IPFS News Link • Japan

Japan's Cold War education policy used religion to 'make' the ideal humans needed by its

• arclein

In 1932, Matsushita K?nosuke, the founder of Panasonic, had an epiphany. On visiting the headquarters of the religion Tenriky?, he was inspired by the sense of collective commitment he witnessed there. In a subsequent speech to Panasonic employees, Matsushita laid out a new guiding philosophy for his fledgling corporation: 'Human beings need both material and spiritual prosperity. Religion guides people out of suffering toward happiness and peace of mind. And business, too, can contribute by providing physical necessities required for happiness. This should be its primary mission.' (This translation is from the Panasonic website; all translations that follow are my own.) For Matsushita, work was none other than a 'holy pursuit' (sei naru jigy?). Matsushita later attributed the stunning financial success of his corporation to this 1932 epiphany. He equated corporate flourishing with improvements in national standards of living, and he conflated Panasonic's ascendancy wit