Rock and Roll and a Reason Why American Musicians No Longer Capture
the World's Imagination?
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers
by Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers: The
Trickle Becomes a Flood?
because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics
won't take an interest in you." ~ Pericles
I sit at the
Yakitori-ya (BBQ chicken on sticks restaurant) and nurse my beer
and a few delicious sticks of chicken. Tanaka san, the neighborhood
school English teacher, howls besides me about the decline of Japanese
today don't care about studying English. They don't want to go to
the United States anymore. They are not fascinated by the west.
If Japanese kids don't learn about other cultures, especially the
United States, Japanese culture is doomed!" He says.
I think, "Japanese
culture is doomed if Japanese kids don’t learn about American culture!?"
I laugh and have another sip.
comes from an older generation of Japanese that were born just after
the war. He is from the generation that grew up with Elvis Presley
and Rock and Roll music. The United States, to his generation of
Japanese, represented dreams and freedom. Tanaka san even has posters
of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe – American idols from a day long
gone past – on the walls of his classroom. But, that's not what
the United States represents to young Japanese people anymore...
I say to him, "Don't
worry about it, Tanaka san. It's not the end of Japanese culture
and civilization, it is just the end of the United States as you
know it. You are just witnessing the fall of the American empire,
stares at me incredulously at the blasphemy emitting from my mouth.
that's what it is, Tanaka san. Japanese kids are not interested
in the United States anymore NOT so much because the Japanese kids
have changed that much. Kids will always be kids and interested
in fun and excitement. Today’s Japanese kids are not interested
in the United States because the United States isn't fun and exciting
anymore. It has changed, and not for the better. The United States
isn't a good place full of good dreams.
It used to
be that the USA were the good guys, but they are not anymore. The
USA and NATO lackeys as well as the UN (which has become a rubber
stamp organization for US imperialism) bomb and destroy the homes
and families of brown-skinned people all over the world 24/7 and
it is obvious to everyone (excepting many Americans).
I also hear
that Japanese student enrollment at Ivy League universities is way
down. I know for a fact the enrollment in English schools inside
of Japan has crashed. I submit to you that it is because of at least
- The United
States has a very bad image of a country full of crime and a definitive
lack of safety
- The United
States has a very bad image of a country full of abusive police
and a police state (TSA, Homeland Security, etc...)
- The United
States and its people have the image of a nation of over weight
I'd like to
add another one to that list, but I don't think most Japanese realize
this, and that is: Far too many Americans are completely out of
touch and ignorant to the extent of the murder the US government
and military are involved in in the name of the American people.
The really dumb Americans act like and say, "I'm apolitical." When,
in fact, it is these very same people who are responsible for what
that country has become. They can bury their heads in the sand all
they want. But they are responsible.
I wonder if
the sixties artists who protested the Vietnam war, guys like Bob
Dylan, would have gotten very far if while the Vietnam War was going
on and we were bombing those people 24/7, he'd have shrugged his
shoulders and said, "I don't know about it. I'm apolitical."
Ha! How can
you be apolitical when your country takes your money and uses it
to kill children in other countries? That's like Germans in World
War II saying they are apolitical while the Nazis killed minorities
and Jews and wiped out entire populations.
well, I don't know about that!" Typical American says.
has ignorance been an excuse?
So this situation
is why Japanese kids are no longer fascinated with the USA. I believe
it is also a big reason American and western rock artists are no
longer popular here. Guys like Michael Jackson used to be able to
sell out Tokyo Dome! Today? No
way, not even Coldplay or Lady Gaga. There’s no western
artist in the entire world that can sell out tokyo Dome today. Japanese
artists, on the other hand, sell out multiple nights in a row at
What ever happened
to western musicians who had a message and something to say? Weren't
politically charged and motivated artists in the sixties moving
entire segments of society? They sure were in Japan!
difference between the artists of those days and today's American
artists? Back in those days, the American military were bombing
and killing brown skinned children 24/7, in a few countries, yet
American musicians sang about it and protested. They were popular
all over the world.
Today, the American
military are bombing and killing brown skinned children all over
the world 24/7, in a half dozen countries, yet American musicians,
for the large part, are in muted silence... They tell me, "I'm apolitical."
Ha! Yeah, and
you American Rock musicians are not popular and don't sell your
music all over the world like you used to either.
I wonder if
there is a connection?
(in Tokyo) Rogers [send
him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to
Japan in 1984. He is the president of an Internet & Cross Media
advertising/marketing agency and a media production company named
He writes about marketing, the Internet and Social Media at the
Marketing Japan blog. His book, Schizophrenic
in Japan, went on sale in 2005.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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