Japan: One Year After 3-11
On March 5, GMF hosted Hideki Kato, President of the Tokyo Foundation and Madoka Mayazumi, a renowned Japanese haiku poet, at a lunch discussion to mark the one year anniversary of the 3-11 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster in Japan. GMF Transatlantic Fellow Dr. Joshua Walker moderated the discussion.
Mr. Kato emphasized the distinctive nature of Japanese culture and its role throughout Japanese history. He explained that a deep appreciation for the centrality and complexity of Japanese culture must precede any understanding of Japan’s domestic politics and international relations, but noted that the Japanese worldview often frustrates Western attempts to engage with the country.
Madoka Mayazumi, echoing Mr. Kato’s remarks, spoke about the importance of haiku poems in Japanese culture, and their relevance to Japanese public policy. She said that in the midst of the 3-11 tragedy, the Japanese people were able to remain calm and appreciative of the power of nature. She argued that this attribute was a powerful and unique national asset for the Japanese people. In a detailed presentation, Ms. Mayazumi cited, among other aspects, the importance in haiku of “blank space” and “the power of ambiguity.”
The presentations were followed by a brief question and answer session with participants, followed by closing remarks and an expression of gratitude from Dr. Walker.