Historical Transformation of the "Spirit of Wa" and the Problem : A Foresight into the Future of Japanese Society and Thought of Management ( Special Issue Dedicated to Professor Tsutomu SHIHOTA)
- Historical Transformation of the Spirit of Wa and the Problem A Foresight into the Future of Japanese Society and Thought of Management ( Special Issue Dedicated to Professor Tsutomu SHIHOTA)
The social concern with ethics and moral in Japan has been growing for the last several years. We should notice that there are attempts to revive the "spirit of wa" more than little. The questions we have to ask here is whether we examined historical transformations of the "spirit of wa" and the problem. The purpose of this study is to propose a hypothesis about historical transformations of the "spirit of wa", and to reveal the problem. In the first part of this paper I provide an explanation about the "spirit of wa", often translated into English as the spirit of harmony, which was codified by Prince Shotoku in the form of the Seventeen-article Constitution. In the first place, he told, "Harmony is the greatest of virtues", and then instructed that it was necessary to reach an agreement among people through amicable dialogues refraining from acting arbitrarily on authority, and concluded that once a consensus was formed anything could be accomplished, asserting the dramatic effect of wa. He also emphasized the importance of serving the public without being tethered to personal affairs. The "spirit of wa" set out in the Constitution was based on humbleness toward one's self and others derived from the consciousness of the fact that one can know the true and real being of anything in the universe only imperfectly. In the second part of this paper I explore Japanese Way of Introducing of Confucianism and "mechanisms" to" proactive acceptance "of the "spirit of wa". In after times, though after a long time, up to the end of World War II, attempts were made from the viewpoint of running a state to make the "spirit of wa" permeate among people as an ethical model of the society. The meaning of the "spirit of wa"has changed as follows through the process. It is a frame of mind to place emphasis on avoiding confrontation or antagonism, and in some cases such as where harmony among the members of a society is threatened, even to refuse to admit the existence confrontation or incoherence, rather than to adjust it after it has happened. To correctly understand the characteristics of the ethical perception and behavioral pattern of the Japanese society, it is necessary to focus our attention on the contrast between the "spirit of wa" that Prince Shotoku set out in the Constitution and that of later generations. In the third part of this paper I clarify that the transformed "sprit of wa" has been penetrated deeply into society as "situational ethics" at the present period. We must note that, while the "situational ethics" triggers exercise of flexibility and creatively in people's thought and behavior, it also leads to avoidance of responsibility and unspoken pressure from an organization on its members or from a person to others. In Conclusion, the paper suggests that on the one hand, what is necessary for everyone is the modesty to admit their own lack of experience and knowledge, and on that basis, to refine the ability to read the situation little by little through occasions in which they find themselves, on the other, what is essential here is to make the situation of such occasions and processes open and introduce diversity and multiplicity to them so that people have chance to experience them more often. When these are accomplished, the "spirit of wa to avoid confrontation" and the "spirit of wa to ignore confrontation or incoherence" will surely be replaced with the "spirit of wa to adjust confrontation or incoherence after it has taken place", or the "creative spirit of wa".
- 桃山学院大学環太平洋圏経営研究 = St. Andrew's University Pan-Pacific Business Review
桃山学院大学環太平洋圏経営研究 = St. Andrew's University Pan-Pacific Business Review 9 47-69, 2008-03-25