Yoshizen's Blog

Chrysanthemum and Sword

While ago I came across two peculiar quotations both from the same book

“ The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” written by an American Anthropologist Ruth Benedict.

One was made by the ousted Japanese PM Kan saying  [Culture of Shame] out of the book.

Other was,  in reference to my description somewhere [keep one’s place and to do the job which was given]

—- one of my friend asked me “Is that the same, what Ruth Benedict said in her book ?”


—– What made me surprise was that this book is not yet dead and still read by the people 🙂

It seems this book is still a distinctive reference when people try to learn the Japanese culture though, shame,

it was hastily written on her misunderstanding of the culture and people’s psychology.


As Ruth Benedict’s coined notion of  [Japanese Culture of Shame] against [Western Culture of Sin]

are both based on her miss-observations of both cultures —–

*  If  her observations had even a shred of truth, the fact such as [ 90% of the lost money totalling

£23 millions, found in the disaster zone of Japan, has returned to the rightful owner ] ! ! !

could ever happened.  While nobody was watching, why they bothered to take the money to the police  ?

And why no police man put the money into his pocket,  even in the time of utter chaos  ?

*  And, there were so many excuse or justification of the Riot and the Looting happened in

this country,  expressed even in the comments to my Blog.    Why ? ??


The notion of the [Shame] in the Japanese culture is not against other’s eyes but to

the Eyes of the Heaven —– therefore, no escape or excuse.

And this feeling has been so deeply sublimated, even Japanese themselves doesn’t know Why = it is almost

a chemical effect,  like a feeling of  loathe a filth. —– (This is the Ethos originated from the ancient Shinto )


In the western culture, the Right or Wrong = Morality is based on the Commandment written and

given by their Judea Christian God —– therefore, how to read it (and how to interpret ) is

depend on the case.

As the God was designed like as a person,  he use the same language and may answer you and

the matter may be negotiable with a sacrificed offering.

So that, with an excuse there is no absolute Morality.   Wrong may be easily changed to Right.

Worse still,  when the influence of the religion evaporated,  there is no basis of  Morality left.

—– yet still, Ruth Benedict thought that the western Morality is absolute and Japanese one is relative   😀

( In the same shoddy eyes,  she couldn’t see the fundamental pattern of the Japanese Ethos is the Zen —– but

she mistook it as the Confucianism)

4 Responses

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  1. Monster Beats Dre said, on September 21, 2011 at 11:36

    I must most of us enjoy anyone your time and effort you earn within building this website post. I’m hoping precisely the same finest write-up by way of you actually down the road as well. In reality your own inventive composing competence provides motivated me to start our blog site these days. Actually the blogging and site-building is dispersing it is wings easily. Ones report may be a fine kind of it.

  2. yoshizen said, on September 21, 2011 at 11:56

    Sound funny though, I’m still not shure, silence might be the gold 😀

  3. RK Henderson said, on March 6, 2012 at 06:19

    Yoshi, if it’s any consolation, among Westerners who know your people and country well, you have a reputation for astonishing honesty, compared to our cultures. When you say that large sums of money have been found and returned to their owners, that is entirely in keeping with what I understand of Japanese norms. I haven’t read Ruth Benedict, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of her observations, but rest assured that no-one here thinks Japan has a criminality problem.


    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit.

    • yoshizen said, on March 6, 2012 at 10:02

      Of cause, nobody knows what was the real total = 23M could have been only
      among the 50M lost.
      And of cause, Japan still has crimes. But the criminals does know what
      they have done, and DON’T complain harsh prison condition, brandishing
      the Human Right. ( They knew they have forfeited it by themselves)

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