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From John Chau to Captain Cook: The fatal attractions of Missionaries and other Colonising Zealots. Part Eight: The Tragedy of Koda Shosei.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018 00:00;
Published in Blog;

In October 2004 a young 24 yr old Japanese man, Koda Shosei, travelled alone to Iraq from Amman in Jordan, and shortly after entering that country, was captured by Islamic fundamentalists associated with Al Qaida, and brutally murdered by having his head hacked from his body with a hunting knife. The event was filmed live and broadcast to the world as part of the terrorist’s campaign to gain world attention. In that at least, they were successful. But what on earth had enticed this clearly innocent but fatally naïve young man to go somewhere as dangerous and chaotic as Iraq? There had already been several beheadings by the same group, and indeed just shortly prior to Koda’s entering Iraq, another group of Japanese volunteers had also been kidnapped and held to ransom. The Japanese government steadfastly refused to capitulate and pay the ransom money to that group of terrorists. Fortunately, the captives were released unharmed and successfully evacuated out of the Iraq, to Japan.  Although there was genuine public outrage in Japan, they did not go without opprobrium by others in Japan however, many of whom considered their actions not only foolhardy in the extreme, but also to have brought shame on Japan. Sadly, Japanese public reactions to young Koda Shosei’s plight were much the same, and his parents felt obliged to apologise for the embarrassment their son had brought on the nation.

A far cry from the (deserved), outraged indignation in Western countries whose citizens have met the same grisly plight. 

Prior to entering Iraq, Koda had been in New Zealand on a working holiday and it seems, had on a whim, decided to go to Iraq and see for himself exactly what was going on. One might think him foolish in the extreme for this, and many have blamed him for his naivety, but there is an innocence to his story that makes his end truly tragic. Although young Shosei had been raised as, and indeed was a Christian; something of a novelty in a country like Japan, the church he was raised in was a far cry from the rabid, evangelical milieu John Chau mixed in. It seems the simple if deadly curiosity of inexperienced youth is what led young Koda forward and into the arms of evil, rather than any desire to proselytise and convert Iraqis. 

So, what might we learn from Koda Shosei’s Four Pillars? What was it that took him so far from home and into the clutches of Islamic extremists? What do his four pillars show us of his personality and his character?

Koda Shosei’s Four Pillars:

29th                                        Nov                               1979

Yang Metal                          Yin Wood                      Yin Earth

Rat                                         Pig                              Goat 

Luck Pillar at time of death: Yin Water Rooster

Koda Shosei was a Weak Metal man. We can say this since he was born on a Yang Metal Day, in the season of Water in the Month of the Pig. This means his self-element of metal, was out of season and must therefore, be considered weak. As I have already noted, weak metal people are usually considered to be good looking, and with a very determined personality, not easily deterred from what it is they have set their minds to. 

Perhaps one of the most indicative aspects of his four Pillars for us, is his intelligence element and his current Luck Pillar. He entered his final Luck Pillar in1996, at the age of 17. It’s worth noting that Koda quit high school in his junior year to go working as a painter and decorator, more than likely around the same time as this change of Luck Pillars? This was Yin Water sitting on the Rooster. This indicates that he would be particularly rebellious and hard to control in this Luck Period, simply due to the Yin Water aspect of this Luck Pillar. This was due to yin water being his intelligence element from his yang metal day pillar. Remember, water is the intelligence element of metal. Since his day pillar is yang and the water of his luck pillar is yin, we again see this imbalance of yang and yin, when for this aspect of his four pillars, it should in fact be either yin/yin or yang/yang. This means that even when someone is telling him to think again, to be extra vigilant, he would be unlikely to heed such counsel. In addition, the Rooster is the Yang Edge to Yang Metal. The Yang Edge is inclined to bring out a particularly yang/active even reckless aspect of one’s personality; meaning again, that it is difficult to get them to heed wise advice and that they tend to act impulsively, rashly even, under the influence of the Yang Edge. We have already examined this kind of impulsive, rash behaviour brought on by the presence of the Yang Edge in Strong Water people, when assessing what happened on the day to: John Chau (Yang Water Day Pillar of Birth – Rat on the Day of the 16th November, when we know he returned irrevocably to North Sentinel Island and was most likely killed outright for that rash decision. The Rat is the Yang Edge to Yang Water. Furthermore, we saw the precise same dynamic at work with the impulsive behaviour of George Armstrong Custer on the day he ordered the attack on the far superior numbers of the congregated tribes at Little Big Horn. Custer too was Yang Water in his Day Pillar of Birth and both the Day and the Year of the 25th June 1876, were Rats, his Yang Edge. This made his actions that day rash and impulsive beyond rescue! 

Thus, we see a similar if not quite identical dynamic at work in the tragic figure of 24yr old Koda Shosei. Born on a Yang Metal day, he entered the Luck of the Rooster at 17yrs of age in 1996 and no doubt felt its impact until the day he had his throat cut in cold blood by his ruthless Islamic murderers. The Rooster is the Yang Edge to Yang Metal.

Koda Shosei

He is known to have entered Iraq from a check point in Jordan on the 20th October2004. This day was a Monkey Day. The first of his San Sha. I have already described San Sha in the foot notes (#4) on page 15 above. This means that for the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of November, 2004, he was far better not to have begun any new enterprises, especially not one as perilous as entering a war zone, such as Iraq then was. The Day Master for the 20th October 2004, was Opening, which may have meant his entry to Iraq was smoother and easier than he might have otherwise expected, as indeed it appears to have been. That ease of entering Iraq would have proved illusory however, with the Day Master of the 21st being Closing, from which we might expect poor Koda to start to realise things were not as straightforward as he might have felt they had been to that point. 

Sadly, having followed what can only be described as this naively, rash impulse to enter Iraq at such an incredibly dangerous time, it was only a matter of time before someone with evil intent found him and held him to ransom. By the 29th he had been held for several days by his captors who claimed he was a member of the Japanese military, then in Iraq. They were demanding that Japan immediately remove their troops. Japan refused, confirming that all their 500 military staff were accounted for. Clearly, Koda did not in anyway resemble a military man. Regardless, he was executed live on video on the 29th of October. Since it was the month of the Dog, no Nobleman appeared for him and poor Koda met his appalling end. As with John Chau, its easy to be scornful of this inexperienced and unworldly young man. But that really is where the similarity between them ends. Unlike Chau, Koda had no intention of imposing his particular rancid version of Christian colonisation on isolated tribes-peoples. No intention to convert anyone. There was no attempt to deceive the lawful authorities of his intent, no bribes paid to enter the country unlawfully. He simply wanted to see for himself what was happening in Iraq. And while we can find that ridiculous and dangerous to the point of stupidity, I personally feel it is far less reprehensible than those self-entitled actions by the likes of Michael Rockefeller and the venality of his patrons at institutes like the museums he was collecting for. Certainly Shosei;s rash actions caused untold misery to his family and in the minds of certain Japanese he brought shame to his country but realistically, they are the ones lacking compassion under these circumstances and should have been the ones to be ashamed. Neither was Koda Shosei acting with the racist arrogance of Chau, Cook, Custer and Gordon. who was perhaps similar to Chau with his evangelical Christian perspectives of the Sudanese and the Mahdi’s hordes. 

But what other insights can we take from these six cases? Perhaps the first is the incredible amount of cultural and ethnic insensitivity displayed by each of these first five individuals. It may be possible to excuse the earlier cases of Cook, Custer and Gordon for their Imperialistic arrogance, given the age and times they lived in; but for Rockefeller and his cohorts and patrons that encouraged such behaviour, it becomes harder. Killed at a time when the conflict in Vietnam was being escalated, one might have hoped that the kind of venal appropriation of sacred objects by native peoples would have been lessening. Alas, obviously it was not. That Michael Chau should have been encouraged and led on by those promoting their brand of particularly reprehensible evangelical Christianity in this day and age, is simply religious imperialism of the very worst kind. It is only to be hoped that wiser, more temperate minds will now hold sway and stop this kind of madness from occurring in the future. There is I think, a good argument for the Indian authorities to hold John Chau’s missionary sponsors to legal account.

Whatever our eventual assessment of the actions of these 6 men caught up in the events of their times, all were nevertheless subject to the energies of their Four Pillars and had they chosen to take more moderate and measured actions; had they been aware of the influence time itself has over us, perhaps they and all the myriads of others eventually affected by their rash and hasty decisions, the results might have been far less violent and drastic? 

And what of the Four Pillars themselves, as a means of investigating and assessing people and their lives from a historical perspective? Whilst they are frequently used as a means of finding out just what might have gone wrong for someone individually, or as the result of some wider event; think of the Boxing Day Tsunami, the 9/11 attack on the Twin Trade Towers in New York, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 etc. this application of them forensically to help understand the past is but one way in which they may be applied. 

An even more frequent use is to help predict the future, especially for example, at the beginning of a new year, trying to understand what the coming year will bring in the way of hidden-time dynamics. They are used in checking the compatibility of prospective marriage partners, business partners and so on, and just as frequently to see if the timing is right for a new enterprise. Few Chinese people I know, would ever dream of undertaking a serious investment in a new business for example, without first checking with a Four Pillars master as to what their luck in their present or future period is likely to bring them. It is this application, through the use of the Chinese Tong Shu or Almanac that one so often finds people checking to see what the day or the next few days will bring. Imagine just how more effectively some of our own enterprises might have gone had we known in advance, which days and time were fortuitous and those which were not? How much more could be accomplished and with so much less conflict and harm. What if Cook had had the advantage of the Four Pillars to fall back on in retrieving his silly boat. Do you think he would have forged ahead that day knowing it would cost him his life to even try? Would Custer have dashed so foolishly into the fray had he known in advance the days energies were so against him? What about young Rockefeller? Would he have so recklessly braved those shark and crocodile infested waters, knowing there was a good chance that day that there just were very likely to be cannibals ready to enjoy him as a tasty meal of revenge against the Dutch had he known? Of course not! Neither would poor naively reckless Koda Shosei have gone anywhere near Iraq had he been aware of the value of consulting one’s Four Pillars in advance of such an undertaking! 

I am reminded of a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which Brutus exhorts his fellow conspirators to take advantage of the timing available to them with these immortal words:

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” 

I will leave you, the reader to decide whether you think the Four Pillars of Destiny are a helpful and discerning method or not to examine history and the figures who have made it so fascinating. 

If you would like more information on how to have your own Four Pillars drawn up, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for taking to time to read this article. 

Danny Thorn


Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand

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Dec 2018 

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