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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The Invasion of Dialogue Vs. Heejun Kimism

The Invasion of Dialogue Vs. Heejun Kimism by timtak
The Invasion of Dialogue Vs. Heejun Kimism, a photo by timtak on Flickr.

It is nothing new. Japanese people who have been abroad marvel at the extent to which Europeans debate, hold dialogue about everything, with everything, even with themselves. And some of them, , such as the authors of this book (Kitagawa and Hirata, 2008) wish to re-import this love of language back to Japan. They lament (in an almost direct emulation of Nakajima) that "Japan has no Dialogue."

Heejun Kim demonstrates however, that language actually gets in the way of East Asian's thought. When encouraged to think and talk Americans perform better. When encouraged to think and talk Asians perform worse. This suggests that Asians are not thinking in language.

When encouraged to think and talk nonsense (e.g. "a, b, c, a, b, c"), and suppress linguistic thought, Japanese are not so put out. They can automatise speech, put it on the back burner. When Americans suppress linguistic thought they almost find it difficult to walk. Western thinking is in language. Japanese thinking is not. It is elsewhere.

But the Japanese, with their endless love of things foreign, attempt to get all that chin wagging brought here. When they succeed, the Japanese will be a pale imitation of the great white whisperers. You are doing it aren't you? Whispering to yourself.

Don't do it Japan! Believe Kim (2002) and repent.

Kim, H. (2002). We talk, therefore we think? A cultural analysis of the effect of talking on thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. www.psych.ucsb.edu/labs/kim/kim_2002.pdf
Kitagawa, T & HIrata, O. 北川達夫, & 平田オリザ. (2008). ニッポンには対話がない―学びとコミュニケーションの再生. 三省堂.
Nakajima, Y. 中島, 義道. (1997). 「対話」のない社会―思いやりと優しさが圧殺するもの. PHP研究所.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.