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Fri Mar 17 11:08:57 CET 2006

Mito

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The day before yesterday Staffan and I drove on a small,
very picturesque mountain road from Kasama (the town outside
which Staffan and Fumiyo live) to Mito. Mito is apparently a
seaside city, and I didn't know anything about this place
until Fumiyo told me that Mito was the original home of the
Tokugawa family .

Hmm, dear reader, how's your Japanese history? Does the
name Tokugawa mean anything to you? This family, headed by the
famous Tokugawa Ieyasu, headed the most powerful military
junta in recent Japanese history. Leaders of the junta
government was called the Shogun. 

Tokugawa Ieyasu came from a normal warrior family, and
through shrewdness, military knowledge, and political sleight
of hand, managed to unite the thousand warring states (as it
was called) into one nation. The resulting nation's political
system was what we today would call a military dictatorship. 

For a comparison in Europe, I'd say we're looking at a
Japanese Bismark. Bismark's goal is said to have been all of
the German states submitting to the rule of the Prussian King
and the isolation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Tokugawa
kept the Emperor on a very short leash, and he wanted all of
Japan. The Emperor became strictly a spiritual head, and
didn't come out of the closet till 1868, after some two
hundred years.

With these thoughts in mind, we drove through the
mountainous forests, looking down into parks which I can
easily imagine being breathtaking in the spring. 

Once at Mito, we did a little shopping and returned
home. I'll visit the historical sites some other time. 

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