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  • Things Generous Society Can Produce

Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Associate Professor Sayaka Ogawa

Learn from Africa
What Is Richness? What Is the Joy of Working?

“We Japanese do not look happy while working,” Associate Professor Ogawa says.
“Perhaps we are working for a stable future at the expense of now,” she wonders.
She researches Tanzania’s economic activities from a cultural anthropological perspective.
Although the country is among the world’s poorest, the people are extremely cheerful.
Intrigued, she started her research by peddling used clothing there since 2001.
Tanzanians, for whom stable employment is almost nonexistent, have more than one job to disperse risk.
Many launch small businesses, constantly adopting new ideas.
Undeterred by their unstable income, the people borrow and lend money between themselves in moderation.
She admits having been totally surprised by the difference from Japan where demanding accountability is the norm.
Recently, numerous Tanzanians venture into China, chasing their dreams over there.
Notwithstanding the unfamiliar language and culture, they earn money energetically with confidence that things will work out.
She explains, “Their willingness to try first stems from having no basis or condition,” like living and helping each other do not require any basis or condition.
“Creating a society tolerant of some failures is essential to new challenges being taken on,” she states.
Her research may uncover what is needed for Japan now.