"A.J. Rose" (Jonathan) (ajrose93) wrote,
"A.J. Rose" (Jonathan)

"but liberty never die"


[Be sure to read the footnote as well; it contains an important correction. But the original story, left unedited for its charm, is recounted first.]

"This is Itagaki. Like Ito Hirobumi, he work to make Japan a democracy during the time of Meiji. He want strong constitutional government and Itagaki was a very courageous man. When he die -- he was killed by his enemies* -- he said, 'Itagaki die, but liberty never die.'

"Since that time, it has not gone so well. Now there are many clever men, but few have the courage of Itagaki and only the fools seem to be brave. The work must be started all over again. Then someday we may have great men for this hall again."

-- an anonymous old Japanese man, acting as tour guide
taking American intelligence officer Ted de Bary through the Diet (parliament) building
after the fall of Fascist Japan, October 1945 EV

From a Ruined Empire: Letters -- Japan, China, Korea 1945-46, ed. Otis Cary. [Also known as War-Wasted Asia and Eyewitness to History: The First Americans in Postwar Asia.]

93 93/93 -- AJ

* As might be expected under the circumstances -- Fascist Japan wasn't prone to giving lessons in the history of Japanese liberty -- the old man's facts are slightly askew; in particular, the libertarian former samurai Itagaki Taisuke survived the attempt on his life, and died of natural causes in 1919. So saith the mighty wikipedia, anyway:


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