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Are the Japanese really unique?

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Every Japanese person is convinced that their race and culture are unique.  Most Westerners would agree, although such uniqueness is considered to be more strangeness than anything else.  But most of these Westerners are American.  Herein lies the clue!

The Japanese are alleged to be unique for their hierarchical society, elite governance, insular nature, strong families, collectivist culture, meticulous habits, obsession for making things rather than providing services, attachment to tradition and so on.  But, hey, hang on, these unique characteristics also sound rather European.

Nothing could be more hierarchical than the British class system.  Sure, Japan is governed by an elite from Tokyo University, but the French also have their enarques.  When it comes to insularity, the Swiss do take a lot of beating with their refusal to be part of Europe.  No one has stronger families than the Italians.  Scandinavians are masters at collectivist culture with their strong social welfare policies.  Then Austrians are so meticulous with their attention to detail, while Germans are, along with the Japanese, the world’s best manufacturers.

And as for attachment to tradition, that is the definition of Europe!.

All things said and done, perhaps it is the Americans who are really unique with their crazy, free-wheeling, risk-taking, crisis-prone nature!

There is one lesson in all of this.  Do beware of stereotypes!