March 15, 2006


Japan searches for Scot who modernised nation (AURA SABADUS, 3/14/06, The Scotsman)

HE GAVE Japan its national anthem and its first brass band, playing a key part in the country's modernisation.

But for more than a century, John William Fenton's role in westernising the country has gone unrecognised in Scotland, where many believe he died.

Now, after years of searching, the Japanese are soliciting the help of Scots in trying to track down the brass band leader's final resting place.

In Japan, Fenton is seen as one of the country's father figures.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2006 7:37 AM

I suppose we should be thankful it was a brass band and not bagpipes.

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 15, 2006 10:33 AM

Did this Fenton fellow write the words in the Kimigayo about corpses floating in the sea and lying on the sand in the service of the Emperor?

Japan had been the test case of what happens when primitives ape the technology without adopting the culture of the West.

In then becomes necessary to help them complete their "Reformation."

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 15, 2006 1:01 PM

"Primitives"? Lou, that's nonsense. What about Nazi Germany? Were Germans also primitives back then, even though they originated much of the science and technology of the West?

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 2:07 PM

The Germans showed how quick and easy it is for an entire culture to abandon civilization and join the barbarians.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 15, 2006 2:25 PM

Germany was better before Nazism, but who says Japan wasn't better before their invasion of the Asian mainland and even earlier, before they started adopting Western ways in the 1860s?

Lou's problem is that he thinks the West is all about democracy, freedom, and marshmallows. In reality, imperialism was one of those things Japan aped from the West, and much of the "primitiveness" of Imperial Japan is of Western origin.

"We cannot wait for our neighbor countries to become so civilized that all may combine together to make Asia progress. We must rather break out of formation and behave in the same way as the civilized countries of the West are doing…We would do better to treat China and Korea in the same way as do the Western nations." (Oligarch Fukuzawa Yukichi in 1885)

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 3:17 PM

The imperialism is about democracy.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 3:25 PM

Care to elaborate on that curious statement, oj?

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 3:28 PM


To the contrary, Nazism was just extreme Rationalism. You can't both believe in Darwinism and disbelieve in the legitimacy of genocide.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 3:34 PM


Our imperialism is all about spreading our values--it's done much good and little harm.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 3:37 PM

oj: Whose imperialism are you talking about? Western imperialism in general or the current Bush imperialism or what?

Nazi policies against Jews and other "Untermenschen" are considered the pinnacle of evil, though in reality the crime of the Nazis was that they treated Europeans the same way European colonialists sometimes treated their colonial subjects.

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 3:53 PM


Anglo-American Imperialism--that's who we is.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 3:59 PM

oj: Oh, that must be why ex-colonies of Britain are such lovely places: e.g. Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with the discussion about Japan adopting European colonialist primitiveness.

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 4:33 PM


Yes, the best predictor of former colonies success today is that they were part of the British or American Empires rather than those of the continent.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 4:40 PM

oj: Is it a function of your post-modern epistemological relativism (which you have demonstrated before) that you believe in any silly theory just because it confirms your prejudices? Do you think that if you believe strongly enough in something and tout it loudly it becomes truth?

The simplistic theory that a country's development depends on whether it has a common law or continental legal system can only be believed if one disregards historical specificities, geography, religion and the numerous real life cases where common law countries fail and continental law countries prosper, as well as many other factors.

If Malaysia's relative prosperity in comparison with Indonesia stems from different legal systems, then why is neighboring Burma, another beneficiary of Britain's oh so benevolent imperialism such a cesspool even when compared to Indonesia? And why are Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, which have adopted Satanic continental-style legal systems, much more prosperous than Malaysia? And why are Zimbabwe, Sudan, and the other parts of British Africa at least as hopeless as the rest of that continent?

Moreover, if you want to continue spouting nonsense about continental legal systems, you should at least know some rudimentary facts about them. Firstly, there's nothing particularly French about them. They are more German and Roman, and are actually usually referred to as Roman-Germanic (or simply Roman) systems. They developed during the Middle Ages, mainly from Canon Law and the Corpus Iuris Civilis, which is the 6th century compilation of ancient Roman law. The 1804 Code Napoleon is largely based on 18th century German legal codes.

The majority of first world countries have legal system based on the Roman-Germanic model. Using similar logic as the article you pointed me towards, I argue that common law countries should immediately adopt continental legal system, because of the indisputable fact that the majority of prosperous countries in the world have Roman systems. (In fact, American legal system absorbed many characteristics of continental law in the first half on 19th century. According to legal historians, Americans resented Britain and its imperialistic policies so much that America actually came close to abandoning the British common law system for continental law in the 19th century.)

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 6:20 PM

Because mileage may vary.

The problem with the continent is that its ideology is geared towards egalitarianism--that's reflected in its legal system, whereas, Anglo-American law doesn't much care about equality of results, just of standing.

We didn't, did we?

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 6:29 PM

oj: The continental legal system is a lot older than the ideas of liberty, equality, and fraternity; it was originally developed to serve the needs of a class-based society. Legal systems as such are mostly value-free, and can be used to implement different kinds of value systems.

The main difference between the Roman system and common law in their current incarnations is that the former places great trust in democratically elected representatives, whereas the latter distrusts democracy and gives lots of power to largely unelected elites. Common law system is conservative in that respect, but of course the Roman system has been used in many conservative countries as well.

There remains the fact that legal systems don't determine the success of a country (at least as long as the system in question is not sharia).

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 6:54 PM


Yes, had they kept Roman law they'd be in much better shape, but allowed French egalitarianism to corrupt all their institutions.

The Anglosphere is uninterested in egalitarianism and vindicates republican liberty.

Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 7:01 PM

So you think Europe should revert to monarchy and classism?

Europe loves egalitarianism because it has solved numerous age-old problems, which Americans know nothing about. Whatever problems Europe has today are insignificant in comparison with what she used to have.

Posted by: Mörkö at March 15, 2006 7:13 PM



Posted by: oj at March 15, 2006 7:50 PM

Morko: The Nazis were consciously primitive. Their Geist was meant to be pre-Christian and even pre Greco-Roman. Neanderthals in airplanes, they were called once.

As for the Japanese, if you would learn of them go to Manila or to Nanking, and ask the Filipinos and the Chinese: they knew them.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 16, 2006 6:03 AM


Nazism was ultra-scientific. It was the cult of Reason.

Posted by: oj at March 16, 2006 8:20 AM

Lou: Japan aped its imperialism and the ways it treated its colonial subjects from Europeans. The Japanese had no history of imperialism and aggression before they started adopting Western ideas.

If Germany's "primitiveness" was conscious, so was that of the Japanese: they consciously rejected their ancestral culture and embraced Western political ideas like militarism, racialism and imperialism.

Posted by: Mörkö at March 16, 2006 12:32 PM


No, they didn't. They didn't bring them Christianity, Common Law, parliamentarianism, etc.

Posted by: oj at March 16, 2006 12:35 PM