Any Japanophile will have at least one of the 30 or so books authored by Boye Lafayette De Mente during his long and prolific writing career in Japan. The Japanese still tend to regard any threat to the harmony of their immediate group, to their company or the country, as a matter of life and death and to do whatever is necessary to protect and maintain wa. The first Westerners of record to visit Japan arrived by accident in 1543, blown off course by the winds of a typhoon. Because they were not allowed to learn kanji, the system of Chinese letters, sophisticated upper-class women crafted their own more practical system. Musashi fought his first duel when he was 13, killing a veteran warrior more than twice his age.
But they did not attribute this specifically to the overall effect of kata. Younger generations of Westernized Japanese break the molds until they go to work, then they must conform to the kata that remain in whatever company they join. One of the most common ploys used by young women working in cabarets and clubs as hostesses to attract males and separate them from big tips was to put on a baby act. He adds, however, that most Japanese today are ignorant of the roots of much of their kata-ized behavior. De Mente said about Japanese culture is wrong! I'm going to start off with the only draw back I found in this book, all of the examples were business related.
If you've been to Japan you'll see it in a new light. Still today, however, most Westerners, especially typical American businesspeople, bureaucrats and politicians, view themselves and the rest of the world in two dimensions at most. By virtually delving into Japanese history and the collective Japanese psyche, readers will experience the modern expressions of this ancient culture and specific way of thinking. Once a Fool is available to consumers in both digital and paperback versions from Amazon. In The Japanese Samurai Code De Mente identifies the character traits in the samurai code of ethics that made these incredible transformations possible and explains how they can be applied today by anyone to enhance their own personal skills and performance. The two left Tokyo on May 1 and arrived in Anchorage, Alaska on September 1, precisely four months later. In Japan: A Guide to Traditions, Customs and Etiquette veteran Japanologist Boye Lafayette De Mente unlocks the mysteries of Kata — the cultural forms that shape and define Japanese etiquette, character and world view.
If you have an adventurous spirit, or have ever dreamed about an ultimate travel adventure, Once A Fool will convince you that an amphibious jeep is not the ideal way to go. Boye Lafayette De Mente The Japanese have traditionally been conditioned by their culture to achieve a profound degree of refinement in the products they build and to expect the same quality in the things they buy—a factor that must be taken into consideration in any effort to sell consumer products in Japan. Introduction What Makes the Japanese Japanese? I was ashamed to be seen reading it, and found myself hiding the cover on the tube - how foolish! With help from his book, visitors will certainly better understand the people and their culture. These cultural differences intrigued and frustrated the first foreigners to arrive in Japan, many of whom spent a great deal of time trying to figure out why the Japanese thought and behaved the way they did. In fact, I don't trust a word of this, and worry about the effect on my mind of the stereotypes I've possibly absorbed from it. They also believed that anything could be accomplished if the right kata was mentally and physically practiced long enough.
It was kata that linked the individual and society. He always replied to my emails, but they became progressively shorter. In this case, kaki-kata refers to the way of writing the several thousand ideographic characters with which the Japanese write their language. The common people were characteristically polite, kind, generous, hospitable, trustworthy and diligent. Evil derived from envy knows no end; thus people tend not to rejoice in superior wisdom. In short, Japan's culture is autistic.
By virtually delving into Japanese history and the collective Japanese psyche, readers will experience the modern expressions of this ancient culture and specific way of thinking. It is through these conveyances, taught either directly or indirectly, that Japan has been able to hold its populace to high standards of etiquette, politeness and aesthetics. I find the instrumentalist premise of this book offensive, but could not resist reading it; my brother left it behind when he recently moved out of his flat. The compulsive nature of the Japanese to refine consumer products is dramatically demonstrated in their ability to design and manufacture miniaturized hi-tech products and in using nanotechnology to create new processes and new materials. The Shikata of Harmony The hallmark of Japans kata-ized culture from earliest times has been the promotion and maintenance of wa wah or harmony. And, as was graphically demonstrated in the latter half of the 20th century, gave them a number of real advantages in competing with the outside world.
The Japanese were unlike any people previously encountered by the globe-circling Europeans of the 16th century. The goal of the swordsman was to merge his consciousness with his sword; the painter with his brush; the potter with his clay; the garden designer with the materials of the garden. It is a major factor in the design of products and in print advertising across the board and in television commercials. If you have plans to go in the future you will have a better understanding of the culture and ways of Japan after reading Japan: A Guide to Traditions, Customs and Etiquette. One was either in kata— kata ni hamaru kah-tah nee hah-mah-rue —or out of kata— kata ni hamaranai kah-tah nee hah-mah-rah-nigh. Most people in the West continue to ignore the ancient Asian practice of Zen, which allows one to transcend conventional wisdom, see things as they really are, and achieve mental and physical skills that are out of the ordinary. These elements, expressed in different terms, included a much more personal and employee-oriented approach to management.
To see a full list of his books go to:. Though De Mente clearly admires aspects of Japanese culture-as-he-sees-it he's especially keen on banquet parties and often 'defends' it from other Western critics, he never questions his own assumptions and steam-rollers subtlety, blithely remarking 'nothing beats the rational, fact-based and fair approach to business, diplomatic and personal relationships that is the bedrock of the American way, and a principle that the Japanese appreciate, and are gradually absorbing into their own culture. Which Side of Your Brain Am I Talking To? Nichoson, Davis Barrager, Joseph P. De Mente goes on to comment on the reality of face reading, and adds some advice on how you can change your fortune by changing your face which women do all of the time with eyebrow shaping, lipstick, rouge, etc. This effort to eliminate envy, prohibit individualism and suppress talent became a vital theme in Japanese culture. De Mente says that preponderance of vowels in the Japanese language programs the Japanese to be right brain oriented, while people who speak consonant heavy languages are conditioned to be left brain oriented. In this idealized amae-based world of early Japan the golden rule was that people should be able to depend upon each other without fear of being cheated, disadvantaged or embarrassed in any way.
The manual is available as a digital e-book from diesel-ebooks. Everything they made, including ordinary household utensils, had the same quality. Since kata, albeit in a slightly different incarnation, happens also to be the key to understanding and training in the koryu, this book is enormously enlightening. Still today all dealings in Japan are influenced by the kata that continue to influence the mindset and behavior of the Japanese, yet most foreigners are not aware that they exist. De Mente says that in left-brain societies, where men use hard and cold logic to explain themselves and get their way, women have to resort to right-brain emotional ploys and sexual approaches to avoid being totally controlled by men. I think the most interesting aspect of this book was that it had answered a long standing question of mine that wasn't remotely related to etiquette. If you're trying to figure the Japanese out, this book provides another important piece of the puzzle.
Still, it proved every bit as vile as its title hinted. In another of his seventeen commandments he proclaimed: If we envy other men, other men will envy us too. Ultimately, the problem here is that De Mente talks about the advantages and disadvantages of kata and other concepts valued by Japanese culture in terms of economic success in a globalized economy. One of the most conspicuous of these negative elements is the still virtually absolute requirement for maintaining Japanese style harmony, among members of work units as well as with employees in other sections and departments of companies and organizations. On an everyday level, when the Japanese are faced with something that cannot be changed or controlled or for some reason they don't want to make the necessary effort they say, Shikata ga nai There is no way —meaning it is utterly hopeless and therefore makes no sense even to try. The adoption of some elements of amae in corporate behavior in the United States in particular—in the 1970s and 80s—was a direct result of the rise of Japan as an economic superpower. Life-long conditioning in this intricate, finely meshed web of rules and forms made it second nature for the Japanese to expect that every situation would have its exact process and form.