When an island seeks independence from another culture, it develops along lines determined by the islanders themselves.
Within what might be considered a single people, the Chinese, there are independent Singaporeans and Taiwanese promoting their own identity. Southeast Asia is an ocean of islands, but as seen in East Timor, there is always potential for a community to split into even mailer units.
The overwhelming vote by the East Timorese in favor of independence from Indonesia has earned the respect and suppert of the international community. Respect for the self-determination of a people is an established rule as we move into a new century. It would not be out of bounds to say that the basic unit of an oceanic community is the islanders rather than the _people._ There are far more islands in the world than recognized peoples or nations. Future human society is looking more like a network of islands rather than a gathering of nation-states, mainly on continental territories. In my opinion, the western Pacific region offers the greatest potential in that regard.
Surrounded by ocean, Japan has been washed by waves of foreign civilizations passing along ocean trade routes. A nation_s capital is its face. The ancient capital of Kyoto put an Oriental, primarily classical Chinese, face on Japan. The move of the capital to Edo in 1868 marked a break from that policy, and Tokyo created a Western face and culture. We are approaching the time for another separation, this time from the Western mode and Tokyo.
In considering the issue of our national capital, it's more appropriate to look at the direct cultural significance of movements of the capital in Japanese history rather than making comparisons to such changes in other countries. What Japan should look at in the future is neither an oriental nor Western culture adopted and transmuted into our own, but the world as a whole. The world is far wider than East and West combined.
Humans everywhere share a sense that the earth is beautiful and precious, and the Japanese archipelago could be deemed a microcosm of the entire earth. Seeking _to create garden-like islands where our common sense of beauty and preciousness is firmly integrated into everyday life and culture makes common sense on a global scale as well. Japan needs a new capital for the 21st century that will have a large number of such vital functions.
Communities of islanders
Japan can move in the direction of separation instead of centralization by creating a new face for the country in a new capital. The archipelago can be divided into its communities of islanders.
The largest denomination issued in Japan_the_10,000 note_carries a portrait of Fukuzawa Yukichi, a renowned educator in the late 19th century. Fukuzawa became the face of the yen, the symbel of Japan_s unification, perhaps because he asserts in_Gakumon no Susume_ (_The Encouragement of Learning_) that_the fundamental nature of national independence lies in the independence of the self. If Japan_s face is derived from the principle of equivalence between self-determination and national independence, it makes sense that smaller units within the country_islands such as Okinawa, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido_should have their own independence from the center.
The way to make that happen is now common around the world. Many of the republics that achieved independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union made it their first task to issue their own currencies to replace the ruble. The currency is a symbol of national unity.
If, for instance, Kyushu residents were to choose independence and issue a Kyushu-yen, the island would be considered an independent country. In terms of area, Kyushu is similar to the Netherlands or Taiwan and enjoys sufficient economic power, technology and population to support independence.