“Internet centrist” on Sparkling Korea

“An Argument for leaving Asia” or “Datsu-A Ron” translation attempt, Part 1

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

Here is the part 1. Somebody really needs to rewrite my English.


Recent movement of westerner’s global rapid action is remarkable. However, this is only a result of the Industrial Revolution and subsequent steam engines and does not mean there was some kind of progress in terms of human spirits(or humanity). Therefore, in order to stand up against and to prevent the invasions to the orient by western great powers, first of all, we only need to get ready in our mind(meaning “to keep open mind and learn, not to have physical strength”). Westerners are the same human being. But, that does not mean we can disregard the reality of Industrial Revolution. In order to keep an independence of a country, it is necessary to just jump into the wave of the Industrial Revolution and accept not only it’s benefits but also it’s disadvantages as well. This is now required to survive in this modern civilized society.


Modern civilization is like influenza. Can we prevent infection of influenza on the sea front? No, I strongly believe we can’t. Influenza has no benefit, and we can’t avoid infections once it spreads. But, modern civilization bares both benefits and disadvantages, and how can we protect ourselves from modern civilization which has more benefits than disadvantages. It is, in a way, a duty for intellectuals to push the infections while providing antidotes.


It was when Perry’s black ships appeared in Edo Bay, Japanese learned about the Industrial Revolution of the west. Since then Japanese gradually had begun to recognize the needs to accept modern civilization. However, the Tokugawa shogunate was the obstacle. As long as the Tokugawa shogunate existed, we could not accept modern civilization. We had only 2 choices; modern civilization or sticking to the old regime. If we had chosen the the old regime, the independence of Japan had been in danger. It’s because westerners, who went out to the world while taking advantage of technologies and competing each other, had no mercy to leave the oriental island country asleep.


Hereby, the faithful retainers, holding a faith to the country and the emperor, destroyed the Tokugawa shogunate and built a new government. This way, Japan as a country and the whole nation decided to accept technologies and modern civilization born in the west. This was the first amongst the all Asian countries and this also meant leaving Asia for Japan.

[part 2]

Comments? Suggestions?


  1. […] to the rest of the article: Part One & Part […]

    Pingback by Sparkling Korea Posted Interesting 1885 Japanese Editorial » Occidentalism — May 15, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  2. Today, seeing the state that China and the rest of asia is in economically, I’d say he was dead on. But what did he mean by “mind?” Did he mean charisma or spirituality? If it was the first, then that’s some pretty self-hating envy turned nationalism. Is it not?

    Comment by Ryan Thomas — September 4, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  3. “Mind” means we need to get educated. He talks about education a lot (fukuzawa yukichi). He advocated education and knowledge besides money guns steam engines. We need to get educated first through western knowledge is what he is saying. To be educated populace

    Comment by John Smith — November 18, 2007 @ 6:34 am

  4. >But what did he mean by “mind?”

    Mr John Smith is right.

    I should change “Mind” to “Spirits”.. or “humanity”. “人間精神” should be translated as “human spirits”.

    Comment by toru — November 18, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

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