politics

Aso says world religions can learn from Japan

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Prime Minister Taro Aso said Thursday some of the world's major religions could learn from Japan's work ethic. The conservative leader, who is known for his controversial remarks, told a parliamentary committee that Japan's belief in hard work contrasted with that of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

"Our values in Japan regard hard work as important," Aso said during a discussion on the global economic crisis. "To work is good. It's completely different thinking from the Old Testament. We should share our philosophy with many other nations."

Christians make up around 2% of the population in deeply secular Japan, where most people follow a mix of Buddhism and Shinto.

Aso, who is a Catholic, was apparently referring to the Bible's description of work as God's punishment of Adam for disobeying his commands in the Garden of Eden.

He made a similar argument in a speech on Dec 7 in southern Japan, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

"In the Old Testament, God gave Adam punishment: labor. The Old Testament, Christianity, Islam -- if you add them up, what percent of the world is that? About 70% of religions hold a philosophy that work is a punishment."

He then referred to Japan's oldest known book, the Kojiki, which features Japan's creation myths. In the text, an important sun goddess saw many other deities working.

The Japanese are famous for their long working hours, which have turned the island nation into the world's second largest economy.

Thousands of Japanese literally work themselves to death each year, a problem that has become so common it has spawned its own word - "karoshi."

Aso, 68, is notorious for gaffes ranging from making jokes about Alzheimer's disease to once saying that Japanese were better placed to mediate in the Middle East because they do not have blue eyes.

© Wire reports

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Aso is refered as 'obochan' not 'obousan' by Japanese Media. He knows nothing except Managa World.

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And whose economies have the highest productivity levels? Certainly not Japan! (http://tinyurl.com/36sa9z). Gosh, a bunch of "Judeo-Christian" nations occupy the top slots!

Anyway, it's about time those Jews started to pull up their bootstraps and do a bit of work for once.

The arrogance of this "Aso" is mind-boggling.

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oh yeah, lets get the whole world on the bullying, karoshi(death by overwork) and drinking til you drop bandwagon. that sounds like so much fun, doesnt it? this guy has noodles for brains.

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it's actually less than 1%. and who is aso kidding?

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I think Mr. Aso misinterpreted the creation story. See, they (adam and eve) lived in Eden, where everything was provided for them. When they got kicked out, they had to create society. And with that came the need for self rule. So it wasn't work that God cursed man with because of original sin, it was retarded politicans that think they are somehow enlightened about the real world and real issues because their daddy and granddaddy were rich and ruthlesslesly exploited others to get ahead.

I swear, some of the nonsense this guy comes up with reminds me of stuff I used to hear barfly's spout through their alcohol pickled brains back in the day.

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When I head off to work today to serve my punishment for Adam's sins in the Garden of Eden, I will gaze at all the happy Japanese salarymen around me with envy, for they are working because for them it is good and important to do so!!!

By the way, Adam's punishment was more accurately "forced labor" than "labor". It seems he was forced to work to get food, even though before that wasn't necessary. Another example of forced labor might be, say, having to work in a coal mine! Anyways, hope the world media has fun with this latest piece of nonsense from Aso-san.

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I can't imagine why the Japanese people put up with having the quality of leaders such as Aso. Take America for instance with great leaders like Bus.... oh, forget that..... : )

In Genesis 2:15 Adam is given a job. Much before his banishment from the garden (gen 3). In fact, the very first thing that God gave to Adam was work, before he received his wife he was given his life's work.

The Judeo/Christian doctrine does not discount work, nor does it view it as punishment. To the contrary, it views work as a 'calling' something in which man expresses both his God given talents and learned skills in order to fulfill his destiny. He was not set to work as a slave as in the neo-feudal system that exists in Aso's world that the privileged like himself have no knowledge of, but to work in freedom to exist as a peer of God.

Adam's punishment was not work, but a demotion. Not so different than the way a Japanese company punishes someone by 'promoting' them to the office of pencil and bungoku management ; )

Japan has nothing to offer the world besides its superior products built with slave labor. Japanese do not work hard out of ethic, they work out of fear because, though the labor labor laws establish rights similar to the western countries, if a worker were to rock the boat, they could jeopardize their bonus which is not protected under law. And since bonuses can amount to up to a third of a workers wage, that is a risk few are willing to take. Not to mention the notorious lack of job mobility in the Japanese workforce and the fact that if one were to be fired, it would be even more difficult to find gainful employment outside of construction or labor. Japanese companies routinely shun experience workers in order to recruit fresh recruits straight out of college that they can house in dorms to extort loyalty from in a play straight out of Tokugawa's book.

Out of personal experience, having been a building contractor both in America and Japan, my crews in America worked circles around the Japanese carpenters that I employed here. So much to the point, that we recruited Americans, Australians, and British and paid their transportation and living costs on top of their wages.

We all hope that Aso begins to take his job seriously and begins to read books with more words than pictures.

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Just when the man was removing his foot from his mouth, yet more Daffy Duck logic. I'm sure the millions of temps working for peanuts around this country will not be amused.

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Aso out metaphorically tossing his caber again. What a proficient tosser he is.

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It's astounding how little most Japanese know about their own history. When westerners visited in Japan in the early Meiji period they were convinced that the Japanese could never become an industrial nation because they lacked a work ethic. People went to work when they felt like it and spent a lot of time getting drunk and going to matsuri. The current japanese work ethic was created by brainwashing the citizenry in part with the NEW state religion of shinto.

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Notginger, had to look that expression up.... very nice!

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Aso is simply like many Catholics around the world in that he knows almost nothing about his own religion. Add to that the indoctrinated arrogance so prevalent in Japan and you'll find a court jester on the throne rather than a king.

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A joke first thing in the morning. Thank you Mr. Aso for making me laugh. If you think downloading child porn, surfing the net, drinking with co-workers, reading the newspaper, sleeping in meetings, acting busy when you have nothing to do, and leaving late just because it is the thing to do, is all good work ethic, then yes teach the rest of the world.

As for me, I think Japan should learn from most western countries and base peoples jobs on ACTUAL performance. Finish when you get your work done and have a life.

Japanese families don't want the father around. Wives don't want them around. So if the Japanese male were to learn actually how to work and free up their time, then society as a whole would be more or less miserable. Works here but for the rest of the world, you have got to be kidding.

In addition, those long hours are usually not paid making the average working hourly wage about 900 yen per hour after taxes. Great for a developed country.

4,500,000 yearly salary with bonus 275 days a year (50*5.5) 13 hours a day 3575 hours a year 1259 per hour 881.12 taxes about 30%

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What an idiot! You want the reality of the situation in Japan Aso? Here it is.

You have a society of overworked people who are increasingly turning to alcohol and drugs to sedate themselves. You have alienated children who grow up with stressed out over worked parents who don't have bandwidth to be with them. You have many others who don't have time or energy to even think about having kids so your population is dropping off.

And all this is before we talk about the severe mental health crisis this nation is facing. Pick up any publication on any day and look at the sheer number of people killing themselves or someone around them.

Look at the escapism that defines this nation. People are zobified by work and then sucked into tech toys, manga and other distractions that keep them from being involved in society. Even if they wanted to be involved, and I believe many people would if they could be, there is no time because most people work so much overtime that they barely get home before having to get back on a train to work the next day.

Work ethic is what you are calling it Aso? More like a modern day version of slavery. Who has a choice but to work like madmen and women in Japan? The cost of living and social expectations make very few other choices an option. And with a declining economy what options are on the table for people?

Lastly. I'm no fan of religion. In fact I see most religions as causing more long term harm than good. But what would you know about Judeo-Christian tradition? Or any other religious tradition for that matter?

Historically Jews have had a reputation for hard work and a strong work ethic. And it is well earned by the creativity and intelligence that community has put into economies for generations. And Christians... have you ever heard of the industrial revolution or the building of America into the economic power it has been? Most of this work was done by people with a majority Christian belief system. Including a lot of the pioneering spirit that build most of the new world nations.

And one last thing Aso. If you take away every economic, technological and process influence that originated with Judeo Christrian, Ismalic, or other Non-Japanese traditions from Japan today, what would be left here?

Fact. A nation of feudal leaders fighting each other over territory. Outside influences empowered Japan to rise. When the black ships arrived in Japan this place was a medieval collection of factions with limited technology and zero global strength. While a credit to the nation that it came into being a global power in less than a century. It got there riding on the backs of generations of labor and development by the very people and traditions you are critisizing.

Japan needs to retire this senile old man and get on with finding real leadership to take the nation forward and to work on the problems in this country to make life better for all those hard working Japanese. Who deserve better leadership than Aso.

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I seem to recall a certain moustached German/Austrian saying similar things, to a similarly brainwashed people, about how religions should learn something from his ethics. He was a catholic too. But, of course, Japan doesn't talk about that, does she?

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There is a bigger punishment than hard work. That is having to put up with a prime minister who cannot refrain from showing his ignorance. Si tacuisset!

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Japan's actual productivity per hour of work is low, somewhere near that of Spain.

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Lack of religion and its bad influences on society is one reason so many foreigners enjoy Japan...or so I thought,PLEASE Aso,don't start.

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notginger - separating the Brits from the Americans on the board!!!

Japan has to be about the least religious minded country I've been to. Sure there are lots of temples and shrines but that is only because it is a tax free occupation. Some of the richest guys here have got to be priests...

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I thought the lack of religion meant that the Japanese have no problem commuting suicide?? Or was I reading a different story...

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What a jackass.

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Japanese people don't want Mr. Aso to be Prime minister any longer. Stupid lawmakers made him Prime minister last year. I think that he will resign soon becase people don't want Mr. Aso.

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buggerlugs, "Commuting Suicide" Nice Freudian slip there. Living in Western Tokyo I am delayed by hard working Japanese committing, 'commuting sucide' more often than is comfortable to think about. Why trains?!?!?!? There must be less painful ways to go. But then again with Aso as PM maybe people just want out NOW so they don't have to listen to this guy.

I never thought I would see a world leader any less intelligent or any more clueless than GWB. But Aso is giving it a good try.

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Many senior Japanese politicians often make public remarks like this, 'rah rah Japan'-type stuff claiming Japanese cultural and moral superiority, and hinting at what the world could/should learn from Japan. What they could probably do with realizing however, is that the world really doesn't care about Japan, and doesn't think about Japan. Sure, lots of people drive a Toyota or a Honda, some even eat sushi- but to many people, Japan is just 'that city in China where you can buy a little girl's dirty undies out of a vending machine'. Save it, Japanese politicians- nobody is listening, save for a handful of Japanese people and foreign expats in Japan. When I lived in Japan, I was eagerly asked left and right: "What do Americans think about Japan?!?" I usually gave some sort of malarkey answer, made up on the spot, to tell them what they wanted to hear and change the subject. But nearer the end of my tour, I just told them the truth: "They don't."

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Work Ethic? Slush funds, mislabeling, embezzelment, outright theft, forgery ... Yup! The world could learn alot from the best!

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This guy is the biggest idiot. Every other day he makes some asinine statement. Japanese people work LONG not HARD. That is a big difference. They think staying in the office until midnight makes them a hard worker. Like someone said, their productivity per hour is pathetic.

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He could simply say : Work is not God's punishment and that how Japanese people believe. In fact Japanese strength comes from "team work" and not necessarily "hard work".

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While the guy is a total tool and the statement is ridiculous I too think the world could learn something from the Japanese concerning religion.

I like the complete indifference Japanese have towards religion and while Japan could do with a universal moral code that supersedes the group moral ethic, that code should not place the practitioner closer to God's favor; a lesson both the USA and the Middle East should learn.

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Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...

Matthew 6:27-29

And Aso-san is a Roman Catholic?

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"Aso, who is a Catholic, was apparently referring to the Bible’s description of work as God’s punishment of Adam for disobeying his commands in the Garden of Eden."

"He then referred to Japan’s oldest known book, the Kojiki, which features Japan’s creation myths. In the text, an important sun goddess saw many other deities working."

Myths that people have used to control others and screw up the world time and again.

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as a protestant i have never heard that quote in a sermon . likewise i have never thought of it either . most christians are too obsessive about thier sexuality. or lack of. or they are trying to prevent anyone else having sex . to be worried about work .

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All leaders say these kinds of things, no different than Obama proudly stating that the US is the greatest country in the world or Brown commenting on how other countries need to follow the superior British democratic system. I'm not the least offended by Aso's comments, he's probably just trying to raise the pride of the nation in tough times. Yes, he is fundamentally wrong but no more so than Harper claiming Canada is without question the best country in the world.

Even within Christianity their are stark differences in basic philosophy. The underlying philosophy of Catholicism is that humans are sinful and that the only way to heaven is to "pay" tithes to the church to have one's sin's absolved, a disincentive to work; lazy French. The Eastern orthodox church believes that God is talking to people all the time and instructing us what to do but only a few chosen people can understand him so people should obey the instructions of the chosen few that can understand God, even if the orders from the chosen few are downright crazy, a basis for the soviet system. The underlying philosophy of Protestantism is that God determines one's fate at birth but he will show a hint of one's final destiny during life; that hint being money, a real incentive to work hard, thus the "Protestant work ethic."

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Todays JT is Great!!! A heartwarming story about a 17 day old receiving a kidney transplant, and another comical statement from the leader himself. I love waking up to this type of news.

-I never thought I would see a world leader any less intelligent or any more clueless than GWB. But Aso is giving it a good try.

-Japanese people work LONG not HARD. That is a big difference.

tkoind2 and F21F have nailed it. Having a comedian as your country's representative is humorous for about an hour, (the average length of a comedy show), but then it becomes nothing more than an embarrassment. Michael Moore has done a fine job of compiling and presenting to us, the idiotic "gaffes" of GWB. Would a Japanese production company ever edit together a run of Aso's enlightening quips for entertainment purposes? I'd buy the DVD.

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Sure, Dear Mr. Aso, you are right: "The Japanese are famous for their long working hours, which have turned the island nation into the world’s second largest economy".

But Japan is also famous for disfunctional families, where children almost never meet their fathers (whose ussually continue working at bars with co-workers or playing golf on saturday and sunday), families where parents have own life separately, where kids live on their own in the streets of shibuya, sometimes until midnight, where sometimes the father rape or chase his own daughter. Sure, we should learn about enjo kosai, about child's pornography sold in any place, like Akihabara where perverts can buy it easily as a candy, about chikans, about discrimination of foreign people in public places as restaurants, hot springs or even places like soaplands or snacks, we should learn about being isolated and never change a word with our neighbor, never listen someone problems and never share ours, learn to never kiss our wife or kids on the street if we want, never tell them that we love them, we should learn to accept IJIME as a normal practice in schools and dont do anything about it, we should learn to understand that people jumping in front of a train is completely normal and getting angry about the time we lose is absolutely acceptable, we should learn that is completelly healthy and normal understand that somebody got angry, took a knife and killed somebody, because was stressed, we should learn life has not value at all, because being selfish and nevermind about any other suffering is totally reasonable. Sure Mr. Aso, you are catholic, but anyway all religions around the world have to learn A LOT OF THINGS from a country where people believes blood type is important to define human behavior.

And please my friends at Japan Today don't delete my post saying that I'M OFF TOPIC, because i'm using Mr. Aso's name, Mr. Aso's words and saying my opinion about his comments, and please don't delete it saying IT IS OFFENSIVE, because it is not, we read about it in your web page everyday, no matter YOU LIKE OR NOT my opinion, all these things really happen in Japan.

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I love this Aso!

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Someone should create a manga based on Max Weber's "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", that shouls enlighten Mr. Aso at his own pathetic level.

I remember asking twice why japanese companies usually displayed open-plan offices; I was answered (in both cases), that workers would sleep if they would work in a cubicle. That's all we need to know about japanese work ethic.

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I wonder what Aso knows about hard work other than that POWs and slaves did it in his family's mines in Kyushu...

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Ahh yes the wonderful aspects of Japanese religions, work harder to get a better place in heaven (commonly know as Jacobs Ladder theology), the lack of any loving Gods but rather scary ones of death etc. Yes lets share that with the world, just what it needs. And all those homeless ones, we will leave them up to the Christian or Western influenced organizations to feed. In fact the US did learn from Japanese religion when Hirohito was the Emperor which right or wrong led to the dropping of the first atomic weapons. I think we have learnt from Japanese religions already.

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aso-i dont work to live but i live to work.look at your people ,dont you pity them?day in-day out activities of life should have a balance and any thing that distorts it brings its own problems.do you think any country looks up to japan?

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oh yeah, lets get the whole world on the bullying, karoshi(death by overwork) and drinking til you drop bandwagon. that sounds like so much fun, doesnt it? this guy has noodles for brains.

Drinking till you drop don't sound toooo bad.

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Aso said Thursday ...that Japan’s belief in hard work contrasted with that of the Judeo-Christian tradition....To work is good. It’s completely different thinking from the Old Testament.

What is he thinking? Is he even thinking? What makes this party hopping, comic book reading JPM the priest of hard work? Is it because his family ran a coal mine and used Koreans as slaves during World War II ?

The Bible encourages hard work as normal, but condemns those who work in vain for false materialistic gain. Did the WASPs who settled the North American wilderness do it by studying Japanese religion? Did their work ethic come about by studying the Kojiki?

Proverbs 6:6 :"Go unto the ant, O slothful one, See her ways and be wise."

Ecclesiastes 9:10: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."

Ecclesiastes 4:6: "One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind".

The implication is that hard work is normal, but that excessive workaholism is damaging. The unnecessary work stress, emotional problems and "karoshi"that Japan is infamous for, is not normal.

I am deeply offended by Aso's remarks and I demand an apology. He should resign immediately.

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proxy -- your "knowledge", and I use the term loosely, of the Catholic faith is superficial at best, and your conclusion about the French being lazy due to their religion is as scary as Aso's stupid remark. Hard work is a personal value, and probably has no relationship to someone's faith. You could just as easily argue that because the Christian faith is based on a sense of guilt/conscience, their members work harder than other faiths, because they want to avoid any feelings of guilt. Where the Japanese culture is all about shame, so it is only bad if you are lazier than everyone else. -- and get caught for it.

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another aso classic

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Aso. The gift that keeps on giving! Japan's version of Sara Palin, it would seem.

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I think too many people (both Japanese and non-Japanese) have misunderstanding about Mr. Aso, I think now that we see 3 major religions (the Muslims killing Jews, Jews killing Muslims and Christians all mixed up about trying to give aid to the Palestinians) this is what I think he meant, that Japan is a very peaceful country, not at each other's throats like in Gaza etc..let's really try to learn from Japan, even if Mr. Aso sounnds like the Japanese version of George W.Bush.

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I love how Japanese people are so disconnected from religion. I also respect the no relious holidays rule. The world should follow... There is only one religion.. human!

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Elbudamexicano. Japan is not remotely enlightened when dealing with others. First of all look at the treatment of immigrants here, the refusal to give assylum for most requests, and the inability to accept responsibility for all the war past from comfort women to forcing their own people to committ suicide in Okinawa.

Add to that the imploding social fabric based upon an overworked enslaved society and the only reason you end up with peace is that everyone here it too tired and busy to give anyhing outside Japan much serious thought.

Japan is not an example to follow. Low productivity, frightening suicide rate. And an economy that is #2 but could quickly be way down the list if Americans and others stop consuming so rabidly. As we see now.

As for religion. Shinto beliefs helped lead to the repression of Japan by the nationalists. So no points there either.

Japan is an imperfect nation with serious problems. Just like nearly every other nation on earth. This nonsense from Aso about religion and work ethic is just another example of clueless leaders leading a repressed and politically zombified people.

What Japan needs is higher productivity, shorter work hours, more time with family and a return to social interaction and values. Not being put on some imaginary pedistal to shine for all to see. The reality just isn't shiny anyway.

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I can just imagine the world's religious leaders heeding to the addled leader of a secular state and deciding to rewrite the tenets of their respective faiths based on his words!

In any respect, his pronouncement is just so wrong-headed on so many levels, it's just so difficult to know where to start...

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Apparently, the Esteemed Mr. Aso hasn't bothered to read from the Old Testament that he is basically bashing. Yes, Mr. Aso, the Old Testament DOES commend hard work, as does the New Testament. The punishment God gave Adam WAS NOT labour -- Adam had to work in the Garden of Eden; God's unishment was the curse of sin and death, as well as being banished form the Garden of Eden.

As far as contrasting Japan with the West, I leave that to omarbabilon above, and the well-posted response omarbabilon wrote.

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C'mon folks have compassion, Aso has Foot in Mouth Disease. Talking nonsense is one of the symptoms. He is also only repeating what some Japanese actually believe, I've heard stuff like this for the last 12 years I've lived here.

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Nobody promotes workaholism. Depopulation in the aging society of Japan with increase in social security allowance is in the background of PM Aso's remark. He suggests the necessity to prepare for a society where aged people can be accepted more readily as fork force.

Another factor is the present global economic crisis. It seems as if greed and mammonism deriving from Judaism is ruling the world. They convert the uncertain future into numerical values and put them through the alchemy of financial engineering. Optimum leverage for greatest profits is an act of rationality whereas by the sweat of your brow seems to be an act of expiation. So "To work is good. It’s completely different thinking from the Old Testament. We should share our philosophy with many other nations." is an irony though rather misleading on something prevailing in the world.

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I meant to put "lazy French" in quotations but I am correct in my explanation of the philosophical differences. Catholicity is a disincentive to work hard but to compete with the "hard working" protestant countries there pulled ahead of Catholic countries, the Catholic philosophy regarding work was more or less abandoned. However, aspects of the differing Christian philosophies still run deep in the local cultures. "Why work hard if you have to give your money to the church." Generally, the cultures in Catholic countries does not make people feel guilty if they are not working and more sympathy is shown towards poor people who have an equal chance of getting into "heaven." And to this day people in countries with predominantly protestant based cultures feel guilty about taking a day off and tend to have harsher attitudes towards poor people because the underlying Protestant culture, even if most people have never been to a church, dictates that the poor people are bound for "hell." I'm not really saying French are lazy compared to Americans. I meant that there is an image of French people being lazy because even if they do work there butts off they feel no guilt at taking a holiday and going to the beach whereas Americans tend to feel guilty for taking a day off and are shocked by people who do not feel guilty for taking a day off.

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I don't think Aso is right on this occasion, however, there is a correlation between faith and productivity (ie. human development) - Islamic and Arabic states are generally less developed than the rest of the world (excluding central Africa). This could perhaps be down to "moral" rejections of technology, "holy" war, climate etc.

Before I read the article I was grinning from ear to ear: "Aso says world religions can learn from Japan". That statement, in the contexts of morality, human rights and international relations is absolutely accurate.

Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, is one of the most developed and is one of the safest places to live. This culture that facilitated such post-war economic growth is atheist and contrasts the restrictive and violent nature of religous government.

There is no evidence for god on Earth. Religion seeks only to suppress world understanding ("there's no explaination, it must be god!") and enforce its twisted morality through fear. All the goods things it encourages, charity etc., exist inherently in human nature without god or religion. In that sense, Aso is correct.

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@proxy

I meant to put "lazy French" in quotations

I'm kind of curious how many years you have spent in France to come up with such an insightful and informed assessment of the French.

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Coming from the IT industry in North American, when I first got here I didn't think that Japanese people worked that much. Definitely for the first 5 years or so of my career 100+ hour weeks were totally normal. Now, granted I'm working in a school now, but I don't see people working more than 60 hours a week. I considered that pretty slacker hours back in the day.

I'm not saying it's healthy, but certainly Japan doesn't have a monopoly on hard work ethic. What's funny is that I'm only supposed to work 35 hours a week at my current job and given my background I can't manage to work less than 40. I don't know what to do with myself! But luckily I absolutely love my job, and I can't wait to get back to it every day.

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Statistician I guess you don't understand the usage of quotations.

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Aso is basically saying foreigners are lazy, he needs to get out of his bubble and see the world for real.

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I have nothing to contribute. It would just be a waste of energy :p

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Japan's actual productivity per hour of work is low, somewhere near that of Spain.

Here is an example: I put in my grades into a computer. Nonetheless, they ask me to write a redundant report about the grades.

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Hard-work for a better 2morrow is good. Wasting too much time expecting others to call it hard work is the opposite. I get a lot of entertainment from Taro Aso. kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

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How can the PM on Japan say this when 50% on the nations pension plans were lost, there is a difference between working hard and working smart.

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Catholicity

what is that, a new Prince album?

I think you want to say "catholocism".

Speaking of dysfunctional families, just today I taught a high school girl in a one-to-one lesson and recommended a few websites for vocabulary and listening practice. Her mom said that would require her to ask for her father's computer whom she does not speak to. Whoops. I won't mention that again.

I was getting the feeling that I was a substitute daddy for these three young sisters as they hardly study and just want to fool around and give me whatever is not nailed down in their house.

Message for the Japanese: work smart, not hard.

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mikekchar: But luckily I absolutely love my job, and I can't wait to get back to it every day.

lemme guess, your work involves very little human contact, no?

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yeah, the world could learn a lot from Shinto: worship the emperor, create a myth about racial superiority, start a war to subjugate the untermensch and get yourself nuked. Yep, Japan has set a pretty good example. My father always said, "you can learn from others mistakes."

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Thank God I'm an atheist...and couldn't give a rats.

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"Thank God I'm an atheist"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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Couldn`t agree more than with the above about work and productivity. Japan is hopeless when it comes to productivity compared to hours worked. Most of them spend a lot of time "having a meeting about the next meeting" as I like to put it. Aso is an idiot. Has he ever studied or been abroad? Anyone know?

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Aso must have some kind of mental issue. He is always going way off base about all different kinds of stuff. The Japanese work ethic is anti-social, is destroying the nuclear family, and has given Japan the highest suicide rate in the world. Further, I don't think he has studied the Old Testament adequately enough to authoritatively state what impact it has had on modern socialization or economics. Perhaps he hasn't stopped to consider why Japan is number 2 instead of number 1.

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Dear Mr Aso Have you ever actauloly read and studied the Bible? Your ignorance of its contents is mind-boggling - but then, you are used to reading manga comic books, so obvioulsy your brain cannot cope with anything a little more meaty. You arrogance knows know bounds. For the benefit of you, and also the writers of this article, the Japanese population is over 6% Christian, according to a Poll conducted a couple of years ago - and growing. The writers of this article might also like to reflect on the fact that the 80% of Japanese who claim to be both "Shinto" and "Buddhist" mostly havent a clue about the tenets of either religion. As regards the famous "Japanese work ethic" which this moron boasts about - those of us who live and work here know that the truth is stranger than this fictional myth. Japanese are the their workplaces longer than other people - but that does not necessarily mean that they are working - simply that they havent the guts to put down their pens and walk off the job until their boss goes. A lot of time is also wasted in the Japanese worklace by futile and meaningless discussions. Westerners, whom he seems to know so much about, actually achieve a lot more work in a shorter time than the Japanese do with their endless hours in the workplace. Westerners also do not spend so much time on money or alcohol as their Japanese counterparts. Nor do they smoke as much as them either. Japan is no longer No 2 in the world - its sinking fast. For all the talk , miserable-looking, exhausted and sleeping people in my life as I have on my daily commute in Tokyo. Its not a happy ship. Aso lives in cloud cuckoo land, and the sooner he is voted out, the better for the Japanese people.

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and all those office workers playing solitaire late into the night while waiting to go home - is that part of the work ethic?

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To realist - If you had been born to Islamic parents would you still be Christian?

You don't need to read the bible, qur'an, torah or any "prophetic" book to see the correlation between religious popularity, war and poverty.

I wish Aso had pointed out that Japan's atheism has been a major factor in its people's unity. Religion causes division, not just between faiths but between individuals. Atheists are united in their scientifically accurate and open-minded view of the world.

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I agree with the Aso. A lot of religions in the world could learn from Japan. For example, just because you say you're religious doesn't mean you have to believe in anything or follow the rules or go to a religious building on a regular basis or do anything you don't want to do like, oh, live up to the ideals of the religion. And if you're a leader in a religion that bans the drinking of alcohol, but you like alcohol, go ahead, drink! And if it bans the eating of rabbits but you like eating rabbits, go ahead, eat! (Just use the counter for birds - wa - and you can hoodwink god into believing they're really rabbits.)

As for the work ethic thing, I guess the Aso hasn't heard about Calvinism.

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I guess Mr. Aso's utterences are yet another sign of the global recession, depression. Leaders will come out with all kinds of gobbledegook during times of economic stress.

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Someone should create a manga based on Max Weber's "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", that shouls enlighten Mr. Aso at his own pathetic level.

Good one, Geneva. And you too, Realist. Maybe Aso doesn't know about the Protestant work ethic because he's a Catholic.

Proverbs 12:11 He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Proverbs 12:14 From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,

2 Thessalonians 3:8 nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

St. Jerome Idle hands are the Devil's tools.

Proverbs 21:25 The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.

And most importantly...

Proverbs 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

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http://jcs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/5/1/73

The Spirit of Modernity Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and Japanese Social Sciences Wolfgang Schwentker Osaka University, Japan

In this article, I reconstruct the reception of Max Weber’s essays on The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in 20th-century Japanese social sciences. I will show that even during Weber’s lifetime, Japanese economists responded to the so-called ‘Weber thesis’ and were aware of the ongoing debate on the origins of capitalism in European social sciences. Since the first Japanese translation of Weber’s essays appeared in 1938, interpretations depended very much on the political and social change of the country in the forthcoming decades. I attempt to prove that after 1945 the understanding of Weber in Japanese social sciences became interdisciplinary. Basically the response of Japanese social scientists was twofold: on the one hand, they looked for functional equivalents to the Protestant ethic in Japan, and, on the other hand (and even more importantly), they understood Weber’s text as a blueprint for a successful modernization of their country, more or less through economic means.

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Dear Mr Aso Have you ever actauloly read and studied the Bible? Your ignorance of its (lack of apostrophe) contents is mind-boggling - but then, you are used to reading manga comic books, so obvioulsy your brain cannot cope with anything a little more meaty. You arrogance knows know (as opposed to "no") bounds.

Hey realist, learn how to spell and write before you say someone else's brain "cannot cope with anything a little more meaty blah blah blah"...

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After this remark I am wonder how many people in secular Japan are saying, "If this is the person who is going to lead us out of Japan then God save us!"

I suppose as a good Catholic (but actually an awful ignoramus) Aso has never heard on the so-called Protestant Ethic or ever read anything about it in conjunction with the rise of capitalism. Max Weber might be a good start.

I also suppose Aso hasn't visited a Japanese university lately. You'll find classrooms full of sleeping students, chatting students, texting students and manga reading students. That tells you a lot about the work ethic in Japan.

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Sure, Dear Mr. Aso, you are right: "The Japanese are famous for their long working hours, which have turned the island nation into the world’s second largest economy".

But Japan is also famous for disfunctional families, where children almost never meet their fathers (whose ussually continue working at bars with co-workers or playing golf on saturday and sunday), families where parents have own life separately, where kids live on their own in the streets of shibuya, sometimes until midnight, where sometimes the father rape or chase his own daughter. Sure, we should learn about enjo kosai, about child's pornography sold in any place, like Akihabara where perverts can buy it easily as a candy, about chikans, about discrimination of foreign people in public places as restaurants, hot springs or even places like soaplands or snacks, we should learn about being isolated and never change a word with our neighbor, never listen someone problems and never share ours, learn to never kiss our wife or kids on the street if we want, never tell them that we love them, we should learn to accept IJIME as a normal practice in schools and dont do anything about it, we should learn to understand that people jumping in front of a train is completely normal and getting angry about the time we lose is absolutely acceptable, we should learn that is completelly healthy and normal understand that somebody got angry, took a knife and killed somebody, because was stressed, we should learn life has not value at all, because being selfish and nevermind about any other suffering is totally reasonable. Sure Mr. Aso, you are catholic, but anyway all religions around the world have to learn A LOT OF THINGS from a country where people believes blood type is important to define human behavior.

And please my friends at Japan Today don't delete my post saying that I'M OFF TOPIC, because i'm using Mr. Aso's name, Mr. Aso's words and saying my opinion about his comments, and please don't delete it saying IT IS OFFENSIVE, because it is not, we read about it in your web page everyday, no matter YOU LIKE OR NOT my opinion, all these things really happen in Japan.

HELLO KITTY FOR NEXT PRIME MINISTER!!!!!.... SHE DOESNT HAVE A MOUTH TO SAY SUCH STUPID THINGS.

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“Our values in Japan regard hard work as important,” Aso said during a discussion on the global economic crisis.

The predestination of Calvinism that God unalterably from the beginning chose some people for salvation and others for damnation made its believers quite uneasy and they began to try to believe that they were chosen for salvation. Theirs is no more the Heavenly Father of Heaven of the New Testament but Yahweh of the Old Testament. In a way Calvinism is similar to Judaism in that they are lacking assurance that they are saved.

As a result they were compelled to follow a secular vocation in a sense of calling with much zeal which more often than not brought about their worldly wealth. And that hard earned money was also forbidden to be wasted meaninglessly. Thus they began to invest that money, which consequently boosted capitalism. That is to say, at some point the Calvinist rationale informing the "spirit" of capitalism became unreliant on the underlying religious movement behind it, leaving only rational capitalism. In essence then, Weber's "Spirit of Capitalism" is effectively and more broadly a Spirit of Rationalization.

Doesn't Calvinism share something with Judaism? The idea of "rationality" comes from something quite Judaistic and has brought about the present financial crisis, or even perhaps its end?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protestant_Ethic_and_the_Spirit_of_Capitalism

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Aso was baptized Catholic, but has said in many interviews he hasn't attended Mass outside of funerals of family members as an adult, and has had none of his children baptized.

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I am so glad that he stirred this can of worms up!

Brilliant! Though I think theyd have to deal a little with their ingrained Confucious-like habits. And awaken some of those living, to Life. Maybe that's where he is confused about who works the most?

But, it would lend a whole lot of light to what Judaism is, rather than the image that those idiots in Israel, with their toys, are doing recently.

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Well, not to offend but man! Thats one thing I love about Japan, having no Christians or Muslims!! They can go fight there issues out else where!!! I say the world can learn from Japan! Ummm, BUT not its work ethics!! Man I'm tired! ...... Maybe France and Japan could Swap ethics! FRANCE could destroy all destructive religions, like Muslims and Christians.... (Umm, thought I'd just stop here for a bit about myself,, so there is an understanding,,, just to say I do Believe in God and also Believe in Jesus, though will never be a "Christian"! Probably makes no sense, but I also believe in Aliens and my Main "religion" umbrella is Quantum Physics!! And when they actually get Universal Physics going!! Thats cool!)... JAPAN could try to take in Frances working hours, Holiday pay and bedroom life a bit more seriously! Good luck Japan in this area! Anyway, really happy Japan has less controversial Religions! O, Abe must be a typical Christian too, his comment also be controversial! ha... O wait, he is,, He's catholic! Won't that annoy you guys out there who believe in the nitty gritty stuff between the two! :) And Muslim's,, you'll never have the guts to speak out about Terrorism because of three things. Jihad being taken out of context, and if you question it, you'll be called to intellectual and that’s not cool in your department! So fear fear guys!!! If only I was a better person, I'd say less to annoy others here! O wait, I'm just as bad as a Christian or Muslim! Or Abe himself!! guess we all have things in common! How about we forget this and just get along ?? P.S,, There were two Jesus’s! and, 2000 years later and no Christian has learnt how to heal with there hands!!! Why is that ????? WOW!! There is another war on ‘mainly’ over people believing they belong to a side! God Bless Japan!!!

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Has the man worked a day in his charmed life? I doubt it.

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omarbabilon: Excellent post!

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omarbabilon: Yes, very well written.

tkoind2: Homerun! Bravo x2!

" This nonsense from Aso about religion and work ethic is just another example of clueless leaders leading a repressed and politically zombified people.

What Japan needs is higher productivity, shorter work hours, more time with family and a return to social interaction and values. Not being put on some imaginary pedistal to shine for all to see."

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Thanks for your comments gogogo and 30061015..., I guess this web page has not too much japanese readers, but if there are few of them reading these, i hope they understand nobody want to attack their society, if we criticize, is because we are living here too, then if we dont open our eyes to the reality and help them to do the same, things would never change and get better.

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Potsu says: Thank God I'm an atheist...

I can't tell you how much I admire those in the non-prophet organizations.

They work as hard or harder than Mr. Aso and his workaholic cathoholics.

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The same old song: they believe Japan is a example to the world. The sad thing is that, as unbelievable as it may seem, there are a lot of Japs that DO agree with Aso´s words.

They work a lot, that´s true. But man, they know how NOT to enjoy life. Is this the point?

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When the PM is this out of touch is it any wonder there are problems? Setting aside how wrong Aso is on his characterizations of religious doctrine, IMO Japanese people under 30 are just as lazy if not lazier than people living in Judeo-Christian nations. In terms of NEETs, freeters and parasite singles who have mommy cooking and cleaning for them long past the point of shameful spongery, Japan doesn't compare all that favorably to a lot of other countries, and many of the slackers here don't even seem to be having that much fun, just gloomily apathetic.

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Hey, whatever you need to tell yourself as the country's debt push effective tax levels over 2/3 and your disintegrated pension system means you need to work until you're dead. At least you're special.

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why some here keep blaming shinto state religion for the nuclear bombing of Japan? this is like saying that a girl has been raped because of wearing a skirt far too shor! As far as I know, the bomb was made in the States thanks to German scientists...which happened to be either catholic or jewish, at least, culturally. The States expended a lot of resources to develop the bomb and eagerly needed of some field tests. Being too late and hardly acceptable to use it in Nazi Germany, the only possible target was Japan, which population was not considered even equally human by American people. So, what's the point of such silly statements? Shinto was used to brainwashed population as much as ethinic propaganda was used in Nazi Germany, Communism and the love for Mother Land in Russia, or the defense of our capitalist way of living in the States. Whom not guilty, please, throw the fist stone!

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Shintoism had nothing to do with the war. First, most Japanese are about as kuwashi on their state religion as Asokun is on Christianity. Second, the war was proffered by the Japanese conglomerates pure and simple. Analogy of the short skirted girl asking to be raped? Japan was not guilty of tempting America, they were guilty of refusing to end the war and take responsibility for their actions. There would have been no place to test the bomb had they simply surrendered. The invasion of Okinawa or before would have been a good time to surrender. I suppose it would have been appropriate for the allies at that point to just have said that Japan learned her lesson and went home. Lets not let our idealism lead us into gross naivety. Lets ask Aso what he thinks? I am sure he has read many mangas about the war. The reason that the war was drug out? So Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, and Mitsui could fuel the war effort to the very end. They knew they would emerge unscathed. Though the smaller zaibatsu suffered, the larger ones became yet more powerful and wealthy as they were given the task of rebuilding the nation. I think the point that Aso missed is not what the world could learn from Japan but what Japan learned from the western world with regards to just how much more powerful a monopoly becomes when it emerges from an agrarian economy and adopts industrialism. That is what fueled the Japanese 'work ethic'.

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