On Japanese "Value-Blind Economy Worship"
Takahiro MIYAO (Professor, GLOCOM)
This article originally appeared in the "Japan-U.S. Discussion Forum" (http://lists.nbr.org/japanforum) on August 5, 2002: posted here with the author's permission.
Many "intellectuals" have argued that the Japanese should abandon the economy worship and "value-blind habits of the postwar era," as Mr. Masayuki Tadokoro insists in his recent article "Keizai-danomi no sengoteki 'mukachi' ni ketsubetsu o" (Chuo Koron, August 2002): http://www.fpcj.jp/e/shiryo/vfj/02/7_8.html#8-2-3
However, Japanese people's thinking and attitude are actually changing faster than those intellectuals think they might be. It is well known that according to various public opinion polls, a majority of Japanese people place non-monetary values much higher than monetary values. Moreover, according to a recent survey based on responses by 10,000 people ("Changing Japanese, Part 2," 2001, Nomura Research Institute), 76% of them support the idea that "it is important to contribute to the community and society." Also 24% of them have done some volunteer work and the number seems to be increasing rapidly.