Japanese weather crises with core beliefs

March 25, 2011

Like millions of Americans I have watched with amazement how calmly and stoically the Japanese people have reacted to their triple catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami and radiation releases from crippled nuclear plants.

I believe that their reaction can be explained if one refers to the Hagakure, also known as the Book of the Samurai, which still forms the basis for many cultural beliefs even in modern Japan.

Consider in Chapter Eleven, words written in the 18th century by Tsunetomo Yamamoto: "Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being thrown into a great fire, being carried away by surging waves or by being shaken to death by a great earthquake. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead."

Hopefully the Japanese will find strength in their core beliefs and successfully rebuild their country.

Marc Raim, Baltimore

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