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The LDS Church magazine, The Improvement Era, originally established for the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association from which organization it took its name, later became the official magazine of the Church until the Ensign replaced it in 1970. The Era, as it was called, included international news as well as local Utah and LDS Church news. Many of the issues, especially during the period of 1901 until 1920, included articles about Japan. The most lengthy were reports about, and then later, from the Japan Mission. which was opened in 1901. Additionally Japan was becoming a more powerful nation and made the International News section from time to time. For the next several months, we will provide some of this interesting information from about 100 years ago.
Improvement Era 1914
It is interesting to note that the grandchild of Ninigi became the first emperor of Japan. Ninigi was the great grandchild of the first creative pair who, standing on the floating bridge of heaven, separated the land from the waters with their jeweled spear. The present emperor of Japan, being a descendant of the first emperor, is, therefore, verily in the lineage of the gods.
In this capacity Mr. Clark assisted, for example, in the drafting of our Treaty of Peace and Commerce with Japan, of 1911; our loan treaties with Honduras and Nicaragua, the last three as yet unperfected. He was also consulted in the drafting of the Knox-Bryce Arbitration Treaties with Great Britain and France, which treaties were approved with amendments by the Senate after a long debate.
Russia has not forgotten her humiliations. Russia's monumental effort at this time to make herself the first military power of the world is not the result wholly of her humiliation by Japan. When, after that conflict, Russia was comparatively prostrait, she suffered humiliation at the hands of Germany and Austria, which she has not forgiven, and which she is not likely to forgive until she has tested her ability to avenge herself in a passage at arms. Russia is, therefore, today one of the greatest menaces to the peace of the world. In the south, Bulgaria is not satisfied. She entered the Balkan wars the strongest and proudest of all the allies. She won great glory on the fields of battle. She was crushingly humiliated by the treaty of Bucharest. If the Bulgarians have always in a measure hated the Greeks, they hate them doubly so now. Almost every Bulgarian cherishes the coming of that day when every particle of dishonor which he feels shall be wiped out. To wipe out that dishonor, to regain national respect, means war with Greece. That war may be postponed while alliances in southern Europe are brought about. A curious world is watching the diplomacy of Bulgaria. The formation of new alliances and of strange bedfellows are being made; they will lie down behind bolted doors. One of the signs of the times is the constant happening of the unexpected.
Eight years ago the leading newspaper in Japan, the Jiji, sent the following interesting question to about one thousand of the best blood and brain of the nation: "What books, now available, contribute most to the development of human character and to the enlightenment of the world?" Hundreds of lists were submitted in answer. With less than a dozen exceptions, every list contained the Rongo, and, in a vast majority, this book was named first. When the final count was made and a table of the books prepared according to the popularity of choice, the Rongo led all the rest by several hundred. Rongo is the title given to the Japanese translation of the Chinese classic known in English as the Confucian Analects. This incident bears significant testimony to the influence of Confucian doctrine upon the greatest nation in Asia.