Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Let your light so shine" - Foreign Wars of Japan

Around Tokyo

Foreign Wars of Japan

The overview of the history of the concept of national security of Japan is as follows:

First of all, no countries had ever invaded Japan till the US military occupied Japan after WWII in 1945.  Japan is situated at the eastern end of the world as you can confirm it on the map.  No countries except China had had ability to launch war to invade Japan till the modern era.  Japan is an isolated island country with a size roughly twice the Great Britain's or equal to California.

Accordingly, war against a foreign country had been a very remote and vague concept not only in the general public but also in the elite class of the Japanese people till the start of modernization of Japan in the middle of the 19th century since the beginning of the nation Japan around the first century when a king of Japan, called Wa at the time, sent a mission to a Chinese imperial court.

The major three wars before WWII and after the Meiji Restoration of the imperial authority after the samurai era, meaning the start of Japan's westernization, around 1860s were the Japanese-Sino War (1994 to 1895), the Japanese-Russo War (1904-1905), and the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).  Modernized and westernized Japan used modern military forces in these wars to win them all, though the Second Sino-Japanese War was ended with the surrender of the Empire of Japan to the US in 1945.

This era of the three major wars was very different from the current one.  Most parts of Asia were colonized or subject to Western powers.  Japan could avoid being colonized by any Western powers, including Russia.  But to make the country strong militarily and advanced economically and industrially, Japan opted to put surrounding regions under its control.

To cope with advancement of Russia from the north, Japan had to secure neutrality and then subordination of Manchuria and Korea through the Japanese-Sino War and the Japanese-Russo War.  To defend mainland Japan from Western colonialists, Japan obtained and ruled Taiwan after the Japanese-Sino War.  However, China was invaded by Russia, the UK, France, etc.; the Philippines was colonized by the US; Vietnam and Cambodia were ruled by France; the UK also colonized India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.; and the Netherlands ruled Indonesia.  It was not only the Empire of Japan that was aggressive in territorial ambition.

From the start of modernization of Japan, namely the Meiji Restoration, Japan had to defend itself from Western colonialists.  The Japanese public therefore supported the policy of the Imperial Government to build up strong military.  However, this too much emphasis on military capability led to the tragic war with China in 1937 and the fatal war with the US in 1941.

Before the Meiji Restoration, the last overseas war Japan had been engaged in was the war against the Ming Dynasty of China accompanied by the war with Korea.  This war was fought from 1592 to 1598 mainly in the Korean Peninsula.

The then samurai head of Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi launched this war, since he thought that he had been insulted by the Imperial Ming court of China.  To punish Ming, Hideyoshi mobilized more than 150,000 samurai troops equipped with matchlocks, trying to invade Ming through the Korean Peninsula.  The battles were so fierce, but Hideyoshi could neither decisively defeat Ming troops and the Korean military subject to Ming nor occupy the Korean Peninsula on the permanent base.  When Hideyoshi died of illness and old age in his castle in Osaka, Japan, this great campaign was abandoned by other samurai leaders.  However, the Ming dynasty consumed too much resources in this war, so that it became one of major factors of the collapse of Ming in 1644.

Before Hideyoshi's military invasion of the Korean Peninsula in the late 16th century, Japan experienced one big defensive war against the Yuan Dynasty of China.  Yuan was established by Mongolians, or descendants of Genghis Khan, the great founder of the Mongolian Empire in the 13th century.  They requested the then samurai government to bring a tribute to the Yuan Emperor and become a client country to Yuan.  Samurais of Japan refused it bravely, so that Yuan sent huge troops transported by big fleets consisting of about 1,000 ships in 1274 and 4,000 ships in 1281.  Japanese samurai could expel about 40,000 Yuan troops in 1274 and 150,000 troops in 1281 successfully with help of big typhoons (called "kamikaze" in Japanese meaning god wind).

However, before this defensive war against Yuan, which was fought in Kyushu Island of Japan, Japan had not been engaged in any war against foreign countries for 600 years.

The oldest foreign war for Japan was called "Haku-sukinoe no tatakai" in Japanese.  The then Yamato Imperial court of Japan sent more than 40,000 troops to a sea-coast river area called Hakusonko in the Korean Peninsula to help and support a pro-Japanese Korean kingdom in 663.  It was an international war between a coalition of Japan and friendly-associated Korean forces and an ally of the Tang Dynasty of China and anti-Japanese Koreans.  The Yamato court of Japan lost this war.  This defeat had a grave influence on the seventh and eighth century Japan.

The Tang dynasty did not invade Japan, though Japanese were prepared for the worst case building many fortresses in Kyusyu Island and the area between Kyusyu and Yamato, the center of the Yamato Dynasty located south of Kyoto.  However, after this Hakusonko war, the Yamato court aggressively introduced the legal system and the governmental structure of Tang.  Japan imported advanced Chinese civilization in a large scale just like Japan introduced many American advanced democratic systems after WWII.

These are almost all the foreign wars the Japanese race has experienced in the history.  The concept of war against foreign countries is not inherently rooted in the Japanese culture and history.  Truly it came to grow after the Meiji Restoration or the start of the industrialization of Japan in the late 19th century while facing Western colonizing powers.

Japan is surrounded by the seas.  No foreign countries could easily invade Japan.  Japan could not also send huge troops overseas easily.  And, luckily there were no strong and aggressive empires around Japan.  Moreover, the nature of Japan is rich and its cultural level was reasonably high even in the past.  There was basically no need to invade other countries to enrich people's life of Japan.  Accordingly, the Japanese people have not been keen to matters of national security.

So, the current Pacifist Constitution of Japan fits the Japanese people.  It is unlikely that Japan would abolish it in any near future.
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Finally, the current national security of Japan is not entrusted only to Japanese Self-Defense Force, but US military forces stationed in Japan under the Japan-US Security Treaty take a large part in it, though a situation where US troops have cooperated in Japan's defense battles has never happened since the Treaty became effective originally in 1952 (renewed in 1960), because there have been no such battles after WWII.  

The Mongolian Invasion of Japan in 1274/1281

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Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

"And they come to Jesus" - Tolstoy, Marx, and Lincoln

Around Tokyo

Tolstoy, Marx, and Lincoln

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy completed his great novel War and Peace in 1869, 20 years after Marx wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party in 1848.  The US Civil War, whose symbol is Abraham Lincoln, occurred between the two great works of the Western culture.

Ironically, War and Peace looks like belonging to the older era than the era of Manifesto of Communist Party.  And the US Civil War really looks like having nothing to do with War and Peace and the Manifesto of the Communist Party.

Tolstoy believed in God.  Marx believed in his talent that was his weapon against the industrialized Christian Europe.  But Americans believed in their power and freedom.

They were all subject to each environment.  War and Peace is a product of the 19th century's Russia.  The Manifesto of the Communist Party is a product of the 19th century Germany, France, and England.  The Civil War was an inevitable incident of the 19th century America.

Nonetheless, the underlying themes of these three major historical items of the 19th century influenced Europe and America in the 20th century.  And, while peoples failed to address significant issues embedded in these historical items in the 20th century, we now face more complicated historical items of Islam and China.

Western elites have been busy handling Christianity and socialism/communism in Europe and racial issues and building of the free nation in America.  But today, they have to deal with foreign issues such as Islam and China.  But we have no materials that symbolize these new challenges and that could be comparable to War and Peace and the Manifesto of the Communist Party.

However, it is true that it is the US that is most responsible for handling Islam and China in the historical context.  Experiences in Europe might not be effective in tackling these new challenges.  It is probably useless to read War and Peace and the Manifesto of the Communist Party in addressing these new challenges.  Europe cannot solve them.  But, the American experiences of its Civil War might have some relevance in efforts to deal with Islam and China.

Anyway, if War and Peace and the Manifesto of the Communist Party are part of your intellectual bases and identities, you are part of the 20th century Europe, which is however useless in the 21st century Islam and China.

We might need 21st versions of War and Peace and the Manifesto of the Communist Party to solve the problems caused by Islam and China.  Otherwise, the US military power would be the only last resort.

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Mar 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Mar 5:16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
Mar 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"be thou clean" - Artist Hirayama from Hiroshima

Around Tokyo Bay

Artist Hirayama from Hiroshima

Ikuo Hirayama is one of the most highly appraised modern artists of Japan, though he died in December 2009.
Ikuo Hirayama (1930 - 2009), was a Japanese Nihonga painter. Born in Setoda-chō, Hiroshima Prefecture, he was famous in Japan for Silk Road paintings of dreamy desert landscapes in Iran, Iraq, and China.
On August 6, 1945, Hirayama was a 15-year old middle school boy who was forced to work in a factory with other students, instead of learning in school, to produce weapons for the Imperial Army and Navy as the Pacific War was so intensified at the time.

Around 8 a.m., he was prepared for the day's work.  Other students were in a hut near a big factory also preparing for work.  Hirayama was alone outside the hut, looking up at the sky.  Then he spotted a B29 bomber that dropped something.  Soon, a parachute opened from the bomb-like object.  Hirayama went into the hut, saying to his classmates, "Hey, a parachute was delivered by a US bomber!"  The moment, the atomic bomb blasted over Hiroshima City.

Hirayama saw extremely bright light and then a strong bomb blast attacked him.  He thought that ammunition stored around the factory blasted.  But, it was a blast of an atomic bomb.

Hirayama walked around devastated Hiroshima City after coming to himself.  He saw the real disaster of Hiroshima.  Finally, atomic-bombed Hirayama climbed a hill in the city to rest himself.  To the hill many wounded people came to take repose.  As night came, Hirayama slept there while listening to many agonizing voices of the atomic-bomb victims.  But early in the next morning, he woke up in silence; everybody around him died.

Hirayama returned to his hometown in a small island in the Seto Inland Sea on which Hiroshima is situated.  He spent days swimming in the sea.  As the war was still going on, he saw US carrier-based fighters invading the sky around his home-town island for air-raids.  He even observed, while swimming, that Japanese fighters flew up to the sky to engage in an aerial battle.

But on August 15, the Empire of Japan surrendered.  However, the young man Hirayama was neither surprised nor disappointed, since he had seen American advanced vehicles and weapons captured and sent by the Imperial military to the factory in Hiroshima while he was working there.  He had though that the Empire would probably be unable to defeat the US.  So, he heard rather coolly voices of the Emperor announcing, by radio, the Empire's surrender on August 15.

Hirayama later learnt in an art institute in Tokyo to be a painter, partly because one of his old relatives had been an artist.  But while he was an assistant in Tokyo University of the Arts, he became ill.  Hirayama understood it was caused by his exposure to strong radiation 15 years ago.  As he had not drunk water and eaten foods in Hiroshima City after the atomic bomb attack, he had not been so badly contaminated.  But his health became deteriorated in Tokyo.

While he was battling this serious illness so desperately, Hirayama one day read a newspaper article telling that Olympic flame would be carried to Tokyo from Greece through the Silk Road route, as the 1964 Olympics was decided to be held in Tokyo.  Suddenly, Hirayama drew inspiration from this article.  He got an image that he was wandering in the desert but was saved to find an oasis, since most parts of the Silk Road ran through the desert.

Based on this image, Hirayama painted one picture he thought could be his last picture in this world.  It depicted two Buddhist monks traveling in an oasis or a tropical forest.  After painting this picture, his health changed better.  The picture titled "Buddhism Coming (Bukkyo Denrai)" wan big attention; it was introduced in a major newspaper.  Hirayama got confidence and determined to take Buddhism as the main theme of his works.

As time went by, Ikuo Hirayama became a successful artist as well as a professor of Tokyo University of the Arts.  He produced many highly appraised pictures related to Buddhism based on the experiences of more than 150-time tours he made mainly around the Silk Road areas in Asia and Europe.

There are many factors of the success of artist Ikuo Hirayama, but the decisive one is his experience of the Hiroshima tragedy.

Some Japanese might say that the most valuable thing the Hiroshima atomic-bomb attack produced is Buddhism-related pictures by Ikuo Hirayama.

Buddhism Coming (Bukkyo Denrai) by Ikuo Hirayama

Going through the Afghan Desert and the Moon by Ikuo Hirayama

The Buddha Leaving the World by Ikuo Hirayama

Now Japan is losing more and more survivors of Hiroshima year after year.  When they have all gone in a decade or so, what would be left even if in any forms of art?

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Luk 5:13 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

Monday, May 11, 2015

"at the draught of the fishes which they had taken" - The Imperial Family and Christianity


The Imperial Family and Christianity

The incumbent Emperor of Japan was 12 years old when WWII ended in 1945.

The next year his father the Emperor of Showa thought about an idea to invite an English teacher for his imperial prince from the US.  Some Christian scholars close to the Emperor selected one American woman after some deliberation with consent of the Emperor (and General MacArthur probably).  Then she came to Tokyo still suffering the aftermath of the Pacific War.
Elizabeth Janet Gray, also known as Elizabeth Gray Vining, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 6, 1902. She was a graduate of Germantown Friends School and received an AB from Bryn Mawr College in 1923. In 1926, she earned an MS in library science from the Drexel Institute, and became a librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1]:1000 She married Morgan Fisher Vining, associate director of the Extension Division of UNC, in 1929. The marriage ended in 1933 when her husband was killed in a New York City automobile accident, in which Vining was severely injured. During her convalescence, she converted to the Quaker faith.

Vining soon became known as an author, primarily of children's books, and was awarded the 1943 Newbery Medal for Adam of the Road.[2] She had published eleven books by the end of World War II.
The condition to choose the English teacher for the prince was, first of all, a moderate Christian woman.  And, one of lieutenants of General MacArthur, the supreme commander of the US military stationed in Japan, who had a strong influence on the Imperial family, was a Quaker.  Further, the wife of a younger brother of the Emperor had once studied in a university in the US associated with the Quakers.   Moreover, at the time, some Japanese Christians who were prominent elite intellectuals in the Japanese society were asked to give a lecture to the Emperor about Christianity.

This inclination of the Imperial Family after WII to Christianity was, however, not informed the Japanese people of.  Though it was soon known to the Japanese public that an American woman would start to teach English to the imperial prince, the fact that many Christians were surrounding the Emperor was not openly reported and discussed by the Media.

From 1946 to 1950, twice every week the imperial prince, namely the current Emperor of Japan, received an English lesson from the American woman, called Mrs. Vining.  But, It was not one-to-one lesson.  Three or four friends of the imperial prince attended the special English class together with the imperial prince.

It is also said that Mrs. Vining (with her sister) was sometimes invited by the Emperor and Empress for dinner or the like in the Imperial Palace.  The Emperor of Showa seems to have wanted to know better what Americans were through this American teacher.  It is also said that Mrs. Vining visited General MacArthur in his office twice with the imperial prince whose English somewhat satisfied the American ruler of Japan at the time.

Interestingly, the imperial prince later married a young woman who graduated from a Catholic university in Tokyo.  She is now the Empress of Japan, though there was a rumor that she must have been baptized when she was an infant.   And later, her son, the current imperial prince, married a woman who graduated from the same Catholic high school (not the university) in Tokyo as the Empress did.

Put simply, the Emperor of Showa was in a very difficult situation after WWII, so that he had to gain strong friendship from General MacArthur, at least, who was well known as having strong faith in Christianity, whatever type of faith it might be.  In fact, due to strong opposition from General MacArthur to handling the Emperor as a war criminal or even indicting him as a war criminal, the Emperor of Showa could survive the difficult time after WWII.

But this inclination of the Imperial Family to Christianity would have been a very shock to the Japanese people who respected so much the Emperor as a kind of god of shintoism if it should have been made overtly public.  Therefore, the relationship between the Imperial Family and Christians was never discussed openly.

Though the religion of the Imperial Family is today still shinto, the Imperial Family is very pro-American.  It would be no surprise that some of the Imperial Family members read the Bible, edited by Americans, every day or occasionally.

Nonetheless, in older days or more than 1,000 years ago, the Imperial Family was very active in introducing Buddhism from Korea and China.  Some notable temples in Kyoto and Nara were built by past emperors, including the notable Horyu-ji Temple and the Colossal Hall of the Great Buddha in Nara Prefecture.

Foreign religion is more a cultural matter than a spiritual matter for some Japanese.  If ancient China was advanced culturally, there was no problem in introducing Buddhism to Japan from China.  If the US was advanced in modern civilization, there must be no problem in introducing American Christianity.  Some Japanese elite politicians close to the Imperial Family must be thinking so.

Or from a different aspect, at the higher level of politics and even economy, a difference in religion among parties internationally concerned is not a practical matter.  To make communications smooth among them, the international elites would not show strong preference in religion.  But, to show more affirmative attitudes to the religion of an important ally must be more effective in securing good relationship with it.

Objectively observing, the Imperial Family is more pro Christian than the general public of Japan today is.  And its implication might be deeper and more significant toward the future than the general public of Japan today thinks.

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Luk 5:9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
Luk 5:10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
Luk 5:11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

"for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Another Factor of the Pearl Harbor Attack

The Tokyo Tower

Another Factor of the Pearl Harbor Attack

There is an interesting theory about the nature of the Empire of Japan that fought WWII to collapse after the world war.

The monarch of the Empire between 1926 and 1945 was of course the emperor who today called the Emperor of Showa (Emperor Hirohito so rudely in English) as the era in which he presided is called Showa in Japan  (he was also the emperor further between 1945 and 1989 as the symbol of the Japanese people if not the Head of State).  According to the Constitution of the Empire of Japan that was enacted in 1890, the emperor was holy and inviolable.

The imperial government and the imperial assembly functioned like those in European nations.  However the emperor of Japan had real power constitutionally to govern the Empire.  Ministers and the Cabinet were required to support the Emperor.  The Imperial navy and army were directly subject to the emperor.

Despite this constitutional system, real politics, administration, and control of the military were planned and carried out without substantial prior consultation with the emperor by the elite members of the Empire, who were mostly from the ex-samurai class or graduates of imperial universities.  Especially, generals and high-ranking officers of the Imperial military sometimes acted as they wanted while imposing and issuing their orders as if they had been the will of the emperor.

This state of the Imperial Government became so grave when the Empire entered a war against China in 1930s and then joined WWII in 1941.  Communications between the Emperor of Showa and the leading politicians and generals of the Empire were very poor.  There was no custom that the Emperor candidly discussed political or military matters with leading politicians and generals.

Their meetings were always too formal.  Even the prime minister of the Empire did not discuss matters with the Emperor as between two persons intellectually equal at least.  The Emperor was a kind of a god of shintoism, so that any honest, rough, or strong exchanges of words were not allowed for politicians.  Ministers and generals just reported situations, and the Emperor rather euphemistically asked some questions and vaguely expressed his will or hope.  This way of communications at the highest level of the Empire was not changed till the Empire of Japan collapsed when it lost the Pacific War against the US in 1945.

From the beginning, or after the Meiji Restoration of the Imperial authority that had put an end to the samurai era in 1868, it was not expected that the emperor was really involved in real politics and military matters, though the Empire needed the emperor as the highest authority of the Imperial Government.  It was not expected that the Emperor would consult and discuss with politicians and generals.  The Emperor was presented plans or decisions to that had been already made by the Cabinet or the prime minister to authorize them.  The Emperor was not effectively in a process of planning and decision making, though formally he had power and function to plan and make decisions.  He just had to say, "I allow you to do so," even in the supreme conference of the Imperial Government that was placed above the Cabinet, though the Emperor was not a puppet of any body or not manipulated by any body.

(Nonetheless, there were at least two occasions where the Emperor spontaneously expressed his intention in such conferences: one to decide the surrender to the US in August 1945 and another to suppress a coup-attempt by extreme military officers in 1936, which is called the February 26 Incident.)

Therefore, in education of Imperial princes in the Empire, ability to discuss matters and express their opinions was not attached great importance to at all.   Even ability to talk with people was not held in great account at all.  Only limited persons in the Imperial court exchanged words with the Emperor in daily life.  The Emperor of Showa lacked ability and skills to communicate with ordinary people and express his thoughts frankly, plainly, and clearly or in a democratic manner to his aids and politicians.  There were no such experiences as free conversations with friends for the Emperor of Showa since his boyhood.  Everyone paid great respect and spoke so respectfully to the Emperor in any conversations.  No candid discussions with politicians were possible even during WWII.

That is why when the Japanese people for the first time heard real voices of the Emperor of Showa in his radio speech to the nation informing them of his decision of the surrender to the US military in August 1945, the people felt something strange in the Emperor's way of speaking.  His intonation and accents were strange.  The Emperor's speech sounded like a kind of reciting a sutra of shinto.

After the the Constitution of the Empire of Japan was abolished and the new Pacifist and democratic Constitution was enacted in 1947, the style of speech of the Emperor of Showa changed.   Classic and literary words and expressions came to be replaced with plain ones.  The Emperor even gave news conferences, which had been unthinkable under the the Constitution of the Empire of Japan or during and before WWII.

The point at issue is that insufficient or limited ability of speech and self-expression of the Emperor of Showa was probably one of factors of the tragedy of the Empire of Japan in WWII.
However, a majority of Japanese people even today do not like to discuss this issue in this way.  They don't want to blame the Emperor of Showa, though all those tragic wars of the Empire of Japan till 1945 were made under the name of the Emperor of Showa.

Most of Japanese people would understand why the Emperor of Showa lacked some crucial communication ability; it was due to the the nature of the Imperial court in Japan linked with the Japanese religion shinto.  To criticize the Emperor of Showa means to criticize shinto that is a major part of Japanese spiritualism and the core of social structure and establishment of the nation.   In this context the emperor is still a kind of holy for many of the Japanese people.

But, it is true that insufficient faculty of speech of the Emperor of Showa was one of factors of the Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941.  If he had full ability in communications, he could have exchanged opinions with some influential anti-militarism politicians and might have stopped the war against the US or prevented the Pearl Harbor Attack.  It was so naturally assumed since the Emperor of Showa's intellectual ability was highly appraised as he was also an excellent biologist and a poet who created about 900 pieces of Japanese-style poetry called waka (so far as made public).

Anyway after WWII and during the US occupation of Japan between 1945 and 1952, the Emperor Showa met in person with General MacArthur, the supreme commander of the US military stationed in Japan till 1951, 11 times.  General MacArthur showed no intention to prosecute the Emperor of Showa as a war criminal.  The Japanese people have also had no intention to blame the Emperor of Showa for the defeat of the Empire to date.

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Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.