Great Construction

The Abacus and Efficiency

     When I observe Japanese people at present, the fact that they ignore the abacus and the fact that they are quite unconcerned about efficiency compels me to give warning. Of course these two observations have much in common, so I take them up together, but even to speak of the abacus, however, what is involved relates to financial matters, as well as to many other issues. Furthermore, these points are most important, and to which when paid attention will, needless to say, greatly benefit individuals with getting on in life. Japanese are rather indifferent to these matters, with most of them having a weak concept of time, no sense of planning, and a carefree attitude toward life. As a result of ignoring the abacus, there is much waste, and as wasteful conditions influence efficiency, loss is surprisingly great. Due to this great loss, individuals are not actively engaged in their work, become impatient, and the unpleasantness further influences efficiency, a situation of which society is not well aware which is another great weakness.
     Compared to our situation is the example of the United States. There is probably no other nation where the abacus is used as much as by the Americans. To look only at the case of war, the capacity of machines is utilized to the utmost in order to keep human loss as low as possible. In the Korean War, the comparison of injury or loss of human life of friend versus foe is astonishing. For enemy losses of substantially over a million persons, loss of friendly combatants was less than one hundred thousand. During the Pacific War, disregard for human life was spectacular as Japanese people were used as human bullets to die inside their airplanes as they attacked enemy warships, practiced fighting with bamboo spears, and other such barbaric acts. In contrast to this, look at the American side. A handful of technicians flew one airplane and with one atom bomb, an entire city was completely decimated, so there is simply no comparison.
     Since this difference stems from whether or not the abacus is put to use, the difference deserves much consideration. It deserves thought because even now, there endures within the Japanese people scraps of the warrior ethic of old, and the inclination appears to remain to look down upon the abacus. Needless to even think it is how much of a hindrance such an attitude is at present and how much it will be in the future. In addition to this, within the Japanese people is the disposition to be overly taken in by vacuous concepts such as face, making a virtue out of endurance, and appearances. Whether for the Japanese nation or for the Japanese individual, the disadvantages from these preoccupations are probably relatively great.
     To speak a little about myself on this point, I make it a rule, although I am working in the field of religion, never to forget to use the abacus, which can be appreciated when my way of doing things is observed. Whether for introductory course fees, the price of focal points, or various other organizational fees, I observe the practice of having only one, set price. This way is easier for people than the troublesome way religions usually handle such matters which is to “leave it up to the individual’s discretion.” The only exception to this practice is the donations that are given on a voluntary basis, but it is a policy that there be no extortion or blackmail. These practices have probably not been often seen in religions until now, and they are, needless to say, prominent aspects of the growth of World Messianity.
     In regard to using the abacus, though, calculations about tiny, minor details are of course a bother, so I try not to forget to look at loss and gain from a wider viewpoint. There are those who observe the way I work and say that it is “American style.” I think so, too. That is because I place the greatest importance on the abacus and efficiency. In the course of my daily life as well, I set down a plan for the day, and when something unexpected happens, I try to finish up with the uncompleted task during the period of my next scheduled activity, being careful not to get too much off schedule. In that way, I can get done in a hour what it takes most a day to accomplish. My pace of work is so fast that those assisting me and others are always perturbed and upset, groaning and moaning. They complain that Meishu-sama is a special person so he cannot possibly be imitated, but this way of thinking is greatly mistaken. Even though others cannot proceed at the same speed as I, depending on mental attitude, they can achieve unexpected results. Tasks should be undertaken with such marked vigor that even demons will get out of the way.

Eikô, Issue 136, December 26, 1951
translated by cynndd