‘The spirit of Japan is the Great Way of the (Shinto) gods. It is the substance of the universe, the essence of the Truth. The Japanese people are a chosen people whose mission is to control the world. The sword which kills is also the sword which gives life. Comments opposing war are the foolish opinions of those who can only see one aspect of things and not the whole.
Politics conducted on the basis of a constitution are premature, and therefore fascist politics should be implemented for the next ten years… Similarly, education makes for shallow, cosmopolitan-minded persons. All of the people of this country should do Zen. That is to say, they should all awake to the Great Way of the Gods. This is Mahayana Zen.’
Harada Daiun Sogaku (1870-1961) – March, 1934 – Chuo Bukkyo (Magazine)
I remember talking to Richard Hunn (1949-2006) – a British expert in the Chinese language and my personal teacher – on the telephone late at night (UK time) during Summer 2005 – with him being in his home situated in Kyoto, Japan. He was ill at this time and was going in and out of hospital for short stays (he jokingly said to me that he was dying from Cancer in short ‘stages’ – which allowed him to carry on working inbetween the bursts of regression). We spoke about many issues, one of which was how he was having some success emphasising the Chinese Ch’an approach of Master Xu Yun (1840-1959) to groups of (young) Japanese students. When I enquired ‘why’ this was – Richard Hunn said that a number of Japanese academics were talking in confidence with him about the Japanese War Crimes committed during the time period 1931-1945 in China and throughout Asia. This involved rape, torture and murder carried out against men, women and children, and toward Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Thais, Indians, Gurkhas and a varied group of colonising Europeans including British, Americans, French and Dutch, etc. Imperial Japanese troops also carried out similar atrocities in the Philippines and used thousands of women for enforced ‘Prostitution’ (this included European women as well as Asians).
The point was that the Zen Establishment in Japan from 1868 onwards pursued a purely right-wing ‘Nationalist’ agenda which included the use of Zen meditation as a form of brainwashing that programmed generations of young Japanese men to ‘kill’ or ‘maim’ the declared (and racially inferior) ‘enemy’ without any psychological or emotional hindrance on their part. This type of corrupted ‘Zen’ turned the Japanese ‘martial arts’ into vehicles of mass murder – and Zen Buddhism into an agency of fascist ideology akin to the Hitlerism pursued within the Nazi German ‘SS’. Following WWII, and particularly following the 1949 Socialist Revolution in China, the US revitalised many elements of the ‘fascist’ Japanese Establishment – particularly ‘Zen’ and the ‘martial arts’ – artificially spreading these attributes throughout the Western world as a means to ‘counter’ and ‘side line’ the presence of the Chinese Overseas population. The US government was of the opinion that ALL Overseas Chinese people were threats to American capitalism and liberal democracy.
The Americans believed that if Western people became interested in ‘Chinese Ch’an’ and Chinese ‘martial arts’ – these activities could be used as vehicles (and agencies) for the spread of Chinese ‘Socialism’ to the West! To counter this perceived threat – the US rehabilitated hundreds of Japanese War Criminals who had committed Crimes Against Humanity – and sent these individuals to the West! Many Westerners were unaware that just a few years prior to their arrival in the West – these Japanese individuals had been using the same ‘Zen’ and ‘martial arts’ to brainwash Japanese soldiers into mindlessly murdering innocent people all over Asia – including many Westerners! Richard Hunn was introduced to the work of the Australian – Brian ‘Daizen’ Victoria – a Soto Zen monk from the West who not only lived in Japan – but could fluently read, write and speak the Japanese language. I include an important chapter from Brian Victoria’s research book entitled ‘Zen At War’ (First Edition 2003 – although my copy is the 2006 Second Edition):