Internationally renown Japanese author Haruki Murakami has shared his point of view on the China-Japan territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. As Beijing and Tokyo continue to argue at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Murakami shows he has the same feelings as the rest of us with level heads; that the nationalism spewed by politicians in nothing more than cheap liquor. The author of best-sellers Norwegian Wood, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka on the Shore spoke out through an editorial in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
Murakami feels that territorial disputes are an inescapable consequence of dividing humanity in countries with national borders. He says that disputes over land stop being a practical issue when they are viewed through “nationalist sentiment,’ and become dangerous situations with no exit. That national sentiment is just like cheap liquor, he explains, it gets you drunk quickly, act hysterical, say things loudly you normally wouldn’t say, and act in ways you wouldn’t normally act. And in the end you are just left with a headache and the mess you created the next morning. This “drunken hysteria” over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea isn’t even over yet, and I think majority of both Japanese a Chinese already have headaches.
While Japan has controlled the islands for decades now, calling them the Senkaku, China has also laid claims to the territory it refers to as Diaoyu. Japan’s recent purchase of the islands from their private owners has enraged China, which feels the act is an attack on their sovereignty. Just over a week ago, China was overrun with anti-Japanese sentiment, resulting in sometimes violent protests and demonstrations involving the destruction of Japanese property and the burning of Japanese flags.
Murakami closed his argument against nationalism, and cheap liquor, by saying that politicians and critics who lavish the people with it should be avoided. A wise idea, but too bad Shinzo Abe, the most nationalist candidate, was just elected as leader of the opposing Liberal Democratic Party. Murakami has earned commercial and critical success with readers around the world, and also enjoys a strong following in Asian countries like China, South Korea and Taiwan.[via New Straits Times]