J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

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, December 28, 2016


How Unnverving is Conformance?

The American social news media site, Digg says that this video is unnerving. I guess that is because Westerners do not like conformance. On the other hand, the majority of Japanese comments on YouTube below the video are positive. This could be due to the prevalence of individualism vs collectivism and to an extent I would agree but, according to me, it is because Westerners lack individuality and must strive for difference lest they mind-meld, whereas Japanese are loaded with quirkiness -- as is clearly Professor Ikeguchi, the inventor -- and admire those individuals and metronomes that strive towards harmony.

See for example Masaki Yuki's research (Yuki, Brewer & Takemura, 2005) on Japanese and American groups for proof.

ディッグというソーシャルニュースサイトによれば、このビデオは不気味です。同調するものが好きではないからでしょうかな。下記日本人のコメントは主に肯定的です。個人主義 対 集団主義で解釈されそうですが、それもありでしょうが、欧米人は個性が不足しているから努力して反発しなければ考えが同化してしまいそうですが、池口先生を初め、日本人は逆に個性に富むので協和に励む人間(やメトロノーム)を肯定的に思うというのは持論です。

結城雅樹(Yuki, Brewer & Takemura, 2005)の米国と日本の集団のあり方についての実証的研究をご参照ください。

Yuki, M., Maddux, W. W., Brewer, M. B., & Takemura, K. (2005). Cross-cultural differences in relationship-and group-based trust. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(1), 48-62. Retrieved from http://kokoro.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/cultureko_net/pdf/Yuki_et_al_2005PSPB.pdf

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Sunday, December 18, 2016


Satoshi and the Budda

Who is Satoshi?
Satoshi whose name means "clear thinking," or enlightening* is a boy with the voice of a woman, who loves and cuddles his pocket monster friend: the character Pika Chuu. Pika when he speaks, only speaks his name.

As in the above image, and rather disturbingly, Satoshi is often displayed decapitated from the neck up cuddling his friend. Only his female voice can be heard. It seems likely that the Pocket Monster Trainer, Pocket Monster combination is another representation of the structure of the self, in which we (or at least the Japanese) are the little monsters.

Bearing in mind the size of consciousness, while we all generally do it, there is little more bizarre than believing oneself to be a character in a mirror, a name or the hero of a narrative, but Satoshi is so big, so hermaphrodite, and cuddles us so tightly and lovingly that we can't bear to look in the direction of the Enlightening.

Being hugged, reminds me of, as mentioned earlier, in a slightly different version, a Pure Land Buddhist monk description of his brush with enlightenment. The Reverend Shinkuu Beppu would go to bed early, get up at midnight, and chant for 5 hours from about one in the morning.

On the advice of a friend that he should continue his chanting in the belief that the Buddha has come to within 9 feet in front of him, Beppu writes "So today, I thought I would chant Amida, the name of the Buddha of Light, as if he were 9 feet in front of me but, if nine feet then why not eight feet, seven feet, five feet, four feet, three feet, two feet, one foot. I can still remember thinking six inches when suddenly, Amida hugged me so tightly. I could feel Amida's tight embrace in both my arms.
And then, I heard Amida's voice "You say help me, and that you want to meet me, but way before you realised it, wasn't I hugging you all along? Can't you feel my* heart?" (Beppu, 1986, p. 60, rough translation by me)

* Satoshi is the noun form of the intransitive verb Satosu "make wise," a cognate of "Satori," the noun form of "Satoru" to become enlightened.
**the Buddha's heart

Chanting as one imagines an approach may be a good idea.

Here is The Shinkuu Beppu quote in the original Japanese
そして、お前は助けてくれとか、お逢い下さいとか言っているが、お前が気づく、遥かはるか昔から私はこうしてお前を抱き締めているではないか、この私(仏)の心が分からないのかという如来様のお声をしっかり聞きました。」 (別府, 1986, p. 60)

The above image copyright the copyright holders of Pokémon, my rendition of a frame from a Pokémon animation that my daughter was watching on YouTube.

Beppu, S. 別府信空.(1986).『慈悲ー別府上人法話集ー』(Compassion: Collection of the preaching of the Reverend Beppu).東京:正受院.

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