The beginnings of Japan’s modernization can be traced back to its hunger for assimilating things from other countries. Although its defeat during World War II may have seen it lose almost all of the national foundations that our predecessors worked hard to build, its indomitable spirit and peaceful international politics led it to achieve miraculous economic growth in less than half a century.
However, as we enter the 21st century, Japan has been grappling with the problems that come with maturation as a country—domestic deindustrialization, a declining birthrate and aging population not least among them—while global challenges include diplomatic issues, security, and environmental issues.
I believe that the key to overcoming these difficulties is international understanding.
If individual nations were to support others in facing their issues and work to compensate for each other’s shortcomings, I am confident that we would find a way to resolve many of the problems we currently face. Companies considering international expansion cannot afford to ignore the circumstances of the countries they want to expand in. And the sharing of new scientific knowledge and technology beyond national borders is sure to accelerate progress in these fields.
As we advance along the path towards this kind of true internationalization, the primary barrier in our way is language.
Through translation, editing and publishing, we are helping business in the global age and cultural communication to happen. In addition to translating foreign languages into our native tongue, we also share Japanese culture, technology, ideas and information abroad, hoping to become a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world.
Constant innovation is required to promote globalism while maintaining awareness of both the turbulent international situation and the constant advance of technology. Pursuing this ideal is no easy task, but when I was a university student about 30 years ago, an old priest from a Zen temple in Kamakura once shared the following words in Japanese with me:
Which could be translated as: “The wind might blow, but the moon is unmoved. The pine trees at the bottom of the valley do not bow under the pressure of snow”.
The core meaning of this saying is that it is important to have firm convictions that will not falter, and a strong will that won’t yield to any hardship.
I hope that, with these strong convictions and unyielding determination behind our actions, we can contribute towards making the world we live in a peaceful and worthwhile one.
MATSUMOTO Yoichi, President, Interbooks Co., Ltd.