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2016年6月18日星期六

佩里叩关百五十年 和魂洋才境况依然



原载《经济学家》杂志,译文见2003年08月13日 国际先驱导报

2011年12月中旬,我到日本庆应义塾大学参加学术研讨会,偶然得知在离住处不远的芝公园附近有佩里准将的塑像,于是就赶去一看。不料遇到那里正在施工,塑像被围在工地里。这是隔网拍下的一张照片。
贺卫方按最近查找有关佩里叩关、日本开国的资料,看到了为纪念"黑船事件"150周年,英国《经济学家》杂志发表的这篇文章。文中反映了西方人对日本开放的独特看法,当然,也未必是所有的西方人都如是观(我怀疑文章的题目是中国媒体给取的。按:根据检索到的原文,标题已经修改)。例如美国著名的日本学专家、已故赖肖尔先生就未必同意其中的某些观点。不过,文末作者对于近代日本之所以出现狂热的扩张鼓噪和发动侵略战争的解释却很值得注意。姑且转载在这里,聊备一格。
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开门!——150年前的这个星期,伴随着这个简单的命令,美国海军准将马修·佩里率领着"外形邪恶的黑船"驶进了江户湾,也就是今天的东京湾。在1853年7月8日"黑船来航"之前,德川将军已经统治这个闭关自守的封建国家达250年之久。佩里准将带来了当时的美国总统菲尔莫尔的一封信,并用炮火命令日本统治者解除壁垒,对外开放。

但是在1853年之后的数十年里,在1945年日本投降的时候,甚至在今天,令美国沮丧的不是日本的闭关自守,而是日本在很久以前就学会根据自身条件对外开放的本领。毕竟,在那些黑船驶进江户湾前后,许多国家都在西方的炮火下打开了大门。日本的与众不同之处在于它根据自己的目标自行决定对外开放方式的能力。

这种能力所导致的一个后果是日本的贸易伙伴特别是美国,一直不停地抱怨该国的经济做法。在20世纪80年代,对日本的抨击又一次达到高潮。当时,美国的政客和商人把日美巨额贸易顺差的原因归结为"不公平"竞争。但其实早在1853年"黑船来航"之后的数十年里,人们就曾听到过类似的怨言。当时的美国讽刺作家彼得·芬利·邓恩在19世纪末塑造的人物形象"杜利先生"给这种态度下了结论:"问题在于,当那位英勇的准将踢开大门时,我们没有进去,而他们出来了。"因此,在1853年之后一个半世纪里,日本造就了人类历史上最成功的经济传奇之一。

"取之有道"背后的"体"、"用"紧张
  
然而,日本对世界产生的另一种影响可能更加重要。它向世人证明,一个国家不需要接受"西方"文化来实现本国经济的现代化和繁荣。从一开始,日本就没打算照单全收。一言以蔽之,它的做法就是"日本精神,西方物质"。
  
日本之所以能做到这一点,部分原因在于该国历史上总是交替出现广泛对外开放和突然闭关自守两种时期,它们教会了日本如何控制新思想和新实践进入本国的渠道。在大约一千年的时间里,日本如饥似渴地吸收了中国的文化、哲学、文字和技术。然而,在接下来的250年里,它却几乎完全与世隔绝。基督教被取缔,出国旅游会被判处死刑。
  
尽管当时的一些日本学者意识到了欧洲的发展,但幕府的将军们却严格限制他们学以致用的能力。将军们把日本与欧洲国家之间所有的经济交流等活动限制在西南部港口城市长崎的一个人造小岛上。当美国人在1853年来到日本时,他们被告知前往长崎并遵守那里的规定。佩里准将拒绝了这一要求,而日本人得出的结论是,今后"赶走野蛮人"的惟一办法是接受他们的技术并变得强大。
  
一旦打开国门,日本人对于"西方物质"的追求就一发而不可收拾。今天的横滨旅游指南上清楚地写着:让这座港口城市引以为豪的是,在"黑船来航"之后的20年里,这里出现了日本的第一家面包房、第一部电话、第一家电影院,甚至第一个公共厕所等等。
  
但与此同时,日本统治者也设法击碎了西方人的许多梦想。日本一方面渴望在经济、外交、社会和军事等各个领域赶上西方,一方面又抵制文化变革。时至今日,二者之间的持久冲突仍然以各种或好或坏的方式体现出来。
  
这一冲突在很大程度上反映出一种固守本国传统的强烈愿望。它远不止鞠躬、在蒲团和榻榻米上睡觉或是老年妇女穿着和服那么简单。日本人坚持说话、工作场所交流以及互致敬意的独特表达方式,而这些方式一直在帮助日本人维系日常生活各方面的和睦气氛。
  
"和魂洋才"的狭隘之处
  
不幸的是,自从第一次对西方打开大门,反自由主义的日本领导人就喜欢以另外一种方式来阐释"日本精神,西方物质"。日本的政治掮客不是简单地设法保留无关紧要的文化传统,而是努力以一种躲避政治竞争和保护自身利益的方式吸收西方技术。在日本和其他国家,此类做法的效仿者仍为数不少。
  
1868年,在西方作家对日本的面包房和电影院大加赞赏的时候,日本的民族主义领导人正忙着"恢复"天皇在他们幻想的黄金时代的地位。问题在于他们所珍视的"日本精神"是一种融入了多种西方糟粕思想的混合物,其中包括德国的人种优劣论、欧洲为殖民主义寻找的借口以及它从基督教身上得出的结论——一个独一无二、至高无上的神化人物(在当时的日本就是刚刚复辟的天皇)比日本神道教所信奉的一群神灵更能激发士兵的斗志。这种混合物最终煽动无数日本青年陷入致命的仇外狂热中,并助长强取豪夺的殖民侵略行为,给日本带来了无尽的灾难。

(译自英国《经济学家》周刊)

感谢微博网友"蒲公英的冒险"提示,找到了《经济学家》官方网站上的原文,转载在这里,供参考。(我顺便根据原文修改了这里的标题。)地址:


150 years after Commodore Perry

Japanese spirit, western things


When America's black ships forced open Japan, nobody could have predicted that the two nations would become the world's great economic powers.

Jul 10th 2003 | tokyo | from the print edition

OPEN up. With that simple demand, Commodore Matthew Perry steamed into Japan's Edo (now Tokyo) Bay with his "black ships of evil mien" 150 years ago this week. Before the black ships arrived on July 8th 1853, the Tokugawa shoguns had run Japan for 250 years as a reclusive feudal state. Carrying a letter from America's president, Millard Fillmore, and punctuating his message with cannon fire, Commodore Perry ordered Japan's rulers to drop their barriers and open the country to trade. Over the next century and a half, Japan emerged as one of history's great economic success stories. It is now the largest creditor to the world that it previously shunned.

Attempts to dissect this economic "miracle" often focus intently on the aftermath of the second world war. Japan's occupation by the Americans, who set out to rebuild the country as a pacifist liberal democracy, helped to set the stage for four decades of jaw-dropping growth.

Yet the origins of the miracle—and of the continual tensions it has created inside Japan and out—stretch further back. When General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan's surrender in 1945 aboard the battleship Missouri, the Americans made sure to hang Commodore Perry's flag from 1853 over the ship's rear turret. They had not only ended a brutal war and avenged the attack on Pearl Harbour—they had also, they thought, won an argument with Japan that was by then nearly a century old.

America's enduring frustration—in the decades after 1853, in 1945, and even today—has not been so much that Japan is closed, but that it long ago mastered the art of opening up on its own terms. Before and after those black ships steamed into Edo Bay, after all, plenty of other countries were opened to trade by western cannon. What set Japan apart—perhaps aided by America's lack of colonial ambition—was its ability to decide for itself how to make the process of opening suit its own aims.

One consequence of this is that Japan's trading partners, especially America, have never tired of complaining about its economic practices. Japan-bashing reached its most recent peak in the 1980s, when American politicians and businessmen blamed "unfair" competition for Japan's large trade surpluses. But similar complaints could be heard within a few decades of Commodore Perry's mission. The attitude was summed up by "Mr Dooley", a character created by Peter Finley Dunne, an American satirist, at the close of the 19th century: "Th' trouble is whin the gallant Commodore kicked opn th' door, we didn't go in. They come out."

Nowadays, although poor countries still want Japan (along with America and the European Union) to free up trade in farm goods, most rich-country complaints about Japan are aimed at its approach to macroeconomics and finance, rather than its trade policies. Japan's insistence on protecting bad banks and worthless companies, say its many critics, and its reluctance to let foreign investors help fix the economy, have prevented Japanese demand from recovering for far too long. Once again, the refrain goes, Japan is unfairly taking what it can get from the world economy—exports and overseas profits have been its only source of comfort for years—without giving anything back.

While these complaints have always had some merit, they have all too often been made in a way that misses a crucial point: Japan's economic miracle, though at times paired with policies ranging from protectionist to xenophobic, has nevertheless proved a huge blessing to the rest of the world as well. The "structural impediments" that shut out imports in the 1980s did indeed keep Japanese consumers and foreign exporters from enjoying some of the fruits of that miracle; but its export prowess allowed western consumers to enjoy better and cheaper cars and electronics even as Japanese households grew richer.

Similarly, Japan's resistance to inward investment is indefensible, not least because it allows salvageable Japanese companies to wither; but its outward investment has helped to transform much of East Asia into a thriving economic region, putting a huge dent in global poverty. Indeed, one of the most impressive aspects of Japan's economic miracle is that, even while reaping only half the potential gains from free trade and investment, it has still managed to do the world so much good over the past half-century.

Setting an example

Arguably, however, Japan's other big effect on the world has been even more important. It has shown clearly that you do not have to embrace "western" culture in order to modernise your economy and prosper. From the very beginning, Japan set out to have one without the other, an approach encapsulated by the saying "Japanese spirit, western things".

How did Japan pull it off? In part, because the historical combination of having once been wide open, and then rapidly slamming shut, taught Japan how to control the aperture through which new ideas and practices streamed in. After eagerly absorbing Chinese culture, philosophy, writing and technology for roughly a millennium, Japan followed this with 250 years of near-total isolation. Christianity was outlawed, and overseas travel was punishable by death.

Although some Japanese scholars were aware of developments in Europe—which went under the broad heading of "Dutch studies"—the shoguns strictly limited their ability to put any of that knowledge to use. They confined all economic and other exchanges with Europeans to a tiny man-made island in the south-western port of Nagasaki. When the Americans arrived in 1853, the Japanese told them to go to Nagasaki and obey the rules. Commodore Perry refused, and Japan concluded that the only way to "expel the barbarians" in future would be to embrace their technology and grow stronger.

 Learning the wrong lessonsAP

But once the door was ajar, the Japanese appetite for "western things" grew unbounded. A modern guidebook entry on the port city of Yokohama, near Tokyo, notes that within two decades of the black ships' arrival it boasted the country's first bakery (1860), photo shop (1862), telephone (1869), beer brewery (1869), cinema (1870), daily newspaper (1870), and public lavatory (1871).
Yet, at the same time, Japan's rulers also managed to frustrate many of the westerners' wishes. The constant tension between Japan's desire to measure up to the West—economically, diplomatically, socially and, until 1945, militarily—and its resistance to cultural change has played out in countless ways, good and bad, to this day.

Much of it has reflected a healthy wish to hang on to local traditions. This is far more than just a matter of bowing and sleeping on futons and tatami, or of old women continuing to wear kimonos. The Japanese have also clung to distinct ways of speaking, interacting in the workplace, and showing each other respect, all of which have helped people to maintain harmony in many aspects of everyday life.

Unfortunately, however, ever since they first opened to the West, anti-liberal Japanese leaders have preferred another interpretation of "Japanese spirit, western things". Instead of simply trying to preserve small cultural traditions, Japan's power-brokers tried to absorb western technology in a way that would shield them from political competition and protect their interests. Imitators still abound in Japan and elsewhere.

In East Asia alone, Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad, Thailand's Thaksin Shinawatra, and even the Chinese Communist Party all see Japan as proof that there is a way to join the rich-country club without making national leaders or their friends accountable. These disciples of Japan's brand of modernisation often use talk of local culture to resist economic and political threats to their power. But they are careful to find ways to do this without undermining all trade and investment, since growth is the only thing propping them up.

Japan's first attempt to pursue this strategy, it must never be forgotten, grew increasingly horrific as its inconsistencies mounted. In 1868, while western writers were admiring those bakeries and cinemas, Japan's nationalist leaders were "restoring" the emperor's significance to that of an imaginary golden age. The trouble, as Ian Buruma describes in his new book, "Inventing Japan" (see article), is that the "Japanese spirit" they valued was a concoction that mixed in several bad western ideas: German theories on racial purity, European excuses for colonialism, and the observation from Christianity that a single overarching deity (in Japan's case the newly restored emperor) could motivate soldiers better than a loose contingent of Shinto gods. This combination would eventually whip countless young Japanese into a murderous xenophobic frenzy and foster rapacious colonial aggression.

It also led Japan into a head-on collision with the United States, since colonialism directly contradicted America's reasons for sending Commodore Perry. In "The Clash", a 1998 book on the history of American-Japanese relations, Walter LaFeber argues that America's main goal in opening Japan was not so much to trade bilaterally, as to enlist Japan's support in creating a global marketplace including, in particular, China.

At first, the United States opened Japan because it was on the way to China and had coal for American steamships. Later, as Japan gained industrial and military might, America sought to use it as a counterweight to European colonial powers that wanted to divide China among their empires. America grew steadily more furious, therefore, as Japan turned to colonialism and tried to carve up China on its own. The irony for America was that at its very moment of triumph, after nearly a century of struggling with European powers and then Japan to keep China united and open, it ended up losing it to communism.

A half-century later, however, and with a great deal of help from Japan, America has achieved almost exactly what it set out to do as a brash young power in the 1850s, when it had barely tamed its own continent and was less than a decade away from civil war. Mainland China is whole. It has joined the World Trade Organisation and is rapidly integrating itself into the global economy. It is part of a vast East Asian trade network that nevertheless carries out more than half of its trade outside the region. And this is all backed up by an array of American security guarantees in the Pacific. The resemblance to what America set out to do in 1853 is striking.
For both Japan and America, therefore, the difficult 150-year relationship has brought impressive results. They are now the world's two biggest economies, and have driven most of the world's technological advances over the past half-century. America has helped Japan by opening it up, destroying its militarists and rebuilding the country afterwards, and, for the last 50 years, providing security and market access while Japan became an advanced export dynamo. Japan has helped America by improving on many of its technologies, teaching it new manufacturing techniques, spurring on American firms with its competition, and venturing into East Asia to trade and invest.

And now?

What, then, will the continuing tension between Japanese spirit and western things bring in the decades ahead?

For America, though it will no doubt keep complaining, Japan's resistance to change is not the real worry. Instead, the same two Asian challenges that America has taken on ever since Commodore Perry sailed in will remain the most worrying risks: potential rivalries, and the desire by some leaders to form exclusive regional economic blocks. America still needs Japan, its chief Asian ally, to combat these dangers. Japan's failure to reform, however, could slowly sap its usefulness.

For Japan, the challenges are far more daunting. Many of them stem from the increasing toll that Japan's old ways are taking on the economy. Chief among these is Japan's hostility towards competition in many aspects of economic life. Although competitive private firms have driven much of its innovation and growth, especially in export-intensive industries, Japan's political system continues to hobble competition and private enterprise in many domestic sectors.

 If at first you don't succeedAP

In farming, health care and education, for example, recent efforts to allow private companies a role have been swatted down by co-operatives, workers, politicians and civil servants. In other inefficient sectors, such as construction and distribution, would-be losers continue to be propped up by government policy. Now that Japan is no longer growing rapidly, it is harder for competitive forces to function without allowing some of those losers to fail.

Japan's foreign critics are correct, moreover, that its macroeconomic and financial policies are a disgrace. The central bank, the finance ministry, the bank regulators, the prime minister and the ruling-party politicians all blame each other for failing to deal with the problems. All the while, Japan continues to limp along, growing far below its potential as its liabilities mount. Its public-sector debt, for instance, is a terrifying 140% of GDP.

Lately, there has been much talk about employing more western things to help lift Japan out of its mess. The prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, talks about deregulatory measures that have been tried in North America, Europe and elsewhere. Western auditing and corporate governance techniques—applied in a Japanese way, of course—are also lauded as potential fixes. Even inward foreign direct investment is held out by Mr Koizumi as part of the solution: he has pledged to double it over the next five years.

The trouble with all of these ideas, however, is that nobody in Japan is accountable for implementing them. Moreover, most of the politicians and bureaucrats who prevent competitive pressures from driving change are themselves protected from political competition. It is undeniable that real change in Japan would bring unwelcome pain for many workers and small-business owners.

Still, Japan's leaders continue to use these cultural excuses, as they have for 150 years, to mask their own efforts to cling to power and prestige. The ugly, undemocratic and illiberal aspects of Japanese traditionalism continue to lurk behind its admirable elements.

One reason they can do so is because Japan's nationalists have succeeded completely in one of their original goals: financial independence. The desire to avoid relying on foreign capital has underlain Japan's economic policies from the time it opened up to trade. Those policies have worked. More than 90% of government bonds are in the hands of domestic investors, and savings accounts run by the postal service play a huge role in propping up the system.

Paradoxically, financial self-reliance has thus become Japan's curse. There are worse curses to have, of course: compare Japan with the countless countries that have wrecked their economies by overexposing themselves to volatile international capital markets. Nevertheless, Japan's financial insularity further protects its politicians, who do not have to compete with other countries to get funding.

Theories abound as to how all of this might change. Its history ought to remind anyone that, however long it takes, Japan usually moves rapidly once a consensus takes shape. Potential pressures for change could come from the reversal of its trade surpluses, an erosion of support from all those placid postal savers, or the unwinding of ties that allow bad banks and bad companies to protect each other from investors. The current political stalemate could also give way to a coherent plan, either because one political or bureaucratic faction defeats the others or because a strong leader emerges who can force them to co-operate.

The past 150 years suggest, however, that one important question is impossible to answer in advance: will it be liberalism or its enemies who turn such changes to their advantage? Too often, Japan's conservative and nationalist leaders have managed to spot the forces of change more quickly than their liberal domestic counterparts, and have used those changes to seize the advantage and preserve their power. Just as in the past, East Asia's fortunes still greatly depend on the outcome of the struggle between these perennial Japanese contenders.

——贺卫方博客

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