By Afua Bonsu
Philanthropy as we all know, it is a well known practice for the western culture, and thanks to the media we see more of these effort play important roles in our community and in people’s lives. Through our course discussions and personal perspective, I barely see a developed country like Japan strong involvements in these matters. This is why I chose to research on the Japanese culture and their ways and views on giving and charity.
Philanthropy involves free will to give and help others. The Japanese according to Baron (2000), are group oriented and therefore their view on philanthropy is towards who they know as to whom they do not know. Companies take care of their employees only and not even the community in which they are situated while public charities or donations in Japan is usually seen as the responsibility of the government as to individuals. An interview done by Hills (1992), on Japanese philanthropy reveals that, their view on philanthropy is focused towards factors that will benefit their economic status such as; science and technology. Voluntary giving is an unusual practice for the Japanese and might not know how to react but feel compelled to give back. Another topic touched by Hills (1992) mentioned that, most Japanese philanthropy is based on Confucianism, which is the “belief that one does not openly share his needs or problems” and also, an individual from Japan might be able to give to an unknown individual but will not make it public. However, since their interest on giving is based mainly on to gain profit and to build their economic and social status it will be difficult of a Japanese to donate to an unknown individual with whom no profit might be gained. Then again, there is not an exact meaning of the word charity in Japanese (Radin, 1995) so how do they become strong participants in something that they have no true meaning off? According to Hills (2000), the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) is one example that shows that they are improving. This organization takes donations to prepare Japanese for international participations.
Baron, F. B., (2000). Philanthropy in the World’s Traditions. The Journal of Asian Studies, 59(4), pp. 978-980. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from ProQest. (Document ID: 69725278).
Hillis, R., (1992). Japanese philanthropy: A cultural perspective. Fund Raising Management, 23 (4), pp. 19-20. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from ProQuest.
Radin, A. C., (1995). Japan’s take on giving Season points up approach to donations, volunteerism; [City Edition]. Boston Globe. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand (CDN). (Document ID: 21428087).