J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Was Shouin Yoshida an Agressor?

TWas Shouin Dangerous?

This article in the Asahi Newspaper this morning (June 9th 2015) presents the view of an author, Kazutoshi Hando (Soseki's grandson and editor of "Japan's Longest Summer"), who points out that Shouin Yoshida, the famed Yamaguchi Confucian scholar, educator and revolutionary encouraged the Japanese to invade or otherwise persuade Okinawans, Koreans, Taiwanese to federate with the Japanese. In other words, Handou argues that the Meiji Restoration was from the outset imperialist and "dangerous." He argues argues further that the people of Yamaguchi likewise trace their roots back to the restoration and tend to think of themselves as saviours of Japan. He also points out that prime minister Abe traces his roots to the Yamaguchi region and to the philosophy espoused by Shouin Yoshida.

The part of Shouin's writing that the author refers to is the only part translated into modern Japanese on wikisource.


My translation

If the sun does not rise it sets, if the moon does not wax it wanes and if a country does not rise and prosper it falls and becomes weak. So to keep a country in a good condition, sadly disused land will be lost, and useful land will be gained. We should now immediately by all means prepare our armed forces, plan battleships and armaments, send pioneers into Hokkaidou and integrate the tribes within our feudal system, take Kamchatka and Okhotsku, demand of Korea and China that, as in the prosperous past when [we or they I am not sure] gave tribute, that they give us the land of Manchuria, and in the South rule Taiwan and the Luzon islands (of the Philippines) and little by little show some energy in advance. We should then show love to [all] residents, foster persons of high morals, take care to defend, govern well, and pledge to keep the nation in a good condition. If we don't do this, and on the other hand just do nothing while groups of foreign nations fight each other to as they assemble around us, while we didn't do so much as lift a finger, preventing the fall of our country depends on this juncture, these opportunities.

I have placed the Asahi Newspaper article on top of the newsletter of the Old Boys association of my faculty, who are as the above scholar suggests, pleased to trace their roots back to the time of the restoration.


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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.