Globalization and Indigenous Culture
[Table of Contents]

Cultural Identity in Europe

ISOMURA Hisanori

One's manner, personality and future profession are all influenced by one's upbringing. After studying here at Kokugakuin University for four years, I still don't consider myself a scholar. The reason for this is I cannot change my so-called "journalistic nature," which I believe was developed when I was young. People may wonder what the difference is between scholars and journalists. Though I have a sharp tongue, in my opinion, scholars speak in a roundabout manner about simple matters. On the other hand, journalists use easily understood language to explain (or mis-explain) complicated matters. I have recently found the boundary between the two becoming very ambiguous. As I stated before, I'm not a scholar, therefore this is not an academic presentation, but some of my own thoughts which I'd like to share with everyone here today.

Now, let's take a look at today's European scholars from a journalistic point of view. The college system in the United States is breaking down, causing European scholars to panic. If we look back in time, right-wing McCarthyism raged over American campuses in the 1950s. If people (including well-respected scholars), showed any interest in Communism they were accused of being pro-Communists and were therefore made public enemies. That was one of the strategies used by the right-wing anti-Communists. What's worrying scholars today is the so-called postmodern era, which is a social and political phenomenon born in the late 1980s. It is in tune with the new politics of racial and sexual sensitivity, making moral issues of everything. I was most surprised by the impact of the postmodern culture in today's American society. A long time ago I lived in the United States. Back then, we were told to avoid the use of the word Negro when referring to a black person. Until recently the word black was used. Black, however, is no longer in favor. Now the term African American is preferred.

When I discussed the above matter with Mr. Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian Nobel Prize winner, he argued that the irony of the whole multiculturalism issue is that more tolerance and better understanding of minorities is not being served. Instead, these terms have caused more racial discrimination than one would have expected. He felt, in the last few years, the English language has been overwhelmingly influenced by the politically correct views of the postmodern culture. For instance, we now have "hair disadvantaged" for bald and "horizontally challenge" (or "different sized") for obese. He thought that this Political Correctness movement had become most ridiculous. Since most postmodern frontiers are college-educated middle-class Americans, the worst enforcers, in the postmodern age, are probably the academics. Take, for example, sexual harassment, a popular postmodern issue. If a professor asks a female student to see him by herself, soon after, he'll be accused of sexually harassing this female student.

America has changed, it is no longer the United States of the Cold War period. Today, the United States is the only superpower in all aspects. However I think Americans are now facing more problems than ever before. They are speeding on the information superhighway and dominating the information market. Anything that happens in the United States soon becomes world-wide news. In other words, postmodern movements are not only putting American campuses into chaos, they are also influencing Europe and Japan. Considering the above, it is obvious why European scholars are concerned about this new postmodern era.

Globalization is the theme of this Symposium. In French, we say Mondialisation. As we all know, globalization has numerous characteristics. Most important of all is the communication revolution, which is the result of the development of information technology. I worked with NHK television for thirty-eight years, and even though I thought I knew everything there was to know about information technology at that time, I often found people talking about new technologies or theories which I knew nothing about. For instance, Marshall McLuhan's "Global Village" theory, or Alvin Toffler's "Third Wave" theory, and then there was also the "post-industrial society" theory from Daniel Bell.

In June, 1989, Ronald Reagan, former president of the United States, delivered a famous speech at the Guild Hall in London. At that time, the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain still existed. He stated that electronic media, such as satellite television, parabolic antennas, photocopiers and facsimiles, can skip over any Iron Curtain, overcome any national borders, and thus rapidly create a global village. Such a new age of information technology was probably impossible for Marx, Engels or Lenin to image. President Reagan made a correct assumption. Five months after his public speech, the Iron Curtain collapsed and the Cold War ended.

Thanks to the communication revolution, we have gained the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of other countries, especially information about the Western world. Now, everyone is wearing the same kind of jeans and designer clothing, we all love the same kind of pop music, not to mention the fast food industries. Anywhere you go, Beijing, Moscow, or Vietnam, McDonald's is popular throughout the world!

A second aspect of globalization is the establishment of multinational corporations. It is needless to say that multinational enterprises are able to survive only because of their strong back-up support and top management skills. According to a survey which was completed last year, there are sixteen-thousand enterprises engaged in commercial trade in at least two countries. I would say there are probably more than twenty thousand by now. And of these, there are over three thousand multinational enterprises which are active in six or more different countries. Lester Brown, the director of the World Watch Research Center, once made an interesting comment to the effect that Great Britain once ruled the seven seas, and there was no sunset on that empire. Now, however, Britain is not as powerful as it used to be, and this fact is hard for some British people to accept. Multinational enterprises like IBM, Unilever or Hitachi Corporation, however, will probably survive forever, since they fit in with the new information age. Even though multinational corporations have subsidiaries and sub-factories in different continents, they are always working towards creating new products for different countries, adapting their management styles to different cultural environments, and they also have new information technology to help the head-office keep in close contact with these subsidiaries. If this is the case, then what is the nationality of products from a multinational enterprise? I would say there is no nationality for their products. They are global products.

The former nationalists of Vietnam used to treat Coca-Cola as a symbol of America's imperialism. Hence they tried to stop the merchandising of Coca-Cola in Vietnam at the risk of their own lives. Today, Coca-Cola is the best selling soft drink in Japan. Even though it is an American company, ninety-seven percent of its products are made in Japan. A similar multinational enterprise is IBM. IBM Japan employs more than twenty-thousand Japanese, including the company director, and while it is based on American capital, it runs on Japanese style management. On the other hand, the American factory of Japanese auto-maker Honda, (located in Ohio State), produces Japanese brand cars, but from the maker's point of view, they are American products. Such enterprises have already overcome borders between different countries.

The third aspect of globalization is European unification, which is a big issue concerning Europe. In 1957, the Treaty of Rome was established by several European countries. A year later, the EEC (European Economic Community) was formed, and it later became the E.C. (European Community) in 1967, and then further developed into the E.U. (European Union) in 1996. Now, once-solitary nations like France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands have became members of this so-called "supranational" organization. This kind of supranational body is replacing individual nations, economically Europe is becoming a single market framework, and before the end of this century a common currency may replace all existing national currencies in Europe.

With the development of telecommunication technologies and the continuing expansion of multinational enterprises, future international organizations will be the financial machinery which bridges the world market into one economic trading environment, like the above-mentioned European supranationals. If this can be achieved in the near future then the world will become similar to what Mr. Ken'ichi Ômae described as a borderless world.

In contrast, there are also people who believe in anti-globalization or "regionalization," something which will occasion cultural conflicts. The concept of the "nation" refers to a particular kind of social and cultural community. The world is composed of many diverse historic and cultural communities, to which their citizens owe a primary loyalty, and which are the sole sources of political power and inner freedom. To build a borderless society means to physically remove all boundaries between countries. If this is done, then different cultures will be exchanged freely, all citizens will have to adjust themselves to one or more new foreign cultures. Many people feel that their nation performs important social and political functions, and it is going to take more than a Maastricht Treaty to wean them a way from these deeply felt national allegiances. An opposing theory was developed by Susumu Nishibe, a former professor of Tokyo University, who said that "border-less" is the same as "border-full." (I have to apologize for this Japanese-made English expression). The real meaning here is that a borderless world is only physical, but each individual human being somehow has his or her own internal border, with the result that we will never become the same, even if we don't have any physical borders around us.

In the above, I have talked about various aspects of globalization but these are also factors which are challenging European cultural identity. One example is the influences on language from non-verbal media.

So to proceed, I would like to start with language concerns. Being Japanese, I somehow feel that the Japanese people are not very sensitive towards language identity. Japanese think it is very stylish to mix borrowed foreign words with traditional Japanese words. In fact, I am quite in debt to this tendency. I used to host a NHK news program at nine each evening. At first, I had planned to name this program Gogo kuji no nyûsu (News at Nine P.M.). All the youngsters, however, strongly recommended that I call it Nyûsu sentaa nain (News Center Nine). Of course, a fully foreign name which is more or less an English title would not be accepted by the professors at Kokugakuin University! But finally, we settled on Nyûsu sentaa kuji (News Center at Nine P.M.), which is a combination of Japanese and English. I think this story somehow reflects our attitude towards our language.

Meanwhile in Europe, people hold very different views when dealing with the same topic. Europeans treat their language as a cultural identity. As Jean Monte, also known as the "father of Europe," once said, "When I speak of culture, I think of language above everything else. . ." Europeans strongly believe that a nation will come to an end when its language dies.

Most European people believe that language is one of our human instincts. The New Testament Gospel of John said that "In the beginning was the word, and the word became God." A more recent approach was made by Jose Ortega y Gasset, a Spanish philosopher. He said that language always has etymology (history) hidden within it. French can be taken as an example of how language relates to cultural identity. French is one of the most fantastic and faultless languages on earth, so no doubt it wasn't created in just a day or two. Originating from Latin and combined with dialects, the French language was born through gradual improvement and development over the centuries. Two-hundred years ago the historic French Revolution took place, and the French Republic was gradually formed after the Revolution. One of the goals of the early nation-state was to consolidate French as the national language. In the Constitution of France, Paragraph No.2, Article No.2, it is clearly stated that French is the national language for the French Republic. Recently, in the United States, since the increase in the Spanish speaking population and Asian immigrants, more and more people are using languages other than English. Some states are holding local referendums to legally make English the official language.

Language is the soul of a culture. French literature and philosophy were thought and created in French. One cannot understand the great French literature or philosophy without the aid of the original language. Ferdinand de Saussure's structural linguistics, or the famous saying of Ludwig Wittgenstein, founder of modern philosophy, that goes something like, "Whatever one can understand precisely, one can state distinctly." Personally, I believe his words somehow represent the intellectual perspective towards language

Even though I'm taking French as my example, no doubt there are other languages facing the same dilemma as the French language is now. The French, who greatly appreciate their language, are being challenged by two engaging issues. As we all know, there are fifteen countries in the European Union today. What is the outcome of the future E.U. market with this unification? The second concern is the influence of the information technology revolution.

I would like to further explain the current EU situation in a few words. The EU is an organization working to bring Europe into a single market framework and to adopt a common currency. Most Japanese have questions regarding the official language to be used in the EU. Some say "Mr. Isomura, even though you love the French language and French culture, wouldn't they use English as the official language instead of French?" The view of some other Japanese is that they believe German will be the official language since Germany is overpowering the European economy. As a matter of fact, I don't agree with either of these arguments. Despite the fact that Europe is becoming one, Europeans still greatly respect each individual culture. That was clearly stated in Article No.128 in the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, which states that cultural diversity will be maintained now and in the future. This, however, was not as widely known to the public as the other EU economic agreements. This respect for culture was proved by the decisions to designate eleven official languages. Today there are 186 member countries in the United Nation. There are only six official languages, however, namely English, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese --- and recently, Arabian has been added as well. One may wonder why is it necessary for the EU to have eleven official languages when there are only fifteen member countries.

With this question in mind, I recently visited Luxembourg, Brussels, and some other European areas. I learned that to use eleven official languages during a conference, it is necessary to have a very complex translating system. When I attended a rather small meeting, I found there were about thirty translators in the room. Any practical-minded person would ask why would it be necessary to invest so much time and effort just in translation?

In fact, automatic translating machines are being used during conferences. Since French, Italian and Spanish all originate from the Latin root, it is comparatively easy to develop a software system which can translate these languages simultaneously. The machines presently in use can complete such tasks on most occasions. However, there are further improvements needed for these systems, since mistranslations can often be heard. For instance, the old English saying "Out of sight, out of mind" was translated into French by one machine as "A person who cannot see is mentally ill." It is obvious that translators are still needed in addition to the automatic translating systems, just in case the machine fails to do the job.

To maintain multiculturalism in Europe, the Lingual Directive (Lingua Directive) was settled in 1987. This directive funded two hundred and fifty million ECU (the European Currency Unit, which is roughly equal to 30 billion Japanese Yen) for the further education of the minority languages used in EU. This fund is to protect these languages through various programs and to train more language teachers for schools. Moreover there are also laws being formed to protect intellectual diversity like the Erasmus Directive

Within the E.U. member countries, France has applied the most effort toward protecting its language. The "Law of Toubon" (implemented in 1994 ) declared that no foreign language should be used together with the French language. For example, even though one cannot translate the word chewing gum into French, the word jumbo-jet became gros porteur in French. There are many other examples which can be found on this subject. Under the law, if someone used a foreign word without translating it into the appropriate French, they would have to pay a fine. In his statement at the first French summit, François M.M. Mitterand, former president of France, said that those countries which do not stand up to protect their own language will start to lose their essence, and will fall from the positional creator position to mere subcontractor.

According to the linguist Claude Hagège, the attitude not only of the French, but of every other European country as well toward their languages, is ruled by two forces. One is what they call in French pulsion dialogale (impulsive dialogue), for example, during the E.U. negotiations and conferences, the quickest way to have a conversation is by using the easiest and simplest form of English. And that is what pulsion dialogale means. The other force is ivresse d'altérité, which means a desire to be different. People want to have conversations, but at the same time, they have a deep-rooted desire to be different from everyone else. Hagège thus believes today's Europeans are caught in conflict between the two forces. However, a public survey shows that eighty-eight percent of French citizens would do anything to guard their language.

To this point, Japanese or Americans might be wondering why the French are so stubborn and conservative about their language. Most Japanese would probably say, "What's wrong with using English? After all, language is nothing but a means of communication. If two parties can understand each other, wouldn't that be enough?" This so-called cultural protectionism is thus same as trade protectionism, an anachronism in the modern age. Basically, Americans share the same views with the Japanese here --- most Americans people are not speaking high-level or perfect English, whereas the British are more proud of their English heritage, since Shakespeare was an Englishman. An English scholar once undertook a small survey, and he found that the average Americans might use only one-hundred and thirty verbs in his lifetime. Much of the simple English being used in Europe or America is a relatively simplified form of the English language, since, as we all know, most American citizens have different ethnic backgrounds, just as Einstein was a German before he went to the United States. So everyone ends up in this American melting-pot, and in order to satisfy the pulsion dialogale, they all use American English. However, as I understand, there is no such thing as "Simple French" or "American French" in the French language. Even within the English language culture, the British who are proud of being the offspring of Shakespeare also feel repelled by the simplified English. Many would say English is the most useful language on earth --- but that does not refer to British English or American English, but "Broken English." Whether this is good or bad I will discuss next in the context of media problems.

Above, I've talked about language influences, and how they are affecting Europe. Next I will go on to the second challenge to the European cultural identity. By that I refer to the development of the media, and what kind of problems it raises in Europe.

As I stated before, Americans and others may classify the French people as being nationalistic. As you all know, liberalism is the principle of free trade, and the complete opposite to cultural protectionism. In the Uruguay Round of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), during the negotiations, Japan wouldn't agree to free trade in rice. Traditional Japan is a rice-growing nation, and Japanese people take rice as a symbol of the Japanese soul. This is a cultural difference between Japanese and foreigners. To foreigners, rice is nothing but an agricultural product, and therefore a commodity. In the end, Japan had to finally give in. But naturally, culture isn't just about rice or soap. The French people held out to the last to protect their language from foreign influences, claiming that culture is something different to goods, and not a commodity. And they succeeded in gaining a concession from the Americans.

What kind of concessions did the French gain from the Americans? They won the right not to have GATT free-trade rules applied to the media, namely, television and radio programs. Now, America has overwhelmingly dominated all sorts of media. As on one example, the power America has in the media world is equivalent to the Seven Sisters (EXXON, Mobil, Texaco, SOCAL, Gulf, BP and Shell) who control the oil trade. The Major International Oil Companies ("Seven Sisters") control the entire oil market. Again, international enterprises like Time Warner, which is an American-capitalized company, are controlling the media market. To mention one addition, I should say the media market is not controlled entirely by America, since Japan and some other Asian countries are dominating the market for cartoons.

A few figures can explain the situation well. During 1988, the total broadcasting time in Europe was 125,000 hours. Of that amount, no more than 5,000 hours of programs were actually made in Europe, representing a mere four percent of the total. Europe aired 11,000 hours of cartoons in 1990, but only 3.2 percent were produced by European animation companies. The rest were produced in Japan or Hollywood. Former E.U. chairman, Delors, once made a comment about this situation. He said that in the media world, Europe is in a critical situation, and if nothing is done in the near future, it will certainly fall far behind other regions and countries, in turn losing not only the European market, but also the world market.

Media pluralism represents diversity of programming and a balanced representation of views, the constant goal that the maximum number of voices are heard over a wide political and cultural spectrum. Toward that end, in 1989, the E.U. promoted two projects aimed at increasing European television production. One was the Television Without Frontiers Directive (Television Sans Frontière). The other was the Media Directive, a five-year-long project. These two projects were aimed at having one-half of all European television programming time dedicated to European-made programs. In fact, a court decision has already been handed down, legislating that one-quarter of all air time be limited to European-produced programming. As seen here, nationalism often involves the pursuit of "symbolic" goals, and the French goal here was to maintain French audiovisual space. Not very long ago, French news announced that all radio stations must air at least forty-percent French songs during their programs. Nowadays the songs loved by the young French generation are all English songs, and even French popular musicians are using English names to create a foreign image, so as to sell their albums. When this decision was announced, it created quite a bit of confusion for the radio stations, as well as for the English music fans. French people are doing all they can to protect their culture from America's cultural imperialism.

After all, Europeans are determined to protect their culture even if the information though the American media is beneficial to them. Audiovisual media go beyond language and reach to the human senses. One big problem in Japan is the fact that television has replaced books and newspapers, and also weakened our reading and thinking ability. A similar situation occurred in Europe, where most people didn't even consider how television had changed their daily lives, and only a minority who are still in their right sense are now worried. The E.U. clearly stated in one of its documents that television has replaced the Sunday morning Mass, family life, school, and overall, changed the European's daily life. Maintaining the culture is extremely important.

I lecturer at this and other universities, teaching a course on "News Commentary." Usually before the first class of the year starts, I ask my students to raise their hands if they've read the morning's Asahi newspaper. Ten out of ten times, I get no response. Then I say: "Okay, it doesn't matter about this morning's newspaper, how about yesterday's evening newspaper?" Still no hands. "Well, forget about reading papers everyday, how about those people who read the paper once a week --- which one do you read? The morning paper or the evening paper?" Sometimes I will get one hand by now --- if I'm lucky. I'm really curious sometimes about how they learn about headline news like the Sarin nerve-gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyô sect. According to my students, some of them hear big news like that by watching the television, while others hear from family or friends who do read newspapers or watch TV. It is a pity to see our younger generation without interests in current affairs. It seems that they just take in whatever is said on the television, but don't process that information by themselves. There's a person called Joyu who was a spokesman for the Aum sect. After the Sarin incident, he appeared on TV, giving incoherent and unreasonable excuses for the group's insane act, but the young girls who only heard some of his talk on television thought he was very stylish, and when he appeared in court, they even gathered outside the court and presented him with flowers. This is how the young ones come to think the "devils" are "angels." Fortunately, the younger generation in Europe hasn't been influenced by the media so much as the Japanese. However, the same tendency -the tendency to accept far-fetched opinions-is widely spread in Europe as well.

The television media hasn't yet become a medium of education. For instance, pornography programs and programs containing high levels of violence are still being shown on television. Recently, the mothers in France and Italy strongly protested again some violent Japanese animation which was being shown to under-aged children. Since I'm now working with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization, I joined their symposium called "Violence and Television" which was held in three places. I only attended two, however, one in New Delhi and the other in Brussels. Even in such places violent scenes are still played on the rare public channels, but the public has come to accept this violence in television as normal and standard program fare. Although we've now entered the new multimedia era, still we have no strict regulations for the media. For instance, the young net surfers can just sit in front of the computer the whole day and get access to the pornography sites on the Internet. Certainly it is eye-popping, and maybe satisfying as well, but if they are looking for something exciting and thrilling, then is pornography really the answer? This has became an intellectual waste, their mind power, their opinion-expressing ability and their thinking ability will all be spoiled. European has also become anxious about this situation. That was why the E.U. started the Television Without Frontiers Directive, and the French also regulated their television programs. I feel this is their way of cleaning up the non-verbal pollution.

I feel Europeans, the European intelligentsia in particular, are the most worried about the influence of American value judgments on young Europeans. No doubt, there are good values, as well, but this is not in my concern. Use Woodstock as an example, Woodstock is where the young and restless Americans had their music festival in 1969. Generally, Woodstock represents the hippie era, which was basically about rock music, sex and drugs. At that time, I was the vice chief of NHK television's New York division. I didn't imagine it would become a historical event, and that's why I didn't report about Woodstock. In fact, the author of Last Emperor, Edward Paul, once asked a young European what he wanted to do in the future. The young person answered that he wanted to be in something like Woodstock. I could understand that if it were said by an American, but it seems like the young Europeans have been largely influenced by their counterparts in the United States. The hippies and the counter-culture was the spirit of Woodstock. A civic kind of nationalism is a nationalism of order and control, and it suits the existing national states and their dominant ethnic, "the fathers," the passive older generations, guardians of ancestral traditions and notables of a traditional order. To achieve their cultural revolution, they must thrust their communities, like the current Political Correctness movement, into the political arena and turn them into political nations. However, the European react to these sub-popular cultures as "Bad money drives out good." Similar to Gresham's Law, Europeans feel strongly that they do not wish to accept these sub-cultures from the United States.

The French book shops are constantly full of books like "Fear of America," "the American Menace" or""American cultural pollution"" The bestseller in France now is an older book called The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom, a former professor from the University of Chicago. It started with cultural movements like the McCarthyism of the left that raged over Yale, Princeton, Cornell, and other famous American campuses in the 1960s. Then it went on with the new trend of "sexual awareness." Bloom states that up until recently, whether in literature or philosophy, the youngsters tend to see every gender expressions or descriptions as referring to sex. In fact, America begins sex education at every early stage, but on the other hand, pornography has became overwhelmingly popular. A survey showed that the young American generations have no faith in the true love described in most literature. They think "I love you!" is an odd expression, and expressions like "I love you forever" are unthinkable.

Another popular trend in the United States now is psychoanalytic therapy. If anything happens to anybody, they go to see a psychiatrist and complain about all the "stress" or "anxiety." Here, I will borrow an expression from a French critic who states, "In America, Marx is dead, but Freud is still alive." Somehow, I wonder whether psychiatric therapy is really mentally healthy or useful.

There are a lot of foreign listeners here in this Symposium, and some of you might find my perspectives going a bit too far, or maybe too much of a journalistic viewpoint. I'm willing to take any criticism from you.

The famous French structural anthropologist, Levi-Strauss, commented that with the rising of postmodernism, "Eurocentric monoculturalism" (the predominance of white European culture) is now rejected by all politically correct people in American. Multiculturalism is the current euphemism for anything to do with minorities. Somehow this is a progress for the American society. Further, he asserts Americans are extremely sensitive when dealing with human rights issues, so that now white collective racial guilt for past acts of discrimination manifests itself in ridiculous responses by whites to black claims of victimization. While whites have feelings of guilt, they nevertheless do not want to feel guilty, and to avoid this guilt, they go along with whatever blacks want, no matter how extreme. Nowhere is multiculturalism more apparent than in the American universities. The "black identity" mentality views blacks as the victims of white society. The result of this mentality is that black students using this as an excuse for irresponsible conduct, including crime.

Eurocentricism is now being replaced by Afrocentricism, which claims that the melanist races which are exposed more to the sun are superior to those races who have less contact with the sun. In other words, the colored races like the Negroid are superior to the Caucasoid or Mongoloid. Indeed this is just another form of racism. Multicultural programs are leading to a new tribalism in which each minority is further-separated special-interest group. European truly regret this new social phenomenon in the United States. Antoine Pinet, a famous French politician, once said that it would be better to die than to live in this kind of world. This also explains why are the European intelligentsia most worried about the infiltration of American value judgments in Europe. Like the sixties' Woodstock hippie culture, today's American postmodern culture has already spread throughout the European community.

And what's more, that American cultural movement is always accompanied by commercialism, and when that commercialism involves the media, we have a situation of what might be called "media harassment," what in French is called harcèlement mediatique.

Now, Europe is facing the same kinds of new social phenomena, like the aforementioned media harassment and other non-verbal influences from America. Most European countries have a Eurocentric culture, but with the rise of postmodernism in the United States, the minorities in Europe also claim to being victimized by the white race, for example, the Islamic fundamentalists in France, and the Turkish migrant workers in Germany. The Europeans feels heavily pressured by this new racial problem, especially when in dealing with Afrocentric, Islam Fundamentalist and the new "Asian Values."

Until now, there were religion reformations, and controversies between Marxism and liberalism took place in Europe, but when all is said and done, these were conflicts within the dominant Jewish Christianity culture. But if any foreign religion or philosophy, whether Islamic, Confucianism or Taoism, should contradict the traditional Christian value judgment, it would be treated as a foreign moral invasion. On the other hand, during the colonial period (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries), most European countries forced their culture and religion onto their colonized lands. For instance, Vietnam and Algeria were French colonies, and India was a colony of Great Britain. The people of the colonies assimilated to the "civilized" nation in order to survive. As Levi-Strauss commented, Europeans believed they were the civilized nations who understood universal value and truth, so it was their duty to educate the uncivilized peoples.

Even though this is the twentieth century, different cultural identities are still not being recognized. In 1989, the "Scarf Incident" occurred in a small town in south France. Three female Islamic students were wearing the Islamic scarf when attending the local public high school. The teacher told them to study in the library by themselves instead of coming into the classroom with everyone else. The teacher's reasoning was based on the fundamental principle of the French republic, namely the separation of religion from politics. Since this was a public school, everyone must live up to the policy according to which no religious acts or materials should be display in a public school.

Two currents of opinion formed after this incident. One group supported the teacher and further insisted that all French public schools follow the same rules. Another group of leberals, led by Mrs. Mitterrand, suggested that such behavior is old-fashioned thinking, like treating religions other than Christianity as foreign moral invasions. They believed the other cultural identities should be recognized.

What happened in France was a religious cultural conflict. However, conflicts over cultural values also occur in other parts of the world. Michael Fay, an eighteen-year-old American boy, lived in Singapore with his family. Three years ago, he was caned for painting graffiti on Singapore public transport. When the court decision was first released, the American public urged the abolishment of such barbarous and inhuman practices. They criticized the court decision as disregarding human rights. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Prime minister of Singapore, supported the court decision and ignored the American public criticisms. In the American journal Foreign Affairs, Lee argued that this case was not about human rights, but about law and order. The founder of Confucianism once said, "For everyone's happiness, one must obey the public laws. A person must first cultivate his moral character and manage his household methodically, then administrate the country in order to create harmony and peace in the society." Americans should try to understand such Asian values and Asian cultures. I think such Asian values somehow explain why the crime rate in Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore is so much lower when compared to the United States.

On the other hand, American Family Values is an important issue in the United States. About sixty percent of the American public still go to a church on Sunday morning. How many of that sixty percent are true believers may be in doubt, since some people go to the church only because it is a family event. But this conservative American silent majority were the major critics in the Fay incident.

Some time back, Yomiuri Newspaper and NHK Television coordinated a "Nobel Prize Winner Forum." During the forum, Mr. Gorbachev, ex-President of the Soviet Union and Mr. Farnaft, ex-President of the Netherlands, had a discussion on American moral decay. They both agreed that the general American public, and especially their leader, President Clinton should be aware that their moral decay is influencing other European countries. For instance, a new racism is recently rising in France. The ultra right-wingers are armed with outrageous arguments of discrimination. They insist one cannot communicate with someone who is from a completely different cultural background. People with different cultural identity should therefore be separated from the majority in order to create peaceful living conditions for each other. Therefore, Islamic people should go back to Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco. This new segregation of races or the new separatism is an interesting topic in today's cultural identity issues.

In the above, I have discussed cultural identity, taking examples of language, non-verbal media, and racial problems. My style is, of course, based on the journalistic point of view and somewhat exaggerated, and it goes without saying that the feeling of crisis regarding cultural identity is not the same among all European countries.

For example, England has quite little concern regarding this kind of problem, displaying a rather cool or generous posture. This is because residents of Britain speak English and have different ideas about the U.S. compared to other European countries. Above all, they always look at the world from the global scale, in part because they once controlled the seven seas as a global state. As a result, they are not so nervous as regards cultural identity.

The case of Germany, though, is similar to that of Japan. Germans are said to be most European-minded as the result of self-reflection on the past wrongs inflicted by Germany on other countries. One once heard frequently of German nationalism, but recent Germans are not strong nationalists. Despite some neo-Nazism and radical activities in the report of the mass media, most Germans rather tend to lack in nationalism. Günter Grass, a German writer, says quite cynically that he is aware of Germany only when he hears the weather forecast, when they announce whether it will be clear or rainy in Germany. An entry in one opinion poll survey by a German journal asks what respondents most often imagine as following the word "German. The alternatives answers are Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven and others. But the most frequent answer given is "Mercedes Benz." This is just like the Japanese might answer Toyota or Sony when asked what they imagine by the word "Japan."

Thus, my conclusion today is that the crisis for cultural identity is very strong among French as far as the language problem goes, and the same can be said regarding the audio-visual matters among French or Italians. It is natural that responses to racial problems are different between countries.

Finally, I want to comment regarding the overall identity of Europe, namely what Europe is. In regards to this problem, a symposium was held in 1988 in Paris for three days on "What is the identity of Europe?" I participated as a member, but it is very difficult to summarize the discussion we had for three days, ranging over quite a range of different opinions and topics. However, the following concluding remarks by French sociologist Edgar Morin might come close to representing the consensus of participants. Morin concluded that cultural identity was in Europe was based on Christianity, orientated to ancient Greek and Roman traditions, a flower of the Renaissance and the philosophy of human rights developed in the French Revolution. He added that this European identity is now being challenged.

This situation itself is connected to present European identity but in closing I want to refer to my ideas of where European culture will be led in the course of globalization, and whether --- or how long --- Europe's unique diversity will be sustained, as ideally expressed in the E.U. treaty and article 128 of the Maastricht Treaty.

First of all, optimistic or positive prospects are entertained more by Americans than by Europeans. For example, Alvin Toffler, author of The Third Wave and Future Shock, considers that the present cultural confusion and the confusion in defending cultural identity can be called a kind of culture war, but he understands it as a transient confusion in the process of switching from the world of the second wave of industrialization to the third wave of information. He also considers that, in the age of the third wave, namely postindustrial society, everyone will use computers, communicating through the Internet from their electronic cottages. Without the need to go to offices by packed commuter trains. They can work in their house, by using a computer. As the world becomes one with the coming of a new stimulating life style, people will enjoy pleasant lives in the world of the third wave, even more than in the global village envisioned by Marshall McLuhan. Ômae Ken'ichi says that in the coming world, language will be unified under English, with the result that one's identity will be based on his or her corporate identity, rather than on language identity. This means that they will speak English in multinational enterprises like Sony, regardless of their location, whether Sony in France, Germany, or Italy. However, in the case of differences between Sony and Hitachi, which language is used may depend on their respective corporate identity.

These are the relatively optimistic viewpoints. They predict that globalization will make it possible to work at home, enjoying plenty of holidays, with an abundant life like paradise. I participated as a panelist in the plenary session of the International Institute of Communications held at Kyoto in September, 1995, however, and there, most participants answered in the concluding stage that the information society and multimedia society promoted by the communication revolution will prove to be more like hell than like heaven. Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard University is one person who expresses the idea that the information society will be like hell, on the basis of his concept of a "clash of civilizations." Various cultures and identities eventually conflict each other, producing conflict between civilizations, instead of wars caused by ideology or considerations of national advantage.

Even if not quite so pessimistic, one reason this third wave or globalization might be evaluated as a kind of hell is because its multimedia will promote uniformity, quite the opposite from Toffler's idea. For example, movies will come to be made uniformly in the Hollywood style, or in the style of Japanese animation, thus losing their diversity. The multimedia society will produce a "desert of intelligence" as well as "desert of culture." While working at home in an electronic cottage may be admirable, we Japanese enjoy facing each other, drinking and going to karaoke together, and housewives would be never happy if their husbands always stayed at home. The housewife's true emotion is expressed in the commercial jingle, "I hope my husband stays healthy and out of the way." Such national sentiment does not change so rapidly. As Professor Dollfus claims, many French youngsters still enjoy eating the indigenous foods from each district, called cuisine de terroir, regardless of the prevalence of fast foods. Not everyone enjoys eating at McDonald's. Accordingly, a body of critical or guarded opinion also exists and is directed against the "multimedia heaven" optimistically predicted by Toffler, Drucker, or Ômae, warning against that kind of "homogenization of differences" or other trends that go against a people's fundamental ethnic nature.

In my opinion, it is difficult to judge between the two prospect. I worked at NHK for a long time and became skillful at introducing the opinions of other people, so I learned to introduce both sides equitably. However, since I must play my role here, I will express my opinion in thirty seconds by saying that I think Europe will reconfirm its identify after being challenged by America. And it will be revitalized and produce a new European civilization while accepting Asian values and Islamic values, just as its culture and civilization flowered in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am convinced that in the twenty-first century, the European cultural identity will maintain its universal value for the world, and that, as a person who loves Europe, is my personal desire.

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$Date: 2001/05/15 05:58:52 $