Once again about Dr. Kan’ichi Asakawa, the man who fought against “arrogant Japan”


As regards to Dr. Kanichi Asakawa, I have introduced his masterpiece “Omen of disaster in Japan (orijinal title "Nihon no Kaki". Published in Japanese only)”  in a book review titled “requirements for a leader:  historical percpectives, view of the world and vision” together with “The taming of the Samurai” by Eiko Ikegami and “Embracing defeat” by Dr. John W. Dower of MIT. This was the first time I wrote about Dr. Asakawa, but ever since then, I have been repeatedly writing about him in my site, so please “search” them.

He is truly an admirable person, the first Japanese to become a professor at an American university, a historian at Yale. 2005 was the 100th year since the end of Japanese- Russo War and the conclusion of Treaty of Portsmouth so there were a lot of articles about Dr. Asakawa in Japan. Please look up Dr. Asakawa’s books in Amazon and search on Google and Yahoo! for more information about him.

The other day, I wrote about a symposium on Dr. Asakawa held at Yale University this year but I also found Dr. Yabuki’s lecture on Dr. Asakawa, from an academic perspective, being introduced in Gakushikai’s newsletter. In 1904, 5 years before Dr. Asakawa wrote “Omen of disaster in Japan”, in the midst of a conflict between Japan and Russia, he claimed Japan’s legitimacy in a paper titled “Russo- Japan Conflict” (I think it was written in English).  I remember reading it in the blog site of Dr. Yabuki at Yokohama City University.

Why Dr. Asakawa again? I think it is because the situation of Japan has essentially not changed at all after 100 years and in a sense, the circumstances surrounding Japan is somewhat similar. Even in such a global era, I feel that there is no strong leaders or scholars like Dr.Asakawa in those days as described in “The man who fought against ‘arrogant Japan’ ? behind the scenes of Treaty of Portsmouth” by Miwa Shimizu and “The last ‘Japanese’ – life of Kan’ichi Asakawa”by Yoshio Abe (both in Japanese only). Now is just the time that scholars should speak out from a higher standpoint to the power, government, and to the people .

I understand well that someone like Dr.Asakawa is rare. But universities nowadays say in every occation that they should earn money and only talk about money when it comes to researcher’s “incentives”. The world is not only greedy people. What kind of a person would want to be a teacher in such  greedy place? Don’t you think that it’s nonsense to say that anything “can be measured by money”? Children become lively only when everybody supports the school and the teachers. This is the essenctial of education.
Basically the same things have been said and written repeatedly for 20 years about this “theme on Asakawa”, so please think about it.

Dr. Ito’s article in the Gakushikai’s newsletter is also referring to a primordial issue that has been unrecognized in the Japanese society saying that the deviation education for university entrance exams were thought to be working well but it is obviously time to change in this global era of which Japan is a part of it.