The Sun Rises Again

4 minute read

The Sun Rises Again
Re “Return of the Samurai” [Oct. 7]: Japan is trying to protect its territory and the lives of its people, which are now under the threat of China. What Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is struggling to do is invigorate the economy and strengthen the military capacity to defend our motherland. I agree with Tobias Harris, who likens Abe’s approach to the motto “Rich nation, strong military,” adopted by Japan in the 19th century. But I disagree with his notion that bringing that motto to the 21st century is very dangerous. What makes Asia very dangerous is the expansionism of China, which is anachronistically attempting to bring 19th century’s imperialism into the present day, and Japan, consequently, is obliged to respond to it in a way we did in the 19th century.
Goro Shintani,

Japanese leaders’ lack of historical insight into atrocities committed by their predecessors is appalling. With war criminals honored and politicians being remorseless, the prospect of Japan as a regional peacekeeper is a sheer illusion.
Kim Young-dae,
Busan, South Korea

Abe’s party envisions “peace” as one of Japan’s national values. I would like some evidence to support that view. Japan’s militarist history, denial of wartime atrocities in both recent political speeches and school textbooks, and Abe’s mission to revive Japan’s offensive military force, unfortunately all point to one conclusion: Japan has never been for peace, and it is not for peace now.
Priscilla Chan,
Hong Kong

Japanese people, especially those from younger generations, have been adopting a more patriotic character. The majority of my peers are starting to think about our history, tradition and powerful military. Most of us are rediscovering, at last — after years of indifference to national security — what we really are. I believe the Japanese have awakened to the true identity of being Japanese. We have revived the samurai spirit.
Takehiro Hashimoto,
Kawanishi, Japan

Repeating History
Reading the article about the 40th anniversary of Chile’s coup, I couldn’t help but wonder how little has changed since 1973 [“Chile’s Haunted Vote,” Oct. 7]. In Chile it was a coup against a socialist President, today in Egypt it is a coup against an Islamist President, both democratically elected. But the guardians of democracy stand by (if not worse), citing the “extremism” of these governments and their failed policies. If we acknowledge that, where else should the military take over? In the U.S., paralyzed by partisan struggle, shutdown and slumping toward default?
Kim-Su Johmann,
Erlenbach, Germany

New Hope on Iran
Re “Behind the Charm Offensive” [Oct. 7]: After the vituperations of Iran’s erstwhile President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the “softer” approach to the West of President Hassan Rouhani is a breath of fresh air. The world’s economies and polities are interlinked, and peaceful solutions must be sought to settle our differences. Ordinary folk want peace at all cost!
Irma Liberty,
Cape Town

Importance of Liberal Arts
Re “The Class of 2025” [Oct. 7]: When I attended Columbia College in the early 1960s, the contemporary civilizations two-semester course was considered a prerequisite to becoming a “whole man,” and indeed has proved to be just that by being an inspiration in all that I have done.
Rudolf Montag,
Épinay-sur-orge, France

Web Education
Re “Online Learning Will Make College Cheaper” [Oct. 7]: While online colleges can reduce education cost, it is not the panacea for having good yet cheap education, particularly in those disciplines that require hands-on activities. Lacking personal interaction, motivation and empathy, online learning may not suit every student. Different students vary in aptitude and capability, and few can really cope with independent study via cyberspace. Universities should find ways to minimize cost. One way is to strike an optimal arrangement where half the time students can study online, off campus.
Vei Ze Wu,

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