Una Rose – Author

Putting the world to write!

How Japan Continues To Fascinate Us


IMG_20150420_152730732Japan has been the focus of several documentaries on British TV lately, that reveal how the country is facing the global economic crisis. As you might expect, the Japanese have their very unique ways of dealing with it too!

The first was quite a sad story of the demise of the Love Hotel. As Japanese people tend to live in cramped housing with many family members, the chance to be intimate was taken care of by these rent-by-the-hour hotels. Alas, as the nation has become more conservative, officials began to view these places as immoral and so strict rules have been implemented. Love hotels now fall under tight new regulation via a controversial law called ‘The Entertainment Law’ enacted by the conservative Japanese government. But some of the restrictions are to do with the actual room itself- so no more disco balls or mirror ceilings. You may mock, but these can be the things that make one venue stand out from the crowd and as a result many are closing down. The BBC4 Storyville documentary offered a fascinating insight into these hotels from the view point of both the employees and the customers, many of whom were married and middle aged or retired,  simply trying to rekindle a romance or discover something new. Not at all the kinkiness you might expect, although of course there are hotels and clubs that cater for every type of fetish and desire in Japan!

The second documentary I watched recently was about the exposure of accounting corruption at the camera & film giant Olympus, by Michael Woodford, (originally from my hometown!) who is best known as the first foreign chief executive officer of a Nikkei-listed company.

Michael realised that irregularities existed in the firm’s accounting but was told not to bother himself with it, being the Japanese way. He decided to defy his boss and expose it and there are  many articles which tell how scared Michael was for his life in going public to the press with what he had uncovered. The company itself had been unsure who actually owned certain shares of the company as they had been offloaded into offshore accounts suspected to be run by the Japanese mafia (Yakuza).

While I empathized with this man on his dilemma I could see how he had angered the management team with his forthright and confrontational western corporate style of business. a little gentler approach may have elicited some cooperation from fellow managers.

Doing business in Japan gives you a good grounding if aliens ever appear on the planet! I had many fall outs with my Japanese boss too usually on minor matters on who knew best how to go about it and usually about people management.

With such programmes on prime television it goes to show how much Japan is still of great fascination for the outside world!

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This entry was posted on April 20, 2015 by in blog; author; writer and tagged , .

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