Perhaps we should adopt this Japanese word to describe Evan Bayh and Chris Dodd:

The ministry and the agency, in turn, share cozy ties with Tokyo Electric and other operators — some of which offer lucrative jobs to former ministry officials in a practice known as “amakudari,” or descent from heaven.

Those guys certainly think that the Senate is heaven (or, rather, that they are Gods). In addition to to amakudari, there’s plenty of wataridori and yokosuberi going around:

In the strictest meaning of amakudari, bureaucrats retire into private companies, but in other forms bureaucrats move into government corporations (yokosuberi or ‘sideslip’), are granted successive public and private sector appointments (wataridori or ‘migratory bird’) or may become politicians, including becoming members of parliament (seikai tensin).

16 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    “Migratory bird” sounds so much better than “craven lickspittle.”

    Japanese is such an elegant language!

  2. 2
    lacp says:

    Frankly, the only Japanese word I can think of when I think of our Congress at all is “bukkake.”

  3. 3
    Alwhite says:

    I apologize for not remembering who it was but someone on these pages was discussing the subtle differences in words used for the same concept in different contexts in Japanese. This just seems to be another case of that. We only have two words in English for these practices – graft and corruption. You would think that would make it more easily stopped but you would be wrong.

  4. 4
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’d prefer a more traditional (Japanese) way to bring an end to the corruption: Seppuku.

  5. 5
    Keith G says:

    How can we (or is it even possible to) rewire this drive of entitlement of the part of so many public servants? I assume they view these actions as a just reward for spending their prime years toiling for the masses.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Benjamin Cisco says:

    The Japanese penchant for understatement never ceases to amaze me. Almost Spock-like in its delivery.

  8. 8
    nancydarling says:

    The relationships among our State Department, US corporations with foreign interests (United Fruit and oil companies for example,and the CIA have long been incestuous. The Dulles brothers were a perfect example of yokosuberi when they moved from a law firm representing international oil interests to State and the CIA. We all know how that ended, or I should say started since the blowback is ongoing. Its an older book, but Jonathan Kwitny’s “Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World” details the history of our foreign policy representing big money and corporate interests and not the interests of we, the people. It ends with Reagan’s little chest thumping exercise in Grenada after the debacle of the Marine baracks bombing in Lebanon. In a TruthDig podcast, Michael Scheuer suggested that we should stop electing presidents from the Ivies. In some ways I think he may be right since they seem to funnel their best and brightest into the process. OTH Reagan, LBJ, and Nixon to name three were not from the Ivies. Here is a list of US interventions in Latin America since 1890:

    Pete Seeger had it right when he sang “When will we ever learn?”

  9. 9
    nancydarling says:

    Why am I, of all the commenters here, in moderation?

  10. 10
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    This is uniquely Japanese? We have lobbyists, consultants, think tank fellows, and board members and patronage. They just have prettier names, that’s all.

  11. 11
    Comrade DougJ says:

    Tom Friedman says Chinese never do this.

  12. 12
    nancydarling says:

    That is the wrong link in #8. Here is the correct one:

  13. 13

    Don’t forget about the good old American “revolving door” between private and public sectors. I bet the Japanese word for “revolving door” still sounds cooler.

  14. 14
    Catsy says:

    @Alwhite: This isn’t the same thing. I think the conversation to which you’re referring was about different words used for the same concepts in order to indicate differing levels of respect, formality, politeness, and humility–itadaku versus morau, for example.

    These are just garden-variety euphemisms that sound prettier because they’re in Japanese. English has them too: “hawk” for someone who habitually favors military solutions where getting people maimed or killed is a feature and not a bug, for example.

  15. 15
    Douglas says:

    @Keith G:

    How can we (or is it even possible to) rewire this drive of entitlement of the part of so many public servants?

    Uh, yeah, it’s the entitlement of “so many public servants” that’s the issue both in japan and and in the states – majority of which are teachers, firefighters and whatnot, instead of being not-so-regulating regulators.

    Instead of, say, so many of the so-called upper-class – including former politcians becoming lobyistss, retiring military officers joining defense contractors, upper-echelon bureaucrats who make contract decisions or regulate the industries (when not having drug-fueled parties with them and/or later on joining them), wallstreet and those people demanding tax cuts cause it’s so hard to live on a mil a year in NYC (while thinking that people who’re on food stamps should just be better at managing their money).

    Yeah, totally the fault of “public servants”.

  16. 16
    priscianus jr says:

    We have a similar concept in the USA: “riwarindoru” (revolving door).

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