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Title: A comparative analyses of the Japanese and Western perspective of indebtedness
Date: August 7th 2013
This paper is based on an analysis from the book “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” that was written by Ruth Benedict who is an anthropologist. The paper presents a comparative analysis with a guide from the text of the Japanese and western perspective of ineptness. The ideas presented in this paper have been researched and gathered from the book and personal interpretation and understanding of the book. The paper will present a description of different societies in the west and how they perceive debts and the issue of paying debts. The issue of indebtedness is closely associated with community believes, as different communities approach paying debt differently. This paper will also draw the close relationship between communities believes and actions in paying debt. Communities in Japan show very contrasting ideologies and all that is covered in this paper.
Debt is viewed differently by both Americans and Japanese; this is majorly affected by the communal setting. Americans hold the view that they owe their existence to no person while Japanese pay allegiance and feel to be in debt of the people who lived before them. This presents different approaches to debt between two communities;Japanese view themselves as debtors to the ages. This means that they owe their existence to those who lived in the world before them. Americans take a different approach to this, viewing themselves as heirs of the age; we exist by our own right and have ourselves to thank.
Debtors to ages
This is an approach to debt in Japan, with great reasoning behind it. Those who existed and lived before us played a great role in maintaining a place that we would find. They took good care of the environment for us to find a better place, took part in research and inventions to make life easier. We enjoy life and go through our day to day activities more easily because of the efforts of those who lived before us. The ages are our ancestors and we are their debtors in this approach. Taking thought into this, it makes sense to be grateful for finding a wonderful place where we can call home. The fact cannot be stressed enough that we are somehow here because of those who lived before us, our ancestors and by this virtue we are debtors.
Heirs of ages
Our existence does not make us debtors by any virtue, not to our ancestors and not to those who live in our generation. We are free to take our actions just like those who came before us were free to live and exist. Our definition of debt is an obligation, which arises from a situation in which we take part in. this provides for free existence, naturals; we come into this world to inherit and by this fact we are heirs of ages. We inherit from those who lived before us and are free to make what we want of our existence.
The meaning of the word debt in Japanese context is of great importance in understanding the communal belief of debt. According to Japanese, debt is a duty and obligation of the debtor to a person who has done him/her well and contributed to their existence. There are two parties in the case; the debtor is a person who has a greater ability than the creditor. The debtor assists the creditor because of his/her high standing in society. An example of such a relationship is that between a child and his parents, a parent is a debtor to a child because of all that the parent does to maintain the welfare of the child. Being raised by your parents and given a good life in all that is within their abilities makes you owe your parents. This is a communal belief by Japanese, based on the definition and understanding of the word debt.
In the west, debt has a different meaning and communities approach it with a different perspective. There is a distinction between debt and moral duty; in Africa it is the moral duty of a child to obey the parents. The moral duty further extends to bind the child to take care of his parents when they get old, and to support them financially as a symbol of gratitude. Sometimes a child is not as successful or as prosperous as his parents and may not be able to support them financially but does not dishonor them. This is not seen as breaking the moral duty. This is a significant comparison between the definition and idea of debt as a word. What the Japanese see as debt, in the west is termed as a moral duty and responsibility.
In the battlefield, soldiers were served with many things including cigarettes and waterhere they were put in debt. This brings a new understanding to the word debt in a Japanese context; you can get into debt involuntarily. This shows that according to the definition of debt, aid can put you in debt, while you are working in the interests of your creditor. The scenario where soldiers are termed as creditors for receiving supplies form the king contrasts the initial understanding of the word debt. It is difficult to understand how one gets into debt for receiving what they require when in the battlefield. The soldiers are in the battlefield to defend their country, but Japanese have a different view on this. Soldiers are said to be working for the emperor and whatever they do in during the war is for the emperor.
The scenario is different for soldiers in the west. Soldiers go to battle to defend the borders of their nation and to fight the enemy of their nation. The act of going to war is not for the king of the land to take glory or vest his own interests but soldiers go to war to protect the interests of the entire country. During war, soldiers are entitled to getting supplies and this does not put them at debt. Debt is not something you can get into involuntarily; you have to consent to get into a debt. It is the duty of the country, whose interests are being protected to provide the soldiers in war with supplies. After the war and the soldier come back home with victory, the state rewards them to show appreciation. Rewards to soldiers are not to imply payment of any form of debt; they imply that.............
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