24 August 2011

The Elephant and the Rising Sun

Weird or not, my college wanted me to do an organizational structure study in a manufacturing company even before the classes started, hence I went to Toyota Kirloskar Motors Pvt LTD to learn something about the organization and everything else that the assignment demanded. People who know me, personally or not, also knows how much I’m obsessed with Animes, and Japanese and Korean dramas. I’m sure that you, whoever you are, is wondering what’s the link between my obsession and the college assignment. Well, if you didn’t know already, Toyota is a Japanese company and it merged with Kirloskar groups in the year 1998 and formed Toyota Kirloskar Motors. 

No, I’m not going to write about either my college assignment or Toyota. I just wanted to share my opinion about the Japanese people whom I encountered during my 30 days internship at Toyota and also about the misconceptions that we have about them.

Image Courtesy: WildImages
After studying Toyota’s history, I can no more deny that they are extremely intelligent and hardworking, but what I saw, with my own eyes, told me that they are down-to-earth people too. During lunch, while most of us, Indians, wasted lot of food, complained that the food wasn’t good, they emptied their plates without frowning once and also never took more than what they could eat. India is still a developing country and many go to bed empty stomached and not to forget, the stray dogs that die because they don’t eat enough, yet we waste food. To be honest, the food was alright, still people complained for reasons only they knew. Alright, I’m not going to downgrade anyone here and just give my opinion about Japanese.

Japanese people are, mostly, soft spoken and very hardworking. Oh yea, they even laugh when someone cracks a joke. That makes them humans too, right? They are no different from us, except we are brown skinned and they are yellow skinned, and might be few more physical differences. The one difference between them and us that is very prominent, not physical difference though, is that they continuously strive for improvement, at least most of them do and only few of us, Indians, seek that path. With the man power we have, we could have definitely become world leaders in every field but we are nowhere near being leaders. I’m not saying we are dull; we just lack that urge that’s required to excel in whatever we do. I hope we learn something from our friends and work for the greater good than messing around with nation’s money for our personal benefits. Making profits is a trait of good business man alright but values are important too. If you are a management student then you must have heard about The Toyota Way and The Toyota Production System. Toyota truly follows the values that it preaches at every stage of the business it does, so I feel it’s alright to assume that Japanese, in entirety, are the same. I would also like to request foreigners not to judge us, Indians, by reading about or watching how our politicians portray us and our culture on world stage; we, citizens, are hundred and thousand times better than those petty politicians. We had Sir M Visvesvaraya, one of the most intelligent people born until date. We got A R Rehman, one of the best musicians; Sachin Tendulkar, one of the best cricketers; Vishwanathan Anand, one of the highest rated chess players in the world and many other great personalities. 

The other day, in class, one of the professors told that Japanese people are usually short rather small. All the Japanese people whom I saw didn’t look short at all and they were neither abnormally thin. Even the wikipedia says that average height of Japanese people is more than that of Indians, then how do they become small if they are neither short statured nor very thin? 

By the way, I intend to do even my summer internship at Toyota. No, it’s not just because of Japanese men but Toyota was the one who introduced lean manufacturing concept and that’s the specialization I’m opting for. I'm sure that you must have guessed what I am getting to, right? You guessed right. I shall write another detailed post on my experience with Japanese people and Toyota after my summer internship.

Until then, there are hundreds and thousands other topics to write on, right?


  1. You are so right that we should not judge others on the basis of one man or one event.

    People, in general, everywhere are the same. Inherently good, polite, honest. They turn otherwise on the basis of need, circumstances or greed caused by other external factors. :)


  2. We often stereotype people from other nations without a second thought. And there are so many misconceptions about Japanese people that it's hard to digest, almost. Good for you to have written the post, waiting for the next part. :)

  3. People generally prejudice; human nature. Generating an opinion blindly is a self mockery. Good good now you have met them, you can ask for rare Anime from them like Ninja Robots. I so want it.

  4. I am a big fan of the Japanese culture too. I too personally think that they are soft spoken people. It is very evident in their tone itself. Japanese culture goes in accordance with Buddhism which is one of the most peaceful and uncontroversial religions in the world. Many of those qualities can be seen in those people. Everybody says that Japanese people are the most hardworking people around, but in my opinion, they are the most intelligent in the world. Look at all their anime. It is after all a bull shit anime and they put in so much of brains into it, From this we can easily estimate how much of brains they put into the work they do. No wonder their economy is one of the best until the recent natural disasters.

  5. Stereotyping is a disease. It will never leave us. Yes, Japanese - hardworking, intelligent, down to earth people. There is a lot to learn from them.

  6. Thanks for sharing ur exp with Japanese Company..loved ur post..Honest!

  7. Nice read and it must have been a great experience to work there. But aren't you stereotyping Indians too? Japanese people are one of the most amiable, soft and down-to-earth people but they also have their downs while we also have our ups... several of them. And as far as hard-working goes, you can't beat any of the Asian races like the Chinese, Korean. Whereas, we Indians, try to find the path of maximum efficiency. :D

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  9. Kunnu
    Humans adopt and change colors according to the situation indeed.

    I can write more on them only after my summer internship.

    I shall ask them for sure.

    They are intelligent indeed.

    Their contribution to manufacturing industries is indeed praise worthy.

    Sneha & Shrinidhi
    Thank you!

    I'm not not stereotyping Indians. It's just that I see that we are changing so much. For good or bad, I do not know.