Welcome, to a high-pressured-high-caffeine-extremely-sleepy kind of afternoon.
So, this last couple of days, while I’m spinning for inspiration, i impulsively got so amazed with this tiny country called Japan.
Why so random?
I don’t know, maybe the search for reasons of this crazy economic hazardous crisis lead to a new discovery of this wonder country.
Have you ever wondered, how despite severe recessions and crises along with periodically natural disaster, Japan stands still as strong opponent in world industrialized competition with relatively stable and free political situation compared to other leading nations and yet still culturally rich?
Not to mention, how they could combine so perfectly: the core oriental value they learned from China, slowly Americanized without being American in time of USA colonialization, yet also not extremely late to the latest Europeanization bandwagon that happened, I believed, almost around the world.
They seemed to be able to imitate, adapt and most importantly, improved the idea they soak from these giant countries.
Let’s elaborate this judgement one by one:
If we looking on the oh-so-famous rice-sowing techniques Japan famous of, or the Confucianism and religious value they now carry, have we ever question which country came with that idea first?
I believe the technique originally came from China
Or the facts that Japan also learn about governmental, political and legal system; not to mention the army and navy, system of education and even manners. How Japan now also has already implemented German method of applying medicine is the actual prove of Europeanization.
How modern method of living an urban style that America has introduced, like listening to heavy music and making everything portable, to Western-style rooms and furniture or clothing style, that has alternate their traditional Kimono for daily appearances, now common to be found in streets of Japan.
Okay, people might think that this is an extremely common thing that happened in the modernization of a country.
But the unique thing I found about Japan is this:
Japan has now successfully improved foreign-ideas into their original idea, and then re-exports it to the world.
Have you ever wonder, even though Japanese is not the one who originally invented radio, clock or flashlight, Japanese IS the first one who combined it all into one commodity?
Or how their railway department is the fastest AND most punctual train around the world, although the first railway system were invented in Europe?
Foreigner thought speaking, I think this is all due to Japanese tend to develop something based on future expectation that they drew, which might happened to them.
Seeing they suffered with demographic crisis as a country full of island, they build a modernized railway system. Seeing the possible needs of automatic workforce in the future, they build human-like robots. Seeing the possibility of major natural disaster, they developed evacuation guide system based on GPS technology and wireless network communications that they adapted from western country. The natures of Japanese societies, which planted for centuries and has been their core value of life, become the master piece of their country development.
But Japan was not resistant to extreme changes.
With recent Shinzo Abe decision to shift their pacifism military constitution, to finally free on supporting allied forces in conflicts after being absent from battle for 70 years since World War II, I do think that even this country who has been famous for keeping their identity and values right in their chest, is also scared of the bigger power.
Anyway, I bet it will be fascinating to watch why and how Japan face this changes, with history of how they could retain their independency while incorporating elements from competing countries, and even alternate those to be advantageous to them.
As one European once said,
“Japan has adopted all of our new inventions and discoveries, has tested all systems found in Europe and has applied them in a different form, altering them as much as it was necessary to make their country more powerful.
Japan used Europe as the ladder to climb onto the top of the Far East”
This small country really is, the baby lion of this world we’re living in.