Cherry blossom choices and Ishihara hypocrisy

Tokyo’s cherry blossoms are now well on their way to full bloom beauty, but, after everything that the country has been through, celebrations this year will, in many instances, be very subdued. In fact, some of the city’s popular hanami spots have curtailed activities, while others have asked people to simply not participate, or at the very least, do so quietly. A move that manages to strike a balance between those who feel that some kind of fun would allow people the much needed chance to blow off some steam, along with the equally valid point that exuberant celebrations could be deemed disrespectful.

Such a sensitive, common sense approach, however, is one Tokyo’s happily racist governor, Shintaro Ishihara, is clearly incapable of; the bespectacled bigot instead proclaiming, “This is not an era in which people at this time of year may drink viewing cherry blossoms, even during daytime.”

Comments that, although a little extreme and unnecessarily dictatorial, can still be viewed as the wishes of someone who just wants the capital’s citizens to be aware of those who, whether directly or indirectly, are still suffering from the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The trouble is though, only four days after the catastrophe, Ishihara declared the events of March 11 to be “divine punishment”. Then elaborating further by adding, “Taking advantage of the tsunami, Japanese people should wash away their selfish greed. I think that the tsunami is a punishment from Heaven.”

Contrasting comments that display a level of hypocrisy that’s rare even amongst politicians, and a degree of insensitivity that is simply staggering. Actually, insensitivity really isn’t the right word, although I’m not at all sure what is.

But of course, people don’t need to be told what to do. Similarly, they are more than capable of deciding what is appropriate. And when. For some that’s a few drinks with friends and family, whereas for others, it’s the equally relaxing practice of painting some pictures.

Tokyo cherry blossom


  1. says

    So, spring is finally here, ya? 😀

    Note on ‘hanami’, I think one of the best way to recover is to keep the economy going. Hanami is also part of it (at the least in tourism perspective), so it should be allowed :-)…

    Life goes on. When one moved on, it doesn’t mean one forgets the past, be it sorrow or joy. They just move on.

    • says

      It’s a tricky one for sure. Yes, life goes on, and at the moment people probably need events like hanami more than ever, but at the same time, there are so many people in Tokyo whose friends and family have been caught up in the quake.

      People will do what feels right for them and their family, which is exactly the way it should be. There is certainly no need for directives from above, that’s for sure.

      • Jeffrey says

        In that same regard, what sense do you get of the mood in the rest of the country? Tokyo may be the center of the Japanese universe, but all the death and destruction happened to the north and east, and the majority of the population is unscathed. I haven’t sensed from friends and family in the Nagoya and Osaka that day-to-day life is much changed.

        • Jeffrey says


          Ishihara is an idiot and I really hope Tokyo-to ends up with a better government.

  2. says

    Dictatorial is a bit harsh of a statement, don’t you? Mr. Ishihara makes a salient point. This is a time of mourning, not revelry. Why is it whenever he makes a strong strong statement there’s a knee jerk reaction? Good on him and the Japanese people.

    • says

      Not really. In a free city, in a free country, it’s hardly the governor’s job to tell me people what they can and cannot do in their free time. Provided it’s legal of course. But that’s beside the point. I did say that his views on hanami could be seen as those of somebody who is concerned about people affected by the earthquake and tsunami. And coming from anybody else, they would have barely raised an eyebrow. However, after Ishihara’s utterly despicable comments following the quake, they reek of hypocrisy at the very least.

      And in regards hanami, he clearly doesn’t speak for the Japanese people either. Lots of revelers were out under the blossoms at the weekend. As they will be for the next couple of weeks. Plus his directive has received lots of criticism, perhaps most notably, from government minister, Renho.

  3. Ian says

    I believe the remark of “dictotorial” may have been the best “politically correct” thing to say. I feel it was directed towards the hypocrisy of saying such a horrendous tragedy could actually be of anything divine. The solemn time is indeed needed for some and should be respected. But to invoke divinity. Is he in an actual place to know such things ?. Thank you.

    • says

      Even for a man known for controversial statements, this was truly shocking. Wherever his mind was, it’s impossible to comprehend where that statement came from…

  4. Matt says

    From my experience of the Japanese people they know perfectly well how to behave at a time like this, as they’ve show exceptionally well over the last few weeks. The governor’s comments were, in my opinion, unnecessary. Clearlying now going too far the other way after his initial idiotic comments.

    • says

      Yeah, literally going from one extreme to another. But, like you say, people know exactly how to act. They certainly don’t need telling. And especially not by somebody like Ishihara.

  5. says

    The paths of intelligence and think for yourself, and not take for granted what is said or suggested by the media, advertising, politicians. Make use of your free will and your discernment. Always ask yourself the question what YOU think, depending on your vision and what you really feel. While simultaneously being open and tolerant towards other views or perceptions. summarize Listening to intuition, it is also in contact with our unconscious, because that’s where comes the intuitive perceptions. For this, we must be a minimum consistent with ourselves and with our unconscious. Because if we can not bear what is there, the unconscious becomes totally inaccessible to the conscious, so that he can not see what he does not want to assume.

    So the picture is good or oil painting

  6. Maria says

    Little amount of respect lies in the words “devine punishment” for those lost and those left behind .
    Man,such an asshole.
    And this is the perfect time to appreciate cherry blossoms and have a drink.
    Damn it,Icould get really wasted under a cherry tree,toasting on Ishihara.

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