Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On intolerance

Much as I respect and love my fellow country people, there are some tendencies recently in Japan that I cannot go along.

One thing is the spreading of intolerance. It is not that people in Japan are generally intolerant. Far from it. All my trusted friends are quite liberal, and respect the individualities and variances. At best or worst it is a divided nation. It is only that intolerant people are often noisy. And the media follow them without reflections and criticism. Making noise is one of the business models of big media, much to the disservice for the whole community.

Intolerant people are old in spirit. They cannot accept change. They inhibit the creative dynamo of others and themelves. In a society where many people are eagerly applying anti-aging techniques, I sometimes wonder why people do not take the prescriptions for tolerance.

If the wave of intolerance spreads further, everyone loses. Not only does it have a generally intimidating effect on the young and creative, but also the intolerant people themselves lose the most essential brilliance of life.

If, on the other hand, more and more people learn how to be tolerant to individuals of different opinions and value systems, no matter how alien and strange they may appear, everyone would be a winner.


kitensan said...

I fully concur with you.

I think we should not criticize other people but cheer them.
We would suffer ourselves without doing so.

We must realize who gains by accusing others.

Anonymous said...

My view is somewhat different. I believe Japan is rather in need of a more clear rise of conservatism(aka intolerance) in order to stimulate a more distinctive rise of liberalism. It is interesting that here the younger generation seems to show more intolerance and I view such tendency as an antithese being driven by the general lack of a clear policy (or a lack of show thereof) on the part of the older generation towards rules, regulations, tradition and life in general throughout the post-war decades. As seen in other developed nations throughout their history, conservatism needs to be much clearer and stricter so as to trigger resistance movements to emerge and I therefore welcome more of such conservatism to come in the open, just to clarify the situation and the correlation for many.

apple407 said...

Often, not always, but often, FEAR causes us to be intolerant. We cannot accept what we cannot understand—what we cannot understand we fear or despise. We become intolerant.
It takes work to understand something we are not familiar with. This work does not offer an immediate “pay-off”; “what‘s in it for me to understand?” phenomena. This dilemma offers us an easy solution, intolerance, or hate.
In other words “laziness” causes intolerance.

Yuzu said...


I think somebody who are like you increase more and more, this country will be nice.

Takuro said...

Dear Dr. Mogi-sensei,

Since there are so many intolerant people in this country, we need tolerant people like you.

As for me, I am thankful to you for your not rejecting my comment everyday. Your tolerance is great.

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

We don't need Noises.
Noises make us make the wrong decision.

Tolerance and Stillness...

Anonymous said...

Dr. Mogi,
A weekend retreat has been planned by colleagues on the same evening of your next lecture: around 20 or more staffs will go together to the onsen and enjoy dinner party. This could be one of Japanese way of bring harmony to the workplace, this can make me happy, my happiness may be a little sad.

Petrusa de Koker said...

Dear Ken, there is a fine line to be drawn here. Intolerance (or conservatism as SK put it above) is keeping the free spirit in check. But then, the unbridled horse runs wild, posing a danger to those close to him and himself. The liberal mind needs an intolerant person to argue with in order to hone his ideas just like one needs a rock to sharpen the assegai.
I trust you are well and I know that you will show great tolerance to the intolerant.
Thanks for great blog entries.