I always appreciate your thoughts wakatta1.
I think all cultures have their good and bad and that of course applies to America and Japan. We can learn a lot from each other. Not all Japanese fit the mold of my remarks, but many (if not most) do.
IMO, the key to understanding the gakkai is to understand the Japanese mentality/culture as a whole. Americans like to operate in a straightforward black-n-white manner. The Japanese, however, are most comfortable in the GRAY shaded color in the middle. If you understand their code, the message is clear. That said, somethings are sometimes so GRAY that even the Japanese themselves don't really know the true meaning or message behind the codewords in certain situations; they, too can be clueless as to the "real" feelings behind the message, but yet understand the crux of the message/intent. For Americans, this is frustrating. For the Japanese, it is home and a way of living.
Professionally I've seen corporate leadership totally keep the american leadership totally in the dark. Hiding behind their "secret language" they would conduct their "japanese" business, and if challenged the responses would be along the lines of "oh, ... it is difficult...", or some other understatement. Was this dishonesty or Xenophobia? Dunno.
"Chotto muzukashii desu ne . . .
" is a clear negative code to the Japanese. It's not dishonesty to them, but could be seen as such to others. Xenophobia and race play a role in everything the Japanese do. Japanese abroad will often refer to other races as gaijin (foreigners) even when they themselves are the foreigners living (or visiting) in a foreign land. It goes to the core of their very being. (I personally, however, don't think that there is even such a thing as "race.")
Ever wonder why american members were passed over for key hombu roles? Thats because in the end, they couldn't be trusted to understand "guidance" nor to be fully transparent to those giving the "guidance" either. Heck, they even got rid of high leaders because they were becoming "too american" to be trusted. Not a relationship based on trust, but one based on racial conceit and overall distrust of anything non-Japanese.
The Japanese respect and admire the caucasian race more so than any of the other races, for what they have achieved and accomplished. But, in their ideal world, the best relationship is always one that involves Japanese, with Japanese.
The human species as a whole has to evolve away from the myth of "race", and we will, but I think that the Japanese will probably be one of the last in line still clutching to this mode of thinking (and we all presently do it and are guilty of it, all countries). If I come across as harsh or anti-Japanese, I'm definitely not (harsh, yes, but not anti-Japanese). But the key to understanding the gakkai is to understand the Japanese ethos. I don't think the two can be separated.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2012 08:41PM by Hitch.