November 17, 2017

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Junichi Ishida, “War Is Not Culture.”

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Junichi Ishida (61) has been an actor for 35 years. He made a speech at a rally against the security legislation in front of Parliament on September 17. He proclaimed “war is not culture,” playing on the famous phrase “adultery is culture,” which was used by the media to describe his philosophy of relationships.

In 1996, his affair with model Rie Hasegawa (who was 22 years old and twenty years younger than him) became serious. When reporters asked him during a golf game if the relationship was ethical, he responded, “Don’t you think that it is possible for somebody to secretly love someone else. Literature and culture are born out of such things.” This remark was shortened to “adultery is culture” in the media, although he never said these exact words. The phrase became famous as Ishida’s justification for adultery. He was heavily criticised for what he said, as he was married to an actress, Chiaki Matsubara and had a six year old daughter with her at that time. Only Ishida used the phrase “war is not culture” during the rally. When he said it, many in the crowd seemed to remember the original controversial phrase and were amused by Ishida’s somewhat self-deprecating use of the phrase. Below is the summary of his September 17 speech.

We still have free speech, so we have still hope. I often hear the question “what would Japan do if it were attacked?” on various media outlets and Twitter. If Japan was attacked, Japan can adequately protect itself with its individual right to self-defense. The United States is our ally, but do we really need to go all the way to the Middle East and help American troops there? We don’t need to do that, right? For the 70 years since the end of WWII, Japan has been a pacifist country and has been the pride of the world. I would like our pacifism to continue for the next 100 years and 150 years, so that our children and grandchildren can live in peace. We can protect this country adequately with the individual right to self-defense. Why do we need the right to collective self-defense? Why do we need to curry favor with the United States so badly? The United States is our friend and ally, but between friends, one should be free to say what is wrong is wrong. In the previous great war, 100,000 precious lives were lost and according to some statistics, 4,000,000 people died. War is not culture! Let’s maintain the peace that we have been proud of for 70 years, 80 years, and 100 years after the war.

(Source: Independent Web Journal,



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