Every culture or nation has its unique identities or what makes it different from others. Sometimes some cultures lose their identities over time and thus lose their uniqueness. Globalization is one of the factors that hastens this process. Sadly most times there's a tendency to jettison what may be considered praiseworthy or virtuous for something that is apparently easier but detrimental in the long run.
Courtesy or good conduct is often seen as out of fashion these days especially among the younger generation. Those who choose to hold on to good conduct amongst this generation are often treated like strangers and alienated, sometimes even the subject of mockery.
Recently the fans of the Japanese national team were in the news for their actions after their team defeated the Argentine national team. They caught the attention of social media for their selfless act of cleaning up the entire stadium while other spectators left the arena.
Some may assume that it was because of their team's victory or just another attention seeking stunt for the cameras just to trend but that is far from the truth. It is actually a part of the routine for the Japanese fans. I can make bold to say this because this is not the first time I have seen them do so. I saw a video of them doing something similar a while ago.
This action of theirs is so 'strange' especially when the norm these days among the younger generation is the expectation that others will pick up their trash or waste , so to see someone picking up the waste of others voluntarily is indeed worthy of praise.
Some will likely even make jest of the Japanese fans as being 'jobless' because obviously the stadium has staff whose job is to clean up after matches. I feel pity for those with this kind of mindset because they obviously lack a sense of community service which entails rendering assistance or aid without expecting any form of reward , financial or otherwise.
This display of selflessness rekindled my drive to write about some unique qualities of the Japanese which I picked interest in a while ago and feel should be adopted by other nations or cultures. I have often heard that the Japanese are one of the most courteous and disciplined people on the planet. What makes them stand out is that these two qualities are deeply entrenched as core societal values thus blatant disregard for them is often met with criticism.
Thus it is indeed praise worthy as in many parts of the world nobody cares if individuals in the community or society choose to be rude or indisciplined. Sadly in some places, it is those who are indisciplined or ill mannered that are the centre of attraction for emulation.
It is therefore important to find out how the Japanese are able to maintain such values in a world where everything seems to be turning upside down. The first unique thing about Japanese culture is that the collective is given preference over the individual.
Japanese culture imbibes in youngsters the attitude of being responsible to their families and nation as well as assisting or seeing to the needs of others before that of the self. This is a sharp contrast to the prevalent mindset in the West where the individual is seen as more important than the group or collective.
The parents are alive to their responsibilities of teaching their children good manners so that the children are well behaved or mannered at home as well as in the larger society. Such upbringing helps to provide guidance that ought to keep the children away from trouble.
Japanese culture also engenders a close relationship between parents and children requiring parents to spend quality time with their children and carrying out activities together. This closeness makes it easier for the children to obey instructions from their parents.
As we say in Africa " it takes a community to raise a child", thus the school is not left out as the children are taught proper manners of relating with others and their peers. They are taught to tidy up their classrooms and school grounds daily. They also learn to be polite to teachers and other adults.
This is just a tip of the iceberg as the Japanese code of (social) conduct is one of the most comprehensive I have come across. It is so extensive that it covers pepper manners for public interactions , table manners and a whole lot of others.
From the above information it can be deducted that the transfer of the Japanese code of conduct from one generation to the next as be largely successful because of the existence of a functional family unit or structure which is complemented by the society or community.