Friday, December 16, 2005

The World’s Oldest Company in Japan Since the Sixth Century

The World’s Oldest Company in Japan Since the Sixth Century

If you don’t know the name, Prince Shotoku, you cannot be a Japanese.

Prince Shotoku was born in AD 574 in a horse box like Jesus Christ. According to official history, later he became a regent for Empress, or female Emperor, Suiko.

One of his great achievements was establishment of a temple named Shi-Ten-Ouji in Osaka.

To build up the temple, Prince Shotoku invited three carpenters from a country in the Korean Peninsula. One of them later became a founder of a building company called Kongou-Gumi specializing in construction of temples, shrines, and traditional buildings.

However, according to a recent news report, this Japan’s and World’s oldest company is going to be merged by other company, due to financial problems. So, a company called Kongou-Gumi is going to disappear in the proceeding of history. But Prince Shoutoku’s reputation will never change.

Prince Shoutoku once wrote an official letter to an Emperor in China, stating that his letter was meant to be delivered to the son of heaven in China as a greeting from the son of heaven in Japan. This expression provoked the Emperor in China, since he thought Japan was his subordinate.

However, since then, Japan firmly intended to be and keep independent of hegemony of China.

There are various reasons why Prince Shoutoku is so popular among Japanese people; and under his glory, even a company can enjoy 1,400 year operation.

Jesus Christ completely neglected hegemony of Roman Empire. However, I believe he also worked to assure independence of Israelites for more than 2000 years, even intagibly.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Zero Fighters High on Pearl Harbor in December 1941

Zero Fighters High on Pearl Harbor in December 1941

In December, before relaxing into the Christmas Season, if we may say so over diversity of religious practices, the Pearl Harbor Day looms over and over again even in the 21st century.

This year, the History Channel featured the historical incident. It was far better than the movie “Pearl Harbor” released in 2001 before the terrorist attacks of September 11 on New York and Washington DC.

The History Channel correctly depicted the Zero fighter plane the Imperial Japan’s Navy had mobilized in 1941 for the air attack, though the TV program’s main feature seems to be small-size attack submarines launched from mother submarines and expected to fire torpedoes against U.S. warships in the Pearl Harbor synchronously with the air raid.

Fairly before the Pearl Harbor attack, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Administration had been helping Chinese, mainly the Chinese Communist Party, fight against Imperial Japan’s army in mainland China. One renowned American general engaged in the operation in China reported that Japan had a fighter plane superior to any U.S. fighter planes; but this warning was laughed at, because no generals in Washington DC before the Pearl Harbor attack could believe that Japan had a capacity enough to design and build up such an excellent fighter plane.

Until the end of the World War II, Imperial Japan produced more than 10,000 Zero fighters, but it was only for a year or so that this fighter with outstanding maneuverability could overwhelm U.S. air fighters. American industrial power was then, in a sense, a hundred times larger than Imperial Japan’s.

Conversely, with one hundredth of the whole U.S. industrial power, Imperial Japan had yet a chance to completely wipe out U.S. military forces from the Pacific Ocean in 1941, if she could have successfully operated its excellent war machine, the world’s number one battle ships and Zero fighters.

When then U.S. Navy discovered the tactics to cope with and overwhelm merits of the Zero fighter in 1942, the fate of the Empire of Great Japan was almost decided. In August 1945, there were even no shadows of Zero fighters in the sky high on Hiroshima.

There is another profound fact that the History Channel did not mention. The engine of the Zero fighter was, of course, made in Japan. But, several years before the war erupted, some American engineers were hired by a Japanese plane maker. Those American engineers helped Japanese engineers design a new model of engines which was eventually built into the Zero fighter. Moreover, it is also said that the external shape of this symbolic fighter plane had been borrowed from a certain American plane at the time. American originality and Japanese adaptation thus worked well.

I don’t know how many people in the world, including Chinese communist leaders, got pleased before Xmas in 1941 with the report from the Pearl Harbor heralding the war between Imperial Japan and America.

As history tells, since then, many colonies and semi-colonies in Asia got independent while America has been following the path of wars, from Korea to Vietnam, Afghanistan, and to Iraq, all of which might be regarded as aftermath of the Pacific War meaning the Pacific stage of WWII in Japan.

After the World War II, the U.S. tried to prevent the Japanese air industry from rising from ashes. However, it seems that Japan carefully avoided the collision course once it had been pushed into, but found a new arena of competition, cars and electronics.

As the disparity between Japanese industry and U.S. industry is not one to one hundred now, it is more important that both the countries keep peace ever and forever.