HomeLifestyleHenry Scott Stokes Dies at 83; Opened Japan to English Audio system

Henry Scott Stokes Dies at 83; Opened Japan to English Audio system


Henry Scott Stokes, a tweedy British-born journalist who demystified Japan for English-speaking readers as Tokyo bureau chief for 3 main newspapers and because the writer of a complete e book that evoked its venerable samurai values and right-wing nationalist components, died on April 17 in a Tokyo hospital. He was 83.

The trigger was problems of Parkinson’s illness, his son, Harry Sugiyama Scott-Stokes, stated.

In 1964 Mr. Scott Stokes, three years out of faculty, moved from London to Japan to open the Tokyo bureau of the Monetary Occasions, which he headed till 1967. He was bureau chief for The Occasions of London from 1968 to 1970 and for The New York Occasions from 1978 to 1983.

After leaving each day journalism, he courted controversy with feedback seemingly sympathetic to the views of right-wing Japanese nationalists, one in all whom he had portrayed in his most well-known e book, a penetrating biography of the aristocratic novelist Yukio Mishima. Mr. Scott Stokes met Mishima in 1966 in Tokyo on the International Correspondents’ Membership of Japan and later bonded with him over brandy at Mr. Scott Stokes’s most well-liked refuge, the Orchid Bar on the Resort Okura in Tokyo.

In “The Life and Demise of Yukio Mishima” (1974), Mr. Scott Stokes explored the novelist’s wrenching evolution from a lonely youngster to a raving nationalist who in 1970 mustered 4 members of his personal unarmed militia, invaded a navy set up, kidnapped the commander, pleaded vainly with the bottom’s detached troops to revive the sacred traditions of emperor worship, after which dedicated the ritual suicide generally known as seppuku, disemboweling himself. He had ordered a follower to sever his head afterward.

Mr. Stokes Scott raced to the scene however arrived too late to avoid wasting his good friend.

Describing Mishima as “essentially the most well-known Japanese of his day,” he wrote: “There’s a saying right here. ‘The nail that stands proud shall be hammered down.’ Japanese individuals don’t like to face up and shout, for concern of being hammered. The paradox is that Mishima, when the second got here, hammered himself down.”

Reviewing the e book in The New York Occasions, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote that it “begins with Mishima’s finish, and naturally one devours Henry Scott Stokes’s research seeking a proof for that finish.” (“The reason for Mishima’s dying,” Mr. Scott Stokes concluded, “lies in his whole life.”)

All through his profession, most of it spent in Japan, Mr. Scott Stokes may barely converse or write Japanese. That handicap contributed to a serious controversy.

It concerned the 2013 e book “Fallacies within the Allied Nations’ Historic Perceptions as Noticed by a British Journalist,” which was revealed in Japanese and embraced by right-wing apologists for atrocities dedicated by the Japanese navy throughout World Battle II. It offered an estimated 100,000 copies inside a number of months.

Whereas the e book had the imprimatur of a reputable Western journalist, the truth is, based on Mr. Scott Stokes, it had been synthesized from 170 hours of interviews he gave to a Japanese translator related to an academic group that helps revisionist historical past. Furthermore, Mr. Scott Stokes stated, though the e book was credited to him, he had by no means even learn it, a lot much less written it.

The e book’s most explosive passage was its conclusion that the Nanjing bloodbath, which most historians stated resulted within the dying of tens of hundreds of Chinese language civilians in 1937 by rapacious Japanese troops over six weeks, “didn’t happen,” however moderately had been inflated and even fabricated by Chinese language nationalists and later by communist propagandists.

Mr. Scott Stokes instructed a Japanese information company that he was “shocked and horrified” by what he known as a “rogue passage” within the e book. Then he reversed himself, issuing a press release by way of his writer through which he successfully stood by the offending passage, calling the bloodbath an “incident.” In subsequent interviews he backpedaled once more, agreeing that “ghastly occasions” had occurred in Nanking however that the Japanese weren’t solely accountable.

Credit score…Charles E. Tuttle Firm

As not too long ago as 2017, he was quoted as saying, “The notion that Nanking was fabricated, as a historic incident, actually is tough to maintain due to the eyewitness reactions.” However he additionally expressed the view that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by america have been “monstrosities,” calling them “conflict crimes on a scale that made the alleged crimes of the Japanese in that conflict seem completely minor.”

“Henry was each gifted and controversial,” Bradley Ok. Martin, a former reporter for The Wall Road Journal and Asia Occasions, was quoted as saying in an obituary about Mr. Scott Stokes revealed by the International Correspondents’ Membership of Japan. “I got here to understand his willingness to rethink his personal place if he concluded he had been within the mistaken, and to attempt to make amends.”

Henry Johnstone Morland Scott-Stokes (as an grownup he not often used the hyphen) was born on June 15, 1938, within the city of Glastonbury, Somerset, in southwest England. His dad and mom have been Quakers — his mom a pacifist and his father, who served in each World Wars, a businessman.

After graduating from New School, Oxford, he joined The Monetary Occasions in 1961 and was posted to Tokyo together with his new spouse, Charlotte, three years later. The wedding led to divorce.

He’s survived by his second spouse, Akiko Sugiyama, who served as his unofficial translator, along with their son, a tv talk-show host and commentator in Japan.

Mr. Scott Stokes additionally edited, with Lee Jai Eui, “The Kwangju Rebellion: A Miracle of Asian Democracy as Seen by the Western and the Korean Press” (2000), concerning the violent quashing of a preferred revolt towards an unelected South Korean authorities in 1980.

Along with writing books, he collaborated with the artists Christo and Jeanne Claude on their joint venture to put in lots of of big umbrellas — practically 20 toes excessive and greater than 28 toes in diameter — in Japan and California in 1991. Blue ones went up in rice paddies close to Tokyo, and yellow ones sprouted on California hillsides. Mr. Scott Stokes was the venture director in Japan.

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