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DO NOT IGNORE MATHEMATICAL CALCULATION

 

I believe what is most lacking in Japanese politicians is economic knowledge. Economic knowledge, in essence, is the ability to calculate. Not only in politics but also in every other human affair, nobody can be successful if he ignores this. When I say calculation, I do not mean monetary computing alone; no one can clearly know the advantages and disadvantages of anything without deliberate calculation.

It goes without saying that the principle of a democracy is to reflect the consensus of public opinion in the administration as much as possible. The consensus is expected in the results of voting. The strategy to acquire votes should be based on nothing but calculation. Material well-being and success cannot be expected if it is ignored.

One of the best examples is World War II. There must be many reasons why Japan lost the war. I believe the major one, however, was the fact that Japanese leaders ignored calculations. From the point of view of reasonable figuring, Japan should not have entered the war in the first place. However, once it realized it had started fighting by mistake, it should have tried to stop the conflict as quickly as possible. In retrospect, it is very clear that the longer the war continued, the more unfavorable the situation became for Japan.

The importance of calculation not only applies to the present time but also to past eras. One of the main reasons Yoritomo* succeeded in dominating Japan was that he utilized the services of a man named Kichiji Kanebori, who was well-known for his skill in discovering gold mines, to collect as much gold for him as possible.

Hideyoshi** did the same. The amount of gold he obtained from the Sado Gold Mine was huge. There is a famous story which tells that when he had the Juraku-dai palace constructed and invited a number of war lords to the dedication celebration, he had gold and silver pebbles strewn on both sides of the long lane leading from the gate to the pavilion's front entrance and told each guest to take home with him as many of the pebbles as he wished. This tells us what a tremendous amount of gold and silver he possessed.

Ieyasu*** did a similar thing. The reason he was able to establish the Tokugawa clan's political rule over Japan so that it was maintained for almost three hundred years was the Sado Gold Mine. He appointed Okubo, Lord of Iga, a most skilled prospector of the time, to the task of searching throughout Japan until he found the gold mine in Ohito, Izu. The Sado Gold Mine, however, gradually declined in productivity year after year, and toward the end of the Tokugawa period its output was remarkably diminished. This drove the Tokugawa shogunate to the brink of bankruptcy, resulting in poor allowances being given to direct retainers and to low-grade vassals of the shogun as well, until all were in extreme financial distress. It was beyond dispute that this was one of the primary causes of the fall of the Tokugawa sovereignty in 1867.

Everyone may think that I am indifferent to financial matters since I am a spiritual leader. Far from being that way, I believe I am second to none in being mindful of calculation. Probably one reason for this is that I used to be a businessman myself.

To tell the truth, if the spiritual leaders of today were content with plain living like the leaders of olden days, they would not be able to help awaken modern people to spiritual truths. We now live in a different age. The land and the buildings of a religious organization must be adequate for modern times. An enormous amount of money is also necessary for the construction of prototypes of paradise. It goes without saying that financial capability is essential for the expansion of spiritual work. For example, the Tenrikyo Church must be one of the best-known organizations in the religious field of Japan . The strength of the Tenrikyo Church exists in the fact that it has put its greatest emphasis on the acquisition of funds since its earliest days.

Various examples such as those mentioned above show that if calculation is ignored, nothing can be achieved successfully, from a national administration down to a private business. This reminds me of the United States of America. Quite a number of the influential politicians there are ex-businessmen, also. One of the chief reasons the United States has attained today's prosperity must be the fact that many of its national leaders are former businessmen who are good at calculation.

On the other hand, most of Japan 's national leaders became government officials as soon as they graduated from universities, continued to work in the governmental field and rose steadily to higher positions. They have had little experience with the hardships of life, are totally ignorant about practical matters of the world, and so have hardly any interest in calculation.

What best illustrates the above is the government's enterprises. For example, the Japanese National Railways show a yearly red ink figure of billions of yen, whereas private railway companies are paying dividends of about five percent. As for the government's cigarette monopoly, they are selling unsavory cigarettes at astonishingly high prices with undue profits. These are nothing more than amateurish practices, what is commonly called in Japan "the feudal lords' way of doing business."

In view of the above, we should welcome those who are ex-businessmen as our future political leaders. I must warn Japanese people that this is the one major condition necessary for the reconstruction of Japan.

*Yoritomo: Yoritomo Minamoto (1147-1199). First shogun of the Genji clan, who established the Kamakura shogunate after destroying the Heike clan.

**Hideyoshi: Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1536-1598). Born a farmer's son, he first served Nobunaga Oda as a footman of the lowest rank, then was gradually raised in position because of his loyalty and great wit. After Nobunaga's death, Hideyoshi succeeded in unifying Japan , which had been divided into many warring fiefs until that time. He finally became chief advisor to the emperor.

***Ieyasu: Ieyasu Tokugawa (1542-1616). After Hideyoshi's death, he became the shogun.

 

September 10, 1949

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