The Samurai people
Japan, a group of many islands in the Pacific Rim, is the land of the most enterprising, hard-working and disciplined people belonging to the Nipponese tribe. Short in physical stature, the contributions of the Japanese towards the progress of human race are nevertheless gigantic and touch all endeavours of human activity- from science to spirituality, from music to martial arts. The nation, often threatened by natural calamities and once ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, is also the birthplace for the most fertile and creative minds. The ideas and ideals emanating from here have often transformed human thoughts and fuelled human progress and there isn’t a civilization that has remained immune to its defining influences. The small Japanese cars are a rage the world over, its electronic and digital goods are house-hold essentials and its engineering expertise has created architectural marvels in far-off cities across the globe. While an Ikebana is signature statement for a connoisseur in fine living, Kaizen today is a technique employed the world over for constant plan, process and product refinements, all originating from the land of the rising sun.
Such colossal achievements have naturally given the Japanese a very firm grip on global markets, economies and politics. We thus have today more Japanese multinational companies in the world than any other nation, have trillions of Yen invested in all major economies and Japan play a very crucial role in the geopolitics of our world. And by virtue of these commending positions, it occupied a pride of place in the comity of nations until that fateful March afternoon when the earth beneath it shook violently and altered its topography and with it, its destiny, beyond recognition.
The advanced technology of the Japanese ensured that the buildings the quake shook stood erect but the churning of the oceanic waters spelt catastrophe to the nation that is often complimented for it high level of disaster preparedness. And soon the monstrous waves breached their natural boundaries and engulfed vast swamps of land, bringing down and sweeping away in the fury all that came in their way- people, houses, vehicles, bridges, farms, ships and even aircrafts! Finally when the waves retreated, what were left behind are huge masses of rubble with undistinguishable human bodies stuck beneath them, flames leaping across from a hundred blazing fires and the threat of many impending nuclear accidents. As the nation face multitudes of human tragedy, a thick dark cloud of despondency hangs over the country.
But Japanese are no ordinary people to wallow in desperation and lament over the untold cruelty that the nature has inflicted on them. They are the descendents of the “Samurai” who would face the gravest situation with undaunted courage and fight till their last breathe, not for their selfish ends but for the well-being of the society and of the nation. They are cowed down neither by the severity of the crisis nor by the enormity of the tasks ahead. They are the warriors who are duty-bound to safe-guard the nation and uphold its honour and self-sacrifice is a natural instinct of every Japanese to achieve this goal.
This trait of the “Samurai” is in amble display as the nation struggles to find a grip of its multifaceted problems in the aftermath of the Tsunami. Scores of engineers and technicians, with utter disregard to their own personal safety, are battling it out at the various nuclear plants to minimise radiation levels and to re-start their operations. Thousands of volunteers are on the streets in biting cold, looking for survivors and providing succour to millions, again putting behind their own safely and the need for minimum personal comfort. Many of these people are themselves shattered by the calamity and herein comes to fore the innate quality of putting the interest of the nation and its people first and foremost – the true characteristics of a “Samurai”.
Neither the earthquake of magnitude “9” on the Richter was powerful enough to shake or even to jolt the fundamental character of stealthy resolve of the Japanese nor the 33 feet high tsunami forceful enough to wash away the very distinctive spirit of communion and comradely among them. Again, the subsequent multitude infernos that blazed off and reduced to ashes all that it touched was not thermal enough even to bruise the mighty towers of national pride and purpose nor was the lethal radiation that spewed out of the ravaged nuclear plants penetrative enough to mutate the essential DNA of courage and industry of its people.
In the midst of all-round destruction and the prospect of a grim and hard life that lay ahead, it is the extraordinary sense of discipline and self-restraint of average Japanese that evokes awe and admiration the world around. He might be the one who lost all his dearest ones, whose home and belongings are turned to a heap of soaked rubble and the one to whom future stares blank – but he holds within himself the sorrows of grave personal loss and patiently waits in unending queues for his turn to get essential supplies. These are qualities not seen in lesser men and are a product of generations of idealism and again it is these qualities that erase any doubt in the minds of the world community on the capacity of the Japanese people to emerge out of this crisis. This sentiment of faith in its people is loudly echoed in the fast regaining values of the Japanese stocks the world over.
The world is truly humbled by the valour of this exceptional human race.
Entry filed under: To reflect.