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Old 06-23-2008, 09:15 AM   #33
Dojo: Osaka Aikikai Hombu
Location: Osaka
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 44
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

This column and the follow up contributions have been fascinating.

I'd like to make a general comment.

It is my understanding that the initial industrialization of Japan was was introduced from above - for political reasons rather than economic ones - to counter the perceived threat of imperialism in the West. Japan imitated the various foreign industrial models at least in terms of results if not methods.

In the post-war era Japan's emulation of foreign modernization continued successfully, but the unintended consequence of these achievements has been rampant 'Westernization'. I believe that many Japanese remain profoundly insecure about what 'Westernization' has cost them. Having lived in Japan since 1995 I notice the many institutes, magazines, associations etc. that are entirely devoted to understanding what it means to be Japanese. The existence and influence of the pseudoscience of Nihonjinron testifies to this; it devotes itself to issues of Japanese national and cultural identity.

Moriteru Ueshiba has written that: "In the traumatic aftermath of World War II, Kisshomaru believed that the remarkable art of aikido - established by his father Morihei and based on the best aspects of traditional Japanese culture - could be a positive contribution to the creation of a new society." [from the preface in Art of Aikido, Principles and Essential Techniques, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba]

That was then but what about now? Has the focus now shifted to preserving and developing cultural nationalism in the spirit of Nihonjinron. Perhaps, Professor Goldsbury, you will be touching on this area in a future column?
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