Department     College of Asia Pacific Studies
   Position   Professor
Language English
Publication Date 2014/01
Type Research paper (Academic/Professional Journal)
Peer Review Peer reviewed
Title Religion and Ethics in the Japanese Society
Contribution Type Single Work
Journal Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics
Volume, Issue, Page 24(1),pp.2-5
Details Japanese people may mistakenly be assumed not to
be religious. The Japanese society commonly uses
other ‘social’ mechanisms, not religion, to make those
decisions, and therefore acts as a ‘secular’ society. The ‘ethics’ of the Japanese society is closely linked to its collective culture with peculiar virtues and values that are discussed here. Of special concern, is the still growing preoccupation of the Japanese society with its ‘uniqueness’ and “appetite for self-reflection” with a paradoxical sense of insecurity and “self-doubt” (Pyle). In Japan, such discussions are presented as nihonjinron (日本人論) and most Japanese consider it to be true (Dale, 1986). The concept of nihonjinron hasbeen followed as the Japanese moral code with explicit as well as implicit rules about community roles and individual manners (Kanedo, 2010). However, there is a backdrop in their regional affairs. Although they are Asians with strong historical and cultural bonds to the Chinese, Koreans and
Mongolians, the Japanese prefer to compare and rank
‘outsiders’ on the basis of which country they come from; by not focusing on their ‘Asian race’, common to
their regional rivals, they emphasize on ‘Japanese’
nationality as a unique identity.
Note: Thus they may see themselves as similar to the punctual, serious and hard-working Germans, for instance, and build a hypothetical hierarchy of nations similar to the hierarchical structure of the Japanese society. Having a perspective as such makes it difficult to establish a common value of human equality irrespective of race and nationality, which can be a particular challenge in the development of regional integration in East Asia.
ISSN 1173-2571