Wondering the meaning of the number “17” part2 ”UN SDGs and Pax Japonica” Vol. 2


I hope you have read my previous blog, Wondering the meaning of the number “17” part2. I stopped by asking a riddle-like question about number “17”, but did you have any ideas? Maybe May 17th, Shohei Ohtani’s day, is an idea.

What came up my mind in “The Ideal Form” and “17” was Prince Shotoku’s “Article 17 of the Constitution.”

It is said to be the first codified law in Japan, established by Prince Shotoku, the crown prince of Emperor Suiko, in 604 AD. There may be some debate about whether Prince Shotoku actually existed, whether the name “King of Todo” is correct, or whether it was really created in that era, but I would like to avoid it here.

As for what Article 17 of the Constitution was, I think it is generally believed that it was created around Confucian ideas regarding fundamental norms, ways of being, morality for bureaucrats and aristocrats, and human relations. However, there is another idea. [Ishii Kiminari 23] argues that the emphasis on “harmony” cannot be regarded as a mere morality because there is a dispute or a dispute may occur. It was generally believed that Article 17 of the Constitution was intended to preach moral admonition to officials, but it was not based on the Confucianism of moralism, but was created by a person who emphasized the rule of law.

In 1945, when the SDGs were formulated, the United Nations was established in response to World War II. It can be said that the SDGs were created to protect human rights and realize peace in the face of wars and conflicts. If Article 17 of the Constitution was created as a form and goal to suppress and avoid conflict, there seems to be a common division.

There are 17 other things that summarize what should be in 17 points, such as the French “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” in 1789. The suppression of absolute monarchy and the dissatisfaction of citizens with social inequality exploded and shifted to a constitutional monarchy, and the basic human rights were guaranteed by the Declaration. It was around this time that the idea of “human rights” began to spread, and the principles of freedom, equality, and fraternity continued to influence the rest of the world.

Compared to Article 17 of the Constitution and the French Declaration of Human Rights, it can be said that “sustainability” is a characteristic of the SDGs. Sustainability generally means that the ability to meet the needs of the present and not undermine the needs of future generations. [Kanai 24] discusses sustainability.

Economist Boulding (1964) points out that the meaning of the 20th century is a turning point in human history, which is a transitional period from a “civilized society” to a “post-civilized society.” The “pitfalls” that Boulding refers to here can be understood as the “pitfalls of sustainability.” Looking at the history that followed, it can be said that humanity has fallen into the four pitfalls pointed out by Boulding, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Israel’s attack on Palestine, the extreme unevenness of population overload and decline, the problem of nuclear power plants, and extreme weather events.

“A sustainability crisis means that the actions of meeting the needs of the current generation jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet the needs of future generations, such as the disharmony between the natural environment and the anthropogenic system as a whole, or the breakdown of the balance between and within subsystems within the anthropogenic system.”

Even during the time of Prince Shotoku, there were social issues such as conflicts, which may be why Article 17 of the Constitution was created. However, we are now at a turning point in human history, and it is necessary to overcome “pitfalls” that were unimaginable at that time. The balance is out of balance, and sustainability is at stake. However, we also know that there is a possibility that innovation can overcome this problem.

“Article 17 of Prince Shotoku’s Constitution,” “France’s 17-Article Constitution,” and “United Nations’ SDGs 17” were created and transmitted with a strong will to change the status quo and move the world toward the way it should be. I’m not sure if the number 17 is intentional, but I feel that the number “17” has some kind of centripetal force.

Prince Shotoku is also famous as a “bill man”, but there is such a story. [KLAUTAU, Orion 23] After the defeat of the war, under the orders of GHQ, all Japan banknotes depicting Japan Takeson, Takeuchi Shukuru, Sakaue Tamura Maro, etc. were deposited, and the use of their portraits on new notes was prohibited because they were “representatives of militarism and feudal systems”. Ichimanda, who served as governor of the Bank of Japan from June 1946, said that Prince Shotoku, unlike those figures, was a pacifist who spoke of “wa” in the 17-article constitution, and persuaded GHQ to continue using that card. Prince Shotoku advocated “peace” in his constitution, and the banknotes were left in the postwar world.

There are many major pitfalls facing Japan. It is struggling with extreme population imbalance, the problem of nuclear power plants, and the holes that Boulding pointed out. I would like to continue to develop through innovation toward the ideal state from Japan and send the world a message of how we are making that choice. We will continue to work toward the realization of “Pax Japonica”.

Corporate Planning Group,

Risako Ikeda