Lessons from Japan
A very incorrect country
after the interview with historian Miho Matsunuma on the differences between Japanese and Western identity, let's continue our exploration of Japanese civilization with Les Leçons du Japon, un pays très incorrect (2019), a book by Jean-Marie Bouissou, French historian specializing in Japan. Married to a Japanese woman, he lived in the archipelago for 15 years and has published more than a dozen works on the country's history, culture and aesthetics.
In this book peppered with anecdotes, the historian reveals the different facets of the Japanese people, who are at once conservative and welcoming, tough and polite. Throughout the book, he compares Japan to France and the West to bring out the cultural particularities of Japan. The author explains that Japan is not a country that stands still, but changes take place gradually and without jeopardizing national cohesion. Without hiding its inner ills (the status of women and deaths in the workplace in particular), Jean-Marie Bouissou describes a Japanese society that is much calmer than our Western societies.
While it would take too long to summarise the whole of this dense and detailed book, I would nevertheless like to focus on two chapters that particularly caught my attention:
A tailor-made religion
Preserving national cohesion