My Tokyo Drucker Days, Part Six
A number of books and articles that I collected over a period of years became important background material for the Peter Drucker-related visit I made to Japan, as I wrote in the previous of (now six) posts about my week in Tokyo.
As helpful as all of that reading material was, I also read a lot of Drucker’s work about Japan, in books and articles, before and especially during my time there. One was Drucker on Asia: A Dialogue Between Peter Drucker and Isao Nakauchi, which I read in the English translation published in 1997. But within that book it notes that the original was published in Japanese in 1995, titled Chosen no toki, as two volumes, by Diamond, Inc., Drucker’s publisher in Japan (and I’m happy to say, mine as well).
The Ecological Vision: Reflections on the American Condition; a 466 page collection of essays with new Drucker introductions, originally published in 1993, was also really valuable. Part Seven is called “Japan as Society and Civilization,” and contains five chapters plus the introduction.
It contains some of his most personal and wide-ranging writing on many aspects of Japanese life, including a 17 page essay, “A View of Japan Through Japanese Art,” which originally appeared in the catalog for a 1979 art exhibit. I particularly enjoyed a Wall Street Journal piece from 1980: “How Westernized Are the Japanese?” It includes a wonderful section about a “twenty-year-old daughter of old friends – we have known her since she was a toddler,” who indignantly tells him that in her philosophy seminar about Plato, the readings were not translated into Japanese. They were in the original Greek. She was also reading Kant and Schopenhauer, in German; along with “Whitehead, Russell, Wittgenstein and Symbolic Logic, in English, of course.” What, Drucker asks her, are you doing for fun? Her reply: “This is fun.” The young student would be 52 now. One wonders what became of her, and the other people in this short, enlightening article in a big, helpful book.