Skip navigation

Renaissance of the Japanese

Kawaraban No. 59


by Kenji Shimizu

Konrad Lorenz, who received the Nobel price for ethnology, said: “Human beings are able to train their brain stems by tasting corporal pain in their younger days. The stronger the brain stem is, the more you will spend a rich and happy human life. Those who have not tasted corporal pain in their childhood will inevitably become unhappy as adults.”

I also agree with it.

As human beings tend either to be head or body oriented, it is said, that education both in literary arts and in military arts is necessary. The people in the past were aware of the same things as Konrad Lorenz. On top of that brain researchers nowadays report, that the sympathetic nerves, which are located in abdomen and in the hip area, receive extremely strong stimulus from the mind. Based upon the idea, that the mind is located in the abdomen, I believe I also can understand seppuku.

Now, when for the first time the Japanese economy reached balanced maturity throughout the country, shouldn’t we learn one more time from the mental and spiritual attitude of the people in the past.

Taiwan ’s former president, Lee Too Ki, pointed out as following: “In present Japan there are no values nor philosophies available exceeding economical thoughts, so that the Japanese will lose their self-confidence in all matters, when the economy becomes worse”. Certainly we should now bite the bullet. At the peak of the bubble period people avoided intentionally the pains, which they actually should have felt, as they raced after the millionaires’ principle during the last days. I remember countless of times, when Germans praised the Japanese for having something marvelous like their rich culture unmatched by other countries. Therefore I would rather like to talk about the ‘Renaissance of the Japanese’ than about the ‘Renaissance of the Japan ’.

Now, the Olympic games in Athena are over. The interviews with the athletes were quite refreshing. Most of them talked about their state of mind before the competition and that never before it was so important to give priority to the mental aspect.

Indeed the term ki is used frequently in aikido, but it could be applied to manifold areas. Especially the ki (-mochi) is able to pull the body, i.e. the ki controls the body. We absolutely will find ki on occasions where athletes from all over the world are being challenged to their utmost limits, as well in overcoming of the diabolic pressure. This point could be sounded out quite clearly from the words of the athletes, too. We all want our ki power to persist forever. Ki is infinite. 

I think here you can find the key to the ‘Renaissance of the Japanese’.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 11/2004