A New Year’s Card on the Oaths

I sent New Year’s cards to my relatives and friends. When I was young, I did not write them. I thought it was meaningless courtesy to send seasonal greeting cards. However, one day, I realized that I was going to destroy our culture. The tradition, which does not cause destructive results for the society, should not be abolished. This is, of course, conservatism. To neutralize overflowing reformism, which destroys the traditional culture after Greater East Asia War, it is not bad to be a little bit conservative.

During the seven years of military occupation from 1945 to 1952, General MacArthur and GHQ/SCAP (General Headquarters/ Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) tried to destroy Japanese traditional ways of living and thinking, and succeeded to considerable degree. After independence, communists continued the destruction. Still now, many newspapers and TV stations are reformative and often critical to the tradition.

For example, the word “patriot” is almost forbidden in this country. If I say, “I am a patriot”, people may misunderstand that I am saying, “I am a militarist” or “I am a fascist”. As we cannot say, “I am a traitor”, polite people do not talk about patriotism, and they are always careful not to ask others, “Are you a patriot?” In the school, the situation is the worst. Many teachers refuse to raise the national flag and refuse to teach the national anthem to children. They say, “Japan before the war was a bad country. The flag and the anthem were symbols of militarism and colonialism.” They teach children not to love this country.

The other day, a general of the Air Force was fired because he said, “Japan was a good country even before the war.” I think he is quite right and it is totally ridiculous to fire him. Does our government want a general who is a traitor? Any military officer should be a patriot. A patriot should love not only the present country but also its history. Unfortunately, many people do not think so. They support the government to fire the general. This is a tragedy of this country.

When I was a child, many of my teachers taught me that Japan was reborn in 1945, and we should discard unnecessary old customs. My parents, however, were relatively conservative and told me that the country did not change fundamentally before and after the war. I was little bit confused for long years.

When I read works of Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), a philosopher in the Meiji era, I realized that Japan is one coherent nation for 140 years since the Meiji Restoration in 1868. At the beginning of the Meiji era, his Majesty Emperor Meiji declared “Oath in Five Articles”.

  1. Deliberate assemblies shall be widely established and all matters decided by public discussion.
  2. All classes, high and low, shall unite in vigorously carrying out the administration of affairs of state.
  3. The common people, no less than the civil and military officials, shall each be allowed to pursue his own calling so that there may be no discontent.
  4. Evil customs of the past shall be broken off and everything based on the just laws of nature.
  5. Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundations of imperial rule.

Professor Fukuzawa developed his philosophy on these ground. After the war, his Majesty Emperor Showa often quoted them to explain the new system of our country. In other words, the present society is perfectly on the line of the Oaths, and there is no break in our history from Meiji era. In short, I do not need to hate the tradition, as far as it is not “evil customs” and it is “based on the just laws of nature”.

OK, I will write New Year’s cards; I decided a few years ago. I am not a militarist nor a fascist. I am only a little bit conservative, and, perhaps, a patriot. I love the traditional way of living, as far as it is not destructive to the society. I believe this is also an Adlerian way of living.