Japan Opens to the West II

Lead: For centuries Japan had kept itself isolated from the rest of the world. That changed on a summer day in 1853.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For nearly half a century American clipper ships had dominated the oceans of the world. These fast, sleek, and graceful vessels had helped U.S. shippers maintain their lead in transport, but a clipper ship was merely the perfection of a very ancient technology and the Industrial Revolution had created a new source of power and made possible a more efficient way of shipping goods. By the 1840s British-built coal fired steamships were taking the lead from the American clipper ships on the Atlantic ferry.

Japan Opens to the West I

Lead: On July 14, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry landed at Kirihama new Edo Wan, now known as Tokyo Bay. The Tokugawa Shogunate had taken the fateful step of opening Japan to the West.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In its long history one of the major themes of Japanese life has been the interaction between native and foreign influence. In Japan's early history, the dominance of Chinese language, culture, religion and government was undeniable, but as the centuries passed Japan adapted, modified or discarded many aspects of Chinese civilization. However, it retained a lingering suspicion of foreigners. By 1200 Japan's emperor was a highly revered, near-religious figure, with little practical power. That was held by shogun, the emperor's supreme military commander. He received his title from the emperor, but in reality, for the most part, the shogun controlled the monarch. One of the primary goals of the shogunate was to suppress regional warfare and achieve political stability. Foreign influence was seen by many Japanese as a threat to the stability of the nation.

The Escape of the Dalai Lama

Lead: With chaos gripping his capital city and his life in danger, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibet, reluctantly fled across the Himalayas into exile.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.
Content: For nearly a decade before the spring of 1959, Chinese military forces had occupied Tibet. In the years following the victory of the Communists under Mao Tse-tung, China had been telegraphing her intentions to invade and occupy the nation of Tibet which it considered its own territory. This was not the first time China had cast its eyes on the Himalayan mountain kingdom. For centuries the two nations had existed in a kind of tense relationship, facing each other across armed and disputed borders Occasionally, China would spill over Tibet and hold it for a time. In the wake of the Chinese Revolution in 1911, the Tibetans expelled the Chinese and declared their independence.

 

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Japan’s Morohito Hosakawa

Lead: In the summer of 1993, Japan's prime minister appeared to be the herald of vast changes in Japanese life. Less than a year later his resignation under fire revealed how much a part he was of that which was traditional and old in Japan.

Content: Morihiro Hosokawa was the youngest prime minister since World War II and his cabinet the youngest on record. He brought women into the national political process as never before. Social Democrat Takako Doi (Tah-KAH-koe DOE-ee) served as speaker of the lower house and a record three women were appointed to cabinet posts. Hosokawa held regular new conferences, informally talking to the press corps in shirt sleeves. He promised not only political reform but a new, more open approach to international relations. The prime minister stunned Japan's wartime generation when he took office, by saying that World War II was a "war of aggression, and it was wrong." Despite a genuine pro-American bias he refused to bend to pressure and rejected a face-saving statement on trade when appearing with President Bill Clinton in Washington in the winter of 1994. At the time of the crisis leading to his resignation, he was the most popular Japanese prime minster ever.

 

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History’s Turning Points: America’s Chinese Obsession II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s great turning points – America’s Chiang Kai-Shek obsession.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In a 1927 match made in Chinese political heaven, ambitious General Chiang Kai-Shek, one of the founders of the Kuomintang, the Chinese nationalist party, married Soong May-ling, the sister-in-law of Revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. Soong was a Christian and was educated in the United States. She attended boarding school in Georgia and Wellesley College. Her personal ties to many Americans, stated inclination toward democratic institutions, and Chiang’s alleged conversion to Christianity won for them extraordinary support in the United States in the 1930s and during World War II. This was despite the clear corruption of his regime and the on-going struggle with the Chinese Communist Party for control. This power couple seemed for many Americans a formidable bulwark in favor of democracy and Christianity and against international Bolshevism and fascist Japan.

History’s Turning Points: America’s Chinese Obsession I

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s turning points – America’s Chiang Kai-shek obsession.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the most fascinating diplomatic and personal alliances of the twentieth century was that between the people and government of the United States and Chinese strongman Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his fourth wife Soong May-ling.

Boxer Rebellion III

Lead: Chinese hatred of foreigners in 1900 exploded in the Boxer Rebellion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Many Chinese resented the presence of western soldiers, diplomats, merchants, and missionaries. The weak Imperial government seemed impotent to face powerful outside forces and by the end of the 1800s bitterness became violence. Chief among those opposed to the foreign devils was a secret fraternity named I Ho Chuan, the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, or Boxers. Part of their ritual was a set of physical and spiritual drills in which they would sink into a trance and there battle imaginary demons. Waking, they seethed with hatred for all things foreign.

Boxer Rebellion II

Lead: In 1900 native Chinese resentment against foreigners boiled over in the Boxer Rebellion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: During the 1800s diplomats in search of concessions, traders in search of profits, and Christian missionaries in search of souls aroused great resentment in China. To their credit, many of these westerners, particularly the missionaries, were seeking to reform a vast society markedly unconcerned about the plight of the poor and abused. They built schools and hospitals and championed the cause of human rights long before such efforts were fashionable, but many did so with ill-disguised scorn for Chinese civilization.