Saturday, June 15, 2013

"That it is Elias" - Classical Chinese in Japan

A Public Park on Tokyo Bay

Classical Chinese in Japan

Classical Chinese has been well learnt by Japanese.

Not only the elite class of Japanese but also some ordinary people have been educated, though to different levels, for leaning classic Chinese literature.  So, Japanese people in general have good knowledge about, for example, Analects of Confucius, if they cannot read classic Chinese.
Classical Chinese is the language of the classic literature from the Spring and Autumn period through to the end of the Han Dynasty, a written form of Old Chinese.
But the modern Chinese language is substantially different from classical Chinese.  Chinese today cannot read those classic literature unless they are trained for reading classical Chinese.

One thing common between Japanese and Chinese is use of Kanji (Chinese) characters.  Though some Kanji characters were invented in Japan, Japanese still use tens of thousands of Chinese characters imported from China more than 1500 years ago as Japanese Kanji letters.

Japanese also invented Kana characters to express sound of Japanese original words and Kanji characters.  Kana is a kind of alphabets, consisting of 51 letters.

Before the Chinese Government introduced simplified Chinese, it was very difficult for ordinary Chinese and most of Chinese farmers to learn how to read and write.  It was almost impossible for them to read classical Chinese.  Only the elite Chinese in past dynasties or Chinese empires could enjoy the privilege of leaning classic literature and understanding its contents.

However in Japan, with help of Kana characters, contents of those Chinese classic literature were widely taught even in village temple schools for children.  Especially the noble class, Buddhist monks, and the samurai class of Japanese were fluent in reading and writing classical Chinese.

Before samurai Japan opened the nation in the middle of the 19th century to modernize Japan, a strong emphasis had been placed on learning classical Chinese in high education in Japan.   But when the Meiji era started with restoration of power of the emperor, Japan turned to the Western culture and science.

So, today, classical Chinese is not regraded as an important subject in Japanese academic communities, but a tradition for respect for classic Chinese literature still survives in the Japanese society.

That is why a Japanese can sometimes communicate with a Chinese by means of writing.

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Mar 6:14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
Mar 6:15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Simon, (whom he also named Peter,)" - Intention of God

Toward  the Tokyo Station

Intention of God

Suppose that the God created this universe, including the sun, the moon, and our earth, then what is His purpose?

Then look around, and you can observe only bad guys, indecent guys, and unbelievers.

Is it an intention of the God: filling the earth with scoundrels?

Of course, the God must have foreseen that battles for survival would be common among living things on the earth.  But is it inevitable that such battles for survival would lead to emergence of evil in the human world?

Anyway by referring to non-nonsense religions, we could confirm that it is an intention of the God to have the good prevail on the earth despite various difficult conditions for human beings as living things.

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Luk 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Luk 6:14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
Luk 6:15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
Luk 6:16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves" - Canary and Cat

Scenes in the Suburbs of Tokyo

Canary and Cat

A professor of a university in Tokyo was sitting in the veranda of his Japanese-style house in the winter.

Then suddenly a canary flew onto a board of the veranda.   The professor just wanted to capture it.  But the small bird came near to him voluntarily.  So the professor thought that he had a birdcage kept somewhere in his house, and he thought he had to find it.  Then the canary voluntarily jumped into a storage room.  The professor could easily put the bird into an old birdcage.

He thought that the bird must have been hungry, so that he prepared some vegetable feed.  As the bird was watching him cutting some leaves, the canary started to chirp so busily.

In this way the family of the professor started to live with the stray canary.  Before this incident, they kept a cat which had already gone.  They felt somehow empty and void.  But now a small bird singing well became a new key player in their happy circle.

One day when a family member was trying to feed the canary, it got out of the cage and flew away into the winter sky.

But next day, a young cat wandered into the professor's home to stay there determinedly.  So, the family again got a pet which pleased them in their space for relaxation.

Of course, if a canary and a cat had been kept together by the professor, the former should have wished for leaving the house, flying high even into the cold winter sky.

But how could the canary know, a day before, that a cat was going to settle down in the house?

This episode was written in a collection of literary jottings by professor Torahiko Terada who died in Tokyo in 1935.  

*** *** *** ***

Joh 6:10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Joh 6:11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
Joh 6:12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Joh 6:13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"as we forgive our debtors" - Nixon in Japan in 1953


Nixon in Japan in 1953

In November 1953, then US Vice President Richard Nixon visited Japan.

On this occasion, Nixon expressed his opinion about the Pacifist Constitution of Japan.  Nixon said, "It was a big mistake for the US to have advised and requested Japan to adopt the Article 9 which forbids full-scale rearmament of Japan and denies the right of belligerency to the Japanese Government."  Indeed, though the Korean War (1950-1953) went into suspension of hostilities in July 1953, the US wanted to be physically and militarily supported by Japan in the Cold War.

Nixon was then asked by the Japanese Government led by Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida to visit and show respect for the Tokyo Yasukuni Shrine which enshrined souls of fallen soldiers of the Empire of Japan.  But Nixon declined the idea since the Empire lost war against the US and dissolved in 1945.

Then Nixon visited PM Yoshida at his home in Oiso facing the Pacific Ocean.  Yoshida asked Nixon if the US intended to officially establish diplomatic relationships with China led by the Chinese Communist Party.  Nixon didn't give a clear answer.  Indeed, communist leaders of China had sent so many soldiers to Korea to stop advancement of the US and allied forces from the south to the north in the Korean War.    

Shigeru Yoshida resigned as primer minister in December 1954.  Afterwards Yoshida's disciple Eisaku Sato became Japanese Prime Minister in 1964 to continue his premiership till 1972.  In 1969 Sato visited the White House to negotiate return of administrative authority over Okinawa from the US to Japan with President Nixon.  It went well smoothly.  President Nixon promised to return Okinawa to Japan without nuclear weapons kept in US military bases in Okinawa islands.  With this transaction, Japan concluded its efforts to restore territories which had been occupied by the US after WWII.  It was one of the biggest historic incidents for Japan after WWII.

As Nixon respected Yoshida, he must have trusted Sato, which must have been a key to good relationships between the two countries in the era of Nixon, though Nixon visited Beijing without prior-notification to Japan of his historic trip to China.  

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Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony"


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Mar 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Stretch forth thy hand" - Japanese Constitution

Tokyo Bay

Japanese Constitution

When a country is defeated in a war and occupied by foreign powers, it would naturally change its constitution.

So, Japan changed its constitution after WWII.  And the new constitution was drastically revolutionary for the Japanese people, since it was drafted by young American officers who were stationed in Tokyo to be subject to General MacArthur.

May 3, 1947:
New Japanese constitution goes into effect

On May 3, 1947, Japan's postwar constitution goes into effect. The progressive constitution granted universal suffrage, stripped Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power, stipulated a bill of rights, abolished peerage, and outlawed Japan's right to make war. The document was largely the work of Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur and his occupation staff, who had prepared the draft in February 1946 after a Japanese attempt was deemed unacceptable.

As the defender of the Philippines from 1941 to 1942, and commander of Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific theater from 1942 to 1945, Douglas MacArthur was the most acclaimed American general in the war against Japan. On September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, he presided over the official surrender of Japan. According to the terms of surrender, Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese government were subject to the authority of the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers in occupied Japan, a post filled by General MacArthur.

On September 8, Supreme Commander MacArthur made his way by automobile through the ruins of Tokyo to the American embassy, which would be his home for the next five and a half years. The occupation was to be a nominally Allied enterprise, but increasing Cold War division left Japan firmly in the American sphere of influence. From his General Headquarters, which overlooked the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo, MacArthur presided over an extremely productive reconstruction of Japanese government, industry, and society along American models. MacArthur was a gifted administrator, and his progressive reforms were for the most part welcomed by the Japanese people.

The most important reform carried out by the American occupation was the establishment of a new constitution to replace the 1889 Meiji Constitution. In early 1946, the Japanese government submitted a draft for a new constitution to the General Headquarters, but it was rejected for being too conservative. MacArthur ordered his young staff to draft their own version in one week. The document, submitted to the Japanese government on February 13, 1946, protected the civil liberties MacArthur had introduced and preserved the emperor, though he was stripped of power. Article 9 forbade the Japanese ever to wage war again.

Before Japan's defeat, Emperor Hirohito was officially regarded as Japan's absolute ruler and a quasi-divine figure. Although his authority was sharply limited in practice, he was consulted with by the Japanese government and approved of its expansionist policies from 1931 through World War II. Hirohito feared, with good reason, that he might be indicted as a war criminal and the Japanese imperial house abolished. MacArthur's constitution at least preserved the emperor as the "symbol of the state and of the unity of the people," so Hirohito offered his support. Many conservatives in the government were less enthusiastic, but on April 10, 1946, the new constitution was endorsed in popular elections that allowed Japanese women to vote for the first time. The final draft, slightly revised by the Japanese government, was made public one week later. On November 3, it was promulgated by the Diet--the Japanese parliament--and on May 3, 1947, it came into force.
However, even before WWII the Empire of Japan had democracy better than that today observed in most of countries.  Universal suffrage was introduced and freedom of press was mostly assured.  Nonetheless, it was true that the Japanese people could not fully check the Imperial Army and Navy, since the Japanese society before WWII had been still a kind of extension of the samurai era where a strong class system prevailed with the samurai class at the top and the merchant class at the bottom.  What is more, the system of patriarchy was so strong that respect for individual freedom was weak in Japanese communities.  Under these conditions, when the nation faced very difficulty after the Great Depression, the Imperial military could assume leading power and influence on the whole Japanese society, suppressing democratic movement.

Therefore, there were necessary conditions in Japan that allowed the Japanese people to easily accept the new fully-democratic constitution drafted by US officers who even specified very liberal provisions in the constitution even the US Constitution had not yet adopted.      

*** *** *** ***

Luk 6:9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?
Luk 6:10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

"five barley loaves, and two small fishes" - Top Secret in 1969


Top Secret in 1969

After WWII, the US occupied Okinawa.

Even after a peace treaty was signed by Japan and a majority of the allied nations, including the US, the US continued its occupation of Okinawa.

Okinawa Prefecture, consisting of scores of islands and situated in the south of the four major Japanese islands, was the only battle ground in the Japanese indigenous territory in the war between the Empire of Japan and the United States which was fought as part of WWII (1939-1945).

The Battle of Okinawa was waged from March to June of 1945.  The Empire of Japan deployed 116,400 troops and the US (and other allied forces) mobilized 548,0000 soldiers.  Eventually, more than 94,000 Japanese soldiers were killed (including 3,000 kamikaze soldiers); and more than 12,000 US soldiers died (72,000 wounded).  What is worse, 94,000 Okinawa citizens were involved and killed.

So, the US would not return Okinawa to Japan even after the Peace Treaty of San Francisco was signed in 1951, since the US lost so many soldiers in the Battle of Okinawa.  Besides, Okinawa is close to China and Taiwan, making it strategically valuable for the US.

But in 1969 then Japanese prime minister Eisaku Sato was determined to take back Okinawa.  However there is one problem.  The US had huge areas of American military bases in Okinawa.  What is worse, the US military had nuclear weapons in Okinawa, while the Japanese Government had publicly declared that it would never allow existence of American nuclear weapons in Japan.  Japan was the only nation in the world that suffered nuclear-bomb (atomic bomb) attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

The US had no intention to remove its nuclear weapons from Okinawa, as it was the era of the Vietnam War.  So, a secret treaty was concluded by US President Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Sato.

United States President: 
As stated in our Joint Communique, it is the intension of the United States Government to remove all the nuclear weapons from Okinawa by the time of actual reversion of the administrative rights to Japan; and thereafter the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and its related arrangements will apply to Okinawa, as described in the Joint Communique. 
However, in order to discharge effectively the international obligations assumed by the United States for the defense of countries in the Far East including Japan, in time of great emergency the United states Government will require the re-entry of nuclear weapons and transit rights in Okinawa with prior consultration with the Government of Japan. The united States Government would anticipate a favorable response. The United States Government also requires the standby retention and activation in time of great emergency of existing nuclear storage locations in Okinawa: Kadena, Naha, Henoko and Nike Hercules units. 
Japanese Prime Minister: 
The Government of Japan, appreciating the United States Government's requirements in time of great emergency stated above by the President, will meet these requirements without delay when such prior consultation takes place.
The President and the Prime Minister agreed that this Minute, in duplicate, be kept each only in the offices of the president and the Prime Minister and be treated in the strictest confidence between only the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Japan.  
Washington,D.C., November 21, 1969 
(signature) Richard Nixon
(signature) Eisaku Sato

One original sheet of this signed paper had been hidden in a desk of Sato in the prime minister office in Tokyo.  When Sato resigned as PM in 1972, he had his desk carried to his home with the secret sheet in it.

Eisaku Sato died in 1975 after he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974.  Then his wife died in 1987.  At the time their son, a politician, found this secret agreement in a drawer of the desk.

His son, Shinji Sato. requested the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take this paper and keep it properly.  But bureaucrats of the Ministry refused to handle it for the reason that the paper was not official but personal between Sato and Nixon.  They said that the Japanese Government had nothing to do with it.  And afterwards, the secret pact sheet was long kept personally by the son of Eisaku Sato.

It was 2009 that Mr. Shinji Sato made public the secret arrangement between his father and Richard Nixon, since a regime change occurred in Japan in 2009 from the pro-US LDP, to which Satos belonged, to the liberal DPJ through a general election.

Everybody has already gone that was involved in preparation of this secret treaty, but Mr. Henry Kissinger is still alive.  Mr. Kissinger was a major figure behind the scene in establishing this controversial treaty.  Incidentally, Kissinger's counterpart on the Japanese side was Kei Wakaizumi, but he committed a suicide in 1996 after suffering some moral, ideological or political pains related to this secret nuclear-weapon treaty.

Finally the most importantly, it is said that Okinawa people feel that they were sacrificed in WWII because Okinawa was the last region in the Japanese Archipelago that was officially integrated into the Empire of Japan, since Okinawa had been nominally an independent kingdom (Ryukyu Kingdom) till the 19th century.  It had even sent a tributary envoy to Chinese empires over the East China Sea over centuries.  Okinawa is a very unique part of Japan still today.

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Joh 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
Joh 6:9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
Joh 6:10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Joh 6:11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
Joh 6:12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Joh 6:13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Joh 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.