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Visiting日本 Nippon was my personal dream to explore the Land of the Rising Sun, the home of the unique Asian civilization, to which I have dedicated all my time since 2005. All this period I did my best to study, learn, and publish about in the Arab world.
Motivated by patriotism, nationalism, and the youth ambition, the main question that I am still wondering around is: “Why Japan succeeded in Restoration, while the Arabian is still failing in its attempt towards Renaissance?". That is why I have chosen to walk throughout my academic path in the scientific field of “Japanese Studies” to try to discover the spirit of Bushido from the ancestors of the Samurai, hoping that my people will learn the right path towards modernization.
My academic quest in Japanology since 2005 was studying the birth of the modern state in one of the leading nations in Asia after the outstanding Meiji Restoration sparked the dawn of industrialization, based on educating society through a modern educational system. To my belief, the Japanese model is the success story that should be adopted in my home-country Lebanon and the whole Arab world.
Over the years, I published two books revealing Japan’s modern history1 and peace constitution2, many academic studies and newspaper articles in my native language, also two studies in English3.
Through the time I was a guest at many TV and Radio programs discussing the Japanese model, demanding to adopt the suitable methods that adapt to our customs, and to adopt it by the decision-makers at our part of the world.
The achievement of my endeavors was earning the "Academic Excellence Award in the Arab World” for the category of “Academic Personality of the Year 2018" for my role in introducing the "Japanese studies" to the Arab world4.
My academic quest was always supported by every Japanese ambassador and diplomat I had the honor to meet in Lebanon. Cooperation with Japanese academia was always a noble target by itself, that there were always generous offers for a long or medium visit to Japan, but unfortunately, I could not accept5.
The breakthrough came by the vision and discernment embracement of His Excellency Ambassador Matahiro Yamaguchi who realized the delicate and fragile employment status in Lebanon (as a part of the Third world)6, for that my dream came true by a “two weeks” educational expedition to Nihon as a part of Strengthening Strategic Communications (Multi-layered Network).
After fifteen years, of daily observing every aspect of Japan, (specifically after creating my Facebook community =Solidarity with Japan= in 20117), I had the opportunity to eyewitness the history, heritage and civilization that I have been preaching about to my students, community and the Arab public opinion since a decade and a half (and whom to accompany me in my journey than my supportive partner and wife Dania Al Badawi).
Before the journey, I listed many Japanese orientalists and specialized institutions to visit in Tokyo and Kyoto, with special appeal to visit Hiroshima to pay my cordial tribute and condolences for this martyr city which paid the highest bloody price to teach humanity the horror of atomic8, nuclear and mass destruction weapons.
In the final meeting with the embassy cultural section, they kindly delivered to me the list of officials, universities, and museums I will meet and visit. Then, being a scholar, I did what I am prepared to do, I researched every expert and institution that I must meet in my destination, what are, all of this, their resources, documents and fields of cooperation and collaboration to benefit from in the near future.
During the long flight, I was filled with emotions wondering how my first personal encounter will be with the civilization that I dedicated 15 years of my life to study, learn and write about, preaching about its uniqueness, distinction, and exclusiveness.
The arrival was at Narita Airport9 , even be sitting in the plane, I adored the cloudy bright sky of Japan10, and I felt my heartbeat when the wheels touched the sacred ground of Nihon11.
Being a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 外務省12, airport procedures went smoothly by the efficient active authorities.
The first bright light in the journey was meeting the friendly smiling face of the helpful Mr. Tobi, who was a great adviser and proficient companion for me in my whole visit (including the returning goodbye flight to Lebanon).
Every detail in the road to the hotel was magical, even though Dania and I were so tired after the long flight (including transit), therefore we were eager to rest in our room.
Directly to New Otani Tokyo Hotel13, where my educational trip in the land of the Rising Sun will start.
After a good night’s sleep, adapted to the precise Japanese schedule, I woke up for my first official day, breathing the fresh air on the land which I spent decades of my life writing about.
Our first visit was to Meiji Shrine明治神宮14, which is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji, the great influential leader who inspired me to study his successful restoration in hope of an Arab renaissance, and his consort, Empress Shōken-kōgō. Her Majesty was proposed at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross15 the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime16.
This was a confluence between two Eastern civilization, because being a Muslim, it was my first time to visit a Shinto Temple 神社17, experimenting the temizu-ya 手水舎18, the fascinating Water Purification Basin19 and other peculiar rituals.
Then towards launch in an authentic amazing Sushi restaurant in Toranomon20 recommended by Mr. Tobi. Our instant observation, this kind of delicious Sushi is not the same as we are accustomed to eating in Lebanon!21 Tokyo is the birthplace of sushi as we know it (there is a reason serious sushi restaurant call their style “Edo-mae”22). The combination of some of the most pristine seafood on the planet, together with 400-plus years of know-how, and sleek Japanese aesthetics, makes having sushi here an almost transcendent experience.
After a brief rest at the hotel, my academic mission began with the first meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 外務省23 with the director of MOFA First Middle East Division. I was impressed by his wide knowledge about the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East, also his confidence in beginning a new era of friendly relations between Japan and the Arab world.
The next meeting was at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies 東京外国語大学24 to discuss mainly the situation in Syria. Again, I was overwhelmed by the expert’s insightful information about the Levant catastrophe.
At the end of the first day, I got many documents to use in my studies about Japan policy towards our region. While we are looking forward to learning from the Japanese unique success, Tokyo’s need for energy is the main driver of its increased involvement in the Middle East25. Japan’s energy dependency intensified after the decision to halt its domestic nuclear energy programme following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear calamity26. Since then, the Arabian Gulf states have accounted for almost 90 percent of Japan’s oil imports, primarily from Saudi Arabia and the UAE27.
Day three, a beautiful rainy day in Tokyo, which I began in a traditional way by reading a local Japanese newspaper in English The Japan Times28 (Frankly, I miss that “old good days” reading the news on paper not online). The positive side from that morning catch-up was knowing the local Japanese perspectives towards global policies.
Then the tour began at Ginza29, which is Japan’s premier shopping district, my premier target was buying the national Japanese football team サッカー日本代表 jerseys for my kids and myself.
It is worth mentioning that I am a football fan of Sakkā Nippon Daihyō, even before I majored in Japanese Studies. I recall watching the 2000 AFC Asian Cup30 in Beirut, witnessing Japan becoming the continent champion31.
Then under the light rain of Tokyo; there must be some shopping.
Back to the hotel for a very important dinner meeting with the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau senior directors. The main issue to be discussed was my study to the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS)32 revealing Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP) to the Saudi decision-makers and Arab public33. It is worth mentioning that my next project will be a comparative study (in the Arabic language also) between “Free and Open Indo - Pacific Strategy” (japan) and (vs.) "Belt and Road Initiative" (China).
Here I should praise the high knowledge of MOFA experts about the situation in the Middle East. It was a wonderful exchange of ideas, where I tried to show the other side of the story of the dilemma in our region. Also, I tried to open a new path of cooperation between Japan and the Gulf states, by providing many sources of my upcoming comparative study to the Japanese side, hoping that it will be taken into consideration in planning for a new era of collaboration between our two Eastern nations.
The next official meeting was with His Excellency Ambassador of Japan Kiyoshi Asako34 who has wide knowledge about the Arab culture and traditions35, and who is now the Vice President of the Middle East Institute of Japan (MEIJ)36. Then it was a round table with the senior and junior Japanese scholars in the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.
It was a very fruitful conversation especially, that I and the MOFA advisers teamed up to give the potential diplomats and professors a bite of reality about the Middle Eastern conflicts away from guided books and inhuman stereotypes.
Then heading back to the hotel, for a lovely dinner with my Dania.
There are the delicious Godiva chocolates, with new exotic flavors we are not used to in Lebanon.
Day four in Japan began for me with great responsibilities accompanied by my personal desire to achieve. The main reason is that when His Excellency Ambassador of Japan in Lebanon Mr. Matahiro Yamaguchi informed me that I am nominated to visit Nippon for my lifetime career in Japanese Studies, His Excellency recommended that I publish in the Arabic language about the Territorial Disputes Involving Japan, based on the original Japanese documents.
In brief, the main territorial disputes of Japan are:
1- Senkaku Islands37: Japan annexed the islands in 189538, saying that they were unclaimed territory. It says China started showing interest in them only in the early 1970s, after possible oil reserves were discovered nearby. China39 claims that Japan took them as a first step toward its expansion in the Far East40.
2- Takeshima Islands41: The barely inhabitable volcanic islets are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and natural gas deposits. Japan says it reconfirmed its right to Takeshima in 1905, during a war with Russia. Since the 1950s, South Korea42 has maintained a police post there43.
3- Northern Territories44: Soviet forces occupied the islands in 1945, deported Japanese inhabitants, and brought in settlers. In 1956, Russia offered to return one of the three islands claimed by Japan and a small group of islets as part of a peace treaty. But Japan rejected that compromise, maintaining that all the islands should be returned45.
The National Museum of Territory and Sovereignty 領土・主権展示館46 was the gold mine of documents for my upcoming studies. I was overwhelmed by the presence of Cabinet Secretariat Office 内閣官房47 and the warm welcome of the helpful patriotic staff.
The next stop was very emotional to me as a historian studying the unique spirit of sacrifice for the motherland in Japanese culture, then being an eyewitness of the great efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to show the rightful peaceful approach towards world peace led me to pay my respect48 to the great heroes who devoted their life to let their nation lives.
The origins of Yasukuni Jinja靖国神社49 lie in a shrine called Shokonsha50, which was established at Kudan, Tokyo, in the second year of the Meiji era (1869)51.
The name “Yasukuni”52 bestowed by Emperor Meiji, means to preserve peace for the entire nation. Therefore, Yasukuni Jinja is intended as a shrine to “bring peace to the homeland” or “build a peaceful nation53.”
Then Dania joined her historian husband visiting Yūshūkan 遊就館military museum54 which is dedicated to the souls of soldiers who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan55. The museum was established in 1882, and describes itself as the first and oldest war and military museum in Japan, it contains various artifacts and documents concerning Japanese war casualties and military activity from the start of the Meiji Restoration to the end of World War II56.
I was surprised that the gallery even has wonderful illustrations about the Mongol invasions of Japan 元寇57 which accrued in 1274 and 128158.
There I learned more about the Samurai culture and traditions59, specifically the Bushido60 from an elegant museum docent61.
The arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry62 and the awake of the American Imperialism in the 19th century63 took a big part in my early studies about Japan’s modern history, for that visiting this section was like introducing to me what I lived through in books.
His Majesty Meiji-tennō 明治天皇64 and his outstanding restoration (Meiji Ishin 明治維新)65 still plays an important role in my studies. I am working on new research entitled: “Nahda vs. Ishin: The Success of the Japanese Restoration, while the Failure of the Arabian Renaissance during the Nineteenth Century"66. Historical incidents showed that from the early nineteenth century, the Ottoman Islamic Sultanate began its efforts to modernize the state and society. The lack of experience, extravagance financial policy, inflated military budget, expansion in importing, and the critical political changes demolished this endeavor. Since then, the newborn Arab and Muslim countries have continuously retried their bid for progress, mostly facing frustration. On the contrary, Japan benefited from the Middle Eastern previous examples among other things, especially from Egypt which was bankrupted because of the bloated loans and has lost its sovereignty under the "mixed courts" agreement. It started restoration since the Meiji tennō and depended on the domestic conditions, motivated patriotic citizens, clear political strategy, and remote geographic location.
Then sure comes the lounge of “Japan in WWII”67, where the ABCD oil embargo Ēbīshīdī hōijin 68 led in a way or other to Pearl Harbor attack69 and the disasters that follow70.
Other important exhibits for my studies were about the Japanese Imperial Navy大日本帝國海軍71, especially the heroic chronicles of Yamato 大和 battleship72.
After a short break at the hotel, at 4:00 pm, it was the time to visit University of Tokyo 東京大学73 hoping for future cooperation with their orientalist professors.
Emerging of Tokyo Kaisei School and Tokyo Medical School created the four Faculties of Law, Science, Letters and, Medicine, which came together with a university preparatory school yobimon74 to form the University of Tokyo. At first, the three Faculties of Law, Science and Letters were in the Kanda area, while the Faculty of Medicine was established in the Hongo area.
At around 6:00 pm, returning to my hotel room exhausted after the field day.
But STOP, my mobile rang, I have an important meeting at the Japan Institute of International Affairs75 with Prof. Tetsuo Kotani, the holder of “Defense Minister Prize” to discuss recent developments in the Middle East.
Then, at last, out of stress fun at Tokyo streets, before writing the tough day summary before sleep.
Day five, heading to Kyoto by the famous Shinkansen 新幹線76. This line is the most heavily traveled high-speed rail route in the world, which has a length of 515 km (320 miles) and offers the fastest and smoothest way for traveling between Tokyo station, and Shin-Osaka or Kyoto stations. It was an exciting journey for me using the bullet train, but I felt asleep after yesterday’s extraordinary excursion.
Our first educational target was visiting Kyoto University 京都大学77 in my quest for educational cooperation with the Lebanese university, hoping to introduce the Japanese Studies as an independent academic field under the wide banner of Humanities to the Arab and Islamic world.
Surely, I thank the faculty for the institution’s souvenirs and the delicious French cuisine. I felt the sense of belonging to the prestigious university, and I hope that I will give some lectures there to the young scholars who are interested in Middle Eastern Studies. After World War II, the current Kyoto University was established by merging the imperial university and the Third Level School, which assumed the duty of teaching liberal arts as the Faculty of Liberal Arts 教養部78. The faculty was dissolved with the foundation of the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies 総合人間学部79 in 1992.
Kyoto University has since 2004 been incorporated as a national university corporation under a new law that applies to all national universities, and I am doing my best so that our Lebanese University will be one too.
The next destination was the Kyoto Imperial Palace 京都御所80, where His Majesty Emperor Naruhito 徳仁81 was supposed to proclaim enthronement next October82, where all world leaders (including the Lebanese Prime Minister83) were expected to attend.
Day six to relax, away from all the official meeting stress, with some calls from friends from the Arab world84. Casual morning with breakfast from the roof view of Hotel Okura85, enjoying the beautiful landscape of the ancient city Kyoto.
Then the tour began at the magnificent Golden Pavilion 金閣寺86. The building's first purpose was to serve the retiring Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu87 as a residence. The gold-leaf-adorned building was converted into a Zen temple shortly after his death. In a tragic arson crime, a twenty-one years old monk burned Kinkaku-ji Temple down in 195088, then, by governmental support, the temple was rebuilt in 1955 and continues to function as a storehouse of sacred relics89.
Then we headed to the ancient city market to visit Kyoto Museum of Crafts and Design京都伝統産業ふれあい館90, displaying seventy-seven sorts of traditional handicrafts, the permanent exhibition systematically introduces the essence of Kyoto’s traditional industries. Using panels and videos, the exhibition also illustrates manufacturing processes and techniques of traditional handicrafts.
At night, the dinner was Halal Ramen 拉麺ラーメン, which is a Japanese noodle soup. It consists of wheat noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and ours was with several toppings.
Then a before sleeping we took a walking tour at Nishiki Market 錦市場91. This covered shopping street features more than one hundred different stalls and shops, many of which are family-owned and operated. While walking the market street, visitors can expect to see dozens of stalls selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, and other Kyoto produce.
But our dessert was Western style.
The beautiful morning of day seven was expected to be a relaxing touring day. After breakfast92, while preparing our bags, two congratulations call from Riyad (KSA) and Manama (Bahrain) for my restless efforts to unveil the Arabian standpoints to the Japanese diplomacy and academia, “Keep up the good work93”, they both said.
At 10 am, I experienced the modernized Japanese transportation. It is Nozomi のぞみ94, the fastest train service running on the Tōkaidō/San'yō Shinkansen lines in Japan.
Arriving at Hiroshima transformed me into a moody gloomy feeling, I am here now in the place that I wrote hundreds of papers about its tragedy, read every detail, and expressed what I learned in my publications. Today I am a witness after 75 years of the crime.
The dinner was the delicious authentic seafood, a meal to be remembered!
Under the light rain to Miyajima 宮島95, looking forward to seeing the globally famous floating Torii Gate鳥居96, which unfortunately was under reconstruction.
Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社97 has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. The first shrine buildings here were probably erected in the 6th century. The present shrine dates from the 12th century and the harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skills. The shrine plays on the contrasts in color and form between mountains and sea and illustrates the Japanese concept of scenic beauty, which combines nature and human creativity.
Being in Hiroshima the dinner must be the unique Okonomiyaki お好み焼き98, which is a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients in a wheat-flour-based batter99.
At the restaurant, I was pleased to taste Halal Wagyu 和牛100, which is unforgettable!101.
Then the Typhoon 令和元年東日本台風 night102 will be at Rihga Royal Hiroshima103.
September 23 was the most important day in the calendar in my visit to beloved Nippon, the day to visit the Genbaku Dome原爆ドーム104, it was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945105. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons106.
Since planning this trip in Beirut, I prepared for the honor of “Flower Tribute to Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims”, and today it is the time.
At 10 am we arrived in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony where I had the great honor of being welcomed by His Excellency Chairperson Takashi Koizumi107, then I accomplished my tribute to the innocent souls who paid the bloody price of the unethical war crime108.
Then a fruitful meeting began at His Excellency’s office. The most amazing topic was about Mayors for Peace 平和首長会議109 activities, especially Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Course110 which I will do my best to be a program at the Lebanese University111.
An emotional tour at Hiroshima Peace Memorial 広島平和記念碑112. Here what I can express and write is eye-witnessing the devastating results of the catastrophe is not like reading about that tragedy in books, “I literally cried”.
Seeing what happened to the innocent victims, and hearing their frightened cries, even after 75 years is grief by itself. What came to my mind was my children in Lebanon, also that in the Middle East there are countries who obtain nuclear weapons.
Ground temperatures near the hypocenter reached 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius. The heat carbonized or deeply burned bodies. Symptoms of damage from heat rays, blast, and radiation that appeared immediately after the bombing were called “acute disorders” and were varied and complex. Exposed to the A-bomb one kilometer away from the hypocenter, this soldier lost hair, bled from the gums, and developed purple spots on his skin due to radiation. He died nearly one month after the bombing. The acute disorders caused by radiation in time gave way to prolonged health problems. The number of survivors contracting leukemia increased noticeably five to six years after the bombing. Ten years after the bombing, the survivors began contracting thyroid cancers, and breast, lung, and other cancers also developed at higher than normal rates113.
Muslim Martyr in Hiroshima
Abdul Razak was born in 1925 in Penang, Malaya (now, Malaysia). In 1944, he arrived in Japan as a ‘special overseas student from the south’ and entered Hiroshima University of Literature and Science in the following year.
During the Pacific War, to promote its Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere114, Japan invited foreign students at the government’s expense. Hiroshima University of Literature and Science and Hiroshima Higher Normal Schools were accepting foreign students each year. Razak (then, 20) was exposed to the atomic bomb while attending a lecture in the campus building in Higashi-senda-machi. He returned to the Konan Dormitory in Ote-machi to rescue other foreign students whom he studied together with. Of the 21 foreign students like Razak in Hiroshima, eight died.
“On the morning of August 6, I was preparing to go to the hospital with my mother. I had been diagnosed with kakke (vitamin deficiency) a few days earlier and had taken the day off school to get a medical exam. As my mother and I were eating breakfast, I heard the deep rumble of engines overhead. Our ears were trained back then; I knew it was a B-29 immediately. I stepped out into the field out front but saw no planes.
Bewildered, I glanced to the northeast. I saw a black dot in the sky. Suddenly, it ‘burst’ into a ball of blinding light that filled my surroundings. A gust of hot wind hit my face; I instantly closed my eyes and knelt down to the ground. As I tried to gain footing, another gust of wind lifted me up and I hit something hard. I do not remember what happened after that.
When I finally came to, I was passed out in front of a bouka suisou (stone water container used to extinguish fires back then). Suddenly, I felt an intense burning sensation on my face and arms and tried to dunk my body into the bouka suisou. The water made it worse. I heard my mother’s voice in the distance. ‘Fujio! Fujio!’ I clung to her desperately as she scooped me up in her arms. ‘It burns, mama! It burns!’
I drifted in and out of consciousness for the next few days. My face swelled up so badly that I could not open my eyes. I was treated briefly at an air raid shelter and later at a hospital in Hatsukaichi and was eventually brought home wrapped in bandages all over my body. I was unconscious for the next few days, fighting a high fever. I finally woke up to a stream of light filtering in through the bandages over my eyes and my mother sitting beside me, playing a lullaby on her harmonica.
I was told that I had until about age 20 to live. Yet here I am seven decades later, aged 86. All I want to do is forget, but the prominent keloid scar on my neck is a daily reminder of the atomic bomb. We cannot continue to sacrifice precious lives for warfare. All I can do is pray – earnestly, relentlessly – for world peace.”115
The artifacts gathered from the bombing sites pack the most emotion. Among them is a shredded tunic belonging to 12-year-old Tetsuo Kitabayashi, whose father desperately searched for him after the blast, twice passing the boy without recognizing him because his burns were so severe. Tetsuo died a day later. “No words can describe my anger and sorrow,” his father later wrote116.
Tetsuo's Water Bottle
“A Call for Peace expresses the ultimate goal of both of our collaborating institutions and of our exhibition—to present an artistic expression of the horrors of war so that we never forget the human stories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the universal stories of suffering that are those most impactful appeals for peace in this world.”
I come and stand at every door
But none can hear my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead for I am dead
I am only seven though I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I am seven now as I was then
When children die, they do not grow
My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind
I need no fruit I need no rice
I need no sweets nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead for I am dead
All that I need is that for peace
You fight today you fight today
So that the children of this world
Can live and grow and laugh and play
Then I had the privilege of writing my deep condolences, sympathy and heartful message to the martyrs of August 6, 1945118.
Then farewell with cordial thanks for His Excellency’s hospitality, devotion, and courtesy.
“My sister begrudgingly stayed home, while my mother and I, aged 6, went grocery shopping. Every- one was out on their verandas, enjoying the absence of piercing warning signals. Suddenly, an old man yelled ‘Plane!’ Everyone scurried into their homemade bomb shelters. My mother and I escaped into a nearby shop. As the ground began to rumble, she quickly tore off the tatami flooring, tucked me under it and hovered over me on all fours.
Everything turned white. We were too stunned to move, for about 10 minutes. When we finally crawled out from under the tatami mat, there was glass everywhere, and tiny bits of dust and debris floating in the air. The once clear blue sky had turned into an inky shade of purple and grey. We rushed home and found my sister – she was shell-shocked, but fine.”
Then I had the privilege of writing my deep condolences and heartful massage to the martyrs of August 6, 1945119.
Arigato to the farewell, with cordial thanks for His Excellency’s hospitality, devotion, and courtesy.
At 2 pm it was the appointment with A-Bomb Survivor Mrs. Keiko Ogura120 who was eight years old in 1945 when she witnessed the aftermath of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Her family home was just a few kilometers away from the center of the explosion.
"Give me water"
As I was walking someone on the ground suddenly grabbed my ankle. From around my feet, a weak voice said, "Give me water". A woman covered in soot and blood was clinging to me desperately. "Water, water", the voice of the dying woman continued to plead for water. I ran home, got some water from our well, and carried it to the dying people. Immediately after drinking the water, a number of those people suddenly slumped, and died right before my eyes. Shocked and trembling with fear, I regretted giving them water. I was so young; I did not know that it was said at the time that we were not supposed to give water to people with serious burns. I vowed never to tell anyone about what happened that day. My memory of that day remained with me as a nightmare even decades later.
My half-collapsed home was crowded with injured relatives, friends, and neighbors. My older sister was crying as she removed with tweezers shards of glass that were stuck in my uncle's back. The inside of the house was filled with a nauseating stench of blood, pus, mud, charred hair, and sewage. Flames had spread to the mountain behind our house, and Hiroshima continued to burn throughout the night.
Then back to the hotel for a break after being haunted by those emotional hours.
A shower and casual outfit and back to the A-Bomb Dome as a tourist this time (not the formal academic professor).
Again, to Hiroshima Peace Memorial once again (where my flowers are still there!).
5:00 pm internal flight from Hiroshima to Tokyo (ANA682), thinking about the horrors and atrocities of world war two while meditating in the beautiful cloudy sky of Japan.
Then the evening dinner in Tokyo after that day full of mixed feelings, while before sleep I read again His Majesty Emperor Hirohito’s Jewel Voice Broadcast 玉音放送121: "To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations, as well as the security and wellbeing of our subjects, is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which lies close to our heart … The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.122"
September 24 was the morning of my last day in Japan, a fresh start after suffering nightmares because of the inhuman tragedy I revisited yesterday at Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Kōen. Particularly the devasting sad story of Sadako Sasaki 佐々木禎子123 (in one of the faded dreams, I was trying to do a paper for Sadako, but not knowing how).
My first meeting dealt with strengthening the economic relations between Japan and the Arab world. I was astonished by the unique organization at MENA Division of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry 経済産業省124, with a recommendation to collaborate with Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME)125 for promoting economic integration between the Japanese industry and the Arab capital assets.
The economy is not a new field for me126 because one of the projects I will finish in 2022 is a study about “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030”127, and how to benefit from the Japanese expertise in reviving the Arab renaissance.
The crown jewel of my academic-political-economic to Japan was an appointment at the Prime Minister's Official Residence 総理大臣官邸128, which is a big dream comes true for an Arab scholar doing his best for more than a decade trying to be the honest voice of his community, not another hypocrite telling the foreign side what they like to hear.
An in-depth discussion with the elite experts at International Peace Cooperation Headquarters129 headed by the outstanding specialist in the Arab world, His Excellency Fumio Iwai, who knows every detail of Iraq modern history!
French-style lunch, then taking notice of the important hints that I received.
Then we passed to Japan Foundation 国際交流基金130, it was a general introduction, with hopes of joint scientific projects in the future.
The finally in the Land of the Rising Sun, shopping at Mitsui Outlet131, with the best luxury products at affordable prices.
Finally, at the airport back to our homeland Lebanon.
Looking at our last sunset view in the sky of Japan
Gratitude is the memory of the heart, Domo arigato to His Excellency Ambassador Matahiro Yamaguchi for his support to my academic quest in Japanese Studies since he arrived at Beirut, especially for nominating me for this noble expedition to build cultural bridges between Japan and the Arab world. I am thankful for MOFA Japan for the new approach Strengthening Strategic Communications, also hosting me in Japan, offering accommodation, advice, and guidance.
It was an academic trip filled with discovery, knowledge, and opportunities to learn, write, and publish about the history, diplomacy, and the peaceful ambition of Japan in the Arabic language.
Every detail in those 11 days was magnificent but visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was filled with emotions, tears, and hope. That awake a new ambition for me to visit Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum 長崎原爆資料館132, because learning every detail of the atomic tragedy as an eyewitness is essentially different from reading frozen words in a book.
Domo Arigato Nippon
Cheerio and not Goodbye
1. The Political History of Japan between the Two World Wars تـاريـخ اليـابـان السـياسـي بـين الحـربـين العـالمـيتـين
2. Japanese Constitution Comparative Study, 1889 vs. 1947 الدستور الياباني: دراسة مقارنة
A- Japanese and Arabic Relations: Academically, Politically and Historically.
B- The Role of Indian Muslims in Introducing Islam to Japan.
3. "Academic Excellence Award in the Arab World” for the category of “Academic Personality of the Year 2018"
5. I have a yearly contract with the Lebanese University, losing the courses I teach, simply means losing my position and career.
6. Since “immigration” is not of my plans but learning from Japan to apply in Lebanon and the Arab world, differentiate my values from others.
8. In the crime against humanity by destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Little Boy and Fat Man utilized different elements and completely separate methods of construction in order to function as nuclear weapons. Little Boy detonated due to a fission chain reaction involving the isotope U-235 of uranium, while Fat Man used plutonium’s Pu-239 form.
9. Narita International Airport official website:
10. =Solidarity with Japan= Facebook community, Video 1
11. Video 2
14. Meiji Jingū
15. Baron S. A. Korff. (1912). The Ninth International Red Cross Conference. The American Journal of International Law, 6(4), 858-864. doi:10.2307/2186886
16. The Empress Shoken Fund. (1972). International Review of the Red Cross, 12(141), 679-680. doi:10.1017/S0020860400065591
17. Carter, C. (2018). Power Spots and the Charged Landscape of Shinto. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 45(1), 145-174. doi:10.2307/26854474
18. Temizuya (The Water Purification Basin)
19. Video 3
20. Minato-ku- toranomon sushi.
21. Video 4
22. What is Edomae-sushi?
24. Tōkyō Gaikokugo Daigaku
25. Japan-Middle East Relations
26. Kan, N., & Irish, J. (2012). My Nuclear Nightmare: Leading Japan through the Fukushima Disaster to a Nuclear-Free Future. Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctt1d2dn69
27. Vivoda, V., & Manicom, J. (2011). Oil Import Diversification in Northeast Asia: A Comparison Between China and Japan. Journal of East Asian Studies, 11(2), 223-254. Retrieved August 9, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/23418838
28. Published by The Japan Times, Ltd. (株式会社ジャパンタイムズ, Kabushiki gaisha Japan Taimuzu)
29. The Ginza 銀座 is Tokyo's most famous upmarket shopping, dining, and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, night clubs, and cafes.
30. Asian Nations Cup 2000
31. Asian Cup 2000 Final
32. King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
33. The published part in the Arabic language was entitled: Japan and the Soft-Power Diplomacy
34. 浅子 清
Bilateral Economic Relationship for Bahrain-Japan Business & Friendship Society
35. The Minister of Foreign Affairs receives Copy of Japanese Ambassador’s Credentials
36. Middle East Institute of Japan (MEIJ)
37. Koichi Sato (2019) The Senkaku Islands Dispute: Four Reasons of the Chinese Offensive - A Japanese View, Journal of Contemporary East Asia Studies, 8:1, 50-82, DOI: 10.1080/24761028.2019.1626567
38. Senkaku Islands Q&A
39. Video 5
40. In 2012 I gave a lecture in the Arabic language empathizing on national sovereignty and the possibility of energy resources:
41. Takashi Tsukamoto, An Outline of the Territorial Dispute over Takeshima
Rule of Law Series, Japan Digital Library (March 2015) http://www2.jiia.or.jp/en/digital_library/rule_of_law.php
42. Video 6
43. Q&A About the Takeshima Dispute
44. Bukh, A. (2012). Constructing Japan's 'Northern Territories': Domestic Actors, Interests, and the Symbolism of the Disputed Islands. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 12(3), 483-509. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/26155965
45. Northern Territories Issue Q&A
46. National Museum of Territory and Sovereignty
48. Video 7
49. Yasukuni Shrine (靖国神社, Yasukuni Jinja) is a Shinto shrine in central Tokyo that commemorates Japan's war dead. The shrine was founded in 1869 with the purpose of enshrining those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives to help build the foundation for a peaceful Japan.
50. The Way of Shinto Through Modern Japan
51. Nobuo KUMAMOTO, One Problem Concerning the Principle of Separation of Religion and Politics Under Article 20 of the Constitution of Japan
52. The name Yasukuni, quoted from the phrase 「吾以靖國也」 in the classical-era Chinese text Zuo Zhuan means "Pacifying the Nation" and was chosen by the Meiji Emperor. The name is formally written as 靖國神社, using obsolete (pre-war) kyūjitai character forms.
Ako Inuzuka. (2016) Memories of the Tokko: An Analysis of the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots. Howard Journal of Communications 27:2, pages 145-166.
53. Takenaka, A. (2015). Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan’s Unending Postwar. HONOLULU: University of Hawai'i Press. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvsrh32
54. O'Dwyer, S. (2010). The Yasukuni Shrine and the Competing Patriotic Pasts of East Asia. History and Memory, 22(2), 147-177. doi:10.2979/his.2010.22.2.147
55. Yoshida, Takashi, "Revising the Past, Complicating the Future: The Yushukan War Museum in Modern Japanese History" (2007). History Faculty Publications. 2. https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/history_pubs/2
56. Rumi Sakamoto (2015) Mobilizing Affect for Collective War Memory, Cultural Studies, 29:2, 158-184, DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2014.890235
57. Neumann, J. (1975). Great historical events that were significantly affected by the weather: I. the Mongol invasions of Japan. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 56(11), 1167-1171. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/26216307
58. Turnbull, Stephen R. (2003). Genghis Khan and the Mongol Conquests, 1190–1400. London: Taylor & Francis.
59. Barshay, A., Boot, W., Craig, A., De Bary, B., Duus, P., Elisonas, J., . . . Wong, A. (2005). Sources of Japanese Tradition: Volume 2, 1600 to 2000 (De Bary W., Gluck C., & Tiedemann A., Eds.). NEW YORK: Columbia University Press. doi:10.7312/deba12984
60. Hurst, G. (1990). Death, Honor, and Loyality: The Bushidō Ideal. Philosophy East and West, 40(4), 511-527. doi:10.2307/1399355
61. Video 8
62. Macleod, J., Perry, M., Preble, G., & Goldsborough, J. (1943). Three Letters Relating to the Perry Expedition to Japan. Huntington Library Quarterly, 6(2), 228-237. doi:10.2307/3815667
63. Field, J. (1978). American Imperialism: The Worst Chapter in Almost Any Book. The American Historical Review, 83(3), 644-668. doi:10.2307/1861842
64. Keene, D. (2002). Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912. NEW YORK: Columbia University Press. doi:10.7312/keen12340
65. Huffman, J. (2019). The Rise and Evolution of Meiji Japan. Folkestone, Kent: Renaissance Books. doi: 10.2307/j.ctvzgb64z
66. On the same subject I wrote two other studies:
a- From Modernization to Militarism: Japan between the Two World Wars
b- Birth of the Zaibatsu: Meiji Industrial Modernization
67. Drea, E. (2009). Japan's Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall. University Press of Kansas. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1bmzks5
68. Schuessler, J. (2010). The Deception Dividend: FDR's Undeclared War. International Security, 34(4), 133-165. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/40784564
69. Bailey, B., & Farber, D. (Eds.). (2019). Beyond Pearl Harbor: A Pacific History. University Press of Kansas. doi:10.2307/j.ctvqmp3br
70. Shields, W., Romito, J., & Zimm, A. (2012). Air Power History, 59(3), 61-63. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/26276229
71. Hirama, Y. (1991). Japanese Naval Preparations for World War ll. Naval War College Review, 44(2), 63-81. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/44638027
72. Lee, H. (2016). Unending Stories of the Battleship "Yamato": Narrating the Past, Creating a Phantom. Japanese Language and Literature, 50(2), 247-271. Retrieved August 15, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/24892013
73. Prof. IKEUCHI Satoshi
74. the First Higher School of Japan’s predecessor.
76. Shinkansen: The Japanese bullet trains
77. Kyōto daigaku
81. Emperor Naruhito acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 1 May 2019, beginning the Reiwa era, following the abdication of his father, Akihito. His Majesty is the 126th monarch according to Japan's traditional order of succession.
82. Japan's Emperor Naruhito proclaims enthronement in ancient-style ceremony
83. Video 9
84. "الجسد في اليابان، والروح في بيروت والرياض والقاهرة ودمشق وبغداد والقدس والمنامة وكل حواضرنا.
الشكر الجزيل للدولة اليابانية المهتمة بسماع صوت صادق من بلاد الشرق، وأنا على العهد والوعد، فأنا إبن مجتمعي ..." ~~ د. حبيب البدوي
Translation: “Even being in Japan, my soul is still in Beirut, Riyadh, Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, (Al Quds) Jerusalem, Manama, and all our cities.
Grateful thanks to the Japanese government for the sincere initiative to hear an honest voice from the East. I will fulfill my promise to my community, eventually, I belong to my people.”
KSA 🇸🇦 - UAE 🇦🇪 - Japan 🇯🇵 Vision 2030, by Dr. Habib AlBadawi 🇱🇧
87. Von Verschuer, C. (2007). Ashikaga Yoshimitsu's Foreign Policy 1398 to 1408 A.D.: A Translation from "Zenrin Kokuhōki," the Cambridge Manuscript. Monumenta Nipponica, 62(3), 261-297. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/25066517
88. The incident was later fictionalized by the renowned author Yukio Mishima:
89. Video 10
90. Kyoto Museum of Crafts and Design
91. Nishiki Ichiba
92. Video 11
93. "العمل في طوكيو، والأصداء في الرياض" ~~ د. حبيب البدوي
Translation: “The hard work is in Tokyo, while the positive echo is in Riyadh.”
94. Nozomi trains stop at Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Kokura.
96. A doorway into the Japanese soul, traditional Japanese gate most found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred.
99. Video 12
100. There are four breeds of Wagyu: Japanese Black (黒毛和種, Kuroge Washu), Japanese Polled (無角和種, Mukaku Washu), Japanese Brown (赤毛和種, Akage Washu or Akaushi) and Japanese Shorthorn (日本短角和種, Nihon Tankaku Washu).
101. Video 13 - 14
102. In Lebanon and other Mediterranean countries, we are not accustomed to that kind of weather.
Tropical Cyclone Information
103. RIHGA Royal Hotel Hiroshima
104. Genbaku Dome
105. GORDIN, M., & IKENBERRY, G. (Eds.). (2020). The Age of Hiroshima. PRINCETON; OXFORD: Princeton University Press. doi: 10.2307/j.ctvkwnq1q
106. Clapson, M. (2019). The Conventional and Atomic Bombing of Japan. In the Blitz Companion: Aerial Warfare, Civilians, and the City since 1911 (pp. 97-118). London: University of Westminster Press. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvggx2r2.11
107. Chairperson Takashi Koizumi
108. Video 15
109. Mayors for Peace
110. Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Course
111. Lebanese University
112. Hiroshima Heiwa Kinenhi
113. The Realities of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima
114. Yellen, J. (2019). The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: When Total Empire Met Total War. ITHACA; LONDON: Cornell University Press. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctvdtpgzj
115. Fujio Torikoshi Testimony:
117. By Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet:
118. Video 16
120. Interview with Mrs. Keiko Ogura
122. Master recording of Hirohito's war-end speech released in digital form
123. Sasaki Sadako
127. “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 2.0 Updated”
128. Sōri Daijin Kantei
130. Kokusai Kōryū Kikin
131. Mitsui Outlet Park Makuhari
132. Nagasaki Genbaku Shiryōkan