Yoshizen's Blog

Why not iPod ?

Posted in Belief system, Direct Transmission, East and West, Ichijo, Mushin, Subconsciousness, Zen by yoshizen on April 14, 2010

I’ve come across an article analyzing the  Japanese industry.  The author was questioning why Japanese

couldn’t produce really novel product such as like iPod or iPhone.

The author’s view was that the Japanese is reluctant to break the convention and the established frame work,

yet still, good to play within its frame work and able to maximize the quality and its technical possibility.


In fact this is exactly what I’ve written before ” to achieve the maximum in the restriction, is the Zen”

and this is the evidence of how Japanese psyche is deeply entwined to the Zen tradition. (even today ! )

———- Here the pros and cons of Zen were clearly exposed.    I don’t think any Japanese is aware, this

psyche is originated from the Zen Ethos.  Since Soto Zen prohibit the transmission by the word,  people

learn it through the way to carry out the daily life, and as it is there always and repeating it every day,

it became a subconscious nature——- therefore it is impossible to objectively analyze. —— Hence,

it is very difficult to change.

When this Ethos was directed to one practice, such as particular sports, the dedication of literally

body and the soul, yield fantastic result. Like the performance of the Japanese Figure Skater, Mao Asada.

———- ( though, to my eyes, the performance of  Korean Skater Kim  showed more genetic

feminine and delicate flow of movement—— genetically spontaneous  movement is more natural than

the learned movement, of cause)


Though, when this Zen effect appeared in the corporate organization, and when they  faced to totally new,

unknown situation, they are slow to adapt and change.    Since everybody, top to bottom are living and

acting according to the same established frame work and the Ethos,  someone’s new idea would be seen as a

crazy delusion and a destruction to the existing business.

So that the revolutionary new idea is only bore out from the new organization which haven’t established their

own frame work and the Ethos yet.   The new idea and the approach of the Sony or Honda  WAS  the typical

sample of this, when they started out of the ash of world war 2.  (Still they had attitude of  Zen tradition )

The trouble of the industry now, the business got to be globally huge, not only the size of capital, but also

the sheer size of bureaucratic system which always tend to resist the change.

When  SONY  faced the end of era of optical disc (CD),  they resisted the trend of the recording media

toward the  Solid Memory , by cringing CD system while trying Mini Disc and their own signal compression

system called Atrack (saying 50 CD musics into one disc) —–  without  success.     As they resisted the

revolution, they completely missed the ship and eat the dust of iPod and new era.

I don’t believe the front line engineers didn’t see the latest development in the technical front and the

management was kept ignorant, though they couldn’t guillotine  the neck of the dieing CD and Mini-Disc.

( It was the complete misjudgment of the new Aristocrat who started from a small work shop of

Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (later Totsu-ko) in Ohsaki, Tokyo. ——–I’ve handled an old tape recorder of

Totsu-ko with its magnetic paper tape when I was in my junior school’s Radio-club)

——- Try to avoid the system drown in the stagnant water,  Honda having the famous ” Proposal Scheme”

which any staff or worker can give a new idea, but the trouble may not just in a small technical

improvement but needs the large-scale system change, which is hard to accept and implement.

( It is  the situation of so-called  ” Paradigm sift “)

It is the demerit to share the same emotion  from the top to bottom, especially as its Ethos is deeply sublimated.

As in the Zen tradition,  this Ethos  was carried by the  “Just Do It”  practice,  as the  Crafts man’s spirit.

Make things / Engineering  of Hardware,  the pride and spirit is entwined with its work,  which can not to be

easily changed.  (Electronical coding / Soft Program can be changed without changing production system )

(Though it was not the problem of ” Concentrate to the Task”  but couldn’t see the direction

which is not exist on front of eyes yet —— direction can only be seen by detached eyes in distance.

But, when the one has been shackled into the system, it is hard to maintain detached eyes.)


It may seems to be a contradiction from above, though the Zen itself is not straining the creativity, far from

it, the creativity can have even more freedom with the Zen.  And I’ll talk about this in the following post.


4 Responses

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  1. yonderwindow said, on April 16, 2010 at 01:41

    “to achieve the maximum in restriction” is a very clever maxim. i like it.

  2. yoshizen said, on April 16, 2010 at 02:44

    Thank you to put good comment.
    Though it may not a maxim as it didn’t come from my brain but from my guts feeling
    when I was climbing the mountain or sculpting figures while struggling with the nature
    of the materials.

  3. limewire said, on April 30, 2010 at 20:58

    lol cool story dude.

    • yoshizen said, on April 30, 2010 at 21:45

      Thank you.
      By the way, I’ve been wondering the meaning of ” IoI ” —–? 😀
      (Seems, its originated from Japan though —-? )

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