Libmonster ID: U.S.-1409
Author(s) of the publication: N. IKEDA
Educational Institution \ Organization: Takuseku University

Li Denghui is the former head of Taiwan. In the 2000 presidential election, he supported the candidacy of his vice-president, Lian Zhan, but, accepting responsibility for his defeat, resigned as chairman of the Kuomintang Party. After that, he also left the party, creating the Gongsakukai Society as his "think tank" and founding a new party, the Taiwan Unity Union. This is the state of affairs at the time of writing this report.

In the 1990s, during his presidency, Li Denghui pursued a decade-long policy that helped revitalize the entire life of Taiwanese society. He has been greatly influenced by his distinguished predecessors, but his own authority as a former head of state is also very high.

If you compare the bloodless revolution carried out by President Li Denghui with the state of affairs in China, its results can not be called magnificent. These achievements had a great impact on the political culture of "the Rest", which is opposed to "the West", to use the terms of S. Huntington's book "Clash of Civilizations", not to mention China, whose importance in the life of all modern humanity is so great.

Li Denghui has a deep understanding of the history and current state of relations between the "West" and the "rest of the world", which is clearly evident from his writings. He can be called a modern thinker on a global scale. He is one of the few philosophers who is not only seasoned in the political struggle, but also has experience of successful state activity. This is how Odamura Shiro, the 16th president of Takusyoku University, described Li Denghui, who knows him well. By the way, President Odamura's maternal great-great-grandfather was one of the first Japanese to lay the foundations of the education system in Taiwan when the island was a Japanese possession.

Lee and Nitobe have a lot in common. This is what I dedicated my report to our symposium on the history of Takusyoku University. Nitobe served as its vice-chancellor from April 1917 to April 1922. Li Denghui received an honorary doctorate from President Odamura of Takusyoku University in December 2002. I would like to draw attention to the common understanding of various issues in both thinkers. I am sure that their views and activities are of interest and significance not only for Asia, but also for the entire modern world. Both have a keen intuition and a sense of mission, so their legacy may not be useless for finding the right solution to the problems that are facing all of humanity today.

WHAT DID LI DENGHUI DISCOVER IN NITOBE INZO'S BUSHIDO

In April 2003, Shogakukan Publishing House published a Japanese-language book by Li Denghui entitled "Commentary on Bushido: noblesse Oblige". Dedicated to Nitobe, it primarily introduces us to the author's own worldview.

Lee's reasons for taking up this topic are already clear from the preface, entitled " Why are we turning to Bushido Today?". Recalling that Nitobe's book is subtitled "The Spirit of Japan", he quotes the following words explaining the author's position on Bushido: "Does the experience of embracing Western civilization leave painful traces? Will not its borrowing lead to the imminent death of the national spirit, which, of course, is unacceptable? Only a weak spirit uncritically takes everything from the outside." Nitobe graduated from Bushido in 1900, and the School of Taiwanese Society, the forerunner of Takusyoku University, was founded in the same year. Li Denghui read Bushido through the eyes of a Taiwanese and felt it necessary to share his thoughts with a Japanese reader.

Educated in the European-American cultural world in the late 19th century, Nitobe was deeply concerned with the problem of civilizational identity. Wasn't it the same for young Russians who went to study abroad in the era of Peter the Great? Don't we see the same thoughts in Berdyaev's works on the Russian intelligentsia and in his book "The Origins and Meaning of Russian Communism"? "Bushido" is a consequence of the author's intense thoughts about himself. Explaining the worldview of the Japanese, which is called the word "bushido", Nitobe describes his own independence, brought up by his experience of being in a non-native culture of the "West".

Why does Li Denghui see and feel someone close to him in Nitobe? This is how he describes his experience of climbing the sacred Mount Guangyinshan (Kannonzan) in Taiwan, together with his wife and grandson. At the top, where a meter is covered in four steps, " ... each step is difficult, and irresistibly pulls down. And at that moment, I experienced an unforgettable feeling: "I'm alone. Completely alone. No one will help. Both in life and in death, a person should always be alone, by himself." On another occasion, Li Denghui referred to Taiwan's ties with mainland China as a "special relationship"in an interview with German television. Behind this euphemism, I see a very categorical position, something like Moses '"exodus from Egypt".

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I think this was not without the influence of Nitobe, who was also characterized by determination and categorical attitude. Otherwise, he would hardly have come up with a plan to create an Intellectual Cooperation Committee, which he put forward as the deputy head of the League of Nations and the representative of Japan in its Council. Lee directly writes that this is a trait inherent in Bushido people. I will add that both Lee and Nitobe are agronomists by education and Christians by religion.

IN SUPPORT OF MODERNIZATION

Li Denghui became vice president and then president of Taiwan after Chiang Kai-shek's son Jiang Jinggui, who once studied and lived in the USSR. The political transformation carried out under Li's leadership primarily consisted of replacing the one-party dictatorship with a pluralistic multi-party system. Unlike mainland China's hypocritical multi-party system, Taiwan has developed a truly multi-party system where the winner of an election is truly determined by universal suffrage. And Li Denghui created such a system.

The Kuomintang, which dominated Taiwan for the past half-century, as well as the Japanese administration that ruled there for the previous fifty years, was an "alien" power. That is, for a century, Taiwan's modernization was carried out by people who came there from outside, and the native Taiwanese did not feel independent. Let's recall what Nitobe wrote about-the feelings and consciousness of the Japanese who survived modernization, which was carried out under powerful foreign pressure.

Comparing Japanese society with European-American society, Nitobe came to the conclusion that in some ways his country lags behind others, in some it does not. Li Denghui points out the same thing. Considering the situation from this point of view, Nitobe paid special attention to preserving the integrity and stability of the nation. There are many criteria for "backwardness". In the field of the spirit, the "rest of the world", while not experiencing a sense of inferiority, nevertheless had to learn a lot from the" West", which created a civilization with a high material and technological culture on spiritual foundations.

When Taiwan was undergoing intensive economic modernization, Nitobe gave lectures to students at Takusyoku University. In May 1903, he encouraged them to pursue their future activities not only in Japan, but also beyond its borders, where a wide field of work opens up. In May-June 1915, at the Takasago dorm, he spoke to Taiwanese students of our university, encouraging them to study not only political science and law, but also aesthetics, so as to enrich their souls.

In October 2002, under pressure from Beijing, the official Tokyo refused Li Denghui entry to Japan, where he was going to give a lecture on "The Spirit of Japan" at Keio University. Reading her text, you realize how much the author agrees with Nitobe. Lee focused on the activities of Hatta Yoichi, a major Japanese landowner in Taiwan who has done a great deal for its development. The irrigation systems he built are still working. In 1942, Hutta died while on board a ship sunk by an American submarine. His wife did not return to Japan in 1945. Together with other Japanese expelled from Taiwan at the end of the war, she committed suicide on a dam built by her husband. Lee described Hutt's activities in roughly the same words that Nitobe addressed to Taiwanese students ninety years ago.

I should add that in the preface to an issue of an anthology of works on Taiwan published by Takuseku University, Li Denghui referred to the island as a "laboratory of the new Asia" when speaking about the modernization policy being implemented there under the leadership of the Japanese civilian governor Goto Simpei.

LEE AND NITOBE: THE MEANING OF THEIR MISSION

The spirit is revealed in the awareness of its cultural identity, in the awareness of its wholeness. During his time as president, Li Denghui prepared a high school social science textbook called " Taiwanese Consciousness." Before that, the history of Great China dominated the country's school education for half a century, now we are talking about Taiwan. It was a natural call for Taiwanese to return to the national identity that preceded their conversion to Chinese. Such a position inevitably interacts with a person's inner sense of self. And relations with China are becoming even more complicated. Both Nitobe and Lee paid much attention to Taiwan-mainland China relations. And they did this not least because the Chinese government created a biased view of the current situation abroad.

Both thinkers clearly understood the essence of the modern political system based on liberalism and formed as a result of the influence of the "West" on the "rest of the world". In the Japan in which Nitobe lived, his humanistic ideals could not be fully realized. It was difficult for human consciousness to part with the existing prejudices. It can be said that the tragedy of the still unformed spirit was worthy of Shakespeare's pen. The modern world in which Li Denghui lives remains based more on authoritarianism than individual freedom, even after the collapse of the Soviet system. Asserting the inevitability of a clash between the civilizations of the "West" and "the rest of the world," Huntington sees one of the reasons for this in the fundamental difference in political systems that see their ideal in the individual or collective community. However, both Nitobe and Lee consider civilizational differences to be surmountable if the consciousness of personal independence and self-sufficiency is placed above the desire for power. If there is no such consciousness, then there is no freedom.

The bushido spirit transcends the boundaries of historical epochs and exists in society together with the consciousness of responsibility as the "law of honor", which G. Norman spoke about. Both Nitobe and Li Denghui clearly understand this. Hence the awareness of both of their mission. Modern Japan and modern Taiwan are going through a long process of individual growth. On the one hand, this is the result of Western influence, on the other - the impact of the foundations of your own culture, the one you feel organically belonging to. Both Nitobe and Li Denghui are people who deeply feel the spirit of their culture, and therefore believe in themselves and the world around them.


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