Book-worm

I have been a good little bibliophile.

  • Today I read most of China’s New Rulers: The Secret Files by Andrew Nathan and Bruce Gilley. This book has been a deeply informative backgrounder on the personal histories of the CCP’s top leaders, and it will serve as a fine reference during future readings. I will have more on this when I finish with it—I am particularly impressed by the authors’ candor on the sourcing for the book.
  • I began my shopping spree last week when I bought China’s New Rulers and Murakami Haruki’s Kafka on the Shore at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle.
  • The buying continued with a visit to Amazon, which yielded a copy of Embracing Defeat, John Dower’s award-winning history of post-WWII Japan. I’ve read bits and pieces of this book over the last few years, but now I have my own copy. It is up next after China’s New Rulers.
  • Between reading sittings today, I shopped for more books. At Idle Time Books next to the cafe Tryst, I finally bought their copy of Living With China: U.S.–China Relations in the Twenty-first Century, edited by Ezra Vogel at Harvard.
  • Before returning home I discovered yet another bookstore on a bike-ride through Georgetown. There, I happened upon a truly exceptional used book. In 1989, LDP politician Ishihara Shintaro (who later left the LDP and is now governor of Tokyo) and Sony Chairman Morita Akio co-authored an anti-U.S. nationalist manifesto called The Japan That Can Say ‘No’ (「ノー」と言える日本)that was not intended for U.S. publication. A sloppy translation was entered into the Congressional Record and republished by The Jefferson Educational Foundation. That’s the copy that I found. Who cares? Well, most libraries only hold the later, better translation with an introduction by Ezra Vogel, but Morita withdrew his portion of the book before that official English translation because of negative reaction to the unauthorized edition. The unauthorized edition made the rounds in Washington and affected this city’s view of Japan, according to Vogel’s introduction, so the original is a better historical document. The price? Two dollars.
  • My last stop was a swing by the Georgetown University library, which mercifully admits anyone with an ID during reasonable hours. There, I was able to download about half a dozen obscure articles I’ve been needing, and I photocopied key chapters from two relatively recent books edited by T.J. Pempel relevant to my research: Remapping East Asia and Beyond Bilateralism: U.S.–Japan Relations in the New Asia-Pacific (co-edited with Ellis S. Krauss).

Meanwhile in the news, there are two recent diplomatic headlines worth noting, after the jump.

“Japan does not plan to ask China or South Korea for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe Meeting summit to be held next month in Finland, a government source said Friday. [more | Kyodo]

And:

China strongly protests against Japan for allowing Taiwan’s army commander-in-chief Gen. Hu Chen-pu to visit Japan, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.

The visit is “a serious incident in Sino-Japanese relations,” Liu Jianchao said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website. “China strongly protests such action by Japan, which explicitly violates the principles and commitments in the three political documents,” he said. [more | Kyodo]

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