The Electronic Body at the End of the State: Ethnicirty, National Identity, and the Japanese Emperor System


IN JAPAN IT IS NOT considered prejudicial to think that a single race can establish a state in a single country. This is not because Japan is an island nation; rather, it is because the basic character of the Japanese state is to integrate people and country into the state.

Many Japanese have official Japanese citizenship, but there is no necessary relationship between their officially registered citizenship and the fact that they are Japanese people. Chinese people or Italian people are always Chinese or Italian wherever in the world they may be living and regardless of their official citizenship status. In the case of the Japanese, although the number of people living abroad is steadily increasing, not many have accepted citizenship in other countries. This difference between affiliation and location is not peculiar to the Japanese people; it is a result of the way the Japanese state has been administered. Similarly, non-Japanese living in Japan have rarely been granted Japanese citizenship.

Needless to say, there is no such thing as an ethnic American. Strictly speaking, an American is one who lives in the United States, a country composed of a conglomeration of people from a variety of countries and ethnic backgrounds. Thus, in a sense, to become an American means to abandon one's home country and culture. It also means accepting the notion of a country that is culturally diverse. Even in the film Stranger than Paradise, Willy hates to use the Hungarian language when speaking with his aunt and cousin and insists on speaking English. His attitude represents a life-style common among the lower or subsistence classes and less common among intellectuals. By insisting on creating new lives for themselves, working-class immigrants are determined not to remember their former country. In Japan, where we often cultivate romantic images of what it means to be an immigrant, the reasons for this attitude may be difficult to understand. Many of the people who emigrated to America were motivated to abandon their homeland by political upheaval or natural disaster. Their feelings are so strong that they often curse the sort of life they lived in their homeland. In the Italian film Padre, Padrone, some young people try to emigrate to Germany from Sardinia. When they board a truck bound for the ship, they spit on their homeland. Even among immigrants to America, there are more than a few who believe they will never speak their native language again.

Since the end of the nineteenth century, America has developed government policies to help integrate people who have left their home countries. These policies are based on the concept of "the melting pot." Melting pot means a smelter in which various metals are melted and combined at high temperatures. Thus, melting pot policies mean that all sorts of people come together from all sorts of countries in the smelter called the United States, and they all become known simply as Americans or American citizens.

However, the reality is that America's recent history is a history of the failure of melting pot policies. Actual American history, as reflected in Michael Cimino's film Heaven's Gate, shows that not all ethnic groups have been equally assimilated. Ethnic groups have never been intebrated into the American mainstream; rather, there is a process of bloody struggle among ethnic groups in which those who have been in the country longer try to control and repress the new arrivals. In the 1960s there was a violent struggle for the liberation of minority groups, and thus the dominant system had to change its policies. From this point of view, Nathan Glazer and Daniel P.Moynihan, in their book Beyond the Melting Pot (1963), argue that it is essential to amend the policy that had been in effect up to that time. In America in the late 1960s, in place of the melting pot policy, a profound appreciation for the role of ethnic diversity developed in national administrative and economic policies.

All this is directly related to basic trends in industries. Power is certainly not monolithic; rather, it is filled with all sorts of unexpected conditions. Incidents that have occurred from time to time have caused the single, monolithic system to begin to fluctuate. Today's power system is characterized by such fluctuations. In such a situation, unless the basic power structure deteriorates, nothing "accidental" can occur. Indeed, the civil rights movements and the struggle among ethnic groups in America undermined the monolithic authority that tried to create something like a pan-Americanism; the movement against the Vietnam War and the crimes committed by the state roused people to action against the state, which was urging the people to go to war. In this we saw revealed the limits of the power of the integrating state. We can, however, consider the matter in another way as well. There was no epoch-making revolution as a result of these movements. Neither were there any changes in the national constitution. Rather, the antiestablishment movement can be conceived as having served the purpose of making the United States grow. Although this is a rather Hegelian view of the situation, when we think in terms of changes in industrial structures of production and in dominant technology, this is a very realistic way of viewing the situation.

The system based on heavy industry cannot help but create a state where ethnic and cultural differences are homogenized. A pattern of unification and quantitative ownership is what determines the degree of one's power in such a system. The logic of unification establishes centers, and the logic of quantitative ownership unifies them. Thoes who pppose this system are driven away from the centers of power, are marginalized, and have virtually no influence over them. However, in a system that emphasizes the information and service sectors, the opposite effect occurs: The older type of system is actually counterproductive. A simple unification will not produce a power base; temporary and speculative ownership is preferable to constant ownership. In such a system, power does not focus on a single center but divides itself into various centers, and factors that used to be antiestablishment are co-opted into one of the decentralized powers. Power will establishitself in a number of small pockets. At this point, the thesis of center/margin is no longer relevant. The state, therefore, moves from a static organization to a more flexible network.

This change does not mean that the state itself has become weak. The state we hane known up till now, which is really out-of-date, is advanced and refined as a regulating apparatus-we might also call it an apparatus of "transcendental apperceotion" -of a capitalist system. Even in an era when the information and service sectors have come to have priority, heavy industry will not entirely disappear. Indeed, the latter will follow the logic of the former and will reemerge in a new, consolidated form. Consequently, in one sense the state is drawn by the logic of consolidation and large ownership. In such a situation, the power of the military and the police forces continues to represent the power of the state. Crimes and conventional-type opposition may also exist, but quite apart from these things, a completely different form of power will also begin to grow. In this new power system, both the pressure and the oppression brought to bear by the police and the military cause a further growth of the system, and to the extent that this can be successfully absorbed, it can benefit the state.

In Japan we have had the modern Emperor system since the Meiji period. This system corresponds to the melting pot policy of the United States: Ethnic differences among people in Japan have been obliterated, and geographically and culturally everything has been homogenized. If we examine the absence of ethnic diversity in the Japanese population carefully, we find that it is because the Ainu, the koreans, and the Chinese have all been forced to become assimilated and made one with the Japanese people. This Japanese version of the melting pot has clearly succeeded to a far greater extent than what we see in the United States. The Japanese are considered to be a nation of people who have been made into Japanese:a people having a single language and a single way of thinking and using the same body language and gestures.

This pan-Japanism was so efficient for the heavy industry-oriented system that Japan accomplished modernization in a short oeriod of time before and after World War *. After the break in the process of modernization caused by defeat in the war, the economic development of the postwar period has spred this process to the entire society. The system of general mobilization imposed by the military authorities before the war has been adopted into daily life throughout Japanese society, and not only among young people or middle-aged men; rather, from childhood to old age every member of society is driven as though on a battlefield of work. This is true of every aspect of people's lives, whether it be spending money, taking examinations, finding jobs, or working for a living.[1]

Ever since the so-called Nixon Shock of 1971(when financial exchange was suspended and the Bretton Woods agreement collapsed)and the oil shock of 1973, the Japanese industrial structure has worked for change. These events allowed Japanese industry to make a big ceremony of change. At the same time, the state, in its role as regulating apparatus of the industrial system, also had to adapt.

During the 1980s, the government set out on the road of promoting deregulation. Clearly this is an impossible course under the conventional form of the state that has existed up until now. Consequently, we are heading toward a state that would be unsuitable for an industrial structure focused on the information and service sectors. The Emperor system, which is the basis of the Japanese state, will be a major impediment to making progress in this direction. The constitution of Japan defines the Emperor as "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people."

There is room for deregulation(multipolarization of national authority)in the industrial fields that have been less related to culture and information. However, the Japanese will experience difficulties if any problems develop in the fields related to culture and information. Insofar as the Emperor system functions within the logic of unity and homogeneity, a state based on that sort of logic does not lend itself to a multipolar regulating apparatus of decentralization.

The dilemma that results involves problems of education, human rights, expression, and ethnicity and gives rise to some uneasiness about what the future holds for informational creativity, which will become increasingly important in Japan. For Japanese nationals living in Japan, whether male or female, it is not enough simply to have official Japanese citizenship. All of them have to accept the Emperor as a symbol that unites them with others. The Japanese national polity submits them not only to the law but also to the cultural and religious feeling that belongs to the Imperial family. Even though people can be united in a legal sense, they cannot in a cultural or religious one.

In order to view the Emperor as a "symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." we must first accept the premise that each and every person is a "child of the Emperor" or that the Japan state is not democratic but dictatorial. Both are impossible. Thus Japan, as it exists today under the Emperor system, in priciple, cannot reach the fullest levels of individual freedom made necessary by the new levels of development in culture and information. Tfis explains why at the level of mass media and education, which are directly involved with culture and information, there has been virtually no decentralization and diversity. In comparison to the changes that took place in the mass media and education policies of other advanced industrialized countries during the 1970s, Japan has been radically slow to change. The ultimate conclusion to be derived from all of this will be clear in the decade of the 1990s, when Informational Capitalism[2] will not be the sole possession of the advanced industrialized nations. If the thrust toward Information Capitalism continues and Japan is currently enjoying will completely dry up by the year 2000.

More important than whether a nation rises or falls is the Question of what is the essence of the staye. Is the state really just the amount of authority given to individual citizens?

How will the state actually function in a system that leads to the abolition of the state, then the question is, What has to be changed? All these questions belong to the nature of the state itself.

Asking what is the essential nature of the state is not the same thing as asking what its origin is. Even if we know why the state was born, this does not change the state itself. For example, what purpose is served by the arguments for the origin of the state made by Shu Kishida and Takaaki Yoshimoto, who say that the state was born because communal society dissolved and isolated individuals created the state for their survival? Nothing has been changed by such arguments as that the state was brought into the world through the kyodo genso (cooperative illusion). The essence of the state is not the same as the orgin of it. Before we can ask what is the essence of a thing, surely we must first ask what is the essence of the orgin of it. If the essence of a thing is the same as the orgin of it, then we would have to pose the question of the orgin of the orgin. When we consider the essence of the orgin to be the issue, then we realize that our thinking about the orgin is historical. Consequently, in asking questions about the essence of a thing, we must deal with nothing less than its entire course of development from beginning to end.

If we see the state as a regulating apparatus of an economic system, or as a machine for the oppression of individuals, or as a "night watchman" sort of state that guarantees a peaceful life for individuals, then Gramsci's argument that the state is defined by "educators" is one aspect of the state that we still have today:

In reality, the state must be considered as an "educator" to the extent that it tries to create a new type or level of civilization. From the fact that the state has essential influence over economy, it reorganizes and develops the apparatus of economic production;it innovates the basic structure, one must not conclude that matters of superstructure themselves should be left as they develop spontaneously or germinate by chance and sporadically. The state, also in this field, is an instrument of "rationalization," acceleration, and taylorization.[3]

When Gramsci, in his Prison Notebooks, explores this view of the state as an educational apparatus in terms of the superstructure, he knows that the culture industry will soon have greater weight in the economy. Today we cannot make any clear distinction between cultural and economic matters. It is clear that it is hard to distinguish between the production of tangible items and information products. Consequently, we can make an argument regarding the economic system by means of Gramsci's cultural concept of education;it reveals what the issue essentially is.

However, Gramsci's conception of the state as being equivalent to education does not seem to have been developed to its ultimate conclusion. Gramsci sees the essence of the state as the educator and tries to transform the repressive and authoritarian educator to the creative and democratic educator: "The educational and formative task of the state always has as an end the creation of new and higher types of civilization, the adaption of the 'civilization' and the morality of the masses to the necessity of the continuing development of the apparatus of economic production, consequently, to elaborate a new type of humanity even physically."[4] In Gramsci's time, when fascism was rampant, this was a remarkably revolutionary idea, but in today's world in which a sort of diversified network of power is the basis of the state, this way of thinking merely helps to affirm the power of the state.

Of couse, even today's advanced state still retains the repressive and authoritarian function of educator, but it is in need of a creative and informationally productive educator. The fact is, however, that although the state has to produce creatively free individuals for the originality of national information production, the state is rarely involved in moninstrumentalized genuinely cultural education. Especially in Japan, it is extremely limited. And if Japan does not strengthen this aspect of the "cultural educator, " it is easy to imagine that Japan will come to a deadlock in the future development of a system capable of reaching the level of Informational Capitalism.

That being the case, the problem lies ahead of us. In order to ask about the essential nature of the state, we have to ask, If we have a national state as an 'educator, 'where will that lead us in the end? In terms of this, Gramsci's argument about the state places too much emphasis on describing the function of the state. Yet I suppose this is because Gramsci depends on Hegel's view of the state in terms of its finality.

Hegel's argument about the state is too eschatological, and consequently many misunderstandings arise from it. By trying to combine Gramsci's view of the state with Hegel's however, we would probably avoid misappropriating it for a concrete description of the state. As far as Hegel is concernad, the goal is the Idea (Idee)and the "objective spirit" of the state:the state on the last day of history. Consequently, Hegel says the following:

As far as the Idea of the state itself is concerned, it makes no differenc e what is or was the historical origin of the state in general(or rather of any particular state with its rights and determinations)---whether it first arose out of particular conditions, out of fear or trust, out of corpor ations etc., or how the basis of its rights has been understood and fixed in the consciousness as divine and positive right or contract, habit, etc. In relation to scientific cognition, which is our sole concern here, these are questions of appearance, and consequently a matter[Sache]for history.[5]

All will become manifest on the last day of history. Up until that time it functions potentially. The state, according to Hegel, is "the actuality of the ethical Idea, the ethical spirit as substantial will, manifest and clear to itself, which thinks and knows itself and implements what it knows in so far as it knows it."[6] Furthermore, Hegel calls the "ultimate self of the will of the state"[7] "the monarch" : "the personality the state has actually only as a person, as the monarch." [8]

This monarch has a function of "transcendental apperception" (which controls everything from within as omnipotently from outside) and is the purest form of "I will." This monarch is the ultimate subject in which all sorts of phenomena such as reason, power, energy, monads, and information manifest themselves substantially. Hegel writes, "In a well-ordered monardh, the objective aspect is solely the concern of the law, to which the monarch merely has to add his subjective 'I will.'" [9]

Hegel's monarch exists as an Ideal concept and does not necessarily actually exist. This point sometimes leads to misinterpretation. In order to fully understand Hegel, one must realize the meanings of "life-world" (Lebenswelt)and a "living present" (lebending Gegewart). So, when Hegel's monarch actually exists, he will not be limited to the expression of solemn majesty;on some occasions he may very well be like Orwell's Big Brother, or he could be like some sort of artificial intelligent(AI)that gives expression to the state.

Shlomo Avineri has given us a brilliant interpretation of Hegel's monarch that shows that it is not directly related to the Prussian monarchic system. In writing about the state, the first thing Avineri emphasizes is, "It has to be pointed out that on no account can Hegel's theory be so construed as to refer to any existing state;it is the Idea of the state with which Hegel is dealing and any existing state cannot be anything but a mere approximation to the Idea." [10]

As far as Hegel is concerned, the state must be "the hieroglyph of reason" : "the rationality which permeates the world of man becomes apparent for the first time in the state" ; "only in the sphere of the state does reason become conscious of itself."[11] Since the state is an Idea, real life must be alienated from the Idea or politicized toward it. For Hegel, the state has not yet actualized itself. The state is not based on a free contract that individuals or groups could make or cancel;therefore, for Hegel, the abolition of the state would not be a problem. On the contrary, the state protects the freedom of the individual- "the reational" - and strives to move in that direction.

That being the case, we can say that Hegel was advocating a constitutional monarchy, but it is not necessary for us to see if such a constitutional monarchy ever actually existed in Europe in Hegel's time. AsAvineri says, "Since the modern state is according to Hegel, based on subjectivity, on self-determination, there has to be an expression of this subjectivity in the objectiveinstitutions of the state" ; a monarch is required to that exrent. Avineri goes on to say:

Herein lies the paradox of Hegel's theory of the monarchy. While keeping the traditional form of the monarchy, Hegel divests the monarch himself of any real power by making the Crown into the symbol of self-determination. Hegel, it seems, thought that the only effective way of combating the old a bsolutist Idea of the monarchy and legitimist theories of the Restoration would be to keep the form of the monarchy as a symbol for the modern poli tical Idea of subjectivity and self-determination. [12]

This is a trenchant interpretation: Hegel is able to maintain the monarchic system even as he dismantles contemporary monarchy. In the supplement of section 280 of Elements of the Philosophy of Right, with regard to cases in which the monarch is "ill-educated or unworthy of holding the highest office," Hegel writes, "In a fully organized state, it is only a question of the highest instance of formal decision, and what is required in a monarch is someone to say 'yes'and to do 'it'; for the supreme office should be such that the particular character of its occupant is of no significance." This is certainly a scathing parody of the actual monarchic system.

The view of a monarch as "a mere symbol of the unity of the state,"[13] according to Avineri, "at the time Hegel formulated it was far from being actualized anywhere in Europe."[14] The interesting thing is that if we interpret Hegel's views of the state in this way, Japan's Emperor, who is defined as "the symbol of the State and the unity of the people" in Article 1 of the constitution, is very close to the Hegelian concept of the monarch. This is even in case of this symblic Emperor whose authority has been diminished since the Meiji period to the point where he is able just "to say 'yes'and to do 'it'in "matters of state as are provided for in this constitution" (Article 4). This suggests that the symbolic Emperor system of Japan is an exiled form of Hegelian modernism. If we the Hegelian monarch as something that was created belatedly in order to maintain modernist subjectivity, then the symbolic Emperor is also merely a residue of modernist subjectivity. But the problem is that while Hegel's monarch was strategically conceptualized in circumstances in which modernist subjectivity was still relevant, the Japanese version is not. We live in a era, in Heideggerian terms, when "Western Metaphysics is completed" and electronic technology is rampant, erasing modern subjectivity. In this situation, the symbolic Emperor is an anachronism that goes against the flow of history.

The various contradicions that are to be found at present in various forms in Japan's symbolic Emperor system result form Hegelianism continuing to live on in exile in Japan. These problems are inherent in the Hegelian concept of the state itself. When a monarch is considered inevitable for the state, the state will fail to separate itself from religion even if, as Hegel thought, "the state is the divine will as present spirit, unfolding as the actual shape and organization of a world." [15]

In terms of subjectivity, Hegel stood right at the very begining of the end of the modern period. He considers subjectivity as "transcendental," but he inherited Descartes' cogito. It is true that as the first "postmodernist" he went further than Kant and put close limits on the transcendental nature of the cogito. However, he in his radical procedure, dissolved everything physical and objective into the transcendental self and the absolute spirit. In Descartes'cogito and Kant's "pure reason," the physical and objective thing is carefully maintained. This difficulty, however, is not to be found within the narrow confines of Hegel's concept of insight or mental acuity. Philosophical thought is entirely an expression of history. Even if a thinker has wrong ideas, the thinker speaks the language of history. Hegel does nothing more than speak of the end of modern history.

As Husserl confirmed some fifty years later, the transcendental in the history of modern philosophy became so purified that bodily elements and the intersubjective, that is, the "life-world," were forgotten. This forgetting, however, is not a mistake, either for the individual or for the group;it serves as compensation for the development of technology and marks the consequence of modernism. Heidegger called such a basic affair "forgetting of being" (Seinsvergessenheit). Therefore, this forgetting is not the sort of thing that, just because it has abandoned the world until now, can now become something we can ignore. Without this, modern history would not have been possible.

Marx's criticism of Hegel is related to the inconclusiveness of this forgetting. Marx's insight is that the modern, historical process is, certainly, the generalization of the transcendental. But Marx also had the insight to see that this process of forgetting alone was not the whole of the historical process. This was not merely a theoretical insight;it also applied to things that actually exist.

For Marx, the transcendental belongs not only to the absolute spirit but also to bodily and intersubjective elements. From his perspective, Hegel's description of the essences of modern trends is filled with conyradictions. Certainly, in the modern, historical process, the transcendental continues to proliferate, but that which it cannot cover is also proliferating. Even Hegel's description reveals this paradox. We have already seen his argument about the monarch where it does not matter that he might be stupid. It was an idealistic description. And yet, one hundred years later, we find an example of that very thing in Japan's symbolic Emperor. This Emperor, however, is not the realization of the Idea of Hegel's theoy of the state;he is really a deformation of the Idea and nothing more than the creature of "one-dimensionalization" (Marcuse)and the "eclipse of reason" (Horkheimer).

The Hegelian Idea is something that will not emerge until the final day of human history. Until that moment, this Idea will function as a technological rationality to one-dimensionalize, abstract, and digitalize our "life-world."

The Japanese constitution has diminished the power of the Emperor, and yet he still has overwhelming authority because, as the second article of the constitution makes clear, "The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic." This dynasty has been passed on and is in the blood and flesh of the Imperial family;it is impossible without physical body. The Emperor system is a premoden system where the physical, bodily aspect becomes very important. In spite of that, this system is idealistic to the extent that the subjectivity of the Emperor is a transcendental symbol. This is a contradiction. In order for the system of a sybolic Emperor to be not a premodern system of rulership, in order for the idealistic aspects of the symbolic Emperor in the first article of the constitution to work, the Emperor must be an android.

In Critique of Hegel's "Philosophy of Right," Marx points out the same contradiction in Hegel's monarch. His monarch has the appearance of being regulated by the essence of reason, and yet in contrast with the essence of reason, Hegel finds the hereditary right of kings and the law of primogeniture to be natural. Marx believes that this in itself is a contradiction. Insofar as we are willing to accept heredity and primogeniture, it is fraudulent to think that either the monarchy or the state is regulated by the essence of reason. Basically, Marx's criticism of Hegel is that the human subject is by no means transcendental and that it is defined by the physical. In short, Hegel partly endorses a kind of "materialism" while he remains in idealism. And this, of course, is contradictory.

From Marx's point of view, the human subject of the Hegelian modern world is not the spirit but landed property. Both the inherited right of kings and the right of primogeniture derive from the permanent possession of landed property and "petrified private property."

When we consider the above arguments in terms of the symbolic Emperor system, we can see that it is a refinement of the Hegelian system of monarchy that is based on "petrified private property." As result of the new constitution, most of the Emperor's holdings became the possession of the state, and the Imperial family's prewar landholdings were lost. And yet this very fact means both that the Emperor and the state have become more closely connected than before the war and that the function of the Emperor has shifted to exclusively inherit the diachronic information of the Japanese people. If this authority and legitimacy over information were lost, then the Emperor could not exist as Emperor.

For Hegel, of course, the right of the monarchy and of the aristocracy to inherit wealth is extremely arbitrary;in the same way, the right to inherit information and the history of a people is also extremely arbitrary. In practical terms, the sovereignty of information resides in each citizen individually. Without a social contract, it would be unjustifiable to put the right to inherit information under the exclusive authority of the Emperor. Furthermore, no matter what sort of contract is established, no one can synthesize and store the memory of each individual citizen in a symbolic subject, to say nothing of a personality.

Hegel's theory of the state requires a monarch because the monarchy guarantees permanence in the form of the dynasty. As modern subjectivity shifts from landed property to ownership of information, it becomes clear that the key issue is not so much what is being inherited but whether it can be inherited permanently. In a dynastic system, the fact that "blood" is so important is due only to the fact that it provides the only way to guarantee permanence. In this sense, if blood or family lines are not necessarily the things that guarantee ownership, then something else has to be established to do that. Permanent ownership of information is not necessarily based on blood or family lines. It might be guaranteed by highly efficient computers. The ownership of information, this, becomes the central issue today in the theory of the state, and the dilemma of the Japanese Emperor system poses this problem in a radical form.

Today's state still inherits the essence of the Hegelian state. Even without the existence of a monarchy, the essence of the state has not changed. As Gramsci has already said, "The modern prince, the myth-prince cannot be a real person but only an organization. ...This organization has been given by the development of history and is the political party."[16] Political parties are "the modern prince." In other words, the modern state has its transcendental subject in the dominant parties that have established continuity. In such a case, this transcendental subject is instructional rather than authoritarian. Gramsci's notion of the state as "educator" is also based on this assumption. Fundamentally, the Hegelian rationality of the state is an "enlightenment of reason."

As Adorno and Horkheimer so trenchantly show in Dialectic of Enlightenment, however, the enlightenment of reason clearly led to Nazi propaganda technology and to Auschwitz, and even in Gramsci's notion of the state, where the party becomes the secularized monarch, it still has no real future. Gramsci proposed "the vision that a newspaper(or a group of newspapers)and a magazine (or a group of magazines) are also a 'party' or a 'raction of party' or a'function of determinate party.'"[17] The circumstances in which this sort of media or culture functions as a transcendental subject, however, are longer a surprise in the Japan of the 1990s.

Gramsci, of course, says, "For a party that intends to abolish all class distinctions, the perfection and completion of this intention is that the party's existence comes to an end." [18] Thus, he does not approve of the party becoming permanent as an absolute transcendental subject. Rather, it must continually dismantle itself and continually reshape itself in different forms as "ensembles," to use Felix Guattari's term. This sort of networked party is what Gramsci has in mind. "The party can stop existing by means of its own power."[19] This is the unique feature of the party. Such a party, however, can exist only after the state has ceased to exist.

The abolition of the state certainly cannot proceed in a digitalized fashion, that is, through a stage-by-stage discontinuation of a transcendental subject like the party or the monarch. That abolition can emerge only out of a postmodernism that does not hypothesize a transcendental subject. Heidegger once traced the etymology of the word subject to the Latin subjectum and then to the Greek hypokeimenon and found that in premodern times it meant "that which already lies before us," and layer meant the consciousness or spirit that defined the world. This historical process is nothing but the process of modernization, where despite the fact that land and money(transferable land)are the basis for property, absolute spirit and reason work as if they are the subject, that which already lies before us. Indeed, the essence of the modern state can be found in the question, Why is there the transcendental rather than nothing? [20]-the question about the tradition in which something that exists each time becomes what is conscious, the transcendental. To the extent that we can not go beyond this tradition, the modern state will certainly not be abolished.

Thus, the various problems regarding the essence of the state are referred to the problem of why ontology becomes metaphysics. Also, as for as the problem of the state is concerned, it is related to the problem of technology that projects something that exists toward the transcendental. Electronic technology is different from mechanical technology, which can only put Ideas into virtual form;it is a way of realizing a concept as something tangible and physical(if it is something that has already established a pattern beforehand). The emergence of this sort of technology is peculiar to the situation of the completion = end of metaphysics.

Marx and Engels once said that "'emancipation'is the task of history, not the task of thought." Today's electronic technology, however, simulates theories, and thoughts can instantaneously bring them into reality(virtual reality will eventually not be virtual), and thereby it has been crippling "the task of history." This is not to say, however, that 'emancipation' has become the "task of thought" itself. On the contrary, piling up the various theories that have appeared in history to make a fabricated, comprehensive theory and then trying to put it into "practice" has become obsolete as far as 'emancipation' is concerned. In short, 'emancipation' is now nothing other than the task of history itself. Consequently, what is necessary is to subordinate all Ideas and theories to technology itself and view them as a reflection apparatus on the historical situation that technology brings about.

Today, the state is moving toward becoming an electronically networked state. The electronic technology needed to bring about that sort of state belongs to "the completion of metaphysics." Therefore, because it has reached its finality, this state cannot continue except along a path of "eternal recurrence." For that reason, in the fluctuation of this electronic technology we can get a glimpse of someething that goes beyond the state. Will the state remain completely unchanged in form forever? Or will it die out? At this moment we find ourselves at the very brink regarding these questions.

This article, translated by Stephen W.Kohl and the author, is revised from Tetsuo Kogawa, "Hegeru-teki Kindai-kokka to Shocho-tennousei" (The Electronic State and the Emperor System)in Denshi Kokka to Tennousei(The Electronic State and the Emperor System)(Tokyo:Kawade-shobo Shinsha, 1986).
1. My earlier English articles "Japan as a Manipulated Society," Telos, no.49, Fall 1981, PP.138-140, and "Beyond Electronic Individualism," Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, vol.8, no.3, 1984, PP.15-20, will help in understanding these problems. Also, Douglas Lummis and I had a series of critical conversations on them. See: "Japan's National Illusion Machine," AMPO, vol.16, no.4, 1984, PP.28-35; "Japan Takes Leave of 'Asia,'" ibid., vol.17, no.1, 1985, PP.50-55; "The Psychology of 'Travel,'" ibid., vol.17, no.2, 1985, PP.52-55; "The Political Economy of Marriage," ibid., vol.17, no.3, 1985, PP.48-53; "Japanese Corporation's Dirty Mind," ibid., vol.17, no.4, 1985, PP.62-66.
2. For more on the concept of Informational Capitalism, see my Media no Rogoku(Prison of Media)(Tokyo:Shobunsha, 1982), particularly PP.177ff.,and also Joho Shihonshugi Hihan(Critique of Informational Capitalism)(Tokyo:Chikuma-shobo, 1985).
3. Antonio Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere, vol.3(Torino:Einaudi, 1975), PP.1, 570-1, 571.
4. Ibid., PP.1, 565-1, 566.
5. G.W.F.Hegel, Element of the Philosophy of Right, Trans.H.B.Nisbet(Cambridge/New York/Port Chester/Melbourne/Sydney:Cambridge University Press, 1991), *258, P.276.
6. Ibid., *257, P.275.
7. Ibid., *280, P.321.
8. Ibid., *279, P.317.
9. Ibid., *280, P.323.
10. Shlomo Avineri, Hegel's Theory of the Modern State(Cambridge, New York, Port Chester, Melbourne, Sydney:Cambridge University Press, 1972), P.177.
11. Ibid., P.178.
12. Ibid., P.187.
13. Ibid., P.188.
14. Ibid.
15. Hegel, Element, *270, P.292.
16. Gramsci, Quaderni, P.1, 558.
17. Ibid., P.1, 939.
18. Ibid., P.1, 732.
19. Ibid., P.1, 735
20. Heidegger's original question is "Warum ist uberhaupt Seiendes und nicht Nichts?"
(Why is there something rather than nothing?) in Was ist Metaphysik? (Frankfurt a.M.:Vittorio Klostermann, 1960), P.42.
[Body Politics, Disease, Desire, and the family. edited by Michael Ryan and Avery Gordon, Westview Press, Boulder;San Francisco;Oxford, 1994]

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