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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Look East Policy

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Nakanu nara, koroshite shimae, hototogisu 
(If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it.)
Nakanu nara, nakasete miyou, hototogisu 
(If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it.)
Nakanu nara, naku made matou, hototogisu 
(If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it.)


The senry (Japanese form of short poetry) above are best described the important characters that contributed the most for Japan’s unification post Sengoku Jidai or Japan’s medieval age civil war where the first line is attributed to Oda Nobunaga, the second to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the final to Tokugawa Ieyasu who later on form the Shogunate that lasted for few centuries until the modernization of Japan. 

The poetry describes the characters for their traits where Oda is known for his ruthlessness in the first verse, Toyotomi for his resourcefulness in the second verse and finally Tokugawa for his perseverance and patience in the final verse.

Photo credit: Google Images
The Sengoku period happened from 1467 until 1603 before Japan is finally united after the previous Ashikaga Shogunate lost power and control over Japan and warlords pop up all over using war and diplomacy to become the next Shogun (which meant supreme military leader). Even though the Emperor is the highest authority in theory, he basically just governed issues related to custom and ceremonies while the temporal power were in the hands of the Shogun and other military commanders (sounds familiar?).  

Photo credit: Google Images


The war basically goes on for the next one and a half century before Japan was finally united by the three characters above.

The interesting thing to note is that Oda was a ruthless general he almost successfully capable to unify all of Japan if he was not assassinated by one of his closest companion through treachery. It’s very interesting also to learn that his companion was actually coaxed by his another companion, the one who eventually succeed him to do the traitorous deeds. So, to cut thing short, Oda is killed by his friend who upon instigation from Hideyoshi, seek out to assassinate him for some made up reasons.   

(Do you think this sounds contemporaneously similar?).

Photo credit: Google Images
Hideyoshi through diplomacy (and some said intimidation too) manage to make all other warlords make peace with him and support him for the invasion of Korea. Even though he can be consider the supreme military commander at that time, he was not eligible to become a Shogun since we was originally from the peasant stock and not the ancient samurai lineage. 

Finally, after he died and nominated his heir to succeed him the power eventually fell upon one of heir’s guardian. Tokugawa was believed to have already planned the ambition to become the Shogun and rather than take power by force but wait until the opportune moment.  He initiated a scenario where the final civil wars were forced upon him starting with the Sekigahara campaign and ended with the Siege of Osaka where all his opponents are obliterated or forced to submit to his sole power.

With the end of the civil war period, he can now petition the Emperor to grant him and his descendants the Shogunate office which had ruled Japan until 1868.

When Tun Mahathir announced the ‘Look East Policy’ in 1982 I was too young to remember what it’s all about so maybe I’m looking from a different angle and my interest in Japan was not economics but more about history.  I’m still looking at this when Mahathir retired and was replaced first by Oda Nobunaga (I mean Tun Abdullah) and later by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (current Prime Minister Najib Razak).

Photo credit: Google Images
I am wondering who will become Tokugawa Ieyasu? Who have the perseverance and patience to wait. Easiest bet will be Tan Sri Muhyiddin of course as a natural successor since he’s the current Deputy Prime Minister but then Tun Mahathir himself was served by 4 different deputies so there’s no guarantee that Muhyiddin will survive.

There’s also the high equally possibilities that the BN will fail to win the next general election. If that happen then I will then tell the end of the Shogunate days.

Until then, just let the cuckoo sings.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

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