The old view of the Orient — a land of hungry little yellow men eating a bowl of rice — is finished. The West has been brought face to face with a new giant — the rising influence of the Far East in world affairs. Here's why Japan speaks out for Asia — and why the West needs to listen!Tokyo, Japan
THE ORIENT is coming alive! Surging through the hearts of peoples in East Asia is the fervent belief that the destiny of the human race resides with them.
Wherever you go — Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam — there is the strange feeling that either world suicide or world peace is to be found in the Orient.
Why Asians Look to the Future And there is reason for this conviction. There are some 700 million Chinese who are daily taught that the inevitable domination of the world by Chinese-style Communism is simply a matter of time.
And Japan? Here is a nation that lay prostrate in total defeat a mere 25 years ago. Today Japan is an economic giant of the Orient, and indeed of the whole world. Japan has the highest gross national product, next to the United States, in the world. The production of steel, cars and ships, among many other industries, has increased 1,400% in the last 9 years. While most Western countries are levying more and more taxes on their people, Japan recently granted her citizens a tax cut of over $400,000,000. Japan is moving ahead, fast.
Hong Kong is having its greatest boom. Even Vietnam, with the billions of dollars being poured into the country by the United States, is prospering in spite of the war.
And on the political scene, Burma's U Thant speaks out plainly for the entire world to hear: if East and West can't put their houses in order in another ten years, civilization is finished!
Political Importance of the Orient Why does the East suddenly appear to have political power far beyond its real economic and military capacity?
Look at Vietnam. That "unwinnable" war is draining the strength of the world's mightiest power. Yet Vietnam is not much bigger than the State of Nevada. Curiously, world attention on the Vietnam war is giving the Vietnamese people a feeling of international importance — a feeling that world destiny may after all be in their hands.
Then there is the Korean situation. Here in Japan, President Nixon's decision not to retaliate against North Korea for the downing of the EC 121 reconnaissance plane was regarded as probably necessary. But Orientals took it as a sign of weakness on the part of the United States. A fourth-rate Asian power, as North Korea is, getting away with outright warlike acts makes the North Koreans feel many times more important than they really are. But the truth is, that pseudo-importance becomes a reality when decisive action by the U.S. is not forthcoming.
Now look at East Asia's number-one power: Japan. Its dominance in the Orient is no accident. It must be admitted that hard work and a proper use of the intellect has helped to get Japan to its current position of power. (The fact that the U.S. has provided, up to now, a nuclear umbrella over Japan and has released the nation from huge military burdens, also aided recovery)
There is exuberance and optimism among Japanese everywhere. On the streets of Tokyo the common sight is to see groups of men and women, boys and girls, talking, laughing — seemingly enjoying life. The people display an energy and vitality that is not seen anywhere else in the Orient, or in most places of the world. You could hardly believe that these people were defeated a generation ago in World War II. The sprawling city of Tokyo is full of cars, beautiful department stores, neon lights. If any city could be seen at night from the moon, Tokyo must surely be the brightest. In short, Japan could vie with almost any country on earth and come up with high marks for its industry, prosperity and level of culture.
Japanese Speak Out There is no doubt that Japan is a key nation in the East. As an example of Japan's newfound place in world importance, one Japanese organization strongly emphasizes this new role: the Soka Gakkai. This is the new Buddhist lay fraternity that has had a phenomenal rise to prominence in the past few years. While many Japanese speak with disdain about the new organization and its philosophies, it has to be admitted that the Soka Gakkai is beginning to speak the mind of contemporary Japan, especially its youth. After all, an organization which had a mere few thousand adherents immediately after the last war and can now place some 20 million men, women and children on its rolls must be of some consequence. The growth phenomena of the Soka Gakkai cannot be taken as accidental and nonrepresentative of current Japanese thinking.
According to the philosophy of the Soka Gakkai, Japan and the Japanese people have been ordained by the power of the Buddhist spirit to bring peace and civilization to the entire world. The leaders of the movement are intelligent, youthful, dynamic and neat, conservative dressers. They emphasize clean living, useful lives, and family-togetherness. The basis of their belief is centered in the teachings of a 13th century Japanese Buddhist. To them, true Buddhism, not Christianity or any other Western religion, will bring peace to the world. It is Japan, they insist, which is destined to bring that peace.
The Soka Gakkai believe that the Japanese nation will finally adhere to the new Buddhism. From Japan they hope to reach out with their teachings to absorb Korea, China, then all of Southeast Asia — traditional Buddhist homelands. The form of government these nations take (at least in name) is not terribly important so long as the principles of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism be taught and believed.
The fact that mainland China is now a communistic state makes little difference at the present time because the temperament of the Chinese and Southeast Asian peoples has not changed over thousands of years. The Soka Gakkai believe these peoples are Orientals at heart and their communism is strongly influenced by native Chinese ways — among which Buddhism plays a part. They firmly believe that the time is coming when Japan, China and Southeast Asia will be united in bringing peace to the world. One of their chief desires is to bring to India their form of Buddhism — because the original Buddha came from that country. With India, the Soka Gakkai believe a springboard for bringing peace to the world will have been created.
Whether the aspirations of the Soka Gakkai are the channel which history will follow is being argued. But the fact is that in Japan exists a growing belief that the Japanese people soon have a world role to play. And, a league of Asian peoples under Japanese leadership is not as far-fetched as it may at first appear.
Advance News for Asia People may not realize it. But advance news reports reveal a great confederation of Asian peoples — with an army of 200 million. These advance news reports pinpoint this league as located north and east of the River Euphrates. Its power will be felt in Europe and Palestine. (You can read of it in the news forecast of that greatest of all news reporters — Jesus Christ — in Revelation 9:13-21) (For the full explanation, read the free booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last)
At a later time, from this same quarter of the world, will proceed into the Middle East a vast horde of East European and Asian peoples (Ezekiel 38 and 39). The germ of this world role is already in the minds of Oriental peoples.
People in the Western world feel that the Orient is still a backwater of importance in settling international affairs. The time is soon coming when this opinion will have to change drastically. The Orient is already AWAKENING to its newfound prominence, and it won't be long until the entire East is fully AWAKE! Keep your eyes on the Orient — history in the next two decades is to be made in that part of the world!