Friday, September 09, 2016

"he saith unto him, Follow me" - What Japanese Chess Implies

Tokyo Bay

What Japanese Chess Implies

In Japanese chess (shogi), there are possible 80 moves in a given stage on average, but chess has only 35 possible moves on average.

It took 16 years for computers to defeat a professional shogi player after they had beaten a professional chess player.  Shogi is far more complicated than chess.

It is thought that shogi was imported to Japan from China around the 6th or 7th century, though this game was originated in  ancient India.   Incidentally, Western chess was also from the same origin in ancient India.

So, Japanese have trained their brains through this game, shogi, in addition to go play for more than 1300 years.  It might imply that Japanese have been traditionally more clever than Westerners whose brains have been trained through chess whose complexity is less that that of shogi.

Indeed, Japanese are good at manipulating matters in strategic ways.  That is why Japan could become a country well industrialized and modernized even before WWII, unlike any other Asian nations.  Since the abolition of its closed-door policy  in the middle of the 19th century, Japan rapidly caught up with Western nations in terms of science, technology,  industry, and culture.  Indeed without Japan's success in its industrial revolution since the middle of the 19th century, most of Asian countries, including China, India, and Korea, should be under colonial rule by Western nations even today.

However, Japan had not been influenced by ancient Greek civilization till its start of Westernization after its Meiji Restoration or a drastic regime change from the rule of samurai to the imperial government.  Therefore, underlying philosophy, rooted in the ancient Greek Civilization, that allowed Europeans to develop their scientific study was so remote from the traditional Japanese culture.  So, contribution by Japanese to development of the global history of modern ideas and thoughts is so little as compared with Japan's contribution to global science and technologies.

Moreover, Japan led by samurai leaders closed its door to Western countries, except the Netherlands, from the early 17th century to the middle of the 19th century for the purpose of preventing influx of Christianity into the Japanese society.  So, even today most of Japanese do not become Christians and are not not familiar with ideas and thoughts based on Christianity.  Only, 1.5% of the Japanese population go to church.

In China, it is said that there are more than 60 million Christians, accounting for only about 5% of the Chinese population, though its communist government does not allow full freedom of religion.  China has also never been under influence of the ancient Greek civilization in its history of ideas.  But, Chinese love complicated games more than Japanese.  They are strategists as good as Japanese.  But, there is a big difference between Japan and China in terms of their views on humanity and society.

After WWII, a new Japanese Constitution  was formulated along with advice from General MacArthur who led the US and allied forces that occupied Japan.  And, the framework of the Constitution was set by young US officers who believed in Christian virtue.  Therefore, the Japanese Constitution was basically influenced by Christianity.  The success of Japan after WWII was made possible partly owing to this Constitution.  There are many articles and provisions that pure Japanese cannot even come up with in drafting a constitution.  But, with this Constitution, Japan came to be regarded as fully modernized to be a member of developed Western countries after WWII.  In other word, Japan shares some basic cultural value with Europe and America.

However, China is different.  Though it is governed by those who nominally believe in communism, a product of modern European civilization, China is not under influence of Christian virtue.  Leaders in the Chinese politics and industries do not share basic cultural value with Europe and America.  

As Japan has succeeded in development of technology and economy, it is no wonder that China has also succeeded in these fields, because they are strategists as good as Japanese.  But, China looks being short of some important elements of civilization Japan has sufficiently and Europe and America have fully.

Anyway, as Japanese chess, imported from China, is more complicated than Western chess, Japanese and Chinese can well play with Westerners.

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Mat 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.