Sunday, February 03, 2008

History lessons from the family

My wife recently got a set of boxes containing stuff that belonged to her mom. As she was going through the contents she uncovered a couple of porcelain dolls of British soldiers. At the bottom they had the words "made in occupied Japan" printed on them. So I turned to the highly trusted Wikipedia as usual and found this ->

At the end of the Second World War, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with contributions from Australia, India, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. This was the first time since the unification of Japan that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and when it went into effect on April 28, 1952, Japan was once again an independent state.

I am fascinated by this. It was less than an average human life span ago (55 years ago) that Japan was considered an "occupied nation". India contributed towards the occupation of Japan. I never knew that there was a window between India's slavery and freedom where it helped with the occupation of another country. There is more thought provoking material here.

What struck me most was the fact that living in a time of accelerated rate-of-change makes us give disproportionate importance to our local history over the past. Reminds me of the quote that talks about "people who don't know history are doomed to repeat it".

I think there is a lot to be gained from slowing down, and looking back to where we came from and drawing deep breaths. Slow down grasshopper slow down.

note: picture above is not of the actual doll we own but similar.

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