Kweku Ampiah

Now fifty years on, with significantly more primary references available,Kweku Ampiah’s study provides a much-needed in-depth re-evaluation of the conference as a whole, focusing in particular on the external influences and preoccupations impacting on the participants seen through three case studies involving the US, UK and Japan.

Who’s Afraid of Confucius?

East Asian Values and the Africans

Kweku Ampiah

The paper examines the popularly known Confucian values and ritual practices and questions the notion that these norms and practices are unique to East Asia. By evoking the essential social values and norms of the Akan culture (in West Africa) the analysis posits that the so-called East Asian values as codified by Confucius are actually universal principles. The essay examines how the principles of filial piety and ancestor worship play out in the social practices of the Asante people (of the Akan ethnic group) and the Confucian communities, and suggests that a proper comparative examination of these practices across cultures would show that some cultural groups outside the East Asian zone might turn out to be more ‘Confucian’ than some of the East Asian countries.

Kweku Ampiah

Abstract

Since the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo as President of Nigeria Japan's attitude towards the West African state seems to have been positively transformed. The relationship between the two countries kicked-off with panache after the President's first visit to Tokyo in April 1999 as President elect to renew acquaintances. The two countries are now bound together in a "Special Relationship", which provides them with a coherent framework for regular and constructive consultations. The recent developments replace a period of immobilist diplomacy between Tokyo and Abuja especially during when Nigerian domestic politics was infested with military dictatorships.Tokyo's recent initiatives toward Abuja have to be seen within the context of Japan's invigorated diplomatic initiatives toward sub-Saharan Africa as manifested through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. The relationship is also premised on Nigeria's hegemonic position within the sub-region of West Africa. As a result, Japan has relatively increased its economic assistance to Nigeria in recent years and is seemingly showing signs of interest in the economic development of Nigeria. On his part, President Obasanjo has pledged his country's determination "to change from the way and manner business was done in Nigeria in the recent past in order to institute a new regime of accountability and transparency in conformity with internationally accepted codes of business ethics".