About Japan, Nobel Prizes and Yamatodamashii
Japanese GDP is the third in the world and its advanced technologies are worldly known. Yet the number of Japanese Novel Prize winners is only 24. That’s seventh in the world – though it is top for Asian countries. As far as natural sciences are concerned, though, Japan is second in the world since 2001 (to see the list of Japanese Nobel prize laureates, please click here).
Scholars believe that Japan has a big disadvantage due to its language, making it difficult for Japanese to get awards in human science fields. Strategically, Japan has placed importance on Mathematics and Science in its educational system after the Meiji restoration. But, historically, Japanese true competence lies in its culture itself, that is, Human Science, Literature and the concept of “peace of mind”.
The expression “大和魂” (“Yamatodamashii“) means “Great spirit to make world peace.” As a matter of fact, to make world peace isn’t easy for everybody but Japanese tend to believe they unconsciously have this kind of mind. So I think that Japan should be more appreciated in award of Peace. Wonderfulness of Japanese culture is hard to be described in language, though worldwide popularity of Manga, Animation, Architecture, Gardening, and Fashion, proved Japanese culture’s creativity and universality. Features of these cultural accomplishments are nonverbal. So if you are not able to understand Japanese language at all, you would be able to imagine how rich Japanese literature is.
Nobel prizes are worldly authorized one so, as a Japanese, I wonder that Japan should be the top in the world for every fields. If I were a prime minister of Japan, I would produce brand new prizes along with Japanese strict criteria of sense of beauty and peace of mind.
Article written by Masa