Psychologising news

BBC World, 12:35 GMT. A story reports on the subdued celebrations of the first cherry blossoms in Japan. Usually the parks are full of karaoke singing groups. But, says the reporter:

Deep within the Japanese psyche is the idea that hardship should be endured together.

That’s the reason for the current subdued activities, says the reporter. The logical conclusion of this would be that if there had been a major catastrophe in, say, Newcastle, with over 12,000 dead, a further 15,000 still missing, a 30km radius around a Newcastle power station evacuated, with the US urging this to be extended to an 80km “protection zone”, Londoners told at one point that their tap water was not safe for babies, massive stretches of land barren, and 500,000 or 600,000 homeless, then people across the UK would be out partying and celebrating as normal?

Perhaps the far more simple explanation offered by one interviewee sitting in a park in Japan is more useful and less reifying of apparent “cultural difference”. She said:

I think a lot of people would feel guilty about those affected by the disaster if they had fun and partied.


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