Land of the rising yen: Japan by George. Mikes

By George. Mikes

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Success is what achieves immediate and tangible results; success shines and dazzles, it is there for all to see and can be recognized at a glance. Success is the accomplishment of an aimed-at end — there is no need for philosophical or psychological examinations of the value and quality of aims. Success is fame, status, riches. This adulation of success has played a dominant part in Japanese history throughout the ages; it formed the Japanese character; it made world history. In 1637, after a bloody revolt, the Shimbara Uprising, Japan was hermetically sealed off from the outside world.

It was an extremely clever move: it proved that the government was more patriotic than its extremist critics and the issue must become very embarrassing to the Communists. ) Apart from Okinawa, Japanese nationalism takes rather innocent forms. The Japanese are competitive people and they want to shine; they want to be first in every field; they want admiration — like the Americans, the French, the Russians, to mention only a few from a long list. The Japanese want to beat the Americans at baseball — a very popular game in Japan (they will never do it due to their smaller build).

But as the Japanese are basically disinclined to regard war as a moral issue, the second effect of the A-bombs is even more important. The atom-bomb was a purely technical invention, like the steamship in an earlier period: then Perry had steamships, the Japanese didn’t. The A-bomb once again underlined the technical superiority of the United States. This was acknowledged, even admired. But it had nothing to do with military prowess. The atom-bomb was dropped by the side which had it; not by the side which possessed more courage, valour and military genius.

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