Friday, October 22, 2010

The size problem.

I have been to Singapore on a few days trip, attending a conference and giving a talk. The energy in Singapore is incredible. Even politicians are open-minded and quick in making decisions, a rarity in my home country. One of the officials said that Singaporeans had to reinvent themselves constantly. I have never heard a remark of similar nature from someone in power in my native country.

Coming back to Tokyo on the plane, I was thinking about the size effect. The size of Japan is intermediate, not too big, not too small, and therefrom arise lots of problems. Japan is not big enough to assume a superpower role like the U.S. or China. Japan’s domestic market is large enough to sustain its publishing and broadcasting industries, two areas where globalization was supposed to happen but never did, probably due to the language barrier.

Japan’s peculiarities should arise not only from its unique history but also from the sheer size of its economy and culture. There one has a chance of drawing universal conclusions from a seemingly peculiar problem.


Univ W st said...

When I read this article, I thought back immediately Tetsuro Watsuji you know.
"Caltimate foms human" is equal to your thought in globalization Japn is facing to. The key term is clue to disolve many problem of globalization. I agree.
I read your books,Moral of Capitalism and Spirits of Japanese, which is very valuable to all the Japanese, I think. The contens of this book is also clue to this.
Thank you for reading, I'm in the middle of studying English. And I'm sorry if there is gramatical mistake.

nekochama said...

With all due respect, I really think it's an issue of attitude more than size. If Japan took bilingualism, especially English, as a reasonable norm to be achieved (as does much of Europe) rather than an oddity or a danger to its national identity, things would be different.