Finding Peace with Your Enemy

Japanese are known for their resilience; even when faced with difficult situations, they still keep on striving. Ken Mogi shares that the reason for that is because nagomi (harmony) is at the core of Japanese resilience; they come to be in harmonious relationships with difficulties.

The Japanese resilience is all about finding peace with your enemy even in difficult situations.

Ken: If you come to Japan, of course you've been here, you would be surprised that many shrines, many Shinto shrines, are established in memory of a defeated enemy. It's something really human to do. 

I think, when you are in a battle, of course, you fight. The samurai warriors used to fight really, really ferocious -- that's the way of the Samurai. But when they defeat the enemy, out of respect, and out of maybe repentance, not so much repentance, but out of the fact that this individual has been a really wonderful guy. So sometimes you establish a shrine to commemorate your enemy. 

Some people say that was because people were afraid that their ghosts would come back, and haunt you. So there might have been some selfish, practical reasons for that. But in any case, I think it's in the deep roots of Japanese society, to respect even your enemies and archrivals. 

You try to establish a nagomi with your adversary, and I think that is at the core of the Japanese concept of resilience. You don't try to overcome something that is objecting to your goals. I mean, like, you don't know what mother nature would do at any time. So no matter what preparations we might make, or how well we might be equipped to cope with natural disasters, the Japanese philosophy is to somehow come to be in harmonious relationships with even your natural disasters. 

So, I think that is the core of the Japanese idea of resilience. And if you know, it's at the core of the relationship between men and women. Contrary to popular belief, Japanese women are quite strong. Maybe you know, you have firsthand knowledge of that. Even a really strong Japanese man would have to find nagomi with his girlfriend or wife. 

So, this idea of resilience is tightly coupled with the concept of nagomi (harmony). It's not defeating your enemy, it's rather finding peace with your enemy, if you can, even in difficult situations.