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Dear friends,

cjjAt about 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 20th, Chal breathed his last. Chal was in hospice care here at home for ten weeks. We tried to keep him as comfortable as possible, and many evenings our cat Seiji slept on his bed to keep him company. The last two evenings, at twilight, we heard two owls loudly calling to each other and I was reminded of one of Chal’s favorite phrases: “The owl of Minerva spreads its wings at twilight.” I decided to look it up:

“One more word about giving instruction as to what the world ought to be. For such a purpose, philosophy always comes on the scene too late…. When philosophy paints its gloomy picture then a form of life has grown old. It cannot be rejuvenated by the gloomy picture, but only understood. Only when the dusk starts to fall does the owl of Minerva spread its wings and fly.”
- Hegel, Philosophy of Right (1820), Preface

It seems to me this could well apply to Chal's last four books. They paint a gloomy picture of a way of life grown old, and they perhaps cannot change the course of history, but they were written with the hope that readers would gain greater understanding as to what is happening to our Republic and the world.  

Our dear friend Murray Sayle, who also recently died, once described marriage as “a long conversation.” And so it was, for us. W.H. Auden, in a different context, wrote: “though one cannot always remember exactly why one has been happy, there is no forgetting that one was.”

With love, in great sadness,

Sheila K. Johnson
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Dear Mrs. Sheila Johnson
,
 
I was shocked to hear the sad news that Professor Chalmers Johnson passed away. He was a best friend and great supporter of Okinawa. We shall never forget his assistance.
My sincere condolences to you. I pray his soul may rest in peace.
 
With deepest regret,

Masahide Ota
(Former Governor of Okinawa)
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Chalmers Johnson, RIP

... Without the slightest doubt, he was one of the most remarkable authors I’ve had the pleasure to edit, no less be friends with. He saw our devolving American world with striking clarity and prescience. He wrote about it with precision, passion, and courage. He never softened a thought or cut a corner...

Tom Engelhardt -- ex AntiWar. Blog
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Japan 'revisionist' scholar Chalmers Johnson dies at 79

LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) -- Chalmers Johnson, an international politics scholar known as the original "Japan revisionist," died Saturday at his home in California aged 79, people close to him said. [...]

As a revisionist, Johnson considered Japan different from other developed countries and his book "MITI and the Japanese Miracle" on Japanese economic development had a great impact on both Japanese and U.S. authorities. MITI, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, has since been renamed the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry....

ex Mainichi Japan -- November 22, 2010
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Chalmers Johnson

Nov 21 2010, 1:40 AM ET

"I have just heard that Chalmers Johnson died a few hours ago, at age 79, at his home near San Diego. He had had a variety of health problems for a long time. (Photo source here.)

Johnson -- "Chal" -- was a penetrating, original, and influential scholar, plus a very gifted literary and conversational stylist. When I first went to Japan nearly 25 years ago, his MITI and the Japanese Miracle was already part of the canon for understanding Asian economic development. Before that, he had made his name as a China scholar; after that, he became more widely known with his books like Blowback, about the perverse effects and strategic unsustainability of America's global military commitments...."

James Fallows -- ex The Atlantic

Photo by Nic Paget-Clarke
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Chalmers Johnson and the Patriotic Struggle Against Empire

With one word, "blowback," Chalmers Johnson explained the folly of empire in the modern age.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September11, 2001, true American patriots -- as opposed to the jingoists and profiteers whose madness and greed would steer a republic to ruin -- needed a new language for a new age.

They got it from Johnson. His 2000 book, Blowback,: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (Macmillan), he took an old espionage term -- which referred to the violent, unintended consequences of covert (and sometimes not so covert) operations that are suffered even by superpowers such as the United States -- became an essential text for those who sought to explain the attacks and to forge sounder and more responsible foreign policies for the furture...

John Nichols -- ex The Nation
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The Passing of a Great Man: Chalmers Johnson, Critic of Empire

...Although I never knew him personally (I met him briefly after a lecture in which he read from his then-forthcoming book, Sorrows of Empire), I felt like I did. And I can remember the exact moment when I first felt that I knew him. It was in 2000, when I read the following passage in the prologue of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire:

"Knowing what I did about guerilla war, revolutionary politics, and foreign armies, I thought it a mistake for us (the United States) to involve ourselves further in what was visibly a Vietnamese civil war. But once we did so in the mid-sixties, I was sufficiently aware of Mao Zedong's attempts to export 'people's war' to believe that the United States could not afford to lose in Vietnam. In that, too, I was distinctly a man of my times.

" It proved to be a disastrously wrong position...."

Paul Rosenberg -- Open Left
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Chalmers Johnson, RIP

...Though he had a long career before he became a leading critic of American empire, it is for this criticism that he is best known to those of us in my generation. He and his arguments will be missed....

Daniel Larison
-- ex The American Conservative
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A Scholar and A Patriot: the Death of Chalmers Johnson

He had the ability of many great professors to treat anyone's question or assertion with the greatest seriousness--and then patiently elucidate his response. With the higher-ups, though, he wasn't always so patient--I remember him referring to one member of the American embassy in Japan as an "intellectual geisha." Johnson's attitude, I think, could be summed up in the 1960s phrase "question authority." Chalmers did a lot of questioning....

Jacob Heilbrunn -- ex The National Interest
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Chalmers Johnson, 1931-2010, on the Last Days of the American Republic

...During the Cold War, he served as a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency and was a supporter of the Vietnam War, however, later became a leading critic of U.S. militarism and imperialism. He wrote the book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire in 2000, which became a bestseller after the 9/11 attacks. He went on to complete what would become a trilogy about American empire...

ex Democracy Now!
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Remembering Chalmers Johnson

...A China scholar before becoming a Japan watcher in the 1970s, Chal had three fundamental insights that are as significant today (perhaps more so) as they were in the 1980s. The first was that Japan and the United States were playing very different economic games. He very early understood that Japan's industrial policies that focused great effort on development of what were deemed to be strategic industries and of and that emphasized export led growth while suppressing domestic consumption in favor of fostering high rates of saving and investment constituted a new economic paradigm....

Clyde Prestowitz -- ex Foreign Policy
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The Impact Today and Tomorrow of Chalmers Johnson

... Chalmers Johnson, who passed away Saturday afternoon at 79 years, invented and was the acknowledged godfather of the conceptualization of the "developmental state". For the uninitiated, this means that Chalmers Johnson led the way in understanding the dynamics of how states manipulated their policy conditions and environments to speed up economic growth. In the neoliberal hive at the University of Chicago, Chalmers Johnson was an apostate and heretic in the field of political economy. Johnson challenged conventional wisdom with him and his many star students -- including E.B. Keehn, David Arase, Marie Anchordoguy, Mark Tilton and others -- writing the significant treatises documenting the growing prevalence of state-led industrial, trade and finance policy abroad, particularly in Asia....

-- Steve Clemons
- ex The Washington Note




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