Saturday, January 03, 2009

"First, define democracy. Then, using your definition of democracy, explain whether Japan is or is not a democracy."

That was one of the essay questions on the final exam in a Politics of Japan course I took in university. I, and everyone else, was prepared for the latter part, but the first part was a shock. I assumed that I knew what a democracy was, but I quickly discovered that I did not. To this day, I am not sure I can define just what democracy means.

I did pass the test. Did very well on it, in fact, but that was due to my answer on the second part. Commenting my definition of democracy, the professor wrote, "Do you mean like China?"

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