A reply to comments コメントに応じます

Yamagata Aritomo
Image via Wikipedia

皆さん、コメントはありがとうございました。

最近だけ気がづいたけど:-) 現代に起きてる現実を理解したいならば、新聞だけを読のだら無理です。経済の先生は経済についてこう書いた:

新聞やテレビを見れば、今の不況に対してどうすれば良いか分かりません。ある評論家によってこれからインフレの恐れがあるが、違う評論家によってデフレの恐れがある。どちらが正しいでしょうか、分からなくて、対策を決められないのです。経済の本を読まなくては。経済を勉強しなくては。裁判員はなぜ導入されたか。新聞やテレビを見るだけでは理解できません。歴史を勉強したらいろいろ分かるようになりますね。

同じように、最近戦況が行った。私がよく読むブログにはこう書いてありました: “introducing political leadership into the budgeting process” and “budget is the key to regime change”. しかし、なぜ予算はそんなに大事かは分かりませんでした。当然大事だけど、政権交代と予算の関係はなにか、よくわかりません。そして昨日そのブログに次のを読みました:

For more on the possibilities of genuine administrative reform, I recommend this essay by Karel van Wolferen, who is aware of the obstacles facing the DPJ without dismissing the possibility that the DPJ will succeed. I particularly like this sentence: “But my impression is that the individuals of the inner core of the party are deadly serious about what must be done to turn their country into what one of them, the most senior and most experienced Ozawa Ichiro, has in his writing called a ‘normal country’.” Exactly so. The DPJ means what it said during the campaign, and is taking the first steps towards a new system of governance.

Karel van Wolferen って誰?えええ!知らないのか?知らない人はWikipedia 又はウイキペディアまで。90年代にかれが書いた本 The Enigma of Japanese Power 日本 権力構造の謎 が結構有名になりました。

Karel van Wolferen が書いたessay はどういう内容か?What Can the DPJ’s Overwhelming Victory Mean for Japan? 気になった部分は次です:

The significance of yesterday’s Japanese election results goes beyond a relatively new and untried political party ending half a century of rule by a competing party; if the new leaders turn out to be true leaders and are allowed to carry out their declared intentions, this will fundamentally change the Japanese power system… with few exceptions the elected officials …  have played a mostly marginal role, as powerbrokers at best. We can actually single out an architect who set it up this way just before the turn of the century before last: Yamagata Aritomo. … this remarkable man … created Japan’s modern bureaucracy along with its early 20th-century military establishment.

そして2001年にカレル・ヴァン・ウォルフレンが書いた論文は?Yamagata Aritomo  山縣有朋 についてです。

What better opportunity than the election of aspirant supervisors of Japanese bureaucratic power to bring to the attention of the world a neglected Japanese figure who established that power and ought to be remembered, along with Bismarck, Lenin, Mao, and the two Roosevelts, as one of the creators of twentieth century political reality.
His name, Yamagata Aritomo, may only register with those who have read Japanese history. Even in Japanese minds he may not be more than a shadow, dwarfed by Ito Hirobumi among the Meiji Period architects of Japanese modernization. But he deserves to be known as the creator of what in essence has remained Japan’s political system. In the end, what the world has been learning to think of as Japan’s lack of political will, should be blamed on Yamagata. His legacy endures in a more immediate sense today than, say, Bismarck’s legacy does in Germany.

今まではあまり政治に興味がなくて、日本の政権と政治家はイギリスのと大きな違いがないだろう、と単純に思ってた。しかし、ヴァン・ウォルフレンによってそれは大間違いだそうです。やはり歴史勉強しないと現在は分かりません。新聞だけを読んだらこういうことについて詳しくなるけど。いかがでしょうか?

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19 thoughts on “A reply to comments コメントに応じます”

  1. When we learned about individualism,we were introduced to Alex Kerr of 美しき日本の残像. He was also having questions about bureaucracy. Foreigners in Japan (Wolferen or Kerr,etc) can see the difference much more between Japan and his own country by comparing them.
    I was surprised to know that bureaucracy made by Yamagata Aritomo has been continued until this August. This seems to have been very convenient system for bureaucrats,some politicians or dark horses.
    The real nation purpose was not thought and was replaced. There are lots darkness I don’t know in politics.But we need to know the truth of politics.It’s difficult to know them and it may be dangerous for a DPJ politician to disclose the darkness. So I’d like DPJ to make a transparent system like that surpass Yamagata`s bureaucracy.

  2. A little more about the last comment. I’ve heard that design of church suggests where people’s soul would go after death with tall
    shape, and stained glass is effective for atmosphere separated from outside. In The Fountainhead the temple that denies the afterlife is different. It’s flat and has wide windows. As we’ve got the suggestions Ayn Rand didn’t accept the idea that soul would be quite separable.

    1. Ayn Rand believed in humanism, i.e. that the temple should celebrate Man. If you read again what Toohey wrote in the Banner about Roark’s Stoddard Temple (Part 2, Chapter 12), you will see what Toohey thought of it and why he disliked it.

    2. “Vanilla” has made some interesting comments about church architecture and the effect it has on the imagination. Perhaps we can talk about this in the 2nd poetry session in October, when we discuss the effect of poetry on the imagination of the reader.

  3. I remember conscription system and Kyoiku Chokugo (Inperial Rescript on Education) in association with the name Yamagata Aritomo. (Kyoiku Chokugo requested people to promote public good and common interests, to die courageously for the country, and so on.) Now I understand bureaucrats took power control of the nation and its industries through massive regulation under the governance of Yamagata, and it seems to be the background of the formidable bureaucracy so far.

    I’ve been wondering why Japanese people don’t criticize openly, in spite of never-ending political scandals including both politicians and bureaucrats. Some people have known that apathy could lead to dictatorship, nevertheless people remain silent. Why? Then, I’ve gotten interested in Wolferen’s “The Enigma of Japanese Power.” One of its reviews says it is “an elaborate and persuasive study, sharply and careful analyzing a multitude of aspect of Japanese reality.” Perfect! This could be my next book (if I have enough time.) The historical explanations of the book will clarify many whys about Japanese attitude and system.

    1. Yamagata was an elitist. He did not believe that the people of the country were intelligent enough to make the right decisions about the country. Therefore, he did not believe that elected politicians should be allowed to do what they promise their voters to do. He was clever enough to create certain rules that made it very difficult for politicians to actually carry out the wishes of the voters (e.g., he insisted that military people be given certain important positions in government).
      This is an interesting question. Some libertarians do not believe in democracy, although they are not elitist. A famous book is “Democracy – the God that Failed” by Dr. Hoppe. How can someone be against democracy, yet also be against authoritarianism or totalitarianism?

      1. By association, I’ve remembered the story of Animal Farm by George Orwell. A clever elite pig takes control and amends each guiding principle gradually in turn. The rest of animals are not so intelligent, although honest and good-hearted. One pig makes announcement telling lies, each lie repeatedly, and animals come to believe it eventually. It’s too late when animals realize helplessly what’s going on.

        After the September 11th terrorists’ attack, American democracy was disturbed by its government. Free speech and privacy were suppressed in the name of counter terrorism. Some people admitted it, probably driven by fear.

  4. Catholic Church had big amount of money so it was possible to hire painters who drow Themes of Bible and portraits of Popes. It’s good for genre of art but I’m sceptical for donated money. I suppose it’s concerned to problem of soul.

  5. It is not only science that has discovered the things hidden but literature also has contributed a lot to it. For example as we learned about Stream of Consciousness, consciousness comes back against to the idea of Church that time goes straight forward. I think Bible is so convoncible that it makes many people believe but unfortunately it connected to power of Church too much.

    1. Lullaby,
      This is a huge, fascinating topic. I hadn’t realized that the Church proposed the idea that time goes straight forward. I find it useful to separate the institution of the Church with the teachings of Christ. The Church, at that time the Catholic church, was largely responsible for starting the university system, I discovered recently. Two other good things the Church gave Western civilization were a) an alternative power to set against the power of the State, and b) the beginning of the idea of individualism, because each individual soul needed to be saved.

  6. Speaking of “God created the world in 7 days”, I’ve read some people say Nature is so complicated that it must be designed by an intelligent force. Believers in “intelligent design” oppose to Darwinism, though they avoid mentioning God as creator.I’m not a believer of some specific religon, but I’m open to this idea, because there’re lots of wonders science can’t explain.

      1. The sequel of The Golden Compass is unlikely to come. Some people comment it’s because of controversy about the book. I’m not sure whether Pullman is against God or not, but it’s clear to me that he is against oppressive church and the cruelty that has been done by the church in the name of God, as I read on Umber Spyglass (Book 3 of His Dark Materials.)

        I think almost all things can be explained by science, but at the same time I believe the existence of one life-giving force in the nature/universe. Dust (the author’s invention in the novel) looks like that one life-giving force to me.

        1. I understood “Dust” to be consciousness, or awareness. It’s too bad about the movie sequel, but then, we have the books.
          I’m now reading the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I didn’t think much of the movie of “Lion, Witch and Wardrobe” – the dialogue was just so dumb.

  7. Thanks for teaching us the etymology of “history.”

    Now I’ve got the idea; His story, the story of God, is made up, while history of or origin of the universe is proved by Dr. Hawkins.

    Recently we’ve seen and known history being made my Ichiro.

    1. I’ve only heard Christians use this expression of history = “His story”. What they mean is that human history is about the story of man’s relationship to God. Presumably, Christians believe that THAT is the important history and perhaps the ONLY important history, and everything else is irrelevant. When they use the word “story”, Christians are not, of course, suggesting that it is something made up (i.e. invented, or fiction). All Christians believe in the truth of the Bible, and some Christians believe the Bible is LITERALLY true (e.g. when it says “God created the world in 7 days” it means SEVEN DAYS!) Not all Christians take it so literally.

  8. “Big deal!” as Holden Caufield would like to say. Your writing in Japanese is commendable. Even the mistakes look charming. Sorry if this sounds rude to you.

    Your challenges in writing in Japanese encourage me to write more in English.

    BTW, “history” looks like “his story,” doesn’t it?

    1. Yes, “history” looks like “his story”, a fact which Christians make much use of, i.e history is really His story, or the story of God, or the story of Jesus in the world, according to them. I never found this very convincing.
      The origin of the word is quite different. According to the Random House dictionary,
      “< Gk historía learning or knowing by inquiry, history; deriv. of hístōr one who knows or sees"

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