glyph 234: black america . transition, low-trust to high-trust culture ... Japan, example ... entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs, warriors, samurai ... James Bennett The Anglosphere Challenge ..... Afro-Saxons


African America's Meiji Revolution

From Bennett's The Anglosphere Challenge

While discussing the potential of African-America to move from a culture of low-trust to one of high-trust (see Trust, by Fukuyama), Bennett writes:

Another model for the African-American task is the Meiji Revolution in Japan. After Japan was opened to the outside world, forward-thinking Japanese, led by the Meiji emperor, realized that they had to transform its unique culture to deal with the world challenge. They broke the power of their warlord class, and told the samurai warrior class to stop swaggering around making general nuisances of themselves, and to do something useful. The samurai responded by turning their energies to becoming the core of an entrepreneurial class which quickly transformed Japan into the world's first modern, non-Western world power. A "Meiji Revolution" for African America would break the power of its drug lord and corrupt city boss classes and force its would-be warriors to put down their guns and turn their energy and attention toward economic development, while telling their hip-hop praise-singers to turn their considerable talents toward generating positive narratives. —James C. Bennett, The Anglosphere Challenge, pg. 263

The above began a fascinating discussion between Yasuhiko Kimura ( and Jim Bennett. Yasuhiko wrote:

While I agree with Jim's call for African-Americans to move from a culture of low-trust to that of high-trust (and his book is overall a wonderful book), I am not at all sure if his comparison with the Meiji Restoration is appropriate. Through the terakoya education system, the Japanese, during the Edo period, had the highest literacy rate in the world, and the samurai classes played the role of teachers. The samurai classes were indeed highly educated in Japanese and Chinese literature and philosophy, while keeping the bushi-do discipline that demanded them to be of men of high moral character. Further, the mathematician Takakazu Seki (1639-1708) developed a form of calculus around the same time Newton and Leibnitz developed theirs. Mathematics in Japan at that time was as advanced as that in the West. The Japanese of the late Edo period had the education and moral character necessary for the success of the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent westernized development of the whole nation. To compare the drug-lords and their ilk in the current Afro-American community with the samurai classes of the late Edo period is, based on what I know of the Japanese history, inaccurate, inappropriate, and perhaps to some, insulting.

The entire exchange, only partially transcribed from emails of September 4 & 5, 2005 will be found at:

See also:, The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, who was a powerful inspiration of the Meiji Revolution. -leif
entered before July 9, 2006

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