Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Capital Mystery Tour

The first ever photograph of Japanese tourists in America.

In the late 1860s and early 1870s, as Japan felt pressure to open up to the West, the Iwakura Mission and other diplomatic delegations set out for Europe and North America to intensely observe the social, legal, academic, and scientific institutions of the great powers of the day. In the late Chosŏn era, a number of Koreans went especially to the United States and Japan in an effort to learn how Korean could modernize itself and become a strong country.

It is in that vein that we have a dozen North Koreans on a crash course in capitalism partly arranged by UC San  Diego's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, touring the likes of Google, Home Depot, Sempra Energy, Bloomberg, Bloomingdale’s Department Store, CitiGroup, Union Bank, Qualcomm, and Stanford University.

The trip was largely a secret, but it seems the hosts pulled out all the stops. The North Koreans were even brought to Universal Studios.

Like their counterparts in the Iwakura Mission 140 years earlier,
these North Korean visitors have not yet adopted the peace/victory sign
as a de rigueur pose.

This is a very interesting development, one that would seem to indicate that North Korea really is turning over a new leaf, or is being forced to by China. I submit that this goes hand in hand with Beijing's attempt to push Chinese-style reforms on the DPRK in an effort to integrate it with the PRC's northeastern region (i.e., Manchuria). Such reforms, I believe, may be one of China's demands in exchange for allowing Kim Jong-il's son Kim Jong-un (i.e., The Kim Who Wasn't There™) to ascend to the Pyongyang throne, at least as a figurehead.

Kim Jong-il himself went on such a tour to China's south a few years back, visiting Guangzhou for a taste, Beijing's leadership hoped, of what Socialism With Chinese Characteristics (i.e., crony capitalism of the worst possible kind) could do for North Korea. Of course, if you're trying to convince someone who maintains control by hindering movement, blocking information, and threatening starvation that a relatively liberal and open system is the way of the future, free-wheeling Guangzhou (i.e., China's wild, wild south) is probably not the best place to take them.

Frankly, all those people down there doing what they want with little regard or concern for what Beijing wants them from them probably scared the bejeezus out of the poor Dear Leader.

We'll have to see what, if anything, it all means. I constantly ride Beijing for propping up a murderous regime, but maybe they really are working behind the scenes to get North Korean to "normalize" and join the community of nations. One can only hope.

Oh, and before their visit, I expect Google first made the Norks return that piece of Google Earth they stole.

"Those Western women are practically naked!
Don't look or your eyes will melt!"


  1. Korean Courtiers Observation Mission's Views on Meiji Japan and Projects of Modern State Building


    Part1 english
    part2 english
    part3~ Japanese.

    what japan saw...this is interesting
    Developing country Japan

  2. and hawaii.........

    ven many Japanese do not know how Hawaii became a colony of USA.

    anyway, in 1881, King David Kalakaua I. came to Japan to meet meiji emperor.
    The proposal of King David Kalakaua I – the attempted Japan + Hawai Federation

    He was a first man as a sovereign to came to Japan.
    His request was....
    1)カラカウア王の姪で王位継承者のカイウラニ王女と、山階宮定麿親王(後の東伏見宮依仁親王)と の縁組。
    King David Kalākaua, the last reigning king of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, visited Japan during his round-the-world tour of 1881. He was the first foreign head of state to visit Japan. During his visit, he proposed a marital alliance between the royal houses of Japan and Hawai'i, wherein his niece (Princess Ka'iulani) would marry Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito (then styled Prince Yamashina Yorihito). Nothing came of the proposal, which might have made a significant impact on the eventual fate of the Kingdom of Hawaii
    M&A of Japan

    Construction of undersea cable between Hawaii and Japan

    implementation of Asian federation of states by main leadership of japan

    Princess Ka'iulani
    The fate of the Hawaii kingdom was multiplied by this surprising proposal.
    hawaii is islands as same as Japan.
    The population of the Hawaiian who did not have immunity due to sickness that the Europe and America people had brought in had decreased sharply at that time.
    He thought The way things are going, the Hawaiian ruins with the Hawaii kingdom.
    i think it was natural for him...
    his plan was ..it makes the japanese to be Hawaiian.
    westerner who has come to Hawaii in the background of arms and interfered in politics.
    Endurance of cheap pay and diligent, honest Japanese immigrant.......
    I think he liked the Japanese industrious and pure mind.

    This idea was not achieved.
    however, this plan applied.....

    in 1893, american did Coup d'etat in hawaii with Armament.
    They overthrow the monarchic government and establish the junta.

    At this time, Japan sent two warships to Hawaii because of the Japanese protection, made it moor in the Honolulu naval port, and threatened the coup d'etat power.

    It might be a reason or fate of the confrontation of Japan and the United States...???

  3. western newspaper about korea

  4. "This is a very interesting development, one that would seem to indicate that North Korea really is turning over a new leaf"

    Hahaha... yeah right. When daejis fly...

  5. Edward, or is being forced to be China, as I wrote. In fact, I think it's the latter, and over the past months, I've made the case for that, and I've complained that that story of the Manchurianization of North Korea (of which this is a part) is being ignored by the media which is instead focused on the side show rumor-mongering surrounding the alleged rise to absolute power of Kim Jong-un.


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