Home » Asia
Category Archives: Asia
April 30, 2019 | Japan’s former Emperor Emeritus Akihito chose to abdicate Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne due to age and personal (health) reasons today, choosing his son Naruhito to become Japan’s new Emperor in an elegant but simple ceremony.
Each Japanese Emperor represents a particular era and is so named by the incoming royal; “Showa” (enlightened peace) was the name of Emperor Hirihito’s era (1901-1989), while his son Akihito’s era was named “Heisei” (1989-2019) and the newest Emperor Naruhito’s reign will be known as ‘Reiwa” (2019-onward).
The name of each era carries deep significance and is chosen according to the state of the country and the aspirations of Japan in the opinion of the Emperor of the day.
Therefore, Akihito’s reign as named Heisei, or, “peace everywhere” (literally; 地平かに天成る “peace on the heaven and earth”) while the new Emperor chose to name his reign ‘Reiwa” which means “order and harmony” (literally; 令和 “fair and gentle”) and we can see these kinds of terms used by Japanese Emperors going back to the first Emperor of Japan, 575-610 BCE.
Reiwa: as taken from Japan’s historic poetic works
Original Kanbun text:
Classical Japanese translation (kanbun kundoku):
“It was in new spring, in a fair (“Rei”) month,
When the air was clear and the wind a gentle (“wa”) breeze.
Plum flowers blossomed a beauty’s charming white
And the fragrance of the orchids was their sweet perfume.”
The Chrysanthemum Throne Continues to Guide Japan’s Deeply Civilized Culture
Much can be gleaned by looking at the leaders (ceremonial leaders or hands-on political leaders) of any country.
Countries with warmonger, hawkish, troublesome, or even meddlesome leaders usually bring war against other countries or groups and it usually ends in some kind of disaster.
That’s not to say that countries under threat should give in to their enemies! War, or the use of so-called ‘Soft Power’, are instruments employed by governments to defend their countries from attack and such measures are often completely justified. Yet, some leaders have incited war over the centuries, or (almost worse!) allowed military preparedness to fall to such a low level that their country was too tempting a target, and so, were invaded or attacked by hostile powers.
Contrast that to the gentle urging of Japan’s Emperors who have favoured and advocated for the statecraft of “peace and harmony” and “fair and gentle” treatment of citizens for centuries in the longest-running continuous governance model in the world.
Japanese Emperors have been continuously guiding Japan’s people since 575 BCE (almost 550-years before the Roman Empire was created!) towards peace and harmony.
The only country in the world with both a pacifist constitution and 2500-year continuous line of sovereign leaders (although that pacifist constitution was slightly watered-down since the war on terror began in 2001) remains one of the world’s leading economies and its citizens enjoy a very high standard of living, proving that culture is much more than numerous art galleries, operatic works, or stunning architecture.
A ‘culture of excellence’ is almost always led by its most senior leaders and they work to set a high standard for citizens to meet, resulting in Japan’s postition as one of the most successful countries on planet Earth.
With grateful hearts we thank former Emperor Akihito and his family for decades of enlightened leadership and the culture of excellence that he promoted during the Heisei era, and we warmly welcome Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito and his family to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
by John Brian Shannon | July 31, 2016
China is growing and modernizing rapidly, of that there’s no doubt. With an economy second only to the United States, and home to 1.35 billion citizens, it’s the country that created the largest manufacturing sector in recorded history.
Due to globalization, events in China (whether positive or negative) can have profound and worldwide ramifications
Therefore, it makes sense that China is attempting to shore-up it’s marine security in the South China Sea through which $5 trillion worth of goods pass annually.
A good case could be made that China would be remiss if it didn’t take reasonable measures to ensure that all shipping in the region (whether it is en-route to China or not) is safe from at-sea piracy attempts and seaborne terrorist attack
It has been noted by sailors for hundreds of years that complex navigational hazards await those ships that navigate through the busy South China Sea.
The waterway is full of sandbars, shoals, partially submerged islets, and some islets are only visible at low tide, while others lurk only a few feet beneath the surface of the sea — safe enough for 5-person sailboats to pass over, but exceedingly dangerous for container ships to traverse. Running aground and getting stuck half-out of the water on top of the shoal or sandbar is incredibly dangerous.
Once a distress call goes out, pirate ships operating in the region are ‘magnetically attracted’ to those grounded ships. If you think that piracy-at-sea is a big problem with a ship capable of running at full speed and able to quickly change course, you’ll understand what happens to a ship and crew that is stuck on a sandbar for a few days. You don’t want to be that crew, ever. Just one more reason to have a strong anti-piracy component operating in the South China Sea.
Where such islets are located in North American waters, they were long ago deemed navigational hazards and were either destroyed via explosive charges or had lighthouses with foghorns installed on them to constantly warn ships of their location. A few have a runway installed so that patrol aircraft can refuel. Which is exactly what China has been working on in recent months.
Surprising to nobody is that some of China’s neighbours are concerned that the huge and powerful nation not all that far from them could become even more powerful than now, and it could decide to be not as nice to deal with as it has been in recent years.
In such case, those islets could be heavily militarized and used as jumping-off points for an attack on the much smaller South China Sea nations. (At least, that’s the fear)
Which gives more reason for all South China Sea nations to work together to craft a common strategy for China’s security and their own security.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of China to the global economy which depends on it to drive demand for resources and agriculture
Building upon the uber-successful NATO model, an organization of Atlantic Ocean member nations and having conducted millions of operations in the Atlantic ocean since it’s creation on April 4, 1949, is the most logical way for China to gain the additional security it needs — while proving to regional neighbours that it poses no threat to them and is merely working towards a clearly demarcated, safe shipping zone for the South China Sea.
Even the leaders of the world’s most powerful nation the United States of America, know that nothing of lasting significance can be achieved by one country acting alone.
Therefore and in that context, I respectfully urge President Xi Jinping of China to work with all of the nations of the South China Sea in a spirit of mutual trust and goodwill in an effort to jointly address the opportunities of regional maritime security.
Mr. President, please make the South China Sea nations ‘part of the solution instead of part of the problem’
In this way, by taking the lead in the creation of a mutually beneficial organization, not only will maritime security in the region improve, but other upgrades to diplomatic relations around the world will surely follow.
by John Brian Shannon | January 3, 2016
The Economics of Empowerment
How We Could Add Unimaginable Wealth to Our Civilization by Adopting New Ways of Thinking
There’s a circle centred around a geographical point in Asia where 51% of the world’s people live. That’s 3.6 billion who live in an area only slightly larger than the United States (once you factor-in the land that humans can actually live on)
‘The Circle’ has perhaps the widest disparity levels in the world; While some of the people living within that circle have fabulous wealth, others live their entire lives at landfill sites sifting through the flotsam and jetsam in a desperate attempt to find items of value to sell on the street.
Of course, there are disparities all over the Earth but nowhere else are there 3.6 billion people living in relative proximity to each other, some of whom may drive a different Lamborghini each day of the week and fly their personal jets at the weekend to the many exotic resorts in that part of the world, while others live in squalid tents with no water supply nor electricity their entire lives.
If ever there was a region of the Earth where investors might find the most highly motivated workers and many natural resources available to create huge returns on investment, this has got to be it!
In the West where I live, we are beset by ‘First World Problems’ — it’s a family emergency when little Jimmy doesn’t get EXACTLY the tablet computer he desired for Christmas, or when the delivery driver is 20 minutes late with our pizza. Even more serious is getting stuck in a traffic jam when we’re on our way home from work.
Very. Serious. Problems.
In The Circle, a ‘serious problem’ is when a venomous cobra has killed five people in your tent-city neighbourhood overnight, or when the water supply that is required to sustain human life is suddenly cut off by the authorities or farmers upstream, or when the river disappears due to drought.
In some areas of The Circle, once a criminal gang begins operating in your region, your life begins to change on that very day and whatever they decide to do with you, that will be your fate for the rest of your life…
Like the lions of Africa, life is ‘day-to-day’ for alarmingly large numbers of humans caught inside this sometimes cruel circle. At any given moment, a lion in Africa may get killed by hunters/poachers, by competing lions, by a pack of hyenas, or by a stealthy underwater crocodile at the old watering-hole, or any number of other reasons. Shockingly few lions make it to middle age.
And so it is with people who live within most of The Circle. Life is cheap there. You live ‘day-to-day’. If you can’t find a way to make yourself useful or even better, indispensable to someone wealthy — you’re gone.
As I’ve said, it’s a region with highly motivated people and under-developed resources.
Even investors with the worst track record in history should be able to strike it rich almost anywhere within The Circle
If the 20th-Century was ‘all about The Baby Boomers’ and ‘enabling’ their generation to add huge wealth to the Western nation economies by virtue of their buying power (called ‘Disposable Income’ by economists) — we in the 21st-Century might do as well by empowering the people in The Circle to become all that they can and should be…
We’re looking at nothing less than the greatest opportunity to create wealth in the history of the planet — an order of magnitude larger than the baby boomer wealth-creation paradigm
And in so doing, we’ll lift billions of people out of poverty, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for corporations and dramatically increasing revenue to government coffers, and provide opportunities for ‘Circler’s’ to earn life-changing disposable income.
Instead of the one success story that we hear endlessly trumpeted on headlines everywhere; Apple Computer now worth $1 Trillion Dollars (by virtue of Apple’s decision to choose low-cost manufacturing in China and sales to EVERYWHERE on Earth) we could have dozens or hundreds of similar success stories (and not only in regards to personal electronics, but in many segments of the economy)
As a civilization we can choose to drop this ball or we can choose to make it work for us
The people who live within The Circle are highly motivated to do their part.
All it will take to add trillions of dollars of wealth to the global economy is the empowerment of an already motivated people via the implementation of a more detailed version of this vision, along with courageous political leadership to see it through to its best destiny — a destiny that works for everyone on the planet.
(Or, we could allow mediocrity to rule the day allowing the region to deteriorate, becoming the largest breeding ground for terrorism that the world has ever seen with enough terrorist numbers to seriously impact life on planet Earth — as compared to the relatively minor bits of terrorism we’ve seen emanating from other impoverished regions, thus far)
The West became incredibly rich by empowering the Baby Boomers in the 1945-2000 timeframe and the ‘Boomers’ responded by creating unprecedented wealth and a better standard of life for billions of people.
It’s high time for us to empower The Circle so that they can add their wealth-creation and better-standard-of-life contribution to our shared civilization.
The best time to do that was 20-years ago. The second-best time is now.