| Sep 27, 2009

Hatoyama just calling it as it is

NEW YORK — I was startled to receive a letter from a friend in Tokyo earlier this month accompanied by a Sankei Shimbun article by Yukio Okamoto sharply upbraiding Yukio Hatoyama. The then next prime minister’s sin was to let The New York Times ...

Aug 9, 2009

Contention over the tenno system

This collection of 14 essays by 12 scholars, ranging from academic, journalistic, speculative, to advisory, makes an excellent introduction to the scope of arguments presently made about tenno, Japan’s “emperors.” THE EMPERORS OF MODERN JAPAN edited by Ben-Ami Shillony. Brill: Leiden, 2008 348 pp., ...

| Jul 26, 2009

Blunderbuss followup to the invasion of Iraq

NEW YORK — The New York Times editorial on June 30, “The First Deadline,” showed America’s egocentrism at its worst. Dealing entirely with a single subject — the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraqi cities, with 130,000 soldiers still remaining in the country ...

Apr 5, 2009

Looking at history: the argument for facts over theory

Positivism in historiography means an emphasis on facts over theory, documentary evidence over deductions from premises. It may also be called “nitty-gritticism,” George Akita suggests in “Evaluating Evidence,” a book that recounts the author’s dealing with primary sources and the problems he has come ...

| Mar 1, 2009

What 'prohibition' has wrought

NEW YORK — When I read the news that the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy “blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that is pushing Latin American societies to the breaking point” (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 12), I thought: Someone is ...