On December 10th, with the help of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and PLAT ABC, YCAPS invited Professor Yuichiro Shimizu of Keio University’s School of Policy Management to speak about the significance of Yamaguchi (formerly nakato-shu or Choshu) to the formation of the Meiji State. Following refreshments, over 20 eager listeners gathered for an intimate and expertly delivered lecture. Professor Shimizu told the story of young minds from humble beginnings who went on to shape the direction of the entire country, suggesting that modern systems of governance are heavily influenced by the past.
Participants, which included U.S. service members and spouses, JASDF members and local Japanese and American community members, were eager to discuss the extent to which Yamaguchi plays a role in politics today, whether individuals from this region are equipped with more political fervor or better access to education than in other parts of Japan, and whether it is mere coincidence that the longest-serving Prime Minister, the late Shinzo Abe, also hails from the historic Yamaguchi prefecture. From toppling feudalism to stabilizing the price of grain, and even introducing the first airplanes to Japan, the men of Choshu played an integral role in the modernization of Japan. Following a lively question and answer period, participants transitioned to more informal discussion over fresh coffee and sandwiches.
Lena Pontes for YCAPS