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two weeks, Japan is set to start construction of a new "linear"
Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka, planned to finish by 2045, which would
cut the current travel time of 145 minutes to 67. This comes fifty years
after the first Shinkansen started running for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Vaclav
Smil takes a look back at the history of network and its
significance as a model for later development and for worldwide high speed
rail in Europe and Asia. Noting the reduction in greenhouse gases provided
by high speed rail, he comments on the lack of high-speed trains that sets
North America apart from the rest of the developed world (and China).
The focus on Abenomics has obscured the radical, massive
public-sector-centered structural reform aimed at growing the economy
through the creation of "smart communities" that Japan is
currently undertaking. Led not by the Abe regime but rather by local
governments, this initiative, argues Andrew
DeWit, represents the most democratically responsive and
climate-sensitive agent in our era of dangerously dysfunctional national
and international governance.
The Ryukyu Shimbun and
former Governor Ota Masahide provide an introduction to and citizens'
eye view of the Battle of Okinawa, the last great battle, the only battle
fought on Japanese soil, and the costliest in American and Japanese lives
of the Asia-Pacific War. This report focuses on the massive loss of
civilian lives, nearly one-third of the Okinawan population inluding the
compulsory mass suicides imposed by Japanese forces on Okinawan citizens.
Puzzled by the apparent
absence of the incorporation of the violin into Japanese indigenous music
and vice versa, Margaret
Mehl examines the life of the instrument since its introduction
in the Meiji period. From the first native composers combining traditional
and Western classical music and the 1940 anniversary of the founding of the
empire, to the Suzuki Method and the child prodigy Midori, she presents a
glimpse of the detailed cultural history collected in her new book, Not
by Love Alone: The Violin in Japan, 1850-2010.