The modern samurai in modern Japan

In an earlier post, I discussed about the Samurai and its history. Now the gaijin who is just getting into the Japanese culture has to wonder, is the way of the samurai still alive in these modern times? I’d say yes, in the Japanese corporate scene.

If I were to use analogy, the zaibatsu bosses are like the daimyos (feudal lords) of the old and the Japanese salaryman are like the samurai. In exchange for stability, security and rewards from the firm, the Japanese salaryman are expected to be loyal, committed and obedient to their companies.

In the Japanese corporate setting, there are these financial grousp that are called zaibatsu. The zaibatsu (literally financial cliques) were the diversified family enterprises that rose to prominence in the Meiji Era. These zaibatsus control much of the Japanese stocks today.

The salaryman is recruited right after graduation form the university. The firm who hires the salaryman are given housing benefits, family allowances, pension, housing loans and recreational benefits. In return, the salaryman places his allegiances to his firm and is expected to devote himself to the needs and commands of the company.

Much like in the time of the samurai, the daimyo will provide everything the samurai needs in order to survive and in return, the samurai is expected to be loyal and do everything that daimyo tells him to do.

It seems that the way of the samurai will never truly die in Japan and it still survives in the Japanese corporate subculture. Loyalty and service to their lord is truly an undying and noteworthy trait that the samurai of the past and the salaryman of the present share.

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