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Why the Japanese Are a Superior People

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In "Why the Japanese Are a Superior People - The Advantages of Using Both Sides of Your Brain," Boyé Lafayette De Mente, internationally known for his 40-plus pioneer books on the business practices, cultures and languages of Japan, Korea, China and Mexico, covers the elements in Japan’s traditional culture that have made them remarkably successful in virtually all of their endeavors.

De Mente attributes the special knowledge and skills of the Japanese to the premise that they are primarily right-brain oriented as a result of their vowel-heavy language — a linguistic circumstance they share with only one other group of people: the Polynesians of the South Pacific.

He quotes Japan’s noted brain authority Dr Tadanobu Tsunoda [author of "The Japanese Brain" and many other works] on how the Japanese tend to first process information in the right side of their brains — the side that deals with feelings rather than facts; a factor that is readily discernible in their arts and crafts as well as in their traditional management practices.

“In the Japanese mindset, aesthetics and form play an equal role with functionality,” De Mente says, adding: “and it is this cultural element that is responsible for the extraordinary beauty of such common things as their bowls, vases, paper doors, room dividers, kimono and yukata.”

De Mente says that the fact that the Japanese are able to use both sides of their brains gives them significant advantages over strictly left-brained people in designing and manufacturing products from arts and crafts to electronic devices.

In addition to such topics as emotions vs. reason, the “fuzzy” [holistic] thinking of the Japanese vs the linear thinking of other people, the diligence factor in Japanese behavior, and quality vs profit, De Mente identifies a long list of views and practices that distinguish the Japanese from left-brain oriented people — and are important for foreigners to know about.

For foreign readers, one of the more interesting topics in the book may be what foreign women have to do to cope with their left-brain oriented male counterparts.

© Japan Today

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Whoa Nellie is this one going to generate some posts!

Taka

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The superior Japanese brain sends out signals to the superior Japanese thumb, which then taps out a constant stream of trivial nonsense onto the screens of superior Japanese cell phones and portable games. This is why they win so many Nobel Prizes and other international awards and are in great demand at the Academy Awards ceremonies and pro wrestling events.

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Haha won't this get under the skirts of the Japan haters!

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hey it's simple. It's all rubbish of course, we all know that. But in this economic depression he needs cash. So writes a book that tells the japanese what they want to hear. Hey presto, his bank acoount sewlls up.

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That whole "left brain, right brain" thing has never been scientifically substantiated, but if they want to go with it, it means the US is outperforming Japan with half it's brain tied behind it's back...So where is the superiority in that???

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Ve do not agree vith zis interpretation. Signed: das Herrenvolk.

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So far I find none of the commentary aesthetically pleasing, but continue on and prove your logic.

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I look at the japanese and I think how superior they are with their 15 hour days, unpaid overtime and no holidays. What a superior way to live....

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“and it is this cultural element that is responsible for the extraordinary beauty of such common things as their bowls, vases, paper doors, room dividers, kimono and yukata.”

how about anything from the last 60 years?

Wow. What a load of crap. Substitute 'Japanese' with any other group and it would be hilarious/offensive. Watch: Why the Canadians are Superior People. Why the Germans are Superior People. Why the Israelites are Superior People.

Japan so often gets used as an example in literature by academics who want an 'other' to compare whatever it is they're slagging off. I have lost track of how many times I will be reading a Western social science book and the author has stuck in the sentence 'The Japanese on the other hand have one word for this complex idea...'.

And to add to what Sharky1 wrote: the basis for this research is about 20 years behind current thinking. Oh well, I don't think this guy is a scientist anyway.

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This is a joke ,and designed to grab as much money as possible from many japaneses? its author's wishful trick.

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covers the elements in Japan’s traditional culture that have made them remarkably successful in virtually all of their endeavors.

Lets take a closer look at this claim...they lost World War II, have never been the number one economic power, rarely get more than 2 or 3 gold medals in the Olympic Games, corporations and government are riddled with corruption and scandal, started this whole downward trend in the world's economy in the early 90's when the bubble economy they created ran out of funds to make the next cash rotation, collapsing their economy which has yet to recover after nearly 20 years of turmoil. Don't see where the facts will support the author's claims.

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Oh come on guys, we all know that the Japanese are so superior, just look at how they try to drive, watch their tv, answer their cellphones, write back a text and keep their 18 wheelers from smashing into those smaller, pesky cars all around them on the SHUTOKO or any other major highway, street, etc... I guess they are so superior that they will never have accidents here in Japan? Never need those loud ambulances and fire trucks right?

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De Mente attributes the special knowledge and skills of the Japanese to the premise that they are primarily right-brain oriented as a result of their vowel-heavy language...

Ahhhh! It's the vowels that do it! If only other languages could have all those vowels! There are, like, five, aren't there? Or do we count long vowels separately?

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And medical care here is tops, simply superior - but, for heaven's sake, DO NOT have any major medical procedure done in Japan ... this would be superiorly putting your life on the line.

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De Mente is good at marketing.

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Haven't read the book to comment on the basis on which De Mente has come to this conclusion. But looks like De Mente has learnt the secret to rip the money off Japanese people. A cross section of the society of Japanese people if questioned about this would laugh about it. Japanese are smart in many things and they they know what they are good at. Who in this world at this time, making such comparisons and who needs it?

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So far many of the comments prove De Mente has a point:

This is why they win so many Nobel Prizes and other international awards and are in great demand at the Academy Awards ceremonies and pro wrestling events.

Hey presto, his bank acoount sewlls up.

it means the US is outperforming Japan with half it's brain tied behind it's back

but then again, he's french so what do you expect

De Mente is American (worked as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency...)

Entertaining, but I think if you want to prove him wrong you have to do better than above.

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De Menthe has written some fairly thoughtful books on Japan in the past, but I've always found him a bit gullible for categorizing the Japanese en masse as a special people. That he now quotes Dr Tadanobu Tsunoda, an utter crackpot whose research has been firmly repudiated across the board, is reason enough to dismiss this book as a load of crap. I've lost all respect for this 'respected' Japan veteran.

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(worked as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency...)

oh yeah, there's a ringing endorsement

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In the Japanese mindset, aesthetics and form play an equal role with functionality

Yeah, that's right, Japanese cities are the most beautiful in the world . . .

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The initial title is a marketing ploy. Isn't the entire title of this supposed to be "Why the Japanese are Superior People: The Advantages of Using Both Sides of Your Brain!" I already dislike this author for using a title suggesting racial superiority, circa 1940.

Why not use just "The Advantages of Using Both Sides of Your Brain: Japanese Style" or something non-inflammatory?

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What a load of balderdash.

de Mente is mental.

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De Mente attributes the special knowledge and skills of the Japanese to >the premise that they are primarily right-brain oriented as a result of >their vowel-heavy language — a linguistic circumstance they share with >only one other group of people: the Polynesians of the South Pacific.

Is that true? I find Italian, Spanish, Greek to be very very vowel intensive. Which also explainms why native speakers of those mediterranean languages can learn and "speak" Japanese quite coherently. I also believe Korean is vowel intensive as well.

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I'm sure his book contains an extensive list of all the great Japanese inventions such as the..... the.......... the.............. oh yeah, the handheld kerosene pump and the 1st floppy disc. Those Japanese sure are superior. Literally everything else they have made has been to some degree reverse engineered.

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That he now quotes Dr Tadanobu Tsunoda, an utter crackpot whose research has been firmly repudiated across the board, is reason enough to dismiss this book as a load of crap. I've lost all respect for this 'respected' Japan veteran.

Agreed. At best his books are totally outdated. The Nihonjinron authors were popular in the early 80's when Japan was painted as economically invincible. This was debunked by harsh reality in the 90's. At worst De Mente succumbs to 'fuzzy' logic:

De Mente attributes the special knowledge and skills of the Japanese to the premise that they are primarily right-brain oriented as a result of their vowel-heavy language — a linguistic circumstance they share with only one other group of people: the Polynesians of the South Pacific.

That's plain BS and if true the Thais with 32 distinctly different vowels would be way 'superior' (whatever that means) to the Japanese.

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I am not sure if Japanese are superior or disparate to other people in anything because of the way their brains process sound information from outside. But I remember being surprised to hear a comment by an American who said that the chirring of cicadas in this season is just noisy. I have never heard a Japanese make such a comment.

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What about half-Japanese? Which half of the brain do they use?

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Jeez, wouldn't want to give them any ideas; I mean, look what happened last time...

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Uh, first of all, regarding the several comments that De Mente is just trying to make money by pandering to Japanese, the book is in English, for pete's sake! As folks around here love to point out, that ain't something they be good at.

Next, by "vowel-heavy language" he's referring to the consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel that makes nearly 50% of the sounds in Japanese words vowel. Compare "katakana" with "strength." In Polynesia you find words like "Tahiti" and "Honolulu." Notice the similarity?

As for his basic premise, I have no idea if he's correct but I've been a big fan of De Mente for since 1968 when I bought a copy of his book "Bachelor's Japan." That was one of the most useful books I've ever read. It put a whole new meaning into the phrase "reading for pleasure." :-)

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White supremists will tend to disagree with his findings.

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so superior their society is crumbling just like all wealthy nations.

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I am not sure if Japanese are superior or disparate to other people in anything because of the way their brains process sound information from outside. But I remember being surprised to hear a comment by an American who said that the chirring of cicadas in this season is just noisy. I have never heard a Japanese make such a comment.

@kanadamanada: Hmm... could you develop a bit please? I mean, what you wrote doesn't mean much to me. First, comparing the opinion of a single American with the opinion of thousands of Japanese is irrelevant. Second point, Japanese people have lived generations with "noisy" semis. To compare with Europe for example, cicadas are not as numerous and noisy as here. Finally, if I may correct you, Japanese people themselves have been commenting about the semis' "noise". One of Basho's most famous haiku reads something like this (I'm not sure anymore so feel free to correct me):

閑かさや岩にしみ入蝉の声 (in the quietude, piercing/penetrating the rocks, the cry of a semi)

I mean, you can always say that I'm misinterpreting the haiku, but "penetrating the rocks" clearly means that he considered this sound as terribly "noisy".

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oops...

@kanadamanada: Sorry, my previous comment was not addressed to you but to Seiharinokaze.

@Seiharinokaze: please take a look at my previous post.

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Interesting and certainly a good read for entertainment.

There is another study on people who have damages in the left frontal lobe, who become unable to understand the plots in (western) jokes, sarcasm, etc. Interestingly these problems are the same that is said about Japanese.

So maybe, but just maybe, there is a possibility that the Japanese brain is different to the rest of the world.

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Now, reading the title of the book carefully:

Why the Japanese are a Superior People!

One might wonder what the seemingly misplaced "a" shall mean. If you replace "People" with "race", the whole sentence makes sense.

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Next, by "vowel-heavy language" he's referring to the consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel that makes nearly 50% of the sounds in Japanese words vowel. Compare "katakana" with "strength." In Polynesia you find words like "Tahiti" and "Honolulu."

Exactly, not that there are five vowels.

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And to close with, I read the brain study on the processing of Kanji in the right side, and language in the left side which led to the understanding that reading Japanese uses both hemispheres of the brain.

Problem is, that Chinese do the same (and westerners who mastered Kanji). It is also proven, that women do process information in both hemispheres and is said that this is the reason why they "make better decisions".

In the end you can always interpret the facts, so that it fits your your agenda and the point you want to make.

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Sounds like like an interesting book, definitly getting :)

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First to OssanAmerica,

Though I don't know how the findings by Dr. Tsunoda have been repudiated, he argues that Japanese hear vowels with their left half brain. Their brain deals with vowels as words. Whereas the people other than Japanese and Polynesians hear vowels, if uttered without consonants, with their right half brain. Their brain treat the sounds as noises rather than words.

And to onibaku,

I don't know if every American reacts the same way. I just shared my candid surprise at such an unheard comment in my life about chirring cicadas. Japanese probably don't complain about their summertime chorus.

As for the haiku by Basho, the poet didn't mean to comment on the noise of cicadas. How could he feel "silence しずかさや" if it was noise? He felt silence while listening to the chorus of cicadas around. The sound didn't disturb the quietude he was in. It rather brings quietude home to him and his wayfaring loneliness too. Insects voice is not a noise but words both out of his mind and nature around him.

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"Vowel heavy" just means plenty of open syllables (i.e. every syllable ends with a vowel). This is the case in African languages, too, but Japanese and the author of this book don't really consider Africans to be part of the human race. The real reason it concentrates on Polynesians goes back to colonialism, and Japanese attempts to assimilate those people into its empire. I'm surprised this nonsense is still floating around.

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Are you kidding me? This guy sounds like a crack pot.

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I wonder if this is some kind of joke book.

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How can you call it a book when there are only 3 pages??? One for the right brainer, one for the left brainer, and one for the no brainer...

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@Seiharinokaze:

Japanese probably don't complain about their summertime chorus.

To conclude about the original subject of our posts, I have to stress again that, as already said, even if you were right, this would be in no way a matter of intellectual superiority. It can be a matter of habit, of taste, and... of noise sensitivity. I mean, Japan is the country of Pachinko after all... To construct a thesis similar to yours: French people don't consider the smell of their cheese as smelly. Foreigners do. Are French a superior people?

How could he feel "silence しずかさや" if it was noise?

We're not gonna play on words. Do you consider the cry of a semi as silence?

As for the haiku by Basho, the poet didn't mean to comment on the noise of cicadas.

He surely didn't mean to do so, but he did! Of course, we could argue on the hundreds of interpretation to be given to this haiku (there would be as many as people in this forum), but the undeniable fact is that he describes that cry as "penetrating the rocks" which is not exactly what I would say of a gentle sound.

Moreover, the Japanese cicada's sound has been previously described as "noisy" in scientific journals. I don't know if it is allowed to post links in comments, so please refer to Nature 448, 977 (30 August 2007). In case you don't have access to it, google "Amorous cicadas drown out sound of silence" and you'll be able to read a vulgarization article from Times Online describing the problems arising of the "noise pollution" of cicadas and creating problems inside of the Japanese population. A sound reaching 95dB is ALWAYS considered by the human body as noisy because it is able to damage your noise sensitivity.

I don't know where you live, but I live 100 meters away from the mountains surrounding Kyoto. Here, the "insects voices" are really very loud and make it difficult to sleep. If you happen to live in cities, then I can understand that you don't hear the "noise" in the cicadas' voices.

Finally, if you're still not convinced, simply google "蝉うるさい" or something similar and you'll be able to judge from the numbers of comments from fellow Japanese people that foreigners are not the only ones finding cicadas noisy.

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WMD is so spot on. Japanese listen only to what pleases them. There is definitely a lot of cash to make in the "pleasing the japanese" industry.

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As a young businessman in the 1980s, various how-to-learn-from-Japan and other similar courses were all the vogue and studied by Australian companies all the time. This was the way to succeed in business according to most scribes. Then the Japanese economy collapsed in the early 80s to the world's total shock. Why did this happen?

I then went to work in Japan. From 1993 to last year, I worked initially as an English teacher for a local education board, and then used my degree in finance in central Tokyo. I married a Japanese lady, learnt the language and studied the culture. 15 years helped me gain many insights into why the country fell apart.

I haven't read the book reviewed here but just the title itself cannot be reconciled with my experiences.

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"Haha won't this get under the skirts of the Japan haters!".

With a silly offensive comment like this ... I wouldn't be surprised.

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If the Japanese are such a superior people, why are they the only people in the world that don't tell jokes? In the 25 years that I have been in Japan, not a single time has a Japanese come up to me and said: An American, a Japanese and a German went to a bar and .... Not a single time in 25 years has a Japanese tried to tell me a joke or understood a joke I told them. Superior? Without a sense of humor? My ass!

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Which side of the brain is used for texting?

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Japanese listen only to what pleases them. There is definitely a lot of cash to make in the "pleasing the japanese" industry.

You're right, but I guess that this is in fact valid in every country.

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onibaku,

We're not gonna play on words. Do you consider the cry of a semi as silence..... but the undeniable fact is that he describes that cry as "penetrating the rocks" which is not exactly what I would say of a gentle sound.

It may not be a gentle sound. But then again why did he feel silence amidst of cicadas chorus or noise that penetrates the rocks, may I ask? Or why did the sound a frog makes upon jumping into a pond let him feel something indescribable? Sounds of nature more often than not tend to communicate with you. It is not a matter of intellectual superiority but rather a matter of intellectual primordiality which we may be losing.

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Maybe their superiority comes from all the whale meat they eat....hahahahaha

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De Mente is an old Japan hand. Of 40-50 years and counting. His writings are on the whole very entertaining. The title of this one is obviously meant to sell copies. Both sides of their brain? Puleaaaaase. Superior? Again, please let's not overdue it. The Japanese are good at what they're good at, but they're not better or worse than any other people on this earth. Or so I believe.

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@Seiharinokaze: you know what, for the sake of conciseness, I'll admit defeat about the Basho Haiku. Now could you answer all my other comments which were much more important and relevant?

It is not a matter of intellectual superiority but rather a matter of intellectual primordiality which we may be losing.

Wait a minute, if it's just a matter of "intellectual primordiality", then why the hell are you talking about it! All this discussion is about the Japanese people being intellectually superior because of using both halves of their brain. Your point is just off-topic. Moreover, what do you consider primordial? Is that not slightly culture-dependent? And do you consider that the Japanese people is the only one not losing that sense of "primordialidity"?

Ok, forget what I just said, let's close this talk in one clear question: do you consider that the Japanese is a superior people? Yes or no? If yes, prove it. If no, please don't confuse the discussion uselessly.

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Onibaku, You've misquoted me. I di dnot say this. I'm on about the "inferior people" angle.

onibaku at 03:16 PM JST - 2nd August

I am not sure if Japanese are superior or disparate to other people in anything because of the way their brains process sound information from outside. But I remember being surprised to hear a comment by an American who said that the chirring of cicadas in this season is just noisy. I have never heard a Japanese make such a comment.

@kanadamanada: Hmm... could you develop a bit please? I mean, what you wrote doesn't mean much to me. First, comparing the opinion of a single American with the opinion of thousands of Japanese is irrelevant. Second point, Japanese people have lived generations with "noisy" semis. To compare with Europe for example, cicadas are not as numerous and noisy as here. Finally, if I may correct you, Japanese people themselves have been commenting about the semis' "noise". One of Basho's most famous haiku reads something like this (I'm not sure anymore so feel free to correct me):

閑かさや岩にしみ入蝉の声 (in the quietude, piercing/penetrating the rocks, the cry of a semi)

I mean, you can always say that I'm misinterpreting the haiku, but "penetrating the rocks" clearly means that he considered this sound as terribly "noisy".

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“In the Japanese mindset, aesthetics and form play an equal role with functionality,” De Mente says,

Yeah, at least! An explanation for everything that I see going on in Kabukicho!!

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Seiharinokaze - you surely must have limited contact with the opinions of "locals".

Many of the locals I know here often comment on the incessant, disturbing shrills of cicadas. Riding past the univerisity grounds here is almost a"rite of passage", a test of survival as the ear drums are tested to their limit. I know of no-one who thinks otherwise although there maybe.

So to make a remark as blunt as yours to the effect that the poignancy of the cicadas cry being only understood by Japanese is quite an "achievement."

I welcome you to visit here - Shikoku - and experience the wonder 1st hand.

And from a clinical point of view re De menthe's statement- the suggestion that strongly vowel distinctive language users, use both left & right sides of the brain - as opposed to others being only left side users is so embarrassingly flawed. The intricacies of brain function in one swoop.

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The author has had an interesting life: http://www.usadojo.com/biographies/writers/writer-boy%E9-lafayette-de-mente.htm

This is popular literature, though, so I wouldn't take anything too seriously. The title is just annoying, which is, I suppose, why this article was posted here...lots of comments.

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Is this why they don't have to look where they're going when they walk down the street?

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This author is very clever but also a complete grifter.

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onibaku,

The haiku you presented for discussion is, I think, relevant and very suggestive to the present topic. The sound of cicadas was not a noise or zatsuon 雑音 or some rasping meaningless sound but a voice of living creatures with some message even to us human beings. I don't know much about what people write in their blogs recently, but at least I haven't met a Japanese who said aloud in a social setting that he/she finds cicadas' singing too noisy, though of course I do not deny that excessive dB of any sound is noise all right.

All people use both halves of their brains irrespective of races or nationalities. What the author argues is that Japanese or anyone who speaks Japanese as a mother tongue hears and processes some kinds of sounds such as of insects, winds, rivers, rustling of leaves with their left half brains as if they were words. Whereas the other peoples have those sounds treated by their right half brains as noises or meaningless sounds. So by primordial, I mean the possibility of communication between man and nature on an almost equal footing. Not anything about racial superiority. If you like, Japanese may be unevoluted people.

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Superior? No way. The book may sell well, but intelligent people don't group think. Intelligent people challenge themselves to see how high they can go in life. Most Japanese - and I generalize with reservation - are orally-fixitated zombies who smoke and drink and fornicate on cue.

Here's the truth: Japanese are not superior nor inferior. Their mental health is tainted by a need to endure and to conform to standards. blonde hair, unisex pierced ears and overseas junkets may give an indication of sophistication, but it is totally superficial and slutty, if you ask me. Cigarette smoking aginst all warnings that it is a dangerous practice is passed on from one generation to the next without a wink.

No, Mr. De Mente. Japanese are not superior. Yes, they have created cultural traits worthy of emulation. But so can all cultures claim the same.

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Why is it that the japanese themselves, as well as this author, seem to think of "Japanese" as a race and not a nationality? If I rememnber correctly, after the decoding of the human genome a few years back, it was discovered that "Japanese" is 70% Korean (ouch, that must hurt), 20% Ryuku and 10% Siberian. It would seem that the way the brain processes information would be a genetic trait and not a national endoment.

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sushitune. Lighten up. There's fantastic Japanese people and terrible ones just like anywhere else. The author's title is just to boost sales. And if smoking cigarettes is the worst thing they do then we can all sleep safely.

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Utter nonsense of course, but no more so than the many posts already made here trying to prove that the Japanese are an inferior people. As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

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nice point techall, I dont think that many jfolk want to acknowledge their korean connections ; ) but mt. d's theory is based on lingustics and the japanese language causing them to develop the right side of their brain vs. people raised with other language. could that also explain the seeming impossibility of jfolk to acquire the english language?

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As I said before, the author is very clever at marketing. 68 posts in such a short time confirms.

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@kanadamanada: Yes, I misquoted you. Sorry for this. In fact, I already apologized in a previous post (cf. onibaku at 03:20 PM JST - 2nd August).

@Seiharinokaze: I see your point, but I still think that what the author presents is BS. Is there any serious proof about that difference in brain processing of sounds? Even if there was, does that really present a sign of superiority? I mean, that's what the author says. The title of the book is clear and presents Japanese people as "a superior people". Moreover, he presents this as being "the elements in Japan’s traditional culture that have made them remarkably successful in virtually all of their endeavors". The reasoning seems quite clear: different brain processing => superiority => successful in all of their endeavors. That's what I'm contesting, and the opinion that you started, consciously or not, to support with your cicadas story.

 So by primordial, I mean the possibility of communication between man and nature on an almost equal footing.

So you sincerely believe that Japanese people are better equipped to dialogue with Nature... and what is this assertion based on? I would gladly accept this if there was any tangible proof of it, but I've been given none so far and frankly your semi story is a bit too light and unsure to convince me (for all the reasons I stated in my previous posts). If you have any scientific proof, please present it. I really share your feeling about the need to better understand and communicate with Nature, but from my personal experience, Japanese people are sadly behaving more or less in the same pathetic way towards Nature than every other country of this planet...

Not anything about racial superiority. If you like, Japanese may be unevoluted people.

Don't make me say things I don't think. In a previous post (which was removed by the moderators), I was defending the Japanese people against such stupid attacks:

@stirfry: it's quite obvious from the intelligence you demonstrate when posting on this forum that you're not using your brain at all, so please stop making fun of "locals". Saying that Japanese people are not superior doesn't imply that they are inferior.

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techall;

Why is it that the japanese themselves, as well as this author, seem to think of "Japanese" as a race and not a nationality...it was discovered that "Japanese" is 70% Korean (ouch, that must hurt), 20% Ryuku and 10% Siberian.

Debatable, but then why why do you the define Korean and Ryuku and "Siberian" (?) the same way? I highly doubt those are "races" either and of it also begs the question as to the genetic make-up of those people. You seem to forget that these people also came from somewhere else too.

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This guy is automatically assuming that thinking with both side of your brain is good?

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The true "americans" are in the modern US Conzlagers called Natural Preservation areas in the states and true "japans" which Ainos are in the Social Conzlager called "x". This is really amazing similiarities between the most self proclaimed supremiest being to be's on earth.

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@UnagiDon:

I did not refer to the Korean, Ryuku and Siberians as a race they are of course nationalities. Sorry if I was unclear about that. They would be asians, along with Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian etc.

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onibaku,

Sorry I haven't read the book by De Mente yet. But he seems to base his theory on the book by Dr. Tsunoda which I read several years ago. The right half brain of humans irrespective of races and nationalities is called a "music brain" which mainly processes music, mechanical sounds and noises in general. Whereas the left half brain is called a "language brain" that processes intellectual and linguistic information such as human voices and speaking. But Dr. Tsunoda found out by his auditory experiments that the westerners or peoples other than Japanese and Polynesians hear insects chirring with their right half or music brains, whereas Japanese and Polynesians hear them with their left half or language brains. So Japanese may hear insects not as sounds but voices. Everything started from here. But I cannot say yes or no yet to De Mente's argument since I'm not sure how Dr. Tsunoda's theory leads to the conclusion that Japanese are a superior people.

As for the Japanese possible advantage to dialogue with nature, Dr.Tsunoda's theory may be one proof. And Basho's haiku another I should say. At least I don't feel Mother Nature in a Christian church, but I can feel something embedded in nature in the woods behind the front shrine or haiden 拝殿 in some old Shinto precincts. A tree hewn down from the mountain once in a while becomes a god too. If the Japanese are behaving in as pathetic a way toward nature as other peoples, then at least I may say we are still remembering that our ancestors lived and talked with nature. And the brain processing of natural sounds we discussed here may be a vestige of those times and a not so harmful narrative at that, from which I hope we can take some hint for our future.

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re. the silly cicada debate: semi says "beem beem beem beem beem beem"

I can only ear one word at most, Does that make me inferior, even though I'm from the pacific and speak Japanese?

Point number two, if you want to claim that vowels etc. blah blah as in Japanese and pacific languages make you use your right side of your brain etc. etc. blah blah blah, why is he not also arguing that the pacific people are a superior people? If it was linguistics that was the be-all and end-all then why?God why? because its a load of crap. He is just trying to create a stir and controversy and cash flow by resurrecting the pathetic and bigoted theories of nihoinjinron (not all nihonjinron was like that but that's beside the point). These theories stink like any other ressurected corpse of a theory and should be put back in the ground, salted, and burned. Totally unfounded and biased, and 100% unscientific. The closest to science this gets is by taking scientific findings out of context and tacking a wacko premise onto them. My inferior vowel starved 2 words for the day are CODS WALLOP.

Also, how superior is a vowel rich language that is so lacking in other sounds which can be found in other languages spoken?

If you want to use both sides of your brain, practice patting your head and rubbing your belly in circular motions three times a day then repeat in reverse.

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correction to my brain superiority exercises:

In order to develop your double sided brain skillz, practice patting your head while rubbing your belly in circular motions then repeat in reverse, three times daily.

Ganbatte inferior people of the world -__-

Don't forget to practice your kakikukeko's and then we can all "LETS JAPANESE SUPERIOR TOGETHER!!" :<3 CHU

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Ok, i agree that the title of the book (and perhaps the book itself is weird) but i read MANY unjustified anti-Japanese comments in here.

p.s: The author of the book is NOT Japanese. It doesn't count as a "superiority complex" if OTHER people claim that YOU are superior.

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Japan has 5 basic vowel sounds, English has at least 20. Which is richer?

Of course, this book has clearly been written for the Japanese people to massage their collective ego. The whole "Japanese think with the right-hand part to the brain" has been doing the rounds since the 80s, as have all the other half-baked pseudo-scientific theories mentioned above, such as,

"emotions vs. reason, the “fuzzy” [holistic] thinking of the Japanese vs the linear thinking of other people, the diligence factor in Japanese behavior, and quality vs profit".

All unscientific, unproven and usually wrong. There is also the matter of comparing themselves only to Westerners, rather than say Koreans, where the similarities might be rather more striking.

All a load of nonsense, and the author should be ashamed of himself.

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Japanese people are not special in anyway. They are great copycats. Actually, they turned to European and American ideas and technology in the late 1800's and throughout 20th century, and copied, not innovate. If they are so special with their mind, why do they cheat and copy everything from other country? Today, it's more of even playing field, including, U.S., China, India, and Europe. We will see who will special the next 50 years. Japanese people will be more of a follower.

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Japan has 5 basic vowel sounds, English has at least 20. Which is richer?

Could you explain this "20 vowels" in the English language?

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This is a gigantic enormous world. One can not simply state that any one is superior to any one else! So they use all there brains, but what is it for? Are they the happiest people on earth? Well anyways I do love Japanese culture (I am on this site after all) but I think WE ARE ALL THE SAME!

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Self Praise Stinks - I am sure the Japanese are the only people who agree with this superiority utterence. Now then, I might agree the Ryukyuan fits the bill.

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Well, when I think with both sides of my brain, I just get confused.

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Japan has 5 basic vowel sounds, English has at least 20. Which is richer? Could you explain this "20 vowels" in the English language?

Ossan America: try looking at a phonemic chart: http://www.phonemicchart.com/

Many Japanese are boggled by the idea of this, having learnt the English alphabet and asssuming that Japanese, having more characters, also has more sounds. Anyway, using loaded words like "rich" is a load of cods. The idea of inferior and superior languages belongs back in the nineteenth century. The writer just knows that by publishing this kind of book in Japanese, in Japan, he's digging a nice little earner. I bet he doesn't even believe this cr@p himself.

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What about half-Japanese? Which half of the brain do they use?

Why, the Japanese half, of course.

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Love that phonemic chart. I studied the chart a little and completely failed so many sounds. Fun challenge, though.

Love to hear what Mr. de Mente has to say, too. He's a good writer and understands Japan really well. He wrote the original book on picking up women so I feel obligated to buy this one.

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Dr.De Mente (sounds like a super villain) has basically said the Japanese are superior to even his dastardly self. D'oh-

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Not trying to be pedantic here, but I don't understand the (ab)use of exclamation marks on the cover!

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This sounds like more Nazi pseudo-science than reality. Let's look at some facts.

Japan's superiority left it in the medieval age until just over two hundred years ago. While their immediate catch up was impressive, their instant self destruction in WWII indicated that a little more linear thinking may have prevented the country's massive suicide effort in starting that war.

While the recovery of Japan post war was again impressive, their bubble period again indicated a time where a little more long term linear thinking may have been wise to avoid the following 10 year black out and the ongoing decline of the nation.

And while collectivist thinking has aided in the corporate rise of Japan, it has equally contributed to the political black hole that now faces the future. Japan does not produce inspired leaders when it needs them, and actively discourages the development of thinking that may produce brilliant leaders for the future.

Add to this the declining birth rate, failure of the economy, subservience to the US and increasingly to China's economic influence and you do not have a superior leader nation, but instead a nation struggling just to keep her place.

So I have to say, while some of the ideas in this proposal may be true, it hardly stands as evidence of any superiority. Instead it stands for what should be obvious to anyone. That Japan is unique and has many attributes that contribute to the beauty and depth of her culture. As any other nation has.

When pointing out that a nation has unique qualities, it is idiotic to claim that one or the other is superior or evidence of superiority. On the contrary, human unique behaviors and qualities simply help define culture. The superiority or inferiority of which is highly subject to how one sees it.

I see Japan as a wonderful and rich culture. In no way superior or inferior to any other.

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Boye De Mente is most famous for his 1985 tome entitled Women of the Orient...intimate profiles of the world's most feminine women. Maybe he should stick to that topic?

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This should be a best seller in China.

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tkoind2 - Very well said and most Japanese people of Good Will, will agree with you. We are all part of the beautiful human family. Now certainly they will get a laugh out of it as we do. Anyone taking this crap seriously might like to read the white supremacist stuff or even the equivalent Black American writings. In this Global times we really need to Unite to help each other globally. But the forces toward the War of All against All will be a tendency that must be avoided. I hope this DeMentor enjoys his money. I hope it does not turn out to be blood money for him.

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tkoind2-I dont think his book should be taken as an actual hitorical analysis of Japanese superiority, but rather a study on how linguistics can affect the way your brain processes information through the examination of the Japanese language/society. Also, it should be noted that certain social problems like the declining birth rate and the economic/political environment can hardly be considered accurate indicators of intelligence with regards to what is mentioned in the article.

To all those taking cheap shots at Japan/Japanese people-the author is not Japanese, so this book can hardly be considered a case 'ego stroking' on the part of the Japanese. Your irrational hate for Japan/social complex is unhealthy.

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BTW,

Let's look at some facts

your arguments are very subjective.

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Even the titel is horrid and offensive. If someone said English (not British) were superior and wrote about it, it would never be published as it is racist and complete twaddle.

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This whole concept is predicated on 'Nihonjinron,' or the pseudo-scientific/philosophical notion that somehow the Japanese brain is wired differently (therefore resulting in a greater mind and a superior culture). Nihonjinron is also, incidentally, what gives us the comical 'Japan is the only place in the world with four seasons,' and so forth... Hey, I would be the first to argue that there are some wonderful things about Japan and its people, but De Mente has taken a swan dive off the deep end... For those of you who know what I'm talking about, can't you just see this guy in full kimono and geta, walking around Gion in Kyoto and making sure to avoid eye contact, as he doesn't want any 'foreigners' to ruin his experience?! Ha!

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zero risk capacity. Zero volatility exisitence. explains nippon completely.

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OK, stop right there at the first paragraph:

covers the elements in Japan’s traditional culture that have made them remarkably successful in virtually all of their endeavors.

I really hope he has something to back that up in his book. I really struggle to see how someone can make that claim. No, I'm not just talking about WW2.

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In addition to such topics as emotions vs. reason, the “fuzzy” [holistic] thinking of the Japanese vs the linear thinking of other people

This is NOT unique to Japanese people. As far as I'm concerned, people either think logically / linearly, or they don't.

In my personal experience, I have worked with some Japanese people who's thought processes are far from linear. And it did not result in superior outcomes. In fact, in the worst case, they cause gross inefficiency, and create more problems than they solve. But as I said, not unique to Japanese.

One of my teachers said it well:

The only thing unique about Japanese people is that they THINK they are unique!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does Mr. Boyé Lafayette De Mente address the topic of tentacle porn? Which side of the brain is responsible?

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I'm sure the xenophobic governor of Tokyo will have a copy of this on his desk for easy reference. I wonder if it will be required reading for all foreign athletes should Tokyo win the rights to hold the Olympic games?

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This book might explain why television programmes here are at the highest intellectual levels.

My own, albeit poorly deficient Gaijin brain, often hurts after an hour or two of such cerebral fare.

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Richard III - that is the post of the month sir doffs cap

Or why the unusually intelligent 'general public' are not even allowed TV game shows.

Please, if this book is to have one inch of truth in it, then somebody explain Japanese TV. As let's face it any one of the six Mexican shopping channels is more intellectually stimulating than any of that dire rubbish.

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Perhaps there's subliminal downloads in the content of; b-list talento game-show, dubuya visiting yet another district of Tokyo to eat oishi mono, another average skinny girl but with unfeasably large breasts goes to foreign country to experience a culture and cry a lot, but didn't she bambatta folks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

that should be gambatta obviously :)

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Not sure if the Japanese are "a Superior People." More than half of my students can barely get by with their English. Definitely the talents on TV are pretty bad with their English, too. There are a lot of nerdiness in just about everything here.

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If this were true, then all people who grew up speaking Japanese and other Pacific vowel-based languages would be great designers and engineers.

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fightfan2008 -- Is that really the best defense of this argument that you can offer? Do you really want to say that the fact that J-society cannot seem to address numerous social issues is not a measure of their inate intelligence, but the fact that a small minority can make nice bowls is? Or that simply by making such an observation you are filled with "hatred"? So all the posters who have commented on the apparently complete lack of intelligence on J-TV are just full of hate, rather than being capable of actually making an intelligent comment? That's plain silly, no matter what side of your brain you use most.

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ability to process and adapt to infantile rubbish

has it got anything to do with the neoteny?

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If massive daily migrations like salarymen and women in Tokyo is an indicator of success, then please sign me up for failure. The dead expressions of overworked people living their repetitive work lives is hardly an indicator of creativity. Nor is the complete lack of variation in the dull penguin like fashion any indicator of design or aesthetic intelligence.

On the contrary, what little creative zeal we see in young people is summarily crushed out of them by the time they join the working world. And they soon join the masses of grey, beige, black and brown suit wearing masses in their office attire dragging their poor tired overworked bodies to the office to spend the next 12-15 hours.

The only superiority I see here is the capacity to tolerate unreasonable working hours and to do so in unreasonably bland fashion.

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I guess all that alcohol drinking fries both halves of the brain evenly...

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seems like a lot of people misunderstand that the Japanese are "A" superior people, not "THE" superior people.

That's why they are in the G-8, right?

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So according to de Mente, what happened to the superiority of the Polynesians?

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I wonder if that's why they invented so many things like the...Oh wait.

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Dumb title for a book. But I bet it gets lots of sales.

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unagido nice, lol!

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Just don't ask them to think outside the box!!

proof - go to McDonalds and order and "set", then ask for a variation, like "no pickles or onions" then try to substitute your drink for something of equal value, it's hilarious!! About half the time you can get the manager involved.

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Amazing all the "experts" here commenting without even having read this 128-page book! Who knows? Maybe after having read it, we'll find out that it is just a tongue-in-cheek work. Or that the author does actually have a case.

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Japanese people WANT to believe so, that they are UNIQUE. This is their JUSTIFICATION for ultra-nationalism, and all the crimes they did in the past, and all discriminatory things they do now. Every now and then a freak comes with a new silly idea to sell this element of trouble to the mass of Japanese people. Very pathetic indeed...

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Everyone wants to believe they are special and unique. Every country tries to foster this thinking to promote nationalism. But the facts are that 99.9% of the people on the planet are not really unique.We are like our peers, like our neighbors and very much like people from any other part of the world.

The clothes, language and behaviors may be different, but when you dig down to basics, we are human beings and more or less the same.

This guy and his book belong in the section with racialist publications that talk about skull measurements and bla bla bla superiority of xyz race or nationality. It is all nonsense.

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Why doesn't he come and live in Japan just to see how superior everything and everyone is...haha.

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How does having the highest suicide rates of virtually any nation and a stalled economy equal racial superiority?

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The review doesn't mention anything that Japanese use the left half of the brain, only the right. So why the statement that they uses both halves ... as if this was a precondition.

There are as many left-side-only thinkers as there are right-side-only thinkers in Japan.

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Might use both sides, but still have a one-eyed outlook controlled by the media.

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for the suicide-at-risk salaryman moving around for 50 years between his cubicle at work, the karaoke booth and his rental bed with the wife, he better believe he is superior or else what little grasp on reality he has left would have melted long ago with much consequence.

Until there is enough change to the former, let's just nod our heads to this pathetic façade.

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This dude obviously hasn't stepped foot inside the classroom of the semon gakko I used to teach at a few years back!!!!!Superior people???....excuse me while i choke with laughter!!!Ok Toshi what is your hobby? Me hobby sleep. No Toshi sleeping is not a hobby. Can you think of another answer? Me hobby is eat.

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I don't mind the salary men, but how bout the other ones who don't do anything at all and live off others and the state. I don't know how they even managed to get married and have children. Many would say that you cannot judge a nation by the acts of a few indivduals. Among my friends, there are a scary number of single mothers. Last week, my friend was shocked with seperation from her husband. Her baby is 8 months old. The husband left her for another woman he met at a bar. I am sure that there are many cases like this. How can these people be called superior? People who do not care about their own, especially women and children can they be called superior in any way? We read so much about the women who are searching for their partners, and then we read about the herbivorous males (sounds funny and selfish), divorce numbers, decline in birth rate.. these are all indicates of superiority?

Was De mente referring to the Japanese people from the virtual world?

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"Why the Japanese Are a Superior People"

I think I just peed a little.

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My niece said to her mother this past year, "I wish I were Japanese." We're Native Americans. My younger sister said, "Why?" My niece said, "'Cause they're smarter than Americans." Yeah, I've thought so myself. I've always thought of Japanese as being more intelligent, civilized and refined than Americans. I don't know if this is true 100% of the time, but it's always been my impression of Japan and the Japanese.

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Sigh can this be called positive racism? Any racism is bad in my book. How many times people have to learn that you can't just generalize groups of people. And history repeats it self.

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Hello everyone. This is my first comment on this site. I am brazilian-japanese living in Brazil but have studied in Japan. I think that the problem that you guys see in this book is it´s title. I think this title was chosen for market purpose and to make people discuss that topic just like we´re doing right now. I think the title is racist because no race is better than any other. But the key thing in the book is it´s subtitle "The Advantage of using both sides of your brain". If it´s true that japanese people uses both sides of their brain, it would give them some advantages on some skills. But this is something that anyone can train to do. There are many books that teach people to develop the right side of the brain.

I think it´s foolish to judge any country by their crime or crime rates, wether they get your order right at McDonald´s or their suicide rates. Norway, Sweden and Denmark are great countries to live in but they also have a high suicide rate. The problem is that no one wants to hear or read that their country is worse than any other.

By the way, does everyone who wrote here live in Japan? If you do, there must be something about Japan you think it´s good. I think Japan is a tough place to live for western people. It´s just a cultural problem. But any country is tough to live for the foreigner point of view. Just ask any immigrant in any part of the World. The answer is to try to adapt and understand the other culture.

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There are cultures that are superior at things because they've keyed on those things and have done a better job at them than others. As a whole, it's impossible and downright foolish to say that one race or group is superior to another. Japan lost World War II to the U.S. but the U.S. lost the Vietnam War. Japan defeated Russia in a war. Genghis Khan conquered a great deal of the "known" world but now Mongolia is a small and not so influential country compared to neighbors China and Russia. Colonialism, war, famine, etc., have made some more successful than others in different areas. Many people have been said to be geniuses, from Mozart to Einstein but did most of them really do anything to make life better for humankind as a whole? It's debatable on many fronts. In the end, we all end up dead. There's no superiority in that. My bible says God is no respecter of persons, so when you go to be judged, I don't think He's going to judge you better or worse depending on whether your ethnic group or country created cool gadgets, sent men to the moon or if you just lived in a hut and herded animals, etc. I'm also prone to think He's not going to care how your brain processed information so why get too worked up over nonsense?

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Another example of why in Puerto Rico is such a land of "Cafres, tecatos, and macetas"

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It's a marketing ploy. I saw the same thing here in Vancouver...Why the Canadians are a Superior People. I already knew the answer, so I didn't buy the book...maple syrup and seal hunting, just in case your were curious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@womanforwomen You're far off from the topic here! Why has your comment not removed by the mods yet?? The book isn't about how males behave, it's about right and left brained thinking. That are two completely different things. But to answer your question: Men will be men and hunt for spreading their inheritance as much as they can, today just like it was 100,000 years ago. Maybe all got a bit more social today but the basics are still the same. It's all just chemistry! Of course exceptions prove the rule. Of course this is not only Japan but everywhere the case. Btw: Don't try to make every topic to a source of one of your feminist problems!

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No, I think womanforwomen is on topic. She's using instances of problematic males to ask how, considering the behaviors and problems of and caused by Japanese males, the Japanese can possibly be superior to anyone. She's on topic; she's talking about men behaving badly, which seems to be irritating you, dr jones. That's all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

dr_jones what's in name? Sure you don't have a Phd but just a forum name right? Same with mine. But if you read my posts you will see that I am far from a feminist. My post was too wordy but SiouxGirl said it in plain words. Back to the topic, the women I am quoting here are from my own circle. But I appreciate that PatrickSmash was trying to say that the problem is with the women here as well. I will find insight into that area when time permits. The breakdown of the family sounds like a psycho-social problem. The people of this nation not realising this are at the threshold of a total disaster. So how can thesepeople be considered to be smart or superior? I reiterate that this book by de Mente touching a topic like that is unnecessary. He just wanted to create a wave and make some money from that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow. Just... wow.

De Mente is not a scientist. Please show me studies/research done by the scientific community indicating that they're "superior" (hah).

WOW.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LAUGH! And i would do the same for any nationality that claims the same, be it Americans, Chinese, Canadians or French.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy is easily the worst commentator on Japan that I've read. He's a dinosaur, out of touch with today's Japan. His writing style is dreadful. His books are the equivalent of those magazines they sell at the check out counter of the supermarket.

I hear his next book is "You say Yamay-to, I say Yama-to: Why Japan is the master race that swallows my pop-sociological tripe hook line and sinker"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just by reading the title you know what the reactions will be. Calm down everyone, no race is more "superior" than yours! (^.^)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! This guy says Japanese are superior. The Japanese say Jewish people are masters at banking and control all the banks. Does that mean Japanese are not superior at banking?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The idea of "Japanese superiority" is fairly popular in the west for some reason, going back even to Blade Runner. Back then everybody thought Japan was going to take over the world with their economic might. Old myths die hard, especially when they market near pedophile manga, and ultra cute girls that dress and act supersubmissive around the world.

This dude is selling his opinion book to a particular niche market, nothing different than any other marketer.

Let the guy make some coin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

agree, with Nessie. Completely out of touch. There are certain things you can attribute to cultural strengths. However, in Japan, those same strengths can also turn out to be weakness. I have serious doubts that if the author of this book, and applied even a hint of the scientific method to his research, he never would have written the book. Just going from the review, it is full of logical and factual errors. Further more, I am not sure if this author has walked down to the local shrine here in Tokyo, but I can tell you one thing. Japan has thrown aesthetic out the door a long time ago. Next to a shrine, will be a glaring pachinko parlor, or a colossal cinderblock otherwise known as a "mansion" with rust lines running down its side. There is no sacred place left..no vista left undisturbed. Even in "picturesque" farming towns are destroyed with glaring neon signs. And have you seen the news here?!! It's they let a kindergartner go crazy with some crayons. I think I will get epilepsy if I even attempt to watch variety. While there are aspects of Japan that I love. The festivals, the old shrines and temples, the polite people (or is it just shy...not sure) the beautiful scenery and onsen..Those things are being covered up in jungles of concrete, steel, neon signs and high-pitched whiny voices in Livin saying "irashimasin" over and over again..Like a 10,000 rpm drill boring into my head...ugh..and don’t even get me started on the f*n trash here. I think my wife spends 20 minutes a day sorting out pet bottles and taking the tin foil off of yakuruto bottle. If you call that superior, then humans are doomed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

De Mente attributes the special knowledge and skills of the Japanese to the premise that they are primarily right-brain oriented as a result of their vowel-heavy language

Vowel-heavy language??? It is a linguistic fact that phonetically Japanese is an extremely poor language, exactly because there are only 5 vowels (ok, and 5 long vowels if you want to get technical). Modern European tongues (particularly English and French) and Slavic tongues have thousands of phonic combinations - Japanese, on the other hand, has about 200.

What utter rubbish. Nihonjinron at its worse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looks like this book was written in the 1950s. Probably was, I think the author is well past retirement age! Get to one of those "superior" Japanese nursing homes, Boye Lafayette De Mentia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, thios will only increase a lot of Japanese people's arrogance, especially towards foreigners....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow I just had an idea.

I am left-handed. Hence my brain is balanced differently and in theory allows me to look at the greater problem before synthesizing down to a solution whereas a right-handed person thinking process is inverse. Left-handedness is statistically associated with geniality, better coordination of the body and artistic skills. All this affects the fact that left-handed people use both sides of the brain to a balance and exhibit ambidexterity to varying degrees. Also I am a woman, so my brain is genetically designed to address and solve social situations more effectively than male brains (in theory).

That and my mother language has five vowels like Japanese, I speak a Romance language and I can read all four others and understand over 50% of the written word in those languages without having studied any of them.

Should I consider myself superior? This is of course a rhetoric question - there is no such thing as a superior human class, which is precisely my point. Anything encouraging the idea of superiority of certain groups over others by characteristics chosen arbitrarily cannot do anything but reap discord and injustice. As many posters have pointed out, the Chinese language can easily be described in the same terms of brain usage as Japanese (and Kanji was assimilated from the Chinese language). The number of vowels is irrelevant considering various languages also have the same five vowels. Then in contrast, the apparent inability of Japanese people to learn easily foreign languages would break in a corollary to DeMente's theory: does Japanese supposedly superior brain hinders them from learning things which were not designed by Japanese mind or culture?

Yes, it's 4am and I need to quit my homework and go to bed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really do not like this notion of a "superior people". No one ethnic group is superior! However I do believe there exists "superior individuals" - irrespective of their race.

I think better words are "influential" or "model" people, then maybe we could begin the argument.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This book is total drivel. The author quotes the Japanese author of the book "The Japanese Brain" which has long been discredited as mostly ethnocentric rubbish. One of the infamous sentences in that book by Dr Tsunoda reads that "it is dangerous for Japanese people to speak English, since they are using a differnet side of their brains when they do so and are therefore in danger of getting epilepsy!" This is a laughable book, written by an eccentric professor who himself seems to lack brain power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

by this title/topice someone may be popular. but the word 'superior'- ummm >>>????

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looks like this book was written in the 1950s. Probably was, I think the author is well past retirement age! Get to one of those "superior" Japanese nursing homes, Boye Lafayette De Mentia.

Basically he's been rewriting the same book he published in the 1950s.

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"Why the Japanese Are a Superior People"

I just don't feel comfortable with the title of a book. Although I'm a Japanese citizen, like it or not, 'superior' just doesn't sound like a right word. To me, it just invokes the notion of an eugenics or the pursuit of master race.

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this book comes 77 years too late: there was already a "superior people" - all 'scientifically' proven of course

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I hate to admi that Japanese are superior people as German. However I like their manufacturing products. Japanese electrical products are so cute and irresitable. Designs are copied by other Asians. German cars are long lasting and luxurious. Many nations stole the German scientific research. Both nations lost the war and rebuilt their nations from ashes with astoning speed. Both of them has undisputable engineerig talents and scientific innovation. I would like to conclude not all Japanese and German use both side of brains. Some of the high achievers only.

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Same with me amerijap. It does conjure those thoughts.

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It's just a sensationalist title. Look at any "news" site these days and it's no different here.

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probably should have chosen a better title.... if he had said the Japanese language is superior then I would have acknowledged that as I have no doubt in my mind that it is by far the most efficient language.

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this book fails .. I'm sorry for the Japanese getting dragged by a book authored by an American

there's no point of proving who's race superior .. because it all boils down to the individuals with the natural talents

I can't see them superior in the first place bacause they borrowed Kanji from Chinese and had stolen most of their technology from the western continent .. although I must say they are very good in recreating it to make it better

Only fools would like to think that they are superior than anybody else

The wise knows that there is a lot of people ahead of him

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Do you complainers actually read? It says "vowel-heavy language," not "vowel-heavy alphabet." This is referring to their use of words like "orerareru" which has 5 syllables and obviously not one hard consonant. That's what "language" means. I can easily see how the brains of people who have to carefully pronounce individual vowels in words like "kaeraserarenai" would work differently from the brains of people who have "difficult" words like "antidisestablishmentarianism". Difficult on the first read, yes, but it's still basically VCVCVCVC in form. And as for whether they're superior or not...obviously every culture has its advantages and disadvantages. But I will say that I have to admire a culture where it's a big event to go and see the sakura blossoms. If more people - more cultures - made time for such things we might all be better off.

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"t says "vowel-heavy language," not "vowel-heavy alphabet."

This it is a very unclear comment. To the extent an alphabet is a written representation of a language, the alphabet should contain all of the vowels present in the language, so they mean the same thing. Vowels in any language have to be pronounced carefully, whether they are split by consonants or not. A simple look at all the dialects of English present in the world today should be more than enough to debunk this ridiculous theory, as the main difference between spoken Englishes is the pronunciation of the vowels. The total number of times vowels appear in a sentence aside, Japanese still only has five vowels to process. Of course, you can lengthen an utterance, but so can any language.

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Interesting. I guess that accounts for the lack of ability to think outside the box. Or in other words! When counting achievments those linear thinkers in the USA and Europe hold hundreds of Nobel prizes for Science vs the few held by Japan.

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Nobel prizes...hm. The value of those is sometimes dubious at best. Try looking into the number of patents, and what they're for. If I remember correctly, one of the most "patented people," who in fact invented the floppy disk, digital watch and other things we all benefited from, is a Japanese guy. Japan is not far behind the US in terms of scientific achievement and technological innovation. Also many times, after we invented something, they made it a lot better.

Anyway, be sure to continue ignoring my final thought about the asceticism of the culture. In comparison, America flat sucks. Then throw in unfathomable junk like how fashionable it is to wear pants that you actually have to HOLD UP while walking! What is that???

Anyway...I don't want to keep arguing so I won't check back. America is marginally better overall, perhaps. Mainly in terms of economy, freedoms and spiritedness. Japan has us beat in many, many other ways, not the least of which is overall standard of living (look it up), education (look it up), and general respect for others and for environment (do you need to look it up?).

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Cant think of one thing in which Japan superior. Oh, self-deception, maybe that.

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Show me a race that considers itself "superior" and I show you a race that is doomed.

Been repeated across the ages with many empires. Once people think they are better/superior to others around they already started the slide into their own decline.

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Ridiculous, I am tired of hearing this superior people bull-crap. A lot of our culture is borrowed from China so does that make them superior too? All humans are equal in terms of brain power. It depends on the person in the end not the race.

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"the extraordinary beauty of such common things such as... paper doors"

Those things rip extremely easily, better if I don't get near one.

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I have read that other researchers were not able to repeat Tsunoda's research but it seems okay to me. Perhaps the differences are weak.

However, the fact that Japanese hear insects in the left brain may mean that Japanese hear insects as language, but now likely is that? Are then Japanese always distracted by the cries of birds and insects?

It seems to me that Japanese have an amazing propensity to ignore the significance of sounds, both of insects and of auditory language, as discussed by Nakashima Yoshimichi in "Urusai Nihonjin no Watashi," where he points to all the announcements that Japanese are able to largely ignore. When I first came to Japan I was always stopping in front of those endless tape recorders in supermarkets unable to just ignore them. I can remember being really surprised by a Japanese voice coming out of the end of the moving walkway at the airport saying "This moving walkway is about to end." No, it seems to me that Japanese are far less likely to pay all that much attention to sounds.

So the fact that insects are in there with the auditory processing hemisphere may mean that langauge is in their other hemisphere, in there visual hemisphere (that they see language). I prefer the latter interpretation. This does not detract from Boye De Mente's assertion that the Japanese use both hemispheres.

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I have the utmost respect for the Culture and People of Japan, but I don't think I would go so far as to label them "Superior." In fact one of the nicest attributes of the culture is the humbleness, which is in direct contradiction to these types of statements and attitudes. ~ Andrew ... Russian Martial Art Richmond ... http://www.rmarichmond.com

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