Klaus Wiese – Maquam

april 1, 2018


Stephen Mansfield has written an insightful article entitled “Disputatious legacies: examining the historic ties that bind Okinawa and China

The Chinese legacy, openly acknowledged by Okinawans, is being contested once again. Writing for Japanese-run publications, I have been asked to excise positive remarks pertaining to China’s transference of culture and knowledge to Okinawa.

Sadly, the mood has turned nasty in regard to current Japan-China relations, with large segments of the Japanese public dutifully echoing the hostilities of the government. The sentiments of the Japanese public, increasingly embittered at being supplanted by an economically ascendant China, are not necessarily shared by Okinawans with their more benevolent view of China. History is a thorny issue in Japan. China’s long and largely cordial relations with Okinawa do not square with the nationalist political script being penned by Tokyo, where contested history is invariably reducible to the sensitive issue of national identity and ethnicity.


april 1, 2017

A student asked whether studying for the examinations would interfere with his efforts at real learning. Zhu Xi responded, “Master Cheng said, ‘Don’t worry about it interfering with your efforts, worry about it robbing you of your determination.’ If you spend ten days a month preparing for the examinations, you will still have twenty days to do real study. If it changes your determination however, there is no cure.”

Excerpt from «Zhu Xi’s Conversations With His Disciples» (Patricia Buckley Ebrey, ed., Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, p. 172-77.)

New York Times:

After class, I asked Black about his approach to teaching yoga — the emphasis on holding only a few simple poses, the absence of common inversions like headstands and shoulder stands. He gave me the kind of answer you’d expect from any yoga teacher: that awareness is more important than rushing through a series of postures just to say you’d done them. But then he said something more radical. Black has come to believe that “the vast majority of people” should give up yoga altogether. It’s simply too likely to cause harm.

Not just students but celebrated teachers too, Black said, injure themselves in droves because most have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable. Instead of doing yoga, “they need to be doing a specific range of motions for articulation, for organ condition,” he said, to strengthen weak parts of the body. “Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.”

februar 18, 2016



Above all, these reviewers applaud language that is readily understandable: ‘It is the duty of the translator to attempt to restate a classic for his or her generation, in a language that they can best understand’; ‘Le Guin’s “rendition” startled me with its everyday language and showed me the Tao in a new light.’ Just what is so desirable about ‘everyday language’? We do not go to the theater in order to hear Othello speak as though he were born in our generation. Americans make statements about the Daode jing that they would think twice before saying with regard to any other classic.

The Daode jing is old; it is alien; it is Chinese; and it is difficult. These are the recalcitrant facts that too many readers seem disinclined to accept. Instead, they seek out the most facile translations and consume insipid approximations of the original. This phenomenon must be attributable at least in part to intellectual laziness. The public is not obliged to restrict itself to academic monographs, but readers still have a responsibility to investigate the merit of a translation before adopting it. Not much research is necessary to discover that there is more to Daoism than ‘letting events take their course’, and that the scary political overtones cannot be disregarded as the detritus of imaginary interpolators. Like any profound work of philosophy, the Daode jing is dangerous. We do it no justice by pretending that it is easy to swallow.

Paul R. Goldin, «Those Who Don’t Know Speak: Translations of the Daode jing by people who do not know Chinese,» Asian Philosophy: An International Journal of the Philosophical Traditions of the East 12, no. 3 (2002): 183-95.