Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japanese aesthetics 日本人の美学

While the continuous disasters have been occurring in Japan I have been receiving so many questions and comments about the Japanese behavior during the crisis. Many foreign medias have been talking about how "orderly" and "calm" we are. The Japanese line up politely anywhere - at shops, telephone booths, stations, etc. To me it is so normal because I am Japanese. That is just how we are. Many non-Japanese friends of mine have told me, "Oh my god. If that happened in my country people would steal, fight, and everything. There would be looting everywhere, and it would be a total chaos." "Why Japanese are so calm and polite during such a difficult time?"


It is our aesthetics. It is our characteristic, and it is our culture. So, where does it come from? It seems that our aesthetics comes from "Bushido" (the way of the samurai warrior) and Buddhism.
Bushido emphasizes justice, loyalty, honor, bravery, obedience, duty, respect and self-sacrifice. Buddhism taught compassion and love for others. Also, there is a sense of "avoiding shame": you would not want to do anything that will bring shame to your name, face and your family. These elements are deeply rooted in our culture. Therefore, during such a disasterous time people behave politely and compassionately to each other.


On the 5th day from the first disaster I still cannot stop crying. The victims in north are very simple and good people, and most of them are farmers and fishermen. I am deeply moved by those humble people who have been so appreciative for what they have left right now. No one is complaining. It is just too amazing to me. I love my country, and I am so proud to be Japanese.



  1. Hi Rima,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. In this time, we lean on our communications with others here online, or on the phone, or in person. It helps to share the experience and be connected.

    Another Japanese word-concept comes to mind now: Gambaru.


    ~ Jeff

  2. Thank you, Jeff, for your continuous support to me and to Japan. It means a lot. Please keep Japan in your prayer.

  3. Dear Rima,
    It breaks my heart and makes me cry to see the devastation in Japan. I can't even begin to imagine how it must be to actually be there. Endless Love, light and prayers for Japan. God bless and help.

  4. Thank you for this explanation. It really puts things into context for the rest of the world.

    Have a great day and ((((((hugs))))))).

  5. Nimi, Thank you for your kind words and prayer for Japan. Please keep Japan in your prayer again tomorrow.
    Dana, thank you, always.


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