Apparently, Japanese people seem to be pessimist genetically. I don’t mean to say Japanese people are coward because of this pessimist mentality. However, this pessimist mentality brings Japanese people’s diligence and straightforward honesty.

Japan that just settles for decent level versus Westerns that put its passion into success

When Japanese people face the risks, they tend to understand the risks as something to get trouble into. For that reason, people subconsciously pay close attention to taking risks. People behave in a disciplined manner in order to avoid the risks as much as possible even in everyday life like when going to school, speaking to somebody, standing in queue. Therefore, Japanese society requires perfect safe” towards something embracing the risks.

On the other hand, “the risk” understood by the western societies, becoming a trigger for Japanese modernization, has the strong nuance of its meaning like the risk would have the possibility of producing a significant result if the risk worked really well in the calculated behavior. In a word, fundamentally, westerners pay strongly attention to “success” hit with high probability brought by the calculated behavior as hidden potential. This is totally opposite way of feeling against the nuance of its meaning by Japanese people who think the risk will bring back bad scenario.

Here is good example of Japanese nature that is likely to avoid the risks. Japanese college students also have the risk avoidance tendency seen in their behavior.

One professor said, “ although I provide the place where students can discuss and insist on their opinions during the class from time to time and I want them to proactively find one convincing answer through interactive communication, I have never ever got decent answers from students during the classes I took charge of. However, I’ve seen the scene that students who were asked opinions started talking with other students sitting next to them here and there. In a word, they started commenting on the given theme to discuss with each other. “

It is not that they don’t answer the professor’s questions because they have no options. Unless everyone around the class room raise their hands, they decide to follow the stance that other people take in the same way not to stand out.

Reading between the lines that Japanese people are good at is a quite important skill to avoid the risk of the situation where “a nail that stands will be hammered down”

Do optimist and pessimist have the factor of genetic determinism?

Because of Japanese risk unfriendly nature, Japanese people are said to be the one having quite low willingness to invest in the world.

According to the flow of funds statistics surveyed by the Bank of Japan, individual financial assets at the end of 2018 in Japan came to be 1,830 trillion yen. However, cash and deposit are occupied a considerably large part of the total financial assets and the ratio of risk assets like stocks is quite low compared to cash and deposit assets.

These facts are directly influenced by Japanese people’s negative thoughts against income by investment with uncertainty risks. Therefore, no matter how hard the government reaches out to the people to appeal the financial policy, transferring people’s assets from savings to investment doesn’t make progress

So, Japanese people’s negative thoughts apparently have something to do with genetic factors essentially.

According to research by psychologist, Julie K. Norem from Wellesley College , people’s mentality can be divided into defensive pessimists and strategic optimists.

“Defensive pessimists” tend to have negative thoughts like I may fail next time no matter how many success they have ever mounted up so far. In contrast, strategic optimists tend to think everything positively even without any solid grounds like “I can definitely do it next time. “

An important key to determine whether people become defensive pessimists or strategic optimists is “Serotonin”. Serotonin is a nerve transmitter existing in your brain. If your brain has sufficient Serotonin, you get in the mood to do something. In contrast, if your brain has a little Serotonin, you are racked with anxiety and frustration.

A genotype, made by protein, called “Serotonin transporter” which takes charge of carrying Serotonin inside your brain determine if Serotonin spread around your brain sufficiently or not.

The serotonin transporter has two types. L type can deliver a lot of Serotonin at once. S type can deliver a little Serotonin at once. You are given one of each genes from your parents, so your gene type combination from your parents must be any one of “type SS”, “type SL”, “type LL”.

70 percent of Japanese gene type combination is said to be “type SS”. In a word, serotonin is not used sufficiently in Japanese people’s brain and they experience anxiety over trifles . Therefore, Japan is the country where a lot of “defensive pessimists” gather, who have tendency to anticipate negative scenario and results.

The serotonin transporter has two types. L type can deliver a lot of Serotonin at once. S type can deliver a little Serotonin at once. You are given one of each genes from your parents, so your gene type combination from your parents must be any one of “type SS”, “type SL”, “type LL”.

Japanese people’s mentality has the mind brake system

Just so there is no confusion, it is not a question which one of mentality is superior to win success or inferior to fall into failure, defensive pessimists and strategic optimists.

The book titled “The Positive Power of Negative Thinking” written by Norem says there is a case that positive power can be produced by the negative thoughts.

People, who think that they still have many difficulties or they may fail something they try, will pay close attention to behaving carelessly not to cause someone trouble and not to bring about mess around them. Because they give the great consideration to each other, they can smoothly build up trustful relationship each other.

Thinking this way, the nature of “defensive pessimists” can be defined as the source of Japanese mentality showing diligence.

Human’s brain is controlled by roughly two types of functions, one is accelerating activity that satisfies people’s wishes and desires and the other one is braking activity that control the above accelerating factors.

“Accelerating activity” is a part of function that comes from instinctive part of the brain that everyone has by nature. On the other hand, “braking activity” is a part of function that people themselves need to acquire in the process of growing. In the Japanese society that keeps people from standing out, “mind braking system” has very important implications.

The tendency of “Defensive pessimists” shows through in the Japanese language features. “ isn’t it?”, “I don’t know if it may ~ or not” and “it is thought to be something”. Japanese people try not to speak something assertively and it is good for them to talk and explain something unclear to leave choices or avoid hitting the nail on the head to the person whom they talk to by deeply considering the person’s feelings all the time.

Controlling facial expressions and their real feelings is also one of the unique Japanese people’s natures. Thanks to their great patients, Japanese people can control their feelings with strong will power even when they get upset or sad without showing their strong feeling publicly.

The “braking activity” becomes fundamental forming of Japanese people’s mentality. Fulfilling needs of whole society makes them give priority to thinking what everyone except for us want now rather than thinking what I personally want now. Then, they harvest the fruits by helping each other, and rejoice a good harvest with each other. That is why Japanese society is said to be a “village society”. In this way, the behavior based on the “braking activity” is good compatible to the Japanese society.

Both being negative and being positive are equivalence

Japanese behavioral patterns generated by “braking activity” are shown to be consideration of others and helping each other, which has cultivated an attitude of “Omotenashi”. So, Japanese are much better at giving priority to thinking people around them than any other counties’ nations.

Nowadays, any people and any countries are swallowed up by the wave of globalization and westerner’s “strategic optimists” are widely admired in the world and people tend to think that taking everything positively and expressing wishes and desires honestly is only the way to winning success. However, it is impossible for everyone in the world to become “strategic optimists” because of the cultural climate and gene restrictions. But you don’t have to be pessimistic about this. Both being positive and being negative, both accelerating activity and braking activity are equivalent of relationship between sun and shade. Therefore, there are great advantages to both sides beyond the thoughts of success and failure.

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