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Japaneseness: A Guide To Values And Virtues



This little book (160 pages) offers readers a provocative tour through seventy-six core life concepts that are at the foundation of Japanese behavior, belief, and beauty. Japaneseness will be of particular interest to students of ethics and humanism as well as those living, working, or traveling in Japan. And it raises an intriguing question: Can traditional Japanese values—like loyalty, meticulousness, sensitivity, reverence, hierarchy, trust, and harmony—make sense in modern Western societies? You are encouraged to think about how Japanese virtues can cultivate inner strength, mindfulness, and long-lasting relationships at your own homes and workplaces.

Praise for Japaneseness

"The perfect introduction (or reintroduction) to many aspects of Japanese society you might find refreshing, fascinating or befuddling. Or at the very least, quintessentially Japanese."—JQ Magazine

"A fantastic guide to those who are both visiting Japan for the first time, as well as those who are adjusting to the lifestyle or differences in the work environment."—Japan Realm

"If you are a student of anything Japanese—whether you are someone who wants to do business with the Japanese, live amongst them or live with them ... you need to read Japaneseness."—Andrew Joseph, It's A Wonderful Rife

"A provocative workbook for 'decluttering the spirit'.... An indispensable guide and reference for Americans wanting to understand Japanese culture and perspectives. Impressively well written, organized and presented, Japaneseness: A Guide to Values and Virtues is very highly recommended for community, corporate, and academic library collections."—John Taylor, Midwest Book Review

"At first, this small book seemed handy merely as an explanation of key Japanese ideas, such of giri (obligation), mono no aware (pathos), yugen (tranquility), or honne/tatemae (true feelings/facade), but it gradually won me over with its simple, matter of fact prose. Yamakuse uses this objective tone to quietly point out the many contradictions between Japanese ideals and reality... Although ostensibly an explanation of one culture, the book is valuable for the way it lets us look at humanity through a specific cultural lens."—The Japan Times

Excerpt from Japaneseness

"The world’s fascination with Japan coupled with Japan’s ability to absorb and recast its old traditions into one modern form after another insures that Japan remains very much a part of our international environment. We like what is new about Japan, but we also like how many things from Japan seem to carry something older, and weightier, something distinctly 'Japanese.'

In our dealings with Japanese people, from all walks of life, we sense that they embody something of their nation that goes far beyond citizenship. There is a sense of strong bonds between friends and workers, duty to one’s family and long-dead ancestors. Whether we are talking about food, architecture, religion, sex, art, clothing, or gizmos, we are aware of a certain, in a word, 'Japaneseness'—the quality of being Japanese—that signals not only the tradition and culture from which those things emanated but presages our experience of them tactilely and emotionally."

About the Author

Yoji Yamakuse (born in Oita Prefecture in 1955) has worked for major publishing companies in Tokyo and New York and has been active as a consultant for nearly a hundred Japanese and American global firms, focusing on personnel management, staff training, and development of joint projects in cross-cultural environments.

Yoji Yamakuse
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