It seems the New Year’s resolutions of China and Japan are to keep stirring each other up, and China had a flying start to 2014 with a scathing op-ed in British newspaper the Telegraph. The topic was PM Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, a complex and highly emotive issue, but thankfully he threw in a simple Harry Potter analogy to ensure the British could understand:
In the Harry Potter story, the dark wizard Voldemort dies hard because the seven horcruxes, which contain parts of his soul, have been destroyed. If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.
Well, that made everything much clearer.
Japan’s Ambassador to the UK Keiichi Hayashi, though perhaps referred to in China as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, responded in kind with another opinion piece in the Telegraph.
Ironically, one of his main points was the fact that Japan doesn’t arrest people for criticising the government – something the Abe administration is trying its hardest to change at the moment – though the most enjoyable part is the final conclusion, in which Hayashi turns the Voldemort comparison back on China (possibly with the use of some kind of reverse-spell effect):
“East Asia is now at a crossroads. There are two paths open to China. One is to seek dialogue, and abide by the rule of law. The other is to play the role of Voldemort in the region by letting loose the evil of an arms race and escalation of tensions, although Japan will not escalate the situation from its side.”
Hopefully they’ll both run op-eds in the New York Times to explain who is more like Darth Vader and why. Otherwise Americans are never going to understand this whole mess.