Tuesday, February 19, 2008


JAPANESE ROOTS


"Just who are the Japanese? Where did they come from and when? The answers are difficult to come by, though not impossible ― the real problem is that the Japanese themselves may not want to know. Unearthing the origins of the Japanese is a much harder task than you might guess. Among world powers today, the Japanese are the most distinctive in their culture and environment. The origins of their language are one of the most disputed questions of linguistics. These questions are central to the self-image of the Japanese and to how they are viewed by other peoples. Japan's rising dominance and touchy relations with its neighbors make it more important than ever to strip away myths and find answers."
Excerpted from an impressive summary
of the mystery that is Japan,
by Jared Diamond.


Looks like it won't be a 'mystery' for long though...

4 comments:

Nevin said...

Reading Jared Diamond is always a little unsatisfying

Maethelwine said...

Well, the geopolitical gloss he throws over it seems more like an obligatory gesture than a reasoned argument. Otherwise, an interesting article.

Martin J Frid said...

And where does Jared Diamond come from...

"...the Japanese are the most distinctive in their culture and environment." Oh, really?

I mean seriously, perhaps he was joking?

Where do I come from? Now, is that really an issue? Where am I going to be tomorrow or in 10,000 years: Wow, those great doors of perception - - -

butuki said...

Anyone who has spent a lot of time with both Japanese and Koreans will immediately spot the uncanny similarity in the way both languages are spoken, the mannerisms, the cultural aspirations, the family structures, even the humor. They are too similar, and differences from the Chinese too great, for there to be no cultural and biological connection between the two. Even the physical LOOK of the Korean and Japanese towns and landscapes are so similar that it is like a stepping in the mirror of the other country when you visit. All this is something immediately obvious if you know these people, grew up with them. The Japanese and the Koreans may not want to see what is right in front of them, but it is plain as day.