Japanese Culture/cultural differnces
I have a question. I have come to the understanding that each individual is different. but I also heard Japanese culture values harmony over individuality. is this true or is this a sort of stereotype.
It is a universal truth that each individual is different. However, where an individual grows up influences how he thinks and what he believes. In Japan, people grow up to believe that individuals are stronger if they are part of a strong society, and so they learn to do everything they do should be to strengthen this society. This is the same for the family the live in, the city, the region and the country.
Of course they still understand everybody has different skills and strengths, so each person has to figure out what they are good at and use this to get a good job, provide for their family, and uphold the values of the country.
This wasn't always the case. In feudal Japan, if you were born the son of a farmer, you would grow up to become a farmer. You would always step in the footsteps of your father, your family. It was around the Meiji restoration, areound 1856, that the country changed and was organized to take the strengths of the individual as the more important reason to select the right position for the right person. Before that, you could hardly choose what you would become. These days, you can. But it still is a very strong belief that you choose this and do this in order to be a part of society and not go against it.