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A Case Study on Ikenobo > Chapter 2: Research Methodology-4

This thesis is dedicated to...

People who wish to bring true peace to this world,

The Japanese people, who have created and possess such a great culture,

All living things.

We are all one.

Mari Katsui

Can Japanese Culture Contribute to Sustainability for Peace? A Case Study on Ikenobo

Chapter 2: Research Methodology-4


(1) Peace

Simple definition of peace, from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2016:

- a state in which there is no war or fighting

- an agreement to end a war

- a period of time when there is no war or fighting

What does peace mean in a deeper sense?

There are many kinds or conditions of peace. Two major ones are "positive peace" and "negative peace."

According to Grewal and Galtung, the characteristics of negative peace are: absence of violence, pessimistic, curative, peace not always by peaceful means.

The characteristics of positive peace are: Structural integration, optimistic, preventive, peace by peaceful means. Equality and equity.

Johan Galtung, the father of peace studies, often makes a distinction between “negative peace” and “positive peace.”

Negative peace refers to the absence of violence. For example, when a ceasefire is enacted, a negative peace will ensue. It is negative because something undesirable stopped happening (i.e., the violence stopped, the oppression ended).

Positive peace is filled with positive content, such as restoration of relationships, the creation of social systems that serve the needs of a population, or the constructive resolution of conflict.

(2) Sustainability

Definition of sustainability, from Encyclopeadia Britannica, 2016:

- the long-term viability of community, a set of social institutions, or societal practice

For this research, however, sustainability refers to cultural sustainability.

The Vermont Folk Life Center says the following about cultural sustainability: By cultivating a greater awareness of who we are, we are better able both to understand the beliefs and values we share collectively, and to comprehend the differences in worldview and experience that make us distinct from one another.

When we have deeper understanding of the things that are important to us, we make decisions about the future that are informed by who we were, who we are, and who we would like to be.

(3) Culture

Simple definition of culture, from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2016:

- the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time

- a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.

- a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)

Japanese culture cannot be summed up simply because it contains various elements.

Japan’s culture in the period from ancient times to the medieval period was influenced by neighboring Asiancountries, and in the period from early modern times to modern times, after the Meiji Restoration, it was influenced by Western countries.

As a result, Japanese culture developed in a unique way through processes of repeated absorption and rejection, and various accommodations.

But through these periods, the core of Japanese culture has remained unchanged.

Traditional Japanese culture was founded based on the Shinto religion. Even though it has changed greatly with the times on a superficial level, at a deeper level it has fundamental elements and an internal coherence that have changed very little.

For example, even while the rooms in homes have changed from Japanese style with tatami (zashiki) to Western-style rooms, the custom of taking off one’s shoes when entering a home has not changed.

to be continued...



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