On a recent furlough journey from Tanzania to the United States I revisited Japan for the first time since 1935, which was two years before Japan invaded China and thereby helped set the stage for the Second World War. How conspicuously it has changed! In earlier days the nation moved on wooden clogs, whose deafening clatter in such places of concentrated hurry as the Tokyo Railway Station formed a kind of national salute to the rising sun. Now all of at least urban Japan moves quietly and resolutely forward in thoroughly modern footgear. For me this was an introductory symbol of the nation’s change.
I was already partly aware of Japan’s progress. In recent years its radios, cameras, cars, and trucks have invaded East Africa, town and bush. Two years ago in Lubumbashi I had come across the preliminary work of the Japanese in exploiting the fabulously rich Central African mineral area on the farther side of the great continent. And in magazines I had read of their unexampled capacity for building ships, notably supertankers, of their being now the third nation of the world in gross national product, and of their surpassing both the United States and Russia in the rate of production increase (Japan’s rate being 10–15 per cent per annum in recent years).
And this is the nation that Hiroshima put flat on its back. It has picked itself up and in a quarter of a century has thrust itself forward to the very first rank of nations. The purposeful, disciplined Japanese do enormous things in much less space than the rest of us. Poor in their own resources, they have become great by using the resources of others.
I am full of admiration for them. And I am led to ask two questions, the one as an American, the other as a missionary.
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