Soon I am going on vacation for a few days, and I am going to do like Memphish and get some reading time in. Recently I starting re-watching the 1980s TV mini-series "Shogun", and I also found an online PDF of a book called "Learning From Shogun". The book is a very thorough annotation of Clavell's inspiration for his Shogun story. I can't wait to start it, as I'm a total 'Japan-o-phile'.
Thinking about the isolation of the island of Japan before it was noticed by the Western trade world reminded me of the LOST island. Up to now I have had a hard time comprehending the isolation factor of the island in respect to why those residing on it (like Ben and the "Originals", not the recruits like Juliet) would want the island to remain isolated. It's curious to witness the behavior of the indigenous Others who willingly live separated and hidden from the world. It's also shocking to see the way the isolationists respond to the castaways as aggressive intruders, irrespective of the fact that they got dumped there involuntarily via a plane crash. The story of the shipwrecked captain in Shogun illustrates what that is like also.
To the Losties, the inhabitants of LOST island are a bizarre society similar to how Japan must have looked to Occidental explorers when they first arrived. I've always wondered in awe about how Japan's isolation from the known Western world allowed it to grow into an almost alien culture. Granted, it's roots are from the same Oriental tree as China, and there are similarities. But pre-modern Japan was like a mystical world -- a plant cutting that grew on its own away from almost any cross-pollination influences. This is what makes Japan so interesting to me, its like a lone patch of culture that evolved into its own universe.
That's how the LOST island Others appear to the viewers and the castaways as well. The Post-Purgers evolved into a peculiar (I say dystopian) society, under various influences that we don't know much about yet. They don't seem to think with the same logic, or follow the same rules of conduct, as the world that we live in at all. They have their own ideas of what is right and wrong, or good and bad, just like in Japan before it was touched by The West. We have been given hints that there are very good reasons why the island must remain isolated and protected, but it is still too soon to comprehend. In the same way that Captain Blackthorn was shocked by how barbarian the Japanese culture seemed to his moral code, we can't fathom why Ben goes around hurting and deceiving people to further his mysterious cause that he apparently feels is bigger and more important than the smaller lives that he ruins in the wake of his determination. I can't wait to see how TPTB are going to explain all this to us. And to see if any of the Losties become sympathetic to the Others and make a life for themselves on the island like Blackthorn did in Shogun.