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Mark Meiji Era milestone, but don’t forget our past mistakes

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During the late Meiji Era (1868-1912), author Roka Tokutomi (1868-1927) went on an overseas trip in 1906. It was the year after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), and Tokutomi was received most warmly in Turkey where the public perceived Japan's triumph over Russia as a "humbling" of Caucasians by Orientals.

But in his travelogue, Tokutomi expressed unease. He feared that Japan, emboldened by the victory, would start relying on arms.

When he penned "Shori no Hiai" (Sadness of victory) upon his return to Japan, he addressed Japan in the archaic second person "nanji" (thou) and urged it to curb its militarism. He wrote, "One misstep, and thy victory will swiftly become the beginning of........

© The Asahi Shimbun