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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Jul 17, 2002

    Post Is Japan an intellectual country ?

    I've often thought that Japan was very good at inventing new products and applications. However, after almsot 2 years of living in Japan, I come to realise that most Japanese aren't very scientific or just intellectual (especially when it comes to philosophy, history or the understanding of the world in general, be it in politics, economics or merely geographic).

    IMHO, Japanese people are much more polite and respectful in average than most Westerners, which make them very nice people. But as they have little interest in direct confrontation of ideas and prefer keeking the harmony to arguing, it also affects their philosophical or scientific thinking (spontaneous questioning, confronting ideas, distrust what they've learnt, etc.). Let's say that they are great engineers, work hard and know how to do business, but lack theoritical and abstract thinking compared to Westerners.

    Japan has "borrowed" most of its scientific knowledge to the West from the Meiji era. They haven't invented the car, the train, the telephone or even the television. Nobody would contest that Japanese cars, TV's and mobile phones are among the world best, if not the best. However, they had to import all these inventions and then only work on how to improve them. They e better in practice than in theory.

    I have counted the number of Nobel prizes obtained by each country and made a little summary (in maths, I have taken the Field Medal, as there are no Nobel prize).

    In science (in order : physics/chemistry/medecine/maths)

    Japan : 3/3/1/1 = 8

    France : 11/5/7/10 = 33
    UK : 18/22/25/8 = 73
    Germany : 18/27/18/0 = 63
    Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland) : 7/6/7/1 = 21

    TOTAL EUROPE (all countries, except ex-USSR, Romania, Bulgaria, ex-Yougoslavia) : 70/71/78/20 = 239

    USA : 69/50/86/20 = 225

    Literature et Economics

    Japan : 2/0

    France : 13/1
    UK : 7/6
    Germany : 7/1
    Scandinavia : 13/2

    TOTAL EUROPE : 61/13

    USA : 11/36

    All Nobel prizes ( except "peace") + Field Medal

    Japan = 10

    France = 47
    UK = 86
    Germany = 71
    Scandinavia = 36
    TOTAL EUROPE = 313

    USA = 272

    The European countries taken here into account have an approximate population of 400 millions, the US 285m and Japan 125m. That means that the US have the more Nobel prize per inhabitant. Consequently, the US have proportionally 16x more Nobel prize than Japan, while Europe has 10x more than Japan, Scandinavia 25x, and the UK has 19x.

    Very interesting statistically.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Apr 30, 2003 at 22:02.

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