“Why don’t you guys work hard?”
“Is there anything good about working and making money?”
“If you work hard and earn money, you can relax by the seaside on your days off, drinking good wine and eating luxurious food. Isn’t that nice?”
“It’s okay because we do similar things every day.”
The above is a passage from “The Self-Domestic Japanese” (written by Kiyohiko Ikeda, published by Shodensha Shinsho).
It’s a conversation between a Japanese office worker during a period of high economic growth and a man who hangs out in Southeast Asia every day, and it gives me a sense of their outlook on life and makes me think.
There are naturally differences in the way of thinking of the people living in Southeast Asia, which has fertile land and no need to worry about starvation, and Japan, which has poor resources and a harsh climate.
Nowadays, people in Southeast Asia are also working hard, while an increasing number of Japanese people are hanging out every day. This may represent the situation in Southeast Asia, where capitalism has taken off, and in Japan, where capitalism has come to feel its limits.
By the way, Japan, which has entered an era of population onus, needs drastic reforms. If nothing is done, destruction awaits. We must build a social and economic model suitable for the era of population onus as soon as possible, but the issue here is our vision and outlook on life.
Simply put, what is the ideal life for Japanese people? When the reforms are achieved, will people be able to live a richer life the more they work, or will they be able to just hang out every day? What kind of life do Japanese people want to live? If we cannot see this, we will not be able to decide on a model that is suitable for the era of population onus. Of course, values are diversifying, and the ideal life may also vary widely. Even so, there must be some common ideals, so we must first understand them. This will be the starting point for thinking about new social and economic models. (Kei Kitajima)