Nothing this week.
In order to best encapsulate my response to this week’s readings, I’d like to revisit the important milestones of Japanese modernization, but from my own perspective. The stage is set with an evanescent Japan and a choir warmly chanting “you suck, I suck, we all suck.” Comm. Perry walks on stage and tilts his head to listen. A look of bewilderment crosses his face as he addresses the chorus. “Haha what? No. No that’s crazy. Have you seen my magic iron boat? Or the sections of the world I’ve conquered with it?” And suddenly, a look of hunger enters into his eyes. (Inouye, 106) Stage right, a worried Aizawa walks forward and addresses the chorus. “No, hey, guys. We don’t suck. THEY do. They’re a bunch of asses. We’re perfect.” (Inouye, 108) And then more men (Robun, Okakura, Kuki) walk on stage and drown each other out, some addressing the chorus, and some the Comm. (Inouye, 104, 118, 122) Until Notibe’s voice breaks the din*. He speaks to Perry, but does so loud enough that the chorus can hear. “My dear sir, I do believe frank that our exchange of vocabulary gestated in an entirely unsatisfactory manner. We don’t suck, nor have we EVER sucked. We’re just like you. We use symbols and valued chivalry. And hey- remember Feudalism?” And while he berates Perry with poems from every Western poet, a small group of exquisitely dressed men listen in, wringing their fingers. They break out a pack of pastels and begin furiously drawing a portrait on a half-blank canvas. FADE OUT. *(The copy of Bushido I used doesn’t have page numbers. I was referencing when Notibe expresses the entirety of Shinto as a symbolic religion of “loyalty” and “piety,” his comparison to the honor of “knighthood,” and his implication that Bushido is dying out in the same way Chivalry did.)