By Rei Tanotsuka, 9 December 2020.
A Comedian. A model. A plethora of multi-purpose toilets. What do these things have in common? They feature in one of 2020’s epic Japanese entertainment scandals!
So…. What’s happenin’?
Meet Nozomi Sasaki, former model and actress of the “pretty girl” renown. A pin up for all the ‘innocent at hearts’ who want to grow up one day and own a fairy tale face, or marry one.
And now, here’s the DISAPPOINTMENT, an old, battered, washed up comedian… I give you Ken Watabe the notorious cheater (not to be confused with the infamous last samurai, Ken Watanabe)….
You see, age is not the problem. It’s immaturity galloping around with an ego that shares nothing in common with reality that is problematic. He is BENEATH her on the social status scale, yet feels compelled to prove otherwise.
This schmuck has been cheating on Sasaki well before he put a ring on it, and he continued to cheat even before the ink on the nuptials were dry, and in the most slovenly of manners to boot- via multi-purpose toilets. Classy! Read about it here – Japan Today
Doing the dirty on your other half….
Though I am not Japanese, I do descend from an Asian lineage that balances my Aussie bogan, offering me a window into the psychology of it all. I’m also married to a Japanese man, so know only too well, the pressures of what it means to be a “man” in Japan.
I grew up in Australia, and I never kid myself or others, that Disney was the pinnacle and reality was a drag in the montage of wedded bliss that frames the Anglo Western mindset of domesticity. That being said, marriage in Japan is NOT for the faint hearted. While the code of Confucian morals run parallel in most Asian countries, it has taken on a very strict parlance in Japan, which an outsider can have no hopes of comprehending.
I know a substantial portion of Asian couples in Asia who don’t share the same bed or bedroom, but in Japan they don’t even share the same life.
What we see on the surface from Westernised lenses, is the amplification of Jungian analysis – it MUST BE shadows or low self-esteem that is the result of a typical Japanese relationship. It isn’t. In Japan, it’s all about honour and not your PERSONAL honour, but the honour OF THE ROLE YOU HAVE UNDERTAKEN that needs to be preserved.
Surely, a millennial who has squillions in her bank account, with a mien that the angel of beauty Jophiel personally gave applause to, can’t be plagued with an ancient compass that directs her existence right? RIIIIGHT?
Nope, WRONG. It has been said, that if you remove the modern Japanese of his facade, underneath it all, lies a samurai. This is no different for the women folk of Japan eventhough she wasn’t ever tasked for seppuku (honour death through evisceration), and certainly never employed to be the kaishakunin (the beheader in the seppuku ceremony).
Her role was nevertheless, equally as stoic, and her deontological nature ran in tandem with the blokes. Here’s a peak into the legacy that shaped the XX chromosomers of Japan.
The following is, uh hum, lifted from Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe
“Thus from earliest youth she was taught to deny herself. Her life was not one of independence, but of dependent service. Man’s helpmeet, if her presence is helpful, she stays on the stage with him: if it hinders his work, she retires behind the curtain. Not infrequently does it happen that a youth becomes enamored of a maiden who returns his love with equal ardor, but, when she realizes his interest in her makes him forgetful of his duties, disfigures her person that her attractions may cease. Adzuma, the ideal wife in the minds of samurai girls, finds herself loved by a man who, in order to win her affection, conspires against her husband. Upon pretense of joining in the guilty plot, she manages in the dark to take her husband’s place, and the sword of the lover assassin descends upon her own devoted head.”
“Girls, when they reached womanhood, were presented with dirks (kai-ken, pocket poniards), which might be directed to the bosom of their assailants, or, if advisable, to their own.”
“Young girls, therefore, were trained to repress their feelings, to indurate their nerves, to manipulate weapons—especially the long-handled sword called nagi-nata—so as to be able to hold their own against unexpected odds. Yet the primary motive for exercises of this martial character was not for use in the field; it was twofold—personal and domestic. Woman, owning no suzerain of her own, formed her own bodyguard. With her weapon she guarded her personal sanctity with as much zeal as her husband did his master’s. The domestic utility of her warlike training was in the education of her sons,”
“When a Japanese Virginia saw her chastity menaced, she did not wait for her father’s dagger. Her own weapon lay always in her bosom. It was a disgrace to her not to know the proper way in which she had to perpetrate self-destruction. For example, little as she was taught in anatomy, she must know the exact spot to cut in her throat: she must know how to tie her lower limbs together with a belt so that, whatever the agonies of death might be, her corpse be found in utmost modesty with the limbs properly composed.”
Let’s see who is smart enough to get this…
Am I saying that Japanese women in 2020 are well versed in Bushido and constantly carry a dirk to protect her chastity? Hell no.
What we see in contemporary Japan is but an ersatz warrior, for nothing can ever compare to the real deal. Every country carries an ethos that is the spiritual progeny of bygone times, and millennial Japanese women are, but a variegation of her ancestors. Her fortitude to withstand emotional and physical pain is commendable for that was her maternal signature, embossed firmly in her heart, and seared into her very soul even though she sports head to toe Chanel now.
All of the Japanese women I personally know, chose NOT TO TAKE AN EPIDURAL. Literally ALL of them had natural births. Epidurals are reserved only for those who have medical issues requiring caesarian births (so I’ve been told), NOT for those who simply can’t stand physical pain.
They also did crazy ass things like move house ON HER OWN sans hubby’s help in her third trimester of gestation.
Then postpartum …. wait for it, she will emerge as the FUCKIN’ PHOENIX of her former beauty and weight within 3 months of delivering little Taro. You will see her trotting around in heels, face minted from the latest edition of Vogue, with a darlin’ of an infant origami wrapped in a pashmina!
Doing your job vs “finding” who you are
I’m saying the following with the utmost of sincerity, devoid of sarcasm. If you find a Japanese person who has doubts about “who” s/he is, this person is one who has been exposed to Western indoctrination. This, depending on your viewpoint, can either be a virtue or vice but in my opinion NOW, it is vehemently a vice if said Japanese person chooses to reside in Japan.
Before coming to Japan, I grew up on a steady diet of binary Western ideals – good vs evil, pain avoidance and putting oneself as the main star and relegating everyone else as extras. MY viewpoints mattered…. except they don’t to anyone else besides me. Asians in general, implicitly understand the minutiae of their own existence, we of the Western mind however, seem to think we are the centre of the bloody universe. If we could rig the heliocentric design to put earth in the middle for the other planets to spin around us, WE WOULD!
The core philosophy of the Japanese is this:
“When one is attending to matters, there is one thing that comes forth from his heart. That is, in terms of one’s lord, loyalty; in terms of one’s parents, filial piety; in martial affairs, bravery;” “Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai” by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, William Scott Wilson.
Whatever happens to you in the course of your life, does not supersede the principles of WHAT LIFE IS. Pain is not designed to trip you up, pain is there for you to practice your resolve that life is more than you. You form ONE PART of individuated existence and through your “story”, you give humanity life. You alone, don’t make much difference. Harsh eh? But it’s actually common sense.
Here’s a little tale to get you thinking:
“Once a group of ten blind masseuses were traveling together in the mountains, and when they began to pass along the top of a precipice, they all became very cautious, their legs shook, and they were in general struck with terror. Just then, the leading man stumbled and fell off the cliff. Those that were left all wailed, “Ahh, ahh! How piteous!” But the masseuse who had fallen yelled up from below, “Don’t be afraid. Although I fell, it was nothing. I am now rather at ease. Before falling I kept thinking ‘What will I do if I fall?’ and there was no end to my anxiety. But now I’ve settled down. If the rest of you want to be at ease, fall quickly!”” “Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai” by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, William Scott Wilson.
What’s the worst thing that can happen to Sasaki?
Besides getting maimed, or ending up in a war torn country fleeing political persecution, what she is experiencing now is pretty much it.
She married beneath her, probably to the consternation of her parents who insisted on someone more suitable. She made her bed and eventhough she is very likely lying on it alone, it was one she made.
Her resilience to honour her decision, in addition to her duty to her baby now is of utmost priority in her life. While I personally would not apologise on behalf of a cheating spouse (like Sasaki did), I do understand the courage behind facing the critical public who are torn between sympathy and chastisement for choosing such an unscrupulous man for a husband, afterall he cheated on her before they married, and this is done with her knowledge.
So Sasaki fell from the proverbial cliff, and while shock ensued, she is still alive. A few years now, when she gets stronger and contemplates the issue some more, maybe she will divorce that good for nothing bum, or maybe she will do what many Japanese women have done, have a seeder and but live HER OWN LIFE totally devoid of his involvement.