Yamazato's fasteners diary / Thai culture diversity; What is Mai Pen Rai?



This is Yamazato from Hanshin Neji, I hope everyone is doing well as usual.

    Last month, I also went to Thailand. There was conversation in my family before my visit like “Dad, when are you going back to Thailand?” and “You are Japanese but you are going to Thailand!?”
Even I had a lot of work to do for this visit but it also still in Golden Week. So, I asked my family to get along with me for sightseeing this time as well.
    This visit, when I went to Wat Pho (Pho Temple), a temple famous for its reclining statue. I saw the murals (Traditional drawn picture) at the temple wall, this made me feel deepen into the diversity culture of Thailand, so I would like to write about it in this column.

1. Anyone can act“Mai Pen Rai”

    When you entered the temple grand building, you will see a huge reclining statue and painted murals. The picture below is that mural I am mentioning, and if you look closely, you'll see people fighting on the left, but you'll also see people lying leisurely on a wall. Next to them, there are people who look like angel, and others who are holding musical instruments. I have no idea what's going on with this mural, but when I saw it, I thought, ``Ah, this is really Thai.''

The reason why I feel Thailand is "Mai Pen Rai". There is a phrase saying in Thai, "Mai pen rai or ไม่เป็นไร(Thai language)", which translates to "It's okay" or "I don't care" However, I feel that this word does not only have a superficial meaning, but also a deep thought that runs through the roots of the Thai people.

    For example, from the painting in the temple, as perspective of those who are fighting but how come other groups are keep relaxed and sleeping there? How is that possible!? This is an example of Mai Pen Rai that reflecting from the painting.

It has been nine years since I have been working closely with the Thai people, and I am getting to understand their deep thoughts much more.
    First thing I would like to share is, we should acknowledge the other person's existence and accept the way of their thinking, even if it is far from your own common sense.
    For example, of the things that made me surprise in Thailand; There are many men who became women and vice versa, there are many people, including many of my employees who had had plastic surgery, there are many otaku-like people, overweight people, and people who covered with tattoo all over their bodies, but they all of them live happily without hiding any of their character.
    Even if it's different from me, I feel like they are the part of differences that I have to accept and think ``Mai Pen Rai'' as everyone has their unique identity.

2. Things to learn as a Japanese person

    In my opinion, As a Japanese people we have a Samurai Spirit (Bushido), or a mindset like “It has to be this way” for example, “As a man, we have to be like this” or “Your hair has to be black” if you behave other than your own common sense, you will have a thinking like “No, this is not good” or some kind of this thinking will come up on their mind.

    Of course, for having mindset like this is not always a bad thing, as there are good things about this mindset as well for example having high ethical standards, working hard to achieve the highest standard of manufacture, keep the city and public area to be very clean.

    However, I think that ``recognizing existence and ways of thinking that are different from ourselves'' is extremely important in everything. When running a company, it is very important to interact with many people, including subordinates, superiors, co-workers, and customers, gather various ideas, and achieve the goal and happiness together.
Without a word, this mindset also passed through raising children generation by generation.

Thai members after Songkran Festival(Thai New Year)

3. The future of Japanese manufacturing will be truly globalized!

    At the end of this blog, I sometimes think that Japanese companies have not yet become truly globalized. The same as us at Hanshin Neji, but Japanese companies expanding overseas tend to sell to Japanese automakers and electronics manufacturers, and Japanese companies have a fairly high share of the market.

    I think this is because the fundamental philosophy of manufacturing and business practices are different, and of course, other countries prefer doing business with their same origin companies. However, I feel that Japan's manufacturing industry will not be able to survive on this basis in the future. Considering the shrinkage of the Japanese market and the rapid decrease in the number of manufacturers, I feel it the time not only relying on Japanese company but truly go global and sell to overseas customers.
    Lastly, when you are expanding business to overseas encountering difference culture and way of thinking, you may have to think less in Japanese way to make yourself to be a part of their culture.

    Of course, there is no need to forget all of Japanese manufacturing spirit but the main purpose of overseas business expanding is to make local people happy. Then, to understand the basic thinking is a key to share the prosperity with local people.

Anyway, if you found yourself thinking like “Why not?” I hope you will think of “Mai Pen Rai”.

Thank you for reading my blog.