| Jan 17, 2015

Seeking independence through civilization

by Michael Hoffman

For the first time in 600 years Japan was threatened by foreign aggression. One among many differences between the 19th century American threat and the 13th-century Mongol invasions is this: 13th-century Japan was fiercely militarist, 19th-century Japan was impotently militarist. What to do? There ...

| Jul 19, 2014

'Leaving the world' to gain freedom

by Michael Hoffman

A challenge: Scan Japanese history in search of freedom fighters. You won’t find many. Not freedom but submission was the proud Japanese ideal. It was the “way of the warrior.” A 16th-century poem declares, “For the samurai to learn / there’s one thing only ...