Archive for April, 2012

Just a quick reminder:

Pre-registration for 1HFA5:  Japan, China, India and the New Era of the Balance of Power, and separate pre-registration for the first course segment: 1HFA5-1: The First History of Japan both close tomorrow, April 19.

Save up to $120 by pre-registering!

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This week’s sample is from the Lower Elementary class.  It is a secular introduction to the BC/AD convention:


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Article 9 of the Japanese constitution reads:

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

As many people are aware, this, along with other essential features of the current Japanese constitution (such as the renunciation of the divinity of the Japanese emperor) were imposed on Japan by the conquering power of the United States following World War II.

In his book Nothing Less than Victory historian John David Lewis explores how the overwhelming use of force brought about the enduring peace with Japan, and one can hardly argue with the results of American policy when assessing the past 60 years, with Japan apparently serving as a loyal subordinate of the United States since the beginning of the Cold War.

But what if we expand the context of our apperception somewhat to a longer continuum of Japan’s past, present and future?  Why is it that geo-political expert George Friedman predicts war between the United States and Japan by the middle of the 21st century in his book The Next Hundred Years?

A meaningful prediction of Japan’s conduct through the next hundred years must be grounded in a proper assessment of Japan’s last hundred years, especially its cultural response to the geopolitical supremacy of first Europe and now the United States.  In 1HFA5-1: The History of Japan, we will explore how Japan responded to the arrival of America’s “black ships” under the command of Commodore Perry in 1854 by trying to overturn that supremacy.  Then, one hundred years later still, during the American occupation of 1945-52, the Japanese struggled to define a new path by accepting it.  Why then, one hundred years later–by 2045 to be sure–as Friedman predicts, will Japan have likely returned to being an belligerent nation once again?

Japan certainly appears quiescent.   What happens, however, when it is forced to declare national bankruptcy within the next five years, due to a debt problem that far exceeds that of the United States and that can no longer be evaded?  What happens when Japanese industry cannot get the raw materials it needs because of expanded wars in the Middle East?  What happens when these factors combined with Japan’s demographic implosion force the Japanese to choose between an even more acute subordinacy in world affairs and the “glorious” hope of a Japan reborn through the “way of the warrior”?   The most essential traits of Japanese culture in the evolving context of American supremacy make a return to war almost inevitable!  Find out why in 1HFA 5-1: The “First History” of Japan for Adults(Pre-registration specials available until April 19.)

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Want a tiny dose of what a history class could and should have been like when you were young?  Excerpts from the ongoing History At Our House ancient history program are now available via Podbean and iTunes.

This week’s segment:  A discussion with high school students concerning the value of history — especially a crucial contrast between the Founding Fathers and nineteenth century German intellectuals.

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As promised, I’m inviting former First History clients of Powell History to revisit their history studies to explore how to apply what they’ve learned.  The goal is to practice the arts of iteration and integration–two of the Powell History “Five ‘I’s of History.

Of course, anyone who is interested is welcome to participate. So here is the “pop quiz”…

In 1878, Japan was desperate to modernize its army to catch up with the West. It had originally turned to Britain for help in developing its navy, and France for help in developing its army. Now, however, it shunned the French model that it had been following since the mid-nineteenth century and adopted another. Whose model was it and why did the Japanese adopt it?

For students of 1HFA, Part 2: Europe – Context and Foil, the answer is found in lecture 15.

BONUS QUESTION: What is the significance of this shift in Japanese policy to its conduct in the World Wars?

[Answer(s) provided with the next PHR History Pop Quiz!]

Interested in developing an integrated of Western and Eastern civilization?  1HFA5: Japan, China, and India  is coming this summer, and pre-registration is now open (until April 19).

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The new Powell History website features pre-registration specials on 1HFA5: Japan, China, India and the New Era of the Balance of Power.

Pre-registration is open from April 5 – 19 only, and you can save from $20 to $120 by pre-registering, so don’t miss out!

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Yesterday, the first of 2500 American troops arrived in Darwin, Australia to engage in training with the Australian Defense Force.  The exercise is part of a new defense pact, the reasoning behind which is explained by Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith:

“We see this very much as responding and reflecting the fact that the world is moving into our part of the world, the world is moving to the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean…The world needs to come to grips with the rise of China, the rise of India, the move of strategic and political and economic influence to our part of the world.”

Here’s the full article in the NY Times.

One of the crucial themes of the upcoming First History for Adults, Part 5: Japan, China, and India will be the “balance of power” and why postmodernity makes this construct so disproportionately important.  (Full course descriptions and pre-registration will be available starting tomorrow!)

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