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Order of Culture 2: The order of space

Speaking in my generation manner, as I had taken world history as one of the examination subjects at high school, I took my opponent fairly lightly that I would be able to grasp the world history including the history of the Middle and Near East somehow.

However being unexpectedly, such historical knowledge acquired through the examination study was good for nothing at all, more exactly historical geography or historical geopolitics.

 

In the education of history and geography after the Meiji Restoration in Japan, it has been the public concern number one to compare and confirm the distance, a horizontal connection, and the station, a vertical connection, between Japan and the West, both temporally and spatially. Persons who could quickly manage it became a professor of the imperial universities or an official of the imperial government and played a big part in Japan's modernization, it is said.

For instance, if we view the yearning Europe at the west end of Eurasia over the Tsushima Strait or the East China Sea from Japan in the Far East, the Silk Road, familiar to us with the song 'Moony Desert' being missing most of the halfway things.

This feeling of the Silk Road is a fairly chancy pitfall and dominant over a fundamental world view of Japan or Japanese even today, it is no exaggeration to say so. We only talk about a passage connecting Japan with the yearning place but have no interest in numerous bloody fight events or events for living filled with dreams and love which have occurred along the passage. This is Japanese contemporary foreign policy itself as it is.

As often as the treasures of Shosoin are introduced on various occasions, it is emphasized that Japan has kept exchange with Eurasia because this treasure was brought to Japan from somewhere in Persia or the western region through the Silk Road. However by placing a special emphasis on the trade network between Japan and overseas we tend to lose Japan's identity.

If we can turn our thoughts toward Eurasian feeling a little bit more seriously, the Silk Road once introduced by NHK with Kitaro's sound should appear to be how unrealistic it is. In modern Jordan as well, it is fraught with danger which can bring about the corruption of the nation itself how to navigate treatment of Bedouin, for instance how to treat their honorable crime. The honorable crime is the traditional law from the age of Arabian Peninsula, before Islam, by which some family member, male, may not be punished even he kills his unmarried sister for her pregnancy.

Putting back the subject, in order to grasp the history of the Middle and Near East, it is absolutely indispensable to dynamically soak up, along temporal and spatial axes, the routes around the Caspian Sea or the Black Sea as well as the geographic situations of the surrounding areas, or to check and fumble their delicate senses of touch.

We studied history according to such geographical segmentation as Europe, being furthermore classified into the Western, Central or Eastern Europe, the Middle and Near East, Africa, America, India, China, Japan and so on. Such study may be useful for the examination history in some way but useless at all for actually living in the world.

The Hittites who freely maneuvered ironware and horse riding, the Mongolian who sent shockwaves around Eurasia, the ottoman Turk who aimed their simultaneous domination over Asia and Europe bridging the Bosporus and further dramas of various Persian dynasties, Alexander the Great and Cleopatra can not be understood without grasping geographic sense from the Tenshan Mountains to the Caucasian Mountains or the Yellow River to Tigris River.

The Germanic migration also started from this area, ones transmigrated in the west rustled as barbarians who pulled down the Roman Empire and then has established the European Union in these days, while ones transmigrated to the east has been reigning on the top of the caste in South Asia until today.

In Amman as well there are a lot of young women seeking work from Ukraine or Kyrgiz, who are vaguely called 'Russian' by foreigners, they may feel that they have just come over to Amman crossing the Black Sea or the Caucasian Mountains easily, probably the same feeling as that of Taiwanese or Chinese migrating to Japan.

The existence of the Arab Peninsula is one of the key issues related to the order of space in this region. This matter will be comprehensively touched on in the next time.

(20/7/2005)
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