Here is a dialogue between Kazu and Solomon, Mozasu’s son. Kazu is Mozasu’s boss at an investment back, and while both are Koreans, both are first-generation immigrants in the USA. Kazu appears to be this dynamic, go-getter, teamplayer kind of boss and Mozasu is in awe of him. His boss makes all the right noises.
Doesn’t it so happen that as a youngster we find ourselves looking up to someone… only to learn the truth a little later…?
This touched a chord in me because the Indian society has a colonial past, much like Korea, but much worse, if you consider the scale of exploitation we underwent. We see today 3-rd generation perfumed elites who still only want to be English and white. Deracinated from their culture and its historical context, they are unable to parlay with the changing mood of the nation.
Solomon grew up to become an elitist kid with a bright future because his father did the middle class job of running pachinko parlours, coming from an extremely impoverished family. Mozasu lived his struggle. Solomon had it all handed on a platter. While Solomon respects his father immensely, he hasn’t learned the same lessons, and ends up being used by Kazu. It’s the elite machine at play. Much like Pachinko, there is a gamble to be made.
“Listen, there is a tax, you know, on success.”
“If you do well at anything, you gotta pay up to all the people who did worse. On the other hand, if you do badly, life make you pay a shit tax, too. Everybody pays something.”
Kazu looked at him solemnly.
“Of course, the worst one is the tax on the mediocre. Now, that one’s a bitch.” Kazu tossed his cigarette and crossed his arms. “Pay attention: The ones who pay the shit tax are mostly people who were born in the wrong place and the wrong time and are hanging on to the planet by their broken fingernails. They don’t even know the fucking rules of the game. You can’t even get mad at ‘em when they lose. Life just fucks and fucks and fucks bastards like that.”
“But all those able-bodies middle-class people who are scared of their shadows, well, they pay the mediocre tax in regular quarterly instalments with compounding interest. When you play it safe, that’s what happens, my friend. So if I were you, I wouldn’t throw any games. I’d use every fucking advantage. Beat anyone who fucks with you to a fucking pulp. Show no mercy to chumps, especially if they don’t deserve it. Make the pussies cry.”
“So then the success tax comes from envy, and the shit tax comes from exploitation. Okay.” Solomon nodded like he was starting to get it. “Then what’s the mediocre tax? How can it be wrong to-?”
“Good question, young Jedi. The tax for being mediocre comes from you and everyone else knowing that you are mediocre. It’s a heavier tax than you’d think.”
Solomon had never thought of such a thing before. It wasn’t like he saw himself as terribly special, but he’d never seen himself as mediocre, either. Perhaps it was unspoken, even to himself, but he did want to be good at something.
“Jedi, understand this: There’s nothing fucking worse than knowing that you’re just like everybody else. What a messed-up, lousy existence. And in this great country of Japan – the birthplace of all my fancy ancestors – everyone, everyone wants to be like everyone else. That’s why it is such a safe place to live, but it’s also a dinosaur village. It’s extinct, pal. Carve up your piece and invest your spoils elsewhere. You’re a young man, and someone should tell you the real truth about this country. Japan is not fucked up because it lost the war or did bad things. Japan is fucked up because there is no more war, and in peacetime everyone actually wants to be mediocre and is terrified of being different. The other thing is that the elite Japanese want to be English and white. That’s pathetic, delusional, and merits another discussion entirely.”