Sakoku in Japanese or literally “ country in chains” or “ lock up of country” was the foreign relations policy of Japan under which no foreigner or Japanese could enter or leave the country on penalty of death. This policy which in affect lasted for 218 years from 1635 to 1853, under the late great Tokugawa Iemitsu, kept Japan in virtual peace and harmony for centuries. Of course there was Nagasaki which was the only port accessible to foreigners, and maybe Hakodate in Hokkaido.?Isolationism has been a policy practiced by many countries throughout history – not just Japan.
China, Britain and the United States had institutionalized these same policies which had served these countries in ways that prevented them from forming alliances with other countries. The intention behind these seclusive policies were meant to preserve resources and other markets – nothing new. China, as an example, being the first major asian country to ever get raped and pillaged by western powers was once the hallmark of civilization for centuries until the heavy hand of western domination rested its bloody palms over her sacred institutions and governances destroying everything it could get its grip on and then subjugating its people through economic oppression and drug distribution through every echelon of its society. But, one thing is for sure, the Chinese know who they are, and they are proud of who they’ve become. The same can’t be said about Japan. National identity and patriotism are foreign concepts in this country as well as common sense which has been in short supply for over 35 years now.
(“ You have to protect your women ; you have to protect your markets; you have to protect your children; you have to protect your language; you have to protect your culture; you have to protect your interest”). The Chinese do all of these things naturally. What happened to Japan ?
In Japan, we are beginning to see a growing need to revive a form of isolationism especially since it is the Japanese that have been effected by the enormous strain placed on their markets and ultimately their way of life because of globalization and rampant western imperialism. Not every country can close its doors and still feed its people; Japan surely can’t, but there was a time when it could, let’s figure a way back to that way I say.
The United States of America, on one hand, has probably been around for a little over 200 years and yet had managed to be just as much of an isolationist country as Japan once was…i.e. not every race was allowed in the U.S., and the Dutch, in the case of the Japanese, were the only westerners allowed in Japan, save a few French and Russian Merchants.?How effective were these racist and exclusionary policies will depend largely on whether or not these policies benefited the respective countries in terms of racial harmony and or economic hegemony. – only time will tell.
In Japan we know a semi-open market has benefited its economy. What we don’t know,however, is to what extent it has ruined it either. It seems the more Japan depends on foreign trade the less its able to sustain itself within itself. Here in Japan they have relied heavily on foreign influence for centuries which has helped shape their preceptions of the world around them; R&D; Industry, and so forth and so on. In the case of poor Carib/African island nations the need for foreign aid and food has grown dramatically because of globalization to the point where these small countries have become debtor nations forever ! Many owe the IMF and World Bank billions of dollars and many of these countries will never ever be able to repay these enormous debts. I think some of these debtor nations were better under colonial rule in most cases.
As far back as 1945, American senator Robert Rice who was an unabashed isolationist and Anglophobe, whose foreign policy position alienated him from Delano Roosevelt, advocated strict limits on immigration, by 90%, and the registration of all aliens because he feared that loose immigration laws would threaten the security of the job market in the U.S. (Looking at history in hindesight maybe he was on to something…)
American politician Pat Buchanan who was runner up in the 2000 presidential election was another infamous isolationist who advocated policies such as “America First” which would’ve lifted trade barriers while using the federal government to protect American jobs and other interest. In addition, he also wanted to cut foreign economic assistance and punish other countries who had poor human rights records like China, for example. These policies had proven very unpopular amongst his constituencies including the Democratic Party and the then Clinton Administration that favored free trade with Canada and Mexico.
“In great cities men are brought together by the desire of gain. They are not in a state of co-operation, but of isolation, as to the making of fortunes; and for all the rest they are careless of neighbors. Christianity teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves; modern society acknowledges no neighbor [Benjamin Disraeli former Prime Minister of England]
I have often wondered whether isolation was more beneficial in the long run vs. the opening of markets… Again, I reiterate in the case of Japan, having a semi – open foreign/trade policy has allowed its economy to grow by leaps and bounds, and has aided in the development of commerce, innovation and the manufacturing of new technologies. Open policies in trade has also helped develop new markets in agriculture and trade through exports of high quality foods such as Fuji Apples and Aomori garlic, and even grains. And while all of this may sound good to the western capitalist, I often wonder whether its quality will decrease because of the need for demand …Should Japan just fling her doors wider open and allow its rice and fruit market to be exploited while allowing the quality of its products to diminish ? Or should it keep its markets locked shut and safe from foreign competition ?
At first, Japan fought to protect its culture; it capitulated and allowed the western dregs of the earth to scorge its purity with their doctrines of death with their bombs and with their guns and their poisonous democratic system of governance. Now, we live in a society that has been struggling with what democracy really means exactly. Sixty years later, most Japanese have no idea what a democracy is or what it means, or even care for that matter because most live as if the Meiji constitution is still in place, and that’s exactly why the current constitution carries no weight. We have politicians in office today who can’t even decide how to run their own country, let alone make simple policy decisions like supporting the war against invisible terror, or whether to support its own stance politically without the tacit approval or disapproval of the United Snakes of AmeriKKKa. It’s high time Japan stepped up to the plate and stand accounted as a first rate nation and world leader in the 21st century.
“Never let the left hand know what the right hand is doing,”said a friend of mine. Sort of reminds me of Japans double hegemony policies. Ever since the 19th Century Japan has been quite good at double hegemony, but their methods have been getting sloppy nowadays because they can’t decide whether to fight America’s enemies or shake hands with Iran over a multi-billion dollar oil deal for “Japans own oil interest for the Japanese.”
Sort of reminds me of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance back in 1902 when Britian forged an alliance with Japan which primarily benefited Britain whereas Japan benefited very little from it. Britain needed Japan to contain Russia and protect British commerce interest in China. In turn, Japan would gain status in the international community for allying with a rich white nation. This alliance also made Japan Britain’s partner during WW1 which forced Japan to attack German targets during the Seige of Tsingtao in 1914. And then subsequently the Japanese switched sides and allied with Germany because they weren’t accepted by the international community as a super power – how ironic…. And all of this was done under Emperor Meiji. (“ And they think that that’s how friendships and alliances work?”).
Japan tried to maintain a very delicate balancing act by trying to appease Europe and Americas friends and enemies and failed miseraebly. Even today, Japan is doing the exact same thing, but only this time nobody is listening at all.
The argument for whether Japan should be given a seat on the UNSC is still up for debate; the U.S. supports Japans bid, but the rest of the world including the U.N. feel that Japan is not ready for such a position which it bases solely off of its relationship with the United Snakes of AmeriKKKa. The contention lies with Japan’s present war renouncing constitution which forbades it from engaging in war which the U.N. feels would lessen Japan’s ability to act either unilaterally or assist the U.N. in case war breaks out. Another contention is that Japan is too dependent on the U.S. which could seriously undermine the UNSC credibility and power structure and decision making ability.
History dictates that when Japan tries to be accepted into the “international brotherhood” she either gets rejected or laughed at, either because she can’t choose sides or because she doesn’t know who to obey, so to speak.
Had Japan looked out for her own interest first(unilaterally) not leaning on the West for approval this country would already had a revised constitution that would’ve enabled it to act unilaterally in its own interests. Maybe then the world would look at Japan as worthy of mention as a true sovereign nation. Nation building starts right here in Japan in each and every home !