I have a deep interest in identifying and understanding what constitutes ” Japanese”. Being Japanese, I am compelled to understand the thoughts and beliefs that were held by the people of Japan until the pre-modern era.
It is a common belief held in the post-1945 period that Japan owes her cultural foundation to China and Korea and that even Buddhism was introduced by Chinese and Koreans. It is generally repeated that Japan was developed by Chinese and Koreans, and that the Japanese culture can only be understood through an investigation of Chinese culture.
Since a very young age, I have had a disinclination to believe such statements. The reasons for my doubts are not logical, but intuitive. It is evident to me that Japanese do not share common and moral values with Chinese and Koreans. As I come to know Chinese and Korean culture more deeply, I am more convinced that the Japanese constitute an entirely different entity.
Even Buddhism, which spread widely throughout Japan, is quite different from its Chinese and Korean counterparts. The Japanese diet is strongly influenced by Buddhism and is based on vegetarianism. Japanese also believe in re-incarnation and do not kill and abuse animals. On the other hand, Chinese and Koreans are strong proponents of killing and eating animals. They even eat dogs and cats!
That brought me to compare and contrast Japanese and Indian cultures. I found surprising similarities between the two. By studying Indian cultures, I could see marked similarities between Japanese religions and Indian cultures: Pranas, Upanisads, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana and folk tales.
When I studied Sanskrit and Hindi, I could see similarities between Indian languages and the Japanese language. I am not sure whether there are comparative linguistic studies are done on this aspect. However, since I am not interested in academic pursuits at this stage, I am satisfied only by writing grammatical comparisons.
If my endeavor helps to bridge the peoples of India and Japan, my work would be a worthwhile venture. If I could help in locating a direct link between ancient Japan and ancient India even in the most minute way, I believe that I will make some contributions to the happiness of a great number of people.
How can human happiness be related to what I am doing? It is because knowing सत्य leads to शान्ति.