The Land of the Rising Sun is synonymous with many things, technological innovation, world-class food and nightlife, and cutting-edge art and fashion included. Beyond the glossy travel pieces about Japan’s myriad attractions, there is also plenty to say about the unique culture and social norms of the country, which often hold important lessons that all men who are trying to become better versions of themselves should take on board.
Here are four essential life lessons that men can learn from Japanese culture.
1. A Disciplined Approach to Physical Health
It’s no secret that we sometimes have a tendency to approach physical health and fitness from a more aesthetically focused point of view. In Japan, however, one of the key reasons why life expectancy is the highest in the world is because fitness is seamlessly incorporated into everyday routines in a disciplined, wellbeing-focused manner. The Japanese tradition of asa taisou (朝体操) describes a practice where virtually the entire country begins the day at work or school by performing a set of stretches, reps, and jumping exercises to get the blood flowing to ensure everyone stays in good shape – and has good health.
2. Innovation is Everything
Japan has long enjoyed a global reputation as an innovation powerhouse, producing some of the most groundbreaking and commercially successful technologies of all time. Even today, this ethos can be seen in smaller companies that prioritize technological innovation and creativity above all else. One example of many is the Japanese online platform Japanbet, which fearlessly jumped into Japan’s young and rapidly-growing online casino market to provide unique, high-tech games for players around the world. This commitment to the uniqueness and embrace of new ideas is something all men can learn from.
3. Dieting without Dieting
Japan has, by most measures, the healthiest diet in the entire world. However, this isn’t the result of “intermittent fasting” or an affinity for protein shakes. Rather, it is the result of a food culture that focuses on bringing out the best in natural ingredients and traditional cooking to ensure that every meal, even the most indulgent ones, is good for the body and soul. There is a healthy, non-proscriptive attitude to eating that runs deep in Japanese society, which is something we can all learn from.
4. Taking Time to Reflect
The Japanese philosophy of kaizen (改善) means to reflect in order to attain continuous improvement. Rather than constantly chasing the next big thing and never taking time to pause, this crucial strand of Japanese culture dictates that all people should take set time every single day to sit and silently reflect on how they are doing, what their goals are, where they are heading, and whether they are spiritually fulfilled. Lessons such as kaizen undoubtedly hold great value in a world that can often feel so rushed, where we sometimes fail to take stock of our own personal development.
These are our picks of the Japanese life lessons that all men should take on board. Whether you’re looking to change up your workout routine or become a more productive person, Japan has something to teach us.