Praise and regret of Japanophile, Einstein

When Einstein stayed in Japan for a lecture in 1922, he said, “During these several weeks, I have come not only to respect Japan as a scientific nation, but also love it from the standpoint of a human being. I have been in Japan for more than a month, and I have been specially impressed by how modest and sincere Japanese people are.

For me who have visited many parts of the world, it was the first time to see people with such feelings and good minds. Japanese architecture, paintings, other art and nature which I came in contact with, mountains, rivers, trees and plants are all beautiful. The structure of Japan houses harmonize with nature and have a very special value.

I hope that Japanese people will not be influenced by Europe in this matter. Before coming in contact with the West, Japanese had modesty,  humbleness and the pure and quiet heart which all people should have. I hope that they keep this mind and don’t forget it.”

Einstein was a German Jew and had emigrated to the U.S.A., but he got to know about Hitler’s atomic bomb development in Nazis Germany, so he advised President Roosevelt to start production of atomic bombs in August 1939.  From the atomic bombs, we could learn about his special theory of relativity in which a material can be converted into energy. He later strongly objected to atomic bombs being used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it was still carried out.

He said, “I committed one serious fault in my whole life. It was when I advised President Roosevelt to make atomic bombs.” “I would have destroyed the formula that I discovered in 1905 if I had known of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”, he told sadly. He appealed for nuclear weapon extinction and abolition of wars till the end of his life, and the “Russell-Einstein Manifesto” which he signed just before his death, was inherited by the Pugwash Conference.