The fourteen-year war between the Qing dynasty and the breakaway Taiping Heavenly Kingdom culminated in the burning of the rebel capital Nanjing in July 1864. We tend to remember the 1860s for the American Civil War, but this Chinese civil war was much more ferocious and resulted in 20 million deaths. Source.
The British Library is currently displaying the earliest known printed book, a Diamond Sutra printed from wood blocks in the year 868. This copy survived to our day by being sealed away for eight centuries in a hidden chamber in the Mogoa Caves near Dun-Huang on the Silk Road.
On this day in 1959 the government of the People's Republic of China abolished the Tibetan government of the Dalai Lama. Since 2009 this anniversary has been an official holiday called Serfs Emancipation Day. Source.
Asia League Ice Hockey is the top professional hockey league in Japan and South Korea, and also includes China's one professional team.
The eight teams each play a schedule of 42 games from September to March, after which the top four move on to the playoffs, with best-of-five semifinals and finals. The Japanese clubs take time out in February for the All Japan Ice Hockey Championship, which has been going on since 1930. The Korea Domestic Championship dates back to 1955.
The teams are:
Oji Eagles. Founded in 1925 as the company team of Oji Paper, the Eagles play at Hakucho Arena (capacity 4,015) in Tomakomai, on the southern coast of Hokkaido. They have won the Asia League championship twice, its forerunner the Japan League championship 13 times, and the anyone-can-enter All Japan Championship 35 times including last year. They wear blue, white, yellow and black. The squad includes Canadians Aaron Keller, Mike Kompon and T.J. Kemp.
Nippon Paper Cranes. Oji Eagles' rival on the ice and in the boardroom, Nippon Paper Cranes are owned by the Nippon Paper Group, and play at Kushiro Ice Arena (capacity 3,000) in Kushiro on the eastern coast of Hokkaido. They began in 1949, have won the Asia League three times and the All Japan Championship five. Black, red, blue and white. Canadian: Eric Regan. The club name puts you in mind of the art of origami.
Anyang Halla. Founded in 1994, they won the Korean Ice Hockey League five times, and then after 2003 the Asia League once plus one co-win. They play at the Anyang Sports Complex Arena attached to Anyang Stadium. Blue, yellow and white. Canadians: Brock Radunske, Dustin Wood. Anyang is a city of about two-thirds of a million on the southern outskirts of Seoul.
High1. Founded in 2004, High1 joined the Asia League the next year. They are based in Goyang, South Korea, on the north side of Seoul. Black and red. Canadians: Bryan Young who has played 17 games for Edmonton, David Brine who played 9 games for the Florida Panthers and later played for Medveščak Zagreb, and Michael Swift.
China Dragon. This club is an amalgamation of two venerable Chinese powerhouses, Harbin and Qiqihar, both founded in 1954 and neither based anywhere near Shanghai. The team roster closely matches that of the Chinese Olympic team. Colours: red and yellow. No Canadians.
Tohoku Free Blades. Founded 2008. Their home address is Niida Indoor Rink (capacity 1,576) in Hachinohe, Aomori, the northernmost prefecture on the island of Honshu. Blue, gray and white. They have won the championship once, and were declared co-winners the year of the tsunami. Canadians: Darrell Hay, Brad Farynuk and Ned Lukacevic.
Daemyung Sangmu. New this year. This is the hockey team of the South Korean military and is tasked with training the South Korean national team for the 2018 Olympics. They play at the Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul. Black, yellow and red. No Canadians.
The league had a team in Khabarovsk, in the Far East of Russia, for one season. The KHL has since moved into that town and Vladivostok.
People also tell me, "We had no writing in this country and therefore had to use Chinese characters. From this one fact you can know everything about the relative importance of our countries." I answer, "I need not recite again how troublesome, evil, turbulent a country China is. To mention just one instance -- there is the matter of their picture-writing. There are about 38,000 characters in common use, as someone has determined. . . . Every place name and plant name has a separate character for it which has no other use but to designate that particular place or plant. Can any man, even one who devotes himself to the task earnestly, learn all that many characters? Sometimes people miswrite characters, sometimes the characters themselves change from one generation to the next. What a nuisance, a waste of effort, and a bother! In India, on the other hand, fifty letters suffice for the writing of the more than 5,000 volumes of the Buddhist scriptures. A knowledge of a mere fifty letters permits one to know and transmit innumerable words of past and present alike. This is not simply a matter of writing -- the fifty sounds are the sounds of Heaven and earth, and words conceived from them are naturally different from the Chinese characters. Whatever kind of writing we may originally have had, ever since Chinese writing was introduced we have mistakenly become enmeshed in it. Now only the old words, but not their writing are preserved. These words are not identical with the fifty Indian sounds . . . but the fifty sounds suffice to express all words without the nuisance of characters. In Holland, I understand, they use twenty-five letters. In this country there should be fifty. The appearance of letters used in all countries is in general the same, except for China where they invented their bothersome system. . . . The opinion that the characters are precious is not worth discussing further."
From A Study in the Idea of the Nation (1765), in Tsunoda, de Bary and Keene, Sources of the Japanese Tradition, Volume II, pages 13-14.
One of the heroes of typography is Xu Bing who in 1988 produced "A Book From the Sky" made up entirely of Chinese characters he invented himself, to the consternation of the Chinese authorities, who have a vested interest in controlling words and meanings. He often uses letters of the Latin alphabet as radicals within characters. Here is his name: