Japanese way of thinking
Japanese way of thinking
"The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"
Japanese respond excessively.
"The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" was the first book which described Japanese culture comparing with the Occidental culture. Ruth Benedict wrote it. It was published in 1946, the next year of the end of the Pacific War.
And it was translated in Japanese in 1948. Japanese were surprised and responded with rejection. Many Japanese thought she had misunderstood about Japanese. Very many Japanese have argued against it.
Ironically I see she is right on the response of Japanese. She said in the 8th chapter "Clearing one's name", "It is hard for us to realize the deadly seriousness that attaches to light remarks in Japan."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chrysanthemum_and_the_Sword
Japanese look like strange.
We, Japanese think we are common. But other people think Japanese are strange. It is hard for us to recognize that.
That book has very many misunderstandings in it. We cannot help telling them. In fact, many Japanese have done.
I also notice that her work showed it is very difficult for other people to understand Japanese. English cannot describe Japanese. She was not Japanese and she didn't have Japanese way of thinking. It is natural that she could not describe Japanese exactly. It is great that she showed she could not.
Japanese have changed.
She thought of Japanese before 1946. Japanese have changed after the Pacific War. She emphasized that Japanese can change action. As she said, we have learned American way of thinking and accepted rationalism. We have given up old style.
Recent Japanese think "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" is quite different from us.
We have changed widely. Japanese traditional cultures have disappeared. Some Japanese feel sad.
Aren't we what we were? Maybe, yes. But maybe no at the same time.
We have changed all our history, not only post war days. Changing us is what we were and what we are. We have Japanese way of thinking now. But we express the way with the different styles.
Pay it forward
She said "On" is the unique culture of Japanese. I have written about En" in the article . "On" and "En" are very important words to understand Japanese.
She described "On" as debt. She know the side of "On" as what we must return. That is right. On the side, we are restricted by "On". On the other side, we can live better life by "On".
If "On" only restrict us, why don't we give up the culture of "On"?
Pay it forward or paying it forward refers to repaying the good deeds one has received by doing good things for other unrelated people. "Pay it forward" is a side of "On".
I tell more about "On" on the next article.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_It_Forward_(film)