The Council Has Spoken! 01/28/11

From: The Watcher’s Council

The Council has rendered its judgment and the results of the Watcher’s Council contest this week are history. We had a very tight competition this week as you can see below, a testimony to how especially good all the entries were.

Our winner this week, The Razor, took a look at an interesting problem in East Asia’s most prosperous societies that it shares with Russia and much of Western Europe – a low birth rate among the native population. Some of these Asian societies have a built in animus towards migrants settling there, and the Razor came up with a fascinating look at Japanese culture to tell us why he feels Japan Will Not Be Saved Through Immigration:

…the Tokugawa Shogunate cut off all ties to the outside world. They cut loose the Japanese outposts in East and South Asia, forcing hundreds of thousands of Japanese there to fend for themselves. They banned contact with foreigners, making it punishable by death. Any foreigner found on Japanese soil (the Portuguese outpost of Nagasaki notably excluded) was immediately executed. And any Japanese that left Japan could never return. This policy was known as “Sakoku” – isolated country. That situation lasted until 1853 when the American Commodore Perry shelled Yokohama and made the Japanese accept foreign ships at their ports. I think Perry had to shell it a couple of times before the Japanese got it through their top-knotted skulls that he was serious.

Skipping to the modern era, sakoku thinking lives on in Japan today. The Japanese aren’t comfortable with foreigners at all. There is simply no place in their culture for them. It’s difficult for us to relate to this because our nation was built by immigrants, and our national identity for better or worse has been forged in the melting pot. Not so with the Japanese. For 90% of their history they have lived isolated amongst themselves. Some Japanese try to change things, but change is impossible; I learned that the hard way in Japan. Japan beat the liberal right out of me.

Japan will never accept foreigners. It will most likely automate (Japan leads the world in robotics) and eventually fade away. Don’t get me wrong, I love the crazy racist bastards – they are unimaginably interesting to watch – but I don’t think their future is bright. It’s a shame, because they gave us anime, addicting video games, and excellent electronics – not to mention Yukio Mishima, Akira Kurosawa and Zen.

In the Non-Council category we had a tie between:

Barry Rubin’s SCOOP: Explaining How The “Palestine Papers” Story Is A Fabrication That Teaches Us The Truth – a total fisking of the wikileaks-style journalistic joke pulled off by the Guardian and al-Jazeera and Sultan Knish’s Anglophobia or Islamophobia – What’s the Real Problem? – an examination of Islamism’s death grip on Britain.

In accordance with our by-laws, I put on my Watcher’s hat and broke the tie. While both pieces were excellent, Sultan Knish’s hit a little harder and closer to the bone to me personally, so the honors this week go to Anglophobia or Islamophobia – What’s the Real Problem?

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!



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