“Internet centrist” on Sparkling Korea

“An Argument for leaving Asia” or “Datsu-A Ron” translation attempt, Part 2

Datsu-A Ron” is an unsigned editorial of a newspaper called “時事新報” published in March 16, 1885.

[part 1]

Here is the part 2. Somebody really needs to rewrite my English.

日本は、国土はアジアにありながら、国民精神においては西洋の近代文明を受け入れた。ところが日本の不幸として立ち現れたのは近隣諸国である。そのひとつはシナであり、もうひとつは朝鮮である。この二国の人々も日本人と同じく漢字文化圏に属し、同じ古典を共有しているのだが、もともと人種的に異なっているのか、それとも教育に差があるのか、シナ・朝鮮二国と日本との精神的隔たりはあまりにも大きい。情報がこれほど速く行き来する時代にあって、近代文明や国際法について知りながら、それでも過去に拘り続けるシナ・朝鮮の精神は千年前と違わない。この近代文明のパワーゲームの時代に、教育といえば儒教を言い、しかもそれは表面だけの知識であって、現実面では科学的真理を軽んじる態度ばかりか、道徳的な退廃をももたらしており、たとえば国際的な紛争の場面でも「悪いのはお前の方だ」と開き直って恥じることもない。

Japan, as a national mind, despite the fact that country is located in Asia, accepted the modern civilization of the west. However, an unfortunate thing for Japan is that Japan has the two neighboring countries. One is Sino, another is Chosun. It might possibly be because we are just racially different from the beginning or the educational level is different, the difference of the national mind between Japan and the two countries is just tremendous even though these two countries also possess the same classic and belong to the Chinese character cultural sphere as well. In this era of a rapid information exchange, while knowing the modern civilization and the international law, two countries still adhere to the past. This national mind is nothing more than the one from the 1000 years ago. In this actively progressive era of the modern civilization, the education is limited to Confucianism where they learn superficial knowledge, and in practice, their attitudes seem not only disregarding the scientific principles, but also morally collapsing while they have no self-examinations but arrogance.

私の見るところ、このままではシナ・朝鮮が独立を維持することは不可能である。もしこの二国に改革の志士が現れて明治維新のような政治改革を達成しつつ 上からの近代化を推し進めることが出来れば話は別だが、そうでなければ亡国と国土の分割・分断が待っていることに一点の疑いもない。なぜならインフルエン ザのような近代文明の波に洗われながら、それを避けようと一室に閉じこもって空気の流れを絶っていれば、結局は窒息してしまう他はないからである。

In my view, China and Korea cannot survive as independent nations with the onslaught of modern civilization to the East if they keep the way they are. There is no doubt that ruins and divisions of countries are inevitable unless noble men of reform appear in these two countries and manage to reform the countries from top to down just like the Meiji Restoration. It is because locking self up in a closed room and shutting the air flow avoiding the wave of modern civilization, will only suffocate themselves.

『春秋左氏伝』の「輔車唇歯」とは隣国同志が助け合うことを言うが、現在のシナ・朝鮮は日本にとって何の助けにもならないばかりか、この三国が地理的に近 い故に欧米人から同一視されかねない危険性をも持っている。すなわちシナ・朝鮮が独裁体制であれば日本もそうかと疑われ、向こうが儒教の国であればこちら も陰陽五行の国かと疑われ、国際法や国際的マナーなど踏みにじって恥じぬ国であればそれを咎める日本も同じ穴の狢かと邪推され、朝鮮で政治犯への弾圧が行 われていれば日本もまたそのような国かと疑われ、等々、例を挙げていけばきりがない。これを例えれば、一つの村の村人全員が無法で残忍でトチ狂っておれ ば、たとえ一人がまともでそれを咎めていたとしても、村の外からはどっちもどっちに見えると言うことだ。実際、アジア外交を評する場面ではこのような見方 も散見され、日本にとって一大不幸だと言わざるを得ない。

Although 輔車唇歯 in Zuo Zhuan stands for reciprocity of neighboring countries, Sino and Chosun today have nothing helpful for Japan while Japan might be mistakingly confused with these two countries by the westerners because the three countries are geographically close. For instance, if Sino and Chosun are under dictatorship or if they are country of Confucianism, the western scholars might misunderstand that Japan might as well be so. Or if Sino ignore the international law or manners without hesitation/shame, some might think Japan may do the same. If Chosun brutally executes people, some might doubt Japan do the same. And there are countless examples like this. This is as if outsiders looking at a village full of cruel and crazy people. Even if one person in the village is criticizing other members of the village, it does not make much difference to outsiders. Outsiders would consider every one in the village are pretty much the same. In fact, this kind of view in Asian diplomacy can be seen here and there. That is one big unfortunate matter to Japan.

もはや、この二国が国際的な常識を身につけることを期待してはならない。「東アジア共同体」の一員としてその繁栄に与ってくれるなどという幻想は捨てる べきである。日本は、むしろ大陸や半島との関係を絶ち、先進国と共に進まなければならない。ただ隣国だからという理由だけで特別な感情を持って接してはな らないのだ。この二国に対しても、国際的な常識に従い、国際法に則って接すればよい。悪友の悪事を見逃す者は、共に悪名を逃れ得ない。私は気持ちにおいて は「東アジア」の悪友と絶交するものである。

Japan should no longer wait nor expect the two countries to possess international common sense. Japan should now ditch the illusion that those countries, together with Japan, will help archive the prosperity in Asia. In stead, Japan should leave those countries behind and join the western civilization to go forward. Just because they are neighboring countries, Japan should not associate with these countries with special emotional attachments. For these two countries, Japan only need to keep relationships according to the international law and common sense. Those who are intimate with bad friends are also regarded bad, therefore I deny friendships with those bad East Asian friends from my heart.

Comments? Suggestions?

2 Comments »

  1. And just last year, a movie about Japan was made using all Chinese actors. He was right about neighbor association, unfortunately the modern image of a “Japanese” person is the same as an “Asian” to common people of the west.

    Comment by Ryan Thomas — September 4, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

  2. “Japan should no longer wait nor expect the two countries to possess international common sense. ”

    Nothing has changed since then.
    Hilarious.

    Comment by Muchas — February 26, 2008 @ 11:24 pm


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