Monday, March 14, 2011

Culture and Respect in Japan

I have been very impressed by the fact that people in Japan have remained so calm. The pictures that we see are heartbreaking. The news reports are now talking about bodies are washing up on shore and there are not enough body bags and coffins for all the dead. They are living with the fear of nuclear meltdown which could have catastrophic effects on generations to come. The people have little food, in many cases they have no power, and to add insult to injury snow is in the forecast.

What you are not seeing in Japan is looting. You are hearing stories of vendors who are lowering prices and in some cases giving emergency supplies to people in need. People are waiting in line in an orderly fashion even though gas lines can last for hours. In the Japanese culture, respect is considered to be of the highest importance. The belief system that when you shame yourself you bring shame onto the entire family.

It leaves one to wonder why other cultures cannot do the same during times of trouble? The looting in the aftermath of the earthquake in Chile last year was so severe that troops had to be brought in to get it under control. At one point the army resorted to using water hoses to stop the looting of banks and electronic stores, where people were taking plasma televisions and cash.

The same thing happened after Katrina in New Orleans: A quote from a man who in the flood ravaged city the day after the levees broke.

“To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it’s an opportunity to get back at society,”
It would seem to me the difference between the events is only the mentality of the people who were afflicted by the tragedies. In Japan the culture is that you respect authority, it seems in many other parts of the world the culture is that the government owes you something. The next time someone says to you that the culture of a society doesn't matter, remind them of this.


Vidimir Gardner87 said...

and meanwhile this Haiti/Katrina style looting is going on, Obama is spending us into oblivion!

Have you seen THIS??? This video makes a hilarious joke out of all of it:


Justin said...

While watching the news coverage of this story at lunch today, I had the very same thought. It only heightened my respect for the stoic discipline and control in Japanese culture. If I ever move away from America, I'm thinking Japan might be somewhere I'd enjoy living.

Opus #6 said...

I bet the so-called oppressed of New Orleans were lazy and blamed others. Japan has a high work ethic. All of this goes hand-in-hand.

Zilla/MJ said...

Excellent observations, I was just recently talking with a friend about the same thing. Sharing to the A-C page on facebook.

The_Kid said...

You wouldn't see conservatives looting either. Or leaving mounds of trash at an event. Or climbing the walls of the Wisconsin State Capitol building and howling at politicians like monkeys.

Rotti said...

The people in Fl were calm, well behaved and helped each other after the hurricanes a few yrs back. What happened in New Orleans is sick, sick. It starts with the leadership, and New Orleans had poor leadership.

Mike Rich said...

As a sailor in the US Navy, I got the opportunity to visit the Land of the Rising Sun. The people I encountered were polite if not openly inviting but, as I was in and around a military base, I expected a certain degree of suspicion against a gaijin, especially a darker skinned gaijin.
What I did notice was a sense of pride in the people. What we in the states call "workaholics" would wither under the typical week in the lives of the average Japanese citizen.
For there to be little to no looting is not surprising. Nor is it racist to pose the question. I have been reading on other sites how the question is being posed to race bait. I propose the question be asked by any segment of our society that looks the other way or excuses themselves because of past travesties.
Where are our so-called leaders? And why are they not pointing to this society and asking why not us?

Just a conservative girl said...

First, thanks for serving.

You know I shouldn't be shocked that some people are trying to make it about race, but I am.

This has nothing to do with skin color, it has to do with respect, something that has been long lost in our culture.

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