Japanese working ethics

■Regarding the suicide of the chicken farm owner several weeks ago, I would like to add one more comment. Most Japanese can’t clearly separate private life from working life. This is not a matter of what percentage of 24 hours a day are dedicated to the work (quantity problem) but a matter of how important the work is for life (quality problem). For most of Japanese, the evaluation of their work is directly considered as the evaluation of their own existence. If Japanese have a failure in their work, that mean they failed in their own life. That’s why the chicken farm owner had to kill himself. This close connection between meaning of life and evaluation in work leads to Japanese reluctance to take risks in workplace. Any negative evaluation in workplace can be considered as the negative evaluation of the person him/herself. This sometimes results in emotional reaction to something new in the workplace. The commitment to a certain task is always the commitment of some part of their personality. Japanese can’t commit themselves to a certain task until they are persuaded. The order from the boss is not enough to make Japanese colleagues commit a certain task. They must be also persuaded logically and emotionally because in the Japanese workplace, the whole personality of working people, including both emotional and rational aspects, is always at stake. Westerners don’t recognize this working ethics of Japanese people.