Anyone with a passing interest in Japanese history will know Oda Nobunaga, the infamous warlord of the sixteenth century. A brutal daimyo, he’s known as one of the three unifiers of Japan. He himself was fond of western styled fashion and is often depicted wearing high collars and western styled armor. He was also a major proponent for the usage of firearms.
In Nanako’s entry I kind of had to dance around why I specifically chose to make her Persona to be the daughter of Nobunaga–in truth, I came up with Dojima’s first. In the world of Persona 4 Dojima kind of comes across as the “ruler” of the protagonist’s world, so this Persona seems less like how Dojima sees himself but rather how those close to him see him.
I’m also kind of cheating as Kanji’s two awakened Personas (Rokuten Maoh and Takeji Zaiten) are actually technically based on Nobunaga (they’re both nicknames he had), but I figured I could get away with it as this isn’t actually an “awakened” Persona, perhaps Dojima’s second rank Persona would evolve into something else to give Kanji room (just hypothetically, I don’t plan on designing awakened Personas).
But getting to the Persona’s design–the obvious origin comes from Shadow Dojima’s car wreckage. I took that in the obvious direction–he’s sort of a combination of a Transformer, a shogun, and Samus from Metroid. So he’s made of car parts, or rather mostly things that look like car parts–actual car parts are pretty dry looking and difficult to draw, but I think the general effect came through the design anyway. The gun arms could be seen as a callback to Nobunaga’s usage of firearms in warfare. I also really like the visuals of bullet belts. The flower symbol on his belt is the symbol of the Oda clan, and is the same as seen on Nanako’s Persona, Tokuhime.
The design didn’t change much from my original sketches even all the way back when I first came up with him (again, I actually came up with this design before Nanako’s). So it’s been a long time coming.
Dojima himself of course needs a standard issue handgun. He’s gotta do this shit by the book. I had given him normal glasses at first but he just didn’t look right. The sunglasses ended up being much cooler looking.
I’ve seen that JOC post going around (and may have even reblogged it myself?) and reblogged by Jews and non Jews alike. That’s good! What’s not so good is that part of the post doesn’t show Jews at all, it shows people who belong to a Christian congregation founded by a man who is a fervent believer in Christian Zionism/Messianic Judaism.
The Wikipedia page for that church states:
The Holy Ecclesia of Jesus also known as the Congregation of Jesus is an independent Japanese church founded by Ōtsuki Takeji in 1946. It is the third largest of the Japanese-founded churches. The Holy Ecclesia of Jesus is a movement aimed at recovering apostolic Christianity and entrusted with a special mission regarding the nation of Israel in these “last days.” Ōtsuki writes that its authentic mission is not to transmit the doctrine or theology of Christianity, but to manifest the living Christ in our lives. As of 2007, the movement had approximately 5,000 members throughout Japan.
The JOC post shows a choir from “Beit Shalom in Japan.” Beit Shalom was created by Takeji:
Ōtsuki’s concern for the nation of Israel clearly reflects the views of Nakada Jūji, his mentor in the Japan Holiness Church, whose theology was dominated in his later years by eschatological concerns and the idea that Japan was somehow connected to the salvation of Israel. Without denying this influence, Ōtsuki claims that he also received a special revelation concerning the movement’s responsibilities toward Israel while he was a missionary in China. He reports that the Lord instructed him:
To pray for the restoration of the nation of Israel;
To pray for the spiritual renewal of Israel, which is the condition for the return of Christ;
To pray for the peace of Jerusalem, which is the key to the peace of the world; and
To pray for the coming of the Messiah of Peace.
Ten years after Ōtsuki received this revelation and began praying fervently for the restoration of Israel, the nation of Israel was established as an independent state. This provided important confirmation for Ōtsuki and his followers at an early stage of this movement’s development. This apocalyptic consciousness and the concern for the nation of Israel pervades all aspects of this movement today.
In 1946, Father Ōtsuki Takeji founded Beit Shalom (also known as Japan Christian Friends of Israel), according to what he said were the instructions of God. At the time, he had not met a Jew in his life; indeed, he had to wait until 1962 before he would ever meet an Israeli. Beit Shalom was created as a guest house for Israeli and Jewish visitors to Japan, where they could stay for free for up to three nights. Beit Shalom also holds concerts in the visitors’ honor, presented by the Shachar Choir (Dawn Choir) composed of native Japanese members of the Sei Iesu Kai congregation. The choir sings songs in Hebrew for Israeli guests in order to “express the love of Israel and to promote friendship between Israel and Japan.” Beit Shalom also created and runs the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, near Hiroshima. Many members of the Sei Iesu Kai clergy have studied in Israel and speak Hebrew, and Father Ōtsuki himself received the Honorary Fellow of Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1994.
So while there is a Jewish community in Japan, Beit Shalom is not one of them, and it’s quite frankly alarming to see that a decidedly Messianic organisation is running a Holocaust education centre and even functioning as a diplomatic hub. It’s important to support our fellow Jews but also recognise fakes.