2024/05/29 05:23

"Is labor a punishment or a blessing?" from Kojiki


"Is labor a punishment or a blessing?"




From Professor Nakanishi's study of the "National Identity" or the "pillar of the soul" of the Japanese people in the "Kojiki" and "Nihon Shoki," it's evident that biblical narratives and Japanese mythology offer contrasting views on our daily labor. In the Old Testament, Adam and Eve faced punishment in the form of "work" for men and "pain in childbirth" for women, following their consumption of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. This implies that labor is considered a punishment from God. In contrast, even the supreme deity in Japanese mythology, Amaterasu Omikami, engages in agricultural activities such as farming rice paddies and supervising weaving, suggesting that labor is a divine blessing rather than a punishment.

Modern management studies are increasingly aligning with the Japanese mythological perspective, emphasizing work as a source of social contribution, fulfillment, and connection, in contrast to the traditional focus on career advancement and financial gain. This shift towards valuing human aspects aligns more closely with Japanese mythology than with biblical narratives. The recognition of labor as a divine blessing in Japanese culture fosters a more positive outlook on work, enhancing enthusiasm and commitment.

Regarding the concept of "birth pains," it may seem discordant to Japanese sensibilities. Japanese mythology emphasizes the sacredness of reproduction and the inheritance of life, contrasting with the punitive view presented in the Old Testament. Understanding this aspect of Japanese mythology may offer insights into addressing issues such as declining birth rates, potentially revitalizing Japan's vitality.

Overall, Japanese mythology provides rich wisdom on labor, marriage, and nature, offering valuable insights for navigating contemporary challenges. Embracing these teachings could not only contribute to global solutions but also rejuvenate Japan's prospects.



"What 'Avatar's' Huge Success Means"

The view that our country's land is a "land of divine life" born from the marriage of Izanagi and Izanami is absent in the Old Testament. Both humans and this land were born through the inheritance of divine life, akin to siblings. This mythological perception of the land as sacred has shaped the Japanese people's view of nature.

In the 3D masterpiece film "Avatar," set on a lush planet, towering extraterrestrial beings worship a sacred giant tree, reminiscent of the world in Japanese mythology. Those who destroyed this tree with advanced weaponry represent the model of modern material civilization.

When the movie became a sensation in America, cases of "Avatar syndrome" emerged. After experiencing the immersive harmony with nature in the lush 3D world, viewers returned to the sterile urban environment feeling depressed. However, Japanese people are less susceptible to this syndrome, with nearly 70% of our land covered in forests and shrines with protective woods scattered throughout cities.

The massive success of "Avatar" signifies the growing acceptance of a worldview that emphasizes the connection between land and life, even in Western societies. This concept, taught by Japanese mythology for millennia, likely contributes to Japan's status as a leader in environmental technology, passed down through generations via a deep-rooted reverence for the land.

By delving into Japanese mythology and consciously inheriting its view of nature, Japan can lead global environmental conservation efforts, bringing renewed vitality to our nation.

In conclusion, Japanese mythology offers wisdom that can guide the modern world in matters of labor, marriage, and nature. Viewing polytheistic beliefs like Japanese mythology as primitive and considering only Christianity as modern is outdated. Japan's mythology provides rich clues for solving various contemporary issues. If Japanese people revisit the "Kojiki" and "Nihon Shoki" to offer Japan's unique solutions to global problems, it will not only be a significant contribution to the world but also bring vigor to Japan's future. (From the International Japanese Training Course)