Readers write: Japan's ultranationalism; fiscal tools for minority students

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 23, 2015 weekly magazine

Michael Holtz/The Christian Science Monitor
Visitors stand in line to pray at one of the many shrines in Ise, Japan. The Grand Shrine, which isn't allowed to be photographed, is the most sacred place in Shinto.

Japan and ultranationalism
Regarding the Oct. 26 Focus article, “Is Japan creeping back to nationalism?”: Japan indeed has a lively and fascinating history to look back on and treasure, but the time leading up to and during World War II needs to be seen for the national disgrace it was – a period of duplicity, cruelty, and fecklessness, during which assassination replaced democracy as the modus operandi for choosing leaders.

The Japanese need to learn to parse their history, embracing, for example, the liberal 1920s Taisho period, with its funky art and easy acceptance of internationalization, and rejecting the distortions of history and tradition, in short the ultranationalism that led to and justified the war in the Pacific.
Kathe Geist
Charlemont, Mass.

Give minority students fiscal tools
Regarding the Nov. 9 online article “University of Missouri racism walkout leads to president resigning” ( I graduated from Duke University in 2007 when it wasn’t easy to be a black woman on campus. American campuses are still very much structurally intended for the wealthy, white elite.

How can we minorities use financial persuasion to make our voices heard if the institutions tasked with teaching us the basic principle of money management ignore their responsibility? We must learn the power of money, too, especially as minorities who have been disenfranchised in this capital system, and athletes are in a position to lead the way.

Though they tend to be from lower-income families with less academic preparation and support than their peers, minority athletes have one very powerful fiscal tool in their hands. No longer should they be encouraged to forgo studying economics to pursue an easier degree. They should tell colleges how to serve their community. Duke administrators created a personal finance initiative for students at my behest. And many more college administrators need to do the same.
Aeden Keffelew
Long Beach, Calif.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Readers write: Japan's ultranationalism; fiscal tools for minority students
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today