Jigyo henkaku story (Japanese Edition)
The Kamakura emphasis on exclusive means, for example, must have had some bearing over time on the conception of ends, how the point of Buddhist practice was imagined. Historical theory now provides models that allow for astounding levels of complexity and interdependency of factors. Actual political or economic or linguistic change may bring about change in one of the other dimensions, each in its own way providing a turn in the sense people get about their overall situation in the world.
But since language runs through all cultural domains, none more so than religion, linguistic and discursive change is the most telling condition for larger cultural transformation. New metaphors on occasion reshape our thinking processes so radically that we cease taking up old questions altogether, dropping them in favor of a new set of issues that are suddenly compelling and that now direct our thinking and acting in new ways. For Mary Hesse, a whole constellation of social factors sets the stage for the appearance of potent metaphors, which once set in motion make certain subjects of conversation seem important and others fade into obscurity.
Fifth, the most powerful and provocative metaphors develop in a systematic way, spinning off ever more extensive uses of the root metaphor. Systemic metaphors are therefore well worth special attentiveness in the study of historic texts or historical periods. Let me provide an example in modern English. All of us think in terms of wasting and saving time, giving our time and spending our time, investing our time, running out of time, and budgeting our time.
Time is a valuable commodity, a limited resource, something that we ought not to squander. We get paid hourly or weekly or monthly or annually; our phone bill comes in units of time and we pay our mortgage over set periods of time. When our ill-conceived deeds cost the society, we repay the debt by serving time. Money is certainly not the only way to conceptualize time, but it is now a dominant metaphor that has far reaching and systematic consequences for the way we live our lives, all, by the way, largely unbeknownst to us.
Here are a few suggestions for where we might look in Buddhist texts. The religious enterprise then took the mental form of a journey along a path. One could follow the path of reason Jpn. Confucian familial metaphors structured thinking about many dimensions of East Asian society. For Buddhists, the root metaphor came over time to be: the saQgha is a family. Once this was fully established, it became natural to understand every dimension of monastic social life in terms of clan images; there were relations of uncle and cousin and nephew between monks and their patterns of interaction were modeled over those in the traditional Chinese family.
Moreover, the sense of lineage and genealogy inherent in Chinese family structure eventually emerged in the monasteries, so much so that no East Asian sect of Buddhism lacked a full outline of inheritance and legacy. That other dimensions of life would come to be understood through images of farming should not be surprising. Nichiren, for example, thought of the title of the Lotus SUtra Jpn. Economic metaphors were also pervasive. Political, administrative, and military metaphors can also be found behind the development of a wide variety of concepts.
But they developed from that base to include an astounding range of systematic reference. Sixth, we have seen that simple root metaphors develop systematically to form coherent structural systems in terms of which the experience of language users is constructed. More than occasionally, however, exceptions to this coherence can be found. A simple example of this in East Asia is the way in which transcendence is located in terms of special metaphors. The buddha or the sutra is placed high on the altar, above the ordinary. The residence of deity is envisioned as high above the earth, distant in space from the mundane world in which his image is only remotely seen.
At other times in these same Buddhist traditions, and often in Zen, the transcendent is deep rather than high. These contrasting metaphors are so common that they can be used interchangeably in the same text, and read without anyone noticing the discrepancy. The overall view of language presupposed in this way of looking at metaphor stands in contrast to the opposite one, which conceives of language as a barrier interceding between self and world.
Wherever language is imagined as a medium of communication that applies categories and concepts to the experienced world that is otherwise encountered directly and on its own, a kind of dualism is posited that cannot help but cast negative light on language in two respects.
The second is that the metaphors for language that develop in this vein cast it in the role of intermediary, an obstacle to direct and true experience. The modern image of this is the veil of appearance, so natural and obvious a metaphor that it captivated the minds of early Greek philosophers and Indian gurus. Anti-essentialist and non-dualistic ways of thinking in contemporary thought — as well as in some forms of Buddhist thought — offer another way to conceive of the role of language as an enabling rather than an obstructing factor.
Language makes possible not just communicating about the world as we experience it, but also the experience itself in both perception and conception. We perceive that world already in language and understand our perceptions in terms of concepts that are also already linguistically structured.
On this model, language is not simply a means of communication. It enables or makes possible the kinds of complex experience that we have, and distinguishes the way we understand any kind of thing from the way animals do. The contemporary realization that language is historical — that is, that it changes continually through time — opens up the possibility for us to recognize that modes of experience, understanding, and culture are more thoroughly impermanent than our Buddhist ancestors may have ever recognized.
This would be to say that as language changes so do possibilities for ways of living. And if my thesis that metaphor is the place where language undergoes its most radical and creative change is correct, then metaphor is where we might expect new forms of understanding and enlightenment to appear, just as they once did in the Japanese language of Kamakura Buddhism.
Notes 1 These three ways of cultural transformation are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Blum Among the many changes that appear in the Buddhist world during the medieval period is a change in historical consciousness of Japan as a Buddhist nation. On the other hand, taken as a group we have a series of varied and articulate statements on the meaning of history for Japanese Buddhism that, I think it is safe to say, formed the basic rhetoric for discussing this issue as evidenced in sectarian scholarship of the Tokugawa and Meiji periods.
When a nation begins to write histories of religion that extend beyond its borders, as any historical expression of Buddhism must for Japan, the thorny issue of national identity inevitably comes to the fore. Among these writers, it is arguably the rhetoric of Saicho, Annen, and Gyonen that enjoyed the most lasting impact in the world of Buddhist discourse prior to the Meiji Restoration. Although the Kegon school has been extremely small in the modern period, Gyonen was well published and read in the Meiji period,2 particularly his historical surveys, and his HasshU kOyO serves as a textbook guide to Japanese Buddhism in seminaries even in the present day.
By the Kamakura period, sangoku has reached canonization as the authoritative expression of what was perceived at that time as the orthodox multinational Buddhist worldview. This may be explained by the fact that Buddhist scriptures did not come to Japan in a Korean script, and hence Korean culture expressed through the Korean language did not have much of a presence as a mouthpiece for Buddhist truth at this time, unlike the earlier periods of importation in the sixth and seventh centuries.
But complicating our appreciation of the triple-nation concept is that of mappO end of the dharma, Skt. It is worth noting here that the concept of mofa as a debated hermeneutic concept in China really begins simultaneously with the arrival of Buddhism in Japan; that is, the late sixth century. Thus there essentially is no time, at least no historical time, when Buddhism in Japan is not tainted with some notion of it being in decline.
Seen in this context, the historical relationship of Japan to the other two nations in the sangoku triad always has an association of Japan being at the end of the chain. The question for these thinkers, then, is what this notion of being last meant historically, or religio-historically. However, this view of Japan as different is not necessarily always positive, for this special status is noted in some authors as manifest in negative traits, such as lack of respect for the precepts or the saQgha in general. My reading of this sentiment is that it is meant to denote China. In other words, India cannot be superseded because this is the home, the national reliquary of the Buddha himself.
The triple-nation frame is thus a way for Japan to reach beyond China to touch India directly, a land with which it had no direct contact. When Myoe Koben made his mind up to travel to India in the late twelfth century, no Japanese person had ever gone to India and returned. That said, a case can also be made for the thesis that sangoku consciousness in Japan was always tied to mappO somehow. While not all medieval religious thinkers accept this model, in the late Heian to early Kamakura period it appears that they all react to sangoku in one way or another, and most if not all exploit its rich hermeneutic potential.
BLUM sangoku but in his assertion that enlightenment through meditation is still very possible. MappO is thus real for Dogen; he merely transcends its limitation. The earliest known written work with sangoku in its title was the Sangoku dentOki written by Kakuken in If one compares the setsuwa collections Nihon ryOiki and Konjaku monogatari, both manifest mappO sentiment, but the twelfth-century Konjaku distinguishes itself by organizing its stories into distinct sangoku categories as Indian, Chinese, and Japanese.
It goes without saying that acceptance of the native Japanese language as a suitable vehicle for religious expression manifests another face of nationalism or at least national consciousness, and my assertion is that the timing of this change is a direct result of the new historical consciousness embodied in the sangoku-mappO construct.
This is known in Japanese as the enki enjuku construct. There is no one [remaining] with Hinayana faculties. The period of the True and Semblance Dharma have almost passed, and the age of mappO is extremely near. Now is the time for those with faculties suitable for the Lotus one-vehicle teaching. His effort seems to be focused on raising a convincing argument that Japan is the equal of China or India. Regarding the term mappO, the earliest proponent of this theory was Keikai also known as Kyokai , the author of the Nihon ryOiki. Keikai admitted that he himself had failed in his monastic aspirations, and lamented his unintended householder status.
His view of Japan is decidedly pessimistic, particularly regarding moral issues, but in mappO he seems to have found his rationalization. There is no hint here that Japan has another, less visible, side to its religious identity that is praiseworthy. BLUM for he seems to feel an imperative to go one interpretive step further.
He does this in two ways. First is his statement of the contributions of the three nations to Buddhism: What cannot be seen in [the efforts] to ferry sentient beings to the other shore? Thus, in India great men have written lofty treatises, and in China famous monks together have created exegetical commentary. These have all produced the superb achievement of turning ordinary [people] into something holy.
And what are the distinguishing characteristics of this place? These latter places have never built a monastery from the time of the Buddha to the present day. There are even places where heretical paths are dominant that openly disdain the Buddha and slander his teachings. By contrast: The sacred court of Japan will have nothing like any of this.
The promotion of the nation has meant the erection of many temples and the ordination of many monks and nuns. In addition a great many of the sUtras, SAstras, and their commentaries are here. Holy people who are incarnations shine their light through other forms. It enjoys the fruits of this through an enlightened government which understands that to bring prosperity to the nation it must also pour resources into the building and upkeep of monasteries. And they had encountered hard times by , when the new capital drained government resources and Nara Buddhism seemed like an anachronism.
However, his assertion of a national identity that is not merely equal to India and China but superior, as measured in terms in Buddhist piety, was to reverberate throughout Japanese Buddhism. Annen This can be seen rather soon in the Tendai chief abbot Jpn. Zasu Annen b. It is therefore not surprising that Annen is the second person known to extol the sangoku paradigm in a major way. With Annen we have the new assertion that Japan is the most pure Mahayana country in the known world.
The YogAcArabhUmi states that in the east there is a nation where everyone has great spiritual faculties. Is this not our country? Is there anyone in our country who is not a bodhisattva? Annen also played a pivotal role in clarifying the doctrine of what today is known as original enlightenment thought Jpn. BLUM more like Kukai than Saicho, as his tantric stance in essence denudes the mappO doctrine of its hermeneutic potential.
In this context, spiritual potential is a personal issue, not a historical one. The dharmakAya of the buddha as Mahavairocana is immanent in everything we know, hence everything embodies not merely buddha-nature, but also realized buddhahood. Thus, time is not a serious factor, as there can be no degeneration of truth itself. The legacy of Annen in terms of the sangoku-mappO construct is an assertion of the sangoku historical frame, but a weakening of the relevance of mappO within it. This optimism was not to last long, however, for by the mid-Heian period the now aristocratically infused Tendai school was looking more and more toward a form of Pure Land thought in which mappO plays a central role.
But in addition to providing a coherent expression of Pure Land sentiment within the Tendai context, Genshin also played a crucial role in this development by successfully asserting the new theory that historical circumstances demanded different doctrines and practices. As Sueki Fumihiko puts it, one of the key issues in Kamakura Buddhism, then, is how to overcome what had become an accepted notion of Japan as being on the outskirts of the Buddhist world. First is the national history model, which chronicles events using a template that organizes the material by imperial ruler, following the precedent of the Six National Histories Rikkokushi.
This trend can be seen in the FusO ryakki by Koen d. The second model follows the sangoku format, and is championed most successfully by Gyonen in numerous works, probably most successfully in the landmark Sangoku buppO denzU engi. This work employs the sangoku structure championed by Gyonen a century later. The Sangoku dentOki is in fact the earliest known text in Japan with the word sangoku in its title. Although it is only partially extant, from what remains it is clear that Kakuken was attempting to outline Buddhism as he saw it: framed as distinctly Indian, Chinese, and Japanese phenomena.
Here Kakuken declares that in the years since its transmission to Japan, Buddhism prospered famously, but recently people have let it decline so seriously that it appears to be on the edge of self-destruction. The rhetoric of sangoku-mappO is extended by Kakuken with the premise that renewed faith by the populace will save not only Buddhism but Japan as well. The fusion of Buddhism and the national identity is complete with Kakuken, for whom proper respect for the institutions of Buddhist learning is inherent in the makeup of the Japanese people.
But this is precisely what Kakuken does. BLUM validity of the most publicly recognized form of piety: the monastic precepts. But it is in its radical denial of the very possibility of maintaining the precepts that the MappO tOmyOki seems at once radical, subversive, selfserving, yet existentially honest.
The text asserts that various sutras make plain that in the time of mappO in effect there are forms of Buddhism but no real teachings and no real precepts. Thus there are no precepts to be broken. Monks should be rightfully recognized as monks in name only. This fact does not denigrate the value of monks for society, but forces us to look upon them differently: These sutras all specify the age and say that the nominal bhik5u of the future, Latter world will become the future mentor of the people of the world.
These nominal bhik5us are the True Treasures of the world. Furthermore, if someone were to keep the precepts in the Latter Dharma, this would be exceedingly strange. It would be like a tiger in the marketplace. Who would believe it? Here we have a clear example of how the mappO doctrine is being proposed as the rationale to assert a new model for Japan as a Buddhist nation that no longer needs for its clergy to live by the monastic precepts. It is also worth noting that its earliest citation is by Honen, who uses it to assert that Saicho recognized that nenbutsu works regardless of whether you maintain the precepts or not.
Yosai seems more directly concerned about mappO. But even for those types of people who hear little or have weak understanding, even for those who may be exceedingly dull or of little wisdom, if they can devote themselves to zazen, they will attain the Way without fail. In this he discusses the rise of Zen in Korea prior to its arrival in Japan, and discusses both China and Korea. But as both thinkers were reacting to the mappO paradigm in very complex ways, I would like to defer comment on their view of the sangoku-mappO construct to a later date.
Jien Jien — authored the GukanshO, which he completed in But during the Final Age, Emperors have been young — tending to be child Emperors. Jien adds, however, a number of new ideas that very much enrich the conception. Jien also uses a theory of kalpas to predict the future of the nation. In other words, for Jien the history of Buddhism and the history of Japan are proceeding in parallel fashion.
As they are following the same timeline, there is a strong suggestion that they are indivisible. One can speculate that Jien is drawn to this theory because of its sense of renewal for the world, and for Buddhism. The GukanshO is also marked by a lack of assertion of Japanese superiority or uniqueness. For Jien, the principles that underlie the operation of good government apply to all nations, meaning of course the three nations: One can conclude that in China and India as well, in the customs of the three nations, the principles behind the rise and fall of the Southern Continent that is, this world [is one that] declines and then rises, rises and then declines.
The hundred reigns within [this small kalpa] are also subject to rising and falling [of fortunes], depending upon whether people are motivated or not to follow principle. With Gyonen we have the enigma of an exceedingly strong sense of sangoku but an unusually weak concern for mappO. Gyonen wrote over a hundred monographs on a variety of themes, and his total fascicle output astonishingly reaches over But Gyonen never discusses mappO or the end of the world, never mentions degeneration or decay in social or religious institutions, never laments the fact that people are not as pious as they used to be, that monks are not maintaining the precepts or throwing themselves into their practice with enough diligence.
As the leading intellectual of Todaiji in his time, one could argue that he was merely expressing the traditional religious perspective of the old forms of Japanese Buddhism, but then the contrast with other old school thinkers like Koen, Kakuken, or Jien is striking, for they all employ themes of degeneration and the need to encourage renewal.
While he never makes this assertion explicitly, it can be inferred from his approach to writing history, in which he takes a continuously upbeat, positive tone. In this, one is reminded of the position of Annen, in which hongaku thinking means that the physical world is realized buddhahood. But Gyonen is not in the Tendai tradition. The period in which Gyonen lived is one in which the sense of political and social chaos accompanying the demise of Fujiwara rule and its replacement by warrior leaders — as experienced by Kakuken and Jien — had all but disappeared.
The preparations to resist these threats nearly bankrupted the government. Second, and often overlooked, was a crisis in the halls of power. And, indeed, war would break out ten years later. So there is plenty of insecurity in the world for the mappO doctrine to be seen as self-evident; but for Gyonen this is apparently not so. I see Gyonen as adding something to the sangoku-mappO that has been missing: a credible version of events in India.
If Buddhism is pictured as an ideal form of spirituality in Gyonen, India is the quintessentially idealized land of truth. Not only is India the land where the Buddha chose to make his appearance, but it spawned bodhisattva after bodhisattva who contributed to the glory of the dharma. Not surprisingly, he rejects any notion of Japanese uniqueness. He promotes a consciousness of India, not by dividing history into three periods of descending truth or four kalpas wherein human life shortens and lengthens from ten to eighty-four thousand years, but by detailing discrete historical events in a linear timeline, providing historical references to China and Japan by providing the relevant nengO, but also similar references to India by detailing how many years had passed since the death of the Buddha.
As a champion for restoration of the precepts for all monks, we can put Gyonen at the opposite end from the sentiments expressed in the MappO tOmyOki. Conclusion Among the ways in which the enigma of Kamakura Buddhism is expressed following the breakdown of Heian political and socio-cultural norms are a number of metahistoric statements made by professional Buddhist clergy. I am therefore suggesting we view terms like sangoku and mappO or matsudai not as historical statements per se, but as statements about history.
This implies that the alienation from, or seeing beyond, China is an inevitable by-product of the increase in national self-consciousness. And when the world seems to be going to hell, many questions about society, about the nation, are thus called into question. This national self-awareness manifests in various ways. One is in the desire of some of the most serious students of the dharma, the likes of Yosai and Koben, to travel not to China for study, but to India. But what are the messages in this metalanguage? Sangoku is thus not a new concept for this period. But it, too, can be traced in historical records back to the Nara period, and appears in Saicho as well.
But this begs the question of what doctrines are genuinely new with the onset of the medieval period. Was the nenbutsu doctrine and the acceptance as orthodox of only three Pure Land sUtras out of so many actually radically new? The Zen school, too, had clearly been in Japan at least from the time of Saicho, who is also explicit about his lineage connections to the Chan school on the continent. Faith in the authority of the Lotus SUtra is of course not new with Nichiren, as the moniker Hokke-shu expresses; once again we go back to Saicho for this on Japanese soil.
But something is new in the Kamakura period. People are mobilized by religious impulses in a way not seen before, there are new forms of religious expression even if they are deeply dependent on pre-existing rhetoric, new institutions are created, and these new forms of religion continue to develop to where they eclipse what came before them. Jien wants to be read. Honen and Nichiren want to be heard. They have to write in kanbun the Japanese system of writing Chinese to satisfy their professional colleagues, but they also want to circulate their ideas in wabun so more people can access them.
This is one of the profound changes marking the Kamakura period. What about the theme of ethnocentrism? But whereas Annen wants his audience to think that scripture has predicted Japan as the ideal Mahayana kingdom, Kakuken looks around him and sees a depressing lack of faith, respect, and diligence. First, recognize it but assert that diligent practice will still lead to liberation. This is the strategy taken, for example, by Jokei and Dogen.
Second, accept the situation as existentially impossible and seek other means that the Buddhas have provided for us, typically a honji suijaku kind of faith in which Amida or Jizo is incarnated in others. This is found in the thought of Shinran. The latter two manifest a certain ethnocentrism, though not necessarily in a chauvinistic sense.
There are other ways in which Buddhists responded to the general malaise of national self-alienation. Honen accepts mappO but does not seek manifestations of truth in Japan the nation or Japanese individual heroes. MappO is a sign pointing to another sacred reality but it has nothing to do with the destiny of Japan or his own role in its revelation. Unlike in Nichiren, this does not imply a central role for himself, or an ethnocentric role for Japan as unique savior of the unenlightened world.
Gyonen reinforces the perception of the historical robustness of Buddhism. His world is big enough to include mappO, though it does not occupy a prominent position. His history of Pure Land Buddhism does not even mention it. In some sense the temporal issue was less troubling: the predictions of degeneration of the dharma and the world are plain enough in the sUtras, the result of which compelled any religious leader to respond, but also gave him the freedom to do so creatively.
The sangoku concept is on the surface far easier to grasp, but its implications are far more subtle to discern. Does the adoption of this frame imply Japan is beholden to India and China, that Japan is equal to India and China, or that the author feels himself standing outside all three? But there is another sense in which sangoku implies distance, implies India and China as other. With the exception of individual Siddham characters, the Japanese notion of scripture was entirely based on the Chinese language. India therefore only had a rhetorical reality. The repeated assertion of the trinational frame in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was not based on the opening up of a new channel of communication to India.
And what were people saying about Japan in these essays? They were critical — the people were not diligent enough, they did not respect the precepts, they lacked faith. Sangoku binds Japan to an idealized India, yet in doing so serves as the ultimate historical albatross preventing full acceptance of Japanese spirituality.
And this is precisely because an unknown and idealized India is nearly impossible to criticize, preventing the Japanese from creating a comfortable degree of distance wherein its own identity can be recognized and fostered. On the other hand, such utter pessimism is existentially and culturally unsustainable. And if we look at how many religious writers of the time responded to it, mappO turns out to be a remarkably empowering idea, particularly in the Kamakura period.
For one cannot live comfortably with mappO as is — its message of despair demands a creative response, an accommodation of one sort or another. This is why those most impacted by the historical implications of mappO in the Kamakura period — Shinran and Nichiren — become ennobled by it. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, , pp. Yampolksy and B. At Nihon daizOkyO Zhiyi labels these as geshu sowing the karmic seeds that will grow to the fruit of buddhahood , jOjuku ripening, maturing , and gedatsu freed, liberated.
See also his KyOji-jO at T. This could be one of three sutras. FutsU-ju bosatsukai kOshaku. In this context the KankO ruijUshO is relevant. It also serves as a kind of lineage statement for Tendai. But though it is attributed to Toyobo Chujin — , its provenance is disputed, and many feel it dates to the late Kamakura period. Sangoku dentOki. Washio a. Kakuken eventually became abbot of Kofukuji, reaching the rank of Associate Archbishop. Berkeley: Numata Translation Center, , p.
But elsewhere Jien does specify the year as the beginning of mappO. It is only partially extant, reconstructed from its citations in other documents, published in Nihon daizOkyO, vol. Historical and social contexts produce different approaches to texts. As particular material entities with spiritual power, texts were endowed with all the characteristics of sacred objects, and were not essentially different from relics, icons, and talismans. This chapter is organized in the following way.
First, I provide a few examples of the ways in which medieval texts were treated and circulated. Then, I introduce as a test case the Reikiki, an important document of Shinto-Buddhist interaction. This text will enable us to see some epistemological assumptions and ritual functions of medieval Japanese religious literature. I then investigate the scriptural templates and ontological ideas that ground works such as the Reikiki. I address the issue of the practice of medieval text; in particular, I suggest that medieval texts often functioned as talismans and other objects imbued with sacred power.
Performed texts In medieval Japan texts were written, copied, edited, commented upon, ritually transmitted. In some cases, however, their reading was restricted if not forbidden, or simply did not take place at all. Some temples, however, had only a single chapter.
When comparisons were made, they revealed major discrepancies between the different texts. Some chapters have variant editions. Copyist errors, deletions, and additions were found in most manuscripts. It is now one of the most widely circulating Buddhist texts worldwide. However, the actual founder of Jodo Shin-shu orthodoxy, Rennyo — , prohibited it to ordinary readers.
Those who did not plant good karmic seeds in the past and the untrustworthy ones cannot have access to it. Women are messengers from hell: they destroy the buddha-seeds, outwardly they are like bodhisattvas but in their heart they are like demons. Other texts, such as ritual instructions Jpn. Reading was usually not silent, but voiced; most medieval texts are actually notes for lectures, transcriptions of actual lectures and oral transmissions, or models for master—disciple interaction.
In other words, orality was an important component of medieval textuality. Reading was often not a public and free also economically activity. Even the very people who could actually read did not have an easy access to religious texts. It was important to establish connections with some religious or private institution endowed with a library, to create a network of people from whom to borrow and to whom to lend books. More often than not, access to texts was controlled by long and complicated initiatory training and procedures known as oral transmission Jpn.
Such ritual procedures actually culminated not just in oral, secret teachings, but also in the transmission of written texts and documents. Underlying the logic of kuden is the idea that access to a certain text is not necessarily a step to the acquisition of information and knowledge; often, on the contrary, it merely sanctioned that acquisition. In this sense, at least certain texts functioned as tokens of the transformation of economic capital into symbolic capital and vice versa.
One had to invest time, money, and labor at the same time physical, ritual, and semiotic in order to acquire them. Reikiki: an experimental text Reikiki is one of the most important texts of the so-called RyObu Shinto tradition. It is composed of eighteen fascicles: fourteen constitute the main text, and the last four contain only iconographic material. Many copies exist of the text, but scholars have pointed to the existence of at least three different versions.
Its peculiar combination of Japanese, Chinese, and Indian elements makes it quite anomalous in the panorama of medieval Japanese religion and culture. Thus, it is probably not by chance that the Reikiki has been little studied. There is no clear information either on the date and place of composition. Wata Hidenori, in particular, places its composition between the Koan era — and The status of the kami is in fact one of the major conceptual foci of the text. However, the Reikiki itself is not a philosophical treatise, but a sort of ritual manual and a collection of initiatory instructions.
The themes addressed in the various chapters are quite common in medieval combinatory literature. The way in which these themes are treated, however, is quite peculiar, and in some cases without equivalent in any other extant text. This fact, together with the peculiarity of the iconography, is perhaps an indication of the essentially experimental nature of the Reikiki. The peculiarity of the Reikiki shows in several aspects.
The structure of the text is quite loose: there is a general lack of discursive and thematic coherence, and the same subjects are discussed over several fascicles. The Reikiki appears to be a collection of a wide range of writings and documents: cosmogonic accounts, charts of lineages, deity names, myths and narratives of various kinds often only referred to, not recounted in full , ritual instructions, esoteric Buddhist doctrines, and so on.
Already from the title we understand that we are dealing with a complex semiotic apparatus, in which expressions have several and at times contrasting or even incompatible meanings, mobilized to deal with complicated issues. The chapter deals with the process of cosmic differentiation that began with the separation of heaven and earth and the formation of the two respective cosmologic principles Ch. This rhetorical move is emphasized by the fact that two Mahabrahma kings are envisioned as non-dual entities themselves. However, it is hard to reject the impression that the Reikiki uses a Buddhist terminology to describe a soteriology that is in fact closer to a Daoist-like agenda.
Salvation is envisioned as reversion to the primordial One; hence the emphasis of the text on the cosmogonic myths from the Nihon shoki in turn drawn from Chinese, perhaps Daoist, sources. The Reikiki reinterpretation of ancient Japanese myths on the creation of the universe in terms of Indian mythology within a Buddhist discursive framework was not a mere rhetoric exercise fashionable at the time. Thus, Reikiki puts in place a number of semiotic strategies to force language to transcend deny? At the level of the expression, different characters-wordsconcepts are used as synonyms, as an attempt to reduce the multiplicity of signs to one single substance; at the level of the content, it gives several and fragmentary accounts of the original state in terms of its deities, its shape, its qualities.
It is in this sense that we have to read intimations of identity claiming that all phenomena are identical with the absolute, the original state of the deities Jpn. Such a primordial state of chaos is called Mahavairocana before he begins his cosmic preaching. Another oscillation is indicated, on a different plane, by the two fundamental dimensions described in the Reikiki, namely verticality and sphericity, respectively represented by two primordial objects: the vajra club Jpn.
Also in this case, the Reikiki seems to be implementing two different strategies at the same time: either emphasizing the nondualism of vajra and jewel, or reducing the two to one single and undifferentiated entity. Logically and doctrinally, monism and nondualism are two different stances; the originality of the Reikiki lies perhaps in its attempts to go beyond Buddhist nondualism as neither monism nor dualism in gesturing toward an absolute form of monism.
True enlightenment is that which precedes all dichotomies, including the very distinction between ignorance and enlightenment. Such original state of mind is implicitly indicated by the Reikiki as the primordial state before the separation of heaven and earth. The original condition presented by the Reikiki is a sort of monism that, it should be noted, is not that of Western monotheisms, but a Daoist-like realm of undifferentiated potentiality.
When the intellectual space beyond the limits of Buddhism, only implicitly indicated by the Reikiki, began to be actively exploited by a number of social groups and institutions Confucians, shrine priests, aristocratic ritualists, nativists, Westernizers, etc. The text relentlessly tries to prove that Japan is the primordial topos, through discussions of its shape, its direct connection with the primordial deities, and in particular through the mythical and ritual complex constituted by the Ise Shrines.
Commentators have investigated at length the nature and origin of the heavenly talisman supposedly contained in the Reikiki. It is written in Brahmi characters. It still exists. The one I saw was preserved at Uji Treasure House, but is now lost. There was a copy also inside the body of the Great Buddha at the Todaiji, but it was destroyed when the image was burned.
The author of this poem was the father of Qin Shihuangdi. His name was King Zhaoxiang Shosho of Qin. As an explanation as to why Tensho daijin Amaterasu descended to Japan, and in particular to Ise, the text reports: There are two reasons why the deity stayed in this land. It touches the layer of metal [underneath Mount Sumeru].
On this stone is placed a precious sword. On this talisman are written the mantric seeds of the thirty-seven [buddhas and bodhisattvas of the central part of the womb maY9ala], and the characters Dainipponkoku are inscribed as well. Because of the above two mystic reasons, Tensho Daijin ultimately decided to reside in this land. At this point, a detour through medieval sacred geography and political theology is in order. The Keiran shUyOshU, a medieval Tendai encyclopedia, reports the geography of Jambudvipa as presented by the NinnOkyO, which mentions sixteen big countries, mid-size countries, 10, small countries, and countless countries as numerous as scattered grains of millet.
Japan is the divine land [Jpn. As the original land of Dainichi, it has the sacred writ [Jpn. Those who are born in this country will be freed from saXsAra. They emphasized a supposedly Japanese uniqueness in terms of salvation, and accordingly described Japan as a paradise on earth. Divine protection was no longer a sole matter of salvation, but implied protection from the enemies.
Because of the protection accorded by Dainichi [Jpn. Another textual tradition interprets that formula as representing the womb maY9ala Jpn. Hiei and Tendai Buddhism in Japan. In addition to being the primary symbol of the universal ruler Skt. In yet other versions, the sacred writ is not explicitly mentioned, but the quinary symbolism, this time associated with the essence of the vajra maY9ala, is preserved. Dainichi no honkoku. As such, Japan was the semiotic synthesis of the universe, a geopolitical maY9ala, the most sacred country on earth.
To sum up, the heavenly talisman of the Reikiki was supposed to be a secret talisman written either in Qin style seal calligraphy or in Sanskrit. It is supposed to contain a formula that produced the creation of heaven and earth, most likely a series of mantras. Most related texts insist that the sacredness of Japan is marked not only by the presence of such original writ, but also by the very shape of its territory.
This motif is repeated several times in the Reikiki, where it is in fact one of the leading metaphors. In esoteric Buddhism, vajra has two primary and three secondary meanings. Semiotics operations manipulations of language, signs, meanings played a key role in this. If Japan was a maY9ala or, more precisely, a vajra — one of the ritual implements that constitute one of the four modes of maY9ala , everything in it was sacred as a direct manifestation of the Buddhist truth.
But this is not the entire story. The heavenly talisman in the Reikiki also played an essential ritual function as related to the transmission of initiatory knowledge about the kami in ceremonies generally known in Japanese as jingi kanjO or shintO kanjO that took place within a Buddhist framework in medieval and early-modern Japan.
But how did the talisman come to be included in the Reikiki? And what is its function in the text? The Reikiki kikigaki, exposed by Ryohen and written down by Raishun, gives us some precious information. The text opens with the following words: The origin of this text [Reikiki] is as follows.
The listeners were stunned, and those who saw her were speechless; compared to her, Yanzi and Linglin were almost ridiculous. Then, she transmitted to the emperor the most profound and secret Dharma, the so-called Amefuda no maki. That text should not be transmitted easily even to the most noble lantern of the Dharma.
Only one disciple should receive this initiation. This book [Reikiki] is made of eighteen fascicles. The Heavenly Talisman is an absolute and unconditioned talisman. The remaining seventeen fascicles contain the sayings of the dragon deity and Kobo Daishi, or of Dengyo Daishi and Gyoki.
The words of the dragon deity were recorded by emperor Engi Daigo. Ryohen attempted to explain the appearance of the dragon woman. He wrote: The matters of the age of the gods had been forgotten and no one knew them any longer. Even the emperors, who kept the three sacred regalia, handed down from one generation to the other, did no longer know their meaning. In particular there was a onepage text, but its meaning was unknown.
She was an emissary of Tensho daijin. The text in question was the twelfth fascicle of the Reikiki titled Amefuda no maki. This is the seat of vhirume no muchi. Ideas about the sacredness of Japan were put into practice in this kind of combinatory ritual known as Shinto kanjO. Essentially, however, they are closer to other sacred objects such as relics, icons, amulets, and talismans than to texts as we conceive of them today. Elsewhere I have developed a model to explain the different attitudes toward semiotic entities within the medieval Japanese episteme.
This is the level of initiatory knowledge concerning structure, function, and power of the esoteric symbols constituting the intellectual content of esoteric initiation and the key to religious attainment. In terms of texts and regimes of reading, a semiosophic approach considers a text as a vehicle for religious and doctrinal meaning. Semiognosis, in contrast, treats a text as a microcosmic religious machine. Esoteric textual practices consist mainly in visualization and ritual manipulation of mantric expressions Skt.
Proper to semiognosis are also its combinatory and correlative logic and practices Jpn. As Allan Grapard also pointed out, the esoteric interpretation of reality was governed by operations on the substance both graphic and phonetic and the meaning of sacred texts. Talismans and sacred texts existed primarily not to be interpreted: their language is archaic and abstruse and meaningless without extensive commentaries. In the esoteric Buddhist tradition, commentaries are supposed to be translations in religious or philosophical language of the spiritual essence of the universe.
They were handed down in a strictly controlled fashion from master to disciple as symbols of spiritual achievement, legitimacy and orthodoxy. Finally, they were used to communicate directly with the deities through ritual practice. What kind of semiosis is implied by this kind of talismanic communication with the realm of invisible potencies? In a way, a talisman does stand for something else, namely its unconditioned original, a god, or a sacred place, or even the primordial cosmic energy. As a coagulation of the cosmos, the talisman is in itself a microcosm or, as Giorgio Raimondo Cardona calls it, a pentaculum, a magical object constructed around an interplay between macrocosm and microcosm, one that ensures control of cosmic forces.
No interpretive strategies develop to explain the talismans — or if they do, these explanations are just provisional efforts to show the cosmic structure of the talisman and its function in ritual. In other words, talismans are made not to be interpreted, but to be used in order to produce certain effects.
It is not surprising, then, that texts understood in such a way according to the medieval Japanese episteme were often transmitted in complex ritual practices known as kanjO consecration rituals. In esoteric Buddhism kanjO is the ritual in which an adept is consecrated to the deepest truths of a certain text or doctrine. KanjO is the proper way to sanction the transmission of the secret meanings. Initially, kanjO was performed only to hand down esoteric Buddhist texts and doctrines, but in medieval Japan it became the paradigmatic form of transmission of all important texts and knowledge in general.
Such rituals were known as kuden oral transmission or hiden secret transmission. The reason for the development of such rituals is not known. In such an epistemic framework, each text, each cultural artifact, including non-religious ones, was understood as a potential esoteric symbol endowed with several levels of meaning and with secret knowledge. Because of the nature of such knowledge, not everyone was entitled to receive it.
It had a theoretical content, but that was not the main factor in its diffusion and use. It worked as a cosmological model, a representation of the sacred, a ritual template, a condensation of enlightenment, a magical tool, a ritual implement, and a token of initiation. In particular, a direct precedent can be found in the MahAvairocana SUtra as it is presented in medieval stories about the diffusion of esoteric Buddhism in Japan.
Shanwuwei, Jpn. Zenmui, — went to Japan around — to spread esoteric Buddhism. According to Gyonen, it was Kukai who one day found the scripture. He tried to read it, but was not able to understand it, so he decided to go to China in quest for the dharma. The mechanism described in the story above is well known. It is the basis of many practices, from the burial of scriptures Jpn. The legend of the indirect encounter between Kukai and wubhakarasixha, mediated by a buried scripture, can also be understood as a metaphor of the medieval way to access and use sacred texts.
Texts are meaningless in themselves; what really matter are the manifold ascetic practices associated with them, the initiation process to receive them, the status that one acquires by owning them. It is for this reason that many texts in East Asia tell of countless miracles performed by the scriptures themselves. While nonBuddhist teachings are based on conventional and arbitrary sign systems, Buddhism is conveyed by an unconditioned and spontaneous language. While the language of non-Buddhist teachings is fallacious, esoteric Buddhism is able to represent the essence of things.
Its manifest, written form is not a degeneration of its original, but a semiotic translation that does not affect its content and power. After all, esoteric signs and mantras in particular are themselves absolute and unconditioned entities. Predictably, the idea that language and signs are originally unconditioned and spontaneous entities, and also the pansemiotic episteme of medieval Japan, affected conceptions concerning the text, and sacred scriptures in particular. Let us return to the recensions of the MahAvairocana SUtra mentioned above.
Kukai wrote, elaborating on ideas circulating in the tantric Buddhist tradition: There are three versions of this sUtra [MahAvairocana SUtra]. The second is the large version circulating in the world — that is, the sUtra in a hundred thousand verses transmitted by Nagarjuna. Even though it contains three thousand verses in seven fascicles, this abbreviated version embraces the larger ones as the few contains the numerous. One character contains unlimited meanings; one single stroke contains innumerable truths.
The dharmamaY9ala, in particular, simultaneously represents and manifests the linguistic and graphic modality of existence of the cosmos. This recension is an abridged semiotic translation in human language of the cosmic text. His model of the text is not encyclopedic, for it is neither self-contained nor completed.
On the contrary, Kukai approaches the text as a yetto-be-bound — or, perhaps more appropriately, never-to-be-bound — constantly reworked manuscript. Esoteric Buddhist scriptures — and Buddhist texts in general — did not have a solely cognitive function. They needed to be constantly reworked: in commentaries, in rituals, in painting and in literary works. As such, they generated a boundless proliferation of sense. However, it is also true that the scriptural text was closed, after all, as a replica — or, rather, as a textual modality of existence — of the entire universe.
What mattered was the materiality of the texts themselves, a materiality that generated labor semiotic, manual, ritual, performative. Second, sacred words and signs, with their meanings and their uses, are kept in a corpus of revealed texts and their commentaries, the result of a secret knowledge tracing back directly and without changes to the founding deity itself. Third, there is a group of people who have received the initiation to the secret teachings concerning the revealed, unconditioned text and who put these teachings into practice and transmit them.
Interestingly enough, the above three steps correspond to the Three Jewels, the core of Buddhism and foundation of the supernatural power of its practices and its signs. Esoteric signs are unconditioned and absolute: this paradox is at the core of the nondualistic esoteric system. In the medieval Japanese episteme, sacred texts were microcosms, holographs of the dharma-realm.
See, for example, Jonathan Boyarin, ed. Tokyo: Morie shoten, , p. Still other deities that appear in the text are never discussed completely, and are not explained in detail. Keiran shUyOshU, fasc. Koju, Keiran shUyOshU, p. See, for example, ibid. Sendai kuji hongi, quoted in ibid. Keiran shUyOshU, pp. Choshun, RyObu mandara shishO, last fasc. On the meaning of vajra, see also Thomas B. See, for example, ByakuhO kushO, fasc. Includes bibliographical references and index. K I would also like to express my appreciation to the entire faculty at Kyushu Sangyo University KSU who allowed me to take a year's sabbatical so I could concentrate on this research.
The financial support for the first phase of the research was covered by a grant from the Industrial Management Research Institute at KSU. I greatly appreciate all the time and energy spent by all the parent company national and host country national managers who completed questionnaires and participated in interviews. Without their co-operation this research could not be successfully carried out. In addition, there are numerous individuals who assisted me in this research.
In particular, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mark Shadur, who contributed to the development of the model and the statistical analysis presented in this book, and Kazuo Doi, who was an excellent partner in the first phase of the research. I examine the problems associated with HCN integration in Japanese companies and seek to clarify the extent to which HCN managers are actually integrated. As an integral part of this process I explore a number of important related topics such as: Japanese management in general, the transferability of Japanese management practices to their foreign subsidiaries, international human resource management IHRM issues, as well as cross-cultural management and multinational management issues.
I also address numerous misunderstandings concerning Japanese management in general and the management of Japanese foreign subsidiaries in particular. There are four underlying assumptions that substantiate the importance of effective integration of HCNs. First, globalization of human resource management policies and practices is a positive and prevailing trend among the world's MNCs and those MNCs that do not effectively globalize their operations may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
Fourth, HCN managers should play a key role in the management of foreign subsidiaries in their country, at the parent company, or in a third country when the talents they possess warrant such arrangements. HCN managers usually have an inherent understanding of the local language s and culture s.
In addition, it bestows more benefits to the host country through the transfer of management know-how and experience, as well as improving public relations in terms of the MNC being viewed as a good corporate citizen. On the other hand, failure to successfully integrate HCN managers in the management process of foreign subsidiaries may have substantial negative outcomes for the parent company. These problems include high turnover, low morale, internal strife, and poor productivity Kopp, b Japanese companies have become infamous for their transgressions in this area and have been suffering the consequences.
Likewise, in Malaysia, though Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad promoted FDI investment by Japanese companies in order to speed up the industrialization of his country, he later complained that Malaysians were not being given adequate opportunities to advance in the managerial ranks of the Japanese subsidiaries. Former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich , a former Harvard University professor, made this point in an article appearing in Harvard Business Review: In the competition for global talent, corporations that are reluctant to consider foreign nationals for top management positions will lose out; the most talented people simply will not join an organization that holds no promise of promotion.
Japanese-owned companies that have been notoriously slow to open their top executive ranks to non-Japanese will operate at a competitive disadvantage. Prior to the Second World War, the number of firms involved in FDI was relatively small and the majority of firms in the United States as well as many other countries concentrated on their domestic markets.
Furthermore, since , direct investment outflows have increased at the unprecedented compound annual rate of 29 per cent a year, three times faster than that of the growth of exports at 9. The free trade movement has gained considerable strength over the past few decades and has expedited the growth of international business. As tariff and non-tariff barriers continue to fall and the philosophy of free trade gains more proponents, there are fewer protectionist barriers behind which inefficient industries and firms can hide.
International competition is now a significant factor in most industries and in most countries throughout the world. The orientation of most major corporations has shifted from domestic markets to global markets and firms of all sizes are expanding their international operations. As MNCs expand their overseas operations they are confronted with the problem of how to effectively manage international human resources.
The management of human resources internationally is complicated by the fact that all the human resource decisions that are normally made in a domestic environment must be made in a foreign environment. Human resource practices dictated by customs and regulations vary from country to country. Dealing with local customs is usually the greatest challenge. It is difficult for MNCs to understand and deal with abstract IHRM issues such as how to motivate employees, what are the appropriate relationships between superiors and subordinates, how to effectively communicate, and how best to involve HCN managers in decision-making.
Furthermore, there are additional important IHRM issues that must be dealt with, such as to what extent should HCN managers be allowed to run the 4 International Human Resource Management foreign subsidiary and should they be considered as global human resources available to work in other foreign subsidiaries or at the parent company. Managers in companies new to FDI are often uncertain how to adjust HRM policies and practices to foreign environments.
As MNCs gain more experience they tend to adopt a more global approach to the management of all their operations both domestic and international Dowling and Schuler, It is understood that certain industries or markets may require a more local polycentric or regional regiocentric approach to management. Nevertheless, following ethnocentric management policies is usually a sign of immature IHRM that may lead to chronic human resource problems Kopp, a. The view that effective IHRM is a key to the success of international operations was recognized in the development of MNCs as early as in the s.
For example, Desatnick and Bennett in their study of managing MNCs concluded that the primary causes of failure in multinational ventures stem from a lack of understanding of the essential differences in managing human resources, at all levels, in foreign environments.
Though certain management philosophies and techniques have proved successful in the domestic environment, their application in a foreign environment too often leads to frustration, failure and under-achievement.
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They assert that consideration given to IHRM policies and practices is as important as the financial and marketing criteria upon which so many decisions to undertake multinational ventures depend. Globalization has brought about a cultural transformation in many of today's MNCs. Evans et al. They, and other researchers for example: Mishra, ; Pucik, , view this cultural transformation in terms of a shift towards recognizing the importance of IHRM as a competitive tool.
This view is strongly supported by Pucik who asserts that the human resource function as a competitive tool in an environment of global competition is replacing the traditional sources of competitive advantage: In today's business environment, the traditional sources of competitive advantage cannot provide a sustainable edge. Low production cost, technology, or access to capital have become necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for success. Instead, contemporary approaches to global business strategies point to core competencies, invisible assets, and organizational capabilities as key factors influencing long-term success in global markets.
Thus, we are witnessing a renewed interest in human resource management as a major strategic tool that can uphold the competitive position of a global firm.softologic.ru/includes/157-comprar-fosfato.php
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The research undertaken for this book seeks to understand how well Japanese MNCs are dealing with IHRM issues they confront as a result of their great increase in FDI to expand overseas production and related activities. The primary data presented in this book is gathered from this region.
However, the literature indicates that the findings may be extrapolated to most geographical and cultural environments where Japanese companies have overseas subsidiaries. Furthermore, a colleague of mine employed the questionnaire I developed for this research in investigating Japanese subsidiaries in the US and obtained very similar results to those I obtained in Southeast Asia and Australia. On the one hand, MNCs should seek global efficiencies and competitive power by integrating to the greatest degree possible its diverse activities around the globe.
They must consider how to use all their resources, both material and human, in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Such a goal implies that a firm will have a global perspective on the acquisition and utilization of resources including human resources and ignore the 6 International Human Resource Management national origin factor. On the other hand, MNCs should strive to be sensitive and responsive to local situations, considering the needs and desires of the local population as much as feasible in balance with a global integration strategy.
Changes in the international environment during the last two decades are forcing Japanese firms to consider globalization and localization issues more seriously. Factors such as the high value of the yen and trade friction have led Japanese firms of all sizes to establish or expand foreign manufacturing facilities.
The large-scale expansion of overseas operations by Japanese firms during the s and s has brought about a shortage of qualified Japanese PCN managers to fill management positions at foreign subsidiaries. The high cost of maintaining so many PCN managers at foreign subsidiaries and complaints by HCN employees and local authorities underline the importance of integrating HCNs into the management process. There is a significant body of research which includes: Yoshihara, ; Kopp, a and b; Sethi et al. Wingrove argues that Japanese corporations are going global in the sense that they are engaging in extensive FDI but at the same time they are not going local, as US and European companies have tended to do.
Wingrove found that Japanese expatriates fill practically all the senior managerial posts, a finding that is common among numerous studies reported in Chapter 4. Furthermore, Wingrove contends that even when decision-making is delegated to managers in the European markets, the Japanese practice of consensus still requires thorough consultation with head office in Japan.
She asserts that the Japanese parent companies tightly control the operation of their foreign subsidiaries and that many Japanese foreign manufacturing subsidiaries have not moved beyond the screwdriver-plant stage. It appears that the majority of Japanese MNCs are still stuck in an ethnocentric mode. Recently, however, Japanese firms have become keenly aware of the need to move away from their ethnocentric The Challenge 7 approach to management to a more global approach. This issue has really come to the forefront during the past 15 years or so with the sudden surge in FDI in manufacturing autos and electronics in America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
There have been calls for greater localization of not only procurement of material and components but also localization of the management of the subsidiaries. The issue has become so important that the Japanese equivalent for localization, genchi-ka is now another popular slogan promoted by the Japanese government.
Bartlett and Ghoshal assert that this was a serious issue from the late s: By the late s, the impact of localizing forces was being felt with increasing urgency, particularly by many Japanese companies.
 BIBLIOGRAPHY (edata)
Indeed, if the strategic implications of globalization have dominated management thinking in the West, localization has become the preoccupation of top-level executives in Japan. Since the late s Japanese corporations have succeeded in greatly increasing their market share in the major world markets, particularly in the automotive and electronic industries. The global proliferation of Japanese products may give the impression that Japanese companies must be adept at all aspects of management.
However, the research carried out by various scholars and the results of the study presented here paint a different picture. Bartlett and Yoshihara made this assertion in an article on organizational adaptation of Japanese MNCs to foreign environments. They were examining the evidence of their own work as well as the work of other researchers.
Their assertion is examined in detail in this book using a rich amount of quantitative as well as qualitative data. The manner in which MNCs manage international human resources is related to many factors including national culture, organizational culture, international experience, administrative heritage, and organizational structure.
All these factors in relation to Japanese MNCs are examined thoroughly in the following chapters in this book. On the one hand, the present difficulties Japanese MNCs experience in IHRM appear to be related to their relative inexperience in operating large scale operations abroad and their tendency to operate with a centralized management structure based at headquarters in Japan discussed in Chapter 4.
On the other hand, Japanese culture, language and business practices have also inhibited smooth internationalization examined in Chapters 2 and 3. There have been numerous reports of conflicts between PCN and HCN employees at Japanese overseas subsidiaries due to cultural dissonance, both organizational and national, as reflected in individual values and behaviour Marshall, ; Klein, ; Kleinberg, ; Iida, ; Ishida, , , and Though various books and articles have praised traditional Japanese HRM practices Tung, a; Ouchi, ; Rohlen, ; among others , there are many constraints to the effective implementation of these traditional Japanese HRM practices in Japanese foreign subsidiaries.
Beechler and Yang conclude from their study of Japanese subsidiaries in the US that the effective implementation of Japanese HRM practices at their foreign subsidiaries is constrained by both the local environment for instance: labour market conditions, alternative job opportunities for employees, host-country regulatory conditions and the internal environment of the Japanese MNCs such as: administrative heritage, corporate culture, organizational structure, and employee characteristics. In addition, the relationship between the employee and the company in Japan in particular managerial employees tends to be a more central part of the employee's self-concept than it does in many other countries.
There are demands made on Japanese employees in the domestic environment that few non-Japanese at foreign subsidiaries would tolerate, especially since they do not benefit from the same support system that exists at the parent company. Bartlett and Yoshihara argue that ethnocentrism, the organizational structure of Japanese MNCs, and Japanese culture may represent major impediments to the global restructuring of their operations: Even in companies that are at the vanguard of the Japanese invasion of overseas markets, there often seems to be a remarkable lack of understanding about the international operating environment and little sophistication in the management of the newly evolving world-wide organization.
In many ways, their current problems are The Challenge 9 similar to those of their American counterparts when they were building their international organizations in the immediate post-war decades. But, in addition to limitations of an ethnocentric perspective, the Japanese manager must also overcome the huge obstacle presented by an organizational system that is strongly rooted in Japanese culture, and in many ways is ill suited to the newly imposed task.
A key point here is that the Japanese system of management is so culture-dependent that it is difficult to incorporate non-Japanese into the system making internationalization of their organizations problematic. This argument is introduced here and explored further in Chapters 2 and 3. The difficulties Japanese experience in integrating HCN managers into the management system of their foreign subsidiaries is closely linked to the ethnocentric nature of Japanese culture and society.
This strong ethnocentrism is found in Japanese social organizations such as business enterprises. Japanese organizations strongly reflect the unique characteristics and patterns of communication, human relations, decision-making processes, and logic of the relatively homogeneous national culture. Thus, Japanese organizations tend to function best when behaviour patterns of group members are uniform.
On the other hand, they tend to be weak in handling cultural diversity. Yoshino correctly predicted that Japanese management practices would impede the internationalization of Japanese organizational systems. Compared with the Japanese, the American system is less culture-bound, has greater flexibility, and has a considerable degree of tolerance for heterogeneous elements. Thus, even though certain Japanese management practices are successful in Japan, it is often difficult to transfer these practices successfully to foreign subsidiaries.
In support of this view Sasaki stated: 10 International Human Resource Management The style of management and the decision-making mechanism in Japan can claim to be unique. As long as they are confined to the activities within Japan, they do not cause serious problems. When they go abroad, however, they often make trouble because of their uniqueness.
A review of various empirical studies and other research indicates that Japanese subsidiaries are facing numerous human resource related problems in the management of their foreign subsidiaries for example: Yoshihara, ; Kopp, a and b; Thome and McAuley, ; Pucik et al. Problems include centralized decision-making at the parent company and a corresponding lack of autonomy at the foreign subsidiary, domination of top-level management positions by Japanese PCN managers, low confidence in HCN managers' abilities, low level of trust in HCN managers, lack of clearly formulated human resource policies for local employees, ceiling on promotion for HCNs, problems with labour unions and equal employment regulations.
Most of these problems are associated with ethnocentric management approaches and a lack of localization of management. Fernandez and Barr argue that Japanese companies are strongly hindered in their internationalization by their ethnocentrism: Japanese view the homogeneity of their society as a key to their success and see any threat to that homogeneous state as negative. This attitude leads to racist and ethnocentric policies that exclude and discriminate against foreigners and minorities on Japanese soil, as well as discriminate against non-Japanese employees in Japanese companies throughout the world.
Though Japanese MNCs have experienced various degrees of success with HCN blue-collar workers in Japanese subsidiaries, they have not had the same success in effectively utilizing the talents of HCN managers. Linguistic and cultural barriers represent a greater obstacle when dealing with HCN white-collar employees since effective communication and good working relationships are necessary for joint decision-making. The contrast in terms of success between Japanese IHRM practices dealing with white-collar HCN employees versus those involving blue-collar HCN employees is well illustrated by an American manager of a Japanese subsidiary quoted in Bartlett and Yoshihara : The Challenge 11 It is ironic that the very factors that have made this company's management of its production workers abroad so successful participation in decision-making, job security, and advancement opportunities, and an egalitarian attitude all seem to be missing from their treatment of management.
I am becoming doubtful that I can look forward to a satisfying career. A plethora of books and articles have been written in both academic and popular literature on these subjects. Explaining Japan to the outside world has become an industry in and of itself that occupies the minds and efforts of academics and consultants of many nationalities.
However, there is a lot of disagreement amongst the so-called Japan experts, so much so that there is still a lot of confusion concerning Japan, Japanese culture, Japan's economy, and the management of Japanese firms. In this task, I draw on my proficiency in written and spoken Japanese; experience in business dealings with over Japanese companies and their foreign subsidiaries in North America, Mexico, Europe and Asia as an employee of two major US MNCs; and ten years' teaching management at a Japanese university.
I believe that I have read most of the pertinent literature in both English and Japanese in order to obtain a balanced understanding. In addition, my extensive experience in Japan has allowed me to develop a well-rounded understanding of Japanese management policies and practices within the social and cultural milieu in Japan.
Woronoff , a Western author who has written extensively on Japan argues that such authors are rarely familiar with the daily workings of the Japanese system and their books do not portray the true state of affairs. He claims that 12 International Human Resource Management many Western books on Japanese management merely portray a collection of myths bearing little relation to reality Woronoff, : For anyone familiar with the Japanese attitude toward Japanese management, the success of this myth making is even stranger. For, in Japan, where people have a first-hand acquaintance with the system there is plenty of criticism.
In fact, there is an almost unending round of censure of one sort or another from one quarter or another. As it happens, most Western books on Japanese management elicit more laughter than applause. On the other hand, excellent works of some Japanese authors have not been translated into English. Perhaps this is because, obviously written with a Japanese audience in mind, they assume a great deal of contextual knowledge. However, even in the works written in Japanese that discuss the role of HCN managers there is a lack of empirical data concerning important issues such as HCN managers' participation in decision-making.
The primary data gathered for this book address the gaps in the body of research on this subject and some of the many misunderstandings concerning Japanese IHRM. These data highlight particular areas of concern that need to be addressed. In addition, the development and application of the Conceptual Model of Factors Affecting HCN Integration presented below adds to the practical and theoretical understanding of the issue as well as such related issues as the transferability of Japanese human resource practices.
In light of the benefits to be gained by successfully integrating HCN managers and ramifications of failing to do so, the findings of this research should be meaningful to the human resource managers of Japanese MNCs as well as MNCs of other nationalities, labour organizations, and government policy makers. The operation of Japanese MNCs as genuinely global organizations might be enhanced if our understanding of HCN managers' role in Japanese subsidiaries is improved.
In summary, I hope that the critical review of the related literature and the primary research presented in this book offers a unique well-founded understanding, not available in any single work at this time, of Japanese IHRM policies and practices and how they The Challenge 13 Communication IHRM Integration Business culture Figure 1. In the end, it will be the readers who shall make this judgment. Integration is understood to be the degree to which HCN managers participate in the process of making management decisions.
First, IHRM is deemed to be the most important factor affecting integration. The model indicates a direct relationship between IHRM and integration. Second, communication is an integral part of the decision-making process. Without effective communication, HCNs would not receive the necessary information to be involved in the decision-making process. The model suggests that communication should directly affect IHRM policies and practices since Japanese firms are likely to consider problems related to communication between the subsidiary and the parent company in making their staffing decisions.
Finally, the 14 International Human Resource Management variable business culture deals with the challenges of cross-cultural management. The literature indicates that non-Japanese experience difficulties in adapting to Japanese business practices and cultural peculiarities. Likewise, it appears that Japanese experience difficulties in dealing with non-Japanese managers within their organizations.
The model also suggests a direct relationship between the variables, business culture and IHRM since, as in the case of communication, Japanese firms are likely to consider problems related to business culture in making their staffing decisions. The variables in the model are discussed in detail in Chapters 2 to 5. These are examined in the context of other salient issues that impinge on HCN integration in Japanese firms. The relationships between these factors and the integration of HCN managers in the model are expressed in terms of three hypotheses that are tested using regression analysis as part of the presentation and analysis of the data in Chapter 6.
The discussion of the findings and conclusions appears in Chapter 7. First, this chapter focuses on general cross-cultural management issues in order to set the stage for a discussion of the specific characteristics of Japanese culture and business practices covered in the following chapter. This chapter stresses the importance of culture as a factor determining the effectiveness of IHRM policies and practices. The definition of culture in the context of this research emphasizes the predictive power and understanding of human behaviour, particularly work related behaviour, gained through understanding culture.
It is argued that culture is an important factor in determining the effectiveness of IHRM policies and practices and must be considered. The national culture versus organizational culture debate is examined in order to assert that MNCs should avoid IHRM policies and practices that conflict with the national culture of the host country. Cultural synergy in organizational settings is discussed in relation to Japanese MNCs.
It is argued that the nonreciprocal causal model corresponding to the international firm best describes most Japanese MNCs, since in most Japanese MNCs there is limited organizational learning and transformation through cross-cultural interaction. There 15 16 International Human Resource Management are various levels on which culture may be analysed. For example, Hayashi views culture on five different levels: 1. However, the most common levels of analysis in dealing with management issues are organizational and national culture.
Arriving at a common definition of culture has always troubled scholars. Kluckhohn, and Strodtbeck : Culture consists of patterned ways of thinking, feeling and reacting, acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiments in artefacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and especially their attached values. Hofstede : Culture consists of a set of mental programmes that control an individual's responses in a given context.
Shweder and LeVine : Culture is a set of shared meaning systems wherein members of the same culture are likely to interpret and evaluate situational events and practices in a similar way. As a working definition or understanding of culture for the purposes of this study, the predictive elements of the definitions of culture proposed by the above scholars are embraced. It is essential to understand culture in terms of its manifestations in individual and group behaviour which can be observed and formulated into patterns useful for predictive purposes, in particular, for predicting the efficacy of IHRM policies and practices.
In utilizing the predictive and explanatory powers obtained through understanding cultural factors in Cross-Cultural Management Issues 17 relation to IHRM issues, there is a fine line between cultural reductionism and lucid understanding. Adler et al. They argue that progress may be made and more predicted with culture being accepted as an observable aspect of human behaviour, manifest in social interaction and tangible objects like organizations, but resting on symbolic frameworks, mental programmes, and conceptual distinctions in people's minds. Thus, it is necessary to comprehend the values, needs, motivators, and other determinants of behaviour of the people one wishes to manage.
Though these behaviour-determining factors may be considered on an individual level, they are usually viewed at the group, ethnic, or national level and expressed as aspects of the respective culture. There are numerous cultural influences on the institutional and organizational levels of human endeavour.
Culture shapes the type of organizations that evolve and the nature of social structures as they grow and adapt Hofstede, Societies shape their collectives and social aggregates according to the rules implied by culture. The argument being put forth here is that organizational behaviour is best understood within the social and cultural context in which it has developed. Erez and Early point out that the potential contribution of various managerial practices and motivational techniques depends on cultural values and norms since employees interpret the meaning and value of various managerial techniques in relation to their own well-being.
Thus, successful managerial techniques in one culture may lose effectiveness in a different cultural setting. Erez and Earley also argue that it is possible to understand and predict the effectiveness of management practices and policies by examining them on the basis of cognitive models of organizational behaviour, and such models should be useful in dealing with crosscultural management issues.
The cognitive model Erez and Earley developed is based on a metacognitive approach to self-regulatory processes. This approach 18 International Human Resource Management enhances our understanding of how different contextual stimuli are selected, processed, and interpreted by the individual. First, the self processes information, interprets it in line with internalized criteria and activates the response patterns accordingly. Second, self-concept is a composite view formed through direct experience and evaluations adopted from significant others. When significant others share the same value system and norms of behaviour, it can be argued that the self is modified by culture.
Since it is reasonable to expect different selves to emerge in different cultures, different managerial approaches are required to satisfy needs for self-enhancement. Thus, cultural criteria are used to evaluate managerial practices and motivational techniques for their potential to satisfy personal goals and self-generated needs. Central to the study of the integration of HCN managers in the management process of Japanese subsidiaries is how effectively Japanese firms adapt their management techniques to the local cultural environment of their foreign subsidiaries and likewise how well HCN managers adapt to Japanese-style practices.
As discussed in more detail in Chapter 3 concerning the origin of Japanese management practices, proponents of the structuralist approach for example: Koike, ; Dore, de-emphasize the importance of culture as a factor determining the transferability of Japanese management techniques. It may be possible to ignore cultural effects when examining HRM within a single homogeneous cultural system; however, transferring managerial techniques across cultures has not always been successful for example: Morris and Wilkinson, ; Beechler and Yang, ; Kinoshita, ; Sethi et al.
Erez and Earley maintain that failures in transferring methods of HRM across cultures confirm that culture acts as a moderator in the relationship between managerial techniques and employee behaviour. In addition, Hayashi reported that a survey of Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese employees indicated that management methods vary by culture, so that just as there is a Japanese-style management, there is also a South Korean style, and a country X style. Hayashi concluded that sufficient knowledge about the factors peculiar to each culture is necessary for effective cross-cultural management.
Fujisawa, the co-founder of Honda Motor Corporation quoted in Adler et al. Thus, it is important to understand how Japanese culture shapes the organization and functioning of Japanese firms and their overseas subsidiaries. In addition, it is useful to examine how culture affects the individual behaviour and attitudes of Japanese managers towards HCN managers. Chapter 3 seeks to provide a sufficient basis for understanding the salient aspects of Japanese culture and their relationship to Japanese organizational and individual behaviour.
Though it is not practical to offer a detailed analysis of the cultures and the cognitive aspects of the cultures in the host countries included in my study presented in Chapter 6, the general cultural and business environment of the host countries is discussed in Chapter 4 in order to suggest areas of possible cultural dissonance. The next section deals with the national and organizational cultural influences on group and individual behaviour and it is reasoned that the organizational culture of foreign subsidiaries should not conflict with the host country national culture.
Organizational and national cultures are important factors in determining work attitude and behaviour. However, in international management situations national culture and organizational culture may be in conflict. Thus, the question arises whether or not organizational culture can overcome national culture when the two are in conflict. There is a long-standing debate concerning the relative strength of national and organizational culture in determining employee behaviour and attitudes for example: Berry et al.
That is to say, if the behaviour of HCN employees can be significantly influenced by values of the organizational culture of the foreign subsidiary, top management may seek to replicate the organizational culture of headquarters. However, if national culture is always of greater influence, 20 International Human Resource Management then headquarters systems and structures should be modified to fit with local values. Organizational culture serves as a behavioural control, instilling norms and values that result in the employees following a certain way of doing things. These companies succeed in instilling the organizational culture through such methods as recruiting like-minded individuals individuals who share the same values , socialization through training and personal interaction, and developing strong organizational commitment through various other HRM policies such as long-term employment, stock option plans, recreational and housing facilities, and managerial rotation Schneider, On the one hand, there is evidence of the potential strength of organizational culture in shaping the values of employees.
Hofstede et al. Thus, Hofstede's conclusions indicate the possibility of organizational culture instilling values in employees that may not be representative of national cultural norms, however it does not necessarily mean that this is possible when organizational values are in conflict with prevailing national values.
Burack believes that values in the organizational culture are deeply ingrained and that they give rise to uniformity in behavioural patterns and underlying values among organizational units regardless of geographic, functional or business boundaries. In addition, Schein represents organizational values as a basic set of implicit assumptions about how to behave, and states that these organization values have a similar degree of influence as the values of the national culture.
On the other hand, there are indications that national culture has greater influence than organizational culture on the values and work behaviour of employees. Berry et al. They argue that there is little evidence collected indicating major differences in values between employees of various organizations within a more or less culturally homogeneous country. They contend that the differences that have been mentioned in the literature are not so much cultural values or meanings, but, more superficially, a matter of style Berry et al.
This assertion has some important implications concerning Cross-Cultural Management Issues 21 the relative influence of national culture versus organizational culture. According to Mead , accepting Berry et al. The organizational culture of an existing organization reflects the national culture in strong focus. Members of the organization will tend to resist plans to impose a culture that does not reflect their national values.
A significant lack of correspondence between organizational and national values may lead to conflict between employees and top management. In addition, Laurent maintains that organizational culture is unlikely to modify national cultural values and when national and organizational cultures come into conflict, the first is likely to override values in the second.
Furthermore, Ray doubts whether even the best efforts by top management have any significant effect on their employees' behaviour patterns at least so far as American corporations are concerned. Finally, Adler et al. If these beliefs and values are threatened by organizational practices, dysfunctional work behaviour or maladjustment will result.
They maintain that the culture that enters the organization through employees limits the influence of management-created organizational culture and structure. No matter which side of the debate one supports, it is important to recognize the need to reconcile the organizational culture of the MNC with the host country's national culture s.
Furthermore, it is important to understand how national culture shapes organizational culture. Enz argued that organizational culture should be understood as a product of national culture as well as other forces such as the personalities of the organizational leaders. In addition, Hofstede indicated that national culture and the values contained therein are usually the strongest force shaping corporate culture.
This view is also supported by Berry et al. At the same time, it is difficult to deny that organizational culture can instill values in employees. However, implementing management practices that are in direct conflict with national values and beliefs is extremely problematic and usually only possible given a charismatic leader and exceptional circumstances.
Japanese PCN managers are unlikely to demonstrate such charisma in the alien environment of the foreign subsidiary. Thus, Japanese MNCs should avoid espousing 22 International Human Resource Management organizational values and managerial practices at their foreign subsidiaries that strongly conflict with national cultural values and beliefs. Before concluding this section a few comments concerning the degree of similarities between management policies and practices among Japanese MNCs are warranted. As discussed in this section, organizational culture is strongly shaped by national culture, however, variations in a given national culture as well as the influences of other factors such as charismatic leaders often lead to differences in organizational culture among companies sharing the same general national culture.
These variations can be observed even in relatively homogeneous societies such as Japan where there are discernible differences between Tokyo and Osaka based companies Miyamoto, Thus, while the view that Japanese MNCs all have the same organizational cultures is mistaken, that is not to say there is not a definite imprint of Japanese culture on all Japanese MNCs and generalizations cannot be made. When observed from an international comparative standpoint, the similarities in the IHRM policies and practices among Japanese MNCs far outweigh the differences.
Thus, pointing out salient characteristics of Japanese national and organizational culture and referring to them in the analysis of IHRM at Japanese MNCs is not necessarily simplistic cultural determinism or reductionism. If done with circumspection, creating analytical paradigms based on perceived generalities may increase understanding as well as explanatory and predictive power. As with all generalizations and paradigms, there will obviously be exceptions but that does not mean they are not useful analytical tools.
Finally, as MNCs expand their international operations, various national cultures may influence the development and evolution of the overall organizational culture. Thus, MNCs with a long history of operating subsidiaries in many countries may develop a more cosmopolitan corporate culture that accepts and thrives on heterogeneity.
As discussed in the following section, such a company is global in its approach and may be described by the morphogenetic causalloop model. However, it is argued in the next section that few Japanese MNCs fit this type of model. The four correspond respectively to the organizational approaches of intentional, multidomestic, multinational, and global firms.
International Human Resource Management in Japanese Firms: Their Greatest Challenge
The categories are quite similar to Perlmutter's categories ethnocentric, polycentric, regiocentric, and geocentric with the exception that Maruyama's focus is more on organizational learning through cross-cultural interaction. In this section a summary of these concepts is presented utilizing Adler's analysis of these concepts in relation to cultural homogeneity and heterogeneity.
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The purpose of the discussion is to clarify which model best describes the majority of Japanese MNCs. The nonreciprocal causal model corresponds to the international firm. In such a firm homogeneity is considered natural, desirable and good while heterogeneity is viewed as an abnormality and a cause of friction and conflict. The culture of the head office in the parent firm is assumed to apply universally and management believes that there exists one best way to manage the corporation regardless of location and cultural differences.
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The culture of top management dominates all parts of the organization and there is a strong distinct organizational culture for international as well as domestic operations. Independent event models are characteristic of multidomestic firms. Events are perceived as random and thus the question of causality lacks explanatory power. Management views the firm as an aggregate of individuals who think and act independently. Multidomestic firms recognize cultural differences and are at the opposite extreme to international firms since they do not seek to impose a single organizational culture for all domestic and international operations.
Each foreign subsidiary is regarded as independent and autonomous. Thus, multidomestic firms recognize cultural diversity among their operations but do not seek to gain synergy from it. Homeostatic causal-loop models characterize the multinational firm. In sociological terms, homeostasis refers to the maintenance of normal, internal stability within a social group by co-ordinated responses of the group that automatically compensate for environmental changes. In these models, causal relations form stable loops. Organizational structures or patterns of heterogeneity are maintained in equilibrium by causal loops.
Homogeneity is the source of competition and conflict. While on the other hand, cultural diversity or heterogeneity is seen as a positive attribute that leads to appropriate organizational adaptation to changes in the international environment. In morphogenetic causal-loop models, causal relations form loops, but heterogeneity goes beyond homeostasis and generates new patterns of mutually beneficial relations among the interacting elements, thus raising the level of sophistication of the whole system. Unlike homeostatic models, in which external forces cause change, morphogenetic models can internally generate their own evolution.
Heterogeneity is seen as essential and indispensable for the global firm to generate new patterns through international interaction. Considering the elements of each of Maruyama's models, most Japanese MNCs appear to fit the description of the nonreciprocal causal model corresponding to the international firm. The main reason is that in most Japanese firms homogeneity is definitely considered natural, desirable and good, while heterogeneity is usually avoided.
Furthermore, the heterogeneous environment of the foreign subsidiary seems to have little effect on the homogeneous environment of the parent company in Japan. That is to say, even though Japanese firms may internationalize in terms of establishing foreign subsidiaries, few firms actually internationalize the outlook of the managers working at the parent company in Japan Yoshihara, a. Evidence supporting these contentions is provided in more detail in Chapters 3 and 4.
It is not that no Japanese firms have evolved along the continuum from international to global. However, it is pointed out repeatedly in the literature examined in Chapters 3 and 4 that the majority of Japanese firms experience substantial difficulties in dealing with the cultural heterogeneous environment of the foreign subsidiary. The next section examines the influence of collectivism on Japanese organizational and work behaviour. This discussion also assists in explaining the managerial environment HCN managers face at Japanese parent companies and their overseas subsidiaries.
More so than other cultural dimensions, the individualistic versus collectivistic orientation of a society has profound implications for how individuals work Triandis, Individualism vs. It accounts for most of the variance in Cross-Cultural Management Issues 25 the ecological cross-cultural value data collected by Hofstede This section contrasts the individual's relation to the group in collectivist and individualist societies with a focus on the characteristics of collectivism in Japanese society.
Collectivism, in contrast to individualism, conveys self-definition as part of the group, subordination of personal goals to group goals, concern for the integrity of the group, and intense emotional attachment to the in-group. People in collectivistic cultures stress similarities with other group members that strengthen their group identity.
Thus, self-identity is strongly tied to the individual's relationship with key groups. They emphasize the integrity of in-groups over time and de-emphasize their independence from in-groups. Triandis stresses the important role in-groups play in shaping behaviour in collectivist cultures Triandis, : Social behaviour is a function of in-group norms to a greater extent in collectivist than individualist cultures.
In collectivist cultures, role relationships that include in-group members are perceived as more 26 International Human Resource Management nurturant, respectful, and intimate than they are in individualistic cultures. Relationships that include out-group members are perceived to be more manipulative and exploitative in collectivist than individualistic cultures. Individualism and collectivism are prototypic American and Japanese patterns, respectively.
Japanese culture is rooted in collectivism, whereas American culture is rooted in individualism. Of course, any organized society requires that people co-operate together in groups in order to accomplish certain goals.
Thus people in both societies take part in co-operative group activities; however, there are basic differences between the typical American and Japanese concerning the characteristics of the individual's relation to the group. For example, Sethi et al. They describe the group in a collectivist society like Japan as a living organism whose existence is quite independent of its current membership. On the other hand, in the US an individual's association with a particular group activity is contingent on the individual's perception of the benefits to be derived from such participation.
That is to say, in the US people will associate with a given group as long as the benefits derived from associating with the group outweigh the loss of individual freedom suffered from such association. Thus, the individual's group loyalty in the US is comparatively weak. Moreover, from the standpoint of an observer from an individualistic society, the egalitarianism in Japanese groups results in perverse inequalities by standardizing rewards that give little consideration to individual contributions or preferences.
While the egalitarianism in US groups is in the form of equality of opportunity, which results in different outcomes for individuals based on their individual contributions and preferences of rewards Sethi et al. In relatively homogeneous societies, the norms and values of in-groups are similar, while heterogeneous societies have groups with dissimilar norms and values.
Triandis describes tight collectivist cultures as homogeneous Cross-Cultural Management Issues 27 cultures that are often rigid in requiring that in-group members behave according to the in-group norms. In such cultures, little deviation from normative behaviour is tolerated and severe sanctions are administrated to those who deviate.
On the other hand, he claims that heterogeneous cultures and cultures in marginal positions between two major cultural patterns are flexible in dealing with in-group members who deviate from in-group norms. Triandis considers Japan to be an example of a tight culture that is relatively homogeneous, while he sees Thailand as a loose collectivist culture.
Triandis states that in Thailand, with its marginal position between the major cultures of India and China, people are pulled in different directions by sometimes contrasting norms, and hence they must be more flexible in imposing their norms.