How honesty is a way of life in Japan
In the anime Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin Himura once said: “Whatever you lose, you’ll find it again, but what you throw away you’ll never get it back.” Such is honesty. If we find someone’s cell phone or wallet in the street, do we pick it up and keep it, or do we try to get it back to its owner. Do we throw away our virtue?
Many, if not all of us, have lost a wallet or cell phone only to never get it back. Ookami from AnimeFanatika can recall an incident at a Johannesburg train station when he was standing in a row to buy a train ticket years ago, an elderly man a ways ahead of him in line, accidentally dropped a wad of banknotes. Ookami went to pick it up, handed it back to the old man and was surprised at the shock of some of the other commuters in the row that commented out loud that they would have kept the money. It is a sad but true hard fact that in many places over many countries, that old man would have ended up without the money he dropped by accident. Japan, however, is a land that where honesty is a highly treasured policy.
Let us take Tokyo as an example. With eight million people in its city and 33 million in the metropolitan area lost items usually ends up at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Lost and Found Centre, a warehouse where a multitude of lost object (in their thousands) are stored, catalogued according to their date and location of discovery in a database.
In the year 2002 alone over $23 million in cash that was lying about to be discovered found their way there. 72% of which found their way back to owners that went looking for the money they accidentally left somewhere (scary thought that over $23 million laid about in the streets of Tokyo in one year). The police made sure the money went to the real owners. 19% of that $23 million went to the finders of the money if it was not claimed after half a year. (It is a rule at the centre that if nothing is claimed after half a year the finders can then claim the money or object they found.) Please bear in mind that many of the finders did not want any reward for finding the money they handed in at the centre.
Realistically speaking, every country, not just Japan have both sides of the coin: People that believe in finders keepers and others that believe that found objects should find their way back to their owners. But is it not nice that somewhere out there, there are places where most people put themselves in the shoes of another person and will diligently try to find a wallet, cell phone or even a small bank note’s owner. The act of kindness is a virtue that can get lost so easily, but while people like these exist, there is always hope in mankind.
AnimeFanatika found an array of interesting media on the subject that might interest you.
Here is a tourists’ account on how she found her backpack after she lost it on a train. Please follow our link: http://bit.ly/Act-of-Kindness-and-Honesty
Here is a news article on how $78 million in cash were found after an earthquake and returned to their proper owners. Follow the link, please: http://bit.ly/Money-returned-after-earthquake
A Japanese YouTuber named Zenim from the Monkey Python YouTube channel decided to test the rumours about Japanese honesty. He walked around in a street with a film crew and ‘accidentally’ dropped his wallet to see people’s reactions. He tried the test fifteen times. To see how many times the people called after him to give him his wallet back, please look at this video by following the link: http://bit.ly/Honesty-test
Speaking of honesty and crime, did you see our insert on the Police of Japan? If not, please follow our link: http://bit.ly/Japanese-Police-Crashes-Crime
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