Friday, September 2, 2016
The classic tale of modern Japan. You guys invent something, we'll perfect it.
A few examples:
➡ Having been introduced to the idea of clockwork figures from China via Korea, The Japanese produced a remarkable number of complex devices including amazing little clockwork puppet figures which many regard as the seed from which the Japanese fascination with robots has grown.
➡ Shortly after Commodore Perry forced Japan to open her ports, modern guns were introduced from the West. This struck Japanese society at its roots as peasants could now be formed into a brutally effective fighting force with minimal training, which threatened samurai supremacy. Soon Japan was producing the finest guns in the world. The corps of musketeers was so effective that eventually Japan did a remarkable thing, they banned a highly effective and desirable technology and made the ban stick! Probably this only happened because all the samurai class, from lowest soldier to the Shogun, were deeply committed to the concept of honor and guns were clearly a dishonorable weapon (which also happened to threaten their own power).
➡ Japan eventually realized that their military system was inferior to the west. During the Meiji era, the country used the British as a model for the Navy and the Prussians as a model for their army. They quickly became one of the finest militaries in the world. At the beginning of World War II there is no question that the best operational air supremacy fighter in the world was the Mitsubishi Zero.
➡ Disney style animation swept the nation after WWII and today Japan produces much the world's most popular versions.
➡ Electronics was largely an American invention, but, as Marty McFly declared, "Japan makes the best stuff!"
➡ Interestingly, the Japanese recognize serious failures in their educational program. They have long envied the invention and creativity that America's system produces. This has been so for at least the last 20 to 30 years. Ironically, we are now imitating all the flaws of the Japanese system and weakening or even destroying the strengths which were once inherent in our own.
Read "Samurai's Ghost" for more on this topic.