The idea of taking total responsibility for one’s actions and thoughts is an opinion that has come into the global spotlight more and more in the last few years. Much as politicians are criticized for opinions that different-minded people don’t agree with and companies are criticized for their devastating blows to the natural world, individuals are now being held responsible for their own beliefs and actions more and more due to the Internet’s impeccable ability to record what everyone says and does.
While personal disagreements, media outrage, PR disasters and other such social occurrences naturally appear in a highly communicative environment such as Tokyo, underneath the hustle and bustle there is often a consistent and pressing desire to take responsibility for one’s actions on an individual level. There are many different aspects of Japanese culture and language that contribute to this somewhat omnipresent way of thinking. It would be a tremendous effort to try to understand every point of Japanese society that creates this culture without being a part of Japanese society, however it’s possible for anyone to understand the culture by maintaining such thoughtfulness each and every day.
No matter who you are, as soon as you enter Japanese society you become a moving part in a national machine. Each person in Japanese society relies on others to fulfill their role and take their responsibilities seriously. Due to the relatively high level of collectivist, group-oriented ways of thinking in Japan, there is undoubtedly an everlasting obligation for each individual to maintain their responsibilities to the best of their ability. For students, this is a highly sought after skill that can affect your entire academic career in Japan. Clubs, circles, and other student organizations in Japan run on being able to expect others to carry out their responsibilities, so being able to do so will help you become an integral part of your group, and in turn will provide you the opportunity to grow leaps and bounds as an individual.
Hand-in-hand with personal responsibility, compassion is another human trait that encompasses all levels of Japanese society and social interactions. Perhaps as a direct result of each high-functioning member of a group fulfilling their role each and every day to the best of their personal capabilities during the busiest of times, compassion and appreciation for the efforts of others may come to you in times of relaxation. Recognition of other people’s hard work is thoroughly ingrained into daily interactions so much that it becomes a topic mentioned in regular conversation.
It feels good to try your best, and it feels good to have others appreciate your hard work. Coming to terms with such ways of thinking is easy to accomplish if you open your mind to what may be irregular ways of thinking in your home country. Social interactions in Japan can be quite lengthy, and may feel needless or tiresome at times depending on what kind of culture you grew up in. However as time goes on you may find yourself beginning to appreciate that people take the time to meticulously go over the details and steps involved in each and every group activity.
Having the ability to appreciate what others do through your own hard-work and desire to help those around you is an integral piece of Japanese society. This skill will affect all other aspects of your daily life, and may be one of the most important factors that affect how quickly you become a fully-functioning member of Japanese society. Regardless of your nationality of cultural heritage, these two skills are some of the most highly sought after in Japanese society, and understanding them will change your entire experience living in Japan, and potentially allow you to become a kinder and more understanding person for the rest of your life.