Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"My Life With The United Red Army" by Tosh Berman

I’m living near Karuizawa, and I chose to live here because of the Asama-Sansō incident that took place on February 19, 1972, to February 28, 1972, in a mountain lodge near here. Most important, it was the first live television broadcast in Japan - lasting 10 hours and 40 minutes. The final day of the standoff is a classic relationship between the Left vs. Everyone, and the futility of life, as it passes us by. Throughout my life, I have always been secretly attracted to destruction. Although I told people that I had an interest in peace and calm, the fact is I desired the exact opposite. 

The woman I once loved, Hiroko Nagata, was the co-leader of the United Red Army (URA), which briefly I was a member of. Her partner in crime and politics, Tsuneo Mori, was just as brutal as Hiroko. I often fell into the graces of the most horrid people. I met her at Meiji University, when I was going out with another girl by the name of Fusako Shigenobu. We all shared the same politics, where we felt isolated from the mainstream, which condemned us. Fusako, was an early love, decided to leave the group due to the hard-edgeless of Hiroko’s view of being part of the URA. For me, I needed to devote my life to a cause that will make me feel part of a bigger group. To be honest, I was more interested in a life, that would give meaning not only to myself, but those around me. Hiroko, often was removed from my feelings towards her. She even showed slight interest in me from the very beginning of our relationship. To her, I was just a tool to serve the cause. Her ability to look towards the image of Mao, over my shoulder, as I fucked her, always made an impression on me. 

When I first joined the URA, there were 29 members and they lost 14 by killing them less than a year. I could have easily been one of the 14 killed, except I knew when to shut my mouth and kept Hiroko happy. Both Hiroko and Tsuneo were at each other’s throats, when my name came up. Tsuneo hated me from the very beginning, and consistently expressed his opinion of me to Hiroko. The only male friend I had in the group was Moriaki Wakabayashi, who was also a member of my favorite band at the time, Les Rallies Dénudés. Sadly (for various reasons) he took part in the hijacking of the Japan Airlines Flight 351. He eventually ended up in North Korea, and what I last heard, he was still alive, but giving bass lessons to members of the North Korean Army. I can forgive him for that, but I just wished he was with me in these hard, cold and harsh times. 

Hiroko was at her most mean state of mind when attacking other females. I surely think if Fusako didn’t leave the core of the group and started up with another member of the Red Army, she would be tortured and killed by now. Not to sound impolite or even mean, but Hiroko was a real bitch. Especially when you’re working with her or I should say — working under her. 
I don’t know how it happened, but she just became more and more brutal. I once admired for her intelligence and her ability to question authority and what they had offered on the table. But as time went on, I sense she was seeing the world in a much narrower way. At first she would lecture the fellow members, and then eventually she would hit them. For whatever reasons, she physically attacked the women in the group. She would hate it when they showed some form of vanity-especially if they wanted to wear make-up or have colored nails. She thought that was bullshit, and would at first insist that they hand over the make-up, and she would throw it in the trash, or make them break the lipstick and throw it away. 
Also any romantic overtures from either male or female in the group, would cause her to go nuts on us. It seems that she always went out of her way to attack the most beautiful woman in the group. The plain-janes, at first, were left alone, but eventually they would fall into Hiroko’s sight lines and she would eventually destroy them as well. When we were fucking, I noticed that she really had no real interest in the sex act or specifically me. I think she found the sexual act as something beneath her. Hiroko, soon after our sexual affair, became obsessed with the need to see that no one in the group was having sex. Or any sexual activity whatsoever. 

Before Karuizawa, when I was dating Fusako, I wouldn’t be treated so horribly by the dynamic duo of Hiroko and Tsuneo, but both turned against her. Fusako is a very beautiful woman, and she basically left me, because she felt that I wasn’t connected to her, due to my political beliefs. In fact, she always claimed that I was passive to a silly degree. There is truth in what she says. I think there are people who are born leaders, and then there are the followers. Fusako is one of those who people are naturally drawn to. Both, due to her beauty and intelligence. I would think Hiroko just as intelligent, but never would be considered as a looker, if you know what I mean. Yet, there was something very sexual about Hiroko. She did have that ability to seduce — both due to her determination and the razor-like devotion to the group as well as for the cause. Fusako can expand or even change her view-points, but Hiroko never will change her opinion. Once the decision is made, it is written in stone, and never erased by the natural elements. When we had sex, I think she used it as a power over me. She had many techniques in conveying her strength over individuals. 

What set Hiroko off on Fusako, was her beauty. She hated attractive women, especially those who attract men. In an act of revenge, she would give Fusako less food than others - and she made sure that Fusako noticed that I was given a great deal of food, compared to the other men. Fusako would be pissed of course, but I think she was madder at me than Hiroko. She could understand Hiroko’s feelings or her sense of hatred, but had a hard time understanding my indifference. I mostly didn’t want to make waves, so I try to keep out of the hairy situation. Before it got totally nuts here, Fusako and Moriaki left the group and started another wing of the Red Army. Bad things happened to them, but that’s another narrative. As for me, I stayed. There was no question of me leaving, even if I wanted to.
No one in the remaining group understood the relationship between Hiroko and Tsuneo. Both were equal under everyone’s eyes, but Hiroko was an absolute beast - and Tsuneo was just plain sadistic. They both said the exact same things and phrases - the only difference was that one voice sounded feminine and the other was masculine. Other than that, entirely the same. I had a dream once, that both of their bodies became one. And in truth, it is not that far off. What made them scary was their lack of sexual attractions to each other. Their relationship was based on their belief in the political cause and nothing else. The two supported each other and it was obvious that their stance in life would never change. If both were to go to Hell, they would go with great passion. What would happen to us, was no concern for the two. 

We were in an abandoned cabin in Karuizawa, doing our military training in the snow. The location is actually a second-home to a family that owned a company that made fountain pens in Tokyo. Hiroko managed to have a relationship with the son of the owner, and got him to give keys and other essential comforts such as cash, for the purpose of the Cause. Once we all got to the home, the clock and the very day were controlled by Tsuneo and Hiroko. 
To show our commitment to the group, some of us had to strip naked and be tied to a tree during the harsh winter and snowing night. Some were freed within an hour. Others were left there overnight. Those who were still chained to the trees were dead by late morning. I had no idea why they were killed, or why some were just tied up for an hour. All I know is that I was very scared of the two. Logic seemed to be thrown outside the home, and it became a landscape where the mood was totally controlled by Hiroko and Tsuneo. In ways, it reminded me when I was in a gang in elementary school. Our leader, either out of boredom or some sort of hatred within himself, would go out of his way to do cruel things to, not only the other gangs, but also to members of his gang. In a way, it is like if language had failed, and the need to do “action” took over the logic at the time. 
We had one hostage that we got from the village. We were able to hold out for a whole week. Hark and Tsuneo expected us to commit suicide. For those who had a different idea what is life in the group, were beaten to death. My attitude at the time was that I was either going to be killed by the duo, or the police. I thought it would be more profound to be slaughtered by the police than Tsuneo and Hiroko. 

For some odd reason, the police suspected that the hostage was already killed, and there was visual evidence of dead members of the clan. All committed by Hiroko and Tsuneo. So the police made the decision to attack the structure we are in, by sending grenades through the windows as well as the property around the house. I threw myself out the window, and had my hands up. I felt a strong arm pulling me towards the bottom of the hill, and I had my eyes closed during the whole process. 

Prison life is bad, but not as bad as spending the winter with Hiroko and Tsuneo. I have been let go, with great restrictions of course, but now in Karuizawa, thinking that there must be some sort of monument of the lives that was killed on the spot. The structure itself is torn down, and there is a Royal Host restaurant in its place. Perhaps it is best this way. Hiroko died in prison due to brain cancer and Tsuneo killed himself in his cell years ago. Both never lost their vision. I lost mine some time ago, but then again, I realized I never really had a vision about anything. It was then that I realized that my world, my culture - perhaps the world itself, didn’t have a vision as well. The horrible duo, at the very least, died for their vision. Me, I’ll die. No one cares when or, how.
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