Quote Japan

Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

Statements in Shutting Out the Sun that could be about almost anywhere

“young Japanese continue to refuse to do the dirty and dangerous unskilled labor and service work their parents performed” pg 278

– “Many Japanese now engage in “doctor shopping”, bouncing from pharmacologist to acupuncturist to Chinese herb dispensary, hoping to find one who can relieve their crushing mental fatigue” Shutting Out the Sun pg 211-2

– “16 pecent of females and 11 percent of males [in small and medium-sized companies] said they suffer from moderate or severe depression” pg 202. Even though asking people is hardly scientific, I hardly think it would differ much in the UK

– Japan lags behind the US in the use of class-action lawsuits and talk radio (pg 114)

– Back bench MPs who speak out against their party’s policies find that this blocks their access to powerful positions (pg 115)

 – MPs with rural constituencies “protect agricultural subsidies” (pg 115)

–  “Japanese newspapers carry virtually identical stories each day” (pg 116)

Obviously a man who’s never been in the UK when David Beckham did something “newsworthy”

– The Japanese government tried to spend its way out of recession (pg 109- 110)

– When government revenue dropped, the LDP raised taxes (pg 110)

– Japan found it easier to motivate itself when it was poor and playing catch up than when most people had a comfortable life comparable to the West

– “Meiji Japan was never compelled to abandon… its sense of being superior to other Asians” pg 123.

Neither were the Koreans, Chinese, Thais, Indians…

– “in the first half of the twentieth century, Japan remained an autocratic state…” pg 123.

And what percentage of the world’s population had a vote at that time??

– “The Japanese… never engaged in the demonstrations, public protest, struggle, and confrontation… through which democratic government is usually forged…”

The Japanese did have student riots (if not before democracy was declared, at least to bring about what they thought was really democracy), and most nations come to democracy as an unplanned byproduct of nationalist and other struggles or have it given to them on a plate, e.g. UK, USA, Spain, India, Russia, most ex-colonies, Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, etc etc. And in most of the rest onJy a tiny minority took part in any protest, so it is hard to see how the whole nation, let alone future generations, can gain anything from it.

– “A Japanese must cast his gaze out, not within, to discern right and wrong” pg 125

If that wasn’t true everywhere, why do people so often follow the religion and political beliefs of their parents and other people round them?

– The fact that Japanese live in a safe country and mainly interact with people they already know or have a connection with makes them more suspicious and nervous outside their ’safe zone’.(pg135-139)

As mentioned in Bowling for Columbine, the same is true for people who live in American gated communitiesJust Japan?

– “The vast majority of Japanese business…remains far less globally focused than Toyota” pg 141

And how many companies in America are more globally focused than Toyota (not large companies, note, just companies)

– He says that Japan’s long successful economic model has to change, but it is happening slowly

It took the UK about a century of much greater decline

– He says the Japanese economy is not as dynamic as China’s or the USA’s

-”none of them seemed to see any incongruity between the outlandish cost of the goods they clamoured for and… the rising number of homeless” Shutting Out the Sun pg 149

-”As the nation grew affluent, young adults especially began to resist the pressure of self-denial and moderation an older system had thrust upon them” pg 152

Sounds not only like every nation, but also like every family that ever got rich

– “nothing in [the Japanese system]… seems to inculcate fundamental tolerance and compassion”

 Shutting Out the Sun pg 121. I don’t know where he’s been living, but I’m on my 8th country and have yet to find a system that is based on tolerance and compassion.

– “sixty years after the end of World War Two, it is startling to realize how little Japanese values really have changed”

?? Surely it would be more startling if a country did change its fundamental values in only 60 years, especially 60 successful ones. Seeing as how Japan has almost completely lost Emperor worship, bullying by mother in laws, real religious feeling in weddings and funerals, respect for civil servants ,fear of the police, Marxist domination of academia ,and a desire to have an army and an empire, that makes for more of a change than any other country I know. But of course he doesn’t mean “changed”, he means “become more like us”

– The Japanese government had to use public money to bail out financial institutions

– The Japanese government protects domestic companies from competition until forced to change

– Only a small percentage of Japanese companies are internationally competitive

– The Japanese government was caught out by the end of the financial bubble

– People who start up small companies that go against vested interests like low cost airlines feel like the system is against them

– In Japan, geniuses are often considered to be weirdoes

– The Japanese government do not copy the American economic model both to save the public from its side effects and to keep the elite in place

– Some Japanese families are unhappy, and that can lead to screwed up kids

-Young people in Japan are looking round for new values because they don’t accept those of their parents. This process can be difficult

– Japanese mothers are upset and lacking purpose when their children no longer depend on them and leave home

– The Japanese is so slow to accept new medical disorders and social problems that people suffering from it and their parents are forced to start pressure groups and support groups

– Some very intelligent and sensitive people have trouble fitting into Japanese society and find escape by shutting themselves away in their rooms, immersing themselves in a fantasy world or a hobby, or leaving the country

– Some young Japanese are unhappy due to bullying due to being different, pressure from parents and teachers to succeed, claustrophobic nuclear families, apathy, lack of goals, doubts about the society they live in, being a spoiled only child, Most young Japanese don’t understand that individualism includes individual responsibility

-Modern Japanese suburbs are drab, characterless places without a sense of community

– “women in growing numbers are saying no to marriage and motherhood… Alcoholism, depression, and divorce are increasing. Violence among teenagers grows more pronounced…Family life is fraying…many young adults… obsess over pursuit of brand-name goods, or retreat into the world of pop culture…” pg 145.

Sounds like all the typical problems of affluence to me, none of which the Americans seem to have found a solution for- and yet somehow his points are that these problems are caused by the lack of the principles that support life in the West. Or maybe he is saying the problem is that the Japanese think that there is no point. Well, there is no point, and I think the Japanese cope with that truth a lot better than most. To give the most famous example of someone who found a higher calling to take away the pointlessness of their affluent existence, would Osama Bin Laden be a good role model for the godless materialistic Japanese youth?

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