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Contrasting Cultures – Asia Module 14


japanvsChinaIt was a masterstroke of genius to visit with China and Japan in a two week period. Of course you couldn’t hope to cover either of these amazing countries in that time but it was a superb ‘impression’ and cultural study showing both very similar attitudes, and very different one. Both countries being at very different stages of growth and maturity in terms of how they relate to the rest of the world.

Both culture’s have an inclusive or group mentality and to not be a part of those groups is to be an outcast. This is ingrained into 1000’s of years of culture and leads to a very different way of thinking than countries such as UK, Europe and Australia. In China this group mentality makes them stronger and faster and more efficient. I equate it to the idea of a swarm of bees moving together away from the nest. And they are learning very fast as they become more connected with the world and have clearly moved through the industrial espionage or copying stage and into one where they are starting to build brands which are much needed. Many of the more connected Chinese people are moving abroad or pushing to the more Chinese cities as there is a hunger for individualism in the form of brands. This is China’s current challenge to change and adapt to this before they suffer from young professional’s leaving their shores.

Japan in contrast has already build many great and innovative brands and in terms of lifecycle would equate them as being the older kid or grandad on the block. The Challenge for Japan is not to understand how to build and create luxury goods but more around how they as a culture can stay young and agile. The danger if they do not learn how to see and expand outside of their culture that they will outsmart themselves our of existence.

Neither of these extremes: Brain Drain, Extinction do I think will happen but it will be all around what percentage of change each of these culture’s can achieve. If I was a betting man I would be back China on this road 100% which distresses me as I love Japan and the Japanese people and really wish to see them succeed and to fix their population, National debt and resistance to change issues.

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