The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Last Samurai

I saw this on the Brussels Journal(The voice of conservatives in Europe).  I have stated many times...As Europe goes...So will America.   I regularly read stuff and get articles from their publications...stuff that I will not get from the Obama worshipping Mainstream media here in the States.

The Last Samurai and Europe's First Suicide

nogi.jpg ww1.jpg

Left: General Maresuke Nogi, Wikipedia photo. Probably taken soon after his 1905 return from the war in Manchuria.
Right: World War 1, French assault on German trenches,date and location not certain. Courtesy of Photos of the Great War.
Between Roppongi and Akasaka – the two fanciest precints in Tokyo -- there lies a somnolent spot, curiously underutilized for this, among the most expensive acres of land anywhere in the world. It’s the residence of a long-dead Japanese soldier, crouching under a shroud of weeping cherry trees in the shadow of Japan’s tallest and most fabulous building, the Midtown Project.
The opulent Midtown Project has a motto: “Introducing Japan’s newest significance to the world.” But right next to it, in this austere, smallish house built in 1902 with a red-brick stable and a compact garden, Japan’s oldest significance to the world may be found.
For Tom Cruise was not the last samurai. General Maresuke Nogi was.
Born to a samurai family in 1849, at the age of twenty Nogi embarked on a military career. Being of the first generation to come of age during the Meiji Restoration, he trained according to Prussian infantry procedures. In 1871, he was commissioned as a major in the unseasoned Imperial Japanese Army, with which he would fight in 1877 in a civil war, the Satsuma Rebellion.
For his valorous service in this campaign, Nogi was promoted to colonel. Around that time, he married Shizuko, a daughter of a Satsuma samurai. In short order, Shizuko gave birth to two sons.
In 1887, Nogi went to Germany to study European military tactics. From then on, his career would follow the fortunes of the expanding Japanese Empire. By 1894, already a major general, Nogi had the command of the First Infantry Brigade that bested Chinese defenses during the First Sino-Japanese War and occupied Port Arthur after only one day of combat. In 1895, now a lieutenant general, he was charged with the task of invading Taiwan, and a year later was appointed as the Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan.
Nogi had a good tenure in Taiwan, but in 1899 he was recalled to Japan and placed in command of an infantry brigade. His appointment with destiny would have to wait another five years.
Imperial designs by both Russia and Japan on Manchuria and Korea would come to a head in Manchuria. Manchuria’s key port, Port Arthur – now the Chinese city of Liaoshun -- lay along a natural harbor in the Liaodong Peninsula. Japan had been ceded this port in the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki with China, but Russia would manage to lease it from China anyway. In February 1904, Japan gave notice that it would have none of it. Its navy launched a surprise attack on the Russian fleet at anchor in the Port Arthur bay.
In May 1904, the Japanese Second Army, 38,500 strong, landed on the Liaodong peninsula. The Russian forces arrayed against it consisted of 17,000 soldiers under the command of Major-General Anatoly Stoessel.
By 26 May 1904, the Japanese had fought their way to the 116-meter high Nanshan hill, which guarded the approach to Port Arthur. 3000 men of the 5th East Siberian Rifles were there, dug into fortified positions protected by mine fields, machine guns and barbed wire obstacles. Nine assault waves by determined Japanese troops failed to break the Russian defense. It was only when the Russians had run out of ammunition that they retreated toward Port Arthur.
A British officer, Captain F.R. Sedgwick, on site to observe the first “high-tech” war in history, wrote in his report:
 “(B)odies of gallant men dashed forward to the obstacles again and again, only to leave two-thirds of their numbers lying on the bullet-swept ground. All day forward and backward swept the lines of battle, charge after charge was met and repulsed.”(1) Capt. Sedgwick reported the Japanese losses at 4324, the Russian at 850.
Ten days later, the Japanese Third Army, led by General (and by now Baron) Maresuke Nogi, made landfall on the Liaodong Peninsula. Nogi already knew that his firstborn son had just been killed in the Battle of Nanshan. Nogi’s younger son was with him, among the 90,000 troops under his command.
Battered by Gen. Nogi’s troops, the rest of the Russian forces retreated to Port Arthur, where they consolidated under the command of General Stoessel. Nogi believed that he could take Port Arthur quickly, just as he had ten years before. He had a 2-to-1 advantage against the nearly 50,000 Russian soldiers, and he had 380 canons. But the Japanese general did not realize that the Port Arthur of 1904 was not the one he had known in 1894.
Port Arthur was a natural stronghold, surrounded by hills that protected against attack from all directions, including the sea. It was Russia’s only warm water port in the Pacific.  Since taking over in 1898, they had turned it into a giant fortress, with four major forts, Laoti, Chikuan, Erhlung and Sungssu in the east, and four major forts in the west.
All these were built of brick and stone on steep hills, with gun batteries, deep moats and ditches, bastions, firing parapets, blind turns and no-exit mazes. Such classic features of European fortification engineering were augmented by new defensive inventions: 6-meter wide belts of densely interwoven barbed wire, night illumination by powerful searchlight batteries and star shells, electric fences, plus such dual-use technologies as hand grenades, poison gas, machine guns and quick-fire howitzers, heavy mortars, bolt-action magazine rifles, and more.  
On 7 August 1904, General Nogi launched a frontal assault on the Russian positions. After bitter fighting in torrential rain, the Russian defenders were forced to withdraw, but only after inflicting heavy casualties on the attackers. The Japanese now attacked the northwest hill positions. Here, the barbed wire entanglements held up their advance at an effective Russian machine-gun range. By dawn, the entanglements had been buried under piles of Japanese soldiers’ bodies.
An assault on Erhlung and Chikuan put the Japanese force on a 1 km-wide strip between the two forts, where it was mowed down by Russian machine gun crossfire, even as the two forts were being turned to rubble by Nogi’s artillery. An attack on the Russian fort on the 174-Meter Hill replayed the Pyrrhic victory scenario of Nanshan. An attack on the 203-Meter Hill saw whole battalions of Japanese soldiers charging repeatedly with fixed bayonets up the 40-degree incline of the ramparts, to be cut down by machine gun and cannon fire.
After three weeks of fighting and not much territorial gain, the butcher’s bill for the Japanese Third Army was 16,000 casualties. The attackers now dug in for a classic siege. They built trenches perpendicular to the Russian forts, and dug tunnels under them. Despite their bravery, by September’s end they had conquered little new territory. The Russians, though weakened by many dead and wounded, dwindling food supplies and scurvy, were digging tunnels under the Japanese tunnelers. In some of those, the two sides met and fought with sapper’s knives and pick mattocks.
Nogi then resumed the assault on Erhlung and Chikuan. The Japanese had reduced Erhlung to a pile of rubble through heavy shelling and underground mining. Still, the remaining Russian defenders at the two forts continued to rake with dense fire, turning the approach slopes into blood-slicked killing fields. Repulsed, Nogi concentrated now on the 203-Meter Hill, which he intended to present to Emperor Meiji for the latter’s 29 October 1904 birthday.
Wave after wave of Japanese soldiers crashed onto the hill, using hand-grenades and bayonet-fixed rifles, under cover of dense artillery fire. It was hand-to-hand combat, six days and nights, with the latter illuminated by Russian searchlights.  Instead of the intended present, Nogi had to report to Emperor Meiji the deaths of additional 124 officers and 3611 soldiers.
But failure was unthinkable. On 17 November, the Japanese attacked Chikuan again. They were repulsed after a night of close combat. Again, fallback, artillery bombardment, renewed attack. The Japanese attackers on 26 November were showered with hand grenades and explosive charges, burning oil and firebrands. The maze works channeled them straight toward the business end of Russian machine gun nests. They sustained 12,000 casualties in that assault, with nothing gained.
Next day, Nogi resumed the frontal attack on the 203-Meter Hill. Again, columns of Japanese soldiers charged up the steep slope, led by volunteer units whose order was not to come back alive. The battle lasted 15 hours, and left the hill strewn with Japanese bodies.
By December 5, out of the original force of 5000, only 1000 Russian defenders remained on the hill, most of them wounded. The Japanese launched one more attack, at dawn. This is how Lt. Tadayoshi Sakurai, who took part in the assault, described the preamble to this battle:
“(T)he colonel rose and gave us a final word of exhortation, saying: ‘This battle is our great chance of serving our country. Tonight we must strike at the vitals of Port Arthur. Our brave assaulting column must be not simply a forlorn-hope, but a "sure-death" detachment. I as your father am more grateful than I can express for your gallant fighting. Do your best, all of you.’ (In) this particular battle to be ready for death was not enough; what was required of us was a determination not to fail to die.”
Out of ammunition, the Russians fought with rifle butts and swords, to the last man standing. By mid-afternoon, a Japanese standard was flying from the top of 203- Meter Hill. Among the dead, four layers thick that day, was General Nogi’s last surviving son.
15,000 Japanese troops had been killed or wounded in the final six-day assault on 203-Meter Hill. Nogi was so emotionally shattered that he asked for permission to commit the ritual samurai suicide, seppuku. Emperor Meiji’s direct order prevented him from carrying out his wish.
It was back to Chikuan and Ehrlung. More giant mines exploded under ramparts, hand-to-hand combat, soldiers killed and maimed by the thousands. Chikuan fought to the last man. Out of the initial 50,000, only 5,000 Russians were still capable of combat. General Stoessel surrendered Port Arthur on 2 January 1905. Rarely had so valiant defenders fought such brave attackers.
The Siege of Port Arthur cost the Japanese 57,780 casualties, not counting thousands more dead from diseases.(2) The Russians had 31,306 casualties. Over 23,000 more were taken into captivity.  General Nogi had little time to contemplate this, as he now took his remaining soldiers north, to join the forces of Marshal Oyama against the main bulk of the Russian army.
Nogi’s breach through the Russian rear over the Hun River sealed the fate of the Battle of Mukden. It would be the last land battle of the Russo-Japanese War. There had been and there would be further sea battles, with the Battle of Tsushima ranking as one of the greatest naval battles in history. But we aim here to trace the fate of an infantry commander.
Nogi returned to Tokyo to a hero’s welcome and to great honors. But he settled with his wife as a now-childless couple in their spartan home in Akasaka, and became a personal tutor to the future heir to the Japanese throne, Hirohito. Late in his life, Emperor Hirohito would remark that Nogi had had a lasting influence on him, instilling precepts of frugality and stoic virtues of endurance, loyalty and dignity. (3)
Guilt over the carnage of Port Arthur and despair over the loss of his sons must have tormented the old general. He spent his personal fortune on memorial monuments for the Japanese soldiers killed during the Russo-Japanese War, and on hospitals for those wounded there. It’s a testimony to his character that he caused the Japanese government to erect a memorial monument in Port Arthur to the Russian fallen too.
On 13 September 1912 at 19:40, just as Emperor Meiji's funeral procession was getting under way, Maresuke Nogi and his wife seated themselves facing the emperor's portrait in the upstairs parlor of the home that now stands under the weeping trees. They had already bathed, changed into white kimonos, and shared a cup of sake. Then, Mrs. Nogi plunged a dagger into her heart, and the general disemboweled himself with his sword. In notes left for posterity, Nogi apologized for the tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers he had sent to their death in Port Arthur, and for other self-perceived failures in his military career.
The Nogis’ suicide was front page news for months in Japan. Many saw it as a warning from an exalted member of the last samurai generation against the rampant materialism and decline in moral values that had become evident since Japan’s opening to the West. But the establishment saw a golden opportunity in emphasizing Nogi’s loyalty to the emperor, for in his exit poem Nogi had expressed the wish to follow the emperor in death.(4)
Within days of General Nogi’s suicide, government propaganda commenced to enshrine it as the embodiment of the highest virtue – loyalty to the emperor. This loyalty-unto-death aspect would grow to mythical proportions – until it, and the emperor’s divinity, crashed in the embers of World War 2.
Today, the mention of Maresuke Nogi’s name in Japan elicits a mild embarrassment. The military-political junta that had led Japan to suicide in World War 2 had chosen to emphasize those parts of General Nogi’s life and death as would bolster its misbegotten aims. But the man who rendered judgment onto himself deserves better. To see how much so, one must compare him to his European peers.
Those who didn’t
Some aspects of General Nogi’s life story are impenetrable to the Western mind, starting with the idea of a divine emperor of a modern nation, and ending with the slicing of one’s own belly like a ripe pomegranate. It’s unwise, as well, to judge a man born in 1849 by the standards of 2008. But it’s useful to compare Nogi’s conduct to that of European generals who, merely two years after his suicide, would send millions of soldiers to their death in frontal attacks on fortified trenches in the hail of bullets and clouds of mustard gas of the Great War.
Nogi was the first commander to lead a major infantry campaign in the face of 20th century military technology. His Prussian training had emphasized massed infantry charges against defensive positions. Such tactics had led to his first easy conquest of Port Arthur, in 1894. But by 1904, firepower capability had doubled, and new defensive technologies had been implemented. Nogi was unable to understand the full implication of this in time to adapt his tactics. For that, 57,780 of his soldiers paid with their lives, and, by his own choice, so would he.
But the Allied generals of World War 1 had Nogi’s errors to learn from. Yet they ignored the Port Arthur lessons out of haughty stupidity and unwarranted hubris. The French in 1915- 1917, the British in 1916-1917, and the Americans in 1917-1918 would commit all the deadly tactical errors that the Japanese had committed in 1904 and 1905.  5.7 million Allied soldiers paid for this with their lives, and 4 million Central Powers’ soldiers too – the greatest carnage of soldiers in history, until World War 2 upped the ante.
It was eminently avoidable. For the siege of Port Arthur had been one of the first international mass media events ever. Reporters from the major Western newspapers had come to observe the fighting, and they described it in newspapers, magazines, and books. The Illustrated London News brought out on 7 January 1905 an extra double number, “Port Arthur: Its Siege” . Among its three special supplements, one was a detailed, illustrated history of the operations by Charles Lowe, a military historian. The Times’ reporters were so zealous that the Russians threatened to arrest them, citing security concerns.
Foreign military observers from all the Western powers were thick on the ground and at sea in all the large battles of the Russo-Japanese War. They saw and reported to their superiors what modern firepower from fortified defensive positions could do. They published voluminous accounts and analyses.
Then-Major General Sir Ian Hamilton witnessed the Japanese assaults on the 203-Meter Hill, of which he would write:
“(T)hese trenches and their dividing walls had been smashed and pounded and crushed into a shapeless jumble of stones; rock splinters and fragments of shells cemented liberally with human flesh and blood. A man’s head sticking up out of the earth, or a leg or an arm or a piece of a man’s body lying across my path are sights which custom has enabled me to face without blanching. But here the corps do not so much appear to be escaping from the ground as to be the ground itself. Everywhere there are bodies, or portions of bodies, flattened out or stamped into the surface of the earth as if they formed a part of it.”(5)
Yet, the same General Ian “Too Much Feather In His Brain” Hamilton would send division after British and ANZAC division, to storm over minefields bullet-spewing fortified Turkish positions on the cliffs and beaches of Gallipoli, wasting 141,000 soldiers in the 1915 Dardanelles campaign.
In 1915 too, General Douglas “Bottle For a Brain” Haig would state, "The machine gun is a much over-rated weapon,"  and would later send repeated charges of tens of thousands of British soldiers “over the top,” straight into entrenched German machine gun, mortar and howitzer fire. In the four months of the Somme campaign alone, by ignoring the lessons of Port Arthur the British high command wasted 420,000 British soldiers, and the French 200,000, to gain two miles of land. A generation of British women would be left to live and die as “Haig spinsters.”
It wasn’t necessary. Just a few years earlier, Captain Sedgwick had written of the Battle of Nanshan, “With regard to the tactics of the battle, the great value of machine guns in the defensive is to be remarked.”(6) Another British observer, Major J. M. Home, emphasized in his report “the crushing effect of modern artillery” that he had witnessed in Manchuria. This appeared in the multi-volume The Russo-Japanese War. Reports from British Officers attached to the Japanese and Russian Forces (7). The lessons were there, but the donkeys who lead the lions of World War 1 weren’t interested. 
The British were not alone in this shame. General Lombard, chef the French Mission Militaire attached to the Japanese Army, described in his reports a 2600-strong Japanese regiment that had been reduced to 30 soldiers and three officers at the Battle of Mukden, due to the power of modern firearms. (8) Yet, a few years later, the French General Robert Georges Nivelle could plan a 48-hour offensive against the German forces along the Western Front, with 10,000 projected casualties. The offensive lasted 23 days and resulted in 148,000 French casualties.
Throughout World War 1, Allied casualties were especially heavy among officers, who dressed in spiffy uniforms that German riflemen had learned to spot at a distance. Camouflage, crawling under fire, and other defensive methods were considered dishonorable, even though French military observers had concluded already in 1905, in Manchuria, that these precisely would be the indispensable methods of survival in the modern theatre of war. (9)
Nor were the Americans immune. Among the 17 American military observers in Manchuria was Captain John J. Pershing.(10) Yet, 13 years after Port Arthur, Pershing, now Lt. General and commander of the American forces in World War 1, allowed 1,811 U.S. Marines to be slaughtered and 7966 to be wounded in six foolhardy attacks against sweeping German machine gun fire at the Battle of Belleau Wood.
These bemedaled, calcified eminences went on to fame and glory after the war, with few exceptions like Hamilton and Nivelle, who were slapped on the wrist for having sent hundreds of thousands to their profligate death.  General Maresuke Nogi occupies a different moral plane, and for that he deserves remembrance and respect.
Once was not enough
What happened to General Nogi, to his troops, and to the valiant Russian defenders of Port Arthur, was a tragedy. But when tragedy repeats itself, the second time it’s as comedy. And the clowns on the second occasion, the Great War, would neither be held to account nor would they hold themselves to account like Nogi had done. It’s in this macabre farce, worthy of Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder and Jaroslav Hašek’s Good Soldier Švejk, that Europe’s first suicide was enveloped.
The trauma of mechanized slaughter of millions of cannon fodder conscripts, orchestrated by operetta generals in World War 1 was so great, that almost all the social pathologies of the 20th century may be traced to it. Communism, Fascism, Nazism, “democratic” socialism, pacifism, militant feminism, nouveau liberalism, false egalitarianism, aggressive Third-Worldism – all blossomed from the wreckage of this war.
George Orwell could thus write of an England ruled by “people whose chief asset was their stupidity,” and a generation of post-War writers, from PG Wodehouse to Evelyn Waugh, seconded him in this opinion. Orwell wrote of the British generalship: “The higher commanders, drawn from the aristocracy, could never prepare for modern war, because in order to do so they would have had to admit that the world was changing. They have always clung to obsolete methods and weapons, because they inevitably saw each war as a repetition of the last.” (11) Let it be said, however, that Orwell was advocating socialism as a panacea, even as an Austrian refugee in London was writing a treatise showing that socialism was the road to serfdom .
The Western system of values, its standards of merit and beauty, were destroyed too. An artistic movement called Dada, a urinal on a pedestal in a museum, would have been unthinkable prior to the Great War. The devaluation of manly valor, of honor, integrity, stoicism, fidelity, loyalty, patriotism, began when Europeans realized that millions of their kin had just been sent to automated abattoirs in foreign mud fields by inept, mustachioed martinets in cavalry breeches, spouting patriotic slogans in an unnecessary war.
People who had experienced the horrors of the Great War came to believe that nothing was worth fighting for. Even as Hitler arose amidst them, they would do nothing until it was nearly too late. Philippe Pétain, the hero of Verdun, would mutate into the coward of Vichy. Neville Chamberlain would sue for peace before a shot had been fired. Western intellectuals were marching as one to the drumbeat of a psycho Georgian killer running Mother Russia the way Ivan the Terrible once had.
The Spanish writer, Sebastián Vivar Rodríguez, wrote that Europe died in Auschwitz. But Europe had already died in Somme, Verdun, Ypres and Passchendaele, twenty five years earlier, by its own hand. What incinerated in 1939 -1945 was just the new shoots that had sprouted from the stump of a felled tree.
A few such shoots survived, regenerated, and grew into a new Europe, again full of self confidence and vigor between 1946 and 1966. But this new tree too is being sawed through by the West’s “best and brightest,” though not of the beribboned kind now. Running as fast and as far as they can from the evils of the two world wars, they are dragging the West right into the opposite evil.
Like a pendulum that can only quantum-leap from one extreme of its arch to the other, the 2008 heirs to the mantle of 1908 politicians have become their cartoon antithesis. Though Europe’s 20th century suicide in two parts should have discredited militarism, pusillanimity, chauvinism, racism, colonialism, gender and class discrimination and nihilism, the bien pensant have harnessed the blowback to discredit war in self-defense, courage, patriotism, white ethnicity, the white peoples’ self-determination, white males, inequality based on merit, and Christianity.
The Anglican Archbishop of the former Rule Britannia is now a promoter of sharia. Spain’s prime minister wants the country that once reconquered itself from Muslim rule, to let itself be conquered again. The Dutch want to sue a man for loss of profits when he warns of their colonization by people who boil over for cartoons, but bowl over for beheadings.
The Vikings are now the obsequious servants of their women and their imported freeloaders. Not that there was true glory in being savage brutes; but being eunuchs is not much better. And the United States, once of ‘manifest destiny,’ has curdled into a “proposition nation” of no discernible borders, language, culture or continuity -- as though the people who founded and built it, their culture and their descendants, never existed.
From the self-confidence and sense of superiority of the 1900s and 1950s, the West has evolved into a groveling clump of meek masochists, worshipping false idols because they are not the old false idols. The political, intellectual and artistic elite in every country of the West is now fawning on its previous perceived lessers: the non-white, the foreign ethnic, the non-Christian, the female, the homosexual, the dumb and deviant. And it does so as though such “minorities” had the sole purchase on virtue.
Forever fighting the previous war when it’s no longer relevant, eyes firmly planted on the realities of 1915 and 1940, Western elites are busy combating “racism,” “orientalism,” “ethnocentrism” and “sexism” that no longer exist in Western societies but exist in all others.  And they do so by committing a dual act of treason. Its one prong is the forced dilution and suppression of the Western founding peoples’ racial, ethnic and cultural heritage and identity. Its other prong is the forced injection of the previously slighted “minorities” into the upper echelons of power, regardless of merit.
Just because a hundred years ago power was wielded by incompetent white males of dubious character, the main qualification for the new Praetorian Guard is to be a woman, a non-heterosexual, or a “person of color” of dubious wisdom. But only true meritocracy and ethnic cohesiveness can save the West from being destroyed by the spreading chaos from the Third World, and by the might of the East, where male oligarchies, tribal allegiance, and ruthless meritocracy still hold sway.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the West and Japan came to kiss the hand of the once-sleeping giant that they had formerly belittled and exploited, and now enriched and armed to the teeth beyond the wildest reaches of imagining. And China, the world’s most ethnocentric, racist, tyrannical and imperialist power, skillfully exploits their shame at having once been themselves ethnocentric, racist, tyrannical and imperialist.
Mouthing their mea culpa for Port Arthur and Nanking, opium and Hong Kong, the world’s leaders would have to pass under the giant portrait of Mao Zedong, to enter the Forbidden City. And Mao, proudly flaunted by the Chinese hosts, is the worst mass murderer in history, responsible for snuffing out at least 60 million Chinese lives, and by some accounts up to 80 million.
Then the great chiefs of the guai-lo, the white devils, would attend an opening ceremony in which a fake singer was lip-synching to the words of "Hymn to the Motherland” , and 56 children from the Chinese Han majority dressed in the ethnic costumes of the 56 Chinese minorities would be paraded to show the white fools that China too loves diversity.  And after that, the poor white devils went on to cheer at ball games and toast at 30-course banquets even as the Chinese continued working dawn to dusk and saving 35% of their income while the armored columns of another patriarchal, ethnocentric, racist and tyrannical empire, Russia, having planned for months for precisely this moment, smashed into Georgia.
There were lessons for the West to be drawn from the 2008 visit in China, just as there had been in 1904. But if the lessons of 1904 had fallen on the deaf ears of cocky chauvinists, the lessons of 2008 were lost on capon globalists.
Future historians will see the West’s postmodern regime of liberalism, multiculturalism, sham egalitarianism, tolerance of the intolerable, cowardice, one-worldism and stigmatization of the male and the white, for the suicide it is. It will be just as plain as our image of World War 1 is now. And just like then, by paying heed to lessons from the East, the Western self-erasure unfolding now could have been averted.
The greatest lesson, though, and one that is by now outer-space alien to the shallow midgets running the West’s countries on behalf of their devitalized demos, is embedded in the character of the man whom we seek to commemorate here. This is how war correspondent, Richard Barry, who was with General Nogi for nine months in Manchuria, eulogized him in the New York Times on 14 September 1912:
“Of all the human beings I have ever known he rises in my memory as the one superb, complete person. He was at once soldier and poet, statesman and artist. Always he was the gentleman -- wondrously gentle, and a man to the bone. That figure of a poised, intent, suffering, masterful spirit, tried alternately by desperate defeat and by tremendous triumph, neither deterred by the one nor elated by the other, will always stand before me as an ideal. He had learned that the hope of heaven and the fear of hell are vulgar vices and that the superior man loves right for its own sake. He was the arch-type of the old high order of chivalric thinking, of unshrinking living, and of stoical dying. Other great men may come, but such a great man as this we are not likely to see again.”

Takuan Seiyo is a multiethnic, naturalized American writer and former international media executive. His grandfather-in-law, fighting for Japan in 1904-05, survived the Russo-Japanese War. His paternal grandfather, fighting for Austria in 1914, died in the Battle of Galicia. 


  1. Having spent a bit of time in Japan, I've actually seen that memorial, and you are correct, his 'legacy' is NOT talked about..

  2. I'll be posting a link to this post this week. Remarkable and insightful.

  3. To go to Tokyo is on my bucket list of places to see. I would like to see this place. From what I have read, he was an honorable gentleman and such people are rare.


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