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Japanese Work Ethics vs American EthicsFor an American to consider the Japanese from any viewpoint for any reason it is important for us to remember that they are products of a unique civilization that their standards and values are the results of several thousand years of powerful religious and metaphysical conditioning that were entirely different from those that molded the character personality and habits of Westerners De Mente p19 To understand the Japanese it is necessary to have an understanding of their religious and philosophical backgrounds My research suggests that basic ethical values in Japanese business systems are influenced by three philosophical and religious traditions the Shinto Ethic The Confucian Ethic and the Buddhist Ethic Boye De Mente adds a fourth which he labels the Parent-Child Ethic Shinto was the primitive religion of Japan before Confucius and Buddha The chief deity of Shinto is Amaterasu the Sun Goddess from whom the Imperial Family of Japan traces its origin Lesser clans in turn claim descent from the lesser Shinto deities Shinto has only one command the necessity of being loyal to ones ancestors This precept binds all Japanese in a bond of unity to a degree unknown in rest of the world Shintoism stresses that harmony is necessary to keep man and things right with the cosmos Each individual is obligated to do whatever is expected of him whatever the cost so as to bring honor to his family Those in superior positions are obligated to take care of those who serve Selflessness kindness helpfulness loyalty will bring trust honor confidence and respect from othersCowles p 623 Confucius insisted on respect for superior persons and things The five basic relationships are between ruler and subordinate father and son elder and younger brother husband and wife and friend and friend The younger or inferior was to obey to the older or superior but at the same time the superior has obligations to the inferiorCowles p1507
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