Dominant Values in Japanese Culture

While much is made of Japan's long historical tradition, including the customs and values of social hierarchies, Japan has neither escaped nor rejected the realities of modern technology and global communications media, which have exerted an impact in virtually every culture they have touched. The big picture of the consensus analysis about the influence of the West on Japan is that Japan has always made a practice of adapting to or taking up technological innovations that come from the West but that, even in the modern period and even in the wake of postwar redevelopment, it has resisted adapting its value system as well: "Throughout its history, Japan has shown a willingness to absorb and learn from technical ideas outside Japan, with a dogged rejection of any external ideology" (Young, Sadaaki, and Saba 11). That view appears to dominate the perceptions of Western business operators who experience the Japanese economy as resistant to competitive penetration on one hand, or who perceive that successful foreign-business entry into the Japanese marketplace involves careful scrutiny and understanding of what is widely reported to be Japan's distinctive value system. In that connection, Young, Sadaaki, and Saba comment that despite Japan's well-documented predisposition to learning, "Shintoism and the Emperor remain at the core of the Japanese private and public psyche. Buddhism, Christianity and Western culture gain attention, but at a distance. The core remains the same" (11)



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