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How 'Rising Sun' Clouds the Issues

March 15, 1992

According to Michael Crichton's agent, Bob Bookman of Creative Artists Agency, quoted in last Sunday's Off-Centerpiece on the author's novel "Rising Sun": "There's great sensitivity to the Japanese now, but Crichton doesn't take any cheap shots."

I disagree. The entire book is a cheap shot. By mixing accurate factual information about Japanese business practices with an appealing fictional narrative in which a Japanese businessman commits murder, Crichton has done us a disservice by reducing current, confusing Japanese business behavior to the lowest levels of our imagination.

Japanese are not committing violent crimes in pursuit of their economic goals. If anything, the recent stabbing death of businessman Yasuo Kato in Ventura County and the murder of a Japanese university president in Boston should alert us that it is we Americans who are committing violent crimes.

To really judge the sincerity of Crichton's protest against the Japanese economic invasion of the United States, one need only know that he chooses to be represented by CAA, the same agency whose chairman, Michael Ovitz, aggressively promoted the selling of MCA-Universal and Columbia Pictures to Matsushita and Sony.

We as Americans may fantasize that external Japanese business behavior is responsible for our problems at home. In the end, however, we'd be a lot better served by realizing that it is we who have lost our way--and that foremost among our mistakes is how easily we sell out.

HUGH GROSS

West Hollywood

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