Is Kodawari Unique to Japan?

Is kodawari something unique to Japan? Nick and Ken Mogi explore this question. Although kodawari has a lot to do with Japanese craftsmanship, Ken believes it is not limited to Japan.

Nick: Would you say kodawari is something that you feel is generally unique to Japan?

Ken: I wouldn't say that. I'm sure some Australians would have this kodawari. But I think you are aware that kodawari has a lot to do with Japanese craftsmanship. Japanese craftsmen are so particular in the way they do their job.

The key concept is that you do something beyond the reasonable expectations of the market, it's not about efficiency or value-added from your work or whatever, one of these reasonable considerations in the modern economy. It is something more overstate. 

In Japanese culture, I think this idea of kodawari is always associated with somebody who is probably not so talkative, not so communicative, who might not be outgoing, who is not extroverted, who is not really diplomatic but just sticks to his or her own way of doing things. 

It is a fact that in Japan we have these kinds of people and these kinds of people have been sometimes glorified in dramas and films and novels and so on. Japan has this culture of kodawari and craftsmanship.

But I'm sure in Australia, or in other countries, you do have these people who are very particular about their way. Don’t you have these people?

Nick: I would think so. I know in your book you cite Steve Jobs as someone who had the kodawari spirit, and he definitely did. He had this vision and some of the products he produced, I guess some people would say they were perfect. 

They were so easy to use and that design was all about design and experience. He really did have a massive impact on the world and he was very passionate about Japanese culture and Japanese craftsmanship. 

So I do think there are people in all countries who probably, whether they know it or not have this kodawari spirit. It seems that it is something very personal and almost private in a sense. 

They're not boasting about what they're producing and they let their work or their product express those qualities that result from the work they do or their kodawari spirit.


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