- Year of publication: 2008
- Source: Show
- Pages: 3-6
- DOI Address: -
DISSOLUTION OF FACTIONS IN THE JAPANESE LIBERAL-DEMOCRATIC PARTY: THE OLD TASKS IN THE NEW TIMES
The article focuses on the problem of factionalism within the Japanese Liberal- Democratic Party. LDP has been called “an alliance of factions” since its establishment in 1955. The faction leaders ceaselessly competed for power by recruiting new members and helping them in their political careers. This system required large amounts of money delivered by big companies, hence it generated structural corruption, and was widely criticized by the Japanese public opinion.
The main objective of the article is to explain how the discourse on the dissolution of LDP factions was used in the past in the interests of particular politicians, and what changed after the electoral system reform in 1994. The author argues that although there was a strong tendency, especially among the party leaders, to strive for the eradication of factionalism, this goal could not be achieved under the system of middle-sized constituencies. The new electoral system established in 1994, enabled more profound reforms, carried out by Koizumi Jun’ichirō, but it is still uncertain whether the dissolution of factions is really in the interest of LDP.
MISSIONS OF THE JAPANESE SPECIALISTS IN POLAND – AN OVERVIEW. EXPERIENCE OF THE FIRST STAGE OF THE ASSISTANCE COOPERATION
Japanese foreign assistance started with war reparations which the government of Japan was obliged to pay out after the World War II. Funds were allocated for fi nance projects assigned by governments of the entitled countries. Japan gradually became the biggest individual donor of assistance in the world, and it maintained this position until the end of the 1990s. Presently, Japanese ODA includes three pillars: bilateral loans, technical cooperation and grants. Poland became a recipient of Japanese development assistance in 1989. Direct Japanese assistance for our country has had the value of about 220 millions Euro. One of the most important elements of support for Poland were volunteers – specialists directed by Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers JOCV. The fi rst group arrived in Poland in 1993. To begin cooperation in a region with a specifi c latest history and relatively high technical achievements was an entirely new challenge for the government of Japan. After initial searches for proper formulae, mutual exchange was chosen, rather than a simple transfer of knowledge and skills. During the years 1993-2007, 106 young volunteers were working in Poland.
After Poland joined the EU, a new stage of cooperation between existing donors and recipients of development assistance has started. Situation in which a recipient country has been transformed into a donor has happened for the fi rst time in the history of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Polish programme of foreign assistance has been developed, among others, on the base of the experience of Polish–Japanese cooperation.
JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY
The article deals with the Japanese tea ceremony, known as chanoyu (literally “hot water for tea”) or sadō (literally “the way of tea”). The ceremony, celebrated for over fi ve hundred years, has infl uenced spirituality, mentality and lifestyles of the inhabitants of the “Land of the Rising Sun”. The uniqueness of the ceremony is descended from strong connections with Zen Buddhism. It is corroborated by the popular Japanese phrase: “tea and Zen are one”.
In the 12th century AD the Buddhist monk Myōan Eisai (1141–1215) returning from China, brought seeds of tea and started to cultivate them. Hereby the fi rst tea plantation came into being. The foundations of the tea ceremony were laid in the 13th century AD. Since then, the ritual has been modifi ed and improved by tea masters called chajin. One of them, perhaps the best known and arousing the greatest admiration, Sen no Rikyu (1522–1591) created four pillars of the specifi c etiquette – wa (harmony), kei (respect), sei (purity), jaku (tranquility). He referred thereby to Zen philosophy and set up canons that are still being used. The principles have had impact on architecture, painting and gardening as well.
Due to the complexity of the Japanese tea ceremony, a tea practitioner must be familiar not only with the production and types of tea, but also with fl ower arranging, ceramics and calligraphy. Learning the rules of the tea ceremony takes many years. Therefore, entrants attend to schools, where they can explore secrets of the ceremony. The best known schools, not only in Japan, but also all over the world, are, inter alia, Ura Senke and Omote Senke. Also guests taking part in the Japanese tea ceremony have to obey its rules. They ought to be familiar with the proper way of behavior, such as gestures, phrases and the way of drinking tea or eating sweets.
The Japanese tea ceremony is remarkable for its tradition, variety of forms, interweaving religious and aesthetic canons. Because of a unique atmosphere and interior décor, it is also an unusual and amazing experience. According to Zen Buddhism, each meeting should be treasured since it can never be reproduced.
A FIGURE OF GEISHA
Beautiful, charming, well-educated and culture-literate ‘geishas’ bring to mind the picture of the Land of the Rising Sun. Despite the fact that the number of geishas has dramatically declined, they still remain one of the symbols of Japanese culture. What has also remained unchanged is the misperception of their profession, as they are still thought to be prostitutes. The purpose of this essay is to uncover the real portrait of these Japanese women of art.
The word ‘geisha’ was first used in the 18th century by a well-educated prostitute named Kiku, who started to sell not only her body but also her intellectual skills. At the beginning of the 19th century the geisha profession was legalized. In the second part of the century the legal distinction between geishas and prostitutes was established. Until 1957 it was not a girl’s choice to become a geisha. Sold by her parents, who could not afford to support her, she had no other option but to adapt to the difficult conditions of geishas’ kingdom hanamachi. The situation changed after World War II when Japanese women were given voting rights and licensed prostitution was banned.
So, what makes a woman become a geisha? Not only the specific type of clothing but also skills and knowledge. The journey to become a professional geisha is full of difficulties and recantations. It consists of the following stages: shikomi, when a candidate for geisha does cleaning and starts to learn elementary skills; maiko-minarai, when she learns by observing other geishas (after this stage she becomes an apprentice called maiko) and erikea, when she becomes a professional, skillful geisha.
Geishas’ main role is to keep company to guests visiting tea-rooms and traditional Japanese restaurants. ‘Keeping company’ means making them feel comfortable and relaxed by talking to them about various subjects, filling their empty glasses with sake, flirting with them, dancing, reciting poetry or playing instruments.
WESTERN REPUBLICAN VALUES „LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY” AND THE POLITICAL REALITY OF INDIA
The Indian political system is an interesting case of a transplanted Western multi-party democracy functioning within a society largely dominated by traditional values that are inherently contradictive to the system. To some extent the system resembles a Western constitutional and legal “sphere”, covering a society that hardly fits it. Western democracy is based on the fundamental principles of freedom, individualism and equality. In India, on the contrary, social life is based on traditional norms such as:
By the time of independence the Indian society consisted of two main parts: masses of traditionally minded population adhering to old values and a group of well educated and westernised leaders who wished to modernise the country in accordance with their own deeply held convictions. Since then, the political system of India is undergoing an interesting process of mutual adaptation of traditional and Western values. It is at the same time a process of “traditionalising modernity” and of “modernising tradition” both necessary to save the country from excessive jolts. On the constitutional and legal level, Western values predominate, while traditional ways hold sway in everyday life, including practical politics. Castes, not recognised under the constitution (castes are not even included in the national census questionnaire), remain nevertheless the main factor for any political party in its drive towards electoral victory. In fact, India has chosen a slow process of social change as opposed to revolutionary changes in China or in post-war Japan. It probably saved the country millions of victims which revolutions inevitably bring in their wake. However, although largely traditional, the Indian society is in no way static. The society is changing, especially since economy begun to grow rapidly in the past fifteen years. That this is not a smooth process is understandable in a society as diverse as the Indian.
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