Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

U.S. Marine suspected of raping schoolgirl in Okinawa

The Japan Times reported that a U.S. marine has been accused of raping a Japanese school girl. Since this has happened several times in the past with Marines in Okinawa, I have a solution.

Maybe the Marines in Okinawa should be permanently confined to their base since they seem to not be able to control themselves around Japanese women.


  1. When a crime is committed in a parking lot that is literally across the street from my apartment, which strains relations between the top 2 national GDP on the planet, I tend to pay a lot of attention. Even when there aren't mass demonstrations demanding justice at the base that I live only 2 blocks from, where I do my banking & receive my mail & buy my groceries & check out my library books, I still pay attention, so you can imagine I'm trying to think through the most recent heinous atrocity my nation has committed on this wonderful island that I truly love. Needless to say, there is a lot of anger about this issue & some unrealistic denial & a LOT of over-simplification (nothing new, I know) that I'm reading & hearing & sometimes even tempted to agree with. But specifically as a member of the offended community & also as a citizen of the offender's nation, I have a few thoughts that I've begun posting on public forums, so why not right here too? My musings are as follows.

    As an American citizen (though too often, including right now, not a very proud one), I feel like this type of absolutely reprehensible behavior is a real problem in US society at large, most likely a product of our flawed socioeconomic situation(s) & a collective lacking sense of healthy moral values, as a people group. Nowhere else in the world that I've lived & traveled in my 30 years thus far (that currently includes much of North/Central/South Americas, Western Europe & parts of East Asia) have I been as impressed with a nation's collective mindset towards how to live good, complete lives alongside many others, than right here on Okinawa & really in all of Japan, as a whole. The commitment to educating their children to respect & honor others is quite evident, not only in the extremely low violent crime rates (we often don't even lock our doors except when we remember the American degenerates too nearby), but also in their actions & attitudes towards us as we move about & interact. Yes, we had an unsecured $80 (new) bicycle taken from our parking lot downstairs but it was one of the homeless men that sleeps in the park across the street, so he didn't go far with it before we found it & reclaimed it as he lay passed out (it now sports a US$0.90 bike lock). That's the extent of the greed we've witnessed in a land that usually realizes well before we even do that we are strangers & we are vulnerable. That's impressive, my friends!!

    So I am quite ashamed & saddened that my American brothers (who are here because the US military stationed them here) insist on tainting such a society with our very American perversions & illicit behaviors. Yes, there IS an extremely large number of US military personnel here (for reasons that are themselves EXTREMELY complex & have been so ever since the Japanese empire early last century began to seek to expand itself at the expense of other peoples) & this IS the southernmost prefecture of Japan (I do realize it's been Japanese for only a century so far) & the site of a horrendously bloody battle in an absolutely awful war that the US won. But these service members themselves are but a sampling of the larger US society & I can tell that the military has actually made a concerted effort to keep the young, most often offense-prone members (this man was 38; he defied the stats) on a much tighter leash than it does back in the US (where similar crimes are also committed WAY too often, I'd be shocked if the last very similar occurrence was over 12 years ago & not perhaps last year or even last week).

    Thus, I propose that the real problem does not start & stem from within the US military culture (here or anywhere else in the world) nor from any lack of discipline or concern over its members' behaviors, but rather from issues that plague the entire US society today. The fact is that the US military offers an attractive option to almost every US citizen who has had big challenges in life (relative to the perceived majority of US citizens) or maybe made some bad choices, finding themselves with desires & a real opportunity to move past them. That is most often what military service offers to those that agree to sign over their lives, rights & freedoms in the prime of their physical maturity. Unfortunately, sometimes that also means that these citizens' "demons" enlist along with them, eventually revealing themselves & plaguing people in other nations where they are stationed, rather than among the people that allowed the demons to be created at all.

    But I also ask you to consider something. Is Japan completely without dessert in this situation? Perhaps, had a greedy & egotistical empire not tried to take over the entire Asian & Pacific hemisphere over 70 years ago before then surprise attacking the US military & nation "preemptively" which led to an all-out horror-filled war involving the majority of the military forces on this planet, things might be different today. But it's not. We have those results of those decisions & actions & indeed many others of the past to explain the situations we face today. Okinawa is not Japan, I realize to be a popular & substantial argument. But really that's a whole different argument. With that premise, the problem will not be tackled starting with US military presence (which will be justified as long as this is still Japan) but with the sovereignty of Okinawa from Japan. As long as Okinawa is Japanese, there will be a place for some US military (yes, the presence can be reduced & the slow moving wheels towards that end are already creaking, but it'll be years before it happens).

    It's a complex situation. Definitely sad & flawed in far too many ways, but definitely not easily quantifiable to just 1 or 2 core issues that we can just throw into a jail cell & be rid of tomorrow, if only we just decide to be. Now I'm not saying that Japan needs constitutional reform to provide their own national defenses by men & women who will respect & honor the people they serve, but if they don't, I'm not sure they'll ever be free of all of the American scum that enter the military & fool their superiors into thinking they're in line & playing nicely, until that one evening when they're on their motorcycle cruising off-base in central Okinawa & a group of short-skirted (or is it just me that thinks so?) junior high school girls gives their demonic selves some desperately wanted attention. Those demons are real, my friends, & they aren't always easy to detect until they bite.

  2. Thank you for the comment Josh.

    It is too bad that a few idiots can do so much damage like some of these soldiers.

    It is also true that the vast, vast majority of the soldiers are good people serving their country.

    But I just get tired of hearing this things in the news every so often.

  3. My usual response to something like this is: there are assholes everywhere. Every nation and socio-economic class and profession has bad people in it. While an offender being in the military may or may not have anything to do with a predilection for attacking young girls, think of the historical reputation of soldiers, from the dawn of the military: rape and pillage, right? You coop up a bunch of (mostly) males together for a long time, and some cretin of questionable moral upbringing is bound to snap for want of the exercise of the supposed male need.

    Also consider Japanese culture: said short skirts. I will never be one of those who say "she asked for it," because rape is a heinous crime and the victim should never be doubly-victimized by such bullshit. However. I have to wonder about a culture that supposedly teaches respect and honor, while teenage girls are engaged in "compensated dating" with older men so they can buy the Louis Vuitton purses all their friends have. And how many manga pages are filled with rape fantasies involving schoolgirls? (I realize I am lumping Okinawans in with Japanese; having only been there once, I don't know if there is a radical difference in culture beyond the markedly more easy-going attitude in Okinawans)

    Let's not point fingers at the Americans. I am sometimes not proud to be one, but I am getting sick of the constant bad press and being lumped together with all the jackasses that are giving my country a bad name. I repeat: there are assholes everywhere. And by the same token, there are perfectly wonderful people everywhere.

    The fault, in my opinion, is not the Americanness of the criminal, but rather his Humanity. We are a seriously flawed species.

  4. I completely agree that every culture & person has flaws. That's such a completely inarguable point that I dare say it's irrelevant & nonconstructive. Unfortunately, so really is the bulk of my argument, in many ways. I'm basically saying that the US military is doing all it can here (at least nothing is lacking per the details of this most recent incident) given the complexity of the situation. But the central issue really is whether the flaws being imported with our presence would be here otherwise. The truth is really yes, they would be. Several interested in the situation have easily found numerous examples of local rapes & other violent crimes being committed. This was not a crime that is unheard of here. But it did come from a member of a community that was not native, which makes it expendable in the minds of some (& possibly many). So the issue I was really trying to address was that of the military needing to leave Okinawa & I don't think there's any way the facts of the matter (all details included) can justify that. It was a repugnant, despicable, heinous crime (even if the 38 year old adult just fondled & kissed the 14 yr old child & didn't fully rape her, as hopefully the wheels of justice will reveal). But there's no clear proof that the military showed gross oversight in any way (that I've yet heard) nor that it justifies their removal from this society.

  5. The marines are visitors and foreigners so any crime with attract alot more attention.

    That being said, what Josh said made me think of the fact that rapes occur from Japanese as well and the threat of foreign crime is way over blown by Japanese.

    Now that I think about it more, I am sure the crime rate of the U.S. military population probably is lower than the overall crime rate would be my guess.