For as long as I can remember, I have always been a fan of Japanese culture. As with many Filipinos who were small kids in the ’70s, my fascination with Japan started with those super robots (Mazinger Z, Voltes V, Daimos, Danguard Ace, Mekanda Robo, UFO Grendizer, Gaiking, Getter Robo, Jeeg, Combattler V). Thinking about it now, these cartoons probably laid down the foundation for my persistent belief that the Japanese are the best in the world when it comes to mechanical engineering.
The phrase “Made in Japan” held a lot of weight to me as a youngster. My first serious watch was a Seiko 5, back in elementary school. To my unsophisticated mind then, if it wasn’t manufactured in Japan, it wasn’t the best. Simple as that.
I will admit that this belief has remained with me up to this day. I own dozens of G-Shock watches, for instance, and their place in my heirarchy of importance is determined by their provenance. Some were made in Thailand, and a few were assembled in China. They’re okay, but I view with more favor those pieces that display “JAPAN” on the back of the case.
Even with cars these days, I somehow prefer Japanese to German-made automobiles. Seriously. For all the talk about German engineering, I choose to think that nothing beats the Japanese’s technological superiority.
During the recently held 44th Tokyo Motor Show, I discovered something else that I absolutely admire about the Japanese apart from their engineering brilliance. I had this realization during the “Mobilityscape” press conference. At this event, all the big bosses of the five major Japanese carmakers shared the stage and displayed unity to promote their country’s automotive industry. Yep, Honda chairman Fumihiko Ike, Mazda president Masamichi Kogai, Mitsubishi president Tetsuro Aikawa, Nissan chief competitive officer Hiroto Saikawa and Toyota president Akio Toyoda joined forces to talk about a common interest.
I’ve never seen anything like that in the Philippines, where people like to upstage and take advantage of each other. If we can’t be technologically superior, at least we should be united, don’t you think?
‘To my young mind then, if it wasn’t manufactured in Japan, it wasn’t the best. That simple’
The big bosses of Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota share the stage at the Tokyo Motor Show