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Thread: Do Japanese prefer money above all ?

  1. #26
    Taicho mdchachi's Avatar
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    > I thought maybe difference between Westerner thinking rude to talk about money and Japanese talking about it openly, comes from whether your from country of Christianity or not.
    > I read in a book that Christian society concidered commerce and financial business as negative things historically.

    Good point, qchan. Yes, that's true. My mother often says "money is the root of all evil." I don't know if she got that saying from Christianity but it's a common sentiment around here.

  2. #27
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Another good reason not to ask someone how much money they make/have, or to boast about one's wealth, is that it makes people envious, and "envy" is one of the 7 deadly sins for Jews and Christians (and Muslims too ??). The second reason not to be too interested in money (always think and talk about it), is that greed (covetousness) is another of the 7 deadly sins.

    That seems almost irrelevant to me as I am not even remotely Christian, but I feel that people who only care about money to find happiness are loveless, intellectually shallow, immature and possibly immoral ultramaterialstic individuals. My reason are that happiness can be attained - and I talk of personal experience, through personnal relationships, love, affection, intellectual and personal achievements, experiencing the world and finding a philosophical (or religious) sense to one's life. As sad as it sounds, I often feel that the average Japanese ommit especially the intellectual, philosophical and even amorous points above. Isn't it funny that in a (pseudo-)Buddhist country, people are so little inclined to find their own self and lead an ascetic life toward enlightenment. I could (and have) throw all my material possessions if I had books to improve my knowledge, time to meditate on the meaning of life. It seems however that this idea is completely foreign to Japanese, eventhough it is what Buddhism teaches (well not the fast-food-like joudo and jodou-shin sects of Buddhism which have the largest number of followers in Japan !). Most Japanese are too materialistic and lack the depth of thought necessary to enjoy themselves with anything else than eating, drinking and having sex. Women are better as they have more hobbies, but sometimes I feel they just feel relieved to spend their money on some courses where they rarely excel (and easily quit for something else) or in shopping for more than they can afford... it seems that they are reassured that they are enjoying life because money flows, and are miserable if they don't have as much as the others. Sorry but for me such people will always be shallow, lacking in personality, self-esteem and intelligence. :sad: But we can console ourselves by thinking that as long as they have money they are happy (and even after 13 years of economic decline, they still seem quite happy ).

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  3. #28
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    I'm just going to jump right on in on this...

    First off, I think Christian society has an aversion to speaking of accumulated wealth (or lack thereof, in most cases) because greed is a major sin. Of course, it helps that if for a long time, you subjugated whole countries and monarchies to a corrupt system where the money was taken for (not given to) the church so everyone could get into heaven. Of course, now in our secular societies (in the "west", anyhow), Christianity has lost governmental power, but the mores stay the same. That's why I think westerners are less keen on talking about money matters... even though SHOWING what you have has always been accepted behavior.

    Other than that, great discussion! I liked reading qchan's actual Japanese perspective on this!

    --Kris

  4. #29
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maciamo
    Most Japanese are too materialistic and lack the depth of thought necessary to enjoy themselves with anything else than eating, drinking and having sex. Women are better as they have more hobbies, but sometimes I feel they just feel relieved to spend their money on some courses where they rarely excel (and easily quit for something else) or in shopping for more than they can afford... it seems that they are reassured that they are enjoying life because money flows, and are miserable if they don't have as much as the others. Sorry but for me such people will always be shallow, lacking in personality, self-esteem and intelligence. :sad: But we can console ourselves by thinking that as long as they have money they are happy (and even after 13 years of economic decline, they still seem quite happy ).
    Well, I can't say that I know many (actually just one comes to mind and he had a great sense of the injustices there) Japanese that seem quite happy.....but I think it is safe to say as a whole they do have an extremely well-developed interest in personal relationships that may override some of these other deficits. I've personally never experienced such loyalty as from close Japanese friends -- no matter how selfish or childishly I've behaved at times, even asking straight out to be left alone, they will continue to keep in touch, if more remotely, and make the appropriate inquiries out of a sense of obligation as well as true concern it seems in many cases.

    The note about classes is hilarious -- a few women I know taking tea ceremony, flower arranging, or incense lessons actually do realize they are doing it in hopes of finding a deeper spiritual meaning, but even so it is just once a month, with time off in the summer, and for holidays, etc and so what if you may miss one from not feeling well or being off shopping....
    Last edited by Elizabeth; Oct 13, 2003 at 03:04.

  5. #30
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mr_Hanson
    I'm just going to jump right on in on this...

    First off, I think Christian society has an aversion to speaking of accumulated wealth (or lack thereof, in most cases) because greed is a major sin. Of course, it helps that if for a long time, you subjugated whole countries and monarchies to a corrupt system where the money was taken for (not given to) the church so everyone could get into heaven. Of course, now in our secular societies (in the "west", anyhow), Christianity has lost governmental power, but the mores stay the same. That's why I think westerners are less keen on talking about money matters... even though SHOWING what you have has always been accepted behavior.

    Other than that, great discussion! I liked reading qchan's actual Japanese perspective on this!

    --Kris
    Perhaps the root source of this attitude difference comes in the relative lack of income inequality in Japan vs. the US and even Europe. With most people believing themselves in roughly the same position economically, talking about money becomes more like a game, a harmless, even fun, safe social outlet that subsumes other stressors.

    And showing off one's wealth was, generally speaking, NOT accepted behavior in America before the first generation of robber barons (ie oligarchs) and capitalist magnates of the mid/late-19th Century. Before that as far as I'm aware, the overriding Puritan/Protestant ethic was that doing well materially and sharing the wealth or gifting back to the church provided visible proof of God's kingdom being built on earth, evidence that the "right" people had been endowed with specific talents, were using them to the fullest but not crediting themselves for the fruits of that labor. On the other hand, was traditional Japanese culture full of greed and covetousness? I'd rather doubt it, but of course there is also the shortage of real estate there in which to show off your goods, not matter how pleasant they may be.

  6. #31
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maciamo
    Most Japanese are too materialistic and lack the depth of thought necessary to enjoy themselves with anything else than eating, drinking and having sex.
    And as couples have sex much less than Westerners, that leaves food and drink as their most treasured assets. I don't know, though,.....most Japanese I've talked to still say that friendship and lovers if possible are the most important things in their lives. They just aren't very skilled at making them sometimes

  7. #32
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    I now have the philosophy that if you find someone that gives you that rush and makes you extremely happy and truly understands you, you should never marry them...
    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

  8. #33
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I have move the discussion about Japanese magazines here to avoid a too long off-topic.

  9. #34
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I've just seen a TV ad for AFLAC were children were made to sing "yoku kangaeyou, o kane daiji da yo" ("let's reflect well, money is so important"...). Typical of the Japanese mindset. I lots of western countries that would sound plainly immoral to make inculcate such materialistic views to children.

  10. #35
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    Originally posted by Maciamo
    I've just seen a TV ad for AFLAC were children were made to sing "yoku kangaeyou, o kane daiji da yo" ("let's reflect well, money is so important"...). Typical of the Japanese mindset. I lots of western countries that would sound plainly immoral to make inculcate such materialistic views to children.
    I am assuming this is the commercial to which you are referring:

    http://www.aflac.co.jp/duck/duck_cm_song.html

    Now see I would translate this sentence in a completely different way,
    "Let's think carefully, money is a precious thing" and then considering that next line is something to the effect , " What insurance company will never raise its rates?" followed then by cheers of "AFLAC, AFLAC", this is no different then any commercial I would see in the US that is basically touting we are the best value for an insurance company don't waste your money elsewhere.

    There is nothing immoral or materialistic about the song.
    I find all your comments made in that post to quite offending and hope there will be an apology to any Japanese readers. Of the hundreds of Japanese I know, I no two have the same "mind set", this is a country of individuals, no different then any country in Europe. There is nothing immoral or materialistic about the song.
    Kristin Yamaguchi
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  11. #36
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by torakris
    There is nothing immoral or materialistic about the song.
    Well maybe not taken apart, but placed in the context of what I have said before, it takes a totally different dimension. What's more, I am just judging though the Judeo-Christian moral system (=> see the 7 deadly sins), which anyway don't apply in non Christian Japan. I suppose you are also Christian because you seem offended by the fact I call the Japanese immoral in regard of these standards. As you probably know (I hope), "moral" as nothing of universal. I am not Christian myself, so it's neither good nor bad to consider Japan immoral by Christian standards, as Christian might very well be immoral by another religion or philosophy's standard as well. Japanese have Buddhism and Shinto in their culture and neither of them is a moral religion, so you can't really judge Christian back from their point of view.

    I guess you misread me. I said exactly :
    In lots of western countries that would sound plainly immoral to make inculcate such materialistic views to children.
    That doesn't mean I adhere to such moral views myself ! If you knew me better, you'd be aware that I detest everything that is Judeo-Christian. However lot's of Westerners (maybe not you or your acquaintances, I have no idea...) would consider this obsesion about money and obvious materialism as immoral (by their Judeo-Christian standards). I am in a position of outside observer, neither Japanese nor Judeo-Christian, but knowing well enough each mentality I think to analyses points of divergences or similarities between them.

    Just in case you missed the point of my argumentation, I was just comparing Japanese midset/culture with Judeo-Christian values and realised that Japanese spoke more overtly and unashamedly about money - because it isn't immoral in their culture !

  12. #37
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maciamo
    Well maybe not taken apart, but placed in the context of what I have said before, it takes a totally different dimension. What's more, I am just judging though the Judeo-Christian moral system (=> see the 7 deadly sins), which anyway don't apply in non Christian Japan. I suppose you are also Christian because you seem offended by the fact I call the Japanese immoral in regard of these standards. As you probably know (I hope), "moral" as nothing of universal. I am not Christian myself, so it's neither good nor bad to consider Japan immoral by Christian standards, as Christian might very well be immoral by another religion or philosophy's standard as well. Japanese have Buddhism and Shinto in their culture and neither of them is a moral religion, so you can't really judge Christian back from their point of view.
    Perhaps all that torakris was implictly trying to imply was that on the scale of Japanese immorality and materialism this ranks as something extremely minor and that Christian/Westerners (apparently this wasn't written from a Christian perspective -- or you two would be in agreement) cannot/shouldn't judge back on 'Buddhist ethics' either

  13. #38
    Regular Member Kaminoko's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Enough Belief Bashing!



    Alright people...don't you think that we should quit assuming what everybody else thinks like?

    If you're not Japanese, all you can do is observe and speculate about the Japanese. If you're not Judeo-Christian, then don't assume they would react in a certain way either...all we havea are hypotheses that need to be experimented with.

    If one truly "detests" everything Judeo-Christian, then fine, but there's no need to go and judge everyone who is, and imply an insult to those who are Judeo-Christian.

    I truly believe that Maciamo does not mean to insult or offend those who are Japanese or have moralistic religious beliefs, and would definitely apologise if he did!

    So do the Japanese prefer money above all?


    No they do not... Circumstance has caused culture to think in a certain way...but deep inside most human beings have the hope that true love and happiness can be gained - Regardless of Race and Nationality!

    They prefer money above all else just as much as the next human being in another part of the world!

    I noticed someone earlier said that the Judeo-Christian belief was that money is evil:

    "For the love of money is a root to all kinds of evil" - 1 Tim 6:10. This is the Judeo-Christian belief. Not Money itself.


    So please...can we put an end to argumentation?

    Thanks!
    ...After I jumped, I thought to myself, "Life is Perfect"...

  14. #39
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    Good points, Kaminoko... ;)

    I don't think Maciamo owes anyone an apology. He's just stating his observations and stating his opinion based on those observations. After all, he's no stranger to Japan or the Japanese people. He just has a pretty politically incorrect approach, which some people find offensive. It is naive to go around thinking any culture is perfect. I think a lot of people--including myself at times--have a tendency to take things too personally when something negative is said about something they hold dear.

    Hmmm...I wonder if anyone would say that an apology was necessary for some of the Americans here who have been generalized in some way or another(like it matters to me)? Or anyone else, for that matter...

  15. #40
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Maciamo
    [B]Well maybe not taken apart, but placed in the context of what I have said before, it takes a totally different dimension.

    This is the problem I originally had. You have your beliefs that that the Japanese prefer money overall, and that is fine people can believe what ever they want to. The thing is when you take that song and translate it in to your own words, words that fit into your belief, and then try to pass it off as proof to others (omitting the important line that is spoken after the song is sung) that the Japanese are money obsessed, then I find a problem that has nothing to do with morals just everyday manners and common sense.
    By the way I have been an atheist for the past 22 years and my background (BA's in East Asian Studies and Cultural Anthropology and an MA in East Asian Archaeology) has given me plenty of knowledge to know that similar morals exist regardless of religion in almost every place on earth.

    I aplogize to others for continuing this conversation that was asked to be stopped and thus will do so now.

  16. #41
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    this is EXACTLY what i have been talking about

    i have given Japanese people such little piddling gifts, with them expressing EXTREME gratitude...
    i have been an american ALL MY LIFE, and i KNOW that i WOULD NEVER get the same reaction from a fellow american

    am i meeting the wrong americans?

    then where are the right ones?

    "Hmmm...I wonder if anyone would say that an apology was necessary for some of the Americans here who have been generalized in some way or another"
    no, an american would have just cussed people out so bad, enough to get the topic closed, if the situations were reversed
    ttp://www.tcvb.or.jp/

  17. #42
    Junior Member eidii-kun's Avatar
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    Re: For the love of money!

    Originally posted by Kaminoko
    Most arguments worldwide in a man-woman relationship are due to money, regardless of race. When a divorce settlement is due, what is the argument over...money! (And kids if you have them). When you're struggling through life, and your husband goes gambling, what does the wife complain about...money! Mostly it's no different. But I guess Japan may have it a bit worse...

    Is it that much of a surprise that money reigns over love, when there is a breakdown of what "family" is supposed to mean anyway?

    The average child growing up in Japan will be somewhat distanced from their parents. Some of my friends went to school 7 days a week! 5 days normal school. 2 days "special school" - a life of study, study, study...to get a good job, to get money...

    The father is out working all day long, and then goes out with his superiors in order to entertain to get a promotion/status in the eyes of others. What time does he have for "love"?

    It's not a wonder that women in Japan would go for money over love, for what kind of example have they been set? If they didn't have a good example of what it means to be a family, why would they want kids of their own anyway? We read the newspapers, and we see the population shrinking, we read of teen girls selling themselves - not because they don't have money, but because they want more money.

    At present, materialism is king, and love has no meaning. There are no good examples to follow...All they can hope to follow is the next pop star, or the next Beckham hairstyle. And there is no hope. No hope of a job due to recession. No hope of love, due to their own dysfunctional family system. No hope of happiness, except the small possibility that having money will buy it for them.

    A glimmer of fleeting happines, without the hope of long-term joy.

    Sorry, this is something that really grieved me when I was over there. I hate family breakdowns. Too many people are hurt. Life is too short, to be angry, to be cruel, to be selfish.
    You certainly have a way with words Kaminoko, but I would say that adults would worry more about the money. But now it seems also that children are getting more and more interested in the money instead of the love involved. But currently, I would HAVE to say that children would think more of the love. Reading all this really crushes me that people actually prefer money over love...

  18. #43
    Junior Member Timothy's Avatar
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    Actually all women & men prefer money above all if you think about.

    If you dress down they would ignore you, so it goes to show money first.

    would you approach a tramp!?!?

  19. #44
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Timothy
    Actually all women & men prefer money above all if you think about.

    If you dress down they would ignore you, so it goes to show money first.

    would you approach a tramp!?!?
    I completely disagree that you need money to look good or dress well. It is indeed very possible to dress up and spend little money, as it is possible to wear the most expensive brands and end up looking like a tramp. Sense is more important than finance. Compare prices, find the good deals at sales or buy fakes, but I assure you that money has very little to do with looks.

  20. #45
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    Speaking of material items, it kind of amazed me how much value the Japanese people I knew/know tend to put on material things, though. My husband has bought me Louis Vuitton bags, platinum jewelry, and countless other expensive items because he assumed I wanted them for show. I'm not going to lie and say I don't like them, but I would've never really thought about all of that stuff if he didn't buy it. I was happy with what I had before, which I thought was pretty classy. I thought Louis Vuitton was only for the super rich or celebrities, whereas he acted like it was an everyday purchase. Also, when we went to Paris on our honeymoon, he bought a whole layette set for our first son from the Baby Dior boutique. He also bought a sweater and hat set from there that our sons have only worn maybe three times total. It doesn't matter, though, because he can say he has it. Oh well, I guess I can pass it on to my grandchildren.

    My sister-in-law and friends from Japan also ask us to buy stuff from here that would be more expensive in Japan and then ship it to them. They want Ralph Lauren clothes, they want Chanel cosmetics, they want a Gucci watch, etc. etc.

    I'm not saying I don't know any Americans who aren't like that, but as I grew up on a farm in small town Virginia, I didn't grow up around a lot of people like that. Where I'm from, people had a lot of money, but they didn't show it. I learned about all of that later, after I got to be a teenager and especially when I went to a ritzy college with all those NYC girls. It just seems that the Japanese people I know are just a little more fanatical about stuff like that. At least the ones I've come into contact with...

  21. #46
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    i think men just want money to get women
    two/three months ago (?) i was talking to a friend at a resturant while she was working -- me sitting, she standing
    the friend is a server, so i order food so as to not be a freeloader
    this brunette (dominican? argentinian? i forget) comes and sits down next to me
    the FIRST question out of her mouth is "What do you do?"
    was jocking me hard, so i gave her my card, work for the same company
    never heard from her again, but three/four weeks ago saw her jocking this striped polo shirt guy two times our age... think she looked up my job description? i do

    edit:"My sister-in-law and friends from Japan also ask us to buy stuff from here that would be more expensive in Japan and then ship it to them. They want Ralph Lauren clothes, they want Chanel cosmetics, they want a Gucci watch, etc. etc."
    my mom/sister/aunt all get crunk over dooney burke and coach, not to mention my uncles and their pioneer/sony entertainment systems competing for one-upmanship
    everybody has something that they want.

  22. #47
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by kirei_na_me
    I was happy with what I had before, which I thought was pretty classy. I thought Louis Vuitton was only for the super rich or celebrities, whereas he acted like it was an everyday purchase.
    Louis Vuitton bags and wallets are a must have in Tokyo. Few are the young women who don't have at least one. It amazes me that they absolutely want to all have almost identically the same when just the wallet cost over 500US$ (in Tokyo). But of course they should care about changing their handbag every 6 months or so. That's what my wife does. She reassured me saying she didn't buy "brands" (LV, Chanel, Prada...) anymore, but still succeeeded in spending about 1000US$ in one day last week. She is not an exception. Her friends and my female acquaintances are often like that. Those who aren't are just not not "oshare" (fashionable, caring about their looks), so it's more a matter of personality than finance. If they want to do heavy shopping, they find a job that allows them to pay for it. It's not hard, just a regular
    OL earns about 200.000 yen/month, and lots of them have free food and accommodation by staying with their parents. So they have about 2000$/month to spend on shopping and beauty. Contrarily to other Japanese, young women save very little. Without them, most of the shops of Ginza, Shibuya or Shinjuku would close.

  23. #48
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    *gasp* $1000 in one day...

    I care about my looks, but gosh...

  24. #49
    Regular Member den4's Avatar
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    Originally posted by kirei_na_me
    *gasp* $1000 in one day...

    I care about my looks, but gosh...
    $1000/day? mere pocket change for the well-to-do.... or the well-to-do wannabes...

    many of the young wimmin and obasans that go mad in them bargain sales in Tokyo don't look that great even with their LV bags and Chanel accoutrements and Tiffany items....
    I know nothing...except the answer is 42. You know more than I do.

  25. #50
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    i still don't see the difference.
    i still don't see the difference!
    i still don't see the difference?

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