2024/07/24 00:32

"For the Japanese, What Does 'Work' Mean? - Hidetoshi Tojo's Serial Column No. 12"

LIFE

 

"For the Japanese, What Does 'Work' Mean? - Hidetoshi Tojo's Serial Column No. 12"

 

"How do you feel about the concept of 'work'? In recent years, there have been concerns about the global economic slowdown, and in Japan, a perpetual recession is often discussed. Some even fear that Japan might continue to decline, weakening its presence in the world. Is this going to be the case? I don't think so. That's because I understand the meaning of Japan's strength.

How did Japan, without abundant resources, become one of the world's leading economic powers? While we often hear about technological prowess, ultimately, it comes down to 'people.' The strength of human resources undoubtedly contributed to favorable results. However, if it is said that this is due to differences in abilities, the answer is no. This is because the basic performance of humans has not changed, and it is not academically valid to say that people in the past were more capable than those of today. The key difference lies in the consciousness of work. Surprisingly, this can be explained by the character '働' (hataraku), which means 'to work.'

This character '働' is actually a native Japanese character, a 'kokuji.' In other words, it is an original kanji created in Japan. For the Japanese, 'to work' means 'people moving.' While the etymology is not certain, some say it depicts several people collaborating to move a large rock. In essence, in Japan, 'working' means moving for the sake of others. This is precisely the strength of Japan, which has faced the world not as individuals but as organizations. This is the inherent consciousness of 'work' for the Japanese.

In contrast, in Chinese, the character '人' (ren) meaning 'person' is omitted, leaving only the character '動' (dong) meaning 'to move.' There is no 'person' in it. To move with one's own will. This single character illustrates the strength of a stand-alone play. Of course, this does not imply superiority or inferiority, but there was undoubtedly a strength unique to Japan. And Japan has proven that. Japan, in recent years, has tended to seek work more with the mindset of 'to move' following a meritocracy trend. Self-realization, pursuing one's desired occupation, me, me, me. However, Japan's strength is not found in this approach. The meaning of the word 'person' has somehow disappeared. But looking at the confusion in the world today, can we not consider that this stand-alone play is working in a negative direction? Doing what others wish before pursuing what you desire. The wisdom of our predecessors shows Japan's unique strength, and that's what I believe."

 

(Shrine Person Operator, Representative of Culture J, Ltd., Hidetoshi Tojo)

Hidetoshi Tojo was born in 1972 in Saitama Prefecture and is the representative director of Culture J, Ltd. He is the direct descendant of Hideki Tojo and the 18th head of the family. Exploring a unique social welfare model in Japan, he turned his attention to the presence of shrines and Shinto. Advocating for cultural tourism through shrines, he aims to revitalize new local communities and cultural entertainment.

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