The Mazda Motor Company began life in nineteen twenty,
As the Toyo Cork Kogyo Corporation.
From its location in Hiroshima, it manufactured vehicle machine tools,
Until nineteen thirty-one,
When it produced the Mazda-Go autorickshaw.
As well as tools and motor vehicles, it also supplied weapons
For the Japanese military; weapons which were employed
During the Second World War.
Although the name Mazda was only formerly adopted
In nineteen eighty-four, every automobile sold,
From the very beginning, bore that name.
The founder of Mazda,
Jujiro Matsuda, was a spiritually aware man,
And he renamed the Company in honour of his family,
And of the Zoroastrian God, Ahura Mazda –
The ultimate source of wisdom, intelligence and harmony.
Given the environmentally aware nature of Zoroastrianism,
And its ethical credentials (as taught by His chosen Prophet),
It’s somewhat surprising that the Company specialised
In car manufacture – since cars despoil both land and air,
And the Type 99 rifle – designed to kill.
Perhaps Matsuda’s sense of spirituality was little more
Than the depth of a Mazda respray:
A case of profit before Prophet.
It’s not certain when Zoroaster lived, since estimates range
From seven hundred BCE to one thousand BCE.
Zoroastrianism, as a clearly defined faith,
Was certainly evident from the fifth century BCE,
And it served as the state religion of pre-Islamic Persia
Until six hundred and fifty CE.
According to tradition, at the age of thirty years,
While bathing in the river, during a Pagan purification rite,
Zoroaster (the Greek rendering of Zarathustra),
Encountered a radiant being, made of light.
It appeared on the river’s bank, and its name was Vohu Manah,
Meaning ‘good mind and good purpose’.
Vohu Manah led Zoroaster to the presence of five other Shining Beings –
The Amesha Spentas, or ‘holy immortals’:
Asha Vahishta (meaning ‘truth and righteousness), Spenta Ameraiti
(meaning ‘holy devotion, serenity and loving kindness), Khashathra
Vairya (meaning ‘power and just rule’), Hauravatat (meaning ‘wholeness
and health’), and Ameratat (meaning ‘long life and immortality’.
Just as light beams emanate from the Sun,
So the Amesha Spentas emanated from Ahura Mazda,
The Wise Lord, God incarnate.
Thus Zoroaster was chosen as the Prophet of God, his earthly vessel,
To lead all people on a path towards Him, by following the course
Of Asha – truth and righteousness.
Ahura Mazda: creator of all life, source of all goodness and happiness,
God of one hundred and one names.
Zoroastrians: respecters of the natural environment,
Ecologically sound, ethically mindful,
As Ahura Mazda’s Prophet, Zoroaster taught his followers
The world was not a static place, nor would it always be troubled.
It was moving towards a conflictless state,
When Ahura Mazda and his allies – supernatural and mortal –
Would defeat the forces of evil, of chaos, of destruction.
From then on, all would be forever untroubled, completely secure.
As such, Zoroastrianism influenced Jewish Apocalyptics,
The Jesus sect, the authors of Revelation – through to
The Theory of the Three Ages and the Everlasting Gospel,
Anababtism in Munster, and its New Jeruslaem mania,
And eschatological fervour so evident in seventeenth century
England and Wales, via Fifth Monarchists, Quakers, Diggers and the like.
From England, this utopian ideal – part religious, part political –
Spread, like a virus, across the Atlantic, via the Pilgrim Fathers,
To take root in the rediscovered continent, the so-called New World.
Thus, Paradise on Earth was duly established, and anyone
Who stood in its way, who muddied the waters, who was clearly
Something ‘other’, was demonized as less-than-human and un-Godly.
Ahura Mazda’s original adversary, Angra Mainyu, or Ahriman,
Was the source of all misery and sin in the Universe,
Who – together with his daevas – his destroyers –
Sought to lead humans away from the path of righteousness,
And, as such, he had to be utterly annihilated.
Since the aboriginal occupants of the rediscovered Continent
Were clearly cohorts of Angra Mainyu,
It was imperative they were dealt with as effectively as possible.
Thus, America, in one form or another,
Became the land of white supremacist, inherently racist,
Judeo-Christian fundamentalism, on permanent alert
To deal with any threat posed to its divine mission,
In whatever form it presented itself.
Anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States
Didn’t begin with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
As early as the late nineteenth century, Asian immigrants
Were discriminated against, and stigmatized
As evolutionarily inferior to the white man, of stunted growth,
Restricted eyesight, and little more than barbaric yellow monkeys.
With the formation of the Asiatic Exclusion League in
Nineteen hundred and five (originally called the
Japanese and Korean Exclusion League),
Japanese immigrants to the United States
Were barred from U.S. citizenship, and thus
From owning their own land and property,
While Japanese children were obliged to attend
Segregated schools, where they were joined
By their Korean and Chinese counterparts.
Advocating ‘the white man’s country’,
The AEL pursued an openly aggressive racist policy
Against those it regarded as little more than sub-human.
The Nanking (Nanjing) Massacre, of nineteen thirty-seven,
Where between forty thousand and three hundred thousand
Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants were murdered
By soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army,
And where systematic rape and mass looting
Occurred on an almost industrial scale,
Confirmed what every God-fearing, white American
Had long suspected – the Japanese were agents of evil:
Slitty-eyed Ahrimans, every single one,
Imperialist cut-throats and rapists, alien monsters, and – as such –
The entire nation deserved nothing less than complete extermination.
A case, perhaps, of the American Empire condemning
The Japanese Empire, while conveniently forgetting its own history
Of genocidal warfare, directed against the First Nations –
Angra Mainyu shadow boxing…
In any event, on December the seventh,
Nineteen forty-one, the commonly held U.S. view
That the Japanese were biologically retarded,
And, therefore, incapable of independent thought,
Let alone, of springing a surprise attack against racially superior beings,
Was confounded utterly, when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
Attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor.
It wasn’t a random attack, since Japanese General Headquarters
Had determined the best way to keep the U.S. Fleet
From interfering in military actions planned in
Southeast Asia, was to nip the American Navy in the bud.
Unfortunately, for Japan, as well as for Germany and Italy,
It shook the American psyche so profoundly,
That by December the eleventh, it joined forces with its British Allies,
And declared war against all three of the Axis powers.
The remaining course of the war is well documented.
What is less well documented is the decision-making
Which marked out Japan as a suitable target for two nuclear bombs,
Which, in turn, opened the door to a mutually assured destructive future
For the world’s empires – aspiring and actual.
An editorial in Time magazine, published three months before
The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
Included the following remarks: “Americans had to learn
To hate Germans, but hating Japs comes natural –
As natural as fighting Indian wars once was”.
The extermination camps, from Chelmno to Treblinka,
Were not considered the fault of the German people, as such,
But the responsibility of the National Socialists – the Nazi Party.
Thus, second generation German-Americans escaped blame
For the atrocities committed in Europe,
As did second generation Italian-Americans,
Despite their mother-country’s association with the Third Reich.
However, the Japanese were a different race entirely.
All one hundred and twenty thousand Japanese-Americans
Were rounded up at the beginning of nineteen forty-two,
And detained in concentration camps, in the most remote
And inhospitable places of America.
According to war commentator, Ernie Pyle,
“The Japanese were looked upon as something sub-human
And repulsive; the way some people feel about
Cockroaches or mice”.
It was only a matter of time before revenge was exacted
For the attack on Pearl Harbor, as Americans were reminded,
On an almost daily basis, via billboards,
Radio broadcasts and propaganda films –
“ We… highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.. Remember Dec. 7th! “
More than that, atrocities committed against American
Prisoners of war were widely publicized,
Which further confirmed the irredeemably depraved
Nature of the entire Japanese nation.
In an opinion poll of nineteen forty-four,
Thirteen percent of the U.S. public were in favour
Of the complete extermination of all Japanese,
And, as Daniel Goldhagen put it in his book,
Worse than War, “…it is no surprise Americans
Perpetrated and supported mass slaughters –
Tokyo’s firebombing and then nuclear incinerations –
In the name of saving American lives,
And of giving the Japanese what they richly deserved”.
When the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated,
At the Trinity Site, near Alamogordo, New Mexico,
On July the sixteenth, nineteen forty-five,
Scientists of the secret Manhattan Project
Were ill-prepared for the immediate consequences.
“A blinding flash visible for two hundred miles
Lit up the morning sky.
A mushroom cloud reached forty thousand feet,
Blowing out windows of civilian homes
Up to one hundred miles away.
When the cloud returned to earth
It created a half-mile wide crater
Metamorphosing sand into glass.”
A plausible cover story was hastily concocted,
And America’s military chiefs damn-near wet themselves
At the prospect of deploying the new technology
As soon as a suitable window of opportunity opened…
Which, of course, it did.
On May the eighth, nineteen forty-five,
At 23.01 hours, Central European Time,
All forces under German control ceased active operations.
Effectively, the war in Europe was over.
However, the thorny issue of Japanese resistance
In the Far East remained, and the Allies determined
To end it in a flash – or two.
When, in response to the Potsdam Declaration,
The Japanese were called on to unconditionally surrender,
Premier Kantaro Suzuki employed the word, ‘Mokusatsu’,
An ambiguous term, which was translated as
“The Japanese ignores this, and we are determined
to continue our fight until the end”.
However, Mokusatsu also means
“We withhold comment – pending discussion”.
The Allies, and America and Britain in particular,
Had little time for such subtleties, and besides,
They possessed two nuclear bombs – ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’ –
They were keen to employ, via the Theatre of War.
Given the American public’s thirst for revenge,
There was no need for the U.S. Government to justify its actions,
And, on August the sixth, nineteen forty-five,
A uranium gun-type bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Up to eighty thousand people were killed by the blast
And the resultant firestorm – thirty percent of the population.
A further seventy thousand were injured.
Three days later, a plutonium implosion-type bomb
Was dropped on Nagasaki, killing at least forty thousand people,
And injuring a further sixty thousand.
Over the course of the next few weeks,
The fatalities inevitably increased.
The surrender of Imperial Japan
Was announced on August the fifteenth,
And formally signed on September the second.
To all intents and purposes, it signified the triumph
Of the new over the old:
One form of imperialism over another,
And from its cataclysmic seed was sown
An increasingly dangerous world dis-order.
The official Mazda website contains the following:
“FROM HIROSHIMA WITH GRIT AND COURAGE
The streak of defiance and adventure that runs through
Mazda cars has its roots in the heritage of
Hiroshima. Like the legendary phoenix,
Hiroshima rose from the ashes of nuclear destruction…
This audacious spirit has taken root throughout Mazda.”
From its new factories, production began afresh,
And by nineteen forty-nine, it was exporting trucks to India.
In nineteen sixty-one, in technical cooperation
With NSU/Wankel (based in West Germany),
Mazda worked on the rotary engine, and one year later,
Opened an assembly plant in South Korea.
In nineteen sixty-three, when cumulative production
Reached one million vehicles,
A further plant was opened in South Africa.
And so it went on, with full-scale exports to Europe,
Australia, Canada, and – in nineteen seventy –
The United States of America.
In nineteen seventy-nine, Mazda and the Ford Motor Company
Entered into a capitol tie-up arrangement,
Thus demonstrating the all-conquering power
Of a fossil-fuel guzzling, environmentally hazardous,
Death-trap on four wheels: a coming together of
Two disparate empires, in mutual fetishistic worship
Of a machine designed to move from a to b, at murderous speed –
The alleged words of Mother Shipton, unheeded:
“A carriage without horse shall go
Disaster fill the world with woe”.
Maybe the Luddites were more fine-tuned than we dare allow.
Today, as tiny-minded pseudo-Ahrimans,
And their respective hordes of lick-spittle daevas,
Go about the daily business of despoiling the planet,
Of asserting tribal superiorities,
Of threatening instant nuclear Armageddon,
In lieu of intelligent, reasoned discourse;
When women and men of goodwill, of peace, of compassion,
Are routinely dismissed as traitors and saboteurs;
When scientific research, artistic endeavour and philosophical enquiry
Are superceded by a profound hatred of sagacity,
And an equally profound love of commerce at any price;
And when casually sly deception, crass intentional prevarication,
And gratuitously offensive abuse –
More often than not via social media platforms –
Have become accepted as viable methods of communication,
It becomes blindingly apparent that the conflictless state,
Untroubled and secure, as predicted by the Prophet Zoroaster,
In the name of Ahura Mazda,
Is a mere pipe-dream,
And the ethical rationale of the Golden Rule,
With its ancient Egyptian “Do to the doer to make him do”,
Shouted down by the cacophonous din of a giant rattlebag,
Stuffed with counterfeit gold pebbles.
How could it be otherwise, as our species puts its collective foot down,
Zoned-out on the soma of consciousness-altering
Technological development, and cocooned
Within an insidiously selfish protective shield?
That’s not to say the rise of the motor vehicle is somehow,
Of itself, responsible for the mass slaughters, the holocausts,
The genocides of recent history, but rather, as we gather speed,
The mind-frame has been twisted out of all recognition.
Our still-evolving brains have been hijacked, since frontal lobe,
Parietal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe,
Cerebellum and stem, once employed to process the world
Without and within – exoteric and esoteric –
Are now obliged to dance to a different tune,
For a different Master, who plays via a manual
Of machine music, for a machine world, with a machine logic:
The final trump card lingeringly suspended in the hot air.
Beauty, grace, honesty, kindness, decency –
Noted, catalogued, and sneeringly dismissed
As so much sentimental nostalgia.
We zoom onwards, ever onwards, seeking immediate gratification,
A form of madness has us in its grip,
And, like Sir Henry at Rawlinson’s End,
We don’t know what we want, but we want it now!
Homo Sapiens has unitized itself.
Statistics reign supreme, with all never-to-be fulfilled lives
Reduced to the level of computer data.
The inter-connectedness of all creatures, of all things,
Of past, present and future, traduced.
Push, click, swipe, move on.
Common humanity? Irrelevant.
The natural environment? Irrelevant.
Oh look! A horse in the field… Whoosh! A couple kissing…
Whoosh! Birds in the trees… Whoosh! A dead body… Whoosh!
An iceberg disintegrating… Whoosh! A volcano erupting… Whoosh!
Bomb-flattened cities… Whoosh! A wide-eyed starving baby… Whoosh!
Soldiers goosestepping… Whoosh! Pretty flags flying… Whoosh!
A dead elephant… Whoosh! One man hacking at another man’s neck…
Whoosh! A mushroom cloud… Whoosh! The tears of a clown…
There is no phoenix.
No audacious spirit.
Non-ecstatic nihilism hangs in the filthy atmosphere,
Like a fug,
O’er-shadowed by the weeping, despairing shade of Eric Blair.
God of one hundred and one names.
Protector of Creation, Completely Good Natured,
Remover of Suffering, Granter of Generosity,
Full of Brightness, Giver of Freedom for Progress…
Usurped and defeated by Angra Mainyu,
Undermined and degraded by a motor car business,
Trashed by an unstable species of monkey, high on hubris.
In the future, perhaps, all that will remain of Zoroaster’s God,
As the smouldering, radioactive rubble of the Last Days settles,
Will be the tarnished M of a trademark badge.
Illustration: Claire Palmer