Everyone needs to create their own personal space--whether it be in their dorm, their room or their own special study nook in Lamont. Jim Fowler '03 created his own country. Known by its citizens as the Kisone Republic, its storied history is documented on Fowler's Harvard homepage: .
Fowler has only recently been cleared of charges in the "Landgate" scandal, in which he was accused of reallocating public land to "mysterious foreign friends with questionable agendas" and to powerful citizens of the Kisone Republic. His accusers believed he was giving these large gifts as a means of gaining support for his political platform. Fowler is First Citizen of the Kisone Republic, a peaceful micronation located in various parts of Mankato, Minn., and the airspace surrounding it. Currently, Fowler's dorm room is "the floating city" of the Republic.
The Republic used to be a very large entity in ancient times, perhaps one million people. The ancient Kisone had a language which is still in the recovery process, as there were many dialects. However, though maps of the original land mass have been recovered, a land mass matching it has not been found in the modern world. It is theorized that it could have sunk like the lost city of Atlantis, or there could have been extraterrestrial involvement in its disappearance. The modern lack of unclaimed land led Fowler to take over a few patches of Mankato, specifically a teacher's office at Mankato West High School. A great deal of air space was also declared to be the property of the Kisone Republic. A stiff tariff was imposed upon people entering the office, but it proved hard to maintain.
The Kisone people are "more mentally peaceful than physically peaceful," says Fowler. However, they do follow U.S. laws, at least most of the time. The Republic has yet to achieve diplomatic recognition with major nations, but it is internationally known. It has been contacted by a separatist group in Norway, along with another group in Iowa.
Fowler assumed his title as First Citizen of the Kisone Republic in 1996. However, his rise to power was somewhat unofficial. He was close friends with his predecessor, Melvin Anderson, and when Anderson was exiled, Fowler became First Citizen.
Unfortunately, the citizens of the Republic who hold governmental posts have been scattered across the United States this year. With the Tribunal unable to convene, and the head of state adjusting to life at Harvard (now without the burden of Landgate charges), there has not been much going on in the Kisone. Despite the power possessed by many Harvard undergrads, "I believe I'm the only head of state in the freshman class," Fowler says. He seeks people who are interested in becoming citizens of the Republic in hopes of returning it to its former glory.