First, Japan suffered a 9.0 earthquake with over 450 aftershocks, most of which are 5.0 to 6.4.
Next they had a sixty foot wall of water from the tsunami following the earthquake.
Then they had the failure of one, then two, then three, and then four, nuclear reactors that contaminated the air with radiation.
Now they are low in food and gas, and to top it off, snow and twenty degree night-time temperatures are a constant concern as they continue to feel around 6.0 aftershocks.
The Japanese people are calmly and orderly behaved in the midst of calamity. This is a phenomena that has never been seen before in any nation suffering from the type of disaster as they?
We’ve seen people individually become calm in a life-storm, a characteristic we would be wise in developing ourselves, but never have we seen it in a culture as a whole.
Repeatedly, we hear journalist comment about how calmly and orderly the people behave in the crisis. For this reason, it is appropriate to ask “What makes the Japanese people act this way?
Even more amazing is that there has been no looting. Why? What is it about the Japanese culture and their upbringing that make them think and act so differently?
The Japanese culture is all about honor, respect, and pride in their nation. As a society, they do what is right and best for the whole and needs of the individual come last. In contrast, we in America have the opposite attitude; the individual need comes before that of society as a whole.
What defines the Japanese culture is their obedience to the rule of society. There is a rule for just about everything and the people are expected to follow those rules. By doing so, they show respect and honor to others and that gives them pride in their nation’s accomplishments.
One of society’s rules is that you don’t loot, you pay for what you get. That’s why you see people waiting in long line for hours to buy food and gas. They won’t loot because they pay for what they need. They follow this rule and others because they know it is best for everyone as a whole. It is this same obedience that keep them calm so they do not panic.
There is a dark side to this attitude, however, because people lose their individualism. America could afford to lose a little bit of their individualism and adopt a better attitude toward catering to the needs of their neighborhoods, communities, society, and nation.
Look at the after math of Hurricane Katrina and how the people in New Orleans behaved when suffering from floods. Then compare them to how the people of New York City behaved in the after math of 9/11 when they were attacked.
- One society looted and attacked each other. People didn’t try to save themselves and others because they waited for government to save them.
- The other people saved each other when they rolled up their sleeves and jumped into the rubble to pull out survivors. You couldn’t tell who was black or white because they all looked the same with ash on their faces, yet the other society blamed the floods on government based on color.
- Two different cultures that reacted so differently to calamity and chaos. One culture concerned themselves with satisfying selfish whims by looting. The other focused on doing what is right for the whole without looting.
Because the Japanese do what is best for the whole, they are better off as survivors. It will be interesting to see how far this attitude takes them and if it will hold up long term.
What can we learn from these people?
What characteristics can we personally adopt to help us overcome difficulties in our own trials?
Wouldn’t it be great to see the Japanese example of calmness and order become a part of our society?
What do you think about the Japanese culture and how they exhibit calmness and patience?
What do you think is the answer for us in changing how we respond to a crisis?
What have you learned personally that you want to adopt into your own life?
Please think about these questions and tell us how you personally answered these questions. Thank you.