12 May 2007

Road Trip Hiatus until June

The Far Outliers will be on the road for the rest of the month. The overland portion will start in Minnesota, then head south through Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, then east through Alabama and Georgia, then north through South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York to Connecticut for our daughter's graduation over Memorial Day weekend. Then we'll head back west through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

We'll see family in Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and Wisconsin; old friends in Georgia, Ohio, and Illinois; and do some sightseeing in the Deep South, especially Natchez and Savannah. Expect little or no blogging, but a lot of new photos on my Flickr account after we return. Among the books I plan to read on the trip are the novel East Wind, Rain, by Caroline Paul (Harper, 2006) and Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class, by Lawrence Otis Graham (Harper, 2000).

11 May 2007

Northeast Asian Maritime Trade Networks, 800-1000

Maritime trade in East Asia began to flourish in the seventh and eighth centuries C.E. It was jump-started by Persian and Arab merchants, who traveled to and settled in ports as far from home as Guangzhou (Canton) in southern China. Later, commerce spread eastward and northward along the coast to Quanzhou, Fuzhou, Mingzhou (Ningbo), and finally Hangzhou, where merchants could gain access to the Chinese interior via the Grand Canal. Foreign trade thus became integrated to a certain extent with China's domestic economy. Although pioneered by Arabs and Persians, this route soon fell under the domination of ethnic Chinese. Meanwhile, Korean merchants established their own trade networks connecting the west coast of Silla with Laizhou, Haizhou, and other ports in north China and entering the canal system through the mouth of the Huai River. In the early ninth century, semiautonomous communities of Korean traders were scattered along much of the north China littoral.

These northern routes were further extended to Japan under the direction of the Korean tycoon Chang Pogo. Chang himself is said to have visited Kyushu in 824 and met with the governor of Chikuzen, although the validity of this account has been questioned. In any case Chang, acting by authorization of the king of Silla, was in charge of maritime defenses at the Ch'ŏnghae garrison on Wan Island by the late 820s or early 830s. It is probably no coincidence that the first Japanese record of "Silla merchants" in Hakata dates from 831.

However, Korean domination of the Hakata trade was short-lived, to say the least. Merchants from Tang make their first known appearance in Hakata in 842, and soon thereafter they completely replace their counterparts from Silla. Chinese merchants bypassed the Korean coastal route entirely, traveling directly across the East China Sea from locations such as Fuzhou and Mingzhou. These same ports continued to supply the bulk of foreign merchants visiting Japan after the demise of Tang (in 907), when they fell under the control, respectively, of the Wu Yue kingdom and then (after 978) the Song empire.
SOURCE: Gateway to Japan: Hakata in War and Peace, 500–1300, by Bruce L. Batten (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2006), pp. 111-112

07 May 2007

Japanese Loanwords in Pohnpeian

During the period of Japanese rule (1914–1945) the islands of the Marianas, Palau/Belau and Ponape/Pohnpei were the most intensely colonized areas of Micronesia. By 1938, about nine out of ten people in the Marianas were Japanese colonists (many of them from Okinawa or Korea), and the same was true for about two out of three in Palau and about one out of three in Ponape. As a result, Pohnpeian adopted many words from Japanese, some of which are have fallen out of use or been replaced by words from English as the prewar and wartime generation passes from the scene.

The following lists are presented in my rendition of the current standard Pohnpeian spelling. My linguistic source cites the same forms in a phonemic transcription, but I want to give my readers a feel for the workings of one of the most successful orthographies in Micronesia.

Standard Pohnpeian distinguishes 7 vowels, but only 5 are needed for the Japanese loans, and vowel length is indicated by a trailing h. (The language has no glottal consonants, neither h nor glottal stop.) Palatal glides are written with i, but labiovelar glides are written with w. Pohnpeian makes no distinction between voiced and voiceless obstruents, which are written p, d, t, s, k. Note that d is a dental stop and t is a laminal stop (which sounds a bit like ty to me).

Domestic articles

  • aisara ‘ashtray’
  • asi ‘chopsticks’
  • dama ‘lightbulb’
  • dawasi ‘Japanese brush’
  • dompwuri ‘bowl’
  • kadorsingko ‘mosquito coil’
  • kama ‘sickle’ or ‘pot’
  • manaida ‘cutting board’
  • parikang ‘hair clipper’
  • samusi ‘rice paddle’
  • sarasi ‘bleach’

Food items

  • aiskehki ‘popsicle’
  • ansu ‘star fruit tree’
  • dakuwang ‘pickled radish’
  • kasuwo ‘skipjack tuna’
  • kiarameru ‘caramel’
  • kiuhri ‘cucumber’
  • pihru ‘beer’
  • ramen ‘noodle soup’
  • ramwune ‘marble’
  • samma ‘mackeral’
  • sasimi ‘sashimi’
  • saida ‘soda’
  • soiu ‘soy sauce’
  • sukiaki ‘sukiyaki’
Game/Sports terms
  • anaire ‘marble game’ (sometimes araine)
  • apadopi ‘long jump’
  • damaski ‘pool, billiards’
  • deng ‘score’
  • iakiu ‘baseball’
  • iakumehda ‘hundred meter dash’
  • iohidong ‘ready, set, go’
  • iranai ‘to pass in a card game’
  • kesso ‘to run or swim the final lap in a race’
  • kurop ‘baseball glove’
  • lepdo ‘left field’
  • masuku ‘catcher’s mask’
  • pahsdo ‘first base’
  • rensuh ‘to practice for an athletic event’
  • sahdo ‘third base’
  • sakura ‘hanafuda card game’
  • sandangdopi ‘hop-skip-jump’
  • sansing ‘to strike out [in baseball]’
  • sensuh ‘athlete’
  • suhdo ‘judo’
Personal articles
  • angkasi ‘handkerchief’
  • asmaki ‘headband’
  • kamidome ‘barrette’
  • kapang ‘bag’
  • pwundosi ‘loincloth’
  • sarmada ‘underwear’ (now women’s vs. pirihp ‘men’s underwear’)
  • sohri ‘thongs’ [‘rubber slippers’]
  • depwukuro ‘gloves’


  • aikiu ‘to ration’
  • amimono ‘knitted object’
  • anapi ‘fire cracker’
  • apwunai ‘watch out!’
  • adasi ‘to go barefoot’
  • iddai, eddai, edai ‘ouch!’
  • daidowa ‘World War II, old times’
  • dekking ‘concrete reinforcing bar’
  • dempoh ‘telegram’
  • dengki ‘electricity, light’
  • denso ‘ceiling’
  • dendenmwosi ‘large land snail’
  • dopas ‘quickly, fast, speedy’
  • kairu ‘frog’
  • kakko ‘showing off’
  • kampio ‘to care for an invalid in the hospital’
  • kasdo ‘movie’
  • kenkang ‘porch’
  • kisingai ‘crazy, mad’
  • koiasi ‘fertilizer’
  • kona ‘toothpaste’
  • kukusuh ‘air gun’
  • kuruma ‘cart’
  • makunai ‘unskillful, not tasty’
  • mangnga ‘cartoon, character’
  • mai ‘skillful, good’
  • mwohso ‘appendicitis’
  • ompwu ‘to be carried on another’s back’
  • pariki ‘to go fast’
  • paiking ‘infection’
  • pangku ‘flat tire, broken slipper’
  • pampei ‘security guard’
  • pwohsdo ‘post office’
  • pwuhseng ‘balloon’
  • pwuraia ‘pliers’
  • rakudai ‘failure’
  • sahpis ‘service’
  • sidohsa ‘automobile’
  • sirangkawe ‘to ignore’
  • sohko ‘warehouse’
  • suhmwong ‘to order’
Archaic terms
  • dampwo ‘rice paddy’
  • dane ‘seed’
  • dengwa ‘telephone’
  • deriuhdang ‘hand grenade’
  • impiokai ‘agricultural fair’
  • kansohpa ‘copra drying shed’
  • kikansu ‘machine gun’
  • kinsipakudang ‘atomic bomb’
  • osime ‘diaper’
  • passai ‘to cut grass’
  • pwohkungko ‘air-raid shelter’
  • sendohki ‘fighter plane’
  • simpung ‘newspaper’
  • skohso ‘airport’
  • windeng ‘to drive’

SOURCES: Kimi Miyagi. 2000. Japanese loanwords in Pohnpeian: Adaptation and attrition. Japanese Linguistics 7:114–132. Mark R. Peattie. 1988. Nan’yō: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia, 1885–1945. Pacific Islands Monograph Series, No. 4. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.

03 May 2007

Hakata: Japan's First International Border, 663

The war of 663—known in Japanese as Hakusuki-no-e-no-tatakai [白村の江の戦い 'Battle of the White Village River'] or the "Battle of the Paekchon River," after the old name for the Kŭm River—has long attracted the attention of historians and laymen alike in Japan....

In Kyushu ... the effects of the war were immense and long lasting.... It is no exaggeration to say that the events of the 660s and early 670s created an international boundary where none existed before. Prior to the war, there was no clear line between "us" and "them," and traffic between the Korean Peninsula and Kyushu was relatively free (although never tremendously frequent, given the dangers and the distances involved). Within a decade after Japan's defeat, such a line had come into existence (in the Korea Strait between Tsushima and Silla), and Japan had a fortified border with a single designated gateway. The gateway was Hakata, and the gatekeeper was Dazaifu, the command center south of the bay.

Of course, Yamato had long had a significant interest in northern Kyushu, and in particular Hakata, because of the area's strategic location. The most sensible way to get from Yamato to the Korean Peninsula was to go down the Inland Sea, follow the northwest Kyushu coast to Hakata, and then cut across the Genkai Sea via the islands of Iki and Tsushima. To control Hakata was thus to control access to the continent—the key to hegemony in early Japan. This is why the Iwai "rebellion" posed such a threat in the 520s, and why the court moved so swiftly to put it down. After Iwai was killed, his son offered territory near Hakata to the court (in order, according to the chronicles, to save his own skin). Soon afterward, in 536, Yamato established a line of granaries (miyake, probably best understood as supply depots) up and down the Inland Sea. Much of Fukuoka Plain was also converted into a granary at this time. In 1984, remains of sixth-century storehouses and office buildings, presumably part of this "Nanotsu Miyake," were uncovered by archaeologists working on a salvage operation near Japan Railways' Hakata Station in Fukuoka.
SOURCE: Gateway to Japan: Hakata in War and Peace, 500–1300, by Bruce L. Batten (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2006), pp. 23-25

02 May 2007

The Tang Chinese Predecessors of Matthew C. Perry, 664

Once upon a time, residents of a fishing village in Japan watched with trepidation as a fleet of foreign warships appeared in the offing beyond their own little harbor. The main concern was their lives. What knew what strange creatures might be on board or what nefarious plans had brought them to Japan?...

The year was 1853 and the place was Uraga, situated near the tip of the Miura Peninsula at the mouth of Edo (now Tokyo) Bay.The foreign vessels were under the command of Matthew Calbraith Perry, an American naval officer charged by President Millard Fillmore to induce Japan to establish trade and diplomatic relations with the United States. (Not incidentally, Fillmore wanted Japan to open its ports to American whaling vessels, whaling being one of the great American industries of the era.)...

What few people realize is that Perry's arrival was not the first time that such a scenario had played out upon Japanese soil. The events of 1853 were a close replay of an equally momentous occasion some twelve hundred years earlier. The year was 664, and the location was Tsushima, a mountainous isle (actually, two isles separated by a narrow strait) about 50 kilometers south of the Korean port of Pusan and 150 kilometers west of Hakata on the Kyushu mainland.

On that earlier occasion, the visitors had been Chinese, not American. Their large junks, bearing flags of the Tang empire, had first been sighted on an early summer's day in the fourth month of the Japanese lunar calendar. The ships were slowly approaching Tsushima across the Korea Strait from the general direction of Paekche, a kingdom on the west side of the Korean Peninsula. They seemed to be making directly for the village—or more precisely, for the small harbor below, where the villagers' fishing ships lay at anchor. Those watching the approach were worried—and with good reason....

Only the previous year—663 by the Western calendar ...—a vast fleet had come from Hakata on its way to "rescue Paekche," so they said. Woe be to them! Not long afterward, some of the tattered remnants of Yamato's once-proud navy limped back to Tsushima. Few of the war veterans tarried long; they seemed afraid of who might follow in their wake. The same was true of the many refugees from Paekche—some of them members of the royal family—who accompanied the Japanese survivors. Before long, almost all the new arrivals had departed for the Kyushu mainland, or for Yamato.
SOURCE: Gateway to Japan: Hakata in War and Peace, 500–1300, by Bruce L. Batten (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2006), pp. 11-14

01 May 2007

Anne Applebaum on the New Europeans

Looking at the French elections, Anne Applebaum defines Sarkozy's constituency as the New Europeans—those who are willing to emigrate:
Thanks to the European Union, which has opened borders and eliminated employment barriers, it is now not only possible to move, it is downright easy. And not only for the French: Something like a million Poles have left home since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, largely for England and Ireland. Unlike France, Poland is booming. But as in France, high taxes and complex regulations mean that jobs for young Poles are still too scarce and badly paid. Abroad, young Poles earn more and are treated better.

When they come back (if they come back) they'll demand no less. The plumbers in Warsaw already expect to be paid something remarkably close to what plumbers are paid in Berlin -- that is, if you can find a plumber in Warsaw at all.

All of this is, of course, precisely what previous generations of European politicians have feared. For the past decade, French, German and other European leaders have tried to unify European tax laws and regulations, the better to "even out the playing field" -- or (depending on your point of view) to make life equally difficult everywhere. The emigration patterns of the past decade -- and the past five years in particular -- prove that that effort has failed. Sarkozy's election campaign, if successful, might put the final nail in the coffin.

The political and economic consequences of this new mobility could be quite profound. Countries such as Poland and France may soon be forced to scrap those regulations and taxes that hamper employment, however much the French unions and the Polish bureaucracy want to keep them: If they don't, their young people won't come home. Leaders in those countries may also have to alter their rhetoric. Sarkozy's Socialist opponent, Ségolène Royal, now uses words such as "entrepreneurship" at least some of the time, too.

Down the road, there could be cultural consequences as well. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the European Union's failure to create anything resembling a meaningful European "Idea." Almost by accident, the European Union may have created a new kind of European citizen instead: mobile, English-speaking, Internet-using, perhaps with the same nostalgia for Krakow or Dijon that first-generation New Yorkers feel for Missouri or Mississippi but nevertheless willing to live pretty much anywhere. Sarkozy is the first European politician to appeal directly to these new Europeans. Even if he loses, he probably won't be the last.

Yeltsin, Putin, and Deng

In his retrospective on Boris Yeltsin in this week's international edition of Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria contrasts the divergent paths toward reform of China and Russia after their respective ideological houses of cards collapsed.
Boris Yeltsin ... will surely stand as a figure on the hinge of history—yet he pointed Russia in the wrong direction. Compare Russia with China. In the early 1990s, they were the two most important countries in the world that lay outside the sphere of democratic, capitalist states. Russia had by far the stronger hand. In those days it was still regarded as the second most important world power, whose blessings were needed for any big international endeavor—whether the first gulf war or Middle East peace negotiations. It had a GDP of $1 trillion (in purchasing-power parity), the world's second largest military and its second largest pool of technically trained personnel. Perhaps most significant, it had the most abundant endowment of natural resources on the face of the earth. And with Yeltsin as president, the country had a charismatic leader who could leverage this hard and soft power.

China by contrast was an international pariah. It had just gone through the shame of the Tiananmen Square massacres. Its per capita GDP was just one third that of Russia's, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. Its educational and technological system was still in shambles, having been shut down during the Cultural Revolution. Its leaders—a group of seemingly narrow-minded engineers—were cautiously introducing reforms to a country still limping after decades of Mao Zedong's mad gambits at home and abroad....

Look at the two countries today: though the Russian economy has surged because of high oil and commodity prices, China's is now six times larger. Even more interesting is the political trajectory. Russia, in almost every dimension, has become less free over the past decade....

China, by contrast, has seen greater economic, legal and social reform every year. This year, finally, the Communist Party adopted guarantees of private property and greater government transparency. (For those who dismiss China's reforms because they are "merely" economic, recall that for John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, the right to private property was at the heart of individual liberty.)

My point is not that China is freer than Russia. It is not. But for a decade, the arrow in Russia has been moving backward, while in China it is moving—slowly—forward.

This divergence between the Russian and Chinese models has had powerful implications around the world. Russia has become an example—but a negative example. The Chinese leadership has privately admitted to having watched Yeltsin's reforms and decided that they produced economic chaos, social instability and no growth. (Russia's GDP contracted by 20 percent during the 1990s.) Instead of similar shock therapy—which Bill Clinton's Russia hand Strobe Talbott accurately characterized as "too much shock, too little therapy"—China chose a cautious, incremental path. "We must cross the river by feeling the stones with our feet," said Deng Xiaoping. Rather than shutting down state-owned enterprises, Beijing chose to grow the economy around them, so that the state-owned portion kept shrinking and its problems became more manageable.

Look around the world, from Vietnam to Egypt, and you see officials studying China's economic reforms. I have not come across a single official anywhere who has ever claimed to be emulating Russia's path from communism.
Charles Krauthammer made a similar point last week.
Twenty years ago, Yeltsin made a strategic choice for democracy. Putin and his KGB regime have made a different strategic choice: the Chinese model. They watched two great powers take their exits from communism -- Maoist China and Soviet Russia -- and decided the Chinese got it right.

They saw Deng Xiaoping liberalize the economy while maintaining centralized power -- and achieve astonishing economic success. Then they saw Gorbachev do precisely the opposite -- loosening the political system while keeping an absurdly inefficient communist economy -- and cause the collapse of the regime and the state.

Yeltsin's uncertain, undisciplined and corruption-ridden attempt to deregulate both the economy and the political system caused such chaos that during his tenure gross domestic product fell by half. So Putin decided to become Deng. And while Deng destroyed democratic hopes in one fell swoop at Tiananmen Square, Putin did so methodically and gradually. By the time his goons beat up opposition demonstrators in Moscow and St. Petersburg earlier this month, so little was left of Russian democracy that the world merely yawned.
Of course, China also got a head start. Mao Zedong, the Great Ideologue who did more than anyone to discredit utopian ideologies and pave the way for brutally pragmatic realists like Deng, died in 1976.

via Peaktalk