MELVIN Front Page News    May 8 - May 22, 1995

as we now call it, Missouri."

The purchase is the culmination of years of slavish devotion to Yankee icons and fashion, which saw the Japanese flock to Disneyland, cast Caucasian heroes in its anime and learn the intricacies of baseball, all in an attempt to, in the words of their Emperor Hirohito, "unlock the secret to a real, genuine-GI, 100 percent, all-authentic, okay Japanese culture."

Officials hope that the costly appropriation will end years of frustration on the part of Japan, which found its cultural evolution hampered by a lack of original ideas of its own and trouble learning complex English grammar. This led to the development of a freakish Japanese-American hybrid culture incapable of producing anything more profound than an occasional Godzilla movie, bizarrely-phrased, yet locally hip English advertising slogans and amazingly accurate renditions of New Orleans jazz classics.

According to Hashimoto, the only solution was to purchase the US cultural heritage, and in one fell swoop render baseball, mom and apple pie Japanese originals, and their American counterparts pale imitations. "At first, we thought it strange that Washington would offer to exchange your heritage for a complete forgiveness of your trade debt and an end to import restrictions, but now it is we who are All-American and you who are silly foreign copycats," Hashimoto cackled to assembled US reporters. "Word up."

Japan plans to use its new acquisition to spread Japanese cultural dominance throughout the world. "The global popularity of Japanese heartthrobs Michael Jackson and James Dean are only a start," Hashimoto warned. "We plan to keep churning out the hits until the whole world drinks the traditional Japanese beverage of Coke with every meal, and learns to speak our tongue, English, as if it were there own."

Part of Japan's formula for success will be the massive global distribution of blockbuster action movies, filmed entirely in the Kyoto suburb of Hollywood. Although previous Japanese attempts at popular film-making were less than successful, members of Japan's burgeoning movie industry foresee a golden era of Japanese entertainment. "The problem with our old movies is that they simply weren't American enough," Kyoto movie mogul Samakati Goldwyn claims. "Now they are American as hell. We'll make millions." Initial plans are for a series of films based on popular Japanese video games.

For their part, White House officials remain upbeat about the sale, and reportedly are look forward to signing future deals with Japan. "We'll miss our rich cultural heritage, but retiring our trade debt was too good a deal to pass up," Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said with a wink. "Hopefully, we can earn even more concessions in exchange for the American secrets of athletic prowess, indiscriminate urban violence and calorie-burning home exercise equipment."

In the meantime, Japanese Education officials are rushing to write new history books which take note of Japan's new heritage, including sections on Elvis, Madonna and John Wayne. "Dropping our import restrictions may seem like a high price to pay for a unique identity, but thanks to the purchase, Japan is now the land of hot rods, leggy cheerleaders and rock 'n roll," a prominent Japanese historian said. "And according to Japanese Hollywood, we also won the war."