(4) 20th-century Japan has fully achieved “success” already
Generally speaking, one of the most important jobs of a leader is to define, in concrete terms, what “success” is for the particular organization or country. Japan today needs a definition of success which is different from that in the 20th century.
It is fair to say that success for Japan, from the days of opening its ports in the late Edo period to the end of the 20th century, was solely to win the fight against world powers; at times, vying for victory in war; at other times, competing in trade; at still other times, competing for the amount of wealth. I think that is how Japan has kept up its energy and grown to this day.
Indeed, Japan today gives the impression of being down and out, looked down on from the rest of the world. However, Japan in reality is on par with or even more advanced than the Western powers, with which it has competed since the Meiji era, in quite a few aspects especially in terms of economic power and people’s living standards. Above all, Japan is a country with one of the world’s highest level of trade surplus. Despite the severe recession, delicacies from mountains and seas can be found abundantly in town at amazingly low prices. Minuscule sound-recorders, whose buttons are hard to push without the help of a magnifier, will continuously record speeches and music for hours.
When we look at such reality and recall the important lesson of “know contentment,” while Japan today may still have areas that are incomplete or needs to be fixed, we should judge that Japan has admirably accomplished its national goals for success since the opening of its ports in the late Edo period. Yes. Japan has already achieved its national goals for success up to the 20th century admirably.
(Date published / 公開日： 1/24/2021)
(Date last updated / 最終改訂日: 5/26/2021)