Comparing three nations

Comparing three nations

Japan was united as a nation in 1590 by Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Beasely, 1999). Its history is wrought with war and violence from the era of competing shogunates to resistances and throughout years of the Japanese empire prior to World War II. During World War II, Japan’s destructive nature continued to prevail in its participation of occupying several countries in Asia such as the Philippines and parts of China. This trend culminated with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from an atomic bomb dropped by the United States which brought Japan to unconditional surrender under the leadership of Emperor Hirohito. Since that time, Japan has rebuilt its nation under a pacifist constitution and is currently the second greatest economic power in the world. (Kennedy, 1987)

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            The Philippines was one of the countries occupied by Japan during World War II. It was originally established as a territory of Spain by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1521. Spain conquered the Philippines with both force of arms and religious propaganda (Kurlansky, 1999). Several unsuccessful rebellions led by its national heroes like Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, and Diego Silang had at most short-lived successes. Salvation apparently came for the country when America defeated Spain over a dispute in Cuba which was then another of Spain’s rebelling territories. The conflict was brought to the Philippines and Spain negotiated its withdrawal from the country. The Americans took charge of the country afterwards with the promise of independence once the country is ready. This promise led to conflicts when the Philippines announced its independence in 1896 without America’s blessing. America eventually regained control but lost it to the Japanese at the onset of WWII. The Americans returned later in history to get back at the Japanese and “save” the Philippines again. Post World War two saw the Philippines as an independent nation wrought by military conflicts with armed rebels and secessionists and political instability due to government corruption and democratic immaturity.

            India is the seventh largest country in terms of geographical area; history has also seen it as one of the poorest until the last few decades. Starting from the 1850s up to the first half of the 20th century, India was ruled by the British crown as a colony. The Indian National Congress and other political organizations launched a nationwide struggle for independence. This was marked with millions of protesters engaged in mass campaigns of civil disobedience committed to non-violence which was led by the enigmatic Mahatma Gandhi. India finally gained independence from British rule in 1947, but not before losing its Muslim-majority areas, which was separated into the nation-state of Pakistan (Basham, 2000). India’s economy has greatly improved since its independence. It has now become a major exporter of software as well as financial, research, and technological services.

            If we look at the history of these three countries, we see a pairing of commonalities with different historical outcomes.

Both India and the Philippines experienced long colonized rule. Yet after their freedom from their respective conquerors, the economics and other aspects of advance of either country took different turns. Economically, India lagged behind the Philippines for many a year proceeding World War II, but India’s investment in education eventually paid off. Although outsourcing western companies still obtain services from the Philippines for their call centers and medical transcriptionists, they go to India for specialized, technological professional services. The Philippine’s neglect of their education system has cost them a great deal, faring consistently poor in successive Trends in Mathematics and Science Studies examinations in 1999 and 2004. This reflected the type of services that they now generally export, from domestic caregivers to exotic performers.

            Both Japan and the Philippines were left in ruin after World War II, the former even worse than the latter. Both had also clung to the United States for support afterwards. Yet now Japan has a booming economy, a mature political atmosphere and progressive education. If we look at how Japan handled itself after its loss in WWII, even though it now heavily relies on the United States for military support since it was forced into a pacifist constitution, Japan had never let the U.S. trample upon its dignity as a country. The Japanese government protected their cultural heritage, the use of their language, and their natural environment. They have also greatly progressed in global politics, to a point that they have gathered enough political will to revise their pacifist constitution and rely on the United States no more. On the other hand, the Philippines embraced Westernization without restraint. Its government officials often relied on U.S. opinion to be able to stay in power. They butchered their native language into a Tagalog-English hybrid they call “taglish”, conveniently allowed ownership of several businesses in the country by western companies and recently even allowed and even escorted a U.S. soldier convicted of raping a Filipina back to the U.S. embassy to escape his sentence. Filipino politics have also been degraded into a carnival of clowns where a government secretary by the name of Roilo Golez openly offered bribes to the people who would favor administration candidates, a commission on elections commissioner called Virgilio Garciliano was allegedly caught on voice tape negotiating fraudulent election returns with the president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself.

In the continuing rise of globalization, lines that had previously separated nations have begun to be blurred. The advent of free trade a few decades passed had increased not only economic, but cultural interactions among countries worldwide. The establishment of the European Union, an economic block where trade was made more convenient among member countries, forged a bond in Europe that is now being contemplated to be made political as well. The Association of South East Asian Nations has consistently discussed member expansions, and has accepted tie-ups with non-members such as China and Russia. These developments preview a globalized perspective of the economy, where the concept of nation as an economic barrier because of tariffs and trade regulates may no longer apply.

Also, growing secularism and religious fundamentalism have started to blur the territorial lines of nations. As seen in the example of India where its Muslim population separated from the Hindu majority and established Pakistan, it can be observed how fundamentalism has begun to take hold of some parts pf the globe. On the other hand, secularism is as much a competing idea. The European Union for one has contemplated the ascension of Turkey to their number, driven by the secular viewpoint that religion is a man’s business with his God and that nations should not allow it to deal have significant impact on how they treat other nations for so long as their beliefs are respected.

The ever-changing world may see a future of the concept of nation being altered, of previous defining traits being blurred by modern concepts that are currently enlightening societies around the globe. Who’s to say that we will not one day wake to a world unhindered by religious inclinations or social inhibitions, a world of one nation collaborating for the good of all?


William Gerald Beasley (1999). The Japanese Experience: A Short History of Japan. University of California Press

            This book is an excellent source of background information of Japan. It also has several opinionated discussion that can help the reader sort out Japanese customs and traditions and where they fit in Japanese society.

Kurlansky, Mark. 1999. The Basque History of the World. Walker & Company, New York.

            This book contains all you need to know in the Philippines, from pre-WWII history to current day politics.It has been published by a reputable institution and t cites references directly from native Philippine texts.

Kennedy, P. (1987). The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Random House.

            This book presents insights on the powers of the world. It gives historical annotations of world powers and how they succeeded or failed. Its explanations are both factual and opinionated and are supported by well-documented references citing studies in academic journals.

Basham, A. L. (2000). The Wonder That Was India. South Asia Books.

            This book has several details about India, its politics, economy and religions. It was originally written in India and was further translated to English.

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