Sunday, August 7, 2022

Japan Spotlight: The “We” Spirit

March 22, 2011  
Filed under Global Spotlight

japan spotlight: spirit of unityThere’s a collective spirit at play in the Land of the Rising Sun. This is how the Japanese operate, and it’s also the reason why there have been no reported incidents of looting or disorder in the midst of the recent devastation (See FT.com). People are scratching their heads wondering, how in the world?

Japan’s cultural beliefs and customs are rooted in Shintoism and Buddhism, which highly values peace and harmony, being others focused for the betterment of all, and being grateful. And when you add that with a 99 percent literacy rate, you get one of the most self-disciplined (technologically advanced) and moralistic societies in the world, where it’s not uncommon to find your wallet again hours later after accidentally leaving it behind somewhere. Sure, it’s a generalization but Japanese people simply don’t steal.

This is the nation that created Sony, Honda, Nintendo and, how can we forget, Hello Kitty. Japan is also world-famous for their anime, manga and bloodcurdling horror films—which gives us a snippet into their darker side of life where not everything is calm and stoic. High suicide rates ravage the nation. But leaving dark parts aside, there’s a lot we can learn from there.

Japan’s strength is in its communal attitude that strays from being individualistic. The “we” mentality is played out in all aspects of life including in times of calamity, as well as in the workplace where desks are usually arranged side by side in a large open space instead of individual cubicles.

Though the golden rule of putting others first is not a concept rooted in Americans, Japan’s peaceful and collective response to all the chaos teaches us a thing or two about life and what ingredient we’ve been missing all along.

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