the guardian reported that “preparations for the opening ceremony of the tokyo olympics have been thrown into further turmoil after the show’s director was sacked over a joke about the holocaust he made in the late 1990s. kentaro kobayashi, a popular entertainer, was dismissed after a video clip resurfaced online of a skit in which he joked about a game he called “let’s play massacre the jews”, prompting laughter in the audience.” guardian.com
article’s import is that when the joke was made, nobody apparently cared. there was only laughter. is japanese society is either accepting of this message? were departments of asian american studies concerned of this anti-semitic phenomena?
a google search of “department of asian american studies condemnation of kentaro kobayashi” found nothing. perhaps, this japanese cultural phenomena was not a concern of any department of asian american studies.
recently, the UCLA department of asian american studies, however, did take the time inject themselves into the middle-east conflict. they issued a statement of solidarity with palestine on 5/21/21. this statement addressed the recent gaza/israel conflict. in light of the fact that there is a history of hatred towards jews prior to the conflict within asia, the department siding against israel only makes sense.
perhaps, the department at ucla has its own asian hate problem it needs to study. studying why, in the 1990s in japan, it was completely acceptable to joke about massacring jews, would be of some value.
unlike what happened in japan, my experience with jewish- asian interactions has been all positive. all asian people, i have interacted with have both an affinity toward jewish people and israel. the communities get along well and without conflict. thus, when academics at the UCLA department of asian american studies seek to inject themselves into the middle eastern conflict, it registers as a huge disconnect with the asian people i know and love. thus, it is important to remind the so-called academics of their own deeply rooted and documented jew hatred problem.
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