Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ancient Japanese Secret: Fix the problem's origins

"Fix the problem, not the blame." I read this "Japanese proverb" in Michael Crichton's Rising Sun as an example of how much more advanced Japanese philosophies are over Americans. The idea is that, when a problem comes up, the Americans spend time arguing over who's at fault while the Japanese just focus on the solution. I recently decided to post it here as a quote and did a search to find out who originally stated the proverb.

I found one forum discussing the proverb with someone pointing out the fact that this expression only makes sense in English. The saying hinges on the dual meaning of the word "fix," which wouldn't translate in Japanese. Therefore, this is most likely an English expression that someone attributed to the Japanese, maybe because it sounded more ancient and wise that way. It doesn't speak well of Crichton's research that he would make such a bone-headed mistake. Then again, Crichton also wrote State of Fear, which has been widely criticized as being poorly researched, so it's not that much of a surprise. Still a good proverb, though.

UPDATE: In my original post, I called Crichton's novels Red Sun and State of Emergency. Both incorrect. Guess I should have done more research.


Mauricem said...

That is a good proverb. Especially for dealing with interpersonal issues (i.e. marriage). It's funny how we automatically assume all Asians are wise and insightful...is that racist?

cube said...

Wasn't it Confucious who said, "If blame isn't broken, don't try to fix it?"


M.S.Patel. said...

Fix the problem has two criterias, one is to count some one is the root of problem; the other means to find solution to fix or cure the problem finding an alternative.
Muljibhai Patel.(U.S.A.).