulated in another place where he writes:
Loyalty, I think, is nothing else but to throw down one’s life in reverence for the Imperial Will. It is to tear asunder the dark clouds, climb to heaven, and plunge into the sun, plunge into the midst of the Imperial Mind. This, then, is what my comrades and I pledge within our hearts. (In Shotaro Lida, Facets of Buddhism, p. 107)
Since existence and the body are but an illusion, why then should one care for humanity? Rumi affirmed this of the material world:
It is counterfeit, a reflection and pale imitation coming from elsewhere and reflecting that other world. This material world, which is merely foam, is false coin and gilded. This world, a mere flock of foam upon the sea, is merely an imitation. It is valueless, counterfeit and without worth. (Rumi, Words are but the shadows of reality, ibid, discourse 2)
The Heart Sutra was recited by the monks to the Japanese soldiers to help them come into the “selfless realm,” or the state of mind that enables them to destroy themselves and others. In this same Buddhist text, there is a chant that one is suppose to say: “Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha!” which means, “Gone, gone, gone to that other shore; safely passed to that other shore,” and in both our own time and during WW2 the Japanese recited this chant most fervently. Here is a video showing the ritual done in modern times:
An eminent monk of WW2 Japan, Omori Zenkai, captivated soldiers with his very melodious chanting of the Heart Sutra. When the general, Homma Masaharu, who was executed by the Allies in 1946 for his authoring of the Bataan Death March and for the slaughter of defenseless Catholics in the Philippines, heard Zenkai recite the Heart Sutra, he fell into a trance and state of annihilation, as he said in his own words:
I was totally captivated by his recitation of the sutras and soon entered into a selfless realm. It was not just the quality of his voice, but there was a kind of power that drew me in. (Quoted in Imamura Hitoshi, Imamura Taisho Kaiso-roku, vol. 1, in Victoria, Zen War Stories, ch. 7, p. 110)
Another general, Imamura Hitoshi, heard this account by Homma, and decided to see the monk recite the sutras for himself, and when he did he too fell into a mesmerizing trance:
I became absorbed in his voice. I don’t know whether I should say I was in a selfless realm, or in a trance, but in any event I was so absorbed in the sound of his voice that I lost all sense of time and had no idea how long his sutra recitation lasted. (Quoted in Imamura Hitoshi, Imamura Taisho Kaiso-roku, p. 261, vol. 1, in Victoria, Zen War Stories, ch. 7, p. 110
Not only did Imamura hear the monk recite the Heart Sutra, but also the Japanese sutra called Shushogi, written by the Japanese monk Dogen. In this demonic book there is a line that would be used to empower the suicidal spirit of the Japanese soldiers, and it was these very words that Imamura heard the monk chant:
If the buddha is within birth and death, there is no birth and death. Simply understand that birth and death are in themselves nirvana; there is no birth and death to be hated nor nirvana to be desired. Then, for the first time, we will be freed from birth and death. To master this problem is of supreme importance.
This verse was extremely empowering for the Japanese soldiers, because since there is no birth and death, then being killed in the battlefield makes no difference. When one dies, he lives in the Buddha, this was at the center of the Japanese ideology. Yasutani Haku’un, a major figure in Japanese war ideology, and one of the major Buddhist teachers who brought Buddhism into America, pushed this spiritual practice of casting aside the self for the cause of the empire’s mission to conquer the earth, and stressed that the belief was most definitely a Buddhist one:
In the event one wishes to exalt the Spirit of Japan, it is imperative to utilize Japanese Buddhism. The reason for this is that as far as a nutrient for cultivation of the Spirit of Japan is concerned, I believe there is absolutely nothing superior to Japanese Buddhism. …That is to say all the particulars [of the Spirit of Japan] are taught by Japanese Buddhism, including the great way of “no-self” (muga) that consists of the fundamental duty of “extinguishing the self in order to reverently sacrifice oneself for one’s sovereign; the belief in unlimited life as represented in the oath to die seven times over to repay [the debt of gratitude owed] one’s country; reverently assisting in the holy enterprise of bringing the eight corners of the world under one roof; and the valiant and devoted power required for the construction of the Pure Land on this earth. Yasutani, Dogen Zenji to Shushogi, pp. 7-11, in Victoria, Zen War Stories, ch. 5, p. 70)
Moreover, in Zen Buddhism, since human life is given no high esteem, and destruction is not destruction, then suicide is also not a wrong, and not only that, it is something to be encouraged and praised. In the Buddhist scripture called the Ariyapariyesana, or “The Noble Truth,” a book attributed to the Buddha himself, the Buddha speaks of “beating of the drum of the deathless (called Dharmacakra), or those who do not die, those who sacrifice themselves live on into eternity:
I go now to the city of Kasi
To set in motion the wheel of dhamma
In a whole that has become blind
I go to beat the drum of the deathless. (The Noble Truth, ed. Lopez, Jr.)
This “dhamma” or Dharma, means teaching, and so the Wheel of Dharma is the continuation and the preservation of that teaching. This concept was believed fanatically by the Japanese in WW2, and it was associated with sacrificing yourself for the cause of continuing the Dharma, and thus becoming “deathless.” In the year 1936, the Japanese soldier and Zen master Nakajima Genjo (who just died in the year 2000), before going off to war consulted with the Buddhist monk Yamamoto Gempo. The monk pointed to a nearby water wheel and used it to illustrate that he must help the Wheel of Dharma continue on through fighting, and in the process, sacrifice his life for this cause:
Look at that water wheel, as long as there is water, the wheel keeps turning. The wheel of the Dharma is the same. As long as the self-sacrificing mind of the bodhisattva [enlightenment being] is present, the Dharma is realized. You must exert yourself to the utmost to ensure that the water of the bodhisattva mind never runs out. (Genjo, Beyond Eighty Years, in Victoria, Zen War Stories, ch. 1, p. 4, brackets mine)
Now, all of these doctrines held by the Buddhists and the Sufis — how we must all be detached from love, how we must be indifferent to morality and to all human suffering, how we must annihilate ourselves and sever our selves from our bodies, all of this is a demonic system. And look how much life was slaughtered by people to held to such religions! How much horror and cruelty!
The massacres by the Japanese were merely the result of all of the millennia it had spent observing its despot ideology, and adding to it new ideas from Buddhist doctrine. All of this accumulation of insidious ideas, add to its worship of the emperor, eventually led up to the horrors that Japan would commit just in the 20th century.
Shinzo Abe was doing the same with the text books in Japan, alongside Japanese fanatics who want to deceive the world on their nation’s evils. Nobukatsu Fujioka, professor of education at Tokyo University, and one who is known for his campaign to remove any references to Japanese massacres in textbooks, said:
It was a battlefield so people were killed but there was no systematic massacre or rape… The Chinese government hired actors and actresses, pretending to be the victims when they invited some Japanese journalists to write about them. …All of the photographs that China uses as evidence of the massacre are fabricated because the same picture of decapitated heads, for example, has emerged as a photograph from the civil war between Kuomintang and Communist parties.
In 2012, during Abe’s first administration, Abe and his cabinet protested a memorial that was being built in Palisades Park, New Jersey, dedicated to all of the women raped by Japanese soldiers. Abe and his ilk went so far as to put in an advertisement in a New Jersey newspaper “that comfort women were simply part of the licensed prostitution system of the day.”
In the same year Abe and his administration undermined the Kono Statement of 1993, which is an official apology made by Japan for the women raped, stating “that there was no documentary evidence of coercion in the acquisition of women for the military’s comfort stations, and that the statement was not binding government policy.”