Culture, spirit, and humanity

Some parents are often blamed for their misleading. For example, when their child does something annoying to other people in public and someone, a stranger, scolds the child, they say “stop it, otherwise that old guy gets angry with you”. But they are expected to say “stop it, you are annoying everyone”.

Now I work between Japanese engineers and Canadian workers. In Japan, employees are generally slaves. When I worked for a big company in Japan, the union did not function; they conveyed managers’ decisions to workers on behalf of the managers. Believe or not, there was a systematic and non-illegal way to make employees vote union executives who were obedient to managers. I worked in an insane work environment, but nobody helped me. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in Japan. On the other hand, in Canada, there are practical regulations to protect workers, which confuse those Japanese engineers who I work with. When they try to do something in a “Japanese” way, they are often prevented to do it. When it happens, they say “we cannot do it because the union does not allow us to do it”, while they are expected to say “we should not do it because we should protect the workers”. Should they be blamed?

During the war (in Japan, “the war” means WWII), soldiers were taught that surrendering was a shame and worse than death. Because they were told so, some Japanese soldiers treated captives brutally, which violated the international law. After the war ended, those Japanese soldiers went on trial, and got to know that what they had done was illegal. But it was too late; some of those soldiers were executed. Who should have been blamed? I do not have a single answer. It might be the executives who taught soldiers in that way, or might be the culture that cultivated that extreme spirit. In either case, any tragedy like that should be avoided at any level. I mean, at any level.

Now, what can I do?

May 10, 2013Permalink