Christendom, Europe, or, more broadly, the Western world is customarily balanced with the Orient, the East, or more narrowly, Asia. This equation, however, is a false one. While the various lands of the West do in fact share a common historical tradition and in many cases similar cultural traits, Asia is divided into major cultural traditions as far removed from one another as from the West. There are vast psychological and cultural gulfs between the Arabic-Islamic world of West Asia and North Africa, the Hindu-Buddhist civilization of India and Southeast Asia, and the Sinic world of East Asia. But within each of these major cultural units there do exist psychological and cultural bonds in some ways comparable to those that unite the countries of the West. This article explores the nature and strength of these bonds among the countries of East Asia-that is, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam-and the degree to which these affect their present political and strategic relations with one another and with countries outside this cultural grouping.
The rioting crowds that clamored at the gates of the Japanese Diet building in May and June and the throngs of Zengakuren students who snake-danced wildly down the streets of Tokyo and swarmed over Hagerty's car at Haneda Airport have given pause to many persons in both the United States and Japan. . . . Never since the end of the war has the gap in understanding between Americans and Japanese been wider than over this incident. . . .