Contemporary Japan 310/Narcissism 101

comments 2
Japan / Pensee

I get tons of great ideas from my students.  I’ve been back behind the lectern (sort of like being “behind the wheel” of a smoke-peeling and totally externally terrifying Nascar steed, not to be confused with being “under the wheel”/unterem Rad) for about three weeks now and I can’t count how many new ideas I’ve been exposed to.

Just to rattle off a few:

PIC_7175

"Ja, du! dass etwas klug desagt hat! Noch einmal, und lauter fuer diener alte Herr Hauptmann!"

*North Korea uses Sun Tzu’s ideology brilliantly to steal their enemy’s food, turning aside the Sunshine Policy which also has its basis in Sun Tzu’s maxim to “win without fighting”

*the Japanese minister of postal service is a barometer to watch for American corporate pressure on Japanese politics

*”One Country, Two Systems” is not a concept compatible with the Warring States mentality of unification

*U.S. bombing of North Korea should be accorded same data-rich research approach as research of U.S. bombing of Japan (e.g., sb. needs to write the Korean War version of Richard B. Frank’s Downfall)

*Japanese companies should be mad at Koizumi for screwing up rapprochement with the DPRK, and they remain on the furthest periphery from anything resembling a profitable contract in North Korea

*Minoru Morita is a prophet of the leftist resurgence in Japan  etc.  etc.

PIC_7184

"Wann ich einundzwanzig war, hatte ich aehnlich gedacht...wahrscheinlich bewunderte ich mich noch taeglich darueber diese Frage...und die 'Big Ach' "

And that doesn’t count anything mentioned in my seminar class of up-and-coming scholars in the history department seminar.   Not sure yet if these particular questions are going to fundamentally redefine any of my scholarship, but who knows?   It’s happened before.

So I don’t dread a pile of papers on this here onyx Dell.

And since I seem to have a job as a university professor, and I seem to enjoy the associated activities, a few action shots might be in order.   Because training camp is over!

Appreciation to Tyler Bowen for pulling these together [all photos taken at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, 30 Sept. 2009].

Kishi Nobusuke is not intimidated by my dry-erase marker, but that dude really needs an asterisk in the LDP recordbook.

Kishi Nobusuke is not intimidated by my dry-erase marker, but that dude really needs an asterisk in the LDP recordbook.

The Author

Lecturer of Chinese history at University of Leeds, and Editor-in-Chief of SinoNK.com.

2 Comments

  1. Inst says

    I still can’t figure out whether you’re being sarcastic.

    For example:

    “*North Korea uses Sun Tzu’s ideology brilliantly to steal their enemy’s food, turning aside the Sunshine Policy which also has its basis in Sun Tzu’s maxim to “win without fighting””

    Is this outrageously brilliant thinking or cliched and dogmatic over-application of East Asian “cultural principles”? North Korea using ideas espoused by Sun Zi could be an interesting exploration of the relationship between ideas within the culture and the structural situation; how structure controls the expression of existing ideas and the creation of new approaches, and how ideas contribute to the configuration of the structure, but the comments on the Sunshine Policy sound as though they’re attached to an essentialist concept of Korea being Confucian and therefore opposed to violent conflict (not sure whether it’s true or not of Korea, but of what little I’ve read concerning use of force in ancient China there seems to be little or no reluctance whatsoever to use force as a solution to problems).

    • adamcathcart says

      Inst, thanks for the sharp eyes on this. Your North Korean breakdown on structure/culture makes a lot of sense. Lim’s recent book on Kim Jong Il emphasizes the pragmatic roots of the turn toward “traditional” Korean culture (Koguryo digs, upsurge in Tan’gun research) in the DPRK as a part of the quasi-monarchist succession politics in the 1970s and beyond. But as in China this old wine is put into new bottles. On Sun Zi himself as read by North Korean leaders, I have no evidence specifically of that, but Kim Il Song was a big reader of Mao (in Chinese, no less) and there is plenty of Sun Zi in Mao’s prodigious military essays of the 1930s. Probably more to the point would be reading of Korean classics like “Chingbirok/The Book of Corrections” which caution against over-reliance on the Chinese to bail you out from invasions from the south.

      I have a different thought on the South Korean critique — your central objection! — and will write that up separately. Thanks again for the critical takedown.

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