published April 8, 1997
Cover Image by Edward Levinson
‘Development’ is a universal goal. Achieving it depends on solving the basic needs of food, water, and power, and beyond that, creating the more intangible, but no less crucial, sense of identity, community, and affluence. Commonly in Asia, the model of development and affluence, as perceived by the media and reproduced in various ways in popular culture, is Japan. The direction of growth, GDP expansion, and affluence is towards a Japan-type goal. This does not necessarily mean any conscious commitment to ‘Japanize,’ often far from it, but modernity, especially the patterns of consumer life by which modernity is commonly defined, often seems more accessible, more realistic, in its Japanese mode.
But while China and Southeast Asia consciously or unconsciously set their sights on replicating the Japanese economic development ‘miracle,’ the immense distortions and unnecessary costs paid to accomplish it are either little appreciated or are seen as part of the necessary price to be paid to achieve national greatness. —Gavan McCormack, Food Water Power People
The problems facing humanity are the basic ones: population and environment, food, water, and energy. How China in particular copes with these problems will be a major factor in determining the course of the coming century, if only because China is both home to one in five human beings and the centre of perhaps the most dramatic economic growth phenomenon the world has known. Southeast Asia too is the scene of explosive economic growth and social transformation. This article reflects upon the dilemmas arising out of the process of transformation of China and Southeast Asia, through focus on development plans for the major regional rivers, the Yangzi and the Mekong, and upon how Japan, the region’s most developed country, and in many respects its model for development, is affected by them.
Japanese meditation gardens. A nice idea, but do they really exist? Gardens are one of Japan’s great cultural assets. Perhaps best known among the gardens are the rock-and-sand compositions found in Zen Buddhist temples and some private residences. The proper term for these gardens is kare-san-sui, which literally means dry-mountain-water, revealing the essence of the garden as a representation of a scene of mountains and water without the actual use of water. Kare-san-sui gardens are usually thought of as being used for meditation and are thus often called meditation gardens. A line of priests seated in the lotus position in deep repose, on the veranda of a temple overlooking a garden, is the classic scene. In truth, this rarely happens.
Haiga: Takebe Sochu and the Haiku-Painting Tradition, by Stephen Addis & Fumiko Y. Yamamoto — William Corr
Old Ways to Fold New Paper, Poems by Leza Lowitz — Donald Richie
The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence, by Gavan McCormack — William Corr
Japanese Garden Design, by Marc p. Keane — Ken Rodgers
Kyoto Gardens: A Virtual Stroll Through Zen Gardens, CD-ROM by Lunaflora — Ken Rodgers <
Swedenborg: Buddha of the North, by D.T. Suzuki, trans. Andrew Bernstein — Morgan Gibson
Mountains and Rivers Without End, by Gary Snyder — Preston L. Houser
Obata’s Yosemite: The Art and Letters of Chiura Obata from his trip to the High Sierra in 1927, Ed. with essays by Janice T. Driesbach & Susan Landauer — Preston L. Houser