Advertisement

Reason and Number: African Reflections on Japan

  • Seifudein Adem
Chapter
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)

Abstract

On balance, Africans in the colonial and post-colonial period underwent a cultural process of soft Westernisation, rapidly converting to Western religions and acquiring Western tastes in music, cuisine, dance and dress. We say “on balance” because “Africans” as a category represents a miracle of diversity, but it is one which, methodologically, should not necessarily preclude the use of evidence about Africans in one part of Africa to formulate Africa-wide hypotheses. That is precisely a task this chapter has set itself. It is in this sense that we could also say, in missionary and colonial schools, Africans learned much more about history, philosophy, literature, and even classical Greek and Latin than about technology and applied sciences. But the Japanese in the Meiji and Post-Meiji period underwent a process of hard modernisation, which is skill-intensive. In Japan, first, the overriding goal was defined as “Rich Country, Strong Army” [fukokukyohei]; then, “Reason and Number” [jitsugaku] was identified as the means for achieving it. Japan’s leaders subsequently pursued the skills of production and strategies of military defence under the guidance of “Western Techniques, Japanese Spirit” [wakonyōsai]. While Nigeria and the Congo have produced cardinals who were considered as candidates for the papacy in the Vatican, the Japanese continued to produce high value-added products. In this chapter, we argue that the primary explanation for this disparity lies in the divergent responses to the challenges of modernisation in Meiji Japan and post-colonial Africa.

Keywords

Easternisation Ethiopia Hard modernisation Japan Soft Westernisation 

References

  1. Adebajo, A. 2013. Obama’s Nobel Ancestors: From Bunch to Barack and Beyond. In Africa’s Peacemakers: Nobel Peace Laureates of African Descent, ed. A. Adebajo, 3–37. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  2. Beauchamp, E.R., and J.M. Vardaman Jr. 1994. Japanese Education Since 1945: A Documentary Study. Armonk: M. E Sharpe.Google Scholar
  3. Benedict, R. 1996. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle.Google Scholar
  4. Burks, A.W. 1990. The Yatoi Phenomenon: An Early Experiment in Technical Assistance. In Foreign Employees in Nineteenth Century Japan, ed. E.R. Beauchamp and A. Iriye, 5–15. Boulder, San Francisco, and London: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, J.C. 1977. The Old People Boom and Japanese Policy-Making. Journal of Japanese Studies 5 (20): 321–357.Google Scholar
  6. Clarke, J. Calvitt. 2011. Alliance of the Colored People: Ethiopia and Japan Before World War II. Oxford, UK: James Currey.Google Scholar
  7. Clements, R. 2015. A Cultural History of Translation in Early Modern Japan. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diamond, J. 2008. Why Did Human History Unfold Differently on Different Continents for the Last 13,000 Years? In Development and Underdevelopment: The Political Economy of Global Inequality, ed. M.A. Seligson and J.T. Passe Smith, 83–89. Boulder: Rienner.Google Scholar
  9. Duke, B. 2014. The History of Modern Japanese Education. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fukuzawa, Y. [1899] 1966. Autobiography, trans. Eiichi Kiyooka. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. [1893] 2008. An Outline of a Theory of Civilization, trans. D.A. Dilworth and G.C. Hurst III. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  12. ———. [1872–1876] 2012. An Encouragement of Learning, trans. D.A. Dilworth. Tokyo: Keio University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Henley, D. 2015. Asia-Africa Development Divergence: A Question of Intent. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  14. Honna, N., and B. Hoffer. 1989. An English Dictionary of Japanese Way of Thinking. Tokyo: Yuhikaku.Google Scholar
  15. Irokawa, D. 1988. The Culture of the Meiji Period, trans. Marius B. Jansen. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Klitgaard, R. 1988. Controlling Corruption. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kuwabara, T. 1983. Japan and Western Civilization: Essays on Comparative Culture. Tokyo: The University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
  18. Marshall, B.K. 1977. Professors and Politics: The Meiji Academic Elite. The Journal of Japanese Studies 3 (1): 71–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Martineau, L. 1993. Caught in a Mirror: Reflections of Japan. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Mazrui, A. 1978. The Barrel of the Gun and the Barrel of Oil in North-South Equation. World Orders Model Project. Working Paper No. 5. New York: Institute for World Orders.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1984. Africa Entrapped: Between the Protestant Ethic and the Legacy of Westphalia. In The Expansion of International Society, ed. H. Bull and A. Watson, 289–308. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 1986. The Africans: A Triple Heritage. PBS Video.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2001. Ideology and African Political Culture. In Explorations in African Political Thought: Identity, Community, Ethics, ed. T. Kiros, 97–131. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Mazrui, A., and J. Kaba. 2016. The African Intelligentsia: Domestic Decline and Global Ascent. Trenton: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
  25. Menkiti, I.A. 2001. Normative Instability as Source of Africa’s Political Disorder. In Explorations in African Political Thought: Identity, Community, Ethics, ed. T. Kiros, 133–149. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Morishima, M. 1982. Why Japan Succeeded: Western Technology and the Japanese Ethos. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Murphy, R.T. 2014. Japan and the Shackles of the Past. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Nkrumah, K. 1957. The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah. Edinburgh and New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.Google Scholar
  29. Pedlar, N. 1990. The Imported Pioneer: Westerners Who Helped Build Modern Japan. Sandgate, Folkestone, and Kent: Japan Library Ltd.Google Scholar
  30. Philips, J.E. 1998. Making the Most of TICAD II: Africa and Japan Are Still Worlds Apart. The Japan Times, December 28.Google Scholar
  31. Presberg, G.M. 2001. The Wisdom of African Sages. In Explorations in African Political Thought: Identity, Community, Ethics, ed. T. Kiros, 7–20. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Preston, P.W. 2000. Understanding Modern Japan: A Political Economy of Development, Culture and Global Power. London, Thousand Oaks, and New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Shichihei, Y. 1992. The Spirit of Japanese Capitalism and Selected Essays. Lanham: Madison Books.Google Scholar
  34. Smith, A. [1776] 1993. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. K. Sutherland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Tobin, J. 1992. Re-made in Japan: Everyday Life and Consumer Taste in a Changing Society. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Weber, M. 1958. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. T. Parsons. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  37. Yoichi, M. 2000. Years of Trial: Japan in the 1990s. Tokyo: Japan Echo Inc.Google Scholar
  38. Yoshino, K. 1992. Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan: A Sociological Enquiry. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seifudein Adem
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of Global StudiesDoshisha UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Ali Mazrui Center for Higher Education StudiesUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations