Friday, June 03, 2005

From Lost Japan by Alex Kerr (Translated From the Japanese)

Confucius said, 'Kind men love the mountains', and I think it is possible that mountains breed a kinder sort of person than the plains. The fertile plains support a higher population density and require a collective social structure, especially in the case of rice growing, with its intensive irrigation. Much has been written about the complex human relations born from rice cultivation, and Marx even extrapolated from that to posit a uniquely Asian form of society which he called 'Oriental despotism'. In contrast, the hunters and foresters of Iya [a mountainous region of Shikoku], whose rocky slopes hardly supported a single rice paddy, were independent, free and easy people.


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