When culture hurts the economy

The recent devastating earthquakes in Japan have hurt not only their own economy, but have also affect industries around the world. Car manufacturers and especially nuclear energy will be set back for years. With the rebuilding anticipation for Japan comes a quiet movement that can put Japan’s economy at stake for a significant dip. The bad news is that this movement is part of the national culture in Japan.

Not known to many outside Japan is the concept of Fukinshin, which translates to roughly “inappropriate.” It’s the concept that one shouldn’t celebrate and display joy while others around them are experiencing so much pain and suffering. It also includes the idea that one shouldn’t burden neighbors and should also keep oneself available for any sort of situations that they may be needed to help.

A large part of the culture is the concept of putting the community before oneself. It is one of the main reasons there were no reports of mass looting and crime once cities were in disarray. Instead of stealing items on the street, people would actually bring them back into the store and pay for them.

Additionally, many all over Japan are cancelling trips, vacations, events, celebrations, and even refraining from other hobbies of pleasure in order to band together for the recent earthquakes. However, this has negative effects on local economies as sales for local goods have plummeted. Even events such as a drive to save electricity and anime festivals have been cancelled.

The idea of Fukinshin and putting the community ahead of oneself is very admirable and something that is most likely impossible to have in many other countries. However, there has to be a balance. It is one thing to help each other in times of need, but entirely something else to further hurt your local economy in the process.

One Brewery in Japan is hoping to change some of that sentiment and is urging people to buy more Sake.

Hopefully they can garner some sales before it’s too late.



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