Rising Sun

I have just finished reading the novel, Rising Sun by Michael Crichton. The book is a murder mystery but it discusses many issues relating to the way the Japanese do business.

People my age will remember that the Japanese posed an economic threat to the USA in the late twentieth century. This was before the Chinese got active and became an economic superpower. Rising Sun describes the way the Japanese do business and contrasted it with American practices. There was growing resentment over the perception in the USA that the Japanese were buying the country – the real estate, the industries that were key to national security, the high tech companies and so on.

Though there is a good amount of Jap bashing in the book Rising Sun also gives the Japanese viewpoint. In the afterword to the novel there are two relevant quotes that are given in the context of the economic tug of war. The second of these quotes is also applicable in our personal lives.

If you don’t want Japan to buy it, don’t sell it – AKIO MORITA

People deny reality. They fight against real feelings caused by real circumstances. They build mental worlds of shoulds, oughts and might have beens. Real changes begin with real appraisal and acceptance of what is. Then realistic action is possible.

The second of these quotes is by David Reynolds, an American exponent of Japanese Morita psychotherapy. It certainly applies to the mental health of many people you might know. I am sure that it applies to me.

The first thing we need to do when faced with a situation that we find challenging is to describe it. Both the internal and external situation. One we have understood the challenge that is facing us we will be in a good position to meet it squarely.

But most of us, instead of doing this, rush in with our shoulds, should nots and have tos. This leads to our not being able to deal with reality which exists. As Sun Tzu said:

If you know yourself and know the enemy you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy then for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither yourself nor the enemy you will succumb in every battle.

So this is the first step in facing any challenge. Know yourself, know the enemy and know the battleground.

Jesus is quoted in the Bible as saying – Judge not that you be not judged. I am sure he would have wanted us to avoid unnecessary battles but if we are facing psychological issues then I should think that that is a battle he would have wanted us to fight.

Describe the situation first as dispassionately as you can before rushing in with your judgments.

Life is suffering. The entire Universe is unsatisfactory. We have to live in it as best we can. It is up to us to adapt ourselves to the circumstances that are facing us if we want to survive. And the Universe is under no obligation to change itself to suit our likes and dislikes.

Rising Sun, being a very intelligent thriller, makes many more points relating to the Japanese. I finished it in about three days which is fast going for me at my age. It is not available as a Kindle edition in Amazon so you will have to buy the paperback. But it is well worth your reading the book. Michael Crichton has also written Jurassic Park and Disclosure. All three of the books mentioned in this article have been made into successful Hollywood movies.

I’ll end here. Please comment on the article if you liked it or even if you didn’t. Feedback from my readers keeps me going.

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