By Ian Buruma
In one brief ebook as based because it is sensible, Ian Buruma is sensible of the main fateful span of Japan’s background, the interval that observed as dramatic a metamorphosis as any kingdom has ever identified. during little greater than 100 years from the day Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in his black ships, this insular, preindustrial realm mutated into an expansive army dictatorship that basically supplanted the British, French, Dutch, and American empires in Asia prior to plunging to utter spoil, finally rising lower than American tutelage as a pseudo-Western-style democracy and monetary dynamo.
What explains the seismic adjustments that thrust this small island kingdom so violently onto the area level? partially, Ian Buruma argues, the tale is one among a newly united kingdom that felt it needs to play catch-up to the verified Western powers, simply as Germany and Italy did, a method that concerned, as well as outward colonial enlargement, inner cultural consolidation and the producing of a shared history. yet Japan has constantly been either really open to the importation of excellent principles and especially prickly approximately retaining their impression quarantined, a bipolar sickness that will have dramatic effects and that maintains to this present day. If one booklet is to be learn so that it will comprehend why the japanese appear so impossibly unusual to many american citizens, Inventing Japan is unquestionably it.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Extra info for Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles)
Mathematicians like Seki Takakazu (1640–1708) made discoveries in algebraic studies, sometimes preceding comparable developments in the West. Initially astronomy and medicine were more reliant on Chinese thought, but the entry of western astronomy and anatomy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries eventually began to erode that dependency. The real impact of western medicine would not occur until the modern period, however. All in all, in comparison with developments in the West at the time, little lasting scientific discovery emerged from the Edo period.
Or is it rather a matter of acknowledging an “original enlightenment” that has been there from the start, whatever one does? Not only did both ideas enjoy currency in medieval Japanese Buddhist thought; often enough they were held concurrently, which called for some philosophical justification of how one could logically hold two such apparently mutually exclusive views. Other questions calling for analysis and explanation were more traditionspecific. For traditions like Pure Land and Nichiren that advocated the mappō theory, a nest of interrelated issues appeared: Is mappō an actual historical event?
Within Japanese thought, however, the holographic relation is often assumed to be as literal and factual as the dna that links every cell with the whole body. f r a m e w o r k | 27 Argument by Relegation The preference for internal relations and an interdependence of wholes and parts is also reflected in the logic of argumentation by relegation. Here opposing positions are treated not by refuting them, but by accepting them as true, but only true as a part of the full picture. That is, rather than denying the opposing position, I compartmentalize or marginalize it as being no more than one part of the more complete point of view for which I am arguing.
Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles) by Ian Buruma