Tuesday, March 8, 2016


My son recently returned from a business trip to Japan. He travels there often for his company. I’ve been there in recent years, and it is a wonderful country and culture to experience.

I remember as a little kid growing up in the early part of World War two and reciting hateful rhymes against the Japanese and in particular Emperor Hirohito.  We were, after all, at war and our fathers and uncles were in harms way. I guess it was our way of dealing with the adult frustration and anger that filtered down to us kids.

The Japs, as we called them then, were the enemy. Today they are the Japanese, and we are demonstrable friends and fierce competitors.

Emperor Hirohito was 88 when he died in 1989. For 62 years he ruled from the chrysanthemum throne, and he became the longest reigning monarch of the world's oldest imperial line. He saw his homeland go from a super military power to crushing defeat, to a global economic power achieving in business what it could not do in war.

Hirohito saw his life go from being considered and treated as a living god, to a position largely ceremonial, as is the case today with his son.

Defeat to power in a relatively short time.  It is both remarkable and a tribute to the Japanese culture and spirit, but also to the shared spirit of human kind.

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