Via Marginal Revolution, I’ve just read the list of history’s 100 most influential people, according to a program by Japan’s NTV. I’m ashamed to say I only recognized three of the top 10. I followed the link to an earlier list, of the favorite historical figures of the Japanese. Another three out of the top ten for me, I’m afraid.
I had to find out who Sakamoto Ryoma and Oda Nobunaga, who figured in the top three of both lists. Clearly I need to read a good history of Japan. I’m curious what the results would be from other countries.
When the BBC did a similar exercise to identify Great Britons, Winston Churchill, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Princess Diana finished 1, 2, 3. When the Discovery Channel did the same thing with Americans, the honors were taken by Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. A bunch of other national editions have also been completed, which are well chronicled by Wikipedia. I haven’t, however, found similar global-spanning surveys like the ones in Japan.