Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Japanese Vampire


Kishi stumbled drunkenly from the slatted shack, as Chinese bumped and jostled him in the cold Manchurian evening. He just needed a breath of air, it stank inside of sake, baijiu, cheap face pancake and perfume, opium and of course semen. It was an intoxicating funk, that in itself was revolting but through its sensory association with carnal pleasure was as stimulating to the senses as the opiate fumes themselves. Kishi was in a good mood today, he'd emptied himself in a few of the Chinese 'toilets' he had around the office, invariably drug addicted chambermaids and waitresses who were nominally employed for this purpose but were nothing more than receptacles for him to drain his desire over the course of a day. As he said years later during the war crimes trials, 'I came so much, it was hard to clean it all up'. In the afternoon, he'd made a few phone calls which had easily transferred millions of yen into his own personal account from the ministries 'black rooms' where the profits from the state controlled opium monoply, state protection money from low -ife Japanese and Korean opium dealers, were funneled into his own accounts. Kishi felt himself a kind of capitalist genius, he had visited Germany, the US and Soviet Russia and had sythesized technical specialization with Taylorist production run along the lines of state planned economy padded with what he took as his own personal innovation, an almost infinite pool of Chinese labour. Paid absolute zero wages, or whatever measly wages they were paid the coolie forfeited back into the Japanese state coffers as opium revenues.  Kishi stepped back into the izakaya, and collapsed into a heap of hair and silk, across from him was the former drug dealer/murderer, now a respected official in charge of the state opium monopoly with his pants around his ankles, heaving himself on top of a comatose Korean girl, passed out at his side was the former human traffiker, who had started kidnapping girls from the countryside in Kyushu in the 90's and now ran one of the 29 comfort stations owned by the Japanese Machuko state. Gangsters, pimps, hustlers, murderers, politicians, businessmen, we were all the same, all after money and power and all our roles were reversible.


Kishi lay dying on the tatami mate, he was surrounded by his family, his wife and children and his grandson. Yoko had married well, and he was proud of his grandson, he had already spoken with some of the children of his friends from the wild Manchuko days and Abe's political career was mapped out. The window was slightly open and he could see a single orange persimmon hanging from the tree, swaying gently in the breeze. The colour screen of the Sony television at the far end of the room was playing, and Kishi had only been absently paying attention until a commercial for Nissan came on and he let out a loud laugh, a deep wheezing yell, as it reminded him of old Yoshi who he'd helped convince to bring the car company to Japan's crown colony, though he hadn't needed much convincing since at the time Nissan were almost bankrupt and the incentive of a limitless supply of unpaid labour was obviously irresistible. He thought of the times the two spent in Dalian every month, carousing for whores and getting drunk and how Kishi would talk about his plans for Japan, how it would take its place as the dominant race in East Asia, on equal footing with the European's and how, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia would become the vast pit of resources which would drive Tokyo to become a glittering imperial capital for the Japanese. With their economic might, they would make every Asian bow their heads in awe at Japanese modernity, its technical perfection and cultural sophistication. Kishi felt at the time total war was the only way to implement his plan, and Manchuko was the perfect laboratory for testing his economic ideas. Of course the war hadn't turned out as he had hoped, perhaps they'd moved too fast, perhaps it was the damn liberalism which had infected the Japanese people when they were exposed to European modernity. But he was not sad or regretful now.
By the 60's every Asian government had come hat in hand, groveling to Japan and had asked for expertise and capital to fund their own version of Japanese state-capitalist development. His crowning achievement had been when President Park himself, had agreed to turn over reparations for Korea into Japanese foreign direct investment. Kishi laughed to himself again,  Yoko would read him articles in the Asahi Shimbun about the Japanese economic miracle, how Americans were scared of Japanese cars, VCR's, Walkmen, video games, televisions, suddenly the Japanese had become more popular than American brands! Already wages were getting too high in Japan though, and behind closed doors he had whispered to many chairmen of the zaibatsu that they needed to move their operations to China, as they had 50 years earlier and for the same reasons, abstract endless supplies of Chinese robot slaves to exploit for Japanese benefit.
Asian Tiger Economies, ha! Kishi remembered the stories by Rampo that he read as a young man in the 20's, they weren't tigers, they were monsters, vampires that would suck the life from workers, the attention of consumers and even the pleasure from sex to drink of that flowing red blood of money.

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