Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Do They Dream of The Girl From Hell?

The first season of the anime series Jigoku Shojo (Girl from Hell) ended last night. I found the ending OK, but a bit anti-climatic. The whole series wasn't all that spooky to begin with.

It does, however, offer a peek at what's going on in Japanese/Far Eastern society lately: bullying, back-stabbing, unrealistic expectations, the stifling demands of centuries-old traditions and the desire to retaliate against all that. Thus, in true escapist fashion, fantasies like the Girl from Hell were born. How many of these angry, bitter souls would give up their chance of entering Nirvana in exchange for vengeance? Plenty, I'd say.

In the same report, according to the BBC's Tokyo correspondent, views on suicide in Japan haven't changed much since the days of the samurai. Even my cynical self finds this abhorrent beyond words. They are notoriously clingy when it comes to traditions. What is tradition anyway, other than behaviour sanctioned by ages of use? This kind of obstinacy annoys me a great deal. The willingness to lie and bribe to justify whaling; encouraging middle-aged princesses to supply male heirs for a purely symbolic dynasty, without any heed to their health and the objections of their spouses; and now, this.

Suicide, like vengeance, should be never be a "responsible" choice for anyone.

If the BBC correspondent's claims are true, Japanese society is in terminal condition. This country needs its young more than ever. The Administration, however, is overrun by dinosaurs who are instead brainwashing them about the "good old days", cultural superiority and that those fourteen losers in Yasukuni are actually heroes. The Mainland Chinese aren't helping either, with their ceaseless demands for "atonement", "apologies" and - the magic word - "compensation".

Confined by tradition and bogged down by other people's emotional baggage as well as their own, it's no surprise that some Japanese choose to take their own lives. How many others would be dreaming of the Girl from Hell?

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