18 May 2019

Futago no Teikoku v3 (complete)

Let's move right onto volume 3! Hopefully, Breading Bad and I can finish this volume before August. Also, don't attach that much importance to how I romanize a lot of the character names. Most of the characters are clearly not meant to have Japanese names, and the limited number of vowels/consonants in Japanese is making it difficult to know what English spelling I should give from the Japanese spelling. Even Fa is technically written as "Fua" in Japanese, but I decided to spell it as Fa to make it consistent to the vol. 1 translations and to make it easier on the eyes of English-speakers.

*Update: Yay, volume 3 is finally done! Sorry this took so long and much thanks to Furakutarou and Zephyrus from mangadex for helping me out. Volume 4 tankoban ran into delays in Japan and still isn't out yet, but we're gonna go ahead and do some of the chapters that we have magazine scans for in the near future.

Futago no Teikoku v03:   Mega

Futago no Teikoku c13:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c14:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c15:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c16:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c17:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku c18:   Mega

11 May 2019

Discourses on Salt and Iron - Part 1, Chapter 34: De-prioritizing Punishments

These are pictures of a Ming-era percussive deep well drill used to extract brine. On the right, you can see bamboo tubes that feed natural gases to the stoves where the brine is evaporated for salt. What's particularly surprising that the two essential aspects of the brining operation, percussive drilling rigs and gas stoves, as seen above were all developed by the time of the Han dynasty (206BC-220AD), and later centuries simply improved on the process to construct better rigs that could dig deeper and deeper. For a better idea of how this all worked, you can take a look at this page and watch the video below:
I bring this up to point to the sophistication of the salt industry in Han China, which monopolized it along with the iron industry to fund its vigorous foreign policy, primarily against the Xiongnu steppe nomads to the North. Although a topic of great interest for historians of science and industry today, the salt and iron monopolies was a pivotal issue in imperial China that for thousands of years, shaped the ideas of emperors, scholars, and officials on what the ideal role of a state should be, what the ideal type of governance should be, and what the ideal relationship between a state and its economy should be. This was possible because the famous debate between those who advocated the monopolies and those who decried it were immortalized by the government official Huan Kuan in Discourses on Salt and Iron (Yan Tie Lun 鹽鐵論). A somewhat rough analogy for the American would be the influence that the Federalist papers have had on American thought on the nature of their republic. It is a rough analogy, of course, because whereas the Discourses on Salt and Iron gives equal weight to both sides to show how the dialectic between Legalist and Confucian thought played out in shaping government policy, the anti-Federalist papers had been, I think, much less read and influential.