Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Simple Political Philosophy : Change

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Edit: Added One Video.

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The casts – Number 1 Japanese heartthrob actor Takuya Kimura and number 1 supporting actor Abe Hiroshi (my personal favourite japanese actor. extremely funny and witty. i never miss any shows he is in).

So as usual, i will throw in some cool philosophies from the TV series mixed with my own philosophy (just like how i did several post ago with the manga Pluto).

Plot:

Asakura Keita (guy in middle of picture) is a well liked school teacher who lives in a simple and contented life. One day, his father pass away and he was pressured by his family to succeed his father as a politician. Initially Keita has no interest in the world of politics. However, at Miyami Rika’s (second from left in the picture) persuasion and the pressure of his family, he reluctantly decides to announce his candidacy. Nirasawa Katsutoshi (second from right) became his main election strategist to help boost Keita’s PR (public relations) ratings and popularity. From there on, he became famous (due to this youth and looks) and is well-liked by the ladies, kids and younger generations. He was then voted in and became a representative for a district in the parliament.

Not long after he holds the representative post, the Prime Minister of Japan resigned due to allegations of sexual harassment and corruption. Citizen of Japan is starting to lose confidence with the ruling political party, Seiyu and starting to support the opposition party.  An extremely influential and cunning senior minister Kanbayashi-san (far left) decides to install the amateurish minister Asakura Keita as the succeeding Prime Minister of Japan. This is due to Keita’s celebrity popularity which is seen to be effective in gaining back the confidence of the citizen with Seiyu which reputation is eroding. Kanbayashi-san thought he could make Keita as a puppet with him pulling the strings from behind and kicked Keita out once the time is right to self-crown himself as the new Prime Minister.

Asakura Keita make decisions by using common sense and human value which contradicts many established thoughts and ideas in politics.  He is a modest and humble man who do not understand the value of power and shoe-polishing relations. Kanbayashi-san has underestimated Asakura Keita’s ability and is proven to be more capable than anyone thought. Once Asakura Keita seems out of Kanbayashi-san control, he has decided to reform the cabinet in order to overthrow Asakura Keita by force.

Philosophy:

1. Asakura Keita was pressured by the cabinet not to admit a mistake made by the government of a dam construction which has killed many fishes in a fishing village. If he admit mistake, there will be a few problems – One the government has to compensate a huge amount of money to the village. Two once they admit their mistake, the ruling party will risk to pay more compensation in the future to other similar cases and Three Asakura Keita will make many enemies with other senior ministers for opposing their views.  Onoda-sensei, a senior minister ‘advised’ Asakura Keita not to fuss about a small problem.

Asakura Keita then said, “28 out of 35 fishermen are already unemployed. For them, it’s already life and death. I think it’s a problem to ‘fuss’ about. Isn’t it common sense to pay for our own mistakes? Is the State greater than the citizen who lives in a normal life? Are the Ministers greater?”

The government is supposed to represent and serve the citizen. However,  many ministers have lost such aspirations once they join politics because of over-indulgence in politics blinded by fame, money and power.  Not only that, many times the government also lose their directions by focusing only on big billion dollars mega-projects such as infrastructure, constructions and technology. Asakura Keita on the other hand insist that human welfare should always be the main priority because human life itself is the most fundamental aspect of a country.

As the story develops, Onoda-sensei became a staunch supporter of Asakura Keita because he reminds him of his younger days.

2. Asakura Keita engaged in a debate with two other candidates who threw in many complicated jargons, amendments and complex scenarios which confused Asakura who does not really understand politics.

Asakura then asked “Can you explain it to me like i’m a fifth grade student?”. He was laughed by the candidates.

“It’s true that i don’t know much about politics. But i’m closer to the people who are watching on the TV. And I don’t think they can understand the content of the debate.”

A minister should have a normal citizen’s perspective to see from their point of view. But many ministers have separated themselves from other normal people and see themselves as one level higher. Once the common point of view is lost, people no longer feel connected with the government.

3. Harry Bingham, the Trade and Commerce Representatives of United States has pressured Asakura Keita of agreeing with US’ demand to increase Japan’s import of American agricultural by 20%. Asakura Keita refused because the import will affect the local farmers income. Harry Bingham then intimidated Asakura Keita by saying that his answer could be an invitation to conflict with USA.

Asakura Keita said, “I have to protect this country’s interest. But you’re also thinking of your own country’s interest, aren’t you? Of course, we’ll clash. But i don’t think fighting over this agreement will benefit either country. If you’re determined to do this, i won’t step down. I am the Prime Minister, and i have the responsibility to protect Japan’s citizen.”

“I’m sorry for being arrogant. I used to be a grade school teacher. I was in charge of the fifth graders and they fight quite often. When those problems arise, i would always tell them … ‘Let’s Think’… You’re in the same class, so when there’s something you don’t like or not satisfied of, then tell them properly. When we think thoroughly, we will realize that …” said Asakura Keita before being interrupted by Bingham, “That we are the same and should understand each other?”

Asakura Keita continues, “No. We will realize that we’re Different…. Since we think we are all alike, we get mad when we get contradicted. When someone acts differently, we will think ‘what the heck?’. That’s when fighting and bullying begin. But no two people are alike. Everyone thinks differently and has different situations. That’s why i wanted them to understand that they’re different from each other. After that, think of what words to use so that their feelings will reach out and convince each other. I think political diplomacy is like that too. Like you’ve mentioned, we are all allies, but US and Japan are different.”

At the end, Bingham was impressed with Asakura Keita and called him ‘an amazing boss’.

4. “Our society has rules and you must follow these rules. And all these rules are written by intelligent people. What does it mean? These rules are written by intelligent people and they make use of them. Since ignorant people can’t understand these rules, there will be hidden things. That means, these rules will continue to serve these intelligent people well. For example, taxes,  salaries, insurance, law and allocations. All these intelligent people will continue to make them incomprehensible. And ignorant people will only have to try to understand the meanings and get cheated not knowing what’s happening in politics. Ignorant people will continue to believe that only intelligent people can handle politics.” Sakuragi from Dragon Zakura.

5. In a political world where two opposing political parties clashes, there are many disagreements just for the sake of disagreeing. The ruling party will disagree with the Oppositions views and vice versa. Conforming with other side’s opinion is a taboo and is seen as weak.

Asakura Keita wants to set an allocation budget to raise more pediatrician but meets a lot of resistance from his own party because the Opposition party has a similar agenda. Since his own party refuse to support him, so the only way the budget to get approve is to have the opposition to support him and vote for the draft. In order to get a supplementary budget draft approved in the parliament, Asakura Keita pleaded with Noro-sensei, the Opposition leader, to vote for his draft.

Noro-sensei asked  “Are you betraying your own party by joining hands with the Opposition? Or are you trying to win us over? Our goal is a political power shift, so why should i support you?”

Asakura Keita replied “You said that the lack of pediatrician is an important issue that should be addressed immediately, right? I also want to solve that. Or were you lying?”

Noro-sensei : “Prime Minister, you don’t seem to know much about politics, do you?”

Asakura Keita : “Yes, you’re right. I still don’t understand it. But i know that right now, this country lacks pediatricians, and because of that, kids are hospitalized due to their illness being discovered late. I also know that if i don’t do something now, it will never be solved. Somehow, i understand the importance of political and party faction, but if that becomes a hindrance for the cooperation between people who share the same idea …. then that’s simply strange and not right.”

At the end of the episode Noro-sensei grown to like Asakura Keita because they share the same vision.

6. It’s amazing that all these ‘common sense’ is not applicable in the real world of politics which is already diluted by human’s greed, desire and intolerance. Anyhow, i think the number one issue is always – Trust.

7.

 

PS: This series is still on-going, so i will add more soon.

PPS:  You have to  watch this TV series to truly appreciate the essence of the inspiration behind all these, because the Japanese translations alone is not perfect.

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Written by elan85

June 24, 2008 at 2:24 am

Posted in Philosophy

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