Mar 22, 2014

The sloughing of Japan's corporate skin goes on

“Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.” No 18th-century Japanese thinker could have written that. It is amusing to imagine one even reading it. What emotion would it have called forth? Outrage? Blank incomprehension? Born free? A revolutionary notion! “The Social Contract” ...

Japan's future may be stunted by its past

| Mar 15, 2014

Japan's future may be stunted by its past

Is time carrying us forward, or backward? Or both at once? Technology propels us forward, politics thrusts us back. In east Asia, World War II reverberates. Elsewhere, as the Ukraine crisis unfolds, the Cold War, history only yesterday, looks today like tomorrow's threat.

| Feb 15, 2014

Once upon a time, China anointed a 'King of Japan'

In 1401, barely a century after the Mongols’ aborted invasions of Japan, and 600-odd years before Japan and China fell out over the Senkaku islets, a Chinese emperor conferred upon a Japanese shogun the title “King of Japan.” Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) was overjoyed at ...

| Jan 18, 2014

In Jomon and Heian, the times weren't a-changin'

“Man the change-maker.” That is one definition of Homo sapiens. Other creatures are changed — by Nature, by evolution — over vast expanses of time measured in hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Humankind consciously generates change. We innovate, build, invent, destroy, build ...