Q Why do the Japanese want to take up what the others are doing?

A People from other countries refer to the Japanese as a people who revere harmony. In other words, the Japanese cannot act unl ess they are in a group. The sight of Japanese tourists descending in droves on New York, Pari s, etc. on sightseeing tours must no doubt leave a lasting impression on people throughout the world witnessing this spectac le.

Group conformity is a characteristic of the Japanese and harmony is accorded the hi ghest priority. As earl y as 604, Prince Shotoku wrote, "Harmony is to be accorded the highest reverence." This was even included in the first article in the Seventeen Article institution instituted by Prince Shotoku.

Japan is an island country based on an agrarian society where many people made a living clinging to the little arable land available in a small country. Water had to be shared and in many cases, a village was fo rmed and the villagers pitched in helping each other with agri cultural work. A person was ostracized by the village for not maintaining harmony.

Basically, if one is a member of the group seeking communal benefits, one would receive a part of the distributed benefits as we ll as protection from the group. The Japanese know all too well the security offered by the group. Fads wo rk the same way. One will not have to suffer humiliation a lone if one does what the others are doing.