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mercredi, 17 janvier 2018

Le bushidô selon Mishima

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Le bushidô selon Mishima

Rémy Valat
Historien

Ex: https://metamag.fr

Mishima est le nom de plume que se prêtait Hiraoka Kimitake (1925-1970). Le suicide de Hiraoka au moment d’une tentative avortée de coup d’État nationaliste le 25 novembre 1970 au siège des forces d’autodéfense à Tôkyô a été interprété de différentes manières, soit comme l’acte d’un déséquilibré, d’un martyr de la cause impériale, voire du geste du dernier samouraï.

Hiraoka Kimitake aurait intériorisé les appels au sacrifice du temps de guerre, puis arrivé à maturité, sa critique acerbe de la société de consommation avec laquelle il se sentait en décalage et son désir de retour à la tradition, l’auraient poussé à former une milice, éduquée sur le « pur » modèle japonais, une force paramilitaire qui aurait été l’embryon d’une nouvelle armée fidèle à l’empereur et à la tradition.

mishimasunsteel.jpgMishima, l’écrivain devenu l’homme d’un seul livre : le Hagakure

On comprend aisément le rejet de Hiraoka Kimitake pour la vassalisation du Japon par Washington après 1945 : une mise sous tutelle économique et culturelle, renforcée par la démilitarisation politique et morale du pays. Si le Japon dispose d’une armée conséquente, elle ne peut encore aujourd’hui être librement déployée sur un théâtre d’opération extérieur. Mais, Mishima-l’écrivain était avant tout un grand lecteur des œuvres occidentales (il appartient à la même génération que les étudiants-pilotes tokkôtai) et a, aussitôt le succès venu, vécu confortablement selon les valeurs de la société de consommation, qu’il vînt plus tard à critiquer. Surtout, Mishima était séduit par l’esthétique chrétienne de la mort et du sacrifice. Le tableau Saint Sébastien de Guido Reni, représentant le martyr le torse nu transpercé de flèches, le poussa même à reconstituer le tableau in vivo, en posant pour le photographe Hosoe Eikō (né en 1933) pour son album Ordalie par les roses (Barakei, 1963).

Hiraoka, l’homme avait une forte attirance pour l’esthétique de la souffrance et de la mort, stimulée par un désir d’exhiber son corps et ses préférences sexuelles, ces manifestations seraient peut-être le fruit d’une éducation perturbée (reçue d’une grand-mère et d’un père autoritaires, contre-balancée par une mère aimante). Cette fascination morbide est aussi le fruit de la propagande du temps de guerre (qui invitait au sacrifice), mais n’ayant pas eu le courage de s’engager (prétextant des douleurs pulmonaires), le don de sa personne pour l’empereur et la patrie sont restés pour lui un acte manqué qui l’emplissent de remords.

Ainsi, Mishima grand lecteur et grand écrivain s’enfermera dans la lecture d’un seul livre, le Hagakure de Yamamoto Jōchō (ou Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Jōchō est le nom qu’il prit après sa rupture avec son nouveau maître et l’adoption d’une vie recluse), auteur en qui il se reconnaissait et qu’il considèrait comme le samouraï modèle. Pourquoi ?

Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659 – 1719) était un lettré, fidèle vassal du seigneur Nabeshima Mitsushige de la province de Saga. À la disparition de son maître (1700), il ne put pratiquer le suicide par accompagnement, pratique traditionnelle attestant de la dévotion du samouraï envers son seigneur. Yamamoto Tsunetomo a reçu une stricte éducation de guerrier, mais la bureaucratisation des missions des samouraïs a condamné à jamais la réalisation de ses rêves de jeunesse emplis de combats glorieux et d’honneurs acquis sur le champ de bataille. Le samouraï vécu mal la double interdiction de son suzerain, qui ne préconisait pas cet acte, et du gouvernement shôgunal, qui l’interdisait officiellement : accompagner son maître dans la mort aurait été pour lui la preuve ultime de sa loyauté et de son état de samouraï. Néanmoins, on ignore les motivations de son auteur aux différents stades de son existence (sa relation intime avec la mort), et il n’est pas à exclure qu’il puisse également s’agir d’une posture : Yamamoto Tsunetomo n’a jamais pris les armes de sa vie, il est mort dans son lit en ruminant un passé idéalisé…. Il est donc facile d’inviter les autres au sacrifice.


Son livre, en 11 rouleaux, le Hagakure (littéralement « à l’ombre des feuilles ») qui met notamment en avant plusieurs aspects de l’éthique des samouraïs et chers à Mishima : une ferme résolution à mourir (et donc à vivre au temps présent), le soin particulier à donner à l’apparence extérieure et l’acceptation de l’homosexualité, comme preuve de l’attachement suprême entre combattants. Mais, quoi qu’est pu en croire Mishima, ce texte n’a eu aucune influence à l’époque d’Edo, les rares samouraïs qui en connaissaient l’existence n’en recommandaient pas nécessairement la lecture, preuve du décalage de mentalité entre son auteur et son groupe social.

L’inspiration occidentale du bushidô moderne : le drame de la méconnaissance

L’esprit de sacrifice que Mishima emprunte au christianisme est aussi un héritage du Bushidô. The soul of Japan (ou Bushidô, l’âme du Japon, écrit directement en anglais et paru en 1900) de Nitobe Inazô (qui était de confession chrétienne). Celui-ci a rassemblé selon une grille de lecture moderne des traits culturels de la société japonaise et de la classe guerrière, les bushis, pour en dégager une éthique, faite de courage, de bienveillance, de courtoisie, du don de la personne, de sincérité, d’honneur, de loyauté, du contrôle de soi et d’esprit de justice, qu’il élève au rang de religion. Mais, cette morale des samouraïs est une tradition inventée, modernisée sur le modèle occidental. Celle-ci n’a jamais existé d’une manière aussi lisible : elle est une assimilation aux codes des chevaleries médiévales occidentales, une chevalerie qui est elle aussi pour une bonne part une tradition rénovée. Or, les anciens « codes des maisons» ou buke kakun, font peu ou pas référence à un « code des guerriers » et, depuis le XIXe siècle, les documents systématiquement mis en avant par les historiens japonais, peu nombreux et toujours les mêmes, ne se conforment pleinement ni aux mœurs ni aux pratiques sociales des samouraïs toutes époques confondues.

mishimaswordart.jpgLe terme « bushidô », utilisé en ce sens serait apparue pour la première fois dans le koyo gunkan, la chronique militaire de la province du Kai dirigée par le célèbre clan des Takeda (la chronique a été compilée par Kagenori Obata (1572-1663), le fils d’un imminent stratège du clan à partir de 1615. L’historien japonais Yamamoto Hirofumi (Yamamoto Hirofumi, Nihonjin no kokoro : bushidô nyûmon, Chûkei éditions, Tôkyô, 2006), constata au cours de ses recherches l’absence, à l’époque moderne, de textes formulant une éthique des guerriers qui auraient pu être accessibles et respectées par le plus grand nombre des samouraïs. Mieux, les rares textes, formulant et dégageant une éthique propre aux samouraïs (le Hagakure de Yamamoto Tsunetomo et les écrits de Yamaga Sôkô) tous deux intégrés dans le canon des textes de l’idéologie du bushidô, n’ont eu aucune influence avant le XXe siècle.

Ce fort désir de créer et de s’approprier une tradition s’intègre dans un contexte plus large et plus profond. L’intensification des échanges internationaux et le rapide processus de modernisation des sociétés au XIXe siècle a posé la question de la place du groupe et de la nation. Cette quête a pris la forme d’une modernisation de la tradition, en prenant le meilleur de ce qui est considéré être l’essence de la nation. Ce besoin identitaire était encore plus fort pour les pays colonisés, ou comme le Japon, pays en voie de développement ayant refusé d’emblée l’occidentalisation par la force. La puissance militaire des pays occidentaux ne pouvait s’expliquer que par une mentalité guerrière particulière (la chevalerie chrétienne) à laquelle il fallait trouver un pendant japonais (les samouraïs et le bushidô). Le samouraï deviendrait ainsi le symbole, l’outil assurant la cohésion de la société, et dont les valeurs soigneusement sélectionnées seraient érigées en une idéologie dépeignant une éthique purement japonaise.

Si le Bushidô et le Hagakure ont été sévèrement condamnés par l’occupant nord-américain et mis à l’index après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les Japonais ont intériorisé et ont fait leur l’éthique du Bushidô imaginée par Nitobe Inazô. La samouraïsation de la société, et en particulier les films de propagande de la guerre Asie-pacifique, ont contribué à façonner, après épuration des traits militaristes du message initial, l’idéal de « japonéité » et l’image contemporaine du samouraï. Après la défaite de 1945 et deux bombardements atomiques, la population était en quête de sens. Le besoin de se sentir fort a contribué à l’émergence d’une mentalité nouvelle, démilitarisée, mais combative et héritée de la période expansionniste en Asie, construite autour de l’idéal d’une essence et d’un esprit typiquement japonais. Mais ce bushidô-là, n’est plus celui des samouraïs.

Mishima : le dernier samouraï

En somme, l’homme Hiraoka Kimitake était déchiré par des luttes internes, mélangées aux questionnements de la société japonaise de l’après guerre. Son suicide marque une volonté de dépassement…En apparence, sa vie et son dernier geste paraissent en contradiction avec l’éthique communément admise et « christianisée » du samouraï, qui est un mélange d’humilité, de discrétion, même dans la mort. Or, Mishima aimait être vue et admiré, trop attaché à son corps et aux apparences, il a préféré disparaître avant le déclin physique. La tentative de coup d’État était un coup de dé, en cas de réussite : la gloire ; en cas, d’échec : une mort longtemps désirée et mise en scène. Néanmoins, son geste est paradoxalement le plus représentatif de ce que furent réellement les guerriers japonais : individualistes, aimant être vus et attachés à leur honneur, ceux-ci défendaient becs et ongles leur liberté. Une liberté d’action que leur offrait le métier des armes et une possibilité d’intervention dans le domaine public. Comme eux, s’étant mentalement préparé à mourir, et quelques puissent être ses motivations personnelles, son suicide spectaculaire pour une cause légitime est le geste d’un homme libre et maître de son destin.

samedi, 16 décembre 2017

Yukio Mishima and the spirit of a genius based on the soul of history: The last great Japanese writer

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Yukio Mishima and the spirit of a genius based on the soul of history: The last great Japanese writer

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan witnessed many shifting sands since the Meiji Restoration of 1868 based on modernity, liberalism, nationalism, Westernization, reaching out to the past, forging a new future, and other convulsions that ultimately led to a brutal war. In other words, the paths were often contradictory and clashed not only on the political front but also within the soul. Of course, the events of World War Two altered the image of Japan internationally and ultimately enabled America to creep into the psyche of this nation – for good and bad. Hence, the genius of Yukio Mishima is that his books – and thinking – fused the complexities facing individuals in this new world of opportunity – and in the new world of forgetting the past that irked this amazing writer.

In Sun and Steel, Mishima writes, “Was I ignorant, then, when I was seventeen? I think not. I knew everything. A quarter-century’s experience of life since then has added nothing to what I knew. The one difference is that at seventeen I had no ‘realism’.”

mishimasword.jpgIf we take these words out of context but relate them to certain ideas held by Mishima, then these worlds can equally equate to the changing landscape of Japan based on skyscrapers and the dilution of faith and philosophy. In other words, maybe Japan had learned everything under the Meiji Restoration based on the hypocrisy of Western, Catholic, and Islamic empires that utilized fear and control at the drop of a hat. Of course, while Islamization followed the Ottomans and Catholicism followed the Spanish – the British view was that you didn’t have to enslave one hundred percent by destroying indigenous faiths. Instead, the essence of the British Empire was to exploit resources at all costs – while destroying the soul of poor indigenous British nationals based on child labor, the workhouse, and a host of other barbaric realities.

This is the world that modern Japan in the Meiji Era woke up to in the nineteenth century. It was a knowledge that exploitation, power, theft, the adulteration of culture, impinging and enslaving the indigenous through various forms outside of chains, controlling resources, and crushing the psyche of others would ultimately benefit the respective ruling elites of Western, Catholic, and Islamic empires. However, for Japan, the same logic they responded to was to become altered based on the changing shifts of time. Hence, Japan was out of step while the international ruling elites utilized their respective hypocrisy, while still controlling wealth and mindsets by utilizing all the negatives of Christianity and Islam to crush the spirit.

Mishima, fearing the soul of Japan was being lost indefinitely based on aspects of the above and the ravages of modernity in defeating the past – would also turn against “words” in time based on his idea of weakness. It is all these convulsions that Mishima sought to express. This is a far cry from modern and relatively mundane writers including Haruki Murakami, Kenzaburo Oe, Banana Yoshimoto, and others, who could never envisage such a world based on being “typical modern souls.”

yukio_mishima_by_reign_of_phoebus-d36cjrf.jpgMishima said, “If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death?  No death may be called futile.”

Once more, if we take this out of context but relate it to a psyche that once existed within the body politic of certain Japanese warlords, then Mishima may deem aspects of modern Japan – and modern societies in general – to lack “dignity.” Equally, in the mind of Mishima, many aspects of modernity leads to a “futile” existence based on ignoring the past in relation to culture, society, and history.

Mishima wrote, in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, “The past does not only draw us back to the past. There are certain memories of the past that have strong steel springs and, when we who live in the present touch them, they are suddenly stretched taut and then they propel us into the future.”

Once more, if these words are taken out of context but relate to ideas held by Mishima, then it appears that the future and past are interwoven providing the past re-emerges. Of course, the degree of the past and its hold on the future is open to interpretation. Yet, in the eyes of Mishima a nation can’t truly be propelled if the past is negated and the new God now becomes modernity, the work ethic without a greater goal, a robotic existence based on national insurance numbers, the usurpation of tax by a self-centered central state, and the destruction of high culture for a quick fix based on trash. Therefore, the final days of Mishima were fused with all the convulsions that he witnessed personally – and based on the history he read – and a changing Japan that he feared would destroy the soul of this nation.

Mishima wrote, “A samurai is a total human being, whereas a man who is completely absorbed in his technical skill has degenerated into a ‘function’, one cog in a machine.”

In a past article, I said, In Mishima’s short memoir, Sun and Steel, it is clear that his obsession during the last ten years was a fusion of writing and bodybuilding to an extreme.  This book was published in 1968 and it reflected the psyche of Mishima in this period of his life. He now fused the pen with physical training and concepts of the new Japan betraying the old and glorified Japan. The book Sun and Steel relates to Mishima throwing away his earlier novel Confessions of a Mask. After all, Mishima was now building up to be a man of strength. In other words, the Nietzsche ubermensch was born within the ego and spirit of Mishima.”

Overall, while parts of the Islamic world are crushing freedom and writers are being butchered by Sunni Islamists in Bangladesh; while in the opposite direction the West is in a self-imposed machinery of narrowness based on the need to follow the politically correct narrative; then Mishima is an individual who is free from not only this world based on his dramatic death but, equally important, this great writer was free during his time on this earth despite all the trappings of modernity that could have crushed his soul. Therefore, in comparison with other contemporary writers in Japan, it is abundantly clear that Mishima is the last great writer who remains unmatched based on his literature and the power of his psyche in the last moments of his life.

 

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jeudi, 07 décembre 2017

Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

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Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea remains imprinted upon the mind long after one has read it. It is one of Mishima’s shorter novels, but its tightly-woven narration heightens the intensity of the atmosphere, simulating a taut bowstring upon readying an arrow.

The novel takes place in Yokohama, Japan’s leading port city, during the American occupation, and unfolds mainly from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy by the name of Noboru Kuroda. Noboru lives alone with his mother Fusako, who runs a luxury shop that sells Western-style clothing; his father died when he was eight years old. He belongs to a gang of six precocious young boys who espouse a form of nihilism and hold mainstream society in contempt, reserving especial scorn for fathers.

mishimasailor.jpgNoboru is fascinated with the sea and ships. He convinces his mother to take him to a port, where a sailor by the name of Ryuji Tsukazaki, second mate aboard a freighter ship, shows him around his ship. The reader is introduced to Ryuji when Fusako invites him to the Kurodas’ home and Noboru observes the two embracing through a hole in the wall behind a chest in his bedroom.

Ryuji is rough-hewn, muscular, and ruggedly masculine. As a young man he was drawn to the restlessness and vastness of the sea and its rejection of the static confinement of landbound strictures. He was convinced that glory lay in store for him: “At twenty, he had been passionately certain: there’s just one thing I’m destined for and that’s glory; that’s right, glory!” (15). He wanted to lead a life of danger and adventure. Thus his vision of glory was inseparable from the perilous nature of seafaring: “They were consubstantial: glory and the capsized world. He longed for a storm” (15).

Ryuji becomes a hero to Noboru. As a young boy growing up without a father in postwar Japan, Noboru looks to him as a role model and worships the ideal of glory that he represents. He is in awe of Ryuji and likens him to “a fantastic beast that’s just come out of the sea all dripping wet” (41).

Ryuji leaves when his ship sets sail again, and his return marks the beginning of Part Two of the novel. Upon returning, Ryuji proposes to Fusako and the two agree to marry, which enrages Noboru. By marrying Fusako and embracing a life of domesticity, Ryuji is forced to sacrifice life at sea. He realizes this and at one point briefly questions his choice:

Are you really going to give it up? The feeling of the sea, the dark, drunken feeling that unearthly rolling always brings? . . . Are you going to give up the life which has detached from the world, kept you remote, impelled you towards the pinnacle of manliness? The secret yearning for death. The glory beyond and the death beyond. Everything was ‘beyond,’ wrong or right, had always been ‘beyond.’ (87)

Noboru becomes disillusioned with his former hero. Having turned his back on a life of glory, Ryuji forsakes his status as a hero of mythical proportions and becomes an everyday sort of fellow. This is foreshadowed in a scene in which he encounters Noboru one afternoon and calls out to him while flashing a forced grin. Here Ryuji comes across as a sheepish, almost pitiable figure attempting to endear himself to the boys.

Noboru informs the gang of Ryuji’s engagement to Fusako, and they decide it is necessary to “make that sailor a hero again” (107). There is a single means through which this can be achieved. The boys lure Ryuji to a secluded area under the pretense of getting him to talk about his adventures at sea. Ryuji begins to muse about the life he left behind. As he speaks, the immensity of his decision hits him just before he meets his end: “Now only embers remained. Now began a peaceful life, a life bereft of motion” (142).

The prose in the final scene is subtle and understated, which lends it a haunting effect. Mishima also refrains from inserting moral judgments that would color the reader’s interpretation of the deed, recalling Ryuji’s description of the sea’s indifference to human moral schemes.

Like many of Mishima’s works, the novel is essentially an allegory for the decline of traditional Japanese culture and the masculine spirit of the samurai amid the onslaught of Westernization and modernity.

Fusako embodies both the Westernization of Japan and the essence of the feminine. She leads a thoroughly Western lifestyle and decorates her home with Western furnishings, wears Western clothing, etc. She also represents the mentality of the modern West, one which prioritizes economic security, stability, and contentment above all other values. Such values are inherently feminine, eschewing adventure and heroism for comfort and safety. Fusako symbolizes the archetypal feminine, that which is earthbound and static, while Ryuji’s youthful aspirations represent celestial masculinity, that which strives to attain glory and greatness. Female seduction represents a woman’s attempt to lure a man into her domain and drag him down to earth, thereby derailing his quest for glory. Thus the gang scorns fatherhood because they realize that their fathers were each forced to compromise their individual quests for greatness and make concessions to societal custom.

The sense of glory that Noboru and the gang see in Ryuji is the antithesis of bourgeois, modern Western values, which in Mishima’s view were eroding traditional Japanese notions of honor. Thus the ideal of glory that Noboru reveres symbolizes the martial ethos of the samurai, and Noboru and the gang serve to enforce bushidō, the samurai code.

Yet Ryuji himself falls short of fulfilling this ideal. The choice between land and sea that lies before him and his ambivalence in the face of this dilemma is a reflection of the uncertain identity of postwar Japan, a country that over the course of a single century had transitioned from a feudal state into a global military power and was forced to grapple with how to reconcile its indigenous culture with modernity. Ultimately Japan pursued the course of Westernization, reflected in Ryuji’s rejection of his former life.

Thus Ryuji’s rejection of his life at sea in order to marry Fusako represents a surrender to the West/modernity as well as to the feminine. Faced with the fall of his hero, Noboru comes to believe that Ryuji can only be redeemed through dying a heroic death. The gang’s final act symbolizes an attempt to halt Westernization and restore heroism and glory to Japan. In this sense the gang parallels Mishima’s militia, the Tatenokai (“Shield Society”). On the morning of November 25, 1970, Mishima and four Tatenokai members seized control of a Japanese military base and attempted to enact a coup that would restore prewar imperial rule in what is now known as the Mishima Incident. The coup failed but ultimately served as a symbolic ritual (like the murder of Ryuji) that set the stage for Mishima’s suicide.

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea is far more than an exploration of adolescent mischief gone awry. It illustrates that civilizations fluctuate between two opposite poles: a feminine spirit of bourgeois complacency and mediocrity and a masculine spirit that valorizes glory and greatness. The difference between the two is perhaps most evident in their respective attitudes toward death. In societies characterized by the former, an early or unnatural death is considered the worst fate that can befall a man. Many modern people expend an enormous amount toward artificially prolonging the degenerative state of old age for as long as possible. In societies characterized by the latter, it is held that weakness and dishonor are far worse than death. In such societies it is regarded as noble and heroic to sacrifice one’s life for a great cause, the “Grand Cause” that Ryuji invokes while reminiscing upon his life at sea (142). Mishima sought to do the same and intentionally committed seppuku when he was in his prime.

The modern world is defined by that which Fusako embodies: a desire for contentment and economic security at the expense of glory and heroism. In Greek mythology, sailors who were lured to land by the seductive song of the Sirens invariably met their end. Likewise the prospect of easy living appears alluring in times of national uncertainty but in the long run leads to civilizational decline. Thus the final act of the novel represents not the depravity of disturbed teenagers but rather the role of gang violence in enforcing justice and restoring order to a disturbed world.

jeudi, 23 novembre 2017

Beauty & Destruction in Yukio Mishima’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

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Beauty & Destruction in Yukio Mishima’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

In 1950, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) in Kyoto was burned to the ground by a young monk. The temple had been built in the fourteenth century and was the finest example of the architecture of the Muromachi period. Covered in gold leaf and crowned with a copper-gold phoenix, it projected an image of majesty and serene beauty. It had been designated a National Treasure in 1897 and was considered a national symbol in Japan. Transcripts of the monk’s trial indicate that the temple’s beauty consumed him with envy, and the reminder of his own ugliness engendered in him a hatred of everything that was beautiful. The temple haunted his imagination and became the object of his obsession. This neurotic fixation finally compelled him to destroy it.

This inspired Mishima to write his novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. He uses the incident as a basic framework upon which he crafts both a psychological portrait tracing the protagonist’s descent into madness and obsession and a philosophical meditation on the nature of beauty, time, and morality. The novel is a masterpiece and stands as one of Mishima’s greatest works.

Pavillon-dor_9173.jpegThe narrator, Mizoguchi, is physically weak, ugly in appearance, and afflicted with a stutter. This isolates him from others, and he becomes a solitary, brooding child. He first learns of the Golden Temple from his father, a frail country priest, and the image of the temple and its beauty becomes for him an idée fixe. The young Mizoguchi worships his vision of temple, but there are omens of what is to come. When a naval cadet visits his village and notices his stutter, Mizoguchi is resentful and retaliates by defacing the cadet’s prized scabbard. From the beginning, he realizes that the beauty of the temple represents an unattainable ideal: “if beauty really did exist there, it meant that my own existence was a thing estranged from beauty” (21). Over time, this seed in his mind metastasizes and begins to consume him.

Like many youths who are afflicted with both physical defects and an overactive imagination, Mizoguchi is prone to delusions of grandeur, imagining himself as a great artist with a special destiny. He takes pride in being misunderstood by others. This sense of alienation feeds his obsession throughout the book.

Mizoguchi’s reaction upon first encountering the temple is one of disappointment, but this changes after he comes across a miniature model of it enclosed in a glass case and realizes that the temple represents an ideal that can be incarnated within his mind at both infinitely small and infinitely large scales. The image of the temple often acquires a boundless and all-encompassing form in his imagination: “It filled the world like some tremendous music, and this music itself became sufficient to occupy the entire meaning of the world. The Golden Temple . . . had now completely engulfed me and had allowed me to be situated within its structure” (125). Conversely, at times he envisions the temple as a miniature model that he is able to possess and control. This duality reflects the tension both between remaining engulfed within the temple or becoming integrated into the real world and between the temple’s hold upon him and his urge to destroy it (Paul Schrader’s biopic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters contains a dramatization of parts of the novel, in which at one point Mizoguchi holds a model of the temple and crushes it with his hands).

Upon entering the Zen Buddhist priesthood and becoming an acolyte of the temple, Mizoguchi’s obsession intensifies. He hopes that the temple will be destroyed by American air raids, and he along with it: “It became my secret dream that all Kyoto should be wrapped in flames” (47). But when the temple still remains unscathed by the end of the Second World War, Mizoguchi finds that its apparent indestructibility takes on a threatening quality, as if the temple’s beauty had descended from heaven and imposed its divine authority upon the physical world. The transcendent ideal of beauty embodied by the temple increasingly fills him with unease and bitterness. The temple’s very existence serves as an eternal, immutable reminder of his own inferiority and the ideals that elude his grasp. His eventual burning of the temple recalls an incident toward the beginning of the book in which a girl called Uiko is shot by her deserter boyfriend when he learns of her betrayal and realizes that he no longer truly possesses her. The metaphysical and quasi-erotic union with the temple that Mizoguchi dreamt of attaining as he perished along with it while Kyoto went up in flames is impossible. It can only be approximated if Mizoguchi destroys the temple.

mishimaGPav.jpgAll human beings possess a will to power in the Nietzschean sense. This finds its highest expression in self-actualization and self-mastery, and in the achievements of great artists, thinkers, and leaders, but in its lower forms is embodied by the desire of defective beings to assert themselves at all costs. This is manifested in Mizoguchi’s desire to destroy the temple, which intensifies in proportion to his realization that he will never be able to possess it or approach its beauty.

Two years later, Mizoguchi is recommended by Father Dosen (the Superior of the Temple) to attend Otani University, where he befriends a clubfooted boy by the name of Kashiwagi. While the two are on a walk near the university, they spot a girl approaching them. Kashiwagi uses the opportunity to demonstrate to Mizoguchi how he seduces women. He convulses his body and purposefully trips on his clubfeet, falling to the ground. Then he cries out to the girl in an attempt to win her sympathy by drawing attention to his suffering.

Mizoguchi attempts to imitate Kashiwagi’s tactic and make love to a girl but finds that he is impotent. For his mind still remains fixed upon the ideal of beauty represented by the Golden Temple, which renders him incapable of exploiting his disability to his advantage: “Then the Golden Temple appeared before me . . . . It was this structure that now came and stood between me and the life at which I was aiming” (125). As the novel advances this conflict becomes increasingly pronounced.

Later on, Mizoguchi tells Kashiwagi about the Zen koan that Father Dosen read to the priests on the day of Japan’s defeat. The koan involves a priest, Nansen, who settles a dispute over a kitten between two groups within his temple. He declares that he will kill the kitten unless anyone speaks; when met with no response, he cuts the kitten in two. Nansen’s chief disciple, Joshu, reacts by removing his shoes and placing them on his head upon hearing of the incident. Kashiwagi offers his own interpretation and suggests that the kitten represented beauty, which Nansen sought to destroy. He remarks: “Beauty is like a decayed tooth. It rubs against one’s tongue, it hangs there, hurting one, insisting on its own existence. Finally it gets so that one cannot stand the pain and one goes to the dentist to have the tooth extracted” (144). In his view Joshu’s act of placing his shoes on his head was a way of satirizing Nansen’s solution: Joshu realized that destroying an object of beauty was a futile act of desperation and could not eradicate the ideal of beauty itself.

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During this conversation, Kashiwagi creates a flower arrangement in the traditional Japanese style, composed of irises and cattails that he persuaded Mizoguchi to steal from the temple grounds. Shortly thereafter, he is visited by the woman who instructed him in this art. After he coldly informs her that her instruction is no longer needed and he wishes never to see her again, she smashes the vase of flowers, and Kashiwagi then hits her face. The manner in which this tranquil scene abruptly escalated into violence exemplifies a tension between elegance and beauty on the one hand and brutality and violence on the other that lies at the core of Japanese culture. An undercurrent of potential brutality lurks beneath Japanese refinement and decorum. The two are not separate but rather closely intertwined. (A modern example would be the deviant and often sadomasochistic sexuality prevalent in Japanese anime and manga, which coexists alongside traditional Confucian mores.) Thus Kashiwagi remarks earlier while he and Mizoguchi are walking about that “it’s on a beautiful spring afternoon like this that people suddenly become cruel” (106). Mishima discusses this theme in a clip from an English-language interview [4] he gave in 1970:

You can easily find two contradictory characteristics of Japanese cultures, or Japanese characters. One is elegance, one is brutality. These two characteristics are very tightly combined sometimes . . . Sometimes we are too sensitive about defilement, or elegance, or a sense of beauty, or the aesthetic side. Sometimes we get tired of it. Sometimes we need a sudden explosion to make us free from it.[1]

Mizoguchi’s immolation of the temple can be seen in a similar light. It was a “sudden explosion” that erupted from his obsession with beauty. But amidst the malaise of postwar Japanese society, the dynamic between beauty and violence took on a different form. Mizoguchi’s act is inseparable from this context.

Mishima believed that postwar Japan was characterized above all by spiritual emptiness. Until 1945, Japanese emperors were officially regarded as direct descendants of the sun goddess Amaterasu. With Japan’s defeat and the signing of the Humanity Declaration, Emperor Hirohito renounced his claim to divinity. Mishima rebuked the Emperor for this and saw his renunciation of divinity as a capitulation to secular Western values. In his view the loss of the Emperor’s divine identity was the ultimate symbol of the disintegration and hollowing out of Japanese civilization in the face of modernity.

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Mizoguchi’s obsession with the temple represents an attempt to fill this void. But Mizoguchi realizes that the temple symbolizes something fundamentally alien both to his nature and to postwar Japanese society in general. The temple was inextricably linked with the history and iconography of Imperial Japan. Initially Mizoguchi sees it as a refuge from the nihilistic apathy and emptiness of the society in which he lives. Yet the more he broods upon this alienation, the more resentful and vengeful he becomes. Thus the destruction of the temple in part represents a subconscious attempt to eradicate what remained of Imperial Japanese civilization. By the end of the novel, Mizoguchi dreams of bringing about nationwide anarchy: “When the Golden Temple has been burned down . . . the world of these fellows will be transformed, the golden rule of their lives will be turned upside down, their train timetables will be thrown into utter confusion, their laws will be without effect” (185).

The novel possesses a political significance on a broader level in that it sheds light on the psychology behind modern leftism. This is best articulated when Mizoguchi voices his hope that the temple will be destroyed in American air raids: “What I dreamed of was something like a huge heavenly compressor that would bring down disasters, cataclysms and superhuman tragedies, that would crush beneath it all human beings and all objects, irrespective of their ugliness or their beauty” (47). Such represents egalitarianism taken to its logical conclusion. It is impossible to create equality by raising everyone to an equal level. Complete equality can only be achieved by cutting down “tall poppies” and eliminating standards altogether. Mizoguchi’s fantasy finds a parallel in modern progressive ideology.

There is also a semi-autobiographical dimension to the novel. As a child, Mishima was weak, sickly, and smaller than average. He was raised during his formative years by his grandmother, who kept him indoors and forbade him from playing with other boys or engaging in rough play. Like Mizoguchi, the young Mishima was introspective, solitary, and obsessed with the ideal of beauty. Mizoguchi mentions that “when action was needed, [he] was always absorbed in words” (12), which recalls Mishima’s description of his childhood in Sun and Steel. However, rather than lashing out at society on account of his physical inferiority, Mishima sought to strengthen himself and became a bodybuilder as well as a skilled practitioner of Japanese kendo (swordsmanship).

Individuals like Mizoguchi are thus faced with a choice. They can seek either to destroy hierarchical value systems or to uphold transcendent ideals like beauty and greatness and aspire toward them.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: https://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/11/beauty-and-destruction-in-yukio-mishimas-the-temple-of-the-golden-pavilion/

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vendredi, 17 novembre 2017

21st-Century Geopolitics Of Japan

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21st-Century Geopolitics Of Japan

Andrew Korybko
Ex: https://www.geopolitica.ru

Japan, as the Asian geographic analogue of Great Britain, is a strategic outlier in the Eurasian supercontinent by virtue of its location, which has in turn greatly influenced its political decisions across the centuries and shaped it into an historically thalassocratic power. The Oriental state prudently chose to implement selective Westernization following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, which allowed it to grow by leaps and bounds ahead of its regional competitors and ultimately emerge as a Great Power in its own right. Japan’s grand strategy was to literally become the Great Britain of Asia, and to that end it sought to carve out its own empire in the Eastern Hemisphere through brutal conquest and a divide-and-rule strategy which would ultimately enable it to replace its European counterparts as the uncontested hegemon in this part of the world.

The World War II-era “Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” was the high point of Japan’s “traditional” geostrategic ambitions, after which it was humiliatingly occupied by the US until the present day following the two devastating nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From 1945 onwards, Tokyo has been Washington’s “Lead From Behind” partner in East and Southeast Asia, being encouraged by the US to take on a leading regional role in order to give America a “local face” behind which it could project its dominance. It’s for this reason why the US appointed Japan to become the main player in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and actively supported its efforts to invest in the former territories that had briefly constituted its imperial realm during the Second World War.

The end of the Cold War and subsequent rise of China as a Global Power (inadvertently aided and abetted by US investments) saw Japan’s role progressively transform from a solely economic-institutional “Lead From Behind” capacity to a military one, with Tokyo only just recently “reinterpreting” its post-war constitution in order to allow the deployment of military troops abroad and sale of military equipment to foreign partners. For all intents and purposes, the US is tacitly encouraging Japan to “more peacefully” follow in its pre-World War II-era footsteps in reasserting its traditional Rimland ambitions in East and Southeast Asia, though for as much as this might lead one to believe that Tokyo is still acting as a total puppet of Washington, its leadership has surprisingly begun a fast-moving rapprochement with Moscow.

This seemingly inexplicable turn of events is but one of the many paradigm shifts taking place all across the globe and in every single sphere as the Multipolar World Order gradually enters into being, and the consequences of this comprehensive change are expected to impact on the grand strategies of each Great Power, Japan included. It’s therefore of heightened relevancy to examine the 21st-century geopolitics of the country, though taking care to note that all future developments concerning this state are much more dependent on domestic trends than they are for most other players. That being the case, the analysis will begin by examining how Japan’s domestic situation influences its foreign policy, after which it will then elaborate more on the external manifestations of Tokyo’s grand strategy. The final part of the research will then summarize the prevailing trends that one can expect from Japan’s 21st-century geostrategy.

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Demographic Die-Out

Japan’s population is dying out, and fast. The number of senior citizens is surging, while child births are way below replacement level. To make matters worse, Japanese young adults are eschewing sex for a variety of socio-cultural reasons, mostly thought to have something to do with the typically stressful life of urban workers and the convenience that the near-ubiquity of technology provides in “satisfying” carnal desires and creating the easily manageable illusion of a “relationship”. If the present trends continue, then Japan is expected to suffer one of the most profound population losses ever for a peacetime population in the coming decades, which has led to many observers becoming extraordinarily concerned about the country’s overall future. Considering Japan’s global importance as the world’s third-largest economy, this could be expected to have major implications for all of its partners, both fellow Great Powers and developing states alike.

Robotic Replacements

There is, however, a chance that no dire scenarios will unfold so long as Japan is successful in replacing its shrinking population with robots. It may sound futuristic but it’s already happening, at least when it comes to the economy. “This Company’s Robots Are Making Everything—and Reshaping the World”, a very insightful article published by Bloomberg in mid-October 2017, provides an eye-opening look at just how important the Japanese robotics company Fanuc has been in making this happen. It’s by and far the world leader in this field, having already captured a quarter of the global market. In addition, nearly one-third of all the world’s industrial robotics orders last year were Fanuc sales to China, which interestingly tightens the complex economic interdependency between these two rivals and shows just how important of a driver this company is for the global economy at large. Accordingly, it’s only natural then that Fanuc takes the lead in replacing Japan’s dwindling human workforce with robots in the future, since it’s already replacing the labor force of other countries as it is.

So long as there’s a stable and inversely proportional relationship between the decrease in Japan’s population and the rise of its industrial robotic sector, then theoretically speaking, there isn’t much for Tokyo to worry about on the structural level. Instead of fretting about what to do with its newfound unemployed masses like the rest of the world is doing, Japan could just work on retraining its citizens to fill the crucial non-robotic niches that are still left in its economy. It remains likely that the world will nevertheless eventually employ some combination of “universal basic income” (UBI) and virtual reality (VR) to placate the population along the lines of the long-term scenario forecast in the author’s work about “The Geopolitics Of The Techno-Civilizational World Order”, but Japan will probably have the least difficulty in doing this because of the “natural” rate at which the country is transitioning to it anyhow.

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Without any undemocratic subversive behavior on the part of the Japanese elites, their country is already moving towards the dystopian outcomes associated with “Agenda 21”, but with the key difference being that Japan will experience minimal social disruption so long as its food and energy needs continue to remain provided for. The first of course deals with feeding the remaining human population, which shouldn’t be too troublesome if their numbers continue to diminish and technological advances in industrial-scale urban agriculture continue. As for the latter, no robotic-driven civilization-society can function without reliable energy supplies, and it’s here where many believe that Japan will forever remain dependent on geopolitical processes beyond its control in the Mideast, though the reality of the matter is that Tokyo has sought to preemptively avoid this crippling vulnerability through alternative energy advancements and a game-changing rapprochement with Moscow.

The Russian Rapprochement

The geopolitical dimension of Japan’s energy policy has seen it rapidly improve relations with Russia, which were stagnant for decades because of the US-manufactured issue that Tokyo refers to as the “Kuril Islands Dispute”. The contours of this conundrum are outside the scope of this analysis, but it’s relevant to say that it took Japan’s flexibility on the issue to rejuvenate ties with Russia, which are currently on the rise and better than at any time in the post-war period. Russia is receptive to Japan’s outreaches because it needs investment in its resource-rich but underpopulated Far East, and likewise, Japan needs reliable access to these said resources, be they agricultural, mineral, or especially energy. Altogether, the dynamics of the Russian-Japanese partnership represent a dual balancing act for both parties that was described at length in the author’s 2016 work about how “Russia’s Diplomatic Balancing Act In Asia Is To The Benefit Of Its Chinese Ally”, with the obvious caveat being that Tokyo isn’t doing this to aid Beijing even if that’s indeed the inadvertent outcome of what’s happening.

Carrying on, Russia is seen as a reserve of immense energy wealth which could easily power Japan’s future robotic society for decades to come, and without any of the attendant geostrategic risks that come from importing resources from the conflict-prone Mideast across the bottlenecked Strait of Malacca and then through the contentious waters of the South China Sea. Russia is therefore conceptualized as Japan’s neighboring “battery”, though one which will only share its power provided that Tokyo concedes to accept Moscow’s sovereignty over the Kuril Islands, albeit possibly through the unique NISEC sub-state socio-economic sharing arrangement that the author suggested last year. On a larger level, the Japanese-Russian rapprochement is geostrategically advantageous for Tokyo because it gives the island nation a bit more maneuverability for negotiating with the US, and it also sends a signal to China that Japan is interested in an apolitical non-hostile presence along its northeastern continental borderland. This plays into the prestige that Japan is trying to cultivate as it reestablishes itself as a Great Power and attempts to lessen the complete strategic dependence that it’s historically had on the US since the post-war military occupation.

The Race For Resources

Russia can be very useful for powering Japan’s energy-intensive robotic society in the future, but these automated replacement workers won’t do anything for the country’s economy unless they have raw materials to work with in producing items for export. The Russian Far East can only provide some of what’s needed, and definitely not on the scale that the Japanese economy requires, which is why Tokyo has had to scour the world for the necessary resources. This has seen the country establish a post-war economic presence in Southeast Asia with the encouragement of the US, as well as engaging in sizeable investments all across Africa after the end of the Cold War. The parallel rise of China during this latter period meant that the world’s most populous country was now competing for the same number of finite physical resources, therefore turning this relaxed search mission into a pressing race against Japan’s historic rival.

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Trade Route And Transit State Tango

Prospecting resources and developing new marketplaces is one thing, but accessing them is another, and that’s why the world is presently in the midst of an intense period of competitive connectivity. China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is slated to transform the declining unipolar global system into an emerging Multipolar World Order, and Tokyo is simply unable to compete with Beijing because of the disparity in scale between their two economies. It’s for this reason why Japan decided to partner with India in pioneering the so-called “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor”, also known as the “Freedom Corridor”, in order to collectively pool their existing resources and economic complementarities in carving out a niche for themselves in the Greater Indian Ocean Region. The specific geopolitics of the wider Chinese-Indian New Cold War that this is a part of were examined in detail in the author’s book-length article series on the topic for the Islamabad-based political consultancy firm CommandEleven, but it’s enough for the casual reader to understand that there’s a complex tango going on between Japan and China for access to trade routes and transit states.

The partnership with India obviously allows Japan to strengthen its presence in the Indian Ocean, while the one with Russia interestingly provides Tokyo with the chance to become the East Asian “gatekeeper” along the Northern Sea Route to Europe. Altogether, Japan’s strategic cooperation with these two Great Powers is predicated on the self-interested idea of securing its access to crucial trade routes and transit states, though this also in and of itself gives Tokyo influence over regions that are strategically important for Beijing as well. The ideal outcome would be that these two East Asian powerhouses join forces in strengthening Silk Road Globalization through a combination of active cooperation and friendly competition with one another institutionalized through Japan’s prospective membership in the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the possible establishment of the megaregional Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) economic deals. Heavy US influence on Japan will probably preempt this from happening, however, and therefore lead to Tokyo continuing to function as one of the key pillars in the “China Containment Coalition” that’s being built all across the Indo-Pacific. 

The antagonistic scenario that the US is pushing Japan towards with China is the same as what it’s doing vis-à-vis the EU and Russia, though in a different manner accommodating for the changed situational relations between them. Instead of deceptively emphasizing a “zero-sum” outcome when it comes to competitive connectivity projects and the race for resources, the US is promoting a “zero-sum” mentality in relation to “values”, having spared no expense or effort to convince the EU elites that Russian “values” are purportedly incomparable with Western ones and therefore constitute a “threat”. The whole point of this massive disinformation operation on both ends of Eurasia is to prevent the ultimate Great Power convergence between the EU and Russia on the Western half and China and Japan on the Eastern one, which would collectively result in most of the supercontinent being liberated of unipolar influence when accounting for the multipolar impact of Russia’s “Ummah Pivot” in the “Greater Mideast” and China’s Silk Road success in ASEAN. India is of course the geostrategic exception in this model, but it would likely be forced to fall into line with the Multipolar World Order in this scenario or otherwise risk hemispheric isolation as the US’ last main outpost.

The Intricacies Of The Japanese-Chinese Competition

Accepting that the current trends indicate that the US-provoked Japanese-Chinese competition will probably extend into the indefinite future, the most responsible thing that can be done is to examine the intricacies of this New Cold War rivalry from a thought-provoking perspective uncommon to most analyses on this topic. Instead of focusing on the advantages that China has in this rivalry like a lot of analysts have already done, it’s worthwhile exploring the topic from the reserve angle in looking at it from Japan’s perspective in order to identify what possible advantages Tokyo might have as well. For instance, the Japanese “Maritime Self-Defense Force” already functions as a blue-water navy even if it does so unofficially, and there’s a chance that it could give China a serious run for its money in any potential clash between the two. Added to that is Japan’s robotic prowess, which could lead to pivotal military advances in the future that might decisively shift the balance of power between the two.

That said, the above factors are only applicable when it comes to military affairs, but the likelihood of a hot conflict between the two isn’t too probable for a variety of reasons, partly having to do with the complex economic interdependence between them but also the US’ mutual defense obligations to Japan. Both parties are vulnerable to Hybrid War disruptions in the shared transit states constituting their respective competitive connectivity projects in mainland ASEAN (the “Greater Mekong Subregion”), the Mideast and Central Asia, and East Africa, but China will always be more at risk than Japan because of how much it depends on these routes in order to secure its own domestic stability. The inverse proportional relationship between Japan’s declining population and rising robotic replacements means that Tokyo could theoretically weather any transit state disruptions much better than China, which has staked its entire 21st-century future on the New Silk Roads in order to sustain domestic growth and prevent the socio-political unrest that would inevitably accompany any Hybrid War-inflicted economic downturn.

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Veiled Vulnerabilities

Despite its salient strategic advantage in being comparatively (key word) less dependent on transit state volatility than China, Japan isn’t exactly in a position to directly press its advantage against its rival if times got tough for Beijing. Neither side can afford a trade war against the other, which in any case would be more devastating for Japan than for China because of the monopoly that the People’s Republic enjoys on rare earth mineral production. Japan needs these resources in order to sustain its technological-robotic future, so it’s not in a position to tempt China to cut off its exports like it temporarily did in 2010 in connection with a flare-up of the East China Sea dispute. Nor, for that matter, could Japan afford for Chinese cobalt and coltan companies in the Congo to decline selling this necessary component for electric vehicle batteries, cruise missiles, and almost every ubiquitous modern-day technological gadget such as smartphones. After all, China controls roughly 60% of the global cobalt market, the demand of which is expected to spike by two-thirds in the next decade, and securing reliable access to this indispensable resource is a pressing priority for Japan.

Another veiled vulnerability affecting Japan’s 21st-century geostrategy is closer to home in the form of the Ryukyu Islands, of which anti-American Okinawa is a part. This island chain only became part of Japan relatively recently in the late 19th century, and the population of its most militarily important island resents the American bases there which are responsible for insufferable noise and a spree of high-profile crimes include rapes and murders. The locals don’t want the US to remain in their homeland, but are powerless to evict them due to the overriding influence that Washington has over Tokyo and the near-impossibility of this ever happening. Nevertheless, an asymmetrical measure that China could in theory employ (key conditional, as there isn’t any existing proof of this) would be to encourage the anti-American protest movement and help it develop to the level of an autonomous, “federalist”, or even separatist one despite the improbable odds of it actually succeeding. The point, though, would just be to cause maximum disruption at one of Japan’s most sensitive military locations in the hopes of provoking an escalating spiral of violence that could partially distract Tokyo from whatever hostile proxy action it would be engaged in against China at the time (e.g. trade war).

Prevailing Trends

All told, there are several prevailing trends that are forecast to guide Japan’s 21st-century geostrategy. In the order that they were introduced in this analysis, these are:

* Japan’s demographic die-out and replacement with robotic workers;

* The Russian-Japanese rapprochement to secure reliable energy supplies for Tokyo’s continued technological-robotic rise;

* The race for finite manufacturing resources in the “Global South” regions of mainland ASEAN (the “Greater Mekong Region”), South Asia, and East Africa, as well as the need to develop Japanese-friendly markets in this part of the world and the Mideast-Central Asia;

* The resultant competition with China for the aforesaid, and the disruptive role of American influence in turning Tokyo into Beijing’s chief Asian rival instead of its natural strategic partner in jointly advancing Silk Road Globalization in the Multipolar World Order;

* Japan’s advantageous geostrategic position in being comparatively less affected by future American-managed Hybrid Wars in the Greater Indian Ocean Region;

* and Tokyo’s veiled vulnerabilities in being dependent on China’s export of rare earth minerals to power its technological-robotic industries and the risk that Beijing could clandestinely destabilize the Ryukyu Islands through various degrees of pro-autonomy movements all the way up to separatism.

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Concluding Thoughts

The simplified points mentioned above demonstrate the phased logic that goes into Japan’s grand strategy and explain some of its more recent moves, whether the surprising decision to enter into a rapprochement with Russia or the somewhat overdue one to partner up with India in the Greater Indian Ocean Region. Everything ultimately comes down to Japan’s seemingly inevitable transition into becoming the world’s first large-scale techno-robotic civilization, however, as it’s from this core trend that all the others are derived to some degree or another. Altogether, the bigger picture behind Japan’s 21st-century geostrategy should allow one to get an idea about the structural limitations inherent to its “China Containment Coalition” actions, as there’s only so much that Tokyo can do and so far that it can go against Beijing before it begins to feel the consequences from the People’s Republic discretely suspending the sale of rare earth minerals to the island nation and/or supporting a destabilizing Ryukyu autonomy campaign.  

The already existing and multidimensional system of complex economic interdependency, coupled with both sides’ near-equal naval capabilities, acts as a form of checks and balances between the two Asian Great Powers and could ideally be reframed in such a way as to convince Japan’s decision makers and strategists of the mutually disadvantageous nature of the Chinese-Japanese rivalry that their American military occupier encouraged them to aggravate over the past couple of years. A reconceptualization of the relationship between these two related civilization-states could inject fresh thinking into this dynamic and demonstrate how beneficial the win-win possibilities of bilateral Silk Road cooperation are in comparison to the lose-lose “zero-sum” game that the US is provoking between them. The US wants to continue using Japan as its “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in perpetuity so that it can “contain China”, but reversely, the failure of this policy would “unchain China” by accelerating the global trend towards a Multipolar World Order.          

As it stands, there aren’t any indications that Japan desires to redirect its grand strategy away from “zero-sum” unipolarity and towards win-win multipolarity, however it nonetheless can’t be ignored that Tokyo is indeed behaving in a relatively independent fashion by continuing to restore its relations with Moscow. Washington obviously isn’t too happy about this, though at the same time, the pragmatic strategists in the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) understand the necessity of this move and appreciate how its optics could be manipulated by savvy propagandists in an attempt to instigate suspicion between Moscow and Beijing, capitalizing on the fact that Russia hasn’t publicly explained its grand strategic balancing act. Looking forward, it’s expected that the Chinese-Japanese competition will continue all along the Greater Indian Ocean Region, merging with the Chinese-Indian one of which it’s now inextricably a part, in order to add critical mass to the Asian component of the New Cold War. 

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.

mardi, 13 juin 2017

Historic Battle in the Pacific

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Historic Battle in the Pacific

To see America as it once was, go back to the three days from 4 to 7 June, 1942. During the six months after the devastating Japanese attack on the principal US Pacific base at Pearl Harbor,  Hawaii, US and allies forces across the west Pacific were being mauled by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Japan’s leading naval strategist, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, was planning a decisive action near Midway Island to lure America’s three aircraft carriers into battle and sink them.

The USS carriers Enterprise, Hornet and Yorktown had been sent away from Pearl Harbor before the Japanese attack.  Had they been in port, Japan would have won the Pacific War on 7 Dec 1941.  But they were not, strongly suggesting foreknowledge by the pro-war Roosevelt administration of Japan’s plans.

In fact, US naval code-breakers had deciphered many of Japan’s naval and diplomatic codes that Tokyo believed were secure.   The US also broke many of Germany’s codes.  Almost eight decades later, the US National Security Agency continues this code-breaking tradition.  Small wonder the US is so obsessed with communications security and ELINT, or electronic intelligence.  They were key elements in America’s WWII victory.

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Yamamoto had made a grave error during the Pearl Harbor attack.  He should have sent his powerful battleships to direct attack the US base with naval gunfire.  There was concern about US coastal 16 inch batteries on Oahu, but Yamamoto should still have bombarded US oil and repair facilities at Pearl Harbor.  Destroying them would have given Japan control of the Pacific for at least a year. In the event, his battleships served little useful purpose during the war and were mostly sunk by later US airstrikes.

Widely dispersed Japanese naval forces, with four fast carriers, moved towards Midway, a tiny atoll 3,500 miles west of Hawaii, to draw the US Navy into battle.

What Yamamoto did not know was that US naval intelligence was reading all of his orders and tracing movement of his ships.  Or that he was facing three of the finest admirals in US history:  Chester Nimitz, Frank Fletcher and Raymond Spruance.

Meanwhile, Adm. Yamamoto had to dispatch a strong navel force to the remote US Aleutian Islands off Alaska to secure backing by the Imperial Japanese Army for the coming Midway battle.   Throughout WWII, Japan’s army and navy operated at cross-purposes or as rivals.  The army wanted to attack Soviet Siberia while the Navy was determined to capture oil sources in SE Asia.  There was almost no coordination between the two and the Emperor failed to impose unity of command.

In a near-miraculous example of American can-do spirits, the carrier ‘Yorktown,’ badly damaged at the Battle of the Coral Sea, was rushed back into service to the astonishment of the Japanese.

The two fleets began searching for one another – a process in pre-radar days of  blind luck, like a knife fight in a pitch-black room.   Of course, the US knew where many of the Japanese ships were.  But once Japan’s fleet moved, it was quickly lost again.

Carrier warfare is one of the consummate military arts, a process demanding absolute technical expertise, top command skills, steel nerves, and a lot of luck.  Japan’s admirals, Yamamoto, Nagumo, and Kondo, were experienced and skilled but America’s commanders ranked with Britain’s admirals Nelson and Cochran.

The key to the upcoming battle, which was all  beyond visual range, was searching.  US land and carrier  planes kept flying over search patterns seeking the Japanese carriers ‘Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu,’ all veterans of the Pearl Harbor attack.  The Japanese searched even more intensely. Ironically, a Japanese floatplane that was to search a quadrant in which the US carriers were steaming was badly delayed by mechanical problems and failed to locate the US warships.

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At 0430 on 4 June 1943, Adm. Nagumo launched air attacks on Midway, which was defended by US Marines. As the Japanese attack intensified, Pearl Harbor reportedly sent them a message, ‘what can we send you?’  Came the insolent reply (my father was a Marine in the 5thDivision), ‘send us more Japs.’

Nagumo kept half his torpedo plans and dive bombers armed and in reserve in case US warships were sighted. At 0800, a Japanese search plane reported sighting US carriers while Nagumo still kept attacking Midway.  Unbeknown to him, Adm. Fletcher had already ordered his torpedo planes and dive bombers to attack Nagumo’s fleet that had been spotted by a US PBY flying boat and the heroism of squadron commander C. Wade McClusky.

At 0920, US torpedo squadron 6 from Enterprise flying obsolescent `Devastator’ aircraft attacked the Japanese carriers.  The squadron was massacred by Japanese Zero fighters flying top cover.  At least six US Mark 13 torpedoes hit the Japanese carriers yet failed to explode. US torpedoes were notoriously unreliable as compared to the deadly Japanese long-lance torpedoes.

All 15 of torpedo squadron 6’s Devastators were shot down.  At this dark moment,  three squadrons of Douglas Dauntless dive bombers from Enterprise and Yorktown arrived while the Japanese were distracted by the torpedo attacks.  Worse, the Japanese carriers were in the process of re-arming their aircraft for new strikes.  The carrier decks were covered with bombs, torpedoes and fuel lines.

At 1022 the US Dauntless dive bombers struck.  Within minutes, three Japanese carriers, Soryu, Kaga and Akagi were in flames.  The surviving Hiryu managed to launch and fatally wound the Yorktown.  US aircraft located then sank the Hiryu.

Four of Japan’s six carriers were sunk and many of her veteran pilots and mechanics were killed.  Both sides broke off the battle to lick their wounds.

Midway marked the high point of Japan’s Pacific offensive. After the battle, Japan lost the military imitative and went on the defensive for the rest of the war.  Japan could not replace the carriers or aircrews lost in battle.  As the war continued, America’s mighty industrial base produced more than eight times more warships and transports than battered Japan.

There were many more naval battles after Midway, but no other nation on earth would dare challenge the US Navy.  America’s sailors and airmen had won the Pacific War in a day that will reverberate in history.

mardi, 14 février 2017

Viaggio in Giappone

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18:58 Publié dans Actualité, Evénement | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : événement, italie, japon | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

Il samurai di Fiume

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Il samurai di Fiume

Harukichi, lillipuziano nel corpo ma titano nello spirito, è in Italia da tempo e a Fiume ci va più che volentieri. Già da studente in Giappone si era innamorato della nostra cultura, della nostra lingua, della nostra storia, e quindi sceglie di venire da noi, a studiare Dante. L’Italia è sua seconda Patria, e la ama tantissimo.
 
di Federico Mosso 
Ex: http://www.linttelletualedissidente.it 
 
Harukichi Shimoi è alto un soldo di cacio, minuscolo persino per i canoni giapponesi. Gabriele D’Annunzio, che pure lui non è di certo un batusso, al suo fianco giganteggia. “Da Fiume d’Italia, Porta d’Oriente, salutiamo la luce dell’Oriente estremo”. È un brindisi in onore del piccolo ospite nipponico, che il Vate concede durante un pranzo a Fiume occupata, anzi liberata, in quello straordinario episodio storico d’irredentismo italiano. Al Camerata Samurai eja eja alalà! Alla “mensa di guerra” si alzano i calici di vino dei signori ufficiali dai petti plurimedagliati; giù nel gargarozzo, l’impresa è nella sua fase di viva esaltazione, i cuori dei legionari bruciano eccitati. In quei mesi tra il 1919 e il 1920 si sta scrivendo la Storia dell’Adriatico.

Harukichi, lillipuziano nel corpo ma titano nello spirito, è in Italia da tempo e a Fiume ci va più che volentieri. Già da studente in Giappone si era innamorato della nostra cultura, della nostra lingua, della nostra storia, e quindi sceglie di venire da noi, a studiare Dante. L’Italia è sua seconda Patria, e la ama tantissimo. Si stabilisce a Napoli dove ha una cattedra all’Istituto Universitario Orientale, antico tempio del sapere europeo, dedicato alla ricerca e allo studio di culture orientali ed extracontinentali. Naturalmente parla benissimo l’italiano, con un simpatico accento partenopeo. All’ombra del Vesuvio nel 1920 fonda e cura la rivista di poesia Sakura prima rassegna moderna europea dell’arte e della poesia dell’Estremo Oriente. Già il nome stesso è poesia: fior di ciliegio, simbolo di bellezza e rinascita, di rigenerazione. Che personaggio, Harukichi, tappo coltissimo pieno di vita, occhi a mandorla e dialetto napoletano. Ma non pensiamo ad una macchietta! Ad un uomo buffo! Sorridiamo piuttosto, a quel nano gigantesco dalle sopracciglia enormi, uomo scalmanato e dotato di curiosità vorace, appassionato di poesia e lui stesso poeta, seguace di D’Annunzio e successivamente ammiratore del fascismo, di cui sarà acceso sostenitore all’estero, quando rientrerà a Tokyo.

Bushido: la via del guerriero. Codice di cavalleria, codice samurai. Onestà, sincerità, lealtà, giustizia, pietà, gentilezza, compassione, rispetto, educazione, dovere, onore. Fino alla morte. Harukichi Shimoi trova un naturale punto di contatto con il fascismo mussoliniano e il retaggio bushido, Sol Levante e Mediterraneo si abbracciano. Harukichi racconta storie della sua patria lontana, e affascina. A Mussolini, che gli è amico, narra le avventure dei vecchi Shogun, di tradizioni secolari, di cappa e spada samurai, del sucidio seppuku delle Tigri Bianche, guerrieri di un reggimento agli ordini del daimyō Katamori Matsudaira, che quando videro il castello del loro signore avvolto dalle fiamme e credendo il daimyō morto, decisero di uccidersi in massa. Il Duce rimane impressionato. Tutt’oggi, nelle vicinanze della città di Aizu, dove c’è il cimitero delle Tigri Bianche,  c’è una colonna di epoca romana e sotto di essa, una targa: Allo spirito del Bushido. È un omaggio commemorativo che Mussolini invia nel 1928, dopo aver ascoltato il racconto di Shimoi.

Facciamo un passo indietro, prima del fascismo, siamo nel mezzo della prima guerra mondiale. Il professore giapponese si arruola come volontario tra le fila del Regio Esercito. Entra nel corpo speciale degli Arditi. Sono gli atleti della trincea, corrono a dare e ricevere la morte. Abili con le bombe a mano, sperimentatori di lanciafiamme, insuperabili con il pugnale. Occhio alla gola, austriaco. Gli Arditi sono esperti nel corpo a corpo e Shimoi fornisce il suo contributo impartendo lezioni di karate, disciplina che possiamo ritenere più che utile nella lotta cattiva di quella guerra. Nel grande carnaio, conosce Gabriele D’Annunzio e i due stringono amicizia. Assieme avrebbero dovuto intraprendere il raid aereo Roma-Tokyo, ma altri eventi irrompono in scena. Li rivediamo infatti assieme, pochi anni dopo, non nei cieli ma a Fiume, durante l’Impresa. Ribellione! I legionari con alla testa il Poeta hanno preso la città del Carnaro, vogliono renderla all’Italia perché è stata rubata, e la colpa del furto è dell’americano, il presidente Wilson che dice no, no, no.

Fiume, 1919-20, sedici mesi di insonnia, che esperienza deve esser stata per chi l’ha vissuta. Altro che Sessantotto, tsè. Baraonda di libertà e festa, ma anche e soprattutto fucina di idee, arti, politica. Harukichi Shimoi ci arriva a febbraio del ’20. Poche sono le informazioni sulla sua permanenza fiumana. Ma allora che queste righe si prendano la licenza di uscire dalla serietà della ricerca storica e che introducano un elemento di fiction per infrangere liberi le leggi della corretta cronologia: ci interessa capire l’ambiente. Gli occhi a mandorla del nostro amico letterato sono il mezzo fiction con cui si vuole raccontare quello che a Fiume è successo per davvero. Harukichi Shimoi passeggia per le strade e le piazze della città, piccolo ma fiero nella sua divisa d’ardito con il pugnale e il nero fez, e i suoi occhi curiosi sotto le sopracciglia enormi osservano e ci riportano episodi. Corri corri generale: tutti sotto il balcone del Palazzo del Governo, il Comandante Governatore parla alla folla: “In questo folle e vile mondo Fiume è oggi un simbolo di libertá; nel mondo folle e vile vi è una sola cosa pura: Fiume; vi è una sola verità …” D’Annunzio arringa, bravissimo, e sotto il tripudio. Ma da chi è composta la folla? È una ressa multiforme, multicolore, multiculturale. Lista disordinata di individui: arditi, alpini, bersaglieri, carabinieri, avventurieri, cittadini, signore, puttane, marinai, aviatori, eroi, artisti, poeti, futuristi, fasciopionieri, studenti, anarchici, libertini, bohémien, dandy, imperialisti, sognatori, pirati, sbandati, nazionalisti, sindacalisti, socialisti, monarchici, repubblicani, stranieri, rivoluzionari, pazzi. È il marasma magnifico di individui, pensieri e intenti; episodio unico ed irrepetibile.

Gli occhi del giapponese scrutano affamati di cose, uomini, azioni, e si riempiono. Laggiù al porto, i ragazzacci del UCM – Ufficio Colpi di Mano, festeggiano la caccia fortunata, hanno arrembato un mercantile, molte le provviste di bottino. Sono gli uscocchi, i corsari di D’Annunzio, vanno in missione di guerriglia marina, assaltano per rifornire la città. In corso Dante è l’ora dell’aperitivo. Fa il suo quotidiano ingresso trionfale, con la corte di ammiratori e fanciulle, in bombetta e bastone, il futuruomo Marinetti. Cammina svelto, ha l’attenzione di altri passanti, dunque si ferma e declama: “Ritti sulla cima del mondo, noi scagliamo, una volta ancora, la nostra sfida alle stelle!” Volano le bombette, pure qualche sedia dei caffé. Il clima è orgiastico, i postriboli incassano, il sesso è mercenario, certamente,  ma anche donato perché gli amori sbocciano molti e liberi, l’euforia è afrodiasiaca, e altresì l’appartamento del Principe D’Annunzio ha la sua porticina segreta, vecchie e nuove fiamme  rendono omaggio al poeta armato quando cala la notte.

Il Camerata Samurai nella Fiume delle ore piccole, continua la sua esplorazione della nostra Storia, che ora è fantastica. Dalle osterie esce chiasso, il vino scorre, sempre, dai bordelli escono i legionari che sorridono, contenti. Un drappello furtivo s’infila in un portone poco illuminato. Vanno a comprare cocaina. Ce n’è parecchia, va di moda. Sono stati gli aviatori, con le loro scatoline d’oro dove custodivano la polvere pestifera, a far tendenza malandrina. La usavano in azione durante voli estenuanti, adesso la fiutano anche a terra. Pure il Vate prende il vizio, a 57 anni suonati si farcisce  le narici golose. In un angolo, una rissa: son cose che capitano quando c’è grande concentrazione di animi surriscaldati. Dopotutto, sono tanti i reduci; è gente che quieta non sa più stare; è gente per sempre scossa dal massacro, gli abiti borghesi stanno stretti. Succede anche in Germania con i Freikorps, oppure anche in Stati Uniti, nel secondo dopoguerra, con i veterani dell’aria che si aggregano in bande di motociclisti, come gli Hells Angels. Il soldato in guerra impara la vita guerriera e l’orrore, ma quando la guerra finisce? Non tutti vogliono o riescono a rientrare nei ranghi civili, nella moderazione, nella quiete. Anche nel primo dopoguerra italiano, è così.

Me ne frego! Il motto è coniato a Fiume. In esso tutto un universo di volontà individualiste, turbolente, di rendere la vita una fiamma che arde. Nessun futuro, viviamo adesso, da leoni.  E un leone coraggioso anche se strambo e indisciplinato è Guido Keller, con cui Harukichi si ferma a fare due parole, sotto un lampione, prima dell’alba. Esistono gli uomini “normali” e poi esistono i Keller. Keller è un Keller. Asso dell’aviazione di guerra, non sta mai fermo, lui è edonista, eccentrico, nudista, tritone adriatico, primo corsaro di Fiume ed è amico di una bellissima aquila addestrata con cui certe volte dorme appollaiato in cima agli alberi: che sia voglia incontrollabile di cielo, mal di nuvole, il richiamo delle stelle? Li raggiunge Giovanni Comisso, legionario e scrittore. Comisso e Keller si spingono oltre, danno vita a il Gruppo Yoga, con tendenze esoteriche, e scelgono simboli raccolti dall’Oriente misterioso come la svastica (è inutile stropicciarsi gli occhi, siamo nel 1920, il nazismo è solo un feto, anzi nemmeno feto, solo seme) e la rosa a cinque petali.

Sulla rivista “YOGA” c’è scritto: Unione libera di spirti di Fiume: Grifone Italico! Lo stile e la forma dell’azione sono elette dalla bellezza, e vi obbediscono. Quante altre cose potremmo far vedere agli occhi di Harukichi Shimoi, il Camerata Samurai di Fiume, scomodato per l’occasione per una veloce testimonianza sugli aspetti più colorati dell’Impresa di fiumana, esplosione di orgoglio nazionale, militare e allo stesso tempo ribelle.

Rientrando nei ranghi della Storia per bene e severa, come va fatta, scopriamo che Shimoi, capitano degli Arditi, è scelto da D’Annunzio come suo personale messaggero per l’odiato amico Mussolini. Il giapponese fa da collegamento, porta e riceve messaggi, s’intrufola tra le linee che stringono la città insonne, viaggia per la causa degli italiani, la sua causa. Non andiamo oltre, il tempo scorre, seguono altre storie, nuovi ordini, un’altra guerra. Diamo ancora un ultimo sguardo all’Impresa. La giovinezza è al potere, a Fiume, luogo fuori dal tempo, esperimento storico, laboratorio di quello che verrà, alchimia di passioni. La Storia diviene arte.

 
 
 

16:51 Publié dans Histoire | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, fiume, italie, japon, gabriele d'annunzio, harukishi shimoi | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mercredi, 25 janvier 2017

Le Japon se prépare-t-il à la guerre ?

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Bob Woodward:

Ex: http://www.decryptnewsonline.com 

A partir d'aujourd'hui, les forces d'autodéfense nippones se livrent à des exercices pour anticiper un conflit militaire entre les deux rives du détroit de Formose. L’armée japonaise va effectuer un exercice de simulation d’affrontement militaire entre la Chine et Taïwan, avec la participation en tant qu’observateur de l’armée américaine, a selon l’agence de presse Kyodo.

« Aucun déploiement de troupe n’aura lieu et le scénario est celui d’une réponse des Etats-Unis et du Japon à un conflit militaire« , a indiqué Kyodo.

Selon une source du gouvernement japonais, le but de l’exercice est de vérifier comment les membres de l’armée devraient s’acquitter de nouvelles tâches autorisées en vertu de la nouvelle loi japonaise sur la sécurité dans le déclenchement d’une situation considérée comme menaçant sérieusement la paix et la sécurité du pays, a précisé l’agence de presse japonaise.

De son côté, le ministère chinois des affaires étrangères a rappelé à Tokyo que « la question de Taïwan est une affaire interne de la Chine et nous espérons que le Japon sera très prudent dans ses paroles et ses actes (…) et ne fera rien qui compromettrait la paix régionale et la stabilité« .

« Je pense que cela montre qu’un monde stable est la dernière chose que certains veulent au Japon », a considéré la porte-parole du ministère Hua Chunying. Cette annonce vient compliquer un peu plus la situation.

L’armée taïwanaise a également réalisé des exercices militaires en vue d’une guerre contre la Chine continentale, alors que les relations entre les deux rives de Taïwan restent difficile.

Cet exercice japonais, en présence d’observateur américain, n’apaise en rien les craintes de Beijing, qui doit composer avec une nouvelle administration américaine, ayant déjà rompu avec quatre décennies de relations diplomatique, en prenant un appel téléphonique de la dirigeante taïwanaise Tsaï Ing-wen. Or selon la a source du gouvernement japonais, l’exercice était prévu avant que Donald Trump ne prenne ses fonctions, le 20 janvier.

D’après le reportage de l’agence japonaise, les forces d’autodéfense du Japon (l’armée) feront cet exercice simulé du lundi 23 au vendredi 27 janvier 2017, en présence de militaires américains y participant en tant qu’observateur.

C’est un scénario qui depuis quelques semaines s’invite dans les discussions d’experts et de diplomates : un affrontement militaire entre la Chine et Taïwan. Le Japon vient mettre son grain de sel dans le débat en menant, à partir d’aujourd’hui et jusqu’à la fin de la semaine, des exercices de simulation en cas de conflit entre les deux rives du détroit de Formose. Aucun déploiement de troupes n’aura lieu. Tokyo entend vérifier comment, en cas de clash, les forces d’autodéfense nippones (SDF) effectueraient leurs nouvelles tâches autorisées par la loi de sécurité entrée en vigueur en mars dernier.

Jusqu’à présent, les SDF japonaises n’avaient pas pour mission d’intervenir en dehors des frontières de l’archipel. Si elles l’ont fait par le passé, à de très rares exceptions, c’était uniquement pour des motifs humanitaires. Dorénavant, au nom du principe de «l’autodéfense collective», Tokyo peut fournir un soutien logistique à d’autres forces armées, même si le Japon n’est pas directement menacé.
Coup de fil et coup de sang

En novembre, les SDF et les GI’s de la marine américaine ont d’ailleurs effectué leurs premiers exercices conjoints. Cette semaine, des observateurs américains assisteront aux simulations japonaises qui sonnent comme une nouveauté. Jusqu’à présent, ces entraînements concernaient essentiellement le Japon.

Ainsi, il était fréquent que le ministère de la Défense communique sur des opérations visant à reconquérir une île ou à la défendre contre un agresseur. Le nom était rarement mentionné mais tout le monde comprenait que le Japon surveillait de très près l’évolution autour de l’archipel des Senkaku, nationalisé par Tokyo en 2012, que la Chine revendique en l’appelant «les îlots Diaoyu». Cette fois, les Japonais quittent donc leurs eaux territoriales pour croiser dans des mers chargées en revendications.

L’exercice simulé intervient au moment où les relations entre la Chine et Taiwan connaissent un nouveau pic de tensions. L’échange téléphonique en décembre du président élu Donald Trump avec la présidente taïwanaise Tsai Ing-wen a alarmé Pékin. En prenant l’appel de Tsai Ing-wen, Trump a rompu avec près de quatre décennies de politique américaine qui respectait le principe de la «Chine unique» selon lequel tout Etat entretenant des relations diplomatiques avec Pékin ne peut en avoir simultanément avec Taïpei.

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Depuis 1949 et l’installation sur l’île des nationalistes de Tchang Kaï-chek, les Chinois considèrent Taiwan – indépendante de facto – comme une province renégate qui doit repasser, selon eux, sous le contrôle du continent. Depuis l’élection de Tsai Ing-wen l’année dernière, la Chine n’a cessé les mises en garde et les pressions sur la première présidente élue dans la seule démocratie du monde chinois. Depuis sa victoire, Tsai Ing-wen a appelé le régime chinois à «respecter l’intégrité de l’île». En septembre 1954, alors même que l'acte final de la conférence de Genève allait régler la guerre d'Indochine, Mao Zedong intimait à Zhou Enlai l'ordre de mettre au premier plan la «libération» de Taiwan: «Nous avons eu tort de ne pas nous consacrer à la tâche de libérer Taiwan juste après le cessez-le-feu en Corée; si nous tergiversons encore, nous commettrons une sérieuse erreur politique.» De novembre 1954 à mai 1955, un déluge d'obus s'abattit sur les petites îles tenues par le régime nationaliste, et l'armée populaire de libération s'empara des îles Dachen au nez et à la barbe de l'armada américaine dépêchée dans le détroit de Taiwan. Les Etats-Unis finirent toutefois, en mars 1955, par menacer publiquement d'employer des armes nucléaires tactiques contre la Chine en cas d'agression ultérieure, et notamment contre les îles de Quemoy et de Matsu, beaucoup mieux défendues. En avril 1955, la Chine mit fin à la crise quand Zhou Enlai, depuis le sommet afro-asiatique de Bandung, proclama son désir de paix avec les Etats-Unis.

En août 1958, vingt-quatre heures après que le président Eisenhower eut proposé à Nikita Khrouchtchev le premier sommet soviéto-américain de la guerre froide, et une réduction des armements nucléaires, Mao Zedong déclenchait une deuxième crise dans le détroit de Formose: à nouveau, une pluie d'obus s'abattit contre les petites îles fortifiées détenues par les nationalistes, provoquant la mobilisation de la VIIe Flotte dans le détroit. Après quelques semaines critiques pendant lesquelles les îles furent en danger sérieux, les Américains réussirent à établir une ligne de ravitaillement à Quemoy, y débarquant publiquement, entre autres, des mortiers susceptibles de lancer des charges nucléaires tactiques. Dès lors, l'offensive chinoise perdait toute chance de réussir: mais les bombardements continuèrent de façon intermittente pendant plus d'une décennie.

Ces précédents doivent aujourd'hui être examinés avec soin. D'abord, dans les deux cas, c'est à cause d'une détente internationale que la Chine populaire passa à l'offensive contre la Chine nationaliste, et le monde extérieur fut totalement surpris. En 1954, Mao ne pouvait supporter de voir la question de Taiwan sombrer dans l'oubli, alors que d'autres conflits asiatiques de la guerre froide trouvaient une solution. En 1958, la crise de Quemoy et de Matsu lui permettait de s'opposer à la coexistence pacifique qui s'amorçait entre les deux Grands.

Au début du mois, la Chine a dépêché son unique porte-avions, le Liaoning, dans le détroit de Taiwan, déclenchant l’envoi d’avions de reconnaissance par Taiwan. Il y a vingt ans, les deux rives du détroit avaient traversé une grave crise. Pékin avait tiré plusieurs salves de missiles dans les eaux territoriales taïwanaises au moment où le gouvernement de Lee Teng-hui multipliait les déclarations pro-démocratiques et que le pays s’apprêtait à voter. Alliés de Taïwan, les Etats-Unis avaient alors expédié une partie de leur flotte dans les eaux de la mer de Chine.

Aujourd’hui la Chine de Xi Jinping affirme de plus en plus son hégémonie sur les mers de la région. Et elle entend «défendre ses intérêts fondamentaux dans le cadre des affaires intérieures de la Chine», comme l’a rappelé vendredi Hua Chunying, la porte-parole du ministère chinois des Affaires étrangères qui réagissait à l’annonce des exercices simulés japonais. «Pour certaines personnes au Japon, il semble que la paix est la dernière chose qu’elles souhaitent. […] Nous espérons que le Japon pourra mesurer ses paroles et ses actes sur les questions liées à Taïwan […] et éviter d’envoyer un signal erroné aux forces indépendantes de Taiwan.»

De son côté, l’archipel du nationaliste Shinzo Abe a musclé sa diplomatie et armé sa défense depuis quatre ans. Tout en se posant en «contributeur proactif pour la paix», le Japon s’est montré plus présent dans le Pacifique, multipliant les discours ainsi que les aides techniques et financières aux pays de la région en butte à l’hégémonie chinoise. Avec Taiwan, quatrième partenaire commercial du Japon, Tokyo a renforcé ses relations.

Avant même son élection, Tsai Ing-wen s’était rendue en visite dans l’archipel au grand dam de Pékin. Fin décembre, un parlementaire japonais membre du parti libéral démocrate, Keisuke Suzuki, défendait des liens plus forts entre les deux archipels et l’idée d’une coopération militaire plus étroite. «L’existence d’un Taiwan libre est fondamentale pour la sécurité du Japon. A partir du moment où Taiwan subit trop de fortes pressions de la Chine continentale, c’est aussi un problème pour la sécurité nationale du Japon lui-même.»

Taiwan s’est lancé dans un programme de développement de son arsenal militaire, notamment de sous-marin. Les Etats-Unis suggèrent dorénavant à Taïpei d’augmenter ses budgets de défense. Il y a quelques jours, les troupes taïwanaises ont organisé, elles aussi, des exercices grandeur nature pour se préparer à une attaque chinoise.

samedi, 10 décembre 2016

Why Did Japan Choose a Suicidal War in 1941?

 

Seven decades after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor some truth is finally beginning to emerge from the miasma of propaganda that still clouds our vision of World War II.

It seems clear by now that President Franklin Roosevelt’s White House knew from deciphered  codes that Japan was planning an attack on America’s key naval base in Hawaii. Shamefully, the senior US Navy and Army commanders at Pearl Harbor were not informed of the impending attack. The US Navy’s three aircraft carriers were coincidentally moved far from harm’s way before the attack, leaving only obsolescent World War I battleships in port as sitting ducks.

Roosevelt was eager to get the United States into war against Germany at all costs. But Americans wanted no part of Europe’s war, recalling how British propaganda had deceived America into World War I. The single largest ethnic group in America was of German origin.  In the 1880’s, my native New York City was the third most populous German city on earth after Berlin and Hamburg.

Roosevelt, whose sympathies lay far to the left in spite of his patrician background, understood that only a surprise attack would provoke Americans into war.

At the time, the US supplied 80% of Japan’s oil, 100% of its aviation fuel, and much of its metal. Roosevelt demanded Japan vacate China that it had invaded, or face an embargo of these vital strategic materials on which Japan’s industry depended. Japan’s fascist military government refused, as Washington knew it would. A US embargo ensued.

jappilot.jpgJapan had a one-year strategic reserve of oil.  Its stark choice was either run out of oil, fuel, and scrap steel over 12 months or go to war while it still had these resources. The only other potential source of oil for Japan was the distant Dutch East Indies, today Indonesia.

In 1991, then US President George H.W. Bush claimed that the US had a right to go to war with Iraq to assure its supply of oil.

Japan’s leading naval strategist, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, gloomily predicted before Pearl Harbor that Japan was going to war for oil and would be defeated because of it. He was absolutely correct.  America was ten times more powerful than Japan and had a huge industrial capacity.

It was a suicidal war for Japan in all aspects.  Japan’s powerful army, deployed to occupy China and perhaps fight the Soviet Union,  cared nothing for the Pacific.  By contrast, the  Imperial Japanese Navy had no interest in China.  Its goal was the conquest of the oil-rich Dutch East Indies, British-ruled Malaya,  French-ruled Indo-China and the US-ruled Philippines and Pacific territories.  Making matters worse,  Japan’s navy and army ran separate wars, without any coordination, unified industrial policy or common strategy – in short, two different wars for a nation that was not even up to one conflict at a time.

Japan claimed it was waging a crusade to ‘liberate’ Asia from the Western imperial rule. But few Asians bought this argument due to the brutality and arrogance of their Japanese occupiers.

Looking back, it was indeed an old-fashioned imperial war: the Japanese Empire versus the American, British, French and Dutch empires.  The last empire, the Soviet Union, did not get involved until its smashing victory against Japan’s Kwantung Army in 1945, one of WWII’s greatest campaigns but now totally forgotten.

Why did the Japanese,  an intelligent, clever people, think they could defeat the US and its allies? My view after long studying this question is that Japan’s militarists, boxed into a corner by Roosevelt’s crushing embargo, had to choose between a humiliating surrender to the US and giving up China, or a suicidal war.

Japan’s samurai culture that infused its armed forces saw surrender as the ultimate shame. Death in battle was preferable to surrender and the only honorable course for warriors.

Japanese militarized society had a belief in the ‘nobility of failure’ that was unknown to other peoples.

For Japan’s warriors, the highest glory and honor lay in choosing to fight a battle against greatly superior forces in which defeat and death were clearly inevitable. This was the ultimate expression of the knightly code of ‘bushido’ that guided Japan’s warrior caste.

By June 1944, Japan’s imports of strategic material and food were cut off by US submarines. Half its cities were burning. The population was starving.  Meanwhile, the US was assembling its atomic bombs.

In a final act of folly, right after Pearl Harbor Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States, presenting Roosevelt, whose government had numerous high-ranking Soviet agents, the war he had so long wanted.

dimanche, 04 décembre 2016

Chant de la Tatenokai ( Société du bouclier), fondée par Yukio Mishima

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Chant de la Tatenokai ( Société du bouclier), fondée par Yukio Mishima

起て!紅の若き獅子たち (高音質ハイレゾ)

起て!紅の若き獅子たち (楯の會の歌) 昭和45年5月

作  詞 三島 由紀夫
作編曲 越部 信義 
歌 唱 三島由紀夫と楯の會


夏は稲妻 冬は霜
富士山麓に 鍛え来し
若きつはもの これにあり
われらが武器は 大和魂
とぎすましたる刃こそ
晴朗の日の 空の色
雄々しく進め 楯の會
 
憂いは隠し 夢は秘め
品下りし世に 眉上げて
男とあれば 祖國を
蝕む敵を 座視せんや
やまとごころを 人問わば
青年の血の燃ゆる色
凛々しく進め 楯の會
  
兜のしるし 楯ぞ我
すめらみくにを守らんと
嵐の夜に逆らひて
よみがえりたる 若武者の
頬にひらめく曙は
正大の気の旗の色
堂々進め 楯の會

dimanche, 06 novembre 2016

World Religion of the Future

World War II was not a struggle between nationalism and globalism. It was a battle between conflicting visions of world order: a deracinating, soulless global marketplace vs. an Indo-European planetary hegemony based on a future pan-Aryan religion. At least, that is how the leader of the Kyoto School saw it.

tomo.jpgDespite his claim that the cultural crisis brought on by worldwide technological advancement could not be solved by a wholesale adoption of Eastern traditions such as Zen Buddhism, Martin Heidegger engaged in many conversations with… Japanese scholars throughout his philosophical career. His first and perhaps most significant encounter with the East took place as early as 1919, eight years before the publication of Being and Time. After having attended Heidegger’s 1918 lectures, one of his Japanese students, Tomonobu Imamichi, introduced Heidegger to the concept of “being in the world.” In The Book of Tea (1906), Tomonobu’s teacher, Okakura Kakuzo had used these words to describe an aspect of Zhuangzi’s spiritual vision.

tea03864558-us-300.jpgThe Book of Tea uses the tea ceremony to explore the wabi-sabi aesthetic experience cultivated in Japanese Zen arts and crafts. The early German translation of The Book of Tea uses the words das-in-der-Welt-sein, which, via Imamichi, found their way into the heart and soul of Heidegger’s 1927 magnum opus. Interestingly, Heidegger’s philosophical career not only begins under Japanese influence, it also ends with it. One of the essays in his last work On the Way to Language is “A Dialogue on Language” between “a Japanese and an inquirer” who remain significantly unnamed

In his “Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism”, Leo Strauss makes much of Heidegger’s ‘Eastern’ response to the crisis of world-enframing technology in the absence of a genuine global society. Strauss observes that modern technology is forcing the material conditions of a World Society upon us, without a common world culture as its basis. It is the unification of mankind on the basis of the lowest common denominator. This leads to “lonely crowds” suffering from a pervasive sense of alienation and anomie. Furthermore, Strauss recognizes that no genuine culture in the world has ever arisen without a religious basis, without addressing man’s need for something noble and great beyond himself. So the world society, being wrought largely as a consequence of apparently valueless technological forces, is ironically one in need, not merely of a universal ethics, but of one world religion. The world religion must emerge out of the deepest reflection on the crisis of cultural relativism, and on the essence of the technological forces bringing it about:

[Heidegger] called it the “night of the world.” It means indeed, as Marx had predicted, the victory of an ever more completely urbanized, ever more completely technological West over the whole planet – complete leveling and uniformity… unity of the human race on the lowest level, complete emptiness of life… How can there be hope? Fundamentally, because there is something in man which cannot be satisfied by the world society: the desire for the genuine, for the noble, for the great. The desire has expressed itself in man’s ideals, but all previous ideals have proved to be related to societies which were not world societies. The old ideals will not enable man to overcome the power, to weaken the power, of technology. We may also say: a world society can be human only if there is a world culture, a culture genuinely uniting all men. But there never has been a high culture without a religious basis: the world society can be human only if all men are genuinely united by a world religion.

Explicating Heidegger, Strauss explains that in order for it to be possible to overcome technology, which is not at all the same as rejecting it, there must be a sphere of thought or contemplation beyond the rationalism developed by the Greeks and forwarded in Western science and technology. This must be an understanding of the world from behind or beneath the will to mathematize all beings with a view to instrumental manipulation of them on demand (bestand). It must understand the difference between Being and beings, and that Being is no-thing that can be mastered. The to be which is always as present at hand, is taken by Rationalism as the standard of being – that which really is, is always present, available, accessible. Instead, Strauss thinks that: “a more adequate understanding of being is intimated by the assertion that to be means to be elusive or to be a mystery.” Strauss claims that “this is the Eastern understanding of Being” and he adds that: “We can hope beyond technological world society, we can hope for a genuine world society, only if we become capable of learning from the East… Heidegger is the only man who has an inkling of the dimensions of the problem of a world society.”

nishida001-7a112.jpg…The thinkers of the Kyoto School of Philosophy were in favor of the war and have been collectively referred to as the “philosophers of nothingness”. Some of them had a constructive vision of how the Buddhist understanding of the void could complement the techno-scientific thinking of the West in order to bring about a new global civilization. Key figures among them, such as Nishida Kitaro, were students of Heidegger as early as the 1920s, and like Heidegger they saw the world war as the means to bring about a global culture that would ground techno-scientific development in a spirituality transcending insular and traditional values.

Remember that the Indian caste system that Nietzsche so admired, and that was based on regimented and hierarchically stratified class divisions, was a function of the Aryan conquest of the native Dravidian population of India. This origin is reflected in the Sanskrit name for the “caste” of the caste system, varna, which literally means “color” so that it was once a color-coding system. The four classes were: the Brahmins – the Vedic priests or scholars (including those who engaged in various proto-scientific practices); the Kshatriyas – the caste of knightly warriors, including feudal lords as chief amongst them; the Vaishyas – the business class, including both farmers and various types of merchants; and the Shudras – menial laborers, usually involved in undignified or hard labor. Finally, there were also “outcaste untouchables” that were relegated to an inhumanly low status. “Prince” Siddhartha Gotama belonged to the Kshatriya class.

The Buddha was a light-skinned blue eyed Aryan whose father was a feudal lord and who was expected to become a knight. In his late writings, Nishida Kitaro explains how it is that “Indian culture”, from which Japan inherited Buddhism (including the symbol of the swastika that is ubiquitous at Japanese temples) and which shares the Aryan or ‘Indo-European’ ethnic roots of European culture, “has evolved as an opposite pole to modern European culture… and may thereby be able to contribute to a global modern culture from its own vantage point.” What is the “global modern culture” that Nishida envisions?

Well, he certainly views it as having a religious basis and he thinks that the world war during which he is writing is a means to achieving it: “And does not the spirit of modern times seek a religion of infinite compassion rather than that of the Lord of ten thousand hosts? It demands reflection in the spirit of Buddhist compassion. This is the spirit which says that the present world war must be for the sake of negating world wars, for the sake of eternal peace.” In every true religion the divine is an absolute love that embraces its opposite, to the extent of even becoming Satan, and this is the meaning of the concept of upaya or shrewdly bringing to bear “skillful means” in Mahayana Buddhism so that “the miracles” of “this world may be said to be… the Buddha’s expedient means.” This all-embracing character of the divine, as that which encompasses what one would take to be its opposite, “is the basic reason why we are beings who can be compassionate to others and who can experience the compassion of others. Compassion always signifies that opposites are one in the dynamic reciprocity of their own contradictory identity.”

A God who is the Lord (Dominus) in the sense of an ultimately transcendent substance cannot be a truly creative God. Creation ex nihilo would be both arbitrary and superfluous; it must be out of love that God or Buddha creatively manifests the world from out of its own self-negation. Nishida believes that the school of Prajnaparamita thought in Mahayana Buddhism, established by Nagarjuna, has a deeper and more adequate understanding of this than pantheistic Western thinkers of dialectical synthesis, such as the Hegelians, who remain within the realm of reason even in their negative theologies. Nishida nevertheless refers to his ontology of the absolute’s self-expression and transformation as “Trinitarian” and compares it to Neo-Platonic thought.

However, Neo-Platonism and all pagan western thought falls short insofar as it fails to see Satan or “absolute evil” as an aspect of God. He adds: “The absolute God must include absolute negation within himself, and must be the God who descends into ultimate evil. The highest form must be one that transforms the lowest matter into itself. Absolute agape must reach even to the absolutely evil man. This is again the paradox of God: God is hidden even within the heart of the absolutely evil man. A God who merely judges the good and the bad is not truly absolute.” In passages such as these we see that Shunyata (in Sanskrit, Mu in Japanese) is not the Nothing of Descartes at all. Quite to the contrary of serving as an entirely distinct polar opposite of a Perfect Being that would exonerate the latter from being the source of any imperfection, this Nothingness is an inner dynamic tension within Being – as expressed in the spectral incompleteness and interdependent interpenetration of all beings. The battle between God and Nothingness in the heart of man, the “dynamic equilibrium” between “is” and “is not”, may be paradoxical but it is also the existential ‘ground’ of the volitional person. “Radical evil” lies ineradicably at the root of our freedom. We are always already “both satanic and divine.” Nishida claims that the Buddha – or any other conception of divinity – outside of one’s own existential potentiality is not the true Buddha:

Only in this existential experience of religious remorse does the self encounter what Rudolf Otto calls the numinous. Subjectively speaking, the encounter is a deep reflection upon the existential depths of the self itself; and as the Buddhists say, it means to see our essential nature, to see the true self. In Buddhism, this seeing means, not to see Buddha objectively outside, but to see into the bottomless depths of one’s own soul. If we see God externally, it is merely magic. …Illusion is the fountainhead of all evil. Illusion arises when we conceive of the objectified self as the true self. The source of illusion is in seeing the self in terms of object logic. It is for this reason that Mahayana Buddhism says that we are saved through enlightenment. But this enlightenment is generally misunderstood. For it does not mean to see anything objectively… It is rather an ultimate seeing of the bottomless nothingness of the self that is simultaneously a seeing of the fountainhead of sin and evil.

In this Zen injunction to kill any conception of a Buddha outside oneself, Nishida does not deny the cycle of birth and death or samsara as an empirical or phenomenological fact, he simply insists that the truly religious consciousness is one that has recognized the identity of samsara and nirvana. On his terms, and according to the sages of the esoteric Buddhist tradition, nirvana does not mean to attain some state distinct from and after samsara but to recognize that in every moment of the cycle of reincarnation the perfection beyond the impurity of karma is already present. This does not mean that the self “transcends its own historical actuality – it does not transcend its own karma – but rather that it realizes the bottomless bottom of its own karma.”

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This relatively late Mahayanist view is anathema to the teaching of Siddhartha Gotama and the early Indian Buddhism founded on it. According to the Buddha Dharma, just as there are physical, biological, and psychological laws operative in the cosmos, there is also an ethical law. The law of karma is a lawful relationship between one’s actions, including verbal and unspoken mental acts that express one’s volition (cetana), and both the realm within which one is reborn as well as the conditions of life that one experiences within this realm. The ethical quality of one’s volition is supposed to resonate with the qualitative character of a certain realm of existence, and to tune into this realm, as it were, as a consequence of being on the same wavelength. Within these more general parameters what one experiences within a given realm of existence is conditioned by one’s actions both within the present life and in past lives. The fundamental presupposition here is that even if an action or intention does not appear to bear fruit (phala) presently, it reverberates in ways that one may remain unconscious of until it finally yields some tangible results (vipaka) – possibly later in one’s present life, but perhaps not until a future life.

While psychological research in the wake of the coming spectral revolution in Science might validate certain classes of phenomena associated with Buddhism as genuine natural phenomena, it is likely to reveal significant Buddhist misunderstandings of these very same phenomena and to profoundly challenge Buddhist codes of ethics. This is the case with the Reincarnation research of the late Dr. Ian Stevenson… What would disturb Buddhists most about Stevenson’s apparent validation of one of the central tenants of their religion is that the ethical idea of karma is untenable in light of his scientific research into the reality of Reincarnation as a natural phenomenon. What Stevenson found is that a person’s strong psychic impression of localized bodily injury at the time of a violent death or terrible accident, could affect fetal development of the body to be subsequently inhabited by that person to produce a birthmark or birth defect corresponding to the site of injury and even the shape or type of injury. In other words there are many cases of the following type: an innocent person is attacked and has his arm hacked off by a murderer and while the victim is reborn with that arm badly deformed, the murderer not only gets away scot free in his present incarnation, he also does not suffer any apparent ill effects in his subsequent incarnation.

Nirvana is the goal of the path, the aim of the Buddha Dharma. Yet, it is the most obscure element of Gotama’s teachings and, unlike karma, meditation, and the moral disciplines, it is one of the ideas most unique to his understanding of the Dharma as compared to the various pre-Buddhist forms of Sanatana Dharma (aka. ‘Hinduism). It is referred to at times as an element or a state, a state of supreme bliss, and yet it is supposed to be beyond any conditioned state, whether painful or even pleasurable. At times Siddhartha discusses Nirvana as if it were attainable amidst the present life and at other times it seems like a total annihilation that a perfectly enlightened person can pass into upon the disintegration of what will be his final body. What, then, is the difference between this annihilation and the so-called “annihilationism” that is one of the wrong views most destructive of an ethical life? Is the Buddha Dharma, in its original form, essentially a grand doctrine of suicide? Does it opt out of actual suicide because it will not do any good, since the underlying tendencies of the psyche are still active and will reorganize around a new physical aggregate, so that suicide can only be truly successful by unbinding the threads of this psyche – by disintegrating the soul?

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Nirvana means “snuffing out” or “blowing out”, as in putting out a flame or fire. Orthodox Buddhists of the Theravada tradition most directly descended from the teachings of Gotama suggest that the answer to the perplexing question as to who attains Nirvana and where he attains it, namely as to whether a Buddha or arahant exists in Nirvana after death or is annihilated and passes into nothingness, can be simply answered by saying that the perfectly enlightened person simply “goes out” or is “put out.” He was a flame burning with the fire of life, but this fire of ceaseless suffering has been put out. Phew! Can there be a more pessimistic and nihilistic view of life? At least the man who actually commits suicide affirms a life that would be worth living by comparison to his own, which he judges intolerable only as compared to some ideal. He would also be affirming a sense of history wherein the future can be meaningfully different from any past epoch, an understanding of time that warrants a historical struggle – even if not one that he can personally bear to participate in here and now. It is above all in Japan where this early Buddhist nihilism gave way to the world-historical ethos of the fiery forge.

Nishida draws a distinction between physical, biological, and historical life. The teleological irreversibility of time in the course of organic development is key to his distinction between the first two. Whereas the world of biological life forms remains partially spatial and material, in the human world time negates space and the spatialized chronological ‘time’ relevant to inorganic physics. As Nishida puts it: “We can even say that there is no death for a merely biological being. For death entails that a self enter into eternal nothingness. It is because a self enters into eternal nothingness that it is historically irrepeatable, unique, and individual.” Only in the face of this “eternal death” qua nothingness is genuine individuation possible and only the real individual becomes agitated by the religious question. A being who carries out its moral duty for duty’s sake, in other words out of adherence to what Kant frames as the categorical imperative, would have no individuality; religion can have no meaning for such an abstract subject without any concrete will. Groundless nothingness (Shunyata) is the unstable and ghostly horizon of one’s finite existence, and existential awareness of this ultimate and inescapable negation of one’s self is not a merely noetic reflection.

Nishida approvingly attributes to Fyodor Dostoyevsky the “standpoint of freedom” which holds that: “There is nothing at all that determines the self at the very ground of the self.” From the vantage point of his own time, Nishida sees the spirit of Dostoyevsky as the closest point of contact between Japanese spirituality and the West. He admonishes the Japanese for having remained too insular and that the spiritual sense for the ordinary and everyday that Japan shares with Dostoyevsky has hitherto been too superficial. “At this juncture,” he says, “it must come to possess an acute Dostoievskian spirit in an eschatological sense, as the Japanese spirit participating in world history.” Nishida hopes that “in this way” the hybridized Japanese civilization “can become a point of departure for a new global culture.” Nishida sees the way that the Yahweh “folk religion of the Jewish race” evolved into a world religion, and one that served as the basis for a medieval European culture that he clearly admires, as a model for a potential globalizing evolution of Japanese tradition. The “scientific” secularization characteristic of modern Western civilization, wherein “old worlds lose their specific traditions”, is a necessary phase in the formation of “a global humanity.” It is, in a dialectical sense, a negatively determinative moment in “the world’s transformation.” However, it must be recognized that “science is also a form of culture” and that “the world of science may also be said to be religious.” The failure to recognize this has been chiefly responsible for the fact that “such a thing as the decline and fall of the West has been proclaimed.”

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Dostoyevsky diagnosed the causes of this decline perspicaciously in Notes From Underground (1864), which is widely considered the first existentialist novel. It is a response to the situation of the Cartesian ego, which… is sadistically enmeshed in murderous machinery over which he takes himself to have no control. The underground man is crippled by his hyperconsciousness. He is unlike the common man of action insofar as he can trace all effects back to ever receding causes such that, for example, he is incapable of mistaking vengeance for justice, since the would-be target of a retributive act is not ultimately responsible for it. He is also unlike people who are cruel only out of stupidity, because he cannot even stop at the egoistic passions that they take to be primary causes. Under a more intensely rational scrutiny, comprehending these passions also dissolves them as any solid basis for action. The underground man challenges the claim that other materialistic rationalists make, to the effect that a person cannot but act in such a way as is to his advantage.

nishesp.jpgDostoevsky asks us to suppose that we were able to arrive at a formulation of the laws of nature, including biological and psychological laws, so precise that we could calculate, in every case, what a man will do by knowing what is at that moment to his advantage – not as an individual – but as an organism that microcosmically expresses the survivalist egoism of Nature. A man who became aware of this calculation would spitefully do something else, anything else, just to prove that he was not “a piano key” or an “organ pedal” whose thoughts and passions could in principle be encompassed by a formula, tabulated, and predicted according to statistical probability. Dostoevsky equates the sum total of any comprehensive formula for the laws of nature, of the kind that physicists today are still searching for under the rubric of a theory of everything, with “an endlessly recurring zero” because it nullifies meaningful action.

The underground man would act contrary to his advantage, he would humiliatingly sacrifice himself to others, to be beaten and brutalized, to be impoverished through impossible generosity, and in every other way to fail and suffer in life just so as to demonstrate that life “is not simply extracting square roots.” On the one hand, he knows that “two times two makes four”, in other words the laws of nature cannot be changed and so “there is nothing left for you to do or to understand.” On the other hand, he has a painful awareness that “Consciousness… is infinitely superior to two times two makes four.” The underground man decides that “if you stick to consciousness, even though you attain the same result, you can at least flog yourself at times, and that will, at any rate, liven you up. It may be reactionary, but corporal punishment is still better than nothing.”

If “natural science and mathematics” were able to prove to him that even this reaction were predictable in accordance with some “mathematical formula”, he “would purposely go mad in order to be rid of reason” and moreover, he would try to hurl the whole of the world into an abyss of “chaos and darkness and curses.” This is what the underground man is referring to when he admits:

The long and the short of it is, gentlemen, that it is better to do nothing! Better conscious inertia! And so hurrah for underground! …But after all, even now I am lying! I am lying because I know myself as surely as two times two makes four, that it is not at all underground that is better, but something different, quite different, for which I long but which I cannot find! Damn underground!

Nishida is in search of what the underground man could not find as a cure to the mechanistic materialism dominating science under the Cartesian paradigm, but what he believed that Dostoevsky himself did find – albeit in an overly Judeo-Christian form that would benefit from a deconstructive encounter with the abyssal void of Zen.

Consciousness always consists of both an extending out over oneself as one’s world and a determination of oneself by that world, so that ‘subjectivity’ and ‘objectivity’ are abstractions of a creative world-forming process that one can intuit in the abyssal or groundless inner depths of the self prior to the interpretation of it as an ego. Nishida thinks “discovery in the scientific domain exemplifies the same point”, namely “seeing by becoming things and hearing by becoming things.” Nishida goes so far as to proclaim the ontological priority of the religious form of life over both scientific practice and social mores: “Both science and morality have their basis in the religious form of life.” Nishida later repeats this point with respect to scientific practice: “Active intuition is fundamental even for science. Science itself is grounded in the fact that we see by becoming things and hear by becoming things. Active intuition refers to that standpoint which Dogen characterizes as achieving enlightenment ‘by all things advancing.’” According to Nishida, the religious form of life is more fundamental than scientific cognition and the knowledge gained by means of it; the quest for scientific knowledge is a mode of the essentially religious character of our existence:

I hold that even scientific cognition is grounded in this structure of spirituality. Scientific knowledge cannot be grounded in the standpoint of the merely abstract conscious self. As I have said in another place, it rather derives from the standpoint of the embodied self’s own self-awareness. And therefore, as a fundamental fact of human life, the religious form of life is not the exclusive possession of special individuals. The religious mind is present in everyone. One who does not notice this cannot be a philosopher.

Nishida proclaims that, “A new cultural direction has now to be sought. A new mankind must be born… a new global culture.” Although Nishida admits that “the new age must primarily be scientific”, he sees a radicalization of the immanent view of divinity in Dostoyevsky and Russian mysticism in general through an encounter with Japanese Buddhism as playing a key role in defining “the religion of the future.” Yet the Buddhism that contributes to the formation of the religion of the new age, the religion of the global culture, must transcend the racial character of the Japanese: “From the perspective of present-day global history, it will perhaps be Buddhism that contributes to the formation of the new historical age. But if it too is only the conventional Buddhism of bygone days, it will merely be a relic of the past. The universal religions, insofar as they are already crystallized, have distinctive features corresponding to the times and places of the races that formed them.” It is inevitable that our ethos reflects a national character, but “the nation does not save our souls.” A true nation or civilization must be based on a world religion, and not the other way around.

The has been an excerpt from “Kill A Buddha On The Way,” the tenth chapter of Prometheus and Atlas (Arktos, 2016).

Right On Radio: #8 – The Promethean Destiny of Man with Jason Reza Jorjani

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Prometheus and Atlas

In Prometheus & Atlas, Dr. Jorjani endeavors to deconstruct the nihilistic materialism and rootless rationalism of the modern West by showing how it was grounded on a dishonest suppression of the spectral and why it has a parasitic relationship with Abrahamic religious fundamentalism. Rejecting the marginalization of ESP and psychokinesis as “paranormal,” Prometheus & Atlas […]

Price: $36.50

jeudi, 29 septembre 2016

East Asia: Greater Eurasia Scenarios

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East Asia: Greater Eurasia Scenarios

Ex: http://www.katehon.com

The South Korean Megachurch Spreads Its Ideological Destabilization

South Korea has one of the world’s fastest-growing evangelical Christian populations and also boasts some of the world’s largest megachurches. In and of itself, this is a benign apolitical trend about its population’s beliefs, but integrated into a regional perspective rich with recent news events, then it becomes a worrying threat of destabilization. North Korea and China are well-known atheist societies, with the former having a lot less tolerance for any form of Christianity than the latter, but both are homes to secret foreign-connected Christian sects that are hell-bent on bringing down their governments. The Christian radicals haven’t yet begun resorting to ‘traditional terrorist’ tactics in doing this, but they’re nonetheless sometimes defined as terrorists depending upon the circumstances of their capture and whatever their prior activities are revealed to have been. 

South Korea figures prominently into this plot because it’s a nearby base for the type of aggressive anti-communist Christian proselytization that is undermining public trust in North Korea and China. Religion is being used as a rallying cry for bringing together different covert networks of believers in order to generate a critical mass of anti-government activists and future discontent. It’s not without reason that Beijing and Pyongyang are both so suspicious and reactionary towards secret Christian groups, as history shows that these organizations and their leading figures have regularly been used as a fifth column vanguard for earlier colonial campaigns in Africa and Asia. Nothing of that exact sort is going on in the present, but the principle is that illegal religious groups operating within China and North Korea – especially hostile proselytizing ones such as the Protestants and Evangelicals – are used as a ‘behind the gates’ force for secretly destabilizing the state from within. 

Most people aren’t aware of it, but China has a very bloody history of religious leaders and cultish demigods commanding legions of followers into war, and even though the exact same cookie-cutter approach is unlikely in the present day, the idea of malevolent actors assembling hidden networks of violent anti-state resistance under the guise of religion and god is a continual threat to China’s stability, no matter what the day and age may be. The documented history of religious and cult violence in China explains Beijing’s knee-jerk reaction to the aggressive promotion of Christianity, and seeing as how South Korea is now the Asian headquarters for this ideology, it can reasonably be assessed that this demographic trend within its borders can be – and likely already is to an extent – a weaponized element of Hybrid War against China and North Korea. 

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THAAD Turns Northeast Asia Into A Tinderbox

The US’ preplanned move to exploit North Korea’s reactions to its military provocations has seen the deployment of the THAAD “anti-missile” system to South Korea, ostensibly to protect against Pyongyang but in reality to prepare for the future rolling out of a theater-wide system targeting Russia and China’s nuclear second-strike capabilities. As the most immediate and logical response, Russia and China said that they will begin working closer together on drafting coordinated countermeasures to this mutual threat, possibly even going as far as unveiling their own joint “anti-missile” system. What this has done is throw Northeast Asia into the forefront of the New Cold War between the unipolar and multipolar worlds and dramatically ratcheted up tensions in this corner of Eurasia. 

The developing alignments are Russia-China and US-South Korea, with Japan being an ally of both of the second group of countries but not yet fully coordinated into a trilateral framework with them. The historical memory of the World War II experience is still very much alive in this part of Asia, and the publics in both South Korea and Japan are usually at odds with one another over each side’s interpretation of these events and the role (both historical and in terms of how it should presently be atoned) of Japanese Imperialism. It’s possible, though, that the higher echelon politicians and “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) in each of them don’t share the populist views prevalent in their societies and are being strongly pressured by the US to integrate into this tripartite system, using of course the media-marketed gimmick of coordinating their response to North Korea. 

This is a very dangerous triangle because the US is geographically insulated from the most direct consequences that it could lead to, thus making it behaving much more irresponsibly and with a touch of brinksmanship in forcing its occupied countries in the region to do its bidding, no matter how detrimental this is to their national interests. Part of what’s happening here is that the US also wants to provoke China into a rash response (as it has continually been trying to do with the South China Sea and the Indian border disputes) so that a ‘rational self-evident’ explanation can be given by the Seoul in ‘legitimizing’ why it’s working more closely with Japan and possibly even flirting with the TTP sometime in the future. Chinese-South Korean economic ties are very tight and mutually beneficial, but this is exactly what the US is trying to disrupt in a similarly adapted version to what it had attempted to do with Ukraine vis-à-vis Russia by forcing Kiev to undertake an unnecessary “civilizational choice”. Something very closely related to this is now afoot when it comes to South Korea and China, with THAAD being the equivalent for South Korea of what the EU Association Agreement was for Ukraine. 

On the one hand, for as negative of a trend as it is that Northeast Asia is aligning into two separate and easily discernible blocs, on the other hand it does carry with it a veneer of vintage ‘stability’ from the Cold War era of bipolarity, since a two-bloc system is taking shape in this part of the world. On the other hand, though, the unpredictable loose cannon of North Korea sits right in the middle of both, and not only could it ‘go rogue’ one way or another and shift the balance of power, but it could also implode (whether ‘naturally’ or through US provocations such as a military coup, large-scale successful economic warfare, and/or a distant Color Revolution). Two-bloc systems are only stable so long as there’s no black hole of uncertainty literally right between them, which is the role that North Korea is playing right now. If it can be reined in and safely managed, then North Korea could be a valuable asset to the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership in balancing against US-South Korea-Japan, but by all indications, this is a very difficult task and one which might not even be feasible at this point. Therefore, North Korea remains one of the most high-stakes uncertainties in the entire world, since whatever happens there will decisively shift the balance of power in Northeast Asia and drastically effect whether it’s the unipolar or multipolar world that comes out on top. 

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Korean Reunification: Qui Bono?

One of the most popular scenario projections for international relations students to partake in is imagining under what circumstances North and South Korea could ever be reunited and what impact this would have on regional affairs. To simplify, there are three possibilities for how this could realistically happen and three related outcomes:

War:

North and South Korea go to total war with one another in which both are most likely destroyed. The ravaged battleground and remaining soldiers and mobilized civilians on each side become the backdrop to an intense US-Chinese proxy war, possibly even culminating in both side’s direct intervention into the fray just like during the First Korean War. 

“Peace”:

A military coup overthrows Kim Jong Un and quickly purges his institutional allies, leading to a sudden and swift reunification with South Korea, though one which has questionable longevity because of the surprising confusion that it elicits among regular indoctrinated North Koreans and their ‘un-cleansed’ military allies. 

Implosion:

A military coup, Color Revolution, or Hybrid War (each of which are closely interrelated) could transpire to throw the country into chaos, as well as a combination of independently occurring or related socio-economic and/or humanitarian collapses. These latter scenario projections are less likely to results in a nationwide implosion because of the country’s history of weather such intense crises during the 1990s, and also because China would assist with food provisions if need be. 

A reunified Korea would likely take one of the three following internal forms:

Destroyed:

The Korean Peninsula is a wasteland that must now be rebuilt, with China and the rest of the Multipolar Community partaking in reconstruction efforts in the north while the US and its unipolar allies do the same in the south. A UN-led government presides over the whole landmass, but the country is still de-facto partitioned just as it was on the eve of its de-jure international separation. 

Partitioned: 

Reunification never really happens in form and both Koreas continue to behave as independent units, no matter whatever political agreement they reach amongst themselves. This could happen if its destroyed or a military coup takes over and leads to an immediate breakthrough in relations between Pyongyang and Seoul. This format could be used to pacify ‘patriotic’ North Koreans who do not want immediate political reunification on South Korea’s terms but are amenable to a new form of partnership with their compatriots.  

Peaceful:

A united Korea becomes an even stronger economic powerhouse in Northeast Asia than the sum of either of its two previously independent parts could ever conceive of, with a “Korean Miracle” superceding even that of its post-Cold War German predecessor. Even if no US or South Korean troops cross the former DMZ, the newly reoriented North Korean military might direct itself against China, especially amidst an environment of American-provoked South China Sea-like hostility between the two entities (perhaps driven by the topic of ethnic Koreans in Manchuria). The ‘New Korea’ thus becomes a nuclear-equipped American ally in the heart of Northeast Asia. 

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The Rising Sun Returns

Prime Minister Abe is taking his country back along the path of militarism, and it’s obvious that the US intends to use his island nation as its “Lead From Behind” partner in Northeast and Southeast Asia. The recent reinterpretation of the constitution in order to allow the deployment of military assets abroad in ‘support’ of ‘allied countries’ is a dangerous sign that Tokyo is planning to play a much more assertive role all along the East Asian/Western Pacific Rimland region. It’s already been described how this is envisioned to play out in Southeast Asia, but as for its Northeastern equivalent, this will definitely see Japan flex its muscles as a naval power and continue provoking China in the East China Sea. 

It’s a little-known fact, but despite being an officially ‘pacifist’ country, Japan’s “self-defense forces” are equipped with state-of-the-art munitions and have access to high-tech assets that make them a formidable (albeit undeclared) military power, and the country’s nuclear energy industry produced enough waste that Tokyo could 1,000 nuclear bombs from it a year if the fateful were ever made. Even though this has yet to happen and might never actually occur, it’s unmistakable that Japan is a Great Power which must be taken seriously in all geopolitical calculations, and that the Land of the Rising Sun has finally returned to the forefront of continental affairs with the US’ full support. 

lundi, 05 septembre 2016

Russia and Japan: Necessary Rapprochement

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Russia and Japan: Necessary Rapprochement

Ex: http://www.katehon.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks in the framework of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The meeting precedes the Russian president’s upcoming visit to Japan, where the Japanese prime minister is preparing to meet Russia’s president in the “hereditary” Yamaguchi Prefecture from where he has continually been elected a member of parliament. Speaking at the forum, the Japanese prime minister urged Russia and Japan to seek compromise to solve the South Kuril Islands issue and conclude a peace agreement as soon as possible. 

Russia is ready to compromise with Japan

On the eve of the meeting with the Japanese leader, Vladimir Putin spoke on cooperation with Japan and negotiations on the status of the South Kuril Islands (Iturup, Shikotan, Kunashir and Habomai group of islands).

The president of Russia noted the need for signing a peace treaty with Japan. According to Putin, the issue of “northern territories” so painful for the Japanese side must also be solved in a consistent manner so that none of the parties feel like a loser. The main factor that could render moving forward possible, according to the Russian president, is expanding Russo-Japanese cooperation. The president said that compromise will be reached once the level of mutual trust between Japan and Russia is comparable to that observed between Russia and China. Putin expressed the same point of view in his speech at the forum. 

On the same note, the Russian president hinted that the resolution of border disputes with China, when the latter received a number of territories formerly controlled by the Soviet Union and then Russia, had been possible because China acted as an independent and friendly power for Russia. The real problem facing the resolution of territorial disputes between Japan, in Russia’s view, is Japan’s strategic cooperation with the United States and its de facto occupation by the Americans which has lasted since Japan’s defeat in World War II. Under these conditions, the transfer of the Kuril Islands to Japan would de facto mean transferring them to the US, Russia’s main geopolitical rival. 

US opposition

The Russian president referred to the Declaration of 1956 as a precedent which opened the way to a peace treaty. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed the Moscow Declaration that officially ended the war between the two countries. According to the document, the Soviet Union agreed to hand over the Shikotan and Habomai islands to Japan following a peace treaty’s conclusion. However, the contract was torpedoed by the US. They threatened not to return Okinawa to Japan and cease funding for the war-torn country if Japan compromise with Moscow. Tokyo thus eventually refused to sign a peace treaty. 

In 1960, after the Treaty on Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan was signed, the Soviet Union officially refused to consider the question of territorial concessions to Japan, as this would have led to the expansion of territory used by the main geopolitical enemy of Soviet Russia, the USA.

The Russian side has repeatedly stated its readiness to return to negotiations, starting precisely with this declaration. This in itself is a big concession to the Japanese. Moreover, the principle of “two islands first” in addition to nurturing economic and political relations between the two countries was put forth by Japanese diplomats themselves in the 1990’s. This was done by the so-called “Suzuki Group.” The basis of this group was the lower house deputy Muneo Suzuki and the senior foreign ministry official and expert on Russian foreign relations Masaru Sato. They recognized the need to develop closer relations with Russia. A new approach to territorial issues was worked out, but in 2001 Suzuki became too uncomfortable of a figure for the new leadership of the country, and was removed from power by means of a corruption scandal unleashed in 2002. Sato was arrested a few days before Suzuki on charges of abuse and misse of financial resources of the foreign ministry. 

Nevertheless, de facto, the group strategy and focus on multilateral cooperation between the two countries and the development of personal contact between the heads of states formed the basis for a new Japanese approach to problems with Russia. 

Japanese interests

Over the past several years, Japan has expressed interest in closer ties with Russia. Joining anti-Russian sanctions under US pressure provoked a negative reaction by Japanese businesses interested in cooperating with Russia, including in the defense industry sphere. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly, unofficially expressed interest in meeting with the Russian president despite the negative position of the United States in this respect.

Japan needs Russia from an economic point of view, especially as a transportation corridor to Europe that is alternative to the Chinese "Silk Road", as well as a military and political partner.

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Japan is concerned about the rising military and political power of China and its claim to supremacy in the Pacific. China has in particular put forward territorial claims against the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands. From the Japanese point of view, the Chinese pretension to leadership in the region is dangerous and unfounded, and Japan is striving to resist such. Russia, as a state which is closely tied to China, can be viewed by the Japanese as a lever of pressure on the Celestial Empire. Russia may also act as an intermediary between the two countries if the need arises. Finally, the diversion of Russia’s resource potential from China to Japan reduces the potential power of China.

Japan also needs Russia to balance its relations with the United States. On the one hand, the government of Shinzo Abe, made up of right-wing conservatives, has passed an agreement on a military alliance with the United States and has adopted a law on collective self-defense expanding military cooperation with the USA and opening the way for increased presence of American troops in Japan. However, on the other hand, under the pretext of "aid to The US”, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces have been empowered and are now turning into a real armed forces threatening imminent review of the 9th article of the pacifist Constitution of Japan. 

In fact, the expansion of cooperation with the Americans is necessary for the current Prime Minister and the Japanese conservatives to implement large-scale domestic reforms where the main goal is changing the Constitution developed by the American occupation administration. 

So far, the Japanese right-wing establishment includes the influential “Nippon Kaigi” organization, involves the majority of Shinzo Abe’s cabinet who remained committed to an alliance with the US. But reforms desired by Japanese conservatives in the long run could put the alliance into question. The Constitution is supposed to be less liberal to address concerns about the spread of liberal values by the American occupants. Before her appointment as defense minister, Tomomi Inada advocated the creation of Japan’s own nuclear forces which would no longer necessitate “protection” by the United States. 

However, this is a case for the future, and the imbalance in the relationship in favor of the US side must be corrected immediately. A multi-vector policy, in principle, would create more space for maneuvering and bargaining even with allies. It is possible to bring forth the historical analogy of the Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1902. Then, for the first time, Japan was closely drawn for 19 years into the sphere of influence of the Atlanticist powers. However, many Japanese politicians consider this treaty to be enslaving and more consistent with the UK’s interests, whose main goal was keeping Russia out of the Pacific. Karl Haushofer recalled: 

“'If the German and Japanese navies cooperate with the Russian land army, then the ocean agreement would cease to be highly biased towards England, and would become an equal contract,’ - such was the position of the far-sighted Japanese, with whom I spoke on this subject, and they obviously held this position much earlier. "

In light of this historical experience, Abe’s shift towards multi-vector policies and counterbalancing the alliance with the US by increasingly close relations with Russia is understandable. The establishment of a ministerial post for economic relations with Russia in his office needs to be understood in this light. While economic cooperation is not so large, some large-scale projects have been announced which are most important as a political signal that Japan should be closer to Russia. 

Russian interests

In geopolitical terms, Japan is the most coveted partner of Russia in the Far East. Despite its insular position, Japan is a classic continental power in terms of cultural values. This paradox was noticed by German geopoliticians in the first half of the 20th century. The leading German geopolitician Karl Haushofer even proposed the idea of a continental bloc along a “Berlin-Moscow-Tokyo” axis. Like China, Japan has serious economic and innovative potential which could contribute to the development of the Russian Far East.  At the same time, it does not pose any danger to the sparsely populated border regions of Russia from a demographic point of view.

After Japan's defeat in World War II the country was transformed into a power dependent on the US. US naval bases were spread on the country’s territories as part of the “Anaconda Belt,” i.e., the zone of American-Controlled states surrounding Russia from all sides. Japan’s escape from American control is thus a geopolitical priority for Russia in the Pacific. 

On the threshold of World War II, the German geopolitician Karl Haushofer on the threshold of World War II, even proposed the idea of ​​a continental bloc along the “Berlin-Moscow-Tokyo" axis. Haushofer correctly pointed out the British and Americans’ efforts to prevent the establishment of a Eurasian geopolitical alliance uniting Europe, Russia, and East Asia, as well as he noted the numerous attempts by the Germans, Russians, and Japanese to create such an alliance. In particular, he recalled the names of Count Witte, Japanese Prince Ito Hirobumi, who was several times prime minister of Japan in the late 19th and early 20th century, and Count Gotō Shinpei, a prominent Japanese statesman and diplomat of the early 20th century.

Conservative Union

A series of actions are now needed at both the level of state agencies and the public level of both countries to move this course forward. From Japan, Russia expects greater autonomy and the realization of economic projects which have been discussed for so long. 

Japan expects more tact in relations from Russia and an understanding of the political situation within the country. The usage of Soviet jingoistic myths and cliches of “Japanese militarism” are not acceptable. The question of amending the Constitution and acquiring a normal armed forces is an internal matter of Japan’s.

The sympathies of experts especially among the older generation of the Japanese left on protecting Article 9 of the Constitution are understandable, but this has little to do with the conservative orientation of today’s Russia. The 2016 elections to the upper house of the Japanese parliament following the adoption of a package of self-defense laws indicate only one thing: Abe’s course is supported by the majority of the population. 

Russia should be be able to understand Japanese conservatives and right-wing monarchists, including members of the influential Nippon Kaigi. And, of course, it should establish contact with them, as well as with the anti-American right-wing such as Issuy-Kai. Although this is a marginal group, it is quite strong and, under the conditions of global perturbations in the decline of US hegemony, the wave of history can raise enough of such forces up.

It should also be understood that among the Japanese right-wing there are many people with views similar to the American neoconservatives, such as the current president of Nippon Kaige, Tadae Takubo. It is unimportant for Russia whether the Japanese love us or not. What is important is that they be freed from US tutelage. 

samedi, 23 avril 2016

L'universo eroico di Yukio Mishima

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Japan and Foreign Workers to Reach 1 Million: Europe, Capitalism, Islamists and Cultural Stability

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Japan and Foreign Workers to Reach 1 Million: Europe, Capitalism, Islamists and Cultural Stability

Sawako Uchida and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and capitalist corporations that support the loosening of foreign employment are at the bottom ladder of evolving into yet another cultural wipeout. Indeed, one only needs to visit major cities in Europe including Brussels and Paris to know that yesteryear seems like a distant dream. After all, issues related to crime, the breakdown of the social fabric in certain parts of these cities, the specter of terrorism, issues related to narcotics, and other important negative factors – all point to deterioration and increasingly divided areas. In other words, exclusive zones are in a short-distance of “no-go areas.” Therefore, it could well be that certain mega-capitalist corporations and sectors, along with the current leader of Japan, are on the crest of following an uncertain cultural and ethnic future based on the European disease that is dividing many nations.

If Japan needs to follow the multi-ethnic reality of certain European nations like Belgium, France, Holland, and the United Kingdom – then it is essential that cultural dimensions be taken into consideration. In other words, Japan should focus on immigration within mainly Buddhist and Confucius based societies in order to preserve the ethos of national identity, continuity, shared cultural values and preserving greater social order. After all, the streets of Brussels, London and Paris – and other major cities – are blighted by criminal factors, narcotics, terrorism and areas where the nation state is being superseded by fifth column Islamists who follow Saudi versions of Islam.

Not surprisingly, Brussels and Paris are not only blighted by recent terrorist attacks – just like Britain is blighted by the systematic rape of young white girls in various parts of this nation by mainly Muslim gangs from southeast-Asian backgrounds; but now some of the main individuals that are beheading Alawites, Christians, and Shia Muslims, also emanate from many parts of Europe. Yes, modern Europe is now exporting ISIS terrorists (Islamic State – IS) to nations including Iraq and Syria. Therefore, one can only imagine the future of certain European cities in fifty years and one hundred years time, given the demographic change that seems to be never ending. This notably applies to the Salafi and Takfiri fifth column that hates non-Muslims and Muslims alike but seems to be ever growing within the body politic of Sunni Islam based on Gulf petrodollars.

Of course, many ethnic groups and individuals have assimilated based on various factors including a shared civilization, individual openness, coming from faiths that support accommodation, non-religious backgrounds – and other important factors. Nothing is a monolith but equally to close your eyes to currently what is happening is also alarming because the future of cities including Brussels, London, Paris – and many others in Europe – face an uncertain future based on the policies of successive governments be they conservative, socialist, or liberal political parties. Indeed, some Jews in Marseilles are now scared to dress in religious clothes that draw attention to the faith they follow based on an Islamist agenda.

The BBC reports about the threat of Islamist extremism in parts of Marseilles by stating For all of Marseille’s 70,000 Jews, the question of whether or not to make aliyah (emigrate to Israel) is more and more acute. Everyone knows families who have gone.”

Turning back to Japan, then the same business and political arguments were made about the need for labor in several leading European nations. In time, multi-cultural policies in Europe were enacted based on diluting the indigenous culture and following the mantra of rampant secularization. The upshot being the erosion of Christianity, the demise of past cultural norms and a dual policy of supporting other faiths that support religious conservatism – while indoctrinating the indigenous community to accept a political correct version of society. However, the apologetic agenda, cultural defeatism, the mantra of multicultural values, the need to accept new gender-based ideas, the white flag of mainstream Christian churches – and so forth – is leading to vacuums, growing divisions within society, the breakdown of the family and a lack of identity among younger members of society. At the same time, more militant strands of Salafi Islam are growing within certain parts of Europe because the political correct, trendy left and cultural liberals appear to appease fifth columnists that seek firstly to destroy Muslim diversity and then to usurp the indigenous culture.

If Japan believes that modern Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, the United Kingdom – and others – are paths worth following, then clearly yet another nation is committing cultural suicide. Not only this, Japan must be ignoring all the uncertainties and divisions that blight modern European nations. Indeed, recent events in Brussels and Paris show that the Balkanization of societies is beginning to gather in pace – just like Jews being scared in cities like Marseilles. Therefore, if Japan does need to open up to immigration it is essential to focus on the majority of migrants hailing from Buddhist and Confucian-based societies, in order to preserve continuity, social order, and other important factors (Buddhism and Shintoism are especially important within Japanese culture – Japan is mainly secular). If not, then Abe and modern corporate capitalists will be remembered in Japanese history for creating endless problems for the indigenous community.

It is easy to scoff, but modern day terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris are a reality. Likewise, certain places of worship are now being protected in France. At the same time, no-go areas do exist based on high crime in many major cities irrespective of ethnic identity (family breakdown, lack of social cohesiveness and the destruction of old conservative values are creating new vacuums). Also, European nations are now exporting ISIS terrorists to several nations in the Middle East that behead minority Muslim sects for fun, while killing and enslaving non-Muslims. Therefore, Japan must weigh up many important things and learn from the indigenous alienated communities in Europe – while ignoring political correct elites who reside in leafy houses and far from the reality of what is happening in major parts of modern Europe.

Of course, Japan is currently far from being like Belgium, France, Holland, and the United Kingdom – and other nations like Sweden; yet, a slippery slope can soon spiral out of control. Indeed, mass immigration and the growing menace of Islamists who seek a parallel world, within various European nations, is creating great strains for Europe. Hence recent terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris – and increasing Salafi indoctrination that seeks to crush Muslim diversity. Only twenty years ago nobody envisaged the speed of change in parts of Europe and that parts of Brussels and Paris would be under strong surveillance because of terrorism. Given this reality, Japanese political leaders need to focus on shared cultural values in relation to immigration in order to safeguard society for future generations.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35445025

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lundi, 29 février 2016

L’Italia e il Giappone, storia di una lunga relazione

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L’Italia e il Giappone, storia di una lunga relazione

In occasione del 150° anniversario delle relazioni Italia-Giappone, l’Intellettuale Dissidente ha intervistato Mario Vattani, Console Generale ad Osaka dal marzo 2011 al maggio 2012 e attuale Coordinatore per i Rapporti con i paesi dell’Asia e del Pacifico. La sua profonda esperienza sia lavorativa che personale con il mondo nipponico ci dà una chiave di lettura per capire due mondi così lontani ma in fondo così vicini.
 
Ex: http://www.lintellettualedissidente.it

Dottor. Vattani, quest’anno ricorre il 150° anniversario delle relazioni italo-giapponesi, un rapporto che è cominciato ufficialmente nel 1866, pochi anni dopo l’Unità. Come si spiega questa storica amicizia tra due paesi così distanti geograficamente e culturalmente?

Il 1866 è un momento importantissimo nella storia delle relazioni tra Italia e Giappone ma va anche contestualizzato. Sono due paesi che a quella data hanno subito delle profonde trasformazioni: uno si è unificato e sta diventando un protagonista internazionale, l’altro sta attraversando una fase interna di cambiamento strutturale volta alla modernizzazione, all’industrializzazione e, in parte, all’occidentalizzazione proiettandosi anch’esso, con la volontà di potenza tipica della fine dell’Ottocento, sullo scacchiere internazionale. Da quel momento le loro storie hanno seguito un percorso parallelo nelle rispettive regioni. L’Italia fa parte dell’Europa continentale solo perché la unisce un lembo di montagne, ne fa parte ma ne è anche in qualche modo isolata, in competizione con i propri vicini immediati. Questo spinse i governi post-unitari a cercare alleanze con chi fosse più simile alla nostra posizione come il Regno Unito. Per il Giappone lo status quo era molto simile, proiettato in Asia nel tentativo di costruire stabili relazioni con i vicini ma in forte competizione con la Cina e la Russia zarista. A questi fattori di similitudine geopolitica possiamo aggiungerne altri interni come la scarsità di risorse, di materie prime e una popolazione concentrata in modo non omogeneo sul territorio. Ma non sarebbe corretto dire che l’Italia e il Giappone arrivano a conoscersi solo in questo momento di trasformazione. I loro rapporti erano infatti di lunga data. Abbiamo prontezza di importanti missioni risalenti a più di cinquecento anni fa, così come è accertata la presenza italiana a Yokohama con i corallari di Torre del Greco e i semai piemontesi molto tempo prima della rivoluzione Meiji. L’Italia in qualche mondo c’era sempre stata e con interessi commerciali fortissimi. Si andava a comprare i bachi da seta e, sebbene non avessimo ancora firmato un accordo diplomatico, avevamo degli inviati come Fe’ d’Ostiani e Sallier de La Tour, piemontesi del Regno di Sardegna, i quali impostarono fin da subito un rapporto da pari tra i nostri due paesi, a differenza di quanto fecero gli altri europei. C’era un profondo rispetto da parte nostra che si era radicato già nell’incontro avuto nel 1615 da papa Paolo V con Hasenura Tsunenaga, inviato dell’Imperatore; il Pontefice riconobbe non dei pagani semiselvaggi da convertire ma interlocutori colti, raffinati, poliglotti e questo mutuo rispetto si è saldato e sviluppato nel tempo. Riprendendo le fila della domanda iniziale, la data del 1866 è importantissima ma ricordiamoci che ci conoscevamo già da prima, ci rispettavamo a vicenda e riuscivamo già ad avere accesso alle zone chiuse del paese. I semai, per esempio, potevano girare tranquillamente per il paese accompagnati dai nostri diplomatici in posti dove altri europei non erano ammessi. In una dichiarazione del 1887 il primo ministro Inoue disse: “L’Italia, vera amica del Giappone, senza secondi fini, è la Gran Madre delle nazioni occidentali dalla quale esempi debbono essere cercati”. Un riconoscimento notevole al ruolo del nostro Paese.

Del resto l’opinione pubblica italiana in un momento delicato come la guerra russo-giapponese del 1905 si schierò dalla parte di Tokyo e a Tsushima erano presenti due navi da guerra costruite a Genova. Così come il Regno Sardo aveva combattuto contro il gigante austriaco allo stesso modo il Giappone affrontava il gigante zarista.

Certamente, le navi furono armate dai genovesi e vendute al Giappone nel 1903. Erano la Kasuga e la Mikasa, progettate dall’ingegnere italiano Salvatore Positano. Emilio Salgari inoltre, proprio in quel periodo, scrisse un libro dal titolo L’eroina di Port Arthur, ambientato nella guerra russo-giapponese da cui emerge il suo incondizionato appoggio alle ragioni nipponiche. Nel libro descrive “il buono e bravo giapponese”, le “forze armate splendidamente organizzate, in marce meravigliose per celerità”. Gli italiani simpatizzavano per il Giappone insomma, cosa strana perché non bisogna dimenticarsi che in Europa questo era il periodo del pericolo giallo. C’è un interessante quadro di Hermann Knackfub del 1895 che descrive bene questa nuova paura verso i popoli asiatici agli inizi del Novecento. In questo senso possiamo dire che l’Italia ha un credito nei confronti del Giappone per il suo sostegno durante la guerra russo-giapponese. Ma questi fatti purtroppo sono stati oscurati da quanto avvenuto negli anni ’30 e ’40 e questa sorta di special relationship che avevamo costruito venne, se non dimenticata, messa in secondo piano. Se ne approfittarono i francesi che, ad esempio, sotto il governo Chirac investirono fortemente nel paese del Sol Levante quasi a reiventare un rapporto di amicizia stretta che non c’era mai stato. Un francese avrebbe da ridire su questo, ma c’è da precisare che ad esempio quando lo Shogun (signore della guerra N.d.R.) perse il suo potere durante la rivoluzione Meiji, i francesi rimasero fedeli agli accordi con il Bakufu (governo militare, N.d.R.) e si trovarono anche a sostenere i ribelli contro l’Imperatore come nella battaglia di Hakodate. L’Italia invece era riuscita a capire la profondità del cambiamento e firmò un accordo con il governo imperiale di Mutsuhito.

D’Annunzio raccontava di non saper resistere alla cultura giapponese e di aver speso una fortuna nell’acquisto di opere, vasi, dipinti. Puccini colse a piene mani dalla lirica nipponica, Edoardo Chiossone fu direttore nel 1872 dell’Ufficio Valori del Ministero delle Finanze di Tokyo. Al contrario, che cosa trovavano, e trovano ancora oggi, i giapponesi nell’Italia?

Se parliamo di questioni pratiche, dal punto di vista giapponese l’Italia era vista a quei tempi come una specie di banca culturale. C’era tutto. Bastava venire a Roma, Torino, Firenze per vedere quelle che erano le arti e l’eccellenza dell’architettura, del disegno, dell’arte figurativa, della scultura; tutto ciò che aveva quei caratteri occidentali, possiamo dire le radici dell’Occidente, loro sentivano di trovarlo in Italia. Bisogna anche considerare che i giapponesi, ieri come oggi, hanno sempre attuato una politica di “shopping culturale” diversificato. Il sistema educativo, per esempio, fu ispirato a quello tedesco e ancora oggi se leggiamo Mori Ogai, uno scrittore del primo Novecento, notiamo questo tipo di impostazione nei suoi scritti, così come nelle uniformi militari ispirate a quelle scolastiche e di servizio della Prussia di Bismarck. Tutto quello che era tecnica della navigazione, marina militare fu preso dagli inglesi. Quanto aveva a che fare invece con urbanistica, architettura, organizzazione amministrativa, cultura in senso ampio, il modello di riferimento era, come detto, l’Italia. Oggi, saltando un attimo al presente, fanno un altro tipo di “shopping culturale” che, nel bene e nel male, tende a semplificare forse eccessivamente la loro visione dell’Occidente. L’Italia è associata con il classico, il romano, il Barocco ma soprattutto il Rinascimento. E si fermano qui. Dunque è necessario uno sforzo, specialmente da parte nostra, per far conoscere ai giapponesi anche l’Italia che è venuta dopo il Rinascimento. Quest’anno festeggiamo i 150 anni delle relazioni italo-giapponesi; i grandi sponsor nipponici che organizzano esposizioni, mostre, in generale l’offerta culturale italiana nel Sol Levante, sono i grandi media nipponici (spesso proprietari degli spazi museali ed espositivi) che guadagnano sulla vendita di biglietti. Trasferiscono l’oggetto d’arte, creano la domanda, vendono il biglietto. Così l’Italia continuerà a vendere e mostrarsi sempre per le stesse cose sminuendo un patrimonio immenso e non attecchendo come potrebbe su un pubblico che non comprende solo visitatori e turisti ma anche potenziali investitori, imprenditori, politici. Se la società civile giapponese continua ad avere una visione dell’Italia che è sempre la stessa, il nostro lavoro consiste nel continuare a promuovere la multiforme varietà dell’offerta italiana. Questa secondo me è la sfida del futuro da vincere. Molti giapponesi, per fare un esempio, non si rendono conto che noi siamo grandi esportatori di macchinari e alta tecnologia, pensano unicamente ai vini, ai prosciutti, alla moda dimenticando che produciamo parti di aerei e satelliti. Il 150° anniversario è una occasione proprio per farci conoscere meglio.

Riprendendo un attimo le fila del percorso storico parallelo dei due paesi, non si può non menzionare il Patto Tripartito del settembre 1940. Quell’alleanza fu in qualche modo il logico risultato del rapporto costruito negli anni oppure fu una sorta di tragico errore o di tragica patologia delle relazioni internazionali come si stavano strutturando agli inizi del Novecento?

Secondo me bisogna distinguere tra l’alleanza italo-tedesca, l’alleanza italo-giapponese e quella giapponese-tedesca. Sono tre componenti diverse. Non sono uno storico, ma semplificando possiamo dire che l’alleanza italo-giapponese era quella più “tradizionale”, cioè una alleanza militare stretta da paesi che stavano tentando la carta coloniale in un momento in cui era impensabile riuscire a sostenere ancora quel tipo di politica. Ma era un accordo che si basava sul nemico comune cioè gli inglesi, in quanto ostacolo all’espansione fascista in Africa e giapponese in Manciuria. In quel periodo, nonostante Tokyo avesse interessi in Etiopia, decisero di rinunciarvi come contropartita al riconoscimento italiano del Manciukuò. Due paesi che si alleano condividendo progetti e problemi simili. I tedeschi avevano una visione opposta, gli inglesi fino al 1940 non erano il nemico principale quindi la loro alleanza con i giapponesi ebbe premesse diverse. Roma, Berlino e Tokyo furono in qualche modo attirate nell’orbita di una alleanza, che sfocerà nel Patto Tripartito, sebbene le rispettive condizioni storico-politiche iniziali fossero del tutto differenti. Alcuni ambienti diplomatico-militari italo-giapponesi fino ad un certo momento avevano sperato in una alleanza difensiva e quasi neutralizzante tra Roma e Tokyo. Invece l’accordo con la Germania nazista era di per sé molto pericoloso, immediato e aggressivo. Quindi c’era una differenza tra l’alleanza italo-giapponese e quello che fu il Patto Tripartito, una tragica decisione foriera di grandi drammi e orrori. E in questa tragedia ci sono però degli aspetti umani molto profondi che sono stati dimenticati, come quando i sottomarini italiani oceanici combatterono a fianco dei giapponesi a Kobe fino allo sgancio delle bombe atomiche, quando l’Italia si era già arresa da tempo. E’ vero quindi che quella della Seconda Guerra Mondiale è una storia triste e dolorosa, ma se raccontata in modo sano e senza forzature ideologiche, come storia di uomini, possiede anche tratti commoventi. Gli stessi giapponesi quando vengono a sapere del sacrificio dei marinai italiani a Kobe per combattere insieme a loro finiscono per commuoversi, rendendosi conto che, dopo tutto, non erano rimasti soli.

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Il Giappone e l’Italia sembrano per alcuni versi molto distanti tra loro ma per altri più vicini di quanto possa sembrare. Una popolazione che invecchia progressivamente, una economia che ha difficoltà a ritrovare una crescita slanciata, un alto debito pubblico. I governi Kan, Noda e Abe hanno tentato di invertire la tendenza con varie riforme di cui l’ultima è la nota Abenomics che sembrava aver avuto successo ma adesso sta rallentando. Dati questi fattori comuni, c’è qualcosa che l’Italia potrebbe prendere ad esempio per invertire la propria tendenza?

Senz’altro esistono queste similitudini e se osserviamo i nostri due Paesi con la lente del 150° anniversario ci rendiamo conto che il loro percorso storico parallelo è stato un insieme di sfide e opportunità comuni. Abbiamo parlato della guerra ma possiamo guardare anche al dopoguerra, quando Giappone e Italia dovettero superare la sfida della ricostruzione economico-sociale a fronte delle devastazioni lasciate dal conflitto. Per quanto riguarda i problemi contemporanei, è vero che abbiamo entrambi un alto debito pubblico ma il Giappone può ancora agire sulle leve delle politiche monetarie cosa che l’Italia non può più fare. Quindi dovrebbe essere l’UE nel suo insieme a prendere di esempio alcune misure della Abenomics. Ma sul fronte di altre sfide importanti l’Italia più che ispirarsi dovrebbe collaborare. Il nostro paese soffre l’afflizione ad esempio del dissesto idrogeologico e sismico, i quali sono connessi a loro volta al progressivo inurbamento e all’abbandono delle campagne. L’invecchiamento della popolazione infatti non ha effetti solo su fisco, economa, assistenza sociale e sanitaria ma anche sul territorio. Il Giappone deve affrontare le stesse difficoltà che però, se interpretate nell’ottica di una mutua collaborazione, possono diventare delle opportunità. Pochi altri paesi industrializzati al mondo hanno i nostri stessi problemi in tema di prevenzione dei disastri, alluvioni, terremoti. L’Italia può presentarsi in questo settore con ottime credenziali dal punto di vista della tecnologia satellitare, aerospaziale e di controllo del territorio e dovremmo farlo conoscere ai giapponesi: il mio ufficio sta lavorando proprio a questo nell’anniversario dei 150 anni di relazioni bilaterali. Esso deve essere infatti non solo un momento di celebrazione culturale ma anche proattivo strumento di promozione. In questo senso poi lo scambio è ovviamente bilaterale: i giapponesi sono i maggiori esperti di prevenzione alluvionale e terremoti. Sull’invecchiamento della popolazione si può agire tramite domotica e tecnologia quotidiana per migliorare la vita di anziani e disabili. Design, architettura, robotica, medicina, farmaceutica, settori in cui entrambi siamo all’avanguardia possono intersecarsi e trovare soluzioni tanto per una popolazione che invecchia quanto per le necessità economiche e lavorative dei più giovani. Se riuscissimo a costruire un rapporto ancora più stretto in questi settori il Giappone e l’Italia potrebbero creare una partnership strategica di notevole valore.

Con questo ha risposto alla mia domanda successiva che partiva dalle dichiarazioni del Presidente Renzi durante il suo viaggio in Giappone. Dopo l’incontro con l’Imperatore Akihito e il Primo Ministro Abe aveva infatti dichiarato che “Le relazioni tra i nostri due paesi sono cruciali”.

Certamente, non dimentichiamo che oltre ad essere un partner commerciale in tutti i settori che abbiamo enumerato il Giappone è anche un partner politico in Asia. E’ un paese che in un contesto regionale molto differenziato, anche con problemi di sicurezza, ha una costituzione democratica, vicino ai valori fondamentali che anche noi riconosciamo, con un sistema di welfare simile al nostro. E’ uno Stato con cui mantenere sempre rapporti immediati, diretti. Siamo già ad un ottimo livello soprattutto dal punto di vista culturale e politico, ma si può sempre fare di più ed è bene impegnarsi per questo. Cercare di accelerare e potenziare i nostri scambi su alta tecnologia, aerospazio, farmaceutica e sulle sfide che ci accomunano. Yukio Mishima è stato uno dei romanzieri più conosciuti in Occidente, rimasto indissolubilmente legato, in modo forse anche un po’ fuorviante, alla critica che aveva mosso contro la perdita delle tradizioni, delle radici culturali e quella che lui chiamava la “svendita” dell’anima giapponese all’Occidente. Si uccise nel 1970 proprio nel momento in cui il suo Paese era nella fase ascendente di sviluppo. Oggi, arrivati nel XXI secolo, come vive il Giappone il rapporto con l’Occidente e quanto le tradizioni sono riuscite a riequilibrare e bilanciare la società tra queste due sponde? Io su questo ho una mia personale opinione che si basa sulla mia osservazione e sulle mie esperienze anche famigliari con il Giappone. Secondo me è difficile parlare di una occidentalizzazione del Sol Levante; fin dai tempi della rivoluzione Meiji i giapponesi sono sempre stati molto pragmatici. Quando vedono che c’è un sistema migliore del loro lo assorbono ma lo fanno senza mai incidere sul nocciolo della loro struttura identitaria. Ci sono stati momenti in cui questo nocciolo influenzava di più i comportamenti esterni e altri dove i comportamenti esterni hanno attecchito di più ma nella sostanza i giapponesi sono rimasti giapponesi e solo loro possono essere giapponesi. Quello che vediamo però è che ci sono state delle fasi importanti nella storia giapponese in cui il paese ha guardato molto all’esterno mantenendo però una forte identità interna, forse anche come meccanismo difensivo. Si prendeva dagli inglesi, dagli olandesi, dai tedeschi e si rielaborava assorbendo e superando. Quando dopo la Seconda Guerra Mondiale ci fu l’occupazione americana i giapponesi capirono che accettare lo status quo era un modo per sopravvivere liberi. Non hanno assunto quindi comportamenti occidentali perché gli piaceva l’occidente ma per salvarsi dall’occidente e dopo pochi anni, grazie a quei sistemi, sono rimasti indipendenti, liberi e con una Costituzione democratica che, anche se imposta dall’esterno, hanno accettato in quanto prodotta da un sistema, quello americano, che aveva vinto e quindi doveva essere per forza di cose funzionante. Oggi il primo ministro Abe rappresenta ancora una volta una fase nuova; egli si è posto, rispetto alla Storia, e lo si è visto nell’anniversario della fine della guerra del Pacifico lo scorso 14 agosto, un obiettivo di riassorbimento nella coscienza collettiva e di superamento. E non si tratta solo di narrativa politica ma di un cambiamento di posizione che nulla toglie al rimorso per quanto occorso nell’ultimo conflitto; si sono accettati gli errori e le responsabilità ma ci si è posti allo stesso tempo la necessità di guardare al futuro. Questo si riflette in tutti i comportamenti giapponesi che, una volta identificato un obiettivo, si impegnano fino al suo completo raggiungimento. L’Abenomics, il nuovo sistema di sicurezza regionale con gli Stati Uniti, l’introduzione dell’inglese nelle università, le Olimpiadi del 2020 e tutto ciò che queste riforme significano come processo di modernizzazione non eliminano nulla dal nocciolo identitario. Ma è certamente un momento in cui si sta pensando ad un Giappone diverso, nuovo, e ciò si è visto anche nella rimodulazione dei rapporti regionali e in una politica estera più attenta ai paesi dell’Asean.

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Proprio in connessione al tema delle riforme, il primo ministro sta portando avanti una dura battaglia con la Dieta Imperiale per riformare l’art. 9 e dare alle Jieitai, le forze di autodifesa, la possibilità di essere impiegate all’estero in operazioni di peacekeeping. Da un lato vuole rimettere il Giappone in linea con altre nazioni, dall’altro però c’è un timore di possibili inasprimenti delle tensioni presenti nell’area. Come mai allora, nonostante queste tensioni nel Pacifico con la Corea del Nord, con la Cina e le dispute sulle Senkaku, Abe sta incontrando così tante resistenze nella società giapponese?

E’ difficile dirlo da osservatori esterni. Innanzitutto c’è il dibattito politico interno, perché si tratta di un tema costituzionale talmente radicato nel sistema educativo giapponese che, nel bene e nel male, coinvolge quasi tutti. E’ ovvio che se questa riforma viene presentata con toni sbagliati, come una sorta di ritorno indietro allora può creare numerose difficoltà al governo. Ma è comunque un dibattito aperto e c’è chi perfino sostiene che non c’è bisogno di modificare l’art. 9 per partecipare a missioni di peace-keeping, che Tokyo in sostanza possa già intraprendere buona parte delle azioni richieste dalla comunità internazionale. Questo tema, tuttavia, rischia di polarizzarsi su un argomento, guerra-pace, molto delicato che però finisce per diventare fuorviante rispetto al problema. Soprattutto per noi è infatti più interessante cercare di capire, al di là del dibattito interno, quali siano gli effetti di questa riforma in Asia. E paradossalmente, a parte per qualche rimostranza cinese più diretta agli americani che non al Giappone, nella regione tutto tace. Tendenzialmente infatti, l’idea che nella regione ci sia un altro giocatore di peso militare importante è in realtà rassicurante per molti paesi più piccoli i quali, più che un riarmo giapponese, temono un disengagement americano. Questo è il vero problema: la paura che ci possa essere un reflusso isolazionista americano dalla regione asiatica. Il dibattito interno alla società giapponese è complesso, articolato, riguarda le loro motivazioni e il loro rapporto con la storia recente. Ma come si può ben vedere se la riforma dell’art. 9 dovesse passare non ci sarebbero alterazioni degli equilibri o un aumento critico delle tensioni, tutt’altro. Poiché ciò che preoccupa è come detto un ritiro progressivo degli Stati Uniti dall’Asia, l’idea di una potenza militare navale che ha uno stretto rapporto con Washington potrebbe anzi dare un senso di bilanciamento rafforzando l’equilibrio regionale.

 

samedi, 12 décembre 2015

La senda del samurai

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La senda del samurai

por José Luis Muñoz Azpiri 

Ex: http://culturatransversal.wordpress.com

A la memoria de Moisés Mauricio Prelooker. “Es mejor prender una vela que maldecir las tinieblas” (Confucio).

Desde hace ya muchos años constituye un lugar común entre los “analistas de café” el célebre apotegma de un premio Nóbel de economía que sentenció: “Existen cuatro clases de países en el mundo: Desarrollados, subdesarrollados, Japón y la Argentina”, dando a entender que un país pródigo en recursos materiales y humanos no tiene nada y que otro, sometido a las adversidades del medio geográfico y a las trágicas vicisitudes de su historia lo tiene todo.

Dicha frase a pasado a integrar la larga lista de sentencias autodenigratorias con las cuales la “intelligentzia” y sus voceros que, pontifican respecto a la “nociva” experiencia histórica de los protagonismos populares y nos estigmatizan como representantes del pensamiento arcaico o resabios de ideologías perimidas y arrasadas por los vientos de una discutible globalización. Omiten destacar que el Japón pudo convertirse en un país moderno porque fue atípico, porque se aferró a sus instituciones tradicionales, porque mantuvo en forma inquebrantable su propia personalidad nacional.

El desarrollo japonés se caracterizó por un elevadísimo ritmo de acumulación, sobre todo de capital productivo. La reinversión llegó a la tercera parte del producto en el largo período de prosperidad que siguió a la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El capitalismo japonés fue fundamentalmente austero, no solo en los estratos superiores, sino en toda la población

Los gastos militares, que antes constituían el 7% del producto, se redujeron a niveles insignificantes a partir del gobierno del general Mc Arthur. Por otra parte, el mismo gobierno japonés impuso una reforma agraria más avanzada que la que habían deseado algunos reformadores. El desmantelamiento de las fuerzas armadas liberó a muchos técnicos, que iniciaron modestas empresas que después alcanzaron dimensiones gigantescas. El gobierno y la iniciativa privada incorporaron masivamente la tecnología de Occidente, sobre todo por el envío sistemático de gente a formarse en el exterior. Pero no renegó de sus propios valores ni abjuró de su historia y su tradición. Solo se admitieron las trasnacionales cuando el Japón pudo tenerlas y competir con ellas.

Ahora bien, ¿A qué se debe la austeridad del capitalismo japonés? ¿Algunos pueblos están predestinados a la acumulación previsora y otros al derroche por su carácter nacional o por un determinismo genético? ¿Existe algún fatalismo histórico que lleva a algunas naciones a la prosperidad y a otras a la pobreza y a la dependencia?

Indagando el pasado

En 1543, un barco comercial portugués que iba rumbo a China naufragó en alta mar y después de varias semanas de estar a la deriva encalló en la isla Tanegashima en el extremo sur de Kyushu. Los tripulantes fueron rescatados por los isleños, quienes repararon el buque portugués para que pudieran volver a su patria. Los portugueses, muy agradecidos, hicieron una demostración de “tubos negros que lanzaban fuego estruendosos y simultáneamente dan al blanco con una distancia de más de setenta metros”. El señor feudal de Tanegashima se asombró por la precisión con que alcanzaron el blanco las balas y compró dos ejemplares a cambio de una cuantiosa cantidad de plata. Fueron los primeros fusiles que se conocieron en Japón.

Unos años después, los portugueses volvieron a Japón trayendo muchos fusiles tratando de venderlos bien; pero el precio que lograron no llegaba al nivel esperado. Después de varios días de frustración, los portugueses descubrieron que ya en el mercado japonés estaban en venta gran cantidad de fusiles fabricados por los japoneses. Resultó que el señor de Tanegashima (Tokitaka, 1528–1579), al comprar los dos fusiles, ordenó a su súbdito, Kinbei Yaita, encontrar la manera efectiva de reproducirlos. Kinbei desarmó los fusiles y con la ayuda profesional de los herreros de espadas logró dominar la metodología para fabricarlos.

sam2.jpgLa técnica de manufactura de fusiles fue transmitida a Sakai (en aquella época era el centro comercial “industrial” de Japón; se ubica al lado de Osaka). Los herreros especializados en producir las famosas espadas japonesas dominaban los secretos de cómo forjar el acero y dar tratamiento térmico más adecuado para aumentar la resistencia del metal. Tenían sus talleres alrededor de Sakai y empezaron a manufacturar los fusiles con mejores resultados que los originales en cuanto a la calidad de la puntería y resistencia al calor.

Al principio, los tradicionales señores feudales no reconocieron el verdadero valor de los fusiles. Los consideraban armas cobardes e indignas de un samurai y rechazaron darles un lugar merecido en la estrategia militar. Pero la historia de Japón fue drásticamente modificada a partir de la batalla de Nagashino en 1575, cuyos protagonistas no fueron famosos caballeros con armaduras, lanzas y espadas, sino desconocidos fusileros.

Este episodio, y posteriores, se encuentra en el encantador e imprescindible libro de Kanji Kikuchi: “El origen del poder. Historia de una nación llamada Japón” (Sudamericana, 1993) de obligatoria lectura para quien quiera aproximarse al espíritu nipón. Con este incidente, se inicia una lucha de cuatro siglos contra las tentativas de los “bárbaros del este”, es decir, los occidentales.

Una sociedad jerárquica

Hasta 1867 existía en Japón una estructura de poder dual. El emperador, con residencia en Kyoto, resumía la autoridad religiosa y la santificación de la jerarquía social, pues otorgaba títulos y poderes nobiliarios, pero carecía de funciones políticas reales. El verdadero poder estaba en manos de los grandes señores feudales, los daimyos, entre los cuales descolló Tokugawa, quien dio su nombre a todo este período. El emperador era un personaje sin poder real, relegado a un papel simbólico, de carácter esencialmente religioso. El verdadero jefe de gobierno era el shogun, equivalente al chambelán de palacio de los francos, que ejercía un cargo igualmente hereditario.

Al servicio de los daimyos estaba la casta militar de los samurai y, en la base, los labradores (no), los artesanos (ko), los comerciantes (sho) y los desclasados (hinin, “no humanos”); todos despreciados y oprimidos al no ejercer la actividad guerrera, y sujetos a disposiciones rigurosas sobre vestimenta, prohibición de montar a caballo, etcétera.

Los daimyos y sus guerreros profesionales, los samurai, combinaban una difusa lealtad al emperador y a las antiguas instituciones con una despiadada explotación de los campesinos, cuya situación era tan desesperante que los inducía con frecuencia al mabiki (infanticidio) con el objeto de los niños sobrevivientes pudieran seguir alimentándose.

Los occidentales intentaron repetidas veces poner el pie en el Japón, aunque los shogun, en un intento desesperado de cortar todo lazo con Occidente – llegaron a prohibir la construcción de barcos oceánicos y a castigar con la pena de muerte el arribo de extranjeros. Pero todo cambió con la penetración imperialista: en 1853, cuatro barcos pintados de negro dirigidos por el Comodoro norteamericano M.C.Perry (1794-1858) aparecieron el la bahía de Tokio (Edo de entonces) y exigieron la apertura del Japón. ¿La razón?, aunque parezca increíble: las ballenas.

En aquel entonces, los puertos japoneses se necesitaban como bases de reabastecimiento para los buques balleneros norteamericanos. Los estadounidenses, conquistando la frontera oeste, llegaron a California. La población norteamericana estaba en franca expansión y la demanda de la grasa de ballena, una suerte de petróleo de la época, como aceite para las lámparas y la materia prima para fabricar alimentos y jabones, crecía cada vez más. Al principio, los norteamericanos cazaban ballenas en el Océano Atlántico, pero al exterminarlas (los cachalotes del Atlántico), se trasladaron al Pacifico y pronto se convirtieron en los dueños del Océano Pacífico del Norte. Los buques balleneros salían de su base en California y tomaban a las islas Hawai como base de reabastecimiento. Según la estadística del año 1846, los buques balleneros norteamericanos en el Océano Pacífico sumaban 736 y la producción anual de aceite de ballena llegó a 27.000 toneladas.

Estos buques balleneros persiguiendo cachalotes navegaron desde el mar de Behring hasta la costa norte del Japón. Entrando al siglo XIX, los buques balleneros norteamericanos aparecieron varias veces en la costa japonesa, pidiendo suministros de agua y comida, además de combustible. Porque la autonomía de esos balleneros que navegaban a vapor no era suficiente para un viaje que demandara más de cinco meses. Conseguir la base de reabastecimiento en Japón, o no, era de vital importancia para mejorar la productividad de estos buques factorías. Sin embargo, las autoridades locales de las pequeñas aldeas de pescadores del Japón automáticamente rechazaron a los buques balleneros y ni siquiera les permitieron desembarcar. Para ellos no hubo ningún motivo de discusión al cumplir la orden de la Carta Magna celosamente respetada durante siglos por sus antepasados. A nadie le importaba el por qué del aislamiento. No tratar con los extranjeros era simplemente una regla de juego que había que cumplir so pena de muerte, y punto. La ley de aislamiento ya formaba parte del ser japonés.

El Comodoro Perry volvió a la bahía de Edo en el año siguiente (1854), esta vez con siete negros buques de guerra, y llegó hasta la distancia adecuada para el alcance de sus modernos cañones que apuntaban al castillo y a la ciudad de Edo, y exigió de nuevo la apertura. El Shogunato de Tokugawa, completamente asustado, firmó el acuerdo de amistad con Norteamérica, concediendo dos puertos como base de reabastecimiento para sus barcos: Shimeda y Hakodate.

De esta manera, el aislamiento en que el Japón vivía desde el comienzo del siglo XVII fue levantado a la fuerza por la escuadra de Perry. Ese año arribó al Japón el primer Cónsul General de Norteamérica, Mr. Harris (1804-78). La misión del señor Harris era lograr la firma del Tratado de Libre Comercio bilateral con el Gobierno del Japón. Inmediatamente lograron concesiones similares Inglaterra, Holanda, Francia y Rusia.

Esto contribuyó a desprestigiar al Shogun, y el Emperador, apoyado por una parte de la nobleza, de los samurai que controlaban la flota y el ejército, y de algunas poderosas familias de banqueros, depuso al Shogun, destruyó el poder territorial de la nobleza feudal e impuso un régimen centralizado: un ministerio de quince miembros, fuerzas armadas unificadas, impuestos, administración y justicia nacionales.

El grito que surgió en Japón, sin embargo, fue Isshin: volvamos al pasado, recobremos lo perdido. Era lo opuesto a una actitud revolucionaria. Ni siquiera era progresiva. Unida al grito de “Restauremos al Emperador”, surgió el de “Arrojemos a los bárbaros”, igualmente popular. La nación apoyaba el programa de volver a la edad dorada del aislamiento, y los pocos dirigentes que vieron cuán imposible era seguir semejante camino fueron asesinados por sus esfuerzos de renovación.

Con la misma terca determinación con que se habían negado durante cuatro siglos a todo contacto con los extranjeros (salvo la curiosa excepción de los holandeses, que eran tolerados, pero confinados en una isla artificial) los japoneses se lanzaron a la aventura de vencer a los occidentales con sus propias armas. Se acusó al shogun – uno de cuyos títulos era el de “generalísimo dominador de los bárbaros” – de ser incapaz de impedir la humillación nacional, se le obligó a renunciar y se desencadenó un tsunami bautizado como “Restauración Meiji”.

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La Restauración Meiji

Desde 1867 ocupaba el trono imperial un muchacho de quince años, Mutsuhito, quien adoptó en 1868 para designar su reinado el nombre del año en curso, Meiji (“gobierno ilustrado”). Los eruditos del culto nacional (Shinto) habían ganado mucho apoyo para su concepción de que el Japón era un país superior, por contar con una casa imperial fundada por la Diosa del Sol. Estas enseñanzas – que constituían en realidad la doctrina nacional japonesa – fueron rescatadas por los grandes señores feudales del sudoeste del Japón, que querían debilitar la institución del Shogunato para imponer su propia autoridad.

Cuando el Estado se configura como tal, a partir de la acumulación mercantil, elementos como la religión (transformación cultural del animismo, según algunos antropólogos), queda incorporado al orden estatal como regulador del consenso.

Se levantó así la bandera del “retorno a lo antiguo” (fukkó) y los jóvenes samurai, violentamente antiextranjeros – que se habían vinculado extensamente entre si a través de años de entrenamiento en las academias de la espada, y que a menudo eran pobres – se plegaron al bando de los daimyos del sur, y derrocaron al último shogun, entregando el poder al emperador adolescente, en cuyo nombre se había realizado todo el movimiento.

En 1868 los principales señores feudales fueron convocados al palacio imperial de Kyoto, donde se proclamó la restauración del poder imperial. Al año siguiente la capital fue trasladada a Tokio, y se inició la construcción del Japón moderno.

Para 1889 se había creado una monarquía constitucional fuertemente oligárquica, con dos cámaras: la de los pares, vitalicios, designados por el emperador y elegidos por los grandes propietarios, y la de diputados, elegida por los habitantes que pagan censo (500.000 sobre 50 millones que componían la población total. El apoyo directo del régimen lo constituía la casta militar.

Tales cambios no modificaron la situación del jornalero agrícola, ferozmente explotado, y fueron acompañados por el empobrecimiento brutal de los pequeños campesinos propietarios, que debieron vender e hipotecar sus tierras. Tampoco se evitaron totalmente las tensiones entre la casta militar y la nueva burguesía. Pero la estructura samurai, actuando sobre el capitalismo existente y el poder fuertemente centralizado, dio origen a un desarrollo aceleradísimo, que se benefició del éxodo de los campesinos arruinados y de los obreros agrícolas, empujados por la miseria hacia las ciudades, donde formaron un enorme ejército de mano de obra barata.

La centralización del poder permitió que, en lugar del tradicional laissez-faire de los capitalismos occidentales, se instituyera un fuerte capitalismo de Estado, que mediante la asociación con la nueva oligarquía, dio origen a una rápida trustificación, tanto en la banca como en la industria. El Estado creó y modernizó la industria del hierro, del acero y las empresas textiles, cediéndolas luego a los particulares. Se crearon instituciones bancarias a imitación de las de Estados Unidos, y los comerciantes japoneses, apoyados por el Estado, desplazaron a los extranjeros.

El período llamado Meiji significó así la estructuración en pocos años de una sociedad capitalista centralizada, monopólica, militarista, que producía a muy bajos costos debido a lo económico de la mano de obra. Estaban dadas todas las condiciones para que Japón se lanzara a la expansión imperialista y territorial, en conflicto con las otras potencias, y en primer término con Rusia, con la que debía dirimir la hegemonía sobre la costa asiática del Pacífico.

Pilares de la transformación

Los líderes revolucionario-tradicionalistas estaban convencidos que la fuerza de los países occidentales provenía de tres factores:

– El constitucionalismo, que originaba la unidad nacional
– La industrialización, que proporcionaba fuerza material
– Un ejército bien preparado. La nueva consigna fue: “país rico, armas fuertes” (fukoku-kyohei).

Basados en estas premisas pusieron en marcha drásticas reformas que significaron en poco tiempo la liquidación de toda la estructura de la sociedad feudal. En primer término se obligó a los grandes daimyos a revertir sus propiedades al trono, que era considerado titular de toda la tierra japonesa. Los señores feudales, en una primera etapa, fueron nombrados gobernadores de sus antiguos feudos.

Pero eso duró poco. En 1871 los gobernadores-daimyos fueron convocados a Tokio, se les entregó un título de nobleza, a la usanza occidental, y se les quitaron sus cargos, al mismo tiempo que se declaraba abolido oficialmente el feudalismo. Los 300 feudos fueron convertidos en 72 prefecturas y tres distritos metropolitanos.

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No menos decidida fue la campaña contra la estratificación social que había predominado durante la época feudal. Era fácil otorgar títulos y generosas pensiones a los grandes señores feudales, pero resultaba mucho más difícil reubicar a más de dos millones de samurai y demás dependientes, sin dinero y sin tierras. A éstos se les concedió una pensión igual a una parte de su antiguo estipendio, y cuando la erogación resultó una carga demasiado pesada para el erario, se los sustituyó por bonos del tesoro, inconvertibles y de bajo interés. Se les prohibió también portar espada y seguir exhibiendo su característica coleta.

Pronto las pensiones y bonos se esfumaron, pues la inflación devoró gran parte de su valor. Por otra parte, los samurai carecían de capacidad para adaptarse a las nuevas condiciones imperantes. En 1873, el mazazo final: se instituyó la conscripción obligatoria, con lo cual los samurai perdieron su tradicional monopolio del servicio militar. Hubo motines, por supuesto, pero fueron sofocados. El más célebre fue el de Saigo.

Caballos desbocados

Después de la Restauración Meiji, los samurai que pelearon para derrocar el régimen feudal, advirtieron que habían sido utilizados y que su premio había sido la desocupación y la pérdida de todos sus privilegios. Al hecho de no poder portar katana ni la indumentaria que los había caracterizado durante siglos se sumaba la obligación de tener que trasladarse a Tokio (ex Edo) con el consiguiente abandono de sus castillos tradicionales y la separación de sus súbditos. Era el precio a pagar por la modernización a la que consideraban una traición a los valores tradicionales y nacionales y una imitación servil de todo lo extranjero.

Takamori Saigo, quien fuera Comandante Supremo de las Fuerzas Unidas Reales que derrotaron al Shogunato, surgió por propia gravitación como líder de los descontentos.
Por esa época, al igual que la actual, Rusia porfiaba en lograr puertos cálidos en el sur, que no se congelaran en el invierno (Tal fue una de las principales causas, sino la principal, de la invasión a Afganistán), en algún lugar en la Bahía del Mar Amarillo o en la costa coreana. Por ello el Imperio Ruso se interesaba tanto en Manchuria o en la Península Coreana a las que Japón consideraba vitales para su defensa. Saigo intentó resolver militarmente los dos frentes aprovechando la energía latente de los samurai ora desempleados y planeó la invasión de Corea. El rechazo a sus planes detonó la rebelión de Satsuma de 1877.

Fue la última de las grandes protestas armadas contra las reformas del nuevo gobierno Meiji, y sobre todo contra aquellas que representaban una amenaza para la clase samurai al acabar con sus privilegios sociales, reducir sus ingresos y obstaculizar su tradicional estilo de vida. Son muchos los samurai de Satsuma que en 1873 abandonaron el gobierno junto a Saigo, resentidos por el rechazo a la propuesta de éste de invadir Corea y por el proceso de reforma, que parecía hacer caso omiso a sus intereses. La rebelión surgirá por fin en enero de 1877, acabando con el suicidio de Saigo. Cuenta la tradición que se quitó la vida cometiendo el tradicional seppuku (harakiri) junto con trescientos de sus últimos seguidores.

Junto con Saigo, murieron los samurai como fuerza política vigente. Pero la imagen que dejaron, idealizada y embellecida, renació inmediatamente después de la muerte como símbolo de la ética del pueblo. El espíritu honorable de los samurai y sus almas nobles empezaron a buscar un lugar en el corazón de los ciudadanos comunes de Japón. Hoy se venera su memoria junto a las leyendas de los Marinos de Tsushima, el general Kuribayashi de Iwo Jima o los más de 300 pilotos Kamikaze de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Con ligeras variantes, este episodio fue narrado en las novelas de Yukio Mishima, las películas de Kurosawa o en la versión hollywoodense de “El último samurai”.

Cómo generar capital sin endeudarse

La abolición de los señores feudales y la expropiación de sus feudos hizo posible desechar el viejo sistema de tenencia de la tierra e instituir un sistema impositivo regular y confiable. Los líderes del Japón moderno estaban convencidos de que sólo podían y debían depender de sus propios recursos. Para obtenerlos no vacilaron en decretar un impuesto en dinero del 3% sobre los valores inmobiliarios, para lo cual se realizó previamente, en 1873, un censo agrario, determinando sus tasaciones sobre la base de los rendimientos medios en los años anteriores. Este censo permitió también otorgar títulos de propiedad a los campesinos, a quienes se liberó de todas las tabas feudales, dándoles entera libertad para escoger sus propias siembras.

Todas estas medidas requirieron cierto tiempo, y como implicaban cambios fundamentales, hubo momentos de gran confusión y frecuentes desajustes, que provocaron levantamientos y manifestaciones de campesinos. Sin embargo, la entrega en propiedad a los campesinos, junto con las enérgicas medidas adoptadas por el nuevo régimen para promover los adelantos tecnológicos y adoptar nuevos fertilizantes y semillas seleccionadas, produjeron finalmente un enorme incremento en la producción agraria. Sobre esas bases se construyó el Japón moderno, que en tres décadas pasó de sus inofensivos barcos de guerra de madera a una poderosa flota, con la cual el almirante Togo hundió en el estrecho de Tsushima (1905) a toda la flota rusa del Báltico, que acudía a Extremo Oriente para tratar de levantar el bloqueo japonés.

El impuesto a la tierra y la emisión de papel moneda avalado por los valores inmobiliarios se convirtieron durante varias décadas en la principal fuente de recursos del Estado japonés.

En toda su historia, el Japón sólo ha hecho uso de un préstamo inglés de un millón y medio de libras esterlinas.

Así, en el plazo de una generación y contando solamente con sus propias fuerzas, el Japón se convirtió en una gran potencia. Téngase en cuenta para valorar lo realizado, la extrema pobreza del territorio japonés, que obliga a depender tanto del mar como de la tierra para alimentarse. La alternativa consistía en convertirse en una colonia europea o norteamericana, a lo cual Japón parecía predestinado por su carencia de recursos materiales y su falta de tradición tecnológica. Eligió otro camino.

Japón probó que un pueblo asiático era capaz de desarrollar los adelantos técnico-industriales ostentados por los occidentales, y luego enfrentar militarmente a estos, aún derrotándolos, como sucedió con Rusia. El Japón, como ejemplo que demostraba la mentira occidental de una superioridad basada en la raza o en recónditas cualidades espirituales, contó con las simpatía del naciente movimiento nacionalista, tanto chino como indio, indonesio, vietnamita, birmano, malayo o filipino.

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¿Imitación o creatividad endógena?

La autogestión y la imitación, ¿son en realidad dos polos opuestos? Un país que desee acelerar su industrialización debe ser capaz de reconciliar ambos aspectos, como lo demuestra la experiencia japonesa.

En 1875 el gobierno Meiji inició la primera fábrica moderna de manufactura de hierro, en Kamaishi, bajo la supervisión de un ingeniero británico. Durante veinte años habían operado allí pequeños hornos, construidos también conforme a un diseño extranjero, pero sin ingenieros extranjeros. Los hornos habían tenido dificultades financieras, pero técnicamente habían tenido éxito. Con todo, el gobierno ignoró esta tecnología tradicional y prefirió los métodos británicos. Los resultados fueron desastrosos. Al cabo de cien días se acabó en carbón. Después de un tiempo se reanudó la producción utilizando coque. Pero esto dio por resultado la congelación del hierro y el coque en el horno y, así, hubo de clausurarse toda la planta.

La investigación tecnológica e histórica señala las tres causas siguientes del fracaso: había una amplia brecha entre la modernidad de la tecnología en que se basaba el nuevo horno y la forma anticuada de producir carbón: la ubicación de los hornos y el sistema total de transporte no eran adecuados para proporcionar rápidamente materia prima, y el diseño del horno mismo era fundamentalmente defectuoso. Además, la operación era dirigida por extranjeros, quienes no tomaron en consideración las características del mineral de hierro y el carbón japoneses. Debe añadirse una cuarta causa, a saber, la veneración por Occidente que sentía el gobierno. Este fracaso inicial de establecer la industria moderna del hierro en Japón demuestra claramente los peligros de importar tecnología sin prestar atención a las condiciones locales, y también demuestra la ventaja de la tecnología doméstica, es decir, su integración prioritaria con las condiciones locales.

Si deseamos examinar intentos anteriores de crear un moderno sector de la manufactura de hierro, podemos volvernos a la historia de la fundición de cañones. Aquí encontramos lo que se puede designar como el “modelo de la autogestión /imitación”, que podría demostrar ser un ejemplo valiosos para los países actualmente en desarrollo. Los hornos de reverbero en Saga, Kagoshima, Nirayama, Tottori y Hagi se basaban todos en un libro en idioma holandés. Hubo un prolongado proceso de prueba y error: tan solo la mitad del hierro se fundía, los cañones estallaban al primer disparo, etc… Pero no debe pasarse por alto el hecho de que, en medio de innumerables fracasos tuvieron un progreso constante. En efecto, en solo unos cuantos años todos los problemas iniciales habían sido superados y para fines del período Edo (1600 –1868) habían construido alrededor de doscientos cañones, incluyendo tres con rayado en espiral, que eran el último avance en la Europa contemporánea. Pese a innumerables fracasos, la velocidad con que asimilaban la nueva técnica exógena nos parece sorprendente. Ha habido muchos debates acerca de las razones de esta velocidad, pero aquí es de interés especial la posición adoptada por el profesor Shuji Ohashi: Usando sus estudios detallados sobre la metalurgia del hierro en las postrimerías del período Edo, el profesor Ohashi ha mostrado tres etapas diferentes en el proceso de formación de la tecnología del fundido de cañones en Saga. Cada una de estas etapas tuvo su propia contraparte en el desarrollo europeo.

La primera etapa fue el fundido de cañones de bronce. En Japón, este período duró de 1842 a 1859, mientras que la misma tecnología en Europa había permanecido en la etapa del bronce hasta mediados del siglo XVII. En ambos lugares, constituyó la base histórica para el fundido de cañones posterior. En Japón, esta segunda etapa de fundir cañones de hierro tuvo lugar entre 1851 y 1859 y correspondió a un avance que tuvo lugar en Europa desde mediados del siglo XVII a la década de 1850. La tercera etapa, que data de 1863, se centró en la capacidad de hacer cañones rayados de acero fundido. Esta etapa correspondió al desarrollo europeo desde la década de 1840. Debe observarse que, aunque cada etapa cubrió solo un breve período de tiempo, Saga había pasado exactamente por las mismas etapas y en el mismo orden que Europa.

En este desarrollo, confiaron no sólo en su propia experiencia en el fundido de cañones de bronce, sino también en muchos otros logros de la ciencia y la tecnología locales, tales como la elaboración de ladrillo refractarios, la utilización de la energía hidráulica, la aritmética japonesa local y, sobre todo, la totalidad de la tecnología doméstica de manufactura de hierro. Los artesanos desde hacía tiempo habían hecho armas, tales como espadas y pistolas, e implementos agrícolas tales como rastrillos y hoces de hierro en bruto y acero. Las temperaturas de sus horno eran comparables a la de los altos hornos. Así, los artesanos tenían un nivel notablemente alto en el arte del forjado y la fundición, y estaban bien informados acerca del comportamiento del hierro fundido y otros materiales diversos en altas temperaturas.

Sin el apoyo sólido de la tecnología local y de sus propias experiencias en las tecnologías precedentes, no puede esperarse que tenga éxito cualquier intento de imitación. Esto está fuera de toda dudad. Pero ¿podrían haber alcanzado los mismos resultado sin imitación alguna?. Sin duda, pero posiblemente con mucha lentitud. El intento de imitar un modelo occidental sin duda los alentó.

Exactamente debido a que sus intentos de fundir cañones fueron una imitación de tecnología exógena, estos intentos fueron acompañados por problemas nuevos, previamente desconocidos. La resolución de éstos requería de un nivel de destreza tecnológica más alto que el que realmente habían logrado los ingenieros.

Afortunadamente, las brechas que se encontraban cada vez eran lo suficientemente pequeñas como para superarlas. Pero, debido a la presencia de estas brechas, el incremento de sus habilidades puede describirse mejor como una serie de “saltos” en vez de cómo un simple progreso.

sam6.jpgEl desarrollo tecnológico japonés ha conocido muchos saltos así, uno de los cuales, por lo general, se considera como la fecha de nacimiento de la moderna industria del hierro de Japón: el primero de diciembre de 1857 vio encenderse el primer fuego en el alto horno de Kamaishi, un horno de carbón que una vez más se basó en el libro único mencionado arriba. Claro está que, fuera de estos saltos, hubo fracasos, pero también éstos fueron importantes, ya que prepararon a los ingenieros japoneses para su siguiente salto. Esta característica (es decir, una serie de saltos pequeños) del desarrollo tecnológico japonés es extremadamente importante para los países actualmente en desarrollo. En la medida que los países emergentes pretenden alcanzar el mismo nivel tecnológico que los países desarrollados en un período de tiempo más corto, sus planes de desarrollo necesariamente deben diseñarse como una serie de saltos.

Los problemas sociales relacionados con los saltos tecnológicos también deben ser interesantes para los países que inician su propio desarrollo. Los saltos técnicos deben ser vistos en sus contextos sociales e históricos. Pues, aunque en sí es un logro tecnológico, cada salto siempre fue parte inseparable de algún movimiento social histórico. El primer salto surgió de la agitación que comenzó con el choque social ocasionado por la Guerra del Opio y la aparición de buques de guerra occidentales y que terminó con la caída del gobierno Edo. Muchos cañones fundidos durante esa época fueron disparados contra el gobierno de Tokuwaga así como contra escuadrones occidentales. El segundo salto, claro está, estuvo asociado con el gran cambio social después de la Revolución Meiji, y el tercero con la tensión internacional entre la guerra ruso-japonesa. Mas tarde, también, los acontecimientos históricos siguieron siendo el incentivo de los saltos.

Hablando de manera general, en siempre que Japón tuvo siempre éxito en utilizar la pasión nacionalista creada por los períodos de agitación, y emplearla como fuerza motriz para un salto tecnológico. Esto sigue siendo verdad. Por ejemplo, los dirigentes japoneses hicieron uso pleno de la crisis del petróleo en 1973 a fin de crear un sentimiento de urgencia que pudieron aprovechar para el desarrollo integral de tecnología economizadora de energía.

Respecto a los sentimientos nacionalistas como ayuda para crear un salto tecnológico, un período especialmente interesante de la ciencia y tecnología japonesas es el período entre las dos guerras mundiales. La Primera Guerra Mundial impresionó mucho a los japoneses con las virtudes de la ciencia. Mas concretamente, habían sufrido varios tipos de carencias porque hubo que detener ciertas importaciones, y admiraban a los alemanes por haber inventado materiales sustitutos, bajo circunstancias similares, gracias a su ingenio científico. La tendencia que comenzó con esta guerra fue la “ciencia de los recursos”, que significaba la ciencia para asegurarse los recursos y para la invención de sustitutos, así como la ciencia de los “materiales de los recursos”. El problema que Japón había afrontado durante la guerra fue una especie de “dependencia tecnológica” parecida a la que puede verse ahora en los países periféricos. En consecuencia, más tarde se recalcó la independencia respecto de la tecnología occidental.

El respeto a la propia cultura, clave del éxito japonés

¿Cómo puede una sociedad reaccionar a las influencias exógenas y desarrollar capacidades potenciales endógenas? El hecho de que ambas van de la mano se ha demostrado repetidamente a lo largo de la historia. Como hemos visto, la experiencia japonesa misma lo comprueba: Japón fracasó cuando trató sencillamente de importar el conocimiento, sin tener en cuenta las condiciones propias. E incluso Europa lo había tomado en préstamo y lo había integrado, ya que en la temprana edad de este milenio Europa aprendió mucho de la ciencia y técnica altamente avanzadas de las zonas culturales árabe, hindú y china. Este proceso incluyó abundantes ejemplos de imitación y préstamo. Pero, una vez arraigados en la cultura europea, estos elementos exógenos permitieron que surgiera la energía latente en las condiciones domésticas europeas. Y Europa comenzó a desarrollarse rápidamente.

Sobre la industrialización del Japón existen los excelentes estudios del profesor Kazuko Tsurumi, que rechaza la opinión que considera la ciencia y la tecnología como entidades independientes de la cultura de cualquier sociedad en particular. Cada cultura tiene sus propias formas tradicionales de conocer y hacer. Esto significa que habrá un conflicto entre toda la tecnología prestada y la cultura local del país que la pide en préstamo, conflicto que no puede resolverse sino en el momento en que la tecnología se haya integrado a la cultura. El profesor Tsurumi investigó los conflictos en la tecnología local de la manufactura del hierro en el período Meiji en Japón. Este enfoque se recomienda a sí mismo como un método tecnosociológico. Si comparamos los diversos conflictos ocasionados por la importación de tecnología en algunos países, podemos encontrar muchas claves para la comprensión de la relación entre tecnología y cultura social. No obstante, al comparar China y Japón, el profesor Tsurumi siempre parece considerar la autogestión de manera favorable y positiva, refiriéndose a la imitación en términos negativos. Pero sería imposible para los países en desarrollo alcanzar la industrialización sin imitar o tomar a préstamo tecnología. Tal el caso de nuestra industria metalmetalúrgica de aplicación agrícola.

Un país capitalista atípico

Como Rusia, el Japón llegó tarde al desarrollo capitalista. Pero a diferencia de aquella, a partir de la Revolución Meiji de 1867, el sistema feudal fue superado en forma muy acelerada, por un lado; por el otro, también a diferencia de la burguesía rusa, la japonesa, apoyada en un fuerte capitalismo de Estado, logró controlar férreamente el proceso excluyendo del mismo la presencia y penetración del capital extranjero.

La modernización del Japón, ocurrida de este modo, prácticamente se salteó el período del capitalismo de libre competencia, pasando en forma casi directa del feudalismo al capitalismo monopolista. La Restauración Meiji (1868) convirtió al Japón en un país moderno, aunque atípico. En realidad, tendríamos que señalar que pudo convertirse en un país moderno porque fue atípico, porque se aferró a sus instituciones tradicionales, porque mantuvo en forma inquebrantable su propia personalidad nacional.

Ese espíritu independiente se puso de manifiesto en todos los terrenos. En lo referente al desarrollo industrial japonés, este fue totalmente autofinanciado, y los nipones no pidieron el más mínimo crédito a Occidente. Los bancos controlados por el Estado y ampliamente provistos de fondos provenientes de la recaudación del impuesto a la tierra, suministraron todos los capitales necesarios para crear la industria pesada y la liviana. Una vez que se consolidaron las grandes familias (zaibatzu), dotadas de enorme poder económico y político, e integradas en algunos casos por parientes y amigos de los líderes Meiji, se les fueron entregando las plantas industriales. El desarrollo tuvo un ritmo impresionante, pero gracias al bajísimo nivel de vida de la población.

Al mismo tiempo, se producía una profunda revolución político – religiosa. Un decreto imperial de 1890, que amalgamaba elementos confucianos y shintoístas, estableció la política educacional del nuevo régimen. Las lealtades feudales fueron reemplazadas por la lealtad a la Nación, encarnada en la figura mítica del Emperador, como un deber patriótico ineludible. Se inculcó en todos los estratos sociales el ideal samurai del honor y la lealtad, que de este modo se convirtió en la herencia legada por los antiguos clanes dominantes. También quedó claramente en vigencia la veneración por los ancianos – rasgo típico de toda cultura arcaica – y los estadistas de mayor edad, después de abandonar la función pública, integraban una especie de gerontocracia, formando un consejo asesor que mantuvo en forma inflexible la continuidad y la coherencia de la política japonesa.

No se podría comprender nada de lo que ocurrió en Japón en estos cien largos años sin tener presente esta mezcla inextricable de lo antiguo y lo moderno. Y digámoslo con claridad: para que un país se realice debe asumir plenamente su destino y su tradición nacional, es decir, debe de tener como punto de referencia su futuro y su pasado.

En estos términos es posible comprender lo que ocurrió en Japón. En ese país se mantenía totalmente viva, apenas recubierta por un débil estrato feudal, la cultura arcaica, que liga al hombre con su tierra y consigo mismo, esa sociedad que el mundo occidental niega, porque lo toca demasiado de cerca, o que lo relega a los pueblos que llama “primitivos” (Véase al respecto las obras de Pierre Clastres). La Restauración Meiji rescató y permitió el afloramiento de dos aspectos básicos de esta sociedad, en las condiciones históricas muy especiales de ese aislado país insular:

1. la lealtad a la institución imperial, en la cual habían quedado sintetizados y simbolizados todos los valores espirituales de la aldea arcaica, y
2. el odio a los bárbaros es decir, hacia la civilización occidental, en lo cual no se equivocaban en absoluto, porque esa civilización representaba una amenaza clara de destrucción de todos sus valores esenciales.

Civilización y Barbarie

¿Por qué pudieron los japoneses afianzar su existencia como nación ante las presiones de todas las potenciales coloniales?

Disentimos en un todo con las explicaciones reduccionistas de ciertos “analistas” que atribuyen el desarrollo nipón a su espíritu imitativo y pragmático. Esta explicación, elemental por cierto, que atribuye a una civilización milenaria un supuesto deslumbramiento por la técnica y la cultura de Occidente, se da, como hemos visto, de bruces con la realidad, con la historia del Japón. No es otra cosa, que una de las tantas manifestaciones de etnocentrismo occidental.

El Japón evitó ser aplastado e impuso su presencia como nación porque se replegó sobre sus propias tradiciones, que se apoyan en el basamento inconmovible de la cultura arcaica, cimiento insustituible de una comunidad bien organizada.

De este modo se constituyó, como hemos dicho, en el heraldo de las reivindicaciones nacionales de otras naciones asiáticas. Lo logró porque a partir de sus propios valores, plenamente vigentes, antepuso ante todo lo demás su reconstrucción nacional, tras ser el único pueblo del planeta en sufrir una agresión atómica, aceptó una total austeridad, desechó todo lo superfluo y contando solamente con sus propias fuerzas se colocó en dos décadas a la vanguardia de las potencias industriales.

Comprendieron que en el dilema “civilización o barbarie” tan caro al pensamiento de nuestros liberales; que llegaron a importar maestras norteamericanas que ni siquiera sabían el castellano y esgrimieron la consigna para realizar una salvaje campaña de “limpieza étnica” con las montoneras del interior, que civilización es lo propio y barbarie lo extraño. Y los países que lo advierten tienen defensas más eficaces ante el intento la imposición del pensamiento único, mediante el bombardeo masivo de los medios de comunicación donde se ofrece un supuesto mundo racionalista y eficiente. “Un infierno climatizado que nos quieren vender como felicidad” decía Julio Cortázar. Un racionalismo que ha realizado un asalto despiadado e irracional contra el hombre y la naturaleza y una eficacia que se traduce en crisis y guerras eternas.

Al igual que el Japón, debemos afirmar que nuestro propios valores y nuestras propias esencias son más trascendentes, porque hacemos propio el certero axioma de Le Corbusier: “Lo que permanece, en las empresas humanas, no es lo que sirve, sino lo que conmueve”.

Fuente: Una Mirada Austral.

lundi, 09 novembre 2015

Shinzo Abe’s Visit to Mongolia and Central Asia

 
Shinzo Abe’s Visit to Mongolia and Central Asia
 
Ex: http://journal-neo.org

From October 22 to 28 this year, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a tour to Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. This trip was the second one after almost a similar tour in 2006 of Junichirō Koizumi – the Prime Minister of Japan of that time, who is considered to be Abe’s “political father”.

The current Prime Minister’s “hurricane visits” to each of the six countries were marked by further actualization of the key foreign policy challenge, which is perceived by Tokyo as a factor directly linked to the development of China as the second global power.

Nearly all the regions of the world point out that the two major Asian powers are implementing the strategy known to football fans as “man-to-man marking” towards one another. In this regard, the Central Asian tour of the Japanese Prime Minister is no exception. It was made in response to Beijing’s desire to involve the Central Asian countries in the reconstruction of the land route of the Silk Road project.

As it has been repeatedly pointed out in the NEO, in recent years, there is a trend of the growing importance of the “power” component in Japan’s “toolbox” intended to address its foreign policy objectives, including those caused by strategic confrontation with China. However, its third economy status, as well as its image as one of the global centers of technological progress and potential investor in the national development projects of its partner countries remain the most important of them (and, apparently, they will remain like that in the foreseeable future).

By intensifying relations with them, Japan is resolving its “genealogical” problem, which the country faced after it went the way of westernization in the second half of the 19th century. We are talking about a complete absence of mineral resources within the territory of the country that are crucial for the functioning of a modern economy. Nevertheless, if you do not have them, you can buy them abroad in some way. This “some way” may vary. For about one hundred years since the beginning of the period of the “Meiji Restoration”, the principal means of solving this problem were political and military expansion into the neighboring countries that finally resulted in the national disaster of 1945. The entire postwar history of Japan shows a significantly more effective solution of the same problem using the nation’s current main instrument – the 50 “agents” (representing the leading Japanese financial and industrial conglomerates) who formed the core of the team, and accompanied Abe on his Central Asian tour.

Comments about the tour focus attention on the fact that, along with their important strategic position, the visited countries are also extremely rich in natural resources. In particular, they specify the countries’ shares in percentages of the world’s oil, gas and uranium ore reserves found in their territories, for control over which several leading players have been drawn in the struggle.

As a matter of fact, Mongolia can hardly be included in the Central Asian region. However, the mere fact that on the way to the five countries belonging to that region the Japanese Prime Minister felt it necessary to make a preliminary stop-over in Ulaanbaatar once again demonstrates the growing importance of control over the Mongolian territory for the world’s leading players. To be more politically correct, securing a privileged spot in the list of Mongolia’s partners plays an increasingly important role for each of them. In particular, it already played the role of a mediator in an attempt to normalize relations between Japan and North Korea under the pretext of resolving “the problem of the kidnapped” two dozen Japanese during the 70’s. From the standpoint of maintaining an independent state status, implementation of the so-called “third neighbor strategy”, which stipulates the development of relations with the “non-regional” leading countries of the world, is becoming increasingly important for Mongolia.

Thus, the entire tour of Abe can be divided into two separate parts – his visit to Mongolia and his trip to the Central Asian countries.

It is noteworthy that at that time an article appeared in the Chinese Global Times with seemingly abstract reasoning of the benefits of a neutral positioning in the international scene for small countries (including Mongolia), as well as for the whole world.

During the talks between Shinzo Abe and the Prime Minister of Mongolia Chimediin Saikhanbileg, the Partiesreaffirmed their desire to incorporate specific content into the Agreement on economic partnership signed in February 2015 during the latter’s visit to Tokyo. Among other things, it provides gradual withdrawal of tariff barriers in bilateral trade in respect of 96% of goods and services supplied to each other by 2030.

This Agreement is the first such document for Mongolia and the fifteenth for Japan, which supplies mainly engineering products, and purchases coal and other mineral resources, wool and light industry products from its partner.

japon,mongolie,asie centrale,asie,affaires asiatiques,politique internationale,géopolitique,eurasisme,eurasie

Today, amid the decline in China’s growth rate – the main trade partner of Mongolia – as well as falling prices for mineral raw materials in the global markets (the main Mongolian export product), development of relations with the third economy in the world is particularly important for Ulaanbaatar. During his visit, Abe expressed Japan’s readiness to continue participation in the infrastructure projects in Mongolia, including its key national project – the development of the giant coal deposit at Tavan Tolgoi.

Special attention should be given to two aspects in the statement of the Japanese Prime Minister at the final press conference. First, he expressed gratitude to the leadership of Mongolia for its support of Japan’s adoption of a package of new laws in the defense sphere. Second, Abe noted that the two countries agreed to develop strategic partnership, and called for the involvement of the United States in the format of these relations.

The latter is not a fiction, taking into account the growing interest shown by Washington to Mongolia, especially in the development of cooperation in the field of defense. It will suffice to mention that the multilateral military exercises – Khaan Quest – are held annually in Mongolia under the auspices of the USA. The last Khaan Quest-2015 exercises involved 22 countries to different extents.

It should also be noted that the Japanese Prime Minister enjoyed a very favorable reception in Mongolia and Central Asia, which was quite understandable. All the neighbors of China deriving considerable benefits from the development of their economic relations with China show a clear commitment to insure against risks (real or imaginary ones – this is a separate issue) due to the entire fact of its transformation into the second global power.

Against the emerging decline in the shares of the main “insurance company” in the region (and in the entire world), whose role is still played by the US, the significance of “insurance company No. 2″, i.e. Japan, is increasing. Its leader arrived in the region with a proposal of financial and technological support for projects that are extremely important for the countries visited, such as those associated with the development of the Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan, the reconstruction of the Manas airport in Kyrgyzstan, and development of the transport infrastructure in Tajikistan.

Experts, however, have noted the apparent time lag in the Japanese reaction to China’s economic expansion that have taken place in Central Asia and Mongolia for a long time.

As for Russian interests, the potential spread of the China-Japan struggle to Central Asia (especially in a format that has already been noted in South-East Asia) may give rise to a number of new and complex issues during selection of the optimal strategy of behavior with respect to each of Russia’s two most important Asian neighbors.

Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

mardi, 27 octobre 2015

Osaragi Jirö et les 47 ronins

katana_et_samourai_by_darth_m0rtuus-d5drqno.jpg

Osaragi Jirö et les 47 ronins

Rémy Valat
Ex: http://metamag.fr

Nojiri Haruhiko (4 octobre 1897-30 avril 1973), plus connu sous son nom de plume, Osaragi Jirō est un célèbre écrivain de la culture populaire japonaise qui a signé de nombreux romans parus en feuilletons dans la presse. Fils de charpentier, il est le fruit de la méritocratie : excellent élève, il entrera à l’université impériale de Tôkyô (département de science politique) et incorporera le ministère des Affaires étrangères, institution qu’il quittera rapidement pour se consacrer totalement à l’écriture (1924). Il deviendra ultérieurement le conseiller du prince Higashikuni Naruhiko, premier ministre du Japon de l’immédiat après-guerre. Son nom de plume, Osaragi, est une prononciation différente du terme « daibutsu » (大仏) qui signifie le « Grand Bouddha », c’est-à-dire une statue du Bouddha, comme celle sise à Kamakura (Nojiri Haruhiko habitait à proximité de celle-ci). En outre ce pseudonyme est en lien avec l’histoire du lieu puisque les Osaragi étaient des membres du clan Hôjô mentionné dans la chronique Taiheiki qui traite de la fin du shôgunat de Kamakura (1185-1333). 


aaaaajiro.jpgAuteur de fictions de cape et d’épées, de romans contemporains et de politique française (affaire dreyfus, boulangisme, Commune de Paris), l’écrivain est aussi connu pour son adaptation de l’histoire des 47 rônins. Osaragi Jirô publie cette histoire intitulée Akô Rôshi, sous forme de feuilletons paru dans le quotidien Tôkyô Nichinichi Shimbun en 1927. L’oeuvre sera réalisée pour le cinéma par Matsuda Sadatsugu en 1961.

 
Le roman connaît un grand succès, et pour cause, outre les qualités littéraires de son auteur, l’histoire des 47 rônins est un fait d’armes héroïque enraciné dans la culture populaire . En outre, en cette période de nationalisme ardent, la bravoure, l’indéfectible fidélité et l’esprit de sacrifice de ces 47 samouraïs (ou serviteurs) est mise en avant par la propagande ; chaque citoyen-samouraï-soldat ne pesait alors guère plus lourd qu’une pétale de cerisier en fleurs... Ce roman, dans l’esprit d’un Emile Zola ou d’un Alexandre Dumas, et une oeuvre remarquablement documentée, qui nous plonge dans le Japon d’Edo et mêle petites et grandes intrigues, celles des courtisans et des malandrins. Il existe une version aussi tranchante qu’une lame de katana, celle de George Soulié de Morant : je préfère celle-ci à la première pour sa sobriété, et aussi parce qu’elle va et touche l’essentiel, mais ceci est question de goûts. Une excellente traduction de ce monument de la littérature nippone est parue aux éditions Picquier en 2007 (Osaragi Jirō, Les 47 rônins, éditions Picquier, 2007). Le roman a été traduit en français par Jacques Lalloz, et ce dernier a été récompensé du prix de la Fondation Konishi le 14 décembre 2009. Un texte savoureux sans comparaison aucune avec la pitrerie cinématographique d’Hollywood, que l’âme d’Ôishi la maudisse.... 


Osaragi Jirō, Les 47 rônins, traduction par Jacques Lalloz, éditions Picquier, 2007, 896 pages, 27 €

00:05 Publié dans Traditions | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : traditions, japon, asie, samourais, ronins | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mardi, 29 septembre 2015

Archerie et arts martiaux japonais

Kyudo-3.jpg

ARCHERIE ET ARTS MARTIAUX JAPONAIS

Le paradis perdu

Rémy Valat
Ex: http://metamag.fr 

Le Sentier, la Voie « n’est rien d’autre que le méridien central sis au cœur de la moelle épinière à travers lequel le pratiquant au cours de sa vie cherche à s’élever de l’obscurité (l’ego) vers la lumière (le Soi). » Michel Coquet, "Le Kyûdô".


L’histoire des guerriers japonais, leurs techniques de combat et leur éthique fascinent le public occidental. Études, romans, films, animations et mangas nous offrent une image souvent trompeuse sur ces hommes dépeints comme des fanatiques, des serviteurs zélés, fidèles jusqu’à la mort, le drame de la Grande Guerre en Asie, venant pour beaucoup, confirmer cette interprétation des guerriers japonais. La guerre terminée, le Japon pacifié et placé sous tutelle nord-américaine, s’efforce d’oublier ce passé violent et militariste et de forger une nouvelle image, que l’on appelle depuis peu, le Cool Japan. La soif du public européen et nord-américain pour une spiritualité exotique, et par conséquent plus vrai, plus authentique, a favorisé le développement en Occident des arts martiaux modernes, exportés du Japon.

Le budô, apparu au début de l’ère Meiji, représente aujourd’hui l’image que le Japon et les Japonais souhaiteraient se donner d’eux-mêmes au monde. Un grand écart donc entre le Hagakure de Yamamoto Tsunetomo (et son apologie contemporaine, Le Japon moderne et l’éthique samouraï de Mishima Yukio) et les publications contemporaines sur les arts martiaux mettant en avant le développement personnel masquant en réalité, dans le cas du kendô par exemple, une activité sportive occidentalisée. Le livre de Michel Coquet, « Le kyûdô, art sacré de l’éveil », paru cette année aux éditions du Chariot d’Or (groupe éditorial Piktos) apporte un éclairage « objectif », reposant sur une longue et sincère "expérience" de la méditation, des arts martiaux en général et du kyûdô en particulier. Il existe une multitude d’ouvrages sur un sujet vendeur qui fait le bonheur des auteurs et éditeurs spécialisés, dont il ne faut pas diminuer l’importance et le rôle dans la connaissance- et bien souvent la méconnaissance - de la culture martiale japonaise. Il est préférable de jeter un voile pudique sur le manque de fondement (et de profondeur) de certains de leur propos (tel ce grand maître de ïaïdô japonais au « keikogi » bariolé, qui nous laisse découvrir non seulement des techniques prétendument avancées, apprises dès la première année au Japon avec un professeur digne de ce nom, mais aussi son beau caleçon bleu...).


kyudo82360470525.jpgLoin du tape-à-l’oeil, Michel Coquet, né en 1944, a sincèrement voué sa vie à l’apprentissage des arts martiaux japonais (karaté, kenjutsu, ïaïdô, kyûdô, aïkidô, etc.), un apprentissage spirituel, car le budô, la voie du guerrier, ne peut être assimilée à un sport ou à une discipline olympique (tel le judô, et comme une partie de la fédération internationale de kendô le souhaiterait). Au Japon, une grande compagnie de sécurité sponsorise des lutteurs, des kendôkas, et les "matches de sumo" flairent bon le business... Actuellement le budô inclut de multiples disciplines, comme le judô, le kyudô, sumô, l’aïkidô, shôrinji kempô, naginata, jukendô : le guerrier de jadis est aujourd’hui éclaté en de multiples disciplines édulcorées. En somme, « budô » désigne les « arts martiaux » depuis l’ère Meiji (1868-1912). Avant cette date, on employait les termes de « bugei » et de « bujutsu », et même « l’ancienne voie du guerrier », ou « kobudô » est un néologisme. Bugei, ou l’ « art du guerrier » est une appellation caractéristique de la période d’Edô, où l’art militaire s’inspirait des autres domaines artistiques, comme le noh (pour les déplacements et les postures) ou la cérémonie du thé (les katas), ce qui manifestait une volonté d’esthétiser les techniques de combat. 


Les auteurs contemporains rappellent non sans raison que l’idéophonogramme désignant le guerrier « bu » (武) se décompose en « hoko », partie supérieure du tracé ressemblant à deux lances entrecroisées signifiant « lance, hallebarde » et, dans sa partie inférieure « tomeru » (止arrêter), soit une idée défensive, proche de l’idéal de la shinkage-ryu, le « sabre de vie ». L’interprétation la plus satisfaisante, car la plus ancienne, rappelle que le radical « tomeru » serait dérivé d’un idéogramme d’une graphie proche signifiant « pied » ce qui désignerait l’homme portant les armes pour la bataille ou le fantassin. Une autre, toute aussi pertinente et en relation avec l’objet du livre de Michel Coquet, serait que l’ensemble du kanji « bu » serait un dérivé d’un autre idéogramme homophone désignant la « danse », en particulier dans sa dimension religieuse, ce qui souligne la place de la spiritualité dans les arts martiaux depuis leur origine. 


La « Voie » (道) est un terme polysémantique signifiant prosaïquement « point de passage », « voie », « distance », un terme qui se réfère aussi à des concepts philosophico-religieux, comme une manière d’agir, un domaine de la connaissance, une discipline, un état, une essence, un secret... Dans la Chine antique, et en particulier le taoïsme, il était employé en référence aux grands principes de l’univers. Dans son acception contemporaine, « dô » insiste sur l’importance spirituelle, et non uniquement sportive ou physique, de l’individu. La « Voie » est un moyen de développement et d’accomplissement personnels. Le kyûdô est celle de l’arc, un chemin comme tant autre susceptible de conduire à l’éveil (au sens bouddhique du terme).


Après l’invention du propulseur, l’arc est la première machine issue de l’imagination humaine, une machine autonome permettant de dépasser les limites de l’anatomie, une machine permettant de tuer aussi bien pour se nourrir que pour assurer la défense du groupe. Elle était l’arme de prédilection des communautés de chasseurs-cueilleurs, et pour tous ces motifs cette arme faisait l’objet de vénération (lire Michel Otte, À l’aube spirituelle de l’humanité, Odile Jacob, 2012). Dans son ouvrage, Michel Coquet se concentre sur l’aire culturelle asiatique, et en particulier l’antiquité du sous-continent indien, la Chine et le Japon. L’arc tient une place importante dans les mythologies et les traditions asiatiques (et indo-européennes, il suffit de se rappeler les épreuves infligées par Pénélope à ses prétendants...): l’auteur consacre un beau chapitre à la lecture et à la compréhension du « joyau spirituel » qu’est la Bhagavad Gîtâ", mythe mettant en scène l’archer Arjuna, engagé dans une bataille plus spirituelle que militaire, la bataille pour la réalisation de soi. 


D’un point de vue historique et technique, les premières écoles d’archerie nippones seraient, selon la tradition, apparues au tournant des VIe et VIIe siècles au moment de l’introduction du bouddhisme dans l’archipel nippon. L’arc était utilisé monté et il était primordial pour un guerrier de savoir tirer à cheval, et diverses formes d’entraînement ont été mises au point : le tir sur un cheval lancé au galop, une chasse à courre ayant pour cible des chiens, ou bien encore le tir à longue distance à l’aide d’un arc spécifique, le tôya. L’arc était la pierre-angulaire des stratégies développées sur le champ de bataille, et les archers les plus habiles, capturés par l’ennemi, étaient parfois mutilés pour les empêcher de reprendre du service (pendant la Guerre de Cent Ans en Europe, on amputait un ou plusieurs doigts des archers faits prisonniers (souvent l’index et-ou- le majeur, pratique à l’origine du doigt d’honneur).

L’introduction des armes à feu par des marins portugais, en 1543, changera la donne, comme en Europe l’archerie est alors condamnée : d’habiles forgerons parvinrent à imiter et à améliorer les prototypes originaux et bon nombre de fusils de fabrication japonaise seront exportés de par l’Asie. Toutefois, le fusil restera une arme sans valeur spirituelle, car dans le fond, les Japonais appréciaient les duels ou les moyens de mettre en valeur leur habileté et leur courage, ce qui était le cas des tireurs à l’arc monté et des fantassins combattant à l’arme blanche. Lors de son séjour au Japon (1969-1973), Michel Coquet s’initia au kyûdô, et son dernier livre revient sur cette expérience, car dans les arts martiaux, la seule réalité c’est l’Expérience. Les katas que l’on répète inlassablement et avec sincérité pour maîtriser une technique martiale font partie de l’enseignement traditionnel, comme jadis l’apprentissage par la répétition et les moyens mnémotechniques ( il suffit de relire l’Odyssée ou l’Illiade pour s’en rendre compte). La posture du corps, la manière de marcher, la respiration, participent à cette quête de la « non-pensée » ou du « temps éclaté » (le terme est de Kenji Tokitsu), toutes ces petites choses « oubliées », broyées par la conscience (et la modernité) et pourtant fondamentale et caractéristiques de notre espèce. À l’exception de quelques erreurs historiques mineures (concernant surtout la protohistoire), qui tiennent à mon avis à la difficulté d’accès à une documentation récente, le livre de Michel Coquet pose les bases de la philosophie et de la pratique de l’arc traditionnel japonais ; même si ce livre complète (et est sur bien des points plus accessible) le livre de Eugen Herrigel, « le zen dans l’art chevaleresque du tir à l’arc », rien ne vaut, comme le souligne Michel Coquet, la pratique avec un bon « sensei »... Une pratique sans esprit de compétition ou de recherche de résultat : au kendô deux adversaires qui se frappent en même temps marquent des points, dans la réalité brute, ils seraient morts... Ici, l’ennemi s’est surtout soi-même...


La pratique des arts martiaux contient intrinsèquement un rapport avec la mort, et cette relation aide au détachement et à mieux vivre... Le kyûdô répond à ce besoin d’union avec le réel, ce paradis perdu, peut-être le « Sacré éladien » tapi au fond de chacun d’entre-nous. Cette quête du paradis perdu, que d’aucuns compensent, une bière à la main, en regardant Games of the Trone, c’est aussi un phénomène de société : le grand malheur de l’Occident est d’avoir « oublié », d’avoir dénigré notre culture et nos valeurs martiales et spirituelles : il y a quelque chose à puiser dans l’esprit de la chevalerie et les valeurs martiales, sans pour autant y voir l’ombre du fascisme. Les arts martiaux traditionnels créent du sens et sont vraiment un moyen de réenchanter le monde. 


Michel Coquet, «Le KYÛDÔ - Art sacré de l’éveil» aux éditions Chariot d'Or, Format : 15,5 x 24, pages : 320, 25 €

jeudi, 24 septembre 2015

Terrorismo Islamico: perché non esiste in Giappone

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Terrorismo Islamico: perché non esiste in Giappone

Articolo a cura di Cristiano Ruzzi dell’Associazione culturale Zenit

Ex: http://www.associazioneculturalezenit.org

Negli ultimi anni, oltre alla crisi economica, il mondo ha dovuto affrontare anche il problema emergente dell’estremismo islamico e, per confermare ciò, basta dare un’occhiata ai numeri sempre più crescenti degli attacchi terroristici nel mondo.

Dal 2011, con la comparsa sulla scena mondiale dell’ISIS, il numero delle vittime degli attacchi di fattrice islamica è nettamente cresciuto, assieme alla quota di Musulmani nel terrorismo mondiale che è sempre più in costante avvicinamento al 100%.

Nel 2013, secondo il Dipartimento di Stato Statunitense, un totale di 9.707 attacchi di origine terrorista è avvenuto in tutto il mondo, provocando più di 17.800 morti e più di 32.500 feriti. In aggiunta, più di 2.990 persone sono scomparse o sono state prese in ostaggio. Le informazioni riguardo i perpetratori sono state riportate, dal materiale di base, per il 32% degli attacchi terroristi nel 2013.

E di questo 32%, solo tre gruppi terroristici musulmani, i Talebani, ISIS e Boko Haram, sono stati ritenuti responsabili di 5.655 morti, all’incirca del 31.76 percento. Ciò vuol dire che della prima percentuale la stragrande maggioranza sono state perpetrate da soli tre gruppi terroristici, ossia più del 50% che esiste in questo mondo sempre più turbolento.

A questo punto sembrerebbe che non ci sia un singolo Paese dove i musulmani non possano innalzare le proprie bandiere, invece no! Esiste uno Stato abbastanza singolare, non uniforme al pietismo che oramai prevale sempre di più nel continente americano ed europeo, dove non è stato finora perpetrato un attacco terroristico sul proprio suolo. Il nome di questo Paese è il Giappone.

Ovviamente, si penserà che il Giappone ha raggiunto questo risultato attraverso politiche d’integrazione super efficaci, attraverso l’utilizzo delle più avanzate tecnologie ed assegnando miliardi di yen nella costruzione di centinaia di moschee e di scuole islamiche in tutto il territorio nazionale, vietando il maiale nei luoghi pubblici, introducendo ore separate per maschi e femmine nelle piscine, con i dottori maschili che non osano toccare i genitali delle loro pazienti, le donne musulmane che ottengono un immenso aiuto sociale ogni volta che hanno un figlio, i tribunali della Sharia introdotti nel sistema giudiziario giapponese ed, infine, il Corano che viene considerato come un testo sacro.

Niente di tutto questo. La soluzione a tale rompicapo è tanto semplice, quanto efficace: il Giappone è semplicemente chiuso ai musulmani, non nel senso che sono banditi, ma che il numero di permessi date alle persone provenienti dai Paesi islamici è molto basso. Ottenere un visto di lavoro non è facile per chi profeta la religione di Maometto, anche se sono fisici, ingegneri e manager mandati da compagnie straniere che sono attive nella regione. Come risultato, il Giappone è un “Paese senza musulmani”.

Non c’è una stima precisa della popolazione musulmana. Secondo la dichiarazione dell’ex presidente dell’Associazione Islamica Giapponese Abu Bakr Morimoto “per dirla francamente, solo un migliaio. Nel senso più ampio, voglio dire, se non escludiamo coloro che sono diventati musulmani per motivi, diciamo, matrimoniali, e non praticano la religione: allora il numero sarebbe di poche migliaia”.

Invece, uno dei leader della comunità Islamica in Giappone, Nur Ad – Din Mori, alla domanda “Che percentuale della popolazione totale del Giappone è musulmana?” ha risposto “Uno su centomila”.

Attualmente la popolazione Giapponese è di 130 milioni e quindi, se le risposte dei due leader Islamici sono corrette, dovrebbero esseri circa 1300 musulmani. Ma anch’essi, che hanno ottenuto i permessi dall’immigrazione e vivono da molti anni nel Paese hanno pochissime chance di diventare cittadini a tutti gli effetti.

Ufficialmente il Giappone vieta di esortare le persone ad adottare la religione dell’Islam, e qualsiasi musulmano che incoraggi ciò è visto come proselite di una cultura straniera indesiderabile. I promotori, per l’appunto, che sono troppo attivi rischiano la deportazione e, qualche volta, dure condanne di carcere.

La lingua arabe è insegnata in pochissimi istituti accademici: se ne può trovare, infatti, soltanto uno, l’Istituto Arabo Islamico a Tokyo. Inoltre l’università internazionale, sempre nella Capitale, non offre corsi di arabo. Importare il Corano in Arabo è praticamente impossibile, ed è permesso solo la versione adattata in Giapponese.

Fino a poco tempo fa, c’erano solo due moschee in Giappone: la Tokyo Jama Masjid e la moschea di Kobe. Ora, il numero totale di siti di preghiera è contato in circa trenta moschee a piano singolo ed un centinaio di stanze d’appartamento stanziati per le preghiere, e la società giapponese si aspetta, appunto, che tali persone preghino nelle loro case: non esiste, infatti, alcuna preghiera collettiva nelle strade o nelle piazze, e chi lo fa può ottenere delle multe molto “salate” o, in quei casi in cui la polizia giapponese ritiene seri, espellere dal Paese i partecipanti.

Dal punto di vista lavorativo, le aziende giapponesi in cerca di lavoratori stranieri fanno espressamente notare che non sono interessati ai musulmani. Non esiste alcuna traccia di Sharia, ed il cibo Halal è estremamente difficile da trovare.

La popolazione, in generale, tende a percepire l’Islam come una “religione strana e pericolosa” che un vero cittadino giapponese dovrebbe evitare, e gli omicidi avvenuti ad inizio anno dei due connazionali Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto per mano dell’ISIS non ha certamente migliorato la situazione.

La cosa più interessante, di tutto ciò, e che i giapponesi non si sentono in colpa per un approccio così “discriminatorio” all’Islam, e che non dovrebbero chiedere scusa ad alcuno per il modo negativo in cui percepiscono tale religione. Certamente fanno trattati economici con gli arabi per il gas ed il petrolio, questo sì, e mantengono buone relazioni con gli esportatori medesimi, ma non con l’islam, e neanche con l’immigrazione musulmana. E, cosa strana, i musulmani in Giappone non provocano rivolte, non marchiano i giapponesi come “razzisti”, non bruciano macchine, spaccano finestre, tagliano le teste dei soldati per essere stati in Afghanistan, Iraq o in qualunque altro posto sulla Terra – e non c’è stato un singolo giapponese vittima di un attacco terrorista sul proprio suolo nazionale negli ultimi trent’anni.

Che l’Europa, attanagliata non solo dell’estremismo islamico ma anche dell’immigrazione selvaggia, debba prendere da esempio il modello giapponese per trattare direttamente il problema? Chissà.

 

mardi, 08 septembre 2015

The New Warfare of Unnatural Disasters: Death by Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes

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The New Warfare of Unnatural Disasters: Death by Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes

By

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

The growing number of scientific studies that have demonstrated consistent electromagnetic anomalies associated with virtually every major earthquake both before and after the event during the last two decades strongly indicate the use of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weaponry as the actual manmade cause of these so called natural disasters. A quote nearly two full decades ago from then US Secretary of Defense William Cohen at a counterterrorism conference back on April 28, 1997 openly revealed:

Others are engaging in even an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves… So there are a lot of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations… It’s real and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts.

As if to echo Cohen’s reality check, nine years ago Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated, “An arms race is entering its new stage. There is a threat of new weaponry looming on the horizon.”

This presentation will examine the compelling evidence supporting what those Russian and US leaders were alluding to by analyzing the supporting data surrounding the many so called “natural” disasters of the last twenty years. The overwhelming conclusion is that most if not all were in fact manmade. Tragically millions of humans have lost their lives at a cost into the trillions in property and infrastructure damage as yet more unaccounted for casualties of diabolically waged, unknown and undeclared secret wars. All the most powerful nation’s militaries on the planet possess and are no doubt using EMP weapons technology as the latest hi tech form of warfare, including the United States, Israel, NATO, Britain, France, Russia and China and likely a host of others we do not know about as well, possibly even non-state organizations like the Islamic State ISIS.

January 1995 Kobe Earthquake

A group of Japanese researchers in the 2002 Journal of Geodynamics (Volume 33, Issues 4–5) had this to say about the 1995 Kobe 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Japan:

Anomalous transmission of man-made electromagnetic waves in VLF and VHF ranges was also detected from a few days before the earthquake, indicating the possibility that the ionosphere above the focal zone was disturbed at the final stage of the earthquake preparation process.

In addition, the Japanese religious leader of the infamous terrorist cult Aum Shinrikyo who obsessed over doomsday and weapons of mass destruction, Shoko Asahara, predicted in a radio broadcast on January 8, 1995 that, “Japan will be attacked by an earthquake in 1995. The most likely place is Kobe.” Asahara even stated that the earthquake would be caused by “a foreign power” using an electromagnetic weapons system. A few days later nearly 6,500 Japanese residents in or near the million and a half sized city were killed in the deadly quake, the worst in Japan in 47 years.

Though Asahara’s bold warning accurately predicting the unnatural disaster just days ahead of the event may have been intended to increase his charismatic cult status as a prophet, to former editor of the Japan Weekly Times Yoichi Clark Shimatsu it only piqued his interest and determination to get to the bottom of this heinous crime. The earthquake crashed the Japanese stock market that in turn liquidated England’s Baring Bank. Shimatus’s investigative suspicions were only magnified just weeks later when another lethal act of terrorism struck the Tokyo subway where commuters were sarin gassed. Asahara and 11 other members from the violent cult were arrested and in 2004 Asahara was sentenced to death.

A month after the subway tragedy the cult’s science and technology minister Hideo Murai claimed at a news conference:

There is a strong possibility of the activation of an earthquake using electromagnetic power, or somebody may have used a device that applied force inside the Earth.

The brilliant science guy Hideo Murai knew all about the power of electromagnetic technology like nobody else. Prior to his joining the cult, he worked at a top secret lab under the cover of Kobe Steel as the mastermind behind the development of a highly advanced laser-powered seismic device that could generate powerful earthquakes. And the very epicenter of that Kobe quake was his old Kobe Steel lab.

Yoichi Clark Shimatsu through his publication Archipelago was among the few journalists that focused extensively on uncovering the high-powered concealment of the link that the criminal cult enjoyed with powerbrokers atop both the Japanese and Russian governments. Asahara had unusually close ties with Russian Premier Boris Yeltsin’s Security Council Chairman Oleg Lobov. Under the front of Russia-Japan College, Asahara courted and recruited top Russian scientists and gained full access to Russia’s advanced hardware including a gas laser for making plasma weapons. For a time the cult also maintained Japanese allies in high places, like Japan’s head of foreign intelligence service Toshio Yamaguchi. Even the current cabal owned Japanese President Shinzo Abe and his father along with a former Tokyo governor all played key roles as strong government backers of the WMD Aum cult. At its peak Aum was worth a billion dollars, and owned vast amounts of land in Western Australia where it test fired its weapons of mass destruction.

This unholy trinity’s purpose was the proliferation of WMD’s ostensibly to be deployed against the US at which point Aum’s leadership saw themselves ruling Japan. The geopolitics chessboard at that time had grown upset over the US as the world’s only superpower developing too cozy of relations with neighboring China vis-à-vis David Rockefeller’s globalist deal-making, re-colonizing venture with Beijing to export Western corporations to China in exchange for exploiting the fertile, limitless supply of Chinese slave laborers inhabiting the most populated county on earth. Hence, both the Russian and elements within the Japanese government were feeling left out, left behind and threatened by the shifting alliances, and subsequently employed the violent cult stooges to do their dirty bidding, not unlike the same way US Empire uses al Qaeda and ISIS even to this day.

Within weeks after Hideo Murai’s April 1995 news conference, he was suddenly stabbed to death on live television (unlike the staged, false flag fakery of the recent Virginia shooting that US government never fails to amateurishly use as mounting leverage for its unlawful gun confiscation). The Japanese crime syndicate Yakuza murdered Murai as apparent payback for publicly disclosing his firsthand knowledge of the EMP weapon used to level Kobe. Thus Defense Secretary Cohen’s cry of foul play over earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes less than two years later came in reaction to the secret Japanese-Russian skullduggery.

But in 1997 it’s not like the United States was simply an innocent bystander. The inner circle of elitist power in America was caught playing catch-up to the Russian KGB jump on deployment of geophysical weapons not unlike the space race a few years earlier. A full two years before his assassination JFK stated, “We shall propose further cooperative efforts between all nations in weather prediction and eventually in weather control.” Back in 1958 the US military announced early success with weather modification by emitting strong electromagnetic beams into the atmosphere to heat up the ionosphere (the outermost layer of our atmosphere extending from 30 to 600 miles above the earth) as a precursor to the infamous HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) in Alaska and now spread elsewhere as well.

With Operation Popeye the Pentagon for a half dozen years seeded clouds over the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War in its failed attempt to make the muddy trail impassable in order to slow down and cut off the enemy supply line. In fact top secret US military deployment of weather warfare causing floods and droughts as well as other “natural” catastrophes like earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes and extreme weather events have been conducted with increasing frequency over the last several decades as a dominant, highly secretive and infinitely destructive brand of twenty-first century warfare.

Less than a year prior to Cohen’s admission of existing geophysical weather warfare, the US Air Force had published a comprehensive research paper entitled “Air Force 2025 The Final Report.” Under the section “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025,” weather modification and control was touted as offering  “the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary” that includes triggering floods, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis:

Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.

Global Research director Dr. Michel Chossudovsky has written extensively on weather warfare. His response to the US Air Force overtly sinister plans:

An analysis of statements emanating from the Air Force points to the unthinkable: the covert manipulation of weather patterns, communications and electric power systems as a weapon of global warfare.

This full speed ahead approach toward US Empire’s “full spectrum dominance” globally comes less than two decades after the United Nations General Assembly explicitly prohibited all nations from using any military force to manipulate, modify or otherwise alter the natural environment. But then has the UN or international law ever stood in the way of America’s “might makes right” exceptionalism unilaterally and willfully defying the rest of the world with complete impunity?

Outside a handful of courageously honest, independent scientists, among them Dr. Leuren Moret, Dr. Nick Begich and retired LTC Tom Bearden, no serious debate, challenge or open opposition against this immoral turpitude or the disastrous global consequences have ever been raised in either the scientific community or the globalist-controlled mainstream media outlets. So the malevolent misuse of science for covert military WMD’s continues ruling the day and this modern age, often funded through the feds’ money laundering-drug profiteering machine and then granted free reign of absolutely no oversight.

Yet despite its ultra-secrecy and free reign, occasionally information does leak out, but of course largely goes unnoticed. An October 24, 2005 BusinessWeek issue matter-of-factly addressed weather modification in China:

Rainmaking and hail prevention are considered established arts in some countries. China has 35,000 people engaged in weather management, and it spends $40 million a year on alleviating droughts or stemming hail that would damage crops.

But the relatively “benign” use contracted out in America to mostly civilian companies like Weather Modification, Inc. of Fargo, North Dakota is suppressing hail in Argentina, stabilizing snowpack in Idaho or cloud seeding in Nevada – a far cry from harnessing powerful Tesla-like bursts of energy that can kill hundreds of thousands of people in an earthquake or murder millions more by destroying a nation’s vulnerable power grid infrastructure. Dr. Gordon J. F. MacDonald, Associate Director of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCLA in a 1968 book called Unless Peace Comes wrote:

The key to geophysical warfare is the identification of environmental instabilities to which the addition of a small amount of energy would release vastly greater amounts of energy.

An expert in Tesla’s wave energy technology, Dr. MacDonald would later became a Council on Foreign Relations and Board of Directors member of the powerful elitist non-profit company MITRE Corporation. As a key policymaker he was riding high on the inside track of the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned that without citizens’ vigilance would take over America. Way back in 1968 Dr. MacDonald cast an ominously foreboding future that’s now unfortunately already here:

By the year 2018, technology will make available to the leaders of the major nations a variety of techniques for conducting secret warfare, of which only a bare minimum of the security forces need be apprised. One nation may attack a competitor covertly by bacteriological means, thoroughly weakening the population (though with a minimum of fatalities) before taking over with its own overt armed forces. Alternatively, techniques of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm, thereby weakening a nation’s capacity and forcing it to accept the demands of the competitor.

And with the US busily gaining patents on the most deadly strains of the Ebola virus after classifying it as bio-warfare, through geoengineering creating the longest, most severe drought in the nation’s bread basket West in 1200 years, along with the slew of other unnatural disasters piling up worldwide, including the recent volley of chemical explosions in China and a US armory in Japan, the visionary scientist whose words near a half century ago ring so dead true today proved all too prophetic. In 2002 Dr. MacDonald likely paid with his life for his uncanny honesty and startling truths. Similar to another honest man about to blow the whistle on more WMD’s who was suddenly murdered while also a CFR member and MITRE Corporation consultant Jack Wheeler.

As a fellow neighbor of the CIA in McLean, Virginia and one of the elite’s interlocking entities that holds no-bid contracts with the FAA, Homeland Security and Defense Department, the MITRE Corporation can readily issue exemptions to such private contractors as Evergreen International Aviation. Evergreen’s the little Oregon firm responsible for raining chemtrail poisons down on much of the West Coast, producing that unmovable ridge of high pressure blocking all Pacific storms from reaching drought-stricken California for the last couple years. At the top of this predatory food chain, should anyone on MITRE’s payroll suddenly act on his or her conscience and attempt to do the right thing by humanity, they might well be sealing their own fate and casket.

March 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Turning to the disaster of disasters with toxic radiation levels still continuing to spew across the Pacific Ocean and the northern latitude land masses through the jetstream four and a half years later, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was severely damaged by a nearby magnitude 9 earthquake that also caused the deadly tsunami in northern Japan. Instead of 9/11/01, this day of probable manmade reckoning is 3/11/11. During the preceding four days leading up to 3/11, scientists have detected significant heat spikes directly over the known fault lines. Specifically the number of electrons in the ionosphere that’s part of the earth’s upper atmosphere suddenly soared in the days just prior to the earthquake, peaking three days before while the increasing heat caused by infrared radiation peaked just hours prior to the disaster. Additionally, the research team has also analyzed over 100 other earthquakes of 5.5 magnitude or higher and with high correlation found this same heating phenomenon present.

January 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Going back to the January 12, 2010 to the horrendously destructive 7M Haiti earthquake, death toll estimates vary widely from US estimates of 100,000-160,000 while Haitian authorities believe as many as 316,000 people in the capital city of Port-au-Prince perished. By the way, it’s no accident that Haiti’s earthquake came on the 15th anniversary of the Kobe quake. The global crime cabal network work that way, meticulously plotting dates and numbers by occult calibrations. In any event, Haiti’s considered the most deadly earthquake of the last 20 years.

A team of MIT scientists from the MIT Technology Review reported that again there were strange anomalies occurring during the entire month preceding the event. A French satellite captured a huge increase of ultra-low frequency (ULF) radio waves during the month leading up to January 12th. The satellite named for its acronym DEMETER (Detection of Electro-Magnetic Emissions Transmitted from Earthquake Regions) was sent into orbit by French geo-scientists in 2004 to observe and measure precise atmospheric changes over earthquake zones before, during and after earthquake disasters. In the month prior to the Haiti quake a spike in ULF electromagnetic waves was recorded dramatically rising by 360% and then after the event slowly dissipated.

These findings are again consistent with other recorded measures of raised radiation heat levels prior to other large earthquakes suspected to be caused by manmade means primarily using electromagnetic pulse weapons. Nine days after the Haiti earthquake, RT, Fox and Press TV were covering Venezuelan media that had reported the quake “may be associated with the project called HAARP, a system that can generate violent and unexpected changes in climate.” The US defying Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had just gone on public airwaves denouncing the US Navy for triggering the quake with a “tectonic weapon.” Chavez attributed his information to Russian intelligence sources within its Northern Fleet. Venezuelan press also blamed the HAARP facility in Alaska three days prior to the Haiti disaster for initiating a 6.5 quake off the Eureka, California coast, and further implicating the US as the perpetrator behind the 2008 7.8M earthquake in southwest China that killed nearly another 90,000 people.

According to Russia’s Northern Fleet, the Haiti earthquake was the result of US Naval testing its secret earthquake EMP weapon gone wrong. Though the enormity of death and destruction may not have been expected, the US had to be fully aware of the potentially catastrophic consequences its testing would risk in easily causing an earthquake. In fact the SOUTHCOM Deputy Commander General P. K. Keen, normally stationed out of Miami, was suspiciously already prepositioned in Haiti ready to launch yet another US military invasion of the poorest Western Hemisphere nation. Less than 24-hours after the earthquake, America’s first planes began arriving with Air Force Special Operations forces followed by 2000 Marines and another 3500 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division ready to be deployed. An aircraft carrier was also immediately dispatched although it showed up less than 48 hours after the earthquake proving that it was not in Baltimore harbor as claimed but already en route at the time of the manmade disaster.

With the Haitian government literally toppled, the demolished presidential palace was the actual epicenter of the quake that weeks later still had rotting corpses laying in the streets. So much for America’s helping hand. Or more like so much for US sending its armed forces to protect its oil interests. Haiti has a vast wealth of untapped oil reserves. Of course US Empire has a long shameful history of inflicting numerous coups, assassinations and military interventions on the half-island nation and is using this US-induced disaster as its convenient excuse to once again wield total control for yet more plundering of a thoroughly ravaged, defenseless nation for years to come.

Yet another anomaly associated with both the 2008 China earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake are images caught on video by unsuspecting witnesses of a large bright orange glow or ball observed in the sky just prior to both earthquakes. This phenomenon has never been found to co-occur with any naturally occurring earthquake. In all likelihood, this strange coloring effect is a plasma discharge from a scalar electromagnetic weapon.

February 2010 Chile Earthquake

Right after the Haiti quake many South American nations like Venezuela’s Chavez saw that US imperialism was destroying one of their own in Haiti with the preplanned destruction and further plundering. Immediately they went into action to seek strength in unified numbers against the destroyer from the north. Six weeks after the Haiti disaster, a 24-nation bloc brought together the Latin American states with the Caribbean states in a show of solidarity and strength to ward off the destructive power of the United States. At the meeting in Mexico, host nation President Felipe Calderon announced:

We have decided to base an organization on shared values including sovereignty and the non-use of force, including threats of force, international cooperation, ever closer integration of Latin America and the Caribbean and permanent political dialogue.

Bolivian President Evo Morales added, “A union of Latin American countries is the weapon against imperialism. It is necessary to create a regional body that excludes the United States and Canada.” Probably the one continent where the US military presence is least evident is South America where trust towards the US is completely lacking. Diplomatic, trade and even military relations with both Russia and China are far closer.

Almost as a concession to the mighty giant to the north, the nation selected for the first two years to lead the alliance had perhaps the least antagonistic relationship with American Empire – Chile. But that made no difference a day after the group alliance was formally declared when a massive 8.8 M earthquake suddenly rocked 80% of Chile with the epicentre less than two miles off the central coast. It was the sixth largest earthquake ever recorded by a seismograph and also produced a tsunami that caused damage as far away as Japan and San Diego, California. Over a million and a half Chileans were displaced. For a quake of that size because it was relatively deep at 21 miles, fortunately the death toll was anywhere from 525-802. Again, the timing of this event with Chile becoming the leading nation in an alliance exclusively formed to protect itself from the aggressive malignancy of the US death grip speaks volumes. Do you see the pattern? Means and motive match every time.

2004 Niigata Japan Earthquakes

Former Forbes Magazine East Asian reporter Canadian Benjamin Fulford has written extensively and made videos documenting his observations from Japan. In an interview with former Japanese Minister of Financial Services Heizo Takenaka, Fulford asked why he “handed over control of the Japanese financial system to a group of American and European oligarchs,” and Takenaka replied that it was “because Japan had been threatened by an earthquake machine.” Since Fulford as a journalist then began exposing this shocking evidence of international extortion, Japanese security police approached him saying that his writing on the internet had caused Japan to receive information that the city of Niigata would soon be struck by an earthquake. Two days later on October 23, 2004, a major 6.8 M shaker followed hours later by a second 5.9 M tremor killed 39 people with an epicenter very near Japan’s largest nuclear power plant in Niigata, which sustained a fire and leaked some radioactivity.

These highly disturbing events cannot all be coincidence. It confirms what William Cohen had said seven years earlier, except this time it was the United States who was the rogue state carrying out lethal acts of terrorism as a viable and effective form of covert warfare to silence, intimidate, threaten and destroy any nation or person opposing the US into brute force submission. This is how the Empire game of hegemonic control is played. There’s a reason why for so many decades the US poured near as much money into its military budget as the rest of the world combined. Fulford chose not to go silent but has courageously defied Washington pointing the finger at rogue state America that decided six and a half years later to strike Japan once again with an even bigger lethal force at Fukushima. The US commits heinous and demonic high crimes against humanity on a regular basis and so far with complete impunity. The evidence is undeniably clear.

2004 Indonesia Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

Two other brutal acts of war that are crimes against humanity were propagated against Indonesia in December 2004 with its M 9.1-9.3 earthquake and resultant Indian Ocean tsunami killing a total of 230,000 people in 14 nations followed in May 2008 by Myanmar’s Cyclone Nargis as its most devastating “unnatural” disaster in history with over 138,000 fatalities. Two questions to always ask in solving any mystery is does a potential suspect have the means and the motive to commit such a crime. And for each and every one of these so called natural disasters the US as the prime suspect has both the means and the motive.

 

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Regarding Indonesia’s earthquake catastrophe, the Jakarta government had maintained steadfast refusal to open up the narrow Strait of Malacca to the US Navy. During the first half of 2004, the rate of acts of piracy in the Strait had increased to that of 2003 when the 150 vessels attacked accounted for one third of all global incidents of piracy. Always looking for an opportune excuse to flex its military might and muscle, the United States threatened to unilaterally assign its Pacific fleet to monitor security in the main artery separating the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Weary of America’s hegemony infringing on the sovereign rights of the two coastal nations holding responsibility for safe passage through their waters, Indonesia and Malaysia refused to permit the US access to control over their waterway. Determined to keep America out, Indonesia and Malaysia stepped up their naval patrols during the second half of 2004 to bring the number of incidents in 2005 down to just 79 and in 2006 down to 50. It was a win for regional cooperation and autonomy.

Additionally after 9/11 fighting on two warfronts against its recently designated, secretly created enemy – Muslim terrorists, under the guise of fighting terrorism, America was imposing its Empiric will on smaller Muslim nations like Indonesia, home to the most Muslims on earth and Malaysia, another Muslim nation. Their resistance to not allowing the US to gain a military foothold in their backyard waterway to “root out” the pirates and terrorists (like it’s rooting out ISIS), angered Washington to no end, which was quick to accuse Indonesia as a potential state sponsor for terrorism even though America’s far guiltier of spreading terrorism around the globe than any other nation on earth. Nonetheless, still fuming over being locked out of the Malaccan Strait and so used to punishing nations that do not readily succumb to its pressures and demands, and now armed with its favorite new form of twenty-first century punishment causing earthquakes and killing thousands of innocent people, the day after Christmas 2004 the US Empire sent its brutal holiday message to Indonesia with an over 9 earthquake just off its Sumatran coast that carried an extra wallop to 13 other nation victims with a tsunami bonus. Thus, the international crime cabal government sitting at home in Washington still gluttonous over their Christmas dinner the night before had both a means and a motive for committing the crime. Unfortunately after the earthquake and tsunami, desperate to receive economic assistance and humanitarian aid, Indonesia was no longer so resistive and US Empire got what it wanted, rewarded for murdering near a quarter million Asians. Empire aggression works to keep other nations in line and America atop in its full frontal assault/dominance over humanity.

2008 Myanmar Cyclone

The Myanmar story centers on a military junta government led by a general that was bent on having a referendum election to push through its military constitution scheduled on May 10, 2008. But enter the massive Cyclone Nargis on May 2-3 that devastated the coastal areas especially. The timing of the disaster so close in advance of the election if maliciously planned by an outside force had an obvious aim to disrupt or cancel the constitutional vote altogether. It also could have intended to topple the regime. The junta went ahead with its election anyway on the 10th, though in hardest hit areas voting was postponed for two weeks. But the constitution did get approved.

The Myanmar government was hesitant to let outside humanitarian relief into the worst hit areas prior to the election fearing its impact and ties to the outside world would present further challenges to the oppressive regime. But here is the strange part. Similar to the prepositioning of the South Command general already physically stationed in Haiti at the time of the quake and an aircraft carrier already in transit, the disaster relief forces from the US, Britain and France were already in place immediately at the time the cyclone hit the populated coastal zones.

The running theme here is it appears that certain preplanned preparations were already organized at both Haiti and Myanmar locations at the time the so called natural disasters hit. Though by itself it’s not sufficient empirical proof of US culpability, when all these co-incidental factors are taken into account together and important dots are connected, a very suspicious and dark picture emerges that strongly suggests that scalar electromagnetic weapons possessed by the superpower that holds both the means and the most to gain are conspicuously present in all of these catastrophic events. Especially when scientific anomalies and observations of manmade electromagnetic and discharging plasma are also factored into consideration.

No nation will create a weapon and never test or use it. The nature of these powerful sinister forces, as the Air Force openly admits, is its gainful advantage for either coercion or defeat of the enemy. The US is not alone in this new age of dark techno-war destruction. Be it nukes, HAARP, CERN, or an EMP electrical grid attack by ISIS, China, Russia or some other force, and in an instant life as we know it will be lost with estimates of 90% of us dead in America within a year.

Like the Soviet Empire before it, the United States has also over-prioritized allocation of its resources to building and overextending a military killing machine Empire to do the globalists’ diabolical bidding. Its hegemonic power and control come at the expense of the people of the United States and all its perceived and imagined enemies of the world. And for all its death and destruction it has perpetrated on this planet, like all empires it too is doomed to fail. For every action, there is a reaction. For every killing, there is only more killing. With madmen at the helm driving a rotted out system crashing and ready to burn at ground level, the demonically controlled lunacy in charge is self-destructing right before our eyes. In the ashes of destruction, let us rebuild and connect with our hearts, not blindly with our minds, and let us realize our spirits transcend the physical to embrace the infinite.

 

Joachim Hagopian [send him mail] is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed.blogspot.com. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and Sott.net.

mercredi, 12 août 2015

Route des épices et conquête du Pacifique

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Route des épices et conquête du Pacifique

Robert Steuckers

Recension : Carlos Canales y Miguel del Rey, Naves negras – La Ruta de las especias, EDAF (http://www.edaf.netedaf@edaf.net ), Madrid, 2015.

La collection historique EDAF, publiée en Espagne, est remarquable à plus d’un titre. Elle se focalise essentiellement sur l’histoire militaire espagnole depuis les Celtibères. Le dernier volume paru est consacré tout à la fois à la recherche tâtonnante et épique des meilleures routes pour obtenir les épices si convoitées, quand l’Europe était bloquée en Méditerranée par le verrou ottoman, installé surtout depuis la conquête de Constantinople en 1453. L’Europe, acculée par la pression turque, risquait d’étouffer, dos à l’Atlantique alors res nullius, et se trouvait donc devant une nécessité impérieuse : renouer commercialement avec les Indes et la Chine, alors principales créatrices de richesses, soit en faisant sauter le verrou ottoman (opération impossible à l’époque), soit en contournant l’Afrique (le projet portugais), soit en dégageant la Volga de l’étau des Tatars islamisés (l’option russe), soit en voguant vers la Chine par l’Ouest (le projet de Colomb). Ce sont les deux projets ibériques qui obtiendront le plus retentissant succès, bien que les efforts russes en direction de la Caspienne n’aient pas été vains. Les Portugais et les Espagnols contourneront l’Afrique en direction de l’Océan Indien prenant ainsi les Ottomans à revers qui riposteront en conquérant le Levant, la Mésopotamie et l’Egypte.

Colomb, en voulant aller au Cathay (Chine) et aux Indes des épices par les voies maritimes de l’Ouest atlantique, croyait à la véracité des calculs faux d’un géographe et cartographe italien, Toscanelli, qui, en 1474, avait dessiné une carte où l’île de « Cippangu », soit le Japon, se trouvait à hauteur du Mexique et le Cathay au large de la Californie. Toscanelli, inspiré par Eratosthène, imaginait que la Terre avait une circonférence de 29.000 km, alors que le chiffre exact est de 40.000 km. Entre les côtes portugaises et l’hypothétique emplacement de Cippangu, il n’y avait donc pas une distance maritime facilement franchissable mais d’abord la colossale barrière d’un Nouveau monde américain, s’étendant de l’Arctique à l’Antarctique, et, derrière elle, une immense « Mer du Sud », l’Océan Pacifique. L’ouvrage très documenté et richement illustré de nos deux auteurs raconte l’histoire héroïque de la conquête du Pacifique par les forces ibériques, à commencer par la recherche d’un passage à travers l’immense barrière américaine lors de l’expédition de Magellan.

Cette expédition inaugure la conquête du Pacifique, gigantesque espace maritime, que n’avaient même pas deviné les plus méticuleux des cartographes prédécesseurs de Mercator, dont la maîtrise, on le verra, assure la domination mondiale. En s’installant aux Philippines, les Espagnols tiennent en échec les marins chinois et japonais et deviennent les premiers Européens à dominer cet immense espace maritime qui leur sera successivement contesté par les puissances protestantes (Hollande et Angleterre) puis par les Etats-Unis qui les évinceront suite à la guerre de 1898, où l’Espagne perd les derniers de ses atouts impériaux. Cet effondrement provoque la fameuse crise politique et culturelle de 1898 qui force l’Espagne à se penser autrement qu’en l’instrument d’une impérialité voulue par la divine providence. L’Allemagne prend brièvement son relais dans le Pacifique, au nom de l’ancienne fraternité impériale du temps de Charles-Quint, et s’installe aux Mariannes, dominant provisoirement le Pacifique sans pour autant y déployer une volonté géopolitique suffisante. Quand le géopolitologue Karl Haushofer rencontre Lord Kitchener aux Indes, alors qu’il faisait route vers le Japon pour y assumer les fonctions d’attaché militaire allemand, leur conversation, amicale, tourne autour de la maîtrise du Pacifique : Kitchener semblait privilégier une entente anglo-allemande dans cette région maritime. Il ne souhaitait ni une présence américaine accentuée (au-delà des Philippines) ni une conquête japonaise, en dépit de l’alliance anglo-japonaise contre la Russie en 1904-1905. Pour Kitchener, l’éviction des puissances européennes hors de cet espace maritime sonnerait le glas de la prééminence européenne dans le monde. Le vieux général britannique a été prophète, tout en se mettant en porte-à-faux par rapport aux options impérialistes anglaises habituelles. Le Japon déclarera la guerre à l’Allemagne en 1914 pour pouvoir s’emparer, à peu de frais, des Mariannes et des bases chinoises de la marine du Kaiser. Cet élargissement de son assiette géopolitique dans le Pacifique lui vaudra l’inimitié implacable des Etats-Unis qui, à l’occasion de la seconde guerre mondiale, s’empareront à leur tour des Mariannes, ex-espagnoles, ex-allemandes, ex-japonaises, scellant de la sorte leur pouvoir dans la « Grande Mer du Sud », fortement consolidé par leur présence au beau milieu de l’Océan Indien, à Diego Garcia, île minuscule transformée en une formidable base aéronavale à partir de laquelle les Américains sont capables de frapper tous les littoraux et arrière-pays de l’Océan Indien ou de la « Zone des moussons », de l’Afrique du Sud à la péninsule arabique, de l’Inde à Singapour et de Singapour à l’Ouest de l’Australie. C’est à partir de Diego Garcia que les bombardiers américains ont frappé l’Afghanistan dès l’automne 2001. Demain, ce sera au départ de cette même base qu’ils pourront, le cas échéant, frapper les îles ou atolls conquis ou fabriqués par la Chine dans la Mer de Chine du Sud. Avec leurs maîtrise du Pacifique et leur domination de l’Océan Indien au départ de la petite île de Diego Garcia, les Etats-Unis peuvent prétendre être une puissance globale, la première puissance globale de la planète, dont la prééminence est toutefois contestée aujourd’hui par des forces politiques sud-américaines, russes, indiennes, persanes et chinoises.

Lord Kitchener et Karl Haushofer, qui deviendra bien vite un grand spécialiste du Pacifique, avaient raison : la maîtrise de la « Grande Mer du Sud » est la clef de la puissance globale qu’exercent aujourd’hui les Etats-Unis. Cette puissance, initialement, a été espagnole et habsbourgeoise, seule synthèse légitime à nos yeux (l’Angleterre et la France n’ont aucune légitimité traditionnelle en Europe : elles représentent toutes deux des forces obscures et malsaines, issues de la forfaiture anti-templière de Philippe le Bel, des platitudes morales de Louis XI ou de la piraterie utilisée par Elisabeth I). Il faut sans cesse rappeler que cette synthèse du 16ème siècle de Charles Quint est celle qui unit les légitimités bourguignonne (Marie, fille de Charles), habsbourgeoise (Maximilien, fils de Frédéric III), castillane et aragonaise (Ferdinand et Isabelle), celle que l’historien catholique belge Luc Hommel nommait la « Grande Alliance », celle en laquelle voulait nous ancrer un autre historien oublié, Drion du Chapois. C’était le seul projet européen valable, qui aurait pu sauver l’unité de notre civilisation, empêcher préventivement que nous ne tombions dans les abjections actuelles : il a été contrecarré par toutes les voyoucraties incapables d’avoir une vision synthétique et longue-termiste de l’histoire et du destin européen.

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L’ouvrage de Canales et del Rey a été rédigé sur le ton épique, mettant l’accent sur le caractère résolument aventureux des expéditions espagnoles et portugaises en Extrême-Orient, où deux éthiques guerrières se sont affrontées : celle du chevalier (le caballero) et celle du samourai. Les conflits entre Espagnols, d’une part, et seigneurs de la guerre chinois (comme le célèbre Li Ma Hong) ou Indonésiens musulmans se succédaient pour la maîtrise des ports littoraux, de Taiwan, des Philippines, des Moluques (où le Sultan de Ternate a essayé d’expulser les Ibériques des « épiceries ») ou de Malacca (où le Sultan d’Aceh harcelait les Portugais). Le gouvernement portugais de Goa, face à ces assauts continus, voulait capituler, se replier sur les seules Indes et abandonner les comptoirs indonésiens et pacifiques. Le Roi Sébastien, qui mourra les armes à la main au Maroc en 1578, envoie un capitaine exceptionnel, pétri des idéaux de la vieille chevalerie, Luis de Ataide, Comte d’Atouguia et Marquis de Santarem. Celui-ci déclare : « Je veux tout conserver et, moi vivant, nos ennemis ne gagneront pas un pouce de terrain ». La mort héroïque de Sébastien et de la fine fleur de la chevalerie portugaise sur le champ de bataille marocain d’Alcazarquivir en 1578 plongera l’empire lusitanien dans le chaos, avant que l’on ne se décide à donner la couronne du Portugal à Philippe II d’Espagne en 1580. Le contrôle effectif des possessions portugaises se fera à partir de Manille, pourtant assiégée par la piraterie chinoise et japonaise, par les éléments musulmans de l’archipel philippin et par les Moluquois.

L’ouvrage de nos deux auteurs nous révèle également une quantité d’informations aujourd’hui oubliées en Europe sur le Japon et la Chine des 16ème et 17ème siècles. Les activités d’un commerçant armé japonais Luzon Sukezaemon, hostile à toute présence ibérique dans le Pacifique, montrent déjà les lignes de force de la future expansion japonaise après l’ère Meiji : Sukezaemon, en effet, a cherché, y compris avec l’aide du chef chinois Li Ma Hong, à maîtriser les Philippines pour assurer son commerce florissant avec les ports chinois et avec le Cambodge, activités marchandes qu’il poursuivra après être tombé en disgrâce au Japon. On peut dire que Sukezaemon est un précurseur inconscient mais pragmatique de l’idée d’une « sphère de co-prospérité est-asiatique », contrariée dans son développement endogène par une présence étrangère à l’espace asiatique et pacifique, qui bouleverse, par sa simple présence, des flux locaux que les autochtones auraient voulu voir se développer sans cette immixtion. Déjà, à cette époque, le Japon faisait pression, depuis le Nord de l’espace pacifique, sur les Philippines devenues espagnoles et dont les gouverneurs tentaient plutôt de se projeter vers le Sud indonésien, comme il fera pression sur les Philippines américaines après 1898, tout en visant le pétrole indonésien pour parfaire l’industrialisation envisagée par l’ère Meiji. Cette menace japonaise du 16ème siècle avait été bien perçue par le vice-roi du Mexique Martin Enriquez qui a ordonné à l’explorateur Juan de la Isla de cartographier l’océan jusqu’au 60° degré de latitude nord, soit jusqu’au Kamtchatka russe d’aujourd’hui, et de dresser un inventaire aussi complet que possible des populations indigènes et de leurs mœurs. L’objectif est de tenir en échec un Japon qui a certes pour atout une chevalerie belliqueuse et héroïque, admirée par les hidalgos castillans et aragonais, mais pour désavantages une marine peu expérimentée et des navires mal équipés en artillerie.

D’autres capitaines, particulièrement audacieux, interviendront au Siam et en Indochine. Quelques explorateurs découvrirent même l’Australie mais sans pouvoir exploiter cette découverte : leur expédition a donc été oubliée et redécouverte par un chercheur australien Lawrence Hargrave en 1909. Ces aventures extraordinaires seront freinées par deux facteurs : les querelles entre jésuites portugais et franciscains espagnols dans le camp catholique, dont les arguments pseudo-théologiques rencontrent l’incompréhension des Asiatiques ; la concurrence entre Anglais et Hollandais dans le camp protestant, pour des motifs essentiellement commerciaux. Les rapports privilégiés entre Japonais et Espagnols, pourtant promis à un avenir fécond, prendront fin avec l’irruption des Hollandais dans la région, dès les expéditions de Joris van Spielbergen. Les Hollandais seront plus tard évincés par les Anglais, sauf, bien sûr, en Indonésie, dont la conquête totale s’achèvera une grosse vingtaine d’années après Waterloo, les Pays-Bas unis étant alors libérés de la menace française. Le 17ème siècle, déplorent nos deux auteurs, sera une guerre entre Européens en Extrême-Orient, dont tâcheront de tirer avantage Chinois, Japonais, Javanais, ressortissants de Bornéo, etc. Les premiers perdants de cette lutte quadrangulaire furent les Portugais, qui ne bénéficient plus de l’appui espagnol à partir de 1640, où les deux couronnes se séparent après avoir été unies pendant soixante ans. Les Anglais maîtriseront les Indes, l’Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande et quelques comptoirs épars mais sans jamais se tailler une présence dans la partie la plus œcuménique de l’espace pacifique, entre le Japon, les Philippines, l’Indochine, Formose et le littoral chinois : il faudra attendre le 19ème siècle et les sales guerres de l’opium pour que la pression anglaise se fasse sentir lourdement sur les côtes chinoises. L’Espagne gardera les Philippines envers et contre tout jusqu’en 1898. L’aventure commencée avec les navires que les Japonais nommaient les kurofune, les « navires noirs » prenait alors fin, réduisant à néant les efforts héroïques de soldats, de marchands, de vice-rois, de gouverneurs, de religieux et de marins qui s’étaient déployés dans les pires difficultés depuis le début du 16ème siècle, depuis la mort au combat de Magellan aux Philippines.

Enfin, dernière remarque, l’épopée que retracent Canales et del Rey, est tellement époustouflante qu’on a peine à croire qu’elle ait été effacée des mémoires et qu’aucune agence cinématographique européenne ne se soit emparée de ces souvenirs magnifiques pour produire quantité de films passionnants afin d’éclipser définitivement ces navrantes historiettes de cow-boys, de gangs new-yorkais ou de gangsters de Chicago et les navets américains. Il faut aussi se rappeler, dans ce contexte, que l’Espagne est la première victime du système propagandiste occidental (franco-anglais) visant à répandre des « légendes noires ». Ses œuvres, pourtant cardinales pour l’histoire de l’humanité, doivent dès lors impérativement être « oubliées » comme on tente aussi d’effacer la geste russe dans le Pacifique (nous y reviendrons) ou toutes les gestes allemandes ou autrichiennes de l’histoire européenne.

Robert Steuckers,

Madrid, juillet 2015.

vendredi, 05 juin 2015

Japan's Demographic Atom Bomb

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Japan's Demographic Atom Bomb

By

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

Could you imagine living in a country that was about to die, or would virtually disappear as if it had been hit by neutron bombs that kill the people but leave the property intact?  Japan is just such a country, it’s dying, rather its people are dying at an alarming rate and the country will be mostly dead as a result of a demographic calamity in another hundred years or so if things don’t change.

A 2014 study of Japan’s demographics was recently published and the results were astonishing.  People are now paying more attention to the impending disaster.  Given current demographic trends, Japan’s population will decrease by 30% in the next 45 years with about half of all municipalities disappearing.  In the area of northern Japan where I live and much of rural Japan, about 80% of municipalities will cease to exist.  Imagine America with half of the cities and towns gone due to depopulation and several states with 80% of the towns erased off the map and you will understand the enormity of the situation facing Japan.

Japanese people and government officials are well aware of the problem.  People fret and say that “something needs to be done”, but there is little analysis of the disastrous economic and geopolitical effects and no analysis of the causes and potential solutions.  People really have their heads buried in the sand, perhaps because they think it’s going to be someone else’s problem when the country’s population falls from 125 million to 85 million and half of the remaining people are elderly.

But it’s not going to happen overnight, so people who are alive today and their children will need to deal with a shrinking economy, the costs of taking care of so many elderly people, and the security risks that Japan will encounter if it maintains it’s bad relations with neighboring countries while at the same time being less able to defend itself because it is depopulated and economically shriveled.

It is essential to the Japanese people that the demographic trend is reversed.  Japan will be a poor and potentially less secure place to live if nothing is done.

Why is it that Japan’s demographics have become so poor?  Every person and every family has reasons, but I believe it’s clear that there are a few social habits, but primarily severe economic reasons for the declining population.

Socially speaking, office workers are expected to work long hours and then go out socializing with coworkers after they leave the office.  These workers, often referred to as “salarymen”, typically work 6 days a week, returning home to a distant suburb late at night.  It isn’t difficult to imagine that they find it difficult to make children for reasons of being tired, unable to allocate time to family raising matters or spousal relationships.  This isn’t the main reason for a low birthrate.

The root of the demographic problem plaguing Japan is the weak economic situation that has continued since the bubble burst in 1990.  Due to government interventions and regulations, the economy has crawled along at a snails pace for a quarter of a century.  One of the most destructive regulations revolves around rules that make it almost impossible to lay off a permanent employee in Japan, so employers have responded by hiring fewer people on a full time basis and instead many people are hired for low paying short term contract work.  After a Japanese worker is forced to accept temporary work, it is very difficult to convince any employer to hire them on a full time basis.  With no permanent employment, and few job prospects, making a family is unlikely.

In addition to the weak and overly regulated labor market, it has been Japanese government policy to continually raise taxes to the point where they are almost the highest in the world for both corporations and individuals.  Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the trend toward higher and higher taxes has been expanding, with the consumption (sales) tax to be increased by 100%, increases in income taxes, property taxes, social security taxes, gift taxes, inheritance taxes, and anything else the Japanese government can think of taxing.  The people have been squeezed dry by this enormous tax burden.

Government policy also encourages special treatment and protections for large companies so they don’t have to compete and can fix prices at a high level.  This is yet another heavy burden on the Japanese people, draining their pockets and leaving them without the means to raise a family.

With high taxes, an artificially high cost of living due to stifling government regulations and a vastly depreciated Yen, young couples find it difficult to make ends meet and many Japanese women have been forced into the labor market, typically into low paying jobs, just to be able to pay the rent and eat.  Instead of staying home to make and raise a family as many women would prefer, these women arrive home from work exhausted and without the time or energy to raise a family as they would want.  As a result of the high cost of living and women being forced into the workforce, Japanese families have fewer and fewer children.

In short, the Japanese government is acting like a cattle farmer who fails to take care of his herd, shearing, milking, and slaughtering to excess, putting stress on the lives of the herd, and making it difficult to breed.  Unlike a farmer who would usually want to hand down a productive enterprise to his descendants, a democratically elected politician has little or no incentive to maintain “the herd” beyond his term in office.  Thus, ruling party bosses never seem to stop abusing and taking advantage of the people.

Precisely because people are not farm animals who need to be tended to, the solution is simple and easy.  All that needs to be done, indeed the only thing that can be done, to resolve the demographic problem is for government to leave people alone so that they can readily create a family, save, invest, and create enough wealth to support their families and offspring over time. By “leave alone” I mean stop taxing and stop trying to control the economy and peoples lives.  No more favors for friends, no more tax bills, no more restrictions on the ability to make a contract with an employer.

Sadly, I doubt that Japanese government officials would even consider letting people get on with their lives and flourish.  Japan has so many intelligent and talented people, not to mention lovely and charming women who would love to have a nice family, so it’s truly shocking that the country is on the path toward demographic destruction, thanks mostly to arrogant and incompetent politicians.

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