Japan from the inside out

Ichigen koji (35)

Posted by ampontan on Sunday, July 31, 2011

– A person who has something to say about everything

This crisis will most assuredly be overcome. I think Japan can definitely achieve a utopia. I believe in Japan and the Japanese.

– Novelist Komatsu Sakyo, just before his death this month at the age of 80, speaking of the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami. Komatsu was the author of the award-winning SF novel, Nihon Chimbotsu (Japan Sinks). Published in 1973, the book sold more than four million copies and was turned into a television program and a movie.

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One Response to “Ichigen koji (35)”

  1. toadold said

    While I believe Japan has a good future, I get worried every time I hear the word “utopia”. Too many times people who strive for utopias end up killing those who oppose their vision. One current version of an environmentalist utopia is a depopulated planet.
    I was re-reading a political history of Japan, and was struck by how events of sudden change were actually arrived at by a slow build up pressures and then triggered by some event. That is true all over the world but in Japan it seems to me even more striking. We are usually told that the arrival of the Black Ships caused the Meiji restoration, however there were long standing grievances from a lot of groups about the Shogunate and the way society was structured. The arrival of the ships was as much a trigger as it was a cause. There was a quote from an Englishman who had been in Japan since the start of the restoration. He said we he arrived he dealt with a gentleman with a samurai top knot, robes, and two swords. Thirty years later he was dealing with a gentleman in a Western suit and haircut. Too him it was an astonishingly speedy trip from the feudal ages to the modern world. There was enormous change also after WW II. “These people aren’t the same people.” was one quote. Much more educated. There was a photo in the book from the 1950’s. It showed just a pair of hands of a 20’s something peasant girl. They were worn, cracked, and callused and looked like they belonged to someone a hundred years old. I do believe you’d be hard pressed to find hands like that these days.Three points aren’t a trend but it almost looks like Japan goes through a big change every 60 to 70 years. Just a hair overdue.

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