The Japanese Way of Harmony and Sustainability

What is sustainable growth?

Despite technological advancements, Japan has shown a remarkable commitment to preserving its rich cultural heritage. Ken Mogi provides examples that showcase Japan’s dedication to maintaining harmony and sustainability.

The Japanese idea of being forever young

Ken: The third pillar is harmony and sustainability. I’m sure Nick knows about this, the Meiji Jingu Shrine in the heart of Tokyo, it’s a very beautiful place to visit. And it is rated very highly on Tripadvisor.

Now, this shrine is not so old. I mean, the Meiji Emperor did a really great job in the modernisation of Japan. And when he passed away, the Meiji Jingu Shrine commemorating the Meiji emperor, was built from scratch from this former pasture land.

So this is how it used to be. Now it is a pristine forest, because botanists gathered 365 kinds of trees from all over Japan. And this is what you have today. It’s a wonderful example of an artificially planned forest. It’s so beautiful, in the heart of Tokyo, a bustling metropolitan city.

Another example is The Ise Grand Shrine in the Western part of Japan. Maybe Nick has been there, too. The Ise Grand Shrine is the home of the Sacred Mirror, one of the three important treasures of the imperial household.

And extraordinarily, the shrine buildings have been rebuilt every 20 years for the last 1,300 years. So this is how it is done. The other half is the old building, and the below is the exact copy of the same shrine buildings.

So the idea is that it’s always renewed. This is the Japanese idea of forever young. You turn things around and you rebuild things, and by that way, you can live forever young. That is the Japanese idea of being forever young.

And this is one of the Shinto pictures, very picturesque, again, this is not cinema, this is real-life, although it does look like cinema. So to rebuild the shrine every 20 years, they have to plan things very carefully. Because it takes hundreds of years for the role to be prepared.

They have a special forest reserve, so that they can use the roles to build the shrine every 20 years. So it’s an ideal example, I think, of sustainable growth. This is a ceremony in the Ise Shrine Forest, you should really go there.

So this is the idea about sustainability that is actualised in Japanese history. Nurturing and maintenance of forests in Japan, especially those associated with Shinto Shrines, is a great lesson in harmony and sustainability. And this is a very important pillar of ikigai.