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Trilogy of Nations: Japan, Korea, and China with Sam Mehta

Public Lecture Series with Sam Mehta

During the last ice age, the sea level was low enough to expose Japan, Korea and China as a part of the single landmass. The story of these East Asian countries has been interlinked ever since. China of course is the largest and had the most influence on Japan and Korea. The Chinese-influenced cultures have evolved differently based on their unique geography, history and culture. However, they are many similarities, thus appropriately the three great economies of Japan, Korea and China are often referred to as a trilogy of nations.

Throughout the history of Japan, Korea and China, a cultural legacy of Confucianism was infused into each country’s respective societies and had a profound effect on all aspects of life. Buddhism spread from China to Korea and Japan that helped shape spiritual codes of the societies. Contacts with European traders and missionaries shaped developments in the later centuries leading to a dramatic period of WWII. Since then the three great nations have chosen to shed feudal or imperial systems of government and experimented with communism or capitalism. Japan, Korea and China represent three good examples of modern economic miracles that have lifted millions of people out of poverty. However, they all have unique challenges as the 21st century unfolds and are pursuing different course for continued prosperity.

Through images and words, Mehta has attempted to capture the fascinating people and places of this trilogy of nations. He will highlight the elements that bind them together and the self-interest and individualities that pull them apart. In the narration, he will depict the current state of affairs in these countries and shares his views on the differing challenges ahead. Japan is a nation in search of a new path since its economic progress has been stagnant for the past two decades. South Korea is at a crossroads, having to chart a course that continues prosperity yet avoids the social and economic factors that beleaguer Japan. China continues its rapid growth, while trying to expand the consumer side of its economy and its military power.

Despite slower growth, Japan, Korea, and China are experiencing a steady improvement in Human Development Index. They continue to be on the leading edge of creativity and innovation. The vibrancy observed everywhere in the region surely validates the argument that GDP may no longer be the only way to measure growth.

There are lessons to be learned from the West, and the West, too, has lessons to learn from East Asia’s experiences with the accelerating forces of globalization and staggering technological change. This lecture is thus relevant for all.



Suresh (Sam) Mehta is a retired corporate executive with a life-long passion for photography, history, and adventure travel. He has traveled the world to many far-flung destinations. These journeys have inspired several books: Trilogy of Nations: Japan, Korea & China, Silk Road: People and Place and Himalayas: People and Places. All of Sam’s books are given as tokens of appreciation to donors of a designated charity, and they are not for sale. Sam’s last books raised money for the American Himalayan Foundation, which combats girl trafficking through education. For the latest book, topic of today’s lecture, Sam has selected another organization focused on educating underprivileged children: Pratham USA.

Sam takes his photographs in digital format with Canon 5D cameras and various Canon lenses. He is an active member of the famed The Explorers Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club and is a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography. His formal education includes an MBA from Columbia University in New York and a BS in engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India.

Date: Monday April 8, 2019

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price: $5 with a valid student ID at the door

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