The Japanese way of Thinking Surpassed the Western’s?

As we have discussed last week that we need a kind of frame work to help generate innovation which can boost the economic development again. And we also talked about the western methods of reasoning, such as the induction, deduction and abduction claimed by Aristotle, a philosopher in Ancient Greece and furthermore advanced by American philosopher Charles Peirce.

Except the western methods, didn’t we Japan have such a distinguished way of thinking? We did, of course. The KJ method proposed by Jiro Kawakita, an ethnographer in the 1960s, is used to administer immense and various kinds of data and information effectively. However, this method did not live long in Japanese society. The problem is probably on the last phase of “writing” which is usually thought bothersome. In other words, to deal with information in a planned way seems difficult for Japanese people.

Reference 1:

KJ method

Let us look at another thinking method in Japanese way. The so-called “KOZANE (splint) method” developed by Tadao Umesao born in Kyoto in 1920 and a Japanese anthropologist. The Kozane method is started from writing down any idea concerning the topic in one word or short message in a small scrap of paper. Then to gather the similar ones which make senses and to staple them. Finally, to construct them in order and to make it into a writing text. Unfortunately, it is disappeared in Japanese society as the KJ method afterward.

Reference 2:

Tadao Umesao

KOZANE method

Another method of “Equivalent Transformation Theory”, a theory about creation and innovation should be spotlighted. It is advocated by science and engineering professor Kikuya Ichikawa of Doshisya University in the late of 1960s. Creation means something took from the past should be abandoned some part of it and introduce something new instead, so that it can be reconstructed and make the innovation possible. In fact, there were many cases of innovation happened in high economic growth period in Japan could be explained by this theory. However again, it seems to be gone with the wind.

Reference 3:

Kikuya Ichikawa-Japan Creativity Development Center

Why these outstanding thinking methods developed by Japanese foregoer won’t take root in Japan? First, while we enjoyed the atmosphere of “Japan is number one” in 1980s, the America made their every effort to study Japanese industries and to think about how to monopolize the frame work used in business world. When we Japanese people are aware of it, it is already too late to do anything and just struggle for chasing the rules made by the outside world.

Second, the research and development department which was once regarded as the cash cow are almost cut after the high economic growth period in Japan followed under the rules of accounting criteria set by the other side across the sea and those leaders who are just swayed by the so-called accounting strategy.

It is necessary to bring it back again now that the Japanese foregoer has taught us with the frame work of abduction and to ask ourselves what should we do from now on? Let us continue on next week.

About Takeo Harada
Founder and CEO of Institute for International Strategy and Information Analysis, Inc. (IISIA), an independent think tank located in the heart of Tokyo. Former career diplomat in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly in charge of European affairs and DPRK, for the period of 12 years, Takeo Harada is extremely well-versed in the area of global strategy with his original methodology of future analysis and risk scenarios. Takeo Harada is frequently invited to international forums, panel discussions, and other events to share his unique outlook on “what is going to happen” based on his consistent belief of `Pax Japonica.`

What is `Pax Japonica?`
Takeo Harada`s unique ideology, which lies in the belief that Japan, embracing overwhelming amount of social challenges, is bound to embody itself as the role model of overcoming those challenges likely to be faced by the whole world ultimately, for the end of giving hope and future for all the people across the world.

What does IISIA do?
An independent think tank that collects, analyzes, and publish regular reports on international affairs, we feel great commitment to making the world better by providing our unique future scenarios that no other can construct with our rich information resources. What we aim through this commitment is to enhance information literacy for all to eventually realize our company vision of `Pax Japonica,` which we believe is closely correlated with the promotion of UN values and SDGs.

Check out the official HP of IISIA to gain more necessary information:

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