In Japan, there is a saying: If there is a long line, join it.
The national character is to obey authority. Rather than rebel against the powerful, it is better to accept it. To survive in Japan is to belong to a group. This sense of belonging produces extraordinary friendships. But when there isn’t quite a fit, you get “ijime”, which means bullying in Japanese.
To go against the group means one risks “murahachibu”, or village ostracism.
This type of group culture is usually frowned upon in America. Being an outsider is usually welcome. But recently, populism similar to the Japanese notion of nationalism overwhelms America. Japan has a strong history and its leaders demand loyalty at the expense of accepting foreign ideas and global integration.
Similar themes are now resonating from American politicians. For example, ‘us-versus-them’ platitudes are heard in nearly every moment in American politics.
How do we take a stand against this tide of conjecture spreading like a virus? By voting on Election Day for those folks more global and inclusionary in their outlook…
America can’t afford to become another Japan.