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Pope cautions Japanese students over 'excessive' competitiveness

39 Comments
By ALBERTO PIZZOLI

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39 Comments
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I'd agree with the Holy See.

Japan has become a nation of lost souls that just can't get through the eye....

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Unfortunately, that's how things work here

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The Japanese education system is built around highly competitive and rigorous testing, with students put under intense pressure to succeed -- pressures that continue once they graduate and enter the workplace.

Which could be said of any number of countries in the region, some being worse than Japan.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

They probably aren’t gunna chill out based on his advice. Still gotta feed yourself and all that.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

"In order to succeed, one can end up doing bad things, like trampling on others on the way up," he said in a video conference with students in Tokyo.

He said he saw "several problems" in Japanese society, such as "excessive competition, competitiveness, consumption, consumption, consumption, consumption and more consumption".

As if his holiness didn’t “trample” anyone on his ascension to pope.... lol

I’ll accept his message of “the love of money is the root of evil” when he sells his golden toilet bowl and gives the money to the poor.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Does he know Japan is Shintoism and Buddhism country, not Christianity?

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Does he know Japan is Shintoism and Buddhism country, not Christianity?

So what? He just doesn't only talk to Catholics. Anyway, there are Catholics in Japan, there are two Catholic churches not far from my home.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

he is right on the money, recently brought up the word kyōkan in a group situation after helping an old boy out as people were just ignoring his struggle and no one new what it meant!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@ Tina Buddhism is not used in modern Japan, just a borrowed word and a few gestures, bells etc.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The Catholic sphere is a society that excessive consumption than Japan. Especially Black Friday.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

go mind your own business old man. Japanese aren't catholic

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

To Seth M, the Pope whas talking to Sophia University’s students and everybody knows that Sophia U is a catholic university

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@ Tina

The five precepts of buddhism.

harming living things

taking what is not given

sexual misconduct

lying or gossip

taking intoxicating substances eg drugs or drink

3 ( +7 / -4 )

“ Buddhism is not used in modern Japan, just a borrowed word and a few gestures, bells etc.”

The five precepts of buddhism.

harming living things

taking what is not given

sexual misconduct

lying or gossip

taking intoxicating substances eg drugs or drink”

Yes, and if we look at the Ten Commandments, it’s clear there are no Christians either, just a bunch of songs and twinkly lights on trees.....

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@himajin, maybe so, im buddhist btw.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

tinawatanabe - Does he know Japan is Shintoism and Buddhism country, not Christianity?

Oh Tina, you've put your foot in your mouth again! Christianity is the third most common religion in Japan and, it is probably the most powerful religion in Japan because its followers are more devout than those who follow Shintoism or Buddhism.

Pope Francis warned Japan on Monday over a culture of "excessive" competitiveness in schooling and the workplace as well as an obsession with consumerism.

Yeah, well, he does have a point. The schooling is highly competitive and for all its competitiveness it does not produce scholars, especially considering most students attend cram school and private schools have classes on Saturdays. The ability to memorise facts and figures in order to pass a test does not make one intelligent. I often tell my high school students, "You don't have to be 'the' best, just be 'your' best." I do a lot of Humanities styled lessons with the senior high school students and they find it extremely difficult to think and conclude based on materials provided. They just look at the material hoping to find the answer. They do not know how to think. That is the basic flaw in the Japanese education system. It only focusses on 'what' and does not address 'how' or 'why'.

As for the obsession with consumption, you only have to think about things like, Valentine's Day, White Day, Christmas, New Year and especially Halloween. Halloween is only focussed at consumption and has become something that is only remotely connected to the tradition of Halloween. Valentine's and White day are exactly the same. These days were over-commercialised by the chocolate manufacturers.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

go mind your own business old man. Japanese aren't catholic

There are quite a few. Really, some of the ignorance expressed on here about religious beliefs is stunning. You'll be telling me there are no Jews or Muslims in Japan next.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Seems to me that there are plenty other countries where this message would be more apposite.  Competiveness....  India, China......  Consumerism....  Most of the West.   Bad manners....  India, China.

Crime....  Much of Latin America and Africa.......  Trampling people on the way up....  where to begin.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I thought Korea was more excessive, with Kids on drip feeds prior to exams.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Christianity is the third most common religion in Japan

Only one percent of Japanese population regardless of hard work since Xavier Francis came in 16c.

I thought Korea was more excessive, with Kids on drip feeds prior to exams.

but Korea is Christian majority country so exempt from criticism.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

I thought Korea was more excessive, with Kids on drip feeds prior to exams.

but Korea is Christian majority country so exempt from criticism.

South Korea is not majority Christian. Nowhere near it.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Weird & random things to say. Would have been better if the Pope had criticised (he has every right to do so after all) ultra-consumerism/capitalism in their entirety instead.

blaming an "excessive meritocracy" as well.

Disagree with the Pope. J system is imo more about cronyism, bias, 'old-boys' preferential treatment than 'meritocracy' per se. Nothing wrong with meritocracy.

"The Japanese are a people I love very much," he said, adding that they were "a working people, with a great capacity for religion, a people that have suffered a lot".

Thinly (well not-so) veiled attempt at proselytism here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Look Japan has problems, but come on. Fix the Catholic Church first.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

It's a valid point, and a valid point made by anyone no matter their belief system is a valid point. Comparing other countries is not valid, he was talking to a Japanese crowd.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Which could be said of any number of countries in the region, some being worse than Japan.

yubaru - the Pontiff was not addressing students in those countries. He was addressing students in Japan

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Look Japan has problems, but come on. Fix the Catholic Church first.

Would have spent money this predicable response was coming.

I guess since the Catholic Church has problems, it invalidates the previous argument about Japan. Well done.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Catholic sect has no business preaching to a Shinto / Buddhist / Agnostic nation. I dont see anything in his past that would qualify him to preach to others.

Where they get the nerve to do that...?!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

He’s allowed an opinion.

The opinions and prohibitions coming from his organization cause misery and suffering for millions around the world.

At least this opinion doesn’t hurt anyone. Let him blather on about it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

tinawatanabeToday  08:06 am JST

Does he know Japan is Shintoism and Buddhism country, not Christianity?

Article 20 of the Japanese constitution guaratees freedom of religion, meaning Japan is not a Shintoism country [sic], a Buddhism country [sic], or any kind of country other than a country with freedom to practice, discuss, and preach any religion one chooses.

Likewise, article 19 guarantees freedom of expression.

Together, the two mean that any member of any faith is free to express any opinion they like about Japan and Japanese people, and if you don't like that, your best bet is to construct a logical argument that it is wrong, rather than trying to pretend that certain classes of people don't get to have opinions here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree with his comment. Most people in Japan probably forget the pleasure of learning. People fundamentally have intellectual curiosity. They can enjoy their lives because of it. However, by taking tests their purpose of learning will be changed from their curiosity into scores, which may undermine their motivation. A lot of people also suffer from severe working conditions. There is a kind of atmosphere we must not say we are busy. "Everyone is busy. So, it is normal to work in this situation." This is very dangerous for employees' physical and mental health.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I do not know the rumor of a gold toilet bowl in the Vatican, but we did hear that this Pope, who chose the name of St.Francis of Assisi, did/does remarkable things compared to previous ones in respect to living without luxury. Also, of course he knows about the religions found in Japan (He just addressed the various religious leaders of Myanmar on site concerning the refugee crisis over the border to Bangladesh). Unfortunate, perhaps, is the style of preaching--it remains a kind of parental lecture complete with caveats--that was what many commenting persons picked up on (listing Buddhist no-no's and mentioning the ten commandments). Maybe the church needs a new style for this century that is more positive and forward-looking. Instead of starting with the past (or the present) to reject this or that, maybe we should be encouraging people to head in such-and-such a direction.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No one actually believes the pope, or Donald Trump or oil sheiks have golden toilets.

It’s just a common metaphor for the ultra rich who have no concept of poverty and are out of touch with the struggles of the average person.

ok.... maybe Trump has one...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 Most people in Japan probably forget the pleasure of learning. People fundamentally have intellectual curiosity. 

Lack of intellectual curiosity is what breeds religion.

People caught in the rat race seek escape in consumerism because they make a logical compromise. They will never be a top position power player, they accept fact and indulge in what escapism they can afford.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bizarre article.

with long working hours being blamed for hundreds of deaths due to strokes, heart attacks and suicides every year

And yet the general health level in Japan is higher than in most countries.

He said he saw "several problems" in Japanese society, such as "excessive competition, competitiveness, consumption, consumption, consumption, consumption and more consumption".

I can imagine leaders of most social and religious causes making exactly the same statement. Materialism is bad - we all know that. But why should I listen to the Pope rather than my local Rabi or Imam or Greenpeace representative? Tell us what we should do and not what we shouldn't, and then we can judge your words better. Should I give all my money to the church, should I support or oppose the celibacy of priests, should I stock up on guns to fight terrorists, should I put salt in my soup, should I wear a condom?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ok.... maybe Trump has one...

I haven't seen his toilet, but I've seen his apartment in NY and it's gaudy as hell - gold everywhere. A gold toilet would fit in with the style perfectly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Would have spent money this predicable response was coming.I guess since the Catholic Church has problems, it invalidates the previous argument about Japan. Well done.

Yes, any holy man leader of a theocracy is generally invalidated by me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have a lot of time for Pope Francis but think he is off the mark here. Nothing wrong with meritocracy. That's how it should be. Better than what they are trying to push in the West in some cases - advancement based on race and gender. His arguments against consumerism apply to the entire planet pretty much at this point. The problem is the only model we have for prosperity is based on never ending growth and the never ending consumerism that comes with it. Perhaps the Pope has a plan for that?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does he know Japan is Shintoism and Buddhism country, not Christianity? so succeeding, by doing bad things, like trampling on others on the way up," is a trait of Shintoism and Buddhism!? for those with limited mental abilities hes stating caring traits that many religions hold dear, just because a leader of a religion isnt one you follow doesnt mean you can heed the advise. Many proverbs from Buddhism, Nostradamus, Christianity, Islam etc etc are used across all cultures/religions. and yes there are many Christians in Japan, . Religious tolerance is the key, history has shown us trying separate religions and its people in countries has lead to massive wars and genocide.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And yet the general health level in Japan is higher than in most countries. and it could be even higher if japan provided more support on mental health issues and reduced smoking rates.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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