Japan Focus has another good collection of articles this week, and one on Taiwan to boot: The Ryukyus and Taiwan in the East Asian Seas: A Longue Durée Perspective

The Ryukyu archipelago is composed primarily of coral reefs. The restored palace in Naha raises the question of how a large-scale political system emerged on these islands; on Taiwan, which is far larger and richer in natural resources, a political and economic order of comparable sophistication did not appear until later. Is there a connection between the decline of the Ryukyu kingdom and the rise of Taiwan? What can be learned from the Ryukyus’transformation from a kingdom and a Chinese tributary state to a Japanese prefecture — and from Taiwan’s incorporation by China, then by Japan, and then by China again, as well as its subsequent rise as an economic force? In both the Ryukyus and Taiwan, the characteristics of kingdom and nationhood have been heavily conditioned by the location of these insular territories in relation to China and Japan. Drawing on the author’s research on related issues [1], this article will address these questions by examining the longue duree in East Asian maritime history, spanning the fourteenth to the twenty-first centuries.

This article is chock full of interesting historical facts. Enjoy! BONUS: Did North Korea successfully conduct a nuke test? DOUBLE BONUS: Morgan Stanley’s Steven Roach says Japan’s supply side econ approach is going to tank the economy again. Supply side econ is like Communism — amongst its believers, no amount of failure will discredit it.