The Japanese seem to always be concerned about how the world sees them.  Books, magazines, TV and radio shows thrive on the subject of the Japanese image abroad.  Egotistical? Maybe. Paranoid? Possibly. Effective in altering local behavior?  Rarely.

This week the buzz in J-World is about their own Shoichi Nakagawa, political scion and, until this week, minister of finance.  The perception here is that the politician’s  pixilated performance at the G8 conference has brought great shame on the entire nation.  In Kurosawa days I suppose he would be compelled to commit hara-kiri, but in enlightened Japan he had only to resign his post and wait for his deed to fade from the public memory before resuming his career.

Actually, if they could see beyond their own shores, they might realize that Mr. Nakagawa deserves praise not pillorying for having brought Japan into the highest level of international intoxication. His professed overdose of cough syrup put him in the ranks with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy (G7, 2008), America’s George Bush (most anytime) and the Russia’s regal rummy, Boris Yeltsin.

Congratulations Mr. Nakagawa, you have proven that Japan can play an international role that is as entertaining as any big power.

© Dane Degenhardt, Monde Dane * アメリカンスクールオブ ラングエジーズ