Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Former Encyclopedia Britannica Salesman Tells Japanese How to Have moreConfidence
Former Encyclopedia Britannica Salesman Tells Japanese How to Have more Confidence, a photo by timtak on Flickr.
Just as post-war Japanese admire Western looks, they also attempt to import Western psychology. As a result, Japanese today consider themselves ugly if they have traditional Japanese looks(Knowner, 2004). The results of importing Western popular psychology, without the religio-cultural framework, may be even more disasterous.
"Put all negative thoughts out of your mind" the author urges. What of the beauty of reflecting upon ones mistakes (hansei) in order to achieve self improvement (kaizen)? "Praise yourself when you achieve your goals", he says. In the traditional view of things in Japan, the important praise is the gratitude that one gets from others, and self-praise is just "self-satisfaction" (jikomanzoku, a derogatory term). "Setting your goals too high will result in loss of self image" he says. Indeed Westerners are inclined to give up at things that they fail at, and seek tasks that suit their 'individual' aptitudes, wereas Japanese are more inclined to believe that human potential has no limits (Heine et al, 2001).
Sadly, the Japanese feel that they need more confidence, so the book has sold 110,000 copies. Perhaps this book is the intellectual equivalent of hair dye, or eyelid glue. If I were Japanese I would read it with a pinch of Soy Sauce.
Image copyright Hitoshi Aoki (2009)"Jishin no Tsukurikata (How to make self-Confidence)"
Labels: culture, japan, japanese culture, nihobunka, nihonbunka, theory, 日本文化
This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.