Nature never deceives us: it is always we
who deceive ourselves.
-- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile
I am not an Athenian nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
-- Socrates, quoted in Plutarch, Of Banishment
It is ironic that fifty-two years before hosting the 1997 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the city of Kyoto had barely missed being destroyed. It was one of four cities being considered as primary targets by President Harry Truman's secretary of war, Henry L. Stimson, and General Leslie Groves, head of the successful A-bomb project at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The others were Kokura, Hiroshima, and Niigata.
Designated the site of a new capital by the emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto was laid out in the manner of Changan, the capital of China's Tang dynasty. It served as the seat of the emperors for more than 1,000 years until the Imperial Household moved to Tokyo in 1868, after the Meiji Restoration. Nevertheless, Japan's rulers were still enthroned in the former imperial palace, and Kyoto remained the center of Japanese culture. Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, which together number more than 2,000, dominate the urban landscape. Inside the walls of these sacred structures are Japan's most important works of art: paintings, carvings, exquisite silks, fine porcelain, cloisonné, and masterful examples of calligraphy. Japanese theater was founded in Kyoto, and the city is surpassed only by Tokyo in the number of its institutions of