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I was wondering about recent headlines involving a decapitation, baby deaths, etc., in Japan, and my mother said she knew why this degradation of Japanese society was happening: the integration of Western ideas and culture into Japanese society. I agreed with her. Think about it: Japanese thought with its ideals of respect and honor thrived peacefully until Western ideas and societal norms were integrated into Japanese daily life.

The Japanese thrived as long as they were respectful of each other, taught from an early age that they would grow up to be part of something bigger than themselves. That kind of thinking was lost in American/Western ideology long ago. In America we are taught from day one that we personally, as individuals, are the most important things: “You deserve better.”

Nothing is taught about respecting the past, or your elders, or other people’s privacy. This is also due to corporate marketing strategies developed from research that make us want to buy a product. Our entire society revolves around what corporations have molded into our minds as necessary where there was really no basic need in the first place.

Even common etiquette is often scoffed at these days. U.S. culture has developed into the most selfish on the planet. When, in the 1950s, we started seeing Americanized Japanese fashions, it is possible that this tragic spiral began. The values of tradition, respect and honor in Japanese culture began to lose importance to the newer generations in Japan. J-pop and -rock began to hit the younger crowd, along with American attitudes associated with these types of music — attitudes that say: In America it’s “cool” to carry a gun and be a gangster.

For many years, these kind and unsuspecting Japanese had kept their feelings bottled up, healthily, inside. They shared their lives in close proximity to one another, yet they knew how to be at one with themselves and their island life. They were then hit with a brainwashing power that has simply been accepted here in America.

Basically, Western influences are the monkey wrench in the Japanese machine. Maybe there is still time to save the beautiful, honorable, serene traditions of the Japanese people. Drive out Western corporate values. I say this as a Westerner who loves Japan, lived there and never felt safer.

p.b.