How should a civilized nation treat women?

Apr 19, 2014

How should a civilized nation treat women?

In 1872, a Peruvian ship transporting Chinese coolies docked at Yokohama for repairs. One of the coolies jumped overboard and sought refuge, complaining of gross ill-treatment. What to do?

The truth is, we have gotten too used to lying

| Mar 29, 2014

The truth is, we have gotten too used to lying

Philosophers love truth — that’s a truism. What about the rest of us? Do we love truth or falsehood? Truth, we naturally affirm. So why are we swimming in falsehood? Last fall, a peculiar scenario played out involving restaurant menus. They weren’t true. You’d ...

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 ...