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The DNA of the Japanese People

Kawaraban No. 83


by The Head of Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu

In the newspaper Sankei the following was reported:

"During the last days of the Sengoku period (age of civil wars, 1467-1573) two Italian Jesuit priests came to Japan and they were granted an audience with Oda Nobunaga (1543-1582) and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. One of them was Gnecchi‐Soldo Organtino (1533-1609), who built the Nanbanji (temple), and the other was Alessandro Valignano (1539- 1606), who was the founder of the Tenshou youth mission and who was on an inspection tour through Japan. Both priests left behind in a book with the title Nihon Junsatsuki (‘Inspection tour in Japan’) a letter addressed to the president of the Jesuit society.

In this letter Organtino says: “We can see wisdom on both sides, East and West, but if we compare us with them (the Japanese), we really seem to be very savagely.“ Valignano says: “In general also regarding the common people and laborer the (Japanese) society is characterized by Reisetsu (politeness and discipline) refined by their education, which we ought to admire and which results in cultivated manners --- (text omitted) --- and even in the lower classes of society we cannot see the missing ability of social behavior of the European society, and in general all people in Japan own an excellent mutual understanding.”

Both of them show a very high evaluation of the social abilities of the Japanese People. I am quite sure that both the fast modernization after the Meiji Restoration and the excellent post-war economic revitalization could not have been realized without the corresponding so-called DNA level of the concerned people. --- The former president of public prosecution Keiichi Tadaki "

We can imagine that the way of living of the Japanese people during the Sengoku period, which received such compliments from foreign countries, differed a lot from nowadays way of living. I am quite sure that other countries considered the Japanese nation to be noble, because they were not afraid even giving their lives for the country.

On the contrary I think that nowadays even the East Asian countries look down on the Japanese behavior. In my opinion the people in the developing countries nowadays show a more object-oriented behavior than the Japanese as well regarding to Bugei (Budo Arts) like in Sumo (remark by the translator: in Sumo nowadays wrestler from Mongolia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Georgia play an active role), and they are steadfast and they achieve something in their lives.

The excellent Japanese culture, which we inherited from our ancestors, will not be exterminated; as an example the very manners of the Japanese are an excellent characteristic of the Japanese culture, which bears in mind to control the mind and to respect other people.

But the violence of the changes of this era had the result that the insensibility of the people prevailed more and more. If only the head, which adapted to the convenience of the civilization like mobile phones, is of importance and if at the same time the body is neglected, the information, which is transmitted by the nerves, will not reach the extremities, the head is racing idly, and the body behaves egoistically.

If the nerves do not spread through every nook and corner of the body, body and mind become unbalanced, and above that human relationship and harmony with nature become difficult more and more.

In fact it might be difficult to go back to the discipline of the Sengoku era, but we should strive for freedom and order calmly.

© translated by Tendoryu Aikido Berlin 05/2011