The Ties That Bind the 100


The TIME 100 is a list of the world’s most influential men and women, not its most powerful, though those are not mutually exclusive terms. Power, as we’ve seen this year, can be crude and implacable, from Vladimir Putin’s mugging of Crimea to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s summary execution of his uncle and mentor Jang Song Thaek. Those men made our list, but they are the outliers, and not just because we generally seek to celebrate the best work of the human spirit. The vast majority of this year’s roster reveals that while power is certain, influence is subtle. Power is a tool, influence is a skill; one is a fist, the other a fingertip. You don’t lead by hitting people over the head, Dwight Eisenhower used to say. That’s “assault, not leadership.”

The 2014 list includes a record number of women: 41. It features people born on six continents, ranging in age from 16 to 78. We feature not just inventors but also reinventors, people who acquired expertise in one field and are now transplanting it to another. Microsoft mogul turned philanthropist Bill Gates (a four-time TIME 100 honoree) writes about the efforts of Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote to fight polio in Africa. Harvey Weinstein (TIME 100 2012) writes of actor Robert Redford’s influence over a generation of directors as the Sundance Film Festival marks its 30th year. On the court, Jason Collins is not a huge basketball star, but he has already claimed his place in civil rights history as the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major U.S. sports leagues.

In many cases, the profiles are less appraisals than appreciations, written by friends, admirers and mentors, which means this issue invites you to join the conversation. With an assist from the latest Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, politically minded billionaires may wield more influence than ever—but that does not mean conservatives will embrace Al Gore’s tribute to Tom Steyer or liberals will love Karl Rove’s piece on the Brothers Koch. Readers can debate whether Edward Snowden is a hero or a traitor, whether Carl Icahn is a shareholder prophet or a corporate pest, whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is a force for change or a threat to peace, whether Miley Cyrus is a genius or a toxin, but it’s hard to deny the influence they have had.

To assemble the list, we rely on our journalists around the world and our TIME 100 alumni (many of whom are as influential as ever). Somehow, each year the group grows ever more interconnected: when we asked Colin Firth (2011) to write about Benedict Cumberbatch, his first reaction was to recall his early acting days when he worked with Cumberbatch’s parents. Gabrielle Giffords (2011 and 2013) wrote about Malala Yousafzai, who wrote about Hillary Clinton, who wrote about John Kerry. Both of last year’s breakthrough albums from Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé featured tracks produced by Pharrell Williams—who now has his own breakthrough album.

If there is a common theme in many of the tributes, it’s the eagerness to see what some engineer, actor, leader or athlete will do next. As much as this exercise chronicles the achievements of the past year, we also focus on figures whose influence is likely to grow, so we can look around the corner to see what is coming. So join us for this journey, and visit time.com/time100 to hear more of the story behind the stories.

TIME Japan

The Patriot: Shinzo Abe Speaks to TIME

TIME International Magazine Cover, April 28, 2014
Photograph by Takashi Osato for TIME

Japan's Prime Minister spoke to TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs and East Asia correspondent Hannah Beech on a wide range of topics, from his country's relationships with the U.S. and China to the lessons he took from his family's political past

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a rare electoral mandate in a nation that has churned through six Premiers in just as many years. Called a brazen nationalist by some and a brave change agent by others, the 59-year-old Prime Minister — whose first term ended abruptly after a year in 2007 and who assumed office again in December 2012 — sat down at his Tokyo office on April 9 with TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs and East Asia correspondent Hannah Beech to discuss patriotism, “Abenomics” and his controversial grandfather.

On Japan’s relations with the U.S.:

“To preserve the national interests of Japan, first of all, I’d like to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. Japan became an ally of the U.S., whom it fought against in the past war. I think this alliance has largely contributed to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.”

On Japan’s relations with China:

“Because there is a problem that exists, the doors for communication between the two nations should not be closed. Japan always keeps our door for communication open. I’d like China to take the same attitude.”

On the territorial dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea:

“Japan considers the Senkaku Islands [known as the Diaoyu by China] as Japan’s inherent territory. Unfortunately, Chinese government vessels are repeatedly violating Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku. China has been acting the same [way] also in the South China Sea, and many ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nation] nations have strong concerns about [these maritime disputes].”

On Japan’s brutal wartime record and official Japanese apologies for it:

“In the previous war, Japan has given tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly those of Asia. Japan’s postwar era began based on this remorse. Previous Prime Ministers have expressed their feelings of remorse and apology. In my first administration, I also did so.”

On his visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where the enshrined war dead include convicted war criminals:

“I paid a visit to Yasukuni Shrine to pray for the souls of those who had fought for the country and made ultimate sacrifices. I have made a pledge never to wage war again, that we must build a world that is free from the sufferings of the devastation of war.”

On the 1993 Kono Statement that recognized the Japanese military’s sexual enslavement of Asian “comfort women,” which Abe indicated during the 2012 campaign he would like to revise:

“At the time of the first Abe administration, a Cabinet decision was made stating that there was no information that shows people were forcibly recruited. Lots of Japanese citizens did not hear that, and it may have not been recognized internationally. I had been saying in the election campaign that this Cabinet decision and the Kono Statement should be considered together. Because I have said this, lots of people are aware of this issue now. As for the Japanese government, we are not considering revising the Kono Statement.”

On patriotism and criticism:

“I am a patriot. I would think there are no politicians who are not patriots. Since I am a politician, I often get criticized, as I try to exercise what I believe to be right. However, if you mind such criticism, I think you can’t protect people’s lives.”

On lessons learned from his father, former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe:

“I have learned that being a politician is not an easy job. My father was trying to make progress in the peace treaty with the Soviet Union. At that time he was suffering from last-stage cancer, but he visited Moscow in the bitter cold. I learned from my father that you may have to risk your own life to make such a historic accomplishment.”

On his maternal grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, a member of Japan’s wartime Cabinet who was locked up (but never charged) by the Allied powers and later became Prime Minister:

“If I try to make it correct, my grandfather was arrested but not prosecuted. [As Prime Minister], my grandfather amended the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. He faced severe criticism. He passed the treaty and resigned as Prime Minister at the same time. Those who were against [revamping the treaty] are now overwhelmingly for [it]. Unfortunately, politicians don’t get applause.”

On his paternal grandfather Kan Abe, a wartime legislator:

“He was one of the few Diet members who was against [wartime leader Hideki] Tojo’s Cabinet and Japan going to war with [the] U.S. I have learned from each family member that politicians sometimes have to make decisions all alone.”

On the need to revise the postwar pacifist constitution, which was written by the Americans and precludes Japan from possessing a normal military:

“It has been believed for a long time in Japan that things such as the constitution can never be changed. I say we should change our constitution now. The U.S. has amended its constitution six times, but Japan has done it zero times.”

On the state of the nation when he assumed power in December 2012:

“When I came to office, in terms of diplomacy and national security, as well as the economy, Japan was in a very severe situation.”

On his economic reform program, dubbed Abenomics:

“The economic policy that I am implementing now is a growth strategy, which includes radical financial relaxation, flexible monetary policy and encouragement of private investment. For a long time, we have been suffering from deflation. We haven’t overcome deflation yet, but the confidence of small and medium businesses has turned to positive after 21 years and 10 months.”

On the role of women in Japan:

“I often say to entrepreneurs: ‘If Lehman Brothers were Lehman Brothers & Sisters, it wouldn’t have gone into bankruptcy.’ Hillary Clinton says if Japan were to utilize women’s power more, Japan’s GDP would increase by 16%. We have decided that at least 30% of all new hires by our government should be female. We have requested at least one female board member in first-tier listed companies. She doesn’t have to be Japanese but could be a foreigner.”

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