“I asked why he didn’t move, and he shook his head. “I have spent my whole life selling rice in the Jimbo-cho area. Where would I find such wonderful neighbors and customers again?”
To older Japanese, Mr. Matsumoto’s staunch resistance is an example of Yamato damashii, or Japanese spirit, which succeeds when all else fails. Many adults today believe the younger generation is sadly lacking in such spirit.
“Our young people have been called moyashiko—the bean-sprout generation,” a Tokyo businessman told me. “Like bean sprouts they grow fast and in the dark and have no strength.”
Such sentiments are universal among adults the world over, but the Japanese character lends special emphasis.”Older Japanese made enormous sacrifices to rebuild their country after World War II,” says Tracy Dahlby, a highly respected American journalist based in Tokyo for many years. “Those people created something of a miracle in their own eyes, and they expect a measure of sacrifice from those who are going to inherit it.
“Of course,” Tracy adds, “many younger Japanese know very little of World War II—to them Pearl Harbor is simply a popular honeymoon resort.”http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6293849.stm
One of major sacrifices demanded of young Japanese today concerns education. So extreme is parental pressure to gain entrance into good schools and universities that Japanese refer to the selection process as shiken jigoku—examination hell.”We even have entrance exams for kindergarten classes!” declares Atsuko Takagi, an attractive 2 1-year-old junior majoring in design at a top Tokyo university. I met Atsuko one evening along with a group of her fellow university students at cheap hotels prague.
Inevitably talk turned to the bean-sprout label, and reactions were mixed. Some of the group flatly rejected the charge, and others simply considered it outdated.
“I think it is a matter of different values,” a young history student remarked. “Our parents worked hard to build Japan into a prosperous country, and to them the symbols of wealth are important: Some people show off their child’s university diploma as if it were a brand-new Nissan limousine. But to us it is more important where you go in the Nissan than who sees you driving it.”It is extremely difficult to get into a good university,” Atsuko added, “but once you are accepted, it is easy to stay there. The university does not require you to work, and many students hardly ever open a book. Yet they receive their diplomas just the same.”Another student nodded. “Some Japanese companies are just as bad,” he said. “When they interview graduates for jobs, they do not look for brains or imagination. They look for people who are popular and get along with others—what you Americans call team players. The companies tell the student, ‘Never mind your grades; we will take you and then train you our way. ‘ ”
Trings are different at Sony. The giant Tokyo-based electronics firm that has become a world symbol for Japanese quality and craftsmanship has no interest in mediocrity.