Be Japanese

Apr 30, 2022Blog, Culture, Shinto

Be Japanese

The Japanese are born and raised in an ancient culture based upon kata.

Under strict conditioning of kata over centuries, each Japanese naturally developed a sixth sense as to aesthetics in a strictly Japanese Way.

Form, order, and process are the three pillars of Japanese society and the foundations of their ancient system.

From centuries past, the Japanese were acutely aware of the aesthetics of design, extending into the sublime Japanese societal protocol of form, order, and process, which are critical for a successful life in Japanese society.

Japanese Rock Garden - Land Of The Rising Son

Island people are isolated by circumstance and over centuries of living within the kata system the Japanese were rarely exposed to other customs, behaviour, or habits.

This naturally led the Japanese to become acutely sensitive to any deviation from the Japanese way of doing things.

Even with the introduction of industrialism into Japan in the 1860s, the disappearance of the samurai class did not end Japanese kata culture.Industrial Japan - Land Of The Rising Son

The way of kata has been carefully nurtured and thoroughly curated over millennia and is an ingrained part of the Japanese spirit reaching into the very fiber of what it means to be Japanese.

The core philosophy of shi kata (way of doing) is evolutionary, and an integral part of the Japanese psyche.

The way of kata is expressed not only inside the nooks and crannies of the Japanese language, but is also deeply embedded in the habits and customs of the Japanese.

Japan’s ancient kata culture continued to evolve after the downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate as the unwritten protocol of the kata system were naturally infused into the industrialized economy of Japan starting from the Meiji restoration in 1867.

Those who did not conform to the traditional way of kata in both attitudes and behaviour were rejected by the higher levels of the evolving Japanese system.

Companies and organizations weeded out candidates who did not conform to the national mold.

Japanese fans cleaning up the stadium after soccer match - Land Of The Rising Son

One can still observe meticulously structured elementary and secondary education with very specific kata this very day in modern Japan.

From the start of Japanese compulsory education, protocol such as identical uniforms and bowing, strict routines for classroom performance, and serving fellow pupil’s lunch are all protocol of societal form, order, and process.

The system is designed to mold its citizens into a homogenized product of Japanese culture, shaping them into what it means to be Japanese.

The overall result of all Japanese being subjected to this strict molding process during childhood and their teen years was a strengthening of a common set of “Japanese” characteristics.

Bowing in Japan society protocol Form Order Process - Land Of The Rising Son

These unified characteristics play an innovative role in Japan, and even more so now, as the kata system applies to everyone, not just those of the privileged class.

One could almost say the Japanese are forerunners of the equality and diversity protocol due to the Meiji restoration, and those from any class who could conform to these strict societal edicts could be successful inside the “System.”

These characteristics included:

1. A compulsion to work together in clearly defined exclusive groups.

2. A fierce loyalty to their group and to Japan.

3. A highly developed sense of balance, form, order, and process.

4. An intuitive feel for precision, accuracy, and correctness.

5. Extraordinary manual dexterity and the ability to work especially well on small sophisticated things.

6. A predisposition to apply themselves with single-minded dedication to the task at hand.

7. An overwhelming desire to excel and to be as good as or better than anyone else.

Discipline, patience and loyalty - Land Of The Rising Son

On an important cultural note: Even if one excels, it is imperative to downplay the talent behind a mask of humility in order to maintain internal harmony.

Ponder this reality: An entire nation physically and mentally conditioned in form, order, and process have a significant advantage over people who are less trained, and work from a state of individualistic egotism as opposed to Japanese groupism and community.

Admirable qualities are also accompanied by negative characteristics as well.

1. Inability to think and act independently.

2. Stereotyping everyone in terms of family, education, university, company size, and position.

3. A tendency to do nothing rather than cause any kind of friction.

4. A tendency to maintain the status quo until pressured from the outside.

5. Inability to identify themselves with other nationalities and races.

The foundation of Japanese society is firmly rooted in kata culture, and embodies the spirit of form, order, and process of the Japanese Way.

Ise Jingu Banner - Land Of The Rising Son