Saturday, January 9, 2010

How Will We Survive a Kaleidoscopic 2010?

New Year's greetings to all of you reading this blog post. Thank you for your continued support.

We need the strength and resolve to begin a new era. What we need at this moment is a strong enough spirit to overcome the immense difficulties ahead.

The Great Heisei Depression will worsen in 2010, and the economy will travel a rocky road. We have to find a way out of these hard times. Massive government power and giant pools of capital are behind these wars and the neoliberal approach. The world is unraveling into an everyone-for-themselves mentality. The mass confusion brings about a mass single-mindedness and more pain for all of us. But we don't have to give up.

International society will continue to destabilize. The unstable condition will bring pain to the people of many nations. The strength of national governments will weaken. They will find themselves less and less able to secure, stabilize and settle their people.

How should we live in the midst of this mess? Where can we turn? We should focus on our families, our homes, our businesses and the local economies. We must outgrow these painful times by solidifying ourselves at the grass roots. To do this, we must revive our Japanese spirit. I offer these five quotes from our predecessors to help us find out what the Japanese soul consists of and which way we need to go to get out of this mess:

1. Shoutoku Taishi. "Harmony is to be valued." Japanese society and the Japanese way of life is founded on a spirit of harmony and cooperation.

2. Saichou. "A person who brightens up one corner is a national treasure." Each of us needs to make an effort to light up the corners we live in. In other words, we need to embrace the spirit of mutual support.

3. The first of Emperor Meiji's five-part written oath: "Deliberative assemblies shall be widely established and all matters decided by open discussion." Let all members of the family, the business or the region participate to bring about wisdom and share that wisdom. Open discussions can save this society.

4. Yukichi Fukuzawa. "Heaven does not put one man above or below another." People are fundamentally equal. We must not create a prejudice or unequal society.

5. Roka Tokutomi. "The nation's ability resides in the provinces." The path to Japan's revival starts with revival of the provinces. To rebuild Japan, start with the provinces.

These five lessons from our predecessors can protect us and help us work together to overcome the hardships ahead and create a new Japan. If we keep these five principles in mind and work together, the Great Heisei Depression will not defeat us.