Five Gentlemen of Japan The Portrait of a Nations Character

Five Gentlemen of Japan The Portrait of a Nations Character

Language: English

Pages: 373


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the next three hundred years, as a result of intermittent contacts with Korea, the Japanese got a good glimpse of the formidable culture of the mainland that centered itself south of the Korean peninsula. It was detailed enough to convince the rising emperors of Japan 38 Five Gentlemen of Japan that the kingdoms of Korea were valuable only as cultural middlemen. It could be only by direct dealings with China, the source of Eastern culture, that this culture could be grasped. The embassy to

was an old-school samurai cut from the same bolt of cloth as Saigo Takamori, austere, unsparing and wedded to his duty. In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, he had become Japan's foremost military hero, the captor of Port Authur and Mukden. He gave his new teaching job the same rigid loyalty that he had enforced in the field. The day before Meiji's funeral, Nogi visited Hirohito and his two younger brothers, Chichibu and Takamatsu, at their apartments. He explained carefully to the princes that

watched the 93 T H E N A T I 0 N A L F A C E L I F T I N G first explosive and tentative changes of the Restoration carried through to a success that few of his advisors had hoped for. The Restoration was a triumph over extremes. Its authors had taken the variant ideologies and techniques and synthesized them. The merger was successful. Their dwad tree was sprouting. They had produced the most . brilliant undertaking of nineteenth-century statesmanship. But the roots of the tree were

winding coast along the bay, to the naval base at Yokosuka. He began his naval service with three months of basic training-"the only period during my entire naval career," he recalls, "when I engaged in anything which resembled soldiering." He was commissioned a chui (lieutenant, junior grade) at the end of his indoctrination, and sent to Kure to begin his career as an engineering technician at the arsenals there. For the next five years he supervised work at arsenals and ammunition plants in

unpleasant. Recruits in both the ~apa­ nese Army and Navy were under the !firect charge of the privates first class and the lower nop.-commissioned officers. They were trained to obey tqese men implicitly, and also to 'Vait op. thelll. If a recruit made a mistake, he was kitk~d, slapped apd beaten oftep. enough so that }le would not make the same mistake again-:--this was the Japanese theory of discipline. Brutality' was fn~ou~aged-a~ im impromptu toughening-~p prpcess. Although com111issioned

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